Release date: March 7, 1936.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery (uncredited).
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Tommy Bond (Abner), Bernice Hansen (Miss Glory), The Varsity Three (Singers).
Art Direction: Leodora Congdon.
Words and Music: Harry Warren and Al Dubin.
Animators: No animator credit. Avery's team (Clampett, Jones, Sutherland, Ross) would've done animation.
Musical Score: No musical score credit. Probably Norman Spencer
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
This is a pretty important 1936 cartoon in Warner Bros. as it's broken into new techniques. For example; this is probably the first WB cartoon to even use stylized art direction for the dream sequence which was sort of groundbreaking. The first WB cartoon to approach a different style. Those Were Wonderful Days was an attempt to stylized black and white animation but that was a BIG fail.
Leodora Congdon is the only credited member of the "crew" even though she was invited by Leon Schlesinger. Leon used her for this cartoon and gave her credit to help boost her career but unfortunately it failed. According to Tex Avery; Leon Schlesinger apparently dated Leodora Congdon - maybe that's why she got the credit.
This is also the first Merrie Melodies cartoon to be directed by Tex Avery; and the first Merrie Melody to be directed by someone else other than Freleng since 1934.
A local hotel manager is standing outside of his hotel as he is holding out some flowers for Miss Glory. We walks inside the hotel in which he places the flowers on his desk. He has a flag by his desk that reads "Welcome Miss Glory". He starts to call for one of his bellboys who works at the hotel, who is an anxious teenage boy named Abner.
Mmm; I've never heard of the word "practicing" pronounced that way before. Was that what they used to say back in those days? Abner is freshening up a little to get ready. He is a bellboy as he's trying to use the pose of the bellboy in the poster that reads "Smoke Cigarettes". Of course; cigarettes was a popular use of advertisement back then where EVEN kids were encouraged - it was like as though there was no age limit. Abner; who is a rather unappealing teenager starts to practice by shouting "Call for Miss Glory" as he walks in a pose to show dignity for Miss Glory. I quite like that funny looking walk cycle he does; even though the suit he's wearing makes him look like in terrible shape as he's possible scrawny on the inside. The "Call for Miss Glory" is similar to the advertisement campaign "Call for Philip Morris".
Abner continues to wait patiently until he believes he hears the sounds of engines but instead it's the mooing of cows. Okay; but I do wonder why there are farm animals walking down the street; did the farmer set them free? But this is one of the clever Tex Avery gags that probably has to be animated quite well to make the gags fine; although the animation may not be very realistic. Abner continues to wait until he gets bored of waiting.
Abner is seen sleeping and Miss Glory hasn't even arrived yet. as Abner is sleeping on the bench; The dream sequence fades away from a typical looking Merrie Melody of the 1930s into a very futuristic design by Leadora Congdon where the designs are a huge improvement. It all looks beautiful. There is a great scene that shows the normal hotel the hotel feels slightly different to what we saw earlier; the colours are different). The hotel building gets taller and taller until it is all modernized; with its bright lights and colorful site.
The hotel manager from the past appears to be a much older hotel manager who is much thinner. Abner is seen in the future still sleeping on the setee (no longer a bench). He certainly looks older. The manager taps the bell and says; "I say, boy. Page Miss Glory" as he gives him the card. A whole crowd of people all crowd towards Abner shouting "Page Miss Glory", "Get her for me", etc.
Abner is walking around carrying the circular box of cigarettes inside shouting "Call for Miss Glory". There is a waiter walking around holding a tray of beer and a glass in which Abner and the waiter walk pass which now shows Abner carrying the bottle and glass. Anoter waiter then repeats the same gag. The small, fat waiter walks past a column with a red nose; but a slow walk - the walk cycle is great. I don't understand the gag that well but the animation surely is beautiful.
There is a beautiful layout scene that shows a bartender dropping ice cubes into the drink shots with pretty chime sounds as they drop. Brilliant staging ther and the timing. I really love the backgrounds in there of the green-lined images of drinks. It's a perfect layout scene - in my opinion. Very creative. There are these hands that are shaking with a drink shaker while there in an iris shot of what the people in the cartoon are probably looking at. The person pouring the drink with the shaker then turns into a point of view shot of the human's mouth as he guzzles it down. Wow! That must've been very difficult to animate and I'm not sure where it has been attempted before but I really am impressed with the looks of it. The hiccup gag even adds the finishing touch. Hands are pulling the corks out of the champagne bottles but the last man struggles to open up the bottle but does so.
Abner then starts to walk up to the "lady" and mistakens her/him (?) for Miss Glory. The "lady" then rejects in an attitude as though that's not the person that Abner is looking for. The "lady" in the dress continues to walk but Abner is standing on the dress in which it causes to rip. She gasps; yep - the gasp explains it. I'm going to conclude this to being a woman.
She spins around as she is doing the dance. As the dance continues; she pops her head from the leaf and laughs like a witch. The fan dance then continues until it's finished. I know that animator ID's are frowned upon but this is sort of guesswork. I do wonder if the fan dance sequence was animated by Virgil Ross. Virgil was the master for dancing scenes in which he was often assigned to; but the timing appears to be slow and delicate like Ross' animation. This is just an estimated guess but I may be wrong.
The fat man then starts to find what he wants to eat until he finds a small olive in which he only chews half of it before leaving the table. I guess the gag was that we expected him to eat so much on that plate but barely even eats an olive. Maybe on a diet or something. The close up of the fat man eating the olive is pretty neat animation.
As the announcer mentions the name "Miss Glory" again. A man reading a newspaper sticks his head through it gasping "Miss Glory?!" in excitement. As "Miss Glory" is still announced by the hotel an old crippled man shouts "Miss Glory? Hot diggety dog!". The same reactions come from a couple more people such as a man in a sauna machine, a waiter, and a chef that drops a plate of cake which leaves a hole on the ground but falling down the hole and landing onto the cake. Now that is a funny Avery gag.
Abner tries this in all other different elevators but they all close before he gets there which causes him to be smacked. Every elevator that is shown appears to have a bellboy standing there. Abner then starts to unwind the clock of the elevator until he arrives on the lift in time. The bellboy pulls out a sign reading "Out to Lunch" which is another problem for Abner.
Meanwhile Abner is still in the lift pressing the buttons to try and get down (although the chime sounds of the buttons go into rhythm). We get a nice shot of the elevator lift going upwards and downwards of a building shot - good timing. The dance scenes of the male singers and Miss Glory is just stunning animation to look at - Leadaro Congdon is a very underrated artist that very few of us have even heard of and it's a real shame her work hasn't been recognized very much; even for her effort in this cartoon.
It's a very long fall indeed; but somehow he has managed to survive. There is a trolley outside in which there is a trolley driver who is continuously banging the bell for Abner to get out of the way...
Abner then looks outside in which we see a group of people waiting for Miss Glory that are actually caricatures of Avery's staff. From the left to right it is Virgil Ross, Tex Avery, Bobe Cannon, Bob Clampett, Tubby Millar, Sid Sutherland and Chuck Jones. I wonder why Bob Clampett here is annoyed of Bobe Cannon? Cannon was just an assistant animator back then before getting any animator credit in 1937. Miss Glory's actual car then finally arrives in which Abner makes the scene as he runs for it.
Abner: Miss Glory?!?
Miss Glory: That's me big boy (laughs).
(Abner then faints of her looks; which is some funny adult humor in there. Some type of innuendo).
Miss Glory cont'd: Boy do I slay them. Play Don.
I'm not too sure what the "play, Don" part is meant to mean. (Thanks Devon and Steve C. for pointing out it was a Jack Benny reference).
This cartoon was something special; the animation looked appealing for the dream sequence (although not so much on the Hicksville scenes). The characters are probably unappealing; but the art direction help sums it up into a great cartoon it turned out to be. There weren't too many gags that Avery has thrown into this cartoon but the gags he's included worked; but the beauty of it is what I think Avery was aiming at - with a really unique design. I like that adult-humor gag at the end where Abner faints at Miss Glory since she's a child and that we all thought she was a grown woman all along. This cartoon deserves to be a triumphant and probably the greatest WB cartoon by that point? The cartoons are just getting better; and this short has already topped it. I hoped you enjoy the review; and I hope you also liked Page Miss Glory. The cartoon is sort of a similar take to a Busby Berkeley sequence.