Saturday, 28 April 2012
157. I Only Have Eyes for You (1937)
Release date: March 6, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Joe Twerp (Iceman), Elvia Allman (Old Maid, Katie Canary ?).
Animation: Bob Clampett and Virgil Ross.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Iceman tries to impress Katie Canary by crooning which all goes wrong at the end by bringing in imitator Professor Mockingbird.
This is another Tex Avery 'Merrie Melodies' short that he is making and by the end of the year; he'd make nothing but Merrie Melody cartoons for most of his career at Warner Bros. until directing a couple Looney Tunes in 1941.
The song by the off-screen chorus is a little bit of fun and also the Old Maid harassing the iceman is at least a funny idea.
The Iceman then stops by the Old Maid's house with the "Yoo-Hoo" card still placed on the window-sill. The Iceman opens the back part of the icebox van he owns with the snowstorm blowing straight at his face from the coldness and this would be Ace Gamer providing the snow effects animation here. The Iceman then talks to the audience about how annoying the Old Maid is; and the voice is based on comedian Roy Atwell who was well-known for his spoonerism in comedy. He walks in as he is holding onto an ice-cube but creeps in the house carefully trying to make sure that the old lady won't take any notice of him or even find him. The iceman then starts to drop the ice-cube in the icebox and then tries to exit the scene silently.
Old Maid: Hello. Have a piece of cake.
Iceman: Er, no thanks. Not for me.
Old Maid: How about a pie; or a cup of coffe and a doughnut. Ham & eggs, pancakes, ice-cream soda, watermelon, biscuits, etc.
The old lady is chasing after the Iceman who has out loads of food she's made just for him as she has lost her mind with him. The iceman then tries to walk away from her to exit but the old lady just follows after him. The iceman then becomes cornered but then it turns out a fold-up bed from the door then drops on him. She peeps under the bed and remarks, "At last a man" - which is a little joke thinking he'd be playing with her under the bed. The iceman then starts to scram as he pushes the bed back to the wall and scrams. As he jumps in his track to leave; he returns sweating with a "That was close" attitude before leaving.
A funny typical Avery gag pops up while the Iceman is leaning on the radio with the Bing Crosby crooner on the radio asking him, "Don't lean on the radio son, you're botherin' me!" Which Avery loved to use and it's even subtle here since you never expected that to happen. The Iceman is rather annoyed since he can't win his heart for Katie Canary as she is too interested into crooners and not icemen who have trouble with their spoonerism. The song then ends with "That's all for this programme, folks".
The Iceman is rather disappointed as he lowers his head shedding a tear; and the flowers also do the same as the flowers lower down with sadness. The Iceman then walks out of her house as he is disappointed and wanting a way to try and get her heart attracted to him.
The sign by the branch reads; PROF. MOCKINGBIRD VENTRILOQUIST AND IMITATOR. This is good news if you were the Iceman since he needs a particular person to help him disguise himself as a real crooner singing. The Iceman then opens the private door of Professor Mockingbird as he is busy working but greets the Iceman with a impression of Jack Benny's character Schlepperman, "Hello, stranger" that shows how much of a professor of ventriloquist and imitations he is. The Iceman then walks into the office as he demands him to try out some imitations but still struggles with that word ending with, "Well - do something".
The iceman then compliments Professor Mockingbird calling his impressions "swell" and asks if he can "croon" but gets his words mixed up again. Professor Mockingbird then starts to croon in a very tender voice. The iceman is impressed with his singing impressions as he comes up with a plan by dragging him out of his office.
In the next scene, Katie Carroll is still swooned staring out the radio hoping for a next radio crooner to arrive at her doorstep and then hope for that does happen as she walks to her window. The animation of Katie Canary walking to the window isn't very good animation to me. The iceman is riding past her street as he parks outside her front lawn (miming) the title song I Only Have Eyes for You while we know that Professor Mockingbird is inside the back part of the ice truck singing it and I'd imagine it'll be freezing in there.
The climax part of the story then starts as Professor Mockingbird is freezing inside and can't keep up the crooning imitations in the cold in which as he starts to sing the title song; he'd not sing it in a clear voice which will make things rather suspicious for Katie Canary. The iceman is sitting on the icebox as he's miming the crooning impressions but manages to keep Katie Canary interested. Professor Mockingbird (inside the freezer) starts to turn blue commenting "Boy, it's bloomin' cold in here" which is rather funny suggesting that he's going to spoil the moments. I like these Avery ideas being brought up here since he's making it a struggle for the iceman to croon as Professor Mockingbird is struggling in the cold as it's done in a good comedy way.
Professor Mockingbird (still singing inside) of course then starts to sneeze very violently sneezing the back part of the truck in which his identity is revealed. This is a huge 'double take' for the iceman as well as a 'double take' for Katie Canary. As she screams rather afraid but looks at the iceman rather astonished at him for keeping the poor professor inside the freezing ice-cube. The iceman is rather ashamed of his actions as we know that her heart is lost with his and would definitely go for Professor Mockingbird since he's a real crooner as well as being a master of ventriloquists and imitations.