Monthly Archives: September 2011

Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931) — Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (1931) - Merrie Melodies

Lady, Play Your Man­dolin! (1931) — Mer­rie Melodies

CotD: Today we cel­e­brate the sec­ond of the Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series, “Lady, Play Your Man­dolin!” which is 80 years old today…

Lady, Play Your Man­dolin! (1931) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Cus­tomers in a south-of-the-border saloon are whoop­ing it up and singing the title tune, while an ape waiter is serv­ing every­one liquor. Mean­while, Foxy is rid­ing along on his horse while whistling the title tune. He arrives out­side at the saloon (the sign out­side reads “Café”), and his horse gets up and begins danc­ing to the music. Foxy ties the horse’s head around a cac­tus, enters the saloon and yells “Hola!” He walks through the saloon singing “I Am a Gay Caballero.” He gives his hat to a walk­ing coat rack, and then sits down for a beer. When Foxy gives the ape waiter a tip, the ape pulls his mouth out of his head like a cash reg­is­ter and drops the coin in. When Roxy appears on stage, Foxy yells out “Oh, lady! Play your man­dolin.” “Oh baby, hear my song of sin,” replies Roxy, who begins singing the song– “Lady play your man­dolin / Lady let that tune begin / When you sing that song of sin I’m a sin­ner too.” Foxy, a hippo, and a mouse repeat “I’m a sin­ner too!” Out­side the saloon, Foxy’s horse unties itself and pokes its head through the doors, singing. Foxy appears and bashes the horse over the head with a bot­tle, which then starts to play its own head and neck like a trom­bone. Back inside, Foxy begins singing the title tune like Al Jol­son. A dog cus­tomer has a mouse play­ing music with his hat, then has his beard dance, and then has his teeth extend out of his mouth and chat­ter. Foxy’s horse enters the saloon dazed, and then strolls through while drink­ing. He spits fire, then looks into a mir­ror and starts see­ing mon­sters. He screams and begins run­ning around the saloon until he spon­ta­neously com­busts. Foxy, the hippo and the waiter gather around the ashen horse and shout, “Play your mandolin!”

Watch “Lady, Play Your Man­dolin!” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

The Tar Monster (1978) — The Scooby-Doo Show Cartoon Episode Guide

The Tar Monster (1978) - The Scooby-Doo Show

The Tar Mon­ster (1978) — The Scooby-Doo Show

CotD: “The Tar Mon­ster” is after Pro­fes­sor Brigston and his arche­o­log­i­cal dig, until those med­dling kids put a stop to him…

The Tar Mon­ster (1978) — The Scooby-Doo Show Car­toon Episode Guide

Stoner, chief assis­tant to Pro­fes­sor Brigston, fright­ens the native work­ers away from the dis­cov­ery of the ancient city of Byzan­tius by mas­querad­ing as The Tar Mon­ster, a leg­endary crea­ture that pro­tects the city. Scooby, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma and Fred, invited to see the ancient city by Pro­fes­sor Brigston, catch Stoner in the act and turn him over to the author­i­ties, and give the trea­sures he found to the Turk­ish government.

Watch “The Tar Mon­ster” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

On Ice (1935) — Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

On Ice (1935) - Mickey Mouse

On Ice (1935) — Mickey Mouse

CotD: Mickey and the gang enjoy some win­ter­time fun in 1935’s “On Ice”…

On Ice (1935) — Mickey Mouse The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Mickey shows off for Min­nie, but must res­cue Don­ald when he’s nearly blown over a frozen water­fall. Mean­while, Goofy tries a new form of ice fishing.

Watch “On Ice” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Actor Jonathan Cecil, 72, put the “twit” into Brit

Jonathan Cecil

Jonathan Cecil

British actor Jonathan Cecil, once called “one of the finest upper-class twits of his era” for his fre­quent por­tray­als of wealthy Eng­lish­men, died peace­fully Thurs­day at London’s Char­ing Cross Hos­pi­tal. He was 72.

Besides por­tray­ing Peter Ustinov’s side­kick Hast­ings in three Her­cule Poirot films, Cecil recorded over 25 books by PG Wodehouse’s works for Chivers Audio Books, as well as record­ings of other books.

He was in the voice cast of Cos­grove Hall Films’ 1983 fea­ture film The Wind In The Wil­lows, as well as The Fur­ther Adven­tures of Toad, a 1984 episode of a TV series bear­ing the same name as the movie.

In addi­tion, he was in the voice cast of Cos­grove Hall’s 1989 TV spe­cial A Tale Of Two Toads and Tara Fletcher’s 1984 puppet-animated film The Bur­glar.

He was born Jonathan Hugh Gascoyne-Cecil in Lon­don on Feb­ru­ary 22, 1939. His father, Lord David Cecil, was Gold­smith Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish at Oxford. Among his Oxford friends were Dud­ley Moore and Alan Bennett.

A vet­eran of over 60 films, he was nom­i­nated for a Best Actor Award at the LA Reel Film Fes­ti­val for his role as Dickie in the 2009 short The Shaftes­bury Play­ers.

Cecil’s many record­ings of the works of Wode­house made him one of the best-loved voices in audiobooks.

A vastly expe­ri­enced actor, he appeared in adap­ta­tions of Wodehouse’s works, includ­ing the BBC’s Cen­te­nary Trib­ute Thank You PG Wode­house as Bertie Wooster, two Com­edy Play­houses and the radio series What Ho! Jeeves.

After grad­u­at­ing from Oxford, Jonathan trained at LAMDA. Fol­low­ing exten­sive reper­tory expe­ri­ence, he became British TV’s favorite “toff,” co-starring in numer­ous com­edy series. He was seen in Mur­der Most Hor­rid, as Gul­liver in Lil­liput, and in The Tam­ing of the Shrew.

He was a well-known stage actor. He suc­cesses in the West End, London’s the­atri­cal dis­trict, ranged from Halfway up the Tree to Uncle Vanya. He also wrote reg­u­larly for the Evening Stan­dard and the Spec­ta­tor.

Once asked his favorite of his many film roles, he replied: “Ricotin in Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On – a small but telling part as a white-faced crypto-homosexual film clown. It was won­der­ful to work for a genius!”

Cecil also worked in movies for Billy Wilder, Stan­ley Kubrick and Mel Brooks.

On tele­vi­sion, his favorite role was “Hast­ings to Peter Ustinov’s Poirot in three Agatha Christie TV-movies. It was great to work with Peter; he was delight­ful com­pany, and we made up our own dialogue!”

Cecil’s favorite stage role was Sir Andrew in Twelfth Night, which he played four times — “A record? Com­edy, pathos, style — every­thing in one role.”

The actor he most enjoyed work­ing with is “My wife — award-winning actress — singer Anna Sharkey. We met in Cow­ardy Cus­tard (1972). She has played Maria to my Sir Andrew and Miss Prism to my Canon Cha­suble in The Impor­tance of Being Earnest. We do a show together, Plum Sauce. We help and under­stand each other.”

He under­took exten­sive prepa­ra­tion and cast­ing before record­ing audio­books, which he enjoyed. “I always take care in choos­ing voices, some­times those of other actors. I enter the stu­dio and go into another world — the book takes over. I’ve always had fun with the pro­duc­ers, and it is only after­wards that I real­ize what hard work it has been.”

Cecil enjoyed read­ing the Jeeves and Wooster books because “I iden­tify with Bertie, the nar­ra­tor, com­pletely. If this means I’m a twit — who cares?”

Had Cecil been able to record any novel of his choice, it would be Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time sequence: “That would almost see me out! — and they’re mar­velous novels.”

His favorite authors included Chekhov, Tur­genev, Jane Austen and Max Beer­bohm. He appeared in Chekov’s The Sneeze, “a series of bril­liant one-act plays” in which he toured. He recently played Sir Boun­teous in A Mad World My Mas­ters at Shakespeare’s Globe the­atre: “another won­der­ful part — a silly fop­pish old dupe.”

Besides his wife, Jonathan Cecil is sur­vived by brother Hugh and sis­ter Laura.

A funeral ser­vice will be held at 2 p.m. Octo­ber 10 at St Nicholas Church Chiswick.

Disney’s 3-D “Lion King” still a roaring success

The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King (1994)

For the sec­ond week­end in a row, Walt Disney’s 3-D re-release of its 1994 block­buster The Lion King topped the box office in United States and Cana­dian theaters.

It made $22.1 mil­lion — just ahead of the Brad Pitt base­ball tale Mon­ey­ball, which col­lected $20.6 mil­lion, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said in an e-mailed state­ment Sunday.

Accord­ing to Hollywood.com, the 3-D release has brought in $61.7 mil­lion since its the­atri­cal debut Sep­tem­ber 16. Over­seas, where it was exhib­ited in the­aters ear­lier, The Lion King has grossed $16 mil­lion for a world­wide total of $77.7 million.

The Lion King was sched­uled to screen in North Amer­i­can the­aters for two weeks before a 3-D Blu-ray disk is released Octo­ber 4. It screened over the week­end at 2,330 domes­tic venues.

Dis­ney cred­its the con­tin­u­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the movie to that of the prop­erty itself, whether in the form of a live stage show or a DVD.

Another two films are planned for future 3-D re-release. James Cameron’s Titanic and George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phan­tom Men­ace are headed for 3-D treat­ment in 2012.

Over the week­end, Sony’s par­tially ani­mated The Smurfs made $12.9 mil­lion inter­na­tion­ally for a world­wide total of $502.8 million.

Strike Up The Band (1930) — Screen Songs Theatrical Cartoon Series

Fleischer Screen Songs Theatrical Cartoon Series

Fleis­cher Screen Songs The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

CotD: One of the Fleis­ch­ers’ Screen Songs “Strike Up The Band” fea­tured a bounc­ing bis­cuit rather than the nor­mal bounc­ing ball…

Strike Up The Band (1930) — Screen Songs The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

A boat sails the sea at night, with the moon watch­ing from above. Bimbo-like sailors march around the deck, then fall through a trap door. They land at the mess table, with lots of other ani­mal sailors, accom­pa­nied by the Sailor’s Horn­pipe. A bounc­ing bis­cuit becomes the bounc­ing ball. First we hear “Jack Is The King Of The Dark Blue Sea,” then “Strike Up The Band.” Two danc­ing Bimbo-like sailors go under­wa­ter, where they see lots of mer­maids. One sailor hangs out on a buoy, smooching with mer­maids. Watch “Strike Up The Band” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

A Corny Concerto (1943) — Merrie Melodies Theatrical Cartoon Series

A Corny Concerto (1943) - Merrie Melodies

A Corny Con­certo (1943) — Mer­rie Melodies

CotD: Bob Clam­pett was never above tak­ing play­ful swipes at the car­toons from Dis­ney, and “A Corny Con­certo” was one of his best. This par­ody of Fan­ta­sia even includes Elmer Fudd as Deems Taylor…

A Corny Con­certo (1943) — Mer­rie Melodies The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

At Corny-Gie Hall, Elmer (as Deems Tay­lor) con­ducts two car­toons set to music.

In “Tales Of The Vienna Woods,” Bugs foils hunter Porky and his dog. Bugs, Porky and Porky’s dog do a bal­let, with Bugs don­ning drag to appear as a bal­le­rina. The sec­ond piece, “The Blue Danube,” is a spoof of “The Ugly Duck­ling,” with a baby black duck– not unlike a juve­nile Daffy– sav­ing the day when the swans are threat­ened by a goofy buzzard.

Watch “A Corny Con­certo” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Porky In Wackyland (1949) — Looney Tunes

Porky In Wackyland (1949) - Looney Tunes

Porky In Wack­y­land (1949) — Looney Tunes

CotD: Obvi­ously inspired by the works of Sal­vador Dali, Bob Clampett’s 1938 mas­ter­piece “Porky In Wack­y­land” took car­toons to their lim­its… and then some. Worth a look if you’ve never seen it.

Porky In Wack­y­land (1949) — Looney Tunes The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Any­thing can hap­pen in Wack­y­land– and it does!- as Porky chases the last Do-Do.

Porky ven­tures into Dark­est Africa in search of the last Do-Do bird, and winds up in Wack­y­land, a sur­real place where any­thing can hap­pen: the sun comes up atop a human pyra­mid, the Warner Broth­ers shield comes zoom­ing from the sky, and pop­u­lated by crea­tures such as a three-headed “Larry, Curly and Moe” beast.

The Do-Do finally appears, to great fan­fare, and eludes Porky by pulling out a pen­cil and draw­ing him­self a door.

Watch “>Porky In Wack­y­land” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Goofy Gymnastics (1949) — Goofy

Goofy Gymnastics (1949) - Goofy

Goofy Gym­nas­tics (1949) — Goofy

CotD: The A lot of great car­toons were released on this date, but we will go with 1949’s “Goofy Gym­nas­tics” because it was also used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit…

Goofy Gym­nas­tics (1949) — Goofy The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Goofy tries a gym­nas­tics course in order to beat fatigue at the end of the work day.

Watch “The Looney Begin­ning” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Flirty Birdy (1945) — Tom and Jerry Theatrical Cartoon Series

Flirty Birdy (1945) - Tom and Jerry

Flirty Birdy (1945) — Tom and Jerry

CotD: Orig­i­nally titles “Love Boids”, “Flirty Birdy” was a Tom and Jerry car­toon from 1945…

Flirty Birdy (1945) — Tom and Jerry The­atri­cal Car­toon Series

Tom is all set to eat Jerry when an eagle swoops down and grabs Jerry. To get Jerry back, Tom poses as a female eagle, and quickly finds his new lover to be more than he bar­gained for.

Watch “Flirty Birdy” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase