Saturday, August 13, 2022

Some Cartoons for Saturday Morning #188

 Hello my friends and happy Saturday morning. Once again it is time for some classic cartoons. 

Today's cartoon selection begins with Bugs Bunny in Any Bonds Today (1942). During World War 2, Bugs Bunny was at the height of his popularity. Many historians have stated that they think this is hugely because of two reasons. One of them is that Bugs reflects how America viewed itself at this time. As a nation that didn't want war, but when you messed with it you'd better watch out. This outlook did of course reflect the country during this time as America did not want to enter World War 2, until Pearl Harbor happened. The other reason is that these were not sweet, cute little cartoons and the world was not sweet and cute at they time. I think it is safe to say that another reason was that Bugs Bunny cartoons were very good. Because of this it seemed natural that Bugs would become a symbol of the U.S.A., therefore he was a great candidate to promote war bonds. Any Bonds Today was not released as a Looney Tunes or a Merrie Melodies short but rather as a standalone short. The film was directed by Bob Clampett, who directed many fantastic Looney Tunes cartoons and created Tweety and Beaky Buzzard. The song that is sung in this cartoon was written by Irving Berlin, of God Bless America and White Christmas fame. I do not know who all the animators on this film are, but (according to Devon Baxter on the comments section for Don M. Yowp's blog) the dancing scene was animated by Virgil Ross, and Bugs throwing out war bonds and doing his Al Jolson impression were animated by Robert McKimson.

Now for the third Hoot Kloot film, The Shoe Must Go On! (1973).

Next comes a great early Mickey Mouse cartoon, Barnyard Battle (1929). This cartoon takes place back when Mickey was a simple country mouse. One thing I love about the early Mickey cartoons is these barnyard settings. They provide the films with a good sense of atmosphere and are full of gags that come from the setting. Like the Our Gang kids these cartoon characters make all sorts of inventions out of simple barnyard objects. This gives the films a charm and creativity that the later Mickey's never fully captured. This was also before Walt came up with the idea to do away with some of the more cartoony gags where characters bodies could do impossible things. While I love many of the Disney studio's shorts of the 1940's and 50's I wish these gags didn't fade away because they are a lot of fun. This cartoon features Mickey going to war with a bunch of cats (that all look like Pete) and in many ways feels like a follow-up to such previous Disney war cartoons as Oswald's Great Guns (1927) and the Alice Comedy, Alice's Little Parade (1926). In fact many of these gags would have felt right at home in those pre-Mickey cartoons. This movie would be banned in Germany due to the cat's helmets resembling German army helmets. 

Next we join The Pink Panther in Pinto Pink (1967). The story and some of the gags in this film would later be reused in the made for TV Daffy Duck cartoon, Daffy Flies North (1980). 

Now for a commercial break. 

Now for a silent movie starring Felix the Cat, The Smoke Screen (1928).

Next we see Sylvester in A Mouse Divided (1953). About Sylvester Looney Tunes director, Robert McKimson would state, "He had a real juicy voice, you know. He's the closest I'd say, that Mel [voice actor Mel Blanc] would come to have an original voice and then fitting the character to it. Of course Daffy Duck's voice is the same as Sylvester, only sped. So I guess when Mel recorded Daffy, it sounded like Sylvester."

Next is the Fleischer Brothers Superman cartoon, Billion Dollar Limited (1942). Paramount (the distributors of the Fleischer cartoons) brought the screen rights to the famous superhero in 1940, and gave it to the Fleischers to make a cartoon series out of. The studio was not quite sure about this venture after all animated cartoons had not yet done anything similar to a pure action film. They tried to dissuade Paramount by asking for four times the usual budget for one of the studio's cartoon shorts ($100,000) thinking Paramount would refuse. Shockingly they accepted and the series began production. Voicing Superman himself was Bud Collyer, who was already the character's voice on radio. The famous lines "Look up in the sky- it's a bird - no, it's a plane - no its superman" made their first appearance in Superman lore with these cartoons. 

Today's cartoon selection ends with one of UB Iwerks' Comicolor cartoons, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp (1934). These short films were one of many cartoon series of the era to resemble Disney's Silly Symphonies films. These movies though are of special interest to Disney fans since UB Iwerks had been Walt's right hand man in the 1920's, and would later return to Disney to help create the special effects in such feature films as Song of the South (1946), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1953), The Parent Trap (1961) and Mary Poppins (1964).

Thanks for joining me. Come back next week for more animated treasures. Until then may all your tunes be looney and your melodies merry. 

Resources Used

The 50 Greatest Cartoons Edited by Jerry Beck

Of Mice and Magic: A History of the American Animated Cartoon by Leonard Maltin

I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat: Fifty Years of Sylvester and Tweety by Jerry Beck.

Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History by David Gerstein and J.B. Kaufman.


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