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.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.
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.
Enjoy the breakdown video, and the music, too!
(Thanks to Mark Kausler, Larry Tremblay, Yowp and Thad Komorowski for their help.)