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