Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hiatus, Folks...

I'm going to keep this blog quiet for roughly a month. I'm leaving school forever in only a couple of weeks before my long summer begins and I'm at my busiest weeks. I've got exams to work on; and a lot of revision/studying to do. I don't have time for blogging but with all my studying and exams; blogging is very unimportant. After I've got all my exams and tests completed; (around late June) that's me relaxed for a few months with no work and I will return to the blog before you know it. This blog may be updated around June 22th or later; as my final exam is on that date. Enjoy those quiet weeks, while I'll be hard at work...

Enjoy the screengrab from 'Cheese Chasers'; watch some cartoons for me. Before I leave; comment on who the animator of that scene is; I don't know who it is...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

167. Streamlined Greta Green (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 166.
Release date: June 19, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Gasoline Service Man), Berneice Hansell (Junior Car).
Animation: Cal Dalton and Ken Harris.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A junior car wishes to be a taxi and ends up on a misadventure in the city.

Of course the cartoon title is from the popular song but "Greta Green" comes from the town called "Gretna Green" which is a town just on the border of Scotland; famous for runaway marriages; and I've been there before. I don't know whether or not the song relates to that town.

Our cartoon begins with a busy street of cars driving by in the road as well as trams. The traffic is busy with all the cars driving by. Two cars then accidentally crash into each other because of all the hassle with the traffic. The traffic light then turns green for "Go" as the two inanimate cars jump up to each other arguing about which way they should've turned before punching each other. The traffic light gags pop up as the red light turns to "Stop" and the two cars stop fighting but once it switches to "Go" - they continue to fight again.

After that bit of entertainment with the inanimate cars coming to life fighting; this is in fact a car's world where cars are citizens on this planet. Mmm; interesting that Pixar would later make a film out of it with a similar concept but I doubt they were influenced over this cartoon. There are a group of taxis entering the "Taxi Dance Hall" with cars coming in and out of the hall. These are of course cartoony cars with faces; as the wheels resemble their legs and arms and the indicators are their eyes; back when this cartoon was made - I'd say the character designs are pretty clever.

A group of cabs are inside the hall dancing to the title song Streamlined Greta Green. They are dancing on wheels that are making the movement of legs and even some of the cars have actual arms that look like humans. Some of the signs then read in the hall Five can dance as Cheap as one.

There is a lady taxi sitting down on a bench rather bashful waiting for a man cab to come and ask to dance. A male cab walks up to the female taxi asking to dance and accepts. The gag is that she parks herself with a meter besides her as the price is 10 cents for she is occupied by dancing. The taxi couples are dancing to the music. The animation of the cabs dancing is rather realistic in my opinion with the movement and all. While the female cab is dancing; her meter then ends up with the price ranking higher until it's busting up. The male cab realizes that he is lucky as he grabs out his hat (jackpot) and coins flow out into his bowler hat. An interesting little gag that shows meters and "parking".

As the city is pretty busy with cars driving by; we PAN over to the countryside outside the city where it is peaceful. There is a little boy truck sitting down by a tree reading a book. While he is reading the book he has his hopes to be a taxi and not in the country side which is why he sighs.

In the PAN scene; the garage door opens with the mother car wheeling out calling for him to enter. I like how that Mother shouts with the sounds of a car honk until shouting out for "Junior". She steps out on the garage standing on wheels walking around trying to find Junior not knowing that he's sitting by a tree. She finds Junior who (as we've seen) is sitting by a tree reading his book. He jumps in a fright once he finds his mother standing right next to him rather annoyed. She snatches the book off the child car as she reads what is being shown here much to her surprise. Junior then confesses that he wants to be a taxi when he is grown up but the mother rejects that dream insists, "A taxi?! Of all things. I want you to grow up to be a nice touring car like your father".

Junior rejects her mother's wishes as he doesn't wish to be a touring car and wanting to be a taxi instead. The mother has had enough of hearing from Junior and grabs him by the "wheel" which is meant to be the ear. She takes him inside the garage as he is still being pulled.

The mother then tells Junior that it is time to get ready for school. Junior then kicks the ground with annoyance about having to go to school which is often what children dread of going to every morning. "Now you wait right here 'til I fix your lunch"; the mother says as she walks into the fridge to prepare his lunch inside a lunchbox.

She fills up Junior's cup with a hosepipe which she pours in gasoline which is a rather clever idea since us humans need water while the cars need propane to recharge their batteries. She has finished making the lunchbox for Junior and places it inside the car of Junior as he needs to drive to school.

As she cares for Junior she asks like what every mother would say, "and remember; stay away from traffic and keep clear from those railroad crossings" as it probably suggests that Junior would drive to the city just to get to school. The facial expressions are rather interesting on Junior's face with a grumpy, disgusted look. As Junior is driving to school on the way; he encounters two signs that we find as there is a sign on the left to head to "Auto-school" which is wear Junior be heading to. Junior hears the bell which means it's time for lessons but Junior is reluctant and instead skives school to drive all the way to the city not giving a "hoot".

Meanwhile in the city the traffic is rather busy with cars just driving and going. Junior is walking on the pavement of the streets standing on wheels. Junior watches the cars go as though he hasn't seen so many cars like this before. The traffic lights change to "Stop" as Junior steps in the road in front the yellow car as he tries to drive off. Once the lights change to "Go" he is being run over by a group of incoming cars just shooting past.  Junior is rather timid of the incoming cars just driving by very fast.

Meanwhile another car is strolling down the street rather lazy to use the wheels thinking he's in the arena ring. Once the traffic light changes with a "ding" sound; the car tries to pick up a fight positioning himself in different poses as Junior is afraid. That's why he needs to be aware of stranger danger as there are odd people (vehicles in this cartoon) out there in the city streets. Junior runs off afraid of the man as he scampers off like a dog.

Junior then tries to find a part to hide and discovers a manhole cover. Too many cars are driving their way through not noticing poor Junior in danger and afraid of being run over. Junior jumps away from the incoming cars driving past him and lands into the "Safety Zone" area rather frightened and exhausted. Inside Junior (as he is puffing) we see a montage part inside his body as the radiator shows his heart pumping repeatedly from the horror he is facing through.

Junior therefore picks himself up as he walks over to the safety zone with him but falls down a manhole cover by accident. Junior peeps out of the manhole cover to check for safety but drives out of the way. Junior is still rather exhausted from the ride in the city as it has proven to be very busy and frightening for him - looks like he won't need to be a taxi driver then, don't he? He drives past a gas station which would be his favourite place to sit by and relax.

I love how the bar is being set out here that the gas station is just like a bar for cars to settle while it's just like what humans would sit down for a drink. The bartender (why not a vehicle bartender?) shown in this cartoon then asks Junior, "What'll you have son?" Junior then looks through the different flavored gasolines to have  in a point of view shot.

Junior then asks for a gas which is strong to drink. The bartender comments; "That's very powerful stuff, son". The bartender then pours the drink adding a straw to it. Junior slurps the drink down enjoying the taste at first. Shortly after finishing the drink Junior then starts to shake and react to the drink he had. The radiator inside Junior almost explodes as he jumps and jerks by force. The good part is that it gives Junior an awful lot of energy added to his boost as he boasts; "Gee, I can go fast now! Watch!" Junior then dashes down the road real fast until he is not seen except smoke which is an improvement with animation timing.

The bartender turns around to find that Junior is behind him with such speed; "That's nothing - watch this!" Junior then starts to dash out of the way again leaving nothing but dust swaying on the roads. Junior is standing by the railroad as he tries to catch the train's attention that is steaming straight ahead. There is a sign that reads "Stop" swinging sideways as the train is steaming past.

After the train has completely gone past Junior; Junior then tries to have a race with the train. Now how will the bartender be able to watch that in such speed? Watching the car speed up doesn't seem to look as fast as it was after drinking the gas. Junior then finds himself overtaking the train easily that shows he can travel faster than a train. After overtaking the train - he now has trouble with a huge truck that is too big to try and overtake.

Junior does his best to try and overtake the car; and the car is called a "Road Hog" which is also a pun itself. I love how the front part of that car has a hog's face oinking to make the fun accepted and received. Junior tries to overtake the car by sides of the road but the "Road Hog" just copies his actions not wanting any other cars to go in front.

To stop Junior from his attempts to overtake the "Road Hog" the wheels then stretch so that Junior will have no successful plans from doing so; and the road hog car has completely controlled the road. Junior tries to go in front but fails but the plan completely works after the Road Hog's car's wheels end up on the beams of a bridge which encourages Junior to go in front by using his sense of wits. Junior then turns to hear the sounds of a steaming locomotive riding it's way as Junior isn't far off from it.

Junior then starts to use his speed limit and energy to beat the train and they end up at the same amount of speed. The railroad traffic is ordering the car to stop but still drives at such speed; and the animation of the locomotive heading to the camera in perspective was animated well.

After seeing the scenes of the steam train and Junior just going at the same speed with no action being performed yet. Junior is forgetting of his fuel tank getting lower and lower which is nearly empty until the arrow goes completely empty. Ace Gamer would've done the effects animation of the locomotive as well as the fuel tank's arrow pointing to empty. Bad luck enters for Junior as he is about to cross the railroad but after using up too much energy; Junior suddenly stops straight in the middle. Now that is just very unfortunate for that to happen and yet anything could happen relating to danger with trains which shows that Junior must be aware of his actions.

Junior is facing death of the incoming train that isn't going to stop and Junior tries to clutch himself hopelessly until he is smashed by the train. After the crash an ambulance then arrives at the scene to pick up Junior after the accident. In the next shot we find that Junior is inside a "Auto Hospital Garage". I would imagine the building next to it would be a real hospital and the garage hospital would be for humans. It appears that in this world there are also humans but cars have their own civilized life - in garages.

There are human surgeons than performing massive surgery on Junior after the incident in order to save his life. There is a great camera effect shot showing two sides of Junior's heart pump and the surgeon passing over the oil can, and other tools to help cure Junior. A very neat camera effect show; and the heart pumping effects animation is pretty solid. This shows that Freleng's cartoons just got better and better by each cartoon.

Meanwhile the mother car is standing outside the hospital garage worrying if Junior will be alright. The sign on the door outside reads "Quiet! Keep Out". The door then opens as Junior steps out of the car covered with plasters and bandages which shows the operations have been proved successful. It must be in this world that surgery has been very well developed and anyone can have their lives saved by trains - at least in cartoon land. Junior and mother then reunite each other with hugs; but the mother then tells off her child for not crossing the railroads not realizing what Junior has been through - and even not knowing how he skived school.

Junior then hears an incoming steam train in which it forces himself to try and race it. A rebel he is; he attempts to cross the railroad in safety and manages to do so in the first part. He blows a raspberry at the train standing on another part of the tracks but turns around in time to find another steamtrain is steaming past and is crashed again. Junior is only weary from the crash but it has lead to a lot of damage with the train.
Overall comments: Interesting character designs on the cars I have to say as it was pretty clever for the 1930s while today it wouldn't really seem so special. I find it rather odd that Junior's dreams is of becoming a taxi doesn't even relate at all in this cartoon as it just shows his misadventures in the city and trying to race the incoming locomotive so I don't feel that there has been much focus on this cartoon. The animation of the car movement in my opinion was pretty cleverly animated with the vehicles and all as well as the effects animation. Despite the lack of plot in it; I like the fact about how in this cartoon it focuses on Junior who particularly wants to live in the city - considering he wants to be a taxi discovers that the city is rather busy albeit dangerous. However this cartoon in my opinion didn't really appear to go anywhere with its story and that's why I wasn't keen but I must say that Freleng's cartoons are getting better short after short with timing, gags, and all.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

166. Porky's Building (1937)

To let an audience know watching this cartoon with the concept by Tashlin to make sure an audience is aware on how this cartoon is fictional. I like how the writing in italics reads; if you think we're going to sit around for days thinking up new ideas - you're pixilated!

Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.
Warner cartoon no. 165.
Release date: June 19, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig), Berneice Hansell (Little Rabbit), Ted Pierce (Sandy C. Ment, Construction Worker) and Billy Bletcher (Dirty Digg).
Animation: Volney White and Norm McCabe.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky Pig and his rival have a race to see who can finish a building first to win the job.

The cartoon begins with an office door reasing Sandy C. Ment which is a pun referred to "sandy cement". Sandy C. Ment is a city building commissioner. A nice silhouetted technique set up by Frank Tashlin of the commissioner having a meeting with Porky Pig and his rival Dirty Dugg. They are both the "only contractors in the city".

The commissioner assigns both of them to build a city hall and plan it out. Dirty Dugg who is the enemy of Porky then looks at Porky grudgingly. Porky Pig waves back as though he doesn't give a hoot. Nice character animation shown on the hand waving. The commissioner announces that the person planning the building "with the lowest bid will get the job". Porky Pig is needed for the job. The commissioner continues, "These are the plans". He grabs out a poster as he unrolls it with a poster of the future City Hall looking rather splendid in design. The commissioner then asks the contractors to report to their desks to plan out their building with the contractor with the "lowest bid wins". The commissioner then wishes both Porky and Dirty Dugg "the best of luck".

Porky Pig and Dirty Dugg stare at each other eye to eye as they are heading over to their desks. As they are seated on their desks. They are jotting down on their papers the plans. Dirty Dugg even peeps over Porky Pig's shoulder to see what plans that he is coming up with - cheating I'd say. They both turn around to look at each other while finished as they stare face-to-face.

Dirty Dugg and Porky Pig then hand over their plans to Sandy C. Ment. I like the angular shots displayed here of his animated in perspective which is another interesting Tashlin technique. The commissioner discovers that the results are in fact the exact same budget. The results have ended up with $3'000'000.02. The commissioner is unsure on what the next plan would be to take action but then comes up with an idea. The idea now decided by the commissioner, "I have it. You'll both build a building and the one who'll finish it first will win. So"...(and yeah; I wonder how that's going to work since a lot of money will be bought into this competition. the next scene the commissioner is starting the race of Porky Pig facing his building site as well as Dirty Dugg facing his building site. They are positioned as though they are in an athletics field beginning a race. The commissioner has a pistol to begin the "race" - "Oh your marks, get set - (blasts) go!"

Porky Pig and Dirty Dugg then dash off very quickly leaving a sway of wind on the crowd watching them build. Dirty Dugg then steps inside a excavator is already clearing the soil inside the dump truck. The excavator then picks up a truck but the backhoe chews the rock picking it up trying to make it softer before dropping it to the ground again. Porky Pig is already beginning work on his building site where his excavator isn't quite so useful as the one as Dirty Dugg has got and neither is it fast as well.

During that part of Porky with his "excavator"I like how there is a boot to help kick up the spade to dump in a dump truck used for Porky's excavator. Meanwhile while Dirty Dug is still digging to prepare his building site. The backhoe is caught jammed underground as the backhoe appears to have dug so deep underground that in the next shot we find a particular street with lampposts almost being sucked into the ground. The lampposts do do in which they are pulled out of the soil which is a big error that Dirty Dugg has made this time.

This is a good example of Frank Tashlin experimenting with weight in this bit of animation as well as squash and stretch on the backhoe trying to move. Meanwhile there is a digger that is placing some dynamite into a hole whistling as though he's just got a job to perform. The construction worker then walks down to the TNT detonator ready for the explosion.

A crowd of people therefore gather around to watch the explosion being performed with the detonator. The crowd then start to step in closer and closer to watch the construction worker about to press down. The construction worker tries to share the crowd away; "Step back folks, you bother me". The voice of the construction worker I believe was by Ted Pierce. The crowd therefore crowd in again until the construction worker shouts "Step back folks, you bother me".

The construction worker then pops out of the crowd puffing his pipe to find a quite spot. He walks over to the ditch full of dynamite but then the crowd follow his directions again. The small construction man then crawls under the crowd in his usual characteristic walk; puffing his pipe; no expressions on his face whatsoever. The worker then walks over to the detonator as he just implodes the boxes of dynamite (probably blowing off the crowd off-screen) in which the job is done.

A group of beavers start to contribute to the construction part for Porky's building along with a camel and a pelican. I must say but WHERE did these animals come from? Did they escape from the zoo or something? One beaver is seen dipping cement into the bucket with the other beaver dipping sand creating Mortar. The camel has a shaker in which the camel shakes it to mix the compound together. A pelican with it's beak labelled as "WATER" pours water him to form Mortar.

It does sort of create a form of rhythm with the shaking spirit going on by a line of turtles that are lining up in an assembly line. They have wheels on top of their shells and as they open they form a dump truck where Mortar is dumped into their shells to help create Porky's building. Meanwhile there is a dog construction worker that has the cement carried as he walks up the beams of the constructed building with plungers attached to his feet so he doesn't need to fall down very easily.

Meanwhile Dirty Dugg then forms one of his rotten, nasty tricks by picking up one of his bricks in a pile and aiming it at the dog. Look at how the brick is being thrown in perspective and comes out in arcs knocking the dog climbing the beam and hitting the ground. A Frank Tashlin trait. It looks like that Dirty Dugg is going on to the brick points or that Porky's building is catching up with his level of competition.

The gag is that after the dog has fallen off the beam; the plunger is still moving as though it's walking which is rather humorous. The flute sounds of the plungers walking is a very good music cliche chosen by Stalling. Porky Pig then warns his team that his building competition is not going too well and orders the workers on his side to "fight" to compete with Dirty Dugg. Meanwhile there is a little small rabbit that jumps in to show "How 'bout me, Porky?" Porky Pig immediately rejects with a "No!" A pelican then decides to create Mortar by mixing water, sand and cement from a machine.

The pelican then flies up in the sky shaking it's beak to mix the Mortar together to make it solid. The pelican then drops it down a ladder for it to smooth. Another pelican then walks into the scene mixing cement, sand and water from the machine.

Dirty Dugg then comes up with one of his tricks by attaching a balloon onto a body of the fish in which the fish ends up flying in the sky as the pelican ignorantly eats the fish leaving the compound inside his beak to drop out of it. A line of pelicans are still sitting down waiting for Porky's orders but as Porky enters the scene a whole plodge of cement drops on top of him which was done by the pelican as an accident. Porky Pig jumps up shouting, "Get in there and fight!" the same rabbit dashes into the scene shouting "How about me, Porky?" Don't worry folks; that's going to be used all through the picture - if Tex Avery could put it that way. I like the timing of how the rabbit just dashes into the scene.

Dirty Dugg still has his group of construction workers still digging his building site until he walks in with a proposition that he no longer needs his workers. He walks into his own office (shack) as he laughs evilly on what he has invented while his workers working under him were constructing the building.

During the pan inside the shack we hear the sounds of Dirty Dugg laughing by Billy Bletcher (in Bletcher style) and at the other end of the shack he is back. Yes; he has a new invention called the "Brick Laying" Machine. Now that is just cheating as it's going to be done backwards and not even fair on poor Porky. Porky Pig is already seen doing rather well with the building site and is already in the lead. He is in peril once he looks down to find Dirty Dugg's new invention. Porky Pig complains to Dirty Dugg; "Say you can't do that". Dirty Dugg replies; "Well, I'm-a doin' it ain't I?"

In the converter he has in his machines - he can alter the speed of the machine in different speeding levels - even going up to "Gosh Darn Speed". Dirty Dugg aims for the machine like a telescope and shoots bricks out like an army tank. The bricks are already pasted once they're shot out and it's all being performed very quickly.

The animation of the bricks being stacked was done by effects animator Ace Gamer and is of course; the studio's only effects animator of that time. I love how that  window is already formed while the brick laying machine already appears to know what to do which would be a success. Porky Pig then looks up from the other building site that the brick laying is being performed much more quicker and would even get finished on time. The scoreboard is already being calculated that the highest Dirty Dugg is scoring is "22 Stories up" while Porky Pig's building only has "2 stories" completed which must be very upsetting for Porky Pig not getting the job and probably has to go through the Great Depression scheme again.

Porky Pig sits down very sad going on about the negative thought; "It's always me". Always me". Just in time the brick-laying rabbit zips into the shot asking:

Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: Nope.
Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: Nope.
Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: No!

Everytime the rabbit dashes in and out - he is wearing a different jumper that reads about how much of a great brick-layer he is as he boasts he's a "Colossal Brick Layer" and then "Super Colossal Brick Layer". The poor rabbit then walks off rather sad about being rejected knowing that he could perform such a capable job as well as winning. Porky Pig finally gives in and stutters, "Alright - go in there and fight". The rabbit then zips past (and I do like the brush effects). The rabbit shows off his chest and is now wearing a "Super Colossal Brick Layer" instead of a plain "Brick layer" shirt.

The rabbit starts to show off his muscles in his arms and the biceps in his ears. The rabbit starts off in a slow pace dumping the bricks with it's ears and sure won't be able to catch up with Dirty Dugg. The pacing of the rabbit stacking the bricks gets quicker and quicker until the scoreboard shows both buildings are in a draw. The rabbit sweats after that hard work.

Dirty Dugg realizes that Porky's building has caught up and speeds up the brick laying paste even faster but the rabbit can still keep up with the fast pace or even faster. Dirty Dugg finds that the belt is caught jammed with the machine and gasps "It's stuck on the belt" or at least that's what he says. I imagine that this is a dated gag or quote reference but I'm not sure where it's from. The machine starts to turn chaotic as it pauses but reverses as the bricks disappear and the floors of Dirty Dugg's building get lower and lower. The machine then starts to get stubbier and stubbier before it bursts.
The sense of timing of the brick laying machine waiting to burst took a bit too long for it to happen as it wasn't too sharp timing. The equipment and materials then fly out into the scene. The inanimate excavator of Porky comes to life digging a type of grave for Dirty Dugg to have a happy landing. Dirty Dugg ends up landing on the ground which was not a safe landing. The boot attached to the excavator then starts to kick Dirty Dugg in the behind inside the grave. The building is completed by Porky Pig as he's now got the job. Porky is standing at the top cheering to the public. The rabbit dashes into the scene asking for praise, "How about me, Porky?" Porky accepts and holds the rabbit for everyone to cheer.

Overall comments: This was a rather interesting cartoon for Frank Tashlin to experiment with his techniques such as the shots of watching the buildings get taller and taller whilst being built. I like how he has shown some good quality in the animation particularly of the bricks being laid out here from the brick laying machine. Porky Pig is still portrayed as a very large character who is meant to be an adult. You'd expect his voice to be voiced by Dougherty but he needs to be cuter to make Blanc's voice suit the character's looks. I awfully don't have a lot to talk about this cartoon at all other than to say that I enjoyed the animation side to it but as for the story wise I found it rather boring to me as it's just watching a race of buildings being built and it didn't particularly surprise me since in just about every cartoon from this era; the climaxes of the cartoons were just the same and before the days of blackout gags. I had no idea on where the animals came from but I don't particularly find Porky Pig being with cute animals his type of characters but the Looney Tunes directors were still trying him out in many other ways so we can't blame Frank for that. The rabbit was rather annoying to me although it was just a character to make him try to appeal to an audience by using one line used over and over again - which was also used in Porky's Moving Day.

Friday, 18 May 2012

165. Uncle Tom's Bungalow (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 164.
Release date: June 5, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Hound, Excited Little Eva), Berniece Hansell (Little Eva), Billy Bletcher (Simon Simon Legree) and Ted Pierce (Narrator).
Animation: Sid Sutherland and Virgil Ross. Irv Spence uncredited.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A parody retelling the story of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'.

The title of the cartoon is a parody of Uncle Tom's Cabin. It's rather ironic that the previous cartoon (Clean Pastures) and this cartoon would later become in the Censored 11 programme as these cartoons were made at the same time. Michael Barrier writes this is the first cartoon to NOT have a title name of the cartoon named after a popular song (as it always has been since 1931) but 'Pigs Is Pigs' was actually the first, I'd say.

The cartoon begins with a Southern setting at the coast set in the old South. We then notice the shaking camera effect to give it a rather upbeat effect as we still pan towards the cotton field. We continue to PAN until we arrive at a plantation house. The narrator comments on the behind-the-scenes crew; "That's real swing, boys". At least that is rather charming giving the camera guys some credit.

A little girl then steps out of her porch being introduced to this cartoon. The narrator continues, "Now we introduce our characters - first a little lady. Tell us you're name honey?" the narrator asks the little  blonde girl. The little girl blabs on talking about her own details and not asking what her name was. Blimey; does she have some understanding problems or something - unless that was the gag? "I'm six years old..." she goes on. She talks about her being in the first grade of school knowing how to spell two very simple words "cat" and "dog". She talks about her own toys shouting she's got a doll and a teddy bear but she then shows off her pantalet. The narrator pauses her,

Narrator: Hey, hold on. No, no. Remember you're a big girl. Now all we want to know is you're name. Little Eva: Little Eva, you dope! (shouts).

The shouting line of Little Eva might have been performed by Mel Blanc but I'm not too certain. That was a nice little opening scene of the little girl bragging on trying to show off while only her name is asked. This part if a turning point for Tex Avery making parodies of characters being introduced. The shouting scene was funny but  Berneice Hansell is just an unfunny actress  - very unfunny.

In the next scene after Little Eva has been introduced; the next character being introduced is a little black girl who is probably the playmate of Little Eva. The "girl" is standing inside a shack as the narrator asks, "Hey girly; step out of that shadow and introduce yourself to the folks here". The girl then introduces herself as "Topsy". Watching that scene; with the "step out of the shadow" part - I wonder if that is meant to be a stereotypical joke since she's inside the dark but it doesn't make a difference once she steps out - just wondering. Topsy is shown very shy to the camera and the narrator comments, "Very cute".

In the next shot Uncle Tom walks down the street and "here comes ol' Uncle Tom now" reports the narrator. The crooked walk movement is animated pretty well. He talks to the narrator who comments on him as his knees are "shaking" as he shouts "Brother, ma knees ain't shakin'".

The next character being introduced here is a scullery maid "Hey gal, give us a low down". The black maid replies, "Ma name's Eliza and I'm from Dixie". Of course; we're referring to the South here. The narrator replies, "You're from Dixie, gal?" They appear to go onto conversation with Eliza asking if the narrator is from Dixie as the narrator replies "Of ocurse; I'm from Dixie". This reference is parodied from the film called 'Way Out West' that came out in 1937 with the quote "Well shut ma mouth; I'm from the south too!"

Eliza then starts to go into excitement about the narrator from the south and about how she enjoys being in the South. Hmm; this is good old fashioned family racism. I find that the animation of the scullery maid jumping about rather loose but the whole excitement part was rather silly and all for my liking.

The next character to step in who is being introduced is the "viper of this picture". The villain is Simon Simon Legree. The name is a parody of the book viper Simon Legree - while the other characters Little Eva, Topsy and Eliza are real characters from 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. I have a feeling that this might be Chuck Jones animation of the viper twidling his beard as it's the same sort of animation he did in 'Milk and Money'.

I like that short gag of the subtitles read below; (Pronounced - SEEMOAN ~ SEEMOAN). To try and reassure the audience watching this cartoon on how it's being pronounced. Simon Simon Legree then greets the audience, "Hello, hello everybody". Although from the accent I'm hearing from Bletcher; it sounds more like a British accent than a Southern but that's just me. The twiddling beard scene is quite a nice touch to add.

In the next shot; the final characters being introduced here are the dogs. The narrator goes on, "...and last but not leash (pun,  folks). The hounds". The hounds are sleeping at the porch by the docks. The narrator asks one of the hounds, "Say 'Hi' to the folks". The grumpy dog wakes up and says "hello" to the audience before resting again. A nice small Mel Blanc line that he got as it's more funnier than the other voices so far.

The narrator chuckles but moves on to the story - "Now, onto the show". The narrator asks if Little Eva is ready as she replies; "You bet it" and giggles. I'm not sure what she calls him but it sounds kind of dated. He asks Topsy; "You too, cutie?" and she replies "Anytime you say, professor". He asks Uncle Tom still walking; "Do you want to be an actor?" and Uncle Tom replies reassuringly, Oh sure, sure sure. Oh sure, sure, sure".

Narrator: How about it, Eliza?
Eliza: Yeah, man.
Narrator: (shot of Simon Simon) All set Simon, Simon?
Simon Simon: The sooner, the sooner.
Narrator: (to the dogs) You sit-downers ready?
Dog: Yeah. I guess so. There ain't nothin' else to do.

The cartoon now finally begins to take place in action after roughly 2 and a half minutes for the audience to get to know the characters. Now the cartoon starts off it's plot as a sign on top of a shack reads "Smiling Simon Simon Legree - Used Slave Co. 6%". The narrator also directs the camera as he shouts out for the cartoon to begin.

There is some evil laughter being heard here from the viper Simon Simon Legree who is holding onto his whip. I like how that the end of his whip shows actual hand movements. While whipping; we PAN forward to the slaves for sale. The slave at the end is Uncle Tom as each slave is $175 each. The viper is about to walk up to Uncle Tom for a whipping as he goes into a funny line; "Ma body may belong to you but ma soul belongs to Warner Brothers". A rather funny bit of dialogue included as the viper covers his ears hearing that.

The two girls Topsy and Little Eva are skipping along the streets happily. They look in despair to find that Uncle Tom is being whipped harshly. The two girls then ask the viper to stop whipping poor Uncle Tom as they insist on "buying the old man". In the next shot; it turns out that Uncle Tom has been bought by the viper. The viper hands over the contract. "Here's your contract. But remember, if you're all behind in your payments; I take him back!"

In the next shot; the two girls take Uncle Tom to Little Eva's plantation as they skip merrily using Tom as a playmate. After they step into the house; the seasons change from a sunny day into a winter, snowy day as the narrator comments "My, my - how time does fly". They appear to have a fine life living with Uncle Tom.

Meanwhile back into the shop where the overseer of slaves works; there is already bad news over there. The viper is reading through the book to try and find who to tax. They are reading the plantations of Topsy and Eva. They're names are obviously listed since they have bought the slaves. While running down with is finger; the girls started off rather well with their payments but have been past their payments recently.

The viper finds they are behind their payments and comments; "Well; I'll fix dat!" The narrator comments on the bad news of Simon Simon Legree walking through the snow in an interesting characteristic walk. The narrator tries to help the characters also a part of the story; "Better warn the kids". Uncle Tom and the girls are seen rather happy with their servant but warn that Legree is arriving at the plantation. They then start to tip Uncle Tom inside the mirror where he can hide.

The overseer enters the house from the blizzard wanting to take Uncle Tom away from the girls and with him ruining their friendship. The viper points at Little Eva shouting "Where's Uncle Tom?" The two girls try to act innocent as Eva shouts, "We don't  know - so there!" Topsy shouts "So there", too.

That shot of the two girls denying on Uncle Tom's whereabouts is Irv Spence's animation - probably his first animation at Warner Bros. with Tex. The characters look rather taller and looser with movement like Spence and very off-model which was why I thought so. Simon Simon Legree then insists on searching for Uncle Tom, "Alright, alright - I'll find him and when I do..." Legree then starts to slither like a snake would; and this is the same animation that was used in 'Milk and Money' but I don't know if Chuck Jones was the animator -wasn't he already off with Ub Iwerks by this point? The narrator then records on how "warm" the character is on reaching "Uncle Tom".

Of course the narrator is on the Eva and Topsy's side as he's trying to help them out. He tells Legree that he's getting "warmer" as he is reaching his hand under the settee almost touching a socket render. As Legree then reaches his hand inside the socket; he starts to go into an "electric shock" that shows he's "scorching" after touching the socket. The effects animation would've been by Ace Gamer of the lightning reaction effects and it's very astonishing animation. After the reaction; the narrator goes into a pun, "Boy; you're burnin' up!"

Simon Simon Legree then walks up to the two girls that are terrified of Legree as he shouts "Tell me where Uncle Tom is or I'll whip you with an inch of your life!" I believe that this was also Spence's scenes of Legree and the two girls terrified. I like how Eva's face gets darker and darker with a terrified look.  As Legree is about to whip them; Eliza the scullery maid opens the door to rescue Eva and Topsy. The comic timing of Eliza opening the door was very neat.

Eliza then scurries out of the house in the snow running away from Legree the overseer. Is it me or is the parents never shown in this cartoon at all; or unless the maid Eliza is meant to be the lady looking after them. Legree then steps out of the house blowing a whistle towards the dogs sitting down on their porch lazily but wake up and follow Legree.

Simon Simon Legree then moves down to the ground sniffing for tracks like a dog. A very funny Avery gag pops up which is one of the "impossible things" that works by charm. A footprint on the snow pops out to life and kicks Legree in the behind. The timing of the buttocks is rather funny movement. The narrator then reports the chase sequence of Eliza and the children being chased by Legree and his hounds. Eliza runs down the road of her plantation. The commentary scenes are at least worth the amusement as this would've been a serious part of the novel but at least Avery can lighten it up with fun.

As Eliza is about to run through the river; she pauses discovering that "there's no ice down the river". The narrator tries to calm down Eliza who is just skittering around the edge of the river trying to find a way out, "Relax Eliza, don't get excited". She replies screaming, "EXCITED?! I'm not excited!" Boy; that line SURE must have been a favourite at the Schlesinger studios as it's now been used not once but three times.

The narrator then discovers some shack on where to find ice which is next to her but it has jackpot slots. She places a 5 cent coin inside the slot and ends up winning the jackpot as blocks of ice end up flowing into the river forming a bridge. She is still crossing the roads escaping from Legree as the narrator continues to report, "and Eliza rides again!" However Legree and his hounds end up crossing the path as it's no difference to the chase now. Eliza and the children end up crossing the river safely before tripping onto the log.

Simon Simon Legree and the hounds then surround Eliza and the children about to take a whipping before an interruption takes place. There is the sounds of a car horn in which it turns out to be Uncle Tom dressed in very wealthy clothing holding a lot of cash notes in a fancy red limo. The narrator concludes; "Looks like the boy has collected on his social security". There is a great twist to that end which turns out that he has enough money to give the money to Legree so he no longer needs to be hassled or even the children.

Eva asks, "Why Uncle Tom, where'd you get all dat money?" Uncle Tom reaches out for his pockets , breathing his hand shaking the dice and unrolls them hoping to make a "lucky 7" but ends up with snake-eyes. The snake-eyes dice then immediately jump up to form a 7 that shows Uncle Tom has been gambling which was seen as the culture for African-Americans. For the iris out - with the dice left in the credits; Uncle Tom reaches his hands to catch it in this fine piece of animation - probably by Gamer. The narrator ends the story; "and there you have the story of Uncle Tom's Bungalow - or have you?"

Overall comments: With two cartoons now shown (but twice in a row) I have to say that I do prefer this cartoon than Clean Pastures. Of course the cartoon does feature racial black stereotypes but I don't particularly call this cartoon a harmful, racist cartoon by Tex as this is just basically a parody of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin so I don't think there's any racism intended. I don't really want to analyse the racial side of these cartoons as I really don't have much to say on this side of this cartoon. This is the first of the Tex Avery parodies and also the first Avery 'Merrie Melodies' cartoon where he doesn't need to use the song; which means that the cartoons are getting better by this point.

Ted Pierce's narrating was rather decent and kept the story going but I don't think the narrating from beginning to end was needed throughout the ENTIRE cartoon but that's what Tex like so I won't go against that. The lighting socket effect was rather decent. The opening was a breakthrough for Tex getting to know the character's personalities to make it funny as it made the cartoon rather interesting but I did feel it went on for a bit of time. Interesting about how the opening analysed on almost every single character - even the hounds. I think this could be the first cartoon where Irv Spence's animation first appears - as it's the first time I've been able to spot it as his animation is very easy to identify. I like how this parody it's much more brightened up while the novel is a very serious novel focusing on the relationships and here it's parodied for fun. I don't particularly find this cartoon very harmful to watch but it's a little bit fun, but a little mediocre as it felt rather slow to me (particularly the beginning) and rushed afterwards. I may plan to write a post using extracts from Mike Barrier's book 'Hollywood Cartoons' coming up shortly.