Wednesday, 8 February 2012

105. My Green Fedora (1935)

Warner cartoon no. 104.
Release date: April 6, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast unknown.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Charles "Chuck" Jones and Bob Clampett.

This is the cartoon in which Bob Clampett claimed to have written the story after some mention of a "Story competition" - well; he was credited as an animator on that cartoon - so you can't be certain it's a lie - but who knows if what he said in the Michael Barrier interview is true or not. This is sort of a sequel to the cartoon "Country Boy".

 The cartoon begins with a cottage (a rather different one from Country Boy). The mother of the bunnies steps out of her door and she is calling for Peter. She is looking around the house trying to find Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit is hiding by the side of the house outside. He tries to escape but an arm reaches out grabbing Peter inside the house. The mother then catches Peter and places him with his baby brother Elmer; she asks Peter; "Now I want you to stay here and keep an eye on Elmer while I go out shopping so don't forget". Once she leaves the door; she asks again "and DON'T get up to mischief".

Baby Elmer who obviously has something on his mind watches the mother leave and to make Peter Rabbit's life a misery. He starts off by putting on a wailing sound. Peter approaches to his cot rather annoyed but picks up a rattle to try and tone down the crying. Elmer then grabs the rattle and whacks Peter on the head continuing the crying. Boy; that baby brother sure is more mischevious than Peter itself. Peter, aware that the baby is putting it on then walks to a closet door to hide there.

 Peter hides in the closet trying to think up an idea on how to try and stop baby Elmer trying; or to entertain him. He puts on a fedora hat on; and tries to put on a jacket hanging on a mannequin. I guess that all the moths in the closet are already there and eat all the parts of the clothes. Peter Rabbit puts on another jacket; and steps out of the closet door. Peter Rabbit then walks around singing the title song, My Green Fedora (although the fedora is more grey than it is green). The baby knows that he's trying to entertain him and puts on a silly chuckle. He is doing an impression of Tommy Bond and it was co-written by Al Sherman, who was the father of the Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert) who would later become Walt Disney's top songwriters of the 1960s - and his personal favourite.

He is sitting on his cot looking rather unamused by Peter Rabbit's performance in order to entertain him. Meanwhile outside, there is a weasel that pops out of a fox hole from the garden and hears the sounds of Peter Rabbit's singing voice. He pops out through different fox holes - hole-to-hole as he gets nearer to the hole each time. I guess that with a different approach and that silly chuckle made by baby Elmer (impression of Joe Penner: thanks Devon B.) - this could have been part of Clampett's contributions.

 Baby Elmer then puts on that chuckle again in which he grabs out a paddle and scrapes it along the bars of his cot. Peter Rabbit is finally fed up of his baby brother and he tries to toss the fedora to the ground - but only to find it bouncing back on his hat - I guess it was just made for fun and for nonsense. He throws it away - and the same with his jacket. Peter Rabbit exits the house in which Baby Elmer doesn't care. Meanwhile, outside the house the weasel is still about waiting for Peter Rabbit to exit.

Once that there isn't a sign of Peter Rabbit; the weasel then pops back down to dig up the earth to get into the house (nice musical set up there by Bernard Brown). Once the hole in the house has already been set up; hang on a minute - wouldn't baby Elmer had already heard the sounds of the wooden floor being scraped or broken? It appears to be from what I can see once the weasel steps out - it's a cross between a weasel and a wolf - but still looks more of a weasel. The weasel grabs out a brown bag to capture Elmer and he approaches to the cot.

Baby Elmer is therefore asleep but he doesn't notice the weasel approaching him yet or even about to kidnap him. Baby Elmer then looks at the silhouetted figure thinking that it is his "mummy". He looks to turn to find it's a weasel and he screams. The weasel was wearing a bandana to that effect so he can trick the baby. Elmer then starts to grab the weasel's nose and lets go for which he almost steps back. Poor Elmer then starts to scream as he is being picked up and placed inside the sack. The weasel then takes off by  jumping back into the hole.

Meanwhile, Peter is walking into the forest away from home - he suddenly realizes through a thought bubble of what his mother reminded him what to by staying in the house to keep an eye on Elmer. Peter Rabbit then runs into the house but finds out that Elmer isn't around. He goes around chanting "Elmer! Elmer!", thinking that he's going to be in deep trouble. Peter Rabbit then runs to the carpet in which he falls down the hole. Interesting running cycles used in those old cartoons - like when Peter Rabbit runs back into the house - before the use of speed was used; when in later cartoons - the characters would dash somewhere really quickly.

Peter Rabbit falls out of the rug and is underground. He lights a match to see where he is going. Well; at least it gives the factual side that being underground is definitely dark! The weasel is then trying to cook baby Elmer as he has the fire ready, pan out and what else - salt and pepper shakers of course! The weasel then places Elmer by the fire in which he screams in pain. The weasel asks Elmer to be quiet by "shushing" him. Peter then hears the sounds of Elmer screaming in which he accidentally drops the match and it's dark underground.

The weasel notices that Peter Rabbit is coming and starts to run off with Baby Elmer. Peter Rabbit then approached to the fireplace to find that there is no sign of Baby Elmer but was close to the area. The weasel then notices Peter Rabbit come out of a hole in which he is beaten by the weasel's fist leaving Peter Rabbit being held back. There is a rather tiring gag going on in which each different hole - Peter Rabbit gets whacked by the weasel each time.

While the weasel is concentrating on beating up Peter - the sack in which Baby Elmer is then starts to run away - through different tunnels underground. I'm surprised that he's not quite suffocating yet. The baby then arrives back at the same position from where the weasel was in which he is in trouble again. Peter Rabbit was knocked out but wakes up being too prepared as he tries to pick a fight on him when he's not around. Peter Rabbit then starts to search the weasel and to chase him. The weasel then looks behind at an incoming Peter Rabbit.

The weasel then starts to run away and thinks of a plan to try and stop Peter Rabbit from chasing after him. There are two gaps of underground tunnels in which the weasel hides at the bottom one that forms a path that goes to to the surface; and that's where Peter Rabbit goes. Well that weasel is too cunning for Peter Rabbit - or is he?

Peter Rabbit therefore thinks of another idea in which he grabs out a hosepipe to place it under the hole - to see the difference. The weasel with Elmer starts to feel the water underground in which it travels him through the tunnel and then finally up to the surface. Through the different holes dug from the garden; the sack pops out on one part and the weasel the other. Peter Rabbit then jabs his foot at the hole to grab the sack so that Elmer is safe.

As for the weasel, Peter Rabbit turns on the tap so that the water level will rise even further so that the weasel will end up very high in the air. Peter Rabbit then turns off the tap to see what will happen to the weasel. The weasel then starts to fall into a patch of cactus in the woods (and I really do wonder how he got there). The weasel then starts to run off far into the forest in which Peter Rabbit and Elmer are safe; which means that the mother won't probably know what happened.

Peter Rabbit is thrilled to see that the weasel is off and never to be seen (or is that the case)?? Baby Elmer then does that really ANNOYING silly Joe Penner chuckle that annoys Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit turns on the hose to get back at his baby brother one more time before turning it off - and that's all folks.

This is pretty much an unofficial sequel to Country Boy but definitely not based on Beatrix Potter's stories since new unrelated Potter ideas were added into the cartoon. Don't believe me; well them - Mmm, the weasel - where did you READ that in a Potter book? The story in that cartoon is actually pretty good, and truth to be told I don't mind both cartoons (itself and Country Boy). Peter Rabbit isn't really so mischevious in that cartoon at all - although I guess that he was probably told off badly from THAT previous cartoon. Well, I don't if the source that says Bob Clampett wrote the story for it is true or not - I'm not saying it's improbable but it's just one person saying it - who knows?? Although this cartoon is pretty much the same formula from Friz's cartoons - and something that Clampett wouldn't write I guess - but maybe Clampett felt the studio wasn't even ready to kick in.


  1. Remembering what Avery told Joe Adamson about when he went to work with Warners and Leon told him he had some guys who "didn't get along with the other crews", it's interesting that Jones and Clampett's names pop up as animators here, and then would pop up on Jack King's Buddy cartoons a short time later. It may have been a case of what Chuck and (especially) Bob wanted to do wasn't what the more cautious Freleng wanted to do, which would explain the "didn't get along" remark and why they were back to only doing B&W cartoons a short time later.

  2. The laugh that Baby Elmer does is based off of Joe Penner, which is who Peter is imitating in the title song (which was co-written by the Sherman Brothers' father, Al Sherman).

  3. Tommy Bond is Peter. I can't tell you if that's Leone Ledoux doing the crying baby rabbit.

  4. Thanks Yowp and Devon B. - I've included that info onto the review for further-reading from others who come across the post in the future...

  5. What is the music from 5:00' to 6:20'?

  6. Steven, It is very impressive what you are putting together. We very much appreciate your comments about Bob Clampett's first two directorial efforts, "When's Your Birthday?" and "Porky's Badtime Story."

    In terms of "My Green Fedora" we can say unequivocally that Bob Clampett's description of having written the story is 100% accurate. We have that entire drawn story which Bob Clampett submitted directly to Leon Schlesinger. You might want to check out Bob Clampett's oral history that Milt Gray put together on the Beany and Cecil DVD Volume 1. He talks about the problems he had with Friz Freleng early in his career.

    If there are any questions we can help answer for you in the future please do not hesitate to submit your request to us at the contact area of our website or send an email to

    Best Wishes,

    rob clampett (bob's son)

  7. there's another cartoon in which the "fedora" song appears. a young boy is laying on the floor listening to the radio, and his mother tells him it's bedtime ("i don't wanna go to bed, i don't wanna be momma's little man"). once in his bed, his toys come to life and entertain him. one of the toys sings "fedora". any ideas?

  8. its in a cartoon called "toy town hall". its on the "shall we dance" dvd.