Cartoon of the Day: The Early Bird And The Worm

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The Early Bird And The Worm

The Early Bird And The Worm

Today’s CotD takes us back to 1936 for The Early Bird And The Worm. Directed by Rudolf Ising, this color short was from the Happy Har­monies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series.

A sprightly young bird gets up early, the bet­ter to get the jump on his neigh­bor­hood worm, but he finds his quarry elu­sive. The worm, for his part, sets off with a flute and jazzes along hap­pily, out-finessing the bird repeat­edly. Then a pair of shift­less crows debate the virtues of early ris­ing and decide that no worm is worth it (clearly, these are shift­less “Negro” stereo­types, though the eth­nic angle isn’t stressed here so much). Finally, a rat­tlesnake prac­tices some hyp­notic moves on both bird and worm before get­ting tied up in knots.

The two lazy crows are car­i­ca­tures of then-famous black­face com­edy team Moran and Mack. Much of their dia­logue is directly lifted from their hit 1920s com­edy record­ing “Two Black Crows.”

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