It’s Thursday again! These weeks have been flying by pretty quickly here, and I’m looking forward to sitting down and actually getting to watch some things sometime soon!
At Thunderbean, I’ve been working on getting some of the special sets out as well as putting the finishing touches and tweaks on the Flip the Frog films for the Blu-ray. In the coming week I hope to get the bonus features finally in full gear. I’ve been also gathering all the Aesop’s Fables for Volume 1 and taking a look at cleanups. Finished that set will be priority when Flip is off the plate. In the meantime, Dave and Becky have been holding down the fort in orders while Becca and the crew concentrate on film cleanup and getting a bunch of the special discs dubbed and sent.I’m really looking forward to getting ‘out of the woods’ with many of the pending special sets that are almost ready so we can concentrate fully on both the other official sets and some of the new projects that are presenting themselves right now. It’s an exciting period in that I can see how certain things can come together now that couldn’t before. Let’s hope this trend continues!
I’m happy we’ve been able to do a lot of the special discs, but I know sooner than later we’ll be just too busy to do them. Luckily we’ve been able to continue for a while and scan a lot of things for now.
A few days back, Mark Kausler posted a wonderful article about animator, cartoonist and director Sam Cornell. Mark’s article is a wonderful tribute to his friend and former employer and a really great read. I wish we had a Mark for every remembrance!
Here’s his article. Please read it!
Now — today’s cartoon: The Pooch Parade (1940)
Scrappy is still on my mind, and with all the streaming going on, I hope that someday sooner than later we’ll be flipping channels and Scrappy will hitting Oopy!
My own personal collection of 16mm Scrappy cartoons has been getting scanned over these past years. It’s been nice to be able to share these prints, albeit in digital form rather than plunking you down in front of a projector.
This week’s cartoon could never be considered one of the best of the series, but the animation is still quite fun. Scrappy enters his pooch in a high falutin’ dog show, clearly modeled after the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden.
Scrappy should have remembered his experiences from four years earlier in the cartoon Scrappy’s Dog Show when his almost expression-less St. Bernard wrestled a judge to get the top award. While a good part of this footage in this film is devoted to spot gags involving dogs, eventually Scrappy’s little pooch manages to win the top award as well, still somewhat ill-gained.
One of the things I really love about Columbia cartoons from these years is there’s often moments of really fun and really strange gags. My favorite thing is the drowsy judges presiding over everything. At one point they’re both fast asleep, so the two stewards hold trumpets to their mouths to play an opening, waking them up with wide eyes!
Perhaps the oddest thing about the short is a continued narration by the show announcer, as if we were watching the play-by-play of the characters whether involved in the show happenings or not. It’s an enjoyable little romp and all sorts of uneven. Enjoy this little film for what it is, and hum along to the snappy theme at the beginning.
Have a good week all!
There are a lot of dog show cartoons, and many of them have a narrator, for example WB’s “Dog Tales” (1958) and Terrytoons’ “All About Dogs” (1942) and “The Dog Show” (1950 — not to be confused with their 1934 cartoon of the same title, which is about an entertainment for an audience of dogs and not a dog show per se). An earlier Merrie Melodies cartoon, “Dog Daze” (1937), has the same spot gag format but lacks a narrator, while Disney’s “Society Dog Show” (1939) has no narrator but an actual narrative, with an action-packed climax in which Pluto, on roller skates, rescues his Pekingese sweetheart from a burning building.
All of these cartoons have miscellaneous gags in common, but one thing “The Pooch Parade” has that none of the others does is that clever “Longfellow” joke! That one had me laughing out loud!
A handful of notes:
(1) Harry Love would later be the effects animator at WB, succeeding A.C. Gamer, and Lou Lilly would also be at WB (alas, he may be best known for doing the story for Jones’ “Angel Puss”).
(2) I do agree with Paul Groh’s point that this has some resemblances to Dog Daze.
(3) The “Thru These Portals” sign is a reference to a similar sign near the stage of the Earl Carroll’s Vanities girlie shows.
(4) The guard does sound like Mel Blanc — and in the second round, does a Katharine Hepburn “rilly I am” riff.
(5) “Seeing a man about a dog” was slang for needing to go to the bathroom — likely why there’s a deliberate gap here. Hays Code, dontcherknow. Similar for the “expectoration” gag (see also Freleng’s 1942 “Hop Skip and a Chump”)
(6) Newfoundland, at this time, was not a part of Canada, but its own colony (it would join Canada in 1949). Hence Foster Hewitt’s famous opening to Hockey Night in Canada “Hello Canada and hockey fans in the United States and Newfoundland.”
(7) Amusing poke at Disney with Ferdinand the bulldog.
(8) I swear I’m hearing “wabbit” at one point.
Overall, not a champ, but a fun cartoon
Yes, he does say “wabbit”, but not because of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, but because he’s mixing the “wh” of whippet with the “r” of rabbit as a tongue twister. I think he says something like, “The whippets are chasing the whabbit, er, I mean, the rippets are chasing the rabbit… oh, forget it.”
Re: “Ferdinand the Bulldog”… Wow, great catch! I did not understand that joke at all when I first saw it! I was really scratching my head as to what the joke was supposed to be.
Very much like one of Tex Avery’s spoof of newsreels or travelogues at Warner Bros. of the same era – with the every present narrator commenting on all of the action.
Steve — Thanks very much for providing that link to Mark Kausler’s blog, and his remembrances of the late Sam Cornell. Everything he said was right on the money – he was one-of-a-kind, outrageously funny, and had the ‘Funniest pencil’ of anyone I have ever worked with! My time with him at Duck Soup and at Klas-Key-Chew-Po working on Keebler commercials was one of the highlights of my career (and Mark’s rough extreme of the little guy and the Magic Oven was from one of my layouts!) The last time I was with him was up in Ojai – my wife and I helped him get to a restaurant for a laugh-filled lunch – and even at his advanced age, and in a wheelchair, he had done concept drawings for a “Marx Bros. Meet King Kong” series he wanted to pitch and implored me to storyboard it for him! Comically creative until the end!
Hopefully one of the projects that will now be possible for Thunderbean will be the previously stalled, complete surviving silent & early sound, Felix The Cat short film Collection; from all known sources of these!!!!!