BAXTER'S BREAKDOWNS
April 20, 2016 posted by

Dick Lundy’s “Kiddie Concert” (1948)

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Today’s breakdown features a Musical Miniature, with conductor Wally Walrus!

Kiddie Koncert is one of six cartoons in the Musical Miniatures series, all directed by Dick Lundy. Musical director Darrell Calker was a versatile composer for Walter Lantz, and supplanted classical music as successfully as his more exuberant scores for the studio. Whereas the previous Swing Symphonies used popular bandleaders and employed songwriters for original tunes, the music incorporated in this new series was in the public domain.

Dick Lundy, timing at Lantz (click to enlarge)

Dick Lundy, timing at Lantz (click to enlarge)

This film features Franz von Suppe’s “Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna,” a composition used in various orchestra-driven cartoons (Opening Night, The Mad Maestro and Baton Bunny.) These films tended to mainly focus on sight gags to accommodate the music; Lantz, Lundy, Calker and the story artists would conduct a meeting, to suggest such appropriate sequences. The cartoon would be pre-scored in order to time each scene to the beat of the music. Lantz was pleased with the series’ success and its two Oscar nominations, but it was deemed too expensive to continue.

Wally Walrus was often an adversary for Woody Woodpecker; Kiddie Koncert is one of the few cartoons where he appears without him. He is also seen as a conductor in another Musical Miniature, The Overture of William Tell (1947). Ed Love animates all of Wally’s scenes in the film, and animates about half of the footage (about 3 ½ minutes worth.) Interestingly, only two other animators, Pat Matthews and Les Kline, are credited in the draft. The puzzling aspect about the animation credit is the inclusion of Sid Pillet in the main titles, and his absence in the document. Pillet was still present at the studio, and is credited on scenes up to Wild and Woody!, released late into 1948.

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Jack Cosgriff served as Ben Hardaway’s co-writer during this period after Milt Schaffer left. Cosgriff worked at MGM, Lantz and Columbia’s Screen Gems as a story artist in the mid-‘30s and early ‘40s, before serving in the Navy. He returned to MGM by late June, 1945, working on stories for the Preston Blair/Mike Lah unit. Cosgriff left, and served in brief stints at Disney and Lantz in the mid-‘40s, before he returned to MGM to work with Tex Avery, and ultimately Dick Lundy. He arrived back at Lantz in the mid-‘50s, and ended up in television on Format Films’ The Alvin Show in the early ‘60s.

The draft for Kiddie Concert doesn’t include animator credits in three brief sequences, but are rectified in the video. Scenes 20 and 21, of the audience crying, including the resulting stream during the violin solo are handled by Pat Matthews. The toothbrush gag in scene 46 is by Ed Love; the beaver in the sequence resembles Tex Avery’s Screwy Squirrel, a character, which Love animated for MGM. The follow-through of the thumper tied around the elephant drummer’s tail in scene 48 indicates Matthews’ animation, as well. Matthews’ drawing here proved he could animate cute characters outside of animating broad, exaggerated actions for comedic characters.

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Enjoy the breakdown video, and the music, too!

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(Thanks to Mark Kausler, Larry Tremblay, Yowp and Thad Komorowski for their help.)

7 Comments

  • I remember in scenes 20 & 21 in Kiddie Concerto where the violinist playing the solo from Morning Noon and Night in Vienna who was trying not to cry during the solo and as the audience started to cry during the solo one of the audience member started to howl like a mournful wolf, even Wally couldn’t stop bawling during the solo!
    Also there was two Popeye cartoons that used Von Suppe’s Morning Noon and Night in Vienna, one had Popeye with a ragtag crew as a musical quartet trying to preform Morning Noon and Night in Vienna only to be outclassed by Bluto and his orchestra in which Olive,Wimpy and a unknown character (maybe Olive’s brother Castor Oyl?) defected from Popeye’s group until Popeye are some spinach and became a musical maestro. Note the one scene after Popeye are his spinach and played a Ragtime version of Morning Noon and Night in Vienna. The other was Tots of Fun where Popeye’s nephews wanted to help Popeye to build a home but Popeye told them that they needed to rehearse. After a mishap that caused Popeye to get injured by the house falling on him, his nephews decided to help Popeye by rebuilding the house as a skyscraper while still rehearsing Morning Noon and Night in Vienna.

    • Ooops my bad I must of got confused with another Von Suppe masterpiece Poet and Peasant with Morning Noon and Night in Vienna.

  • Is is possible Pillet did the streaming water from the box and then down the theatre aisle?

  • It is curious that Sidney Pillet gets screen credit on this cartoon yet does not appear credited in the draft. My speculation is that with Ed Love taking on such a commanding amount of footage in this cartoon, and all the really challenging animation, Sidney Pillet was his assistant. I have heard it said that Love worked very rough and fast, so he would have needed a top assistant to capably follow him. Love’s style of work is very identifiable even into the 1980’s Hanna Barbera period, for instance on “The Smurfs”. Usually by that time, any semblance of the animator’s personality had been homogenized out. Not so with Ed Love.

  • I’m tellin’ ya, these 40s Lantz cartoons easily hang with Warners and MGM.

    Thanks Devon, another great breakdown.

    Nice print too; haven’t seen this’un in many years.

  • Morning Noon and Night is featured in several cartoons. What comes to mind is a Betty Boop cartoon of the same name which features a live shot of violinist David Rubinoff.

    • Don’t forget Chuck Jones and Abe Levitow’s Baton Bunny.

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