Release date: September 7, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Bob McKimson and Ben Clopton.
The Lady in Red - it's one of the musical pieces that Carl Stalling would use to score his cartoons to show a lady dressed in red.
Meanwhile there is a group of cockroaches that then cross into a teapot that is what they call - a ferry. They have their own propeller and it seems that the sink is their sink and they want to cross the other part of the sink - makes sense to me?? The other shots that we are seeing are basically what cockroaches would be doing in their kitchen table city: one would grab a doughnut to eat and dip it into tea. Another cockroach is placing a cookie by a grinder. A group of cockroaches then grab a piece of bread and the first part shows these cockroaches that drill a hole into the bread. They then place a hot-dog inside it by using a special type of crane to push the hot-dog in and the cockroach then takes the bread with hot-dog inside a mouse-hole which is his feast.
The group of cockroaches with their papers to mark the scores I guess keep turning their heads to see the tennis ball go side-by-side. As the tennis ball hits the ground the cockroach player can't quite make it but uses a spoon to catapult the ball back in which he is saved from the other scoring a point. The cockroach then starts to try and hit the tennis ball (more like pea) but it lands inside a teapot and shoots back at the player in which he trips. At least we saw some fun and imaginary sequences like the sports stuff and the food. This cartoon isn't so bad after all. Definitely better than; let's say The Merry Old Soul.
We then cut to the next part of the entertainment which is a cockroach that is caricatured by Rudy Vallee. My goodness, Warner Bros. cartoons sure loved to caricature Rudy Vallee; even back from the very old Harman-Ising days when they made Crosby, Columbo and Vallee and we are still expecting more from him soon. It's not that I have anything against him but I find the caricatures in the Warner Bros. cartoons a little annoying. Rudy Vallee cockroach is singing the song Sweet Music and is it me or does he often sing it in these cartoons.
The Mexican-sombrero wearing cockroaches then start to go into song singing the title song The Lady in Red. At least their dancing routines are pretty good where they step one side wearing a different sombrero as they are left in the air. Must be extremely hard to do that in real life - but only works in the animated world. As they are singing "The Lady in Red" we view to a dressing room where there is a Spanish cockroach lady who is wearing her bra and blouse and powdering her face. She then walks to put on her red dress. The Mexican singing cockroaches still sing their song and it's pretty beautiful animation. Hey, Bob McKimson animated on that - maybe it could be him. Since Bob was the top draftsman of the studio at the time; it could be easy to tell his scenes when we look at animation that looks like something he would tackle.
The Mexican dancers have then finished their song - and yet they don't get the applause for it since they did better than that Rudy Vallee cockroach in my opinion. The next sequence we see is a parrot inside it's cage and starts to squawk fiercely with it's wings flapping out - and I admit the parrot does sort of look a little creepy looking to me but fine animation though; in my honest opinion. The bad news is that the parrot manages to break out of the cage and flies to the kitchen table where the parrot is after the two cockroaches on the kitchen table.
The cockroaches then start to spit up from the tea at the very top of the kettle with these funny little sound effects. The parrot then starts to laugh with a squawky laugh. See, even the parrot's laugh freaks me out. There is something wrong with that cartoon parrot - they seemed to make it too creepy, well; too creepy for ME at least.
Well this cartoon was in fact a pretty good take and yet another bizarre idea of using "Spanish cockroaches" as the stars; as it seems Friz Freleng at the time tried to come up with different objects or animals to be the main characters of the stories - as though he felt it would work for the one-shot Merrie Melodies. The parrot was kind of too creepy in my opinion - animation and design wise, as well as the squawking. I quite liked the design of the senorita cockroach in the red dress as she did have quite an appealing design. Well, the cartoon wasn't as great as Friz's other improving cartoons but definitely better than Friz's previous cartoon. The brighter side is that the cartoon will get better since Buddy is already gone and Tex Avery is soon enough from what seemed like a "very long traffic jam" since Tom Palmer in production on Buddy's Day Out or I've Got to Sing a Torch Song.