Wednesday, 15 February 2012
111. The Merry Old Soul (1935)
Release date: August 17, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Bernice Hansen (Babies/Lambs/Bo Beep) and Billy Bletcher (Old King Cole).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Rollin Hamilton and Riley Thomson.
Interesting for Riley Thomson to end up in Warners since he would later go to Disney around 1935/1936 and work on Snow White, Fantasia and those horrible Mickey Mouse cartoons. Well folks; I'm reviewing this. This is a horrible one that I can't stand. I couldn't believe that in about the last 5 or 6 cartoons or so; the Warner Bros. cartoons were starting to get better; but now it's back to this crap. If you think I'm wrong - I'll review it right away. I hope that this was just a one-off bad cartoon for Friz.
The next part then seems to show Bo Beep and her sheep dancing. They sing that the whole town down will cooperate - probably with Old King Cole's absent. What really bugs me are those sheep. Their dancing really pisses me off; it's very annoying. The timing really doesn't match at all; and the sheep looks ugly. I can't even bare to look at it again. The squires then go back into the song singing the same verse "Old King Cole was a Merry Old Soul who's marrying the Woman in the Shoe". We then go to the Spoon, Dish and Humpty Dumpty sing a verse. So, it turns out that it's a bunch of nursery rhyme characters in this story; what the hell is it - "Nursery Rhyme Land"? One question is; was this cartoon made for pre-school kids? I can't imagine an adult sitting down in the audience listening to the song and wanting to go out and buy a vinyl record of it.
The King steps into the coach blocking from being hit by anymore shoes but he picks up a pair that he fancies and the coach leaves. I guess that was the gag - picking up the shoes. It turns out their coach is being controlled by a horse inside the front part of a car; inside the coach that has coach wheels. OKAY that just makes the design too complex. The horse then takes the Old Lady from the Shoe's home where she and Old King Cole arrive. Well, the shoe doesn't look too bad to live in - but I imagine that it smells really bad - of foot odor.
One question that really does pop into my head and I'm not sure if you think that - but HOW did they even get so many babies. And no, don't give me this rubbish like "Oh Mr. Stork came down and gave too many babies". Nope, it isn't that - I mean; it's crazy that they have so many babies; what happened? Could Old King Cole not control himself when he would stay over the Lady in the Shoe's house?! There has to be a similar enough theory to that. Old King Cole then starts to notice a bunch of kids going out of chest of draws and all follow King Cole. As he is about to open the door into a closet; more babies come out. Oh god - THIS IS TORTURE; not only for him but for ME watching it. I mean; I know that mothers tend to look after babies a lot and that the King is somehow the "mother" of them but shouldn't the Lady have her share as well?! Well; the nursery rhyme does say that the Old Woman in the Shoe had so many children that we'd probably expect to see it happen - but instead it just suffers for the Old King Cole.
It turns out that Old King Cole was probably expecting a easy married life with the Lady in the Shoe but it's proven to be a nightmare. He's getting angered by the singing of the three squires who are still singing us the story. Old King Cole then closes the window and pulls down the window blind and that's pretty much the end of the squires in this cartoon. It turns out that Old King Cole is in fact scrubbing babies inside the tub.
As the babies have finished being bathed; Old King Cole then picks up the babies in which they are being rinsed by a roller towel that is the King's job to do. It must be a hard job for the King since he has to do it at appropriate speed. The next part of the babies then shows then all dried and giggly. The King has to run along to the next part in which he powders the babies. What?! What about all the other babies that probably need rinsing and from behind; it's virtually impossible to look after THAT many babies with a assembly line with only one person controlling it.
Old King Cole grabs out a paper towel for each baby and turns them into a nappy (diaper whatever you want to call it) around the baby's private parts. As the balloon pops for the baby to land on the table; are you sure that it doesn't even HURT the baby because that is quite a fall and babies are pretty delicate; where's the realism in this?! The next part of the assembly line is when the babies land on a baby-grow by jumping onto the washing lines; and somehow the timing works well. The babies then drop onto each cradle with their names on it. WOW! That assembly line sequence was like really two minutes; and yet there was hardly a gag in it at all; very, very dull and what the point of a too-long sequence with hardly any gags. Another thing; WHERE'S THE MOTHER (The Lady in the Shoe)?? Why isn't she helping out; I mean what's happened; is he in the hospital or something giving birth to EVEN more kids - how many is she GOING to need??
Old King Cole then starts to run back to the machine and starts to rock the babies to sleep by lullabying Rock-A-Bye Baby again. Old King Cole then starts to creep back to the sofa in which he falls to bed. Notice how that in the cradles the babys have funny names like "Meeni" "Minie" "Moe", which is poking fun of the game "Eeny Meeney Miney Mo". There are even more of these ridiculous pun names for the babies but the "Eeny Meeney Miney Mo" names were in fact pretty funny; so I'll give that a highlight.
Overall this cartoon was in fact horrible; this is definitely worse than the last few cartoons I reviewed. The whole song sung by the squires is very annoying but catchy in a bad way. I really hate those annoying baby sheep that dance like spastics. The scenes with Old King Cole and the babies are just unsettling for me to watch; and I know that they're The Lady in the Shoe's babies but surely the King MUST'VE had some involvement there, though. There is so much incoherence in this cartoon that my brain can't function so well - those babies and the Lady in the Shoe; I'm probably not going to be able to think so well for ages now. The assembly line sequence was in fact a pretty clever way but did it REALLY have to be so long and gag free? What's the point of showing it - it's so DULL. I noticed that some of the babies in the assembly lines have no hair and some have hair; what were some older than others? Where does it all make sense?! Well; I'm so glad that I've reviewed this cartoon and this is definitely ONE OF THE WORST I've reviewed; if not - I'll par it to Tom Palmer's cartoons. Well; watching this cartoon makes me beg for Tex Avery to come. Now that's finished - I don't ever have to watch it again.