Warner cartoon no. 106.
Release date: June 8, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Cast: Joe Dougherty (Stuttering dog) and Ted Pierce (Poetry reciter).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Cal Dalton and Ben Clopton.
Some sources say that Ted Pierce was the poet fighter in this cartoon; but I don't know if that's true until Keith Scott confirmed it to me that Pierce did do the voice. He was already at the studio at the time as well. Joe Dougherty gets a stuttering job before able to do Porky again once Buddy is knocked out of the Looney Tunes and banished forever.
As Captain Benny has already docked his riverboat; there is a group of black-face singers are singing the title song (which is called), Go Into Your Dance. The song is actually pretty good and I like their feet tapping that they do while they are standing and singing. While they were singing; the captain was giving tickets for those who were going to see his boat-show. We then get a shot to see a group of locals (animals) who are gathering around and are sitting down on their seats. I like the sounds of the orchestra tuning up their instruments in which would often be heard in concertos or shows.
The pig orchestra leader then walks onto the stage in which he disguises himself with a black beard on his face; this isn't meant to be a Jewish stereotype at all - just wearing a fake beard? The pig orchestra leader then walks to the conductor box and begins his show. He starts off by playing a good introduction to the Light Calvalry Overture and he is playing the notes pretty accurately and the music playing is all going well. I quite like the hand moments of the conductor. He occasionally gets interrupted by a sloppy trombone player.
The following scenes are very funny to look at; the timing is a little bit faster as well as the music. They're playing a really speedy version of William Tell Overture. They're playing William Tell REALLY fast; and it really does work well; and Friz used the speedier version of William Tell in his later cartoons like (Ballot-Box Bunny). There is a tortoise playing the xylophone in the background and tries to keep up in a very fast speed. Even the violinists play violently to order the timing accurately. I wonder if you being a member of the orchestra playing music from Stravinsky's music or THIS fast version of William Tell is harder.
The curtains then rise as the "Amateur Night" part is about to begin. There is a cow who has a piece of paper as she is going to sing the lyrics to Shadow Song (Ombres Iegeres). The singing is in fact pretty bad, but I wonder if this is Elvia Allman doing the singing since she's often cast to do the cow voices (even in Disney shorts, and on I Haven't Got a Hat). The captain, of course, doesn't like the singing at all and he bangs the bell numerous times. The cow is still singing so badly that she gets yanked out by a cane. At least; I like Caption Benny in this short since he knows talent - unlike the other shorts where the judges just like any horrible singer. I like the gag when the cow is yanked out of the scene and also yanked off her clothes; and then they get yanked out; too.
As he says the "little birdie has started to fly", he demonstrates the wings movement - in which a plane sound is heard in the background. As the Captain has finally had enough of that poem; he rings the bell in which the tough guy thinks he's inside a boxing arena and is ready to try and pick out a fight; but then a novelty boxing glove extends to the stage and punches him - and it's a good gag here. He is then yanked out by a cane. However the audience still liked it and they clapped at it.
Dougherty's singing voice may be painful to listen to but it's part of the gag and probably the only time where it would work well in this cartoon. But it still is unpleasant to listen to it - well; it's supposed to be. Captain Benny sure can't stand the stuttering dog's voice so then he is immediately about to whack the bell but notices that it is missing. Meanwhile we then have to listen to the singing dog again which is going to want to make the audience leave any minute - but it is a funny set-up for this cartoon.
The stuttering dog then finally finishes the song of Into Your Dance but then he opens his eyes fully to find that the entire audience have left the showboat; and this leaves the captain really angry. The captain puffs his pipe worried but then turns around to find out that the dog stutterer is still there and for scaring the entire audience away. Captain Benny grabs out a paddle in which he is about to smack the stuttering dog with. As the Captain is chasing after the stutterer; he smacks the dog in the rear end and we hear the sounds of the bell; which is pretty funny to listen to. The Captain smacks the dog in the rear end into the distance - and that's all folks.
This was a pretty fun cartoon overall and I imagine that Friz Freleng was probably trying to make better pictures but I wonder if Ted Pierce pitched in gags and ideas for this cartoon and probably made this cartoon have really fine moments. I liked the sequences with the pig orchestra playing extremely past while electrocuted; and of course the stuttering dog. I also quite like the scenes of the Captain yanking out the contestants with a cane; which was pretty funny. Overall this was a pretty decent cartoon for 1935 and at least we see some slow improvement coming. Annoying part is that 2-strip Technicolor stays on the Merrie Melodies program throughout a lot of 1935 - at least.