Tag Archives: Merrie Melodies

Cartoon of the Day: Ali Baba Bunny

Ali Baba Bunny

Ali Baba Bunny

A short so funny we could make it a car­toon of the week, Ali Baba Bunny released on this date in 1957. One of the clas­sic Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny pair­ings, this one also included the run­ning gag about “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque…”

After a goofed up left turn at Albu­querque (on their way to Pismo Beach), Bugs and Daffy end up in Ali Baba’s treasure-filled cave. Has­san Chop!

The end is absolutely hilar­i­ous! If you haven’t seen this one in a while, it is worth a watch again today on BCDB!

Cartoon of the Day: Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Hurdy-Gurdy Hare

Robert McKim­son paired Bugs Bunny with Grue­some Gorilla in 1950 for Hurdy-Gurdy Hare. Any­time Bugs got to play against the Gorilla it was fun, and this film was no excep­tion. Seen it? Watch it today if it has been a while, or you need a good laugh or three!

Bugs buys a hurdy-gurdy and a mon­key so that he can enter the music busi­ness, but the mon­key rips him off.

Carton of the Day: Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs

Eas­ily the most con­tro­ver­sial of all Bob Clampett’s films, Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs was never intended to offend, but rather to enter­tain. What Clam­pett had intended as a cel­e­bra­tion of Black music and cul­ture of his time has turned into a touch­stone of racist film mak­ing at Warner Bros. Addi­tion­ally, being a War film, there are some very dis­parag­ing com­ments about the Japan­ese in the film. So what do you think– is this car­toon his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant enough to rise above it’s racial over­tones, or is this more of the man keep­ing prej­u­dice alive?

A black­face par­ody of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with a strong swing back­beat… and no apologies!

Mammy (who resem­bles Aunt Jemima) tells her “Honey Child” the story of “So White” and the wicked Queen who “was as rich as she was mean.” “She had every­thing,” includ­ing sugar, cof­fee, auto tires, scrap metal, Chat­tanooga choo-choos, and a fam­ily coat of arms con­sist­ing of dice and switch­blades. So White is a las­civ­i­ous sex­pot forced to wash miles and miles of laun­dry as she sings “Blues in the Night.” “Magic Mir­ror on the wall, send me a prince about six feet tall,” intones the Queen. When zoot-suited, thick-lipped hip­ster Prince Chawmin’ (who has dice for teeth!) finds So White “dyna­mite,” the Queen calls in Mur­der Inc. to “black out So White.” Prince Chawmin’ and the dwarfs are all minia­ture car­i­ca­tures of Fats Waller, except for one who resem­bles Stepin Fetchit. The prince kisses and tries to revive the heroine.

Accord­ing to Beck and Fried­wald, Coal Black is a Bob Clam­pett mas­ter­piece, and cer­tainly one of the great­est Warner Bros. car­toons ever made. Sure to offend, but not to be ignored.

In 1968, United Artists (then own­ers of the A.A.P. library of pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Mer­rie Melodies car­toons) com­piled the car­toons they con­sid­ered too poten­tially offen­sive to be shown on tele­vi­sion, and with­held those car­toons from dis­tri­b­u­tion. AT that time, UA felt that these eleven car­toons should be with­held from broad­cast because the depic­tions of black peo­ple in the car­toons were deemed too offen­sive for con­tem­po­rary audiences.

This car­toon is one of those with­held from dis­tri­b­u­tion, one of the so-called “Cen­sored 11.” (The “Eleven” are: Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lelu­jah Land (MM,1931), Sun­day Go to Meetin’ Time (MM, 1936), Clean Pas­tures (MM, 1937), Uncle Tom’s Bun­ga­low (MM, 1937), Jun­gle Jit­ters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (MM, 1938), All This and Rab­bit Stew (MM, 1941), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (MM, 1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (MM, 1943), Angel Puss (LT, 1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (MM, 1944)). More recently, when Ted Turner became owner of the library, he con­tin­ued the ban, and refused to allow any of these car­toons to be shown or released on video. To date, these shorts have not been offi­cially broad­cast on tele­vi­sion since 1968. How­ever, accord­ing to a recent e-mail, a woman in Phoenix claims that she has seen this on tele­vi­sion there recently.

Along with black stereo­types, this car­toon fea­tures sav­agely anti-Japanese jokes (the film was made a year after Pearl Harbor).

Vivian Dan­dridge (the voice of So White) and Ruby Dan­dridge (the voice of Quee­nie) were the sis­ter and mother, respec­tively, of actress-singer Dorothy Dandridge.

Jimmy Durante is caricatured.

A unique “That’s All, Folks!” card fea­tures an ani­mated shot of Mammy and a lit­tle girl rock­ing in an armchair.

Work­ing title: “So White And De Sebben Dwarfs.” It was changed at the last minute because some­one in film mar­ket­ing at Warner Bros. pointed out that in those days the the­aters some­times included the name of the car­toon short on the mar­quee, and was con­cerned that some peo­ple would think that the Dis­ney fea­ture was being shown, and be angry about the “false adver­tis­ing.” So the name was changed and became “Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs”.

Clam­pett wanted an all-black band to score the car­toon, much like how the Fleis­ch­ers had Cab Cal­loway score the Betty Boop car­toons they were fea­tured in. Pro­ducer and noted tight wad Schlesinger refused to fund the endeavor, and the black band Clam­pett had hired, Eddie Beals and His Orches­tra, only recorded the music for the final kiss sequence. The rest of the film was scored, as was stan­dard for Warner car­toons at the time, by Carl W. Stalling.

In the late sev­en­ties, Bob Clam­pett defended this car­toon. He said:

In 1942, dur­ing the height of anti-Japanese sen­ti­ment dur­ing World War II, I was approached in Hol­ly­wood by the cast of an all-black musi­cal off-broadway pro­duc­tion called Jump For Joy while they were doing some spe­cial per­for­mances in Los Ange­les. They asked me why there weren’t any Warner’s car­toons with black char­ac­ters and I didn’t have any good answer for that ques­tion. So we sat down together and came up with a par­ody of Disney’s “Snow White” and “Coal Black” was the result. They did all the voices for that car­toon, even though Mel Blanc’s con­tract with Warn­ers gave him sole voice credit for all Warn­ers car­toons by then. There was noth­ing racist or dis­re­spect­ful toward blacks intended in that film at all, nor in Tin Pan Alley Cats which is just a par­ody of jazz piano great Fats Waller, who was always ham­ming into the cam­era dur­ing his musi­cal films. Every­body, includ­ing blacks had a good time when these car­toons first came out. All the con­tro­versy about these two car­toons has devel­oped in later years merely because of chang­ing atti­tudes toward black civil rights that have hap­pened since then.

Alter­nate Title: “So White And De Sebben Dwarfs” (Work­ing Title).
 

Cartoon of the Day: Hare Do

Hare Do

Hare Do

From 1949, Hare Do is one of the great Bugs Bunny-Elmer Fudd meet­ings. Directed by Isadore Fre­leng, the short was ani­mated by Ken Champin, Vir­gil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy and Manuel Perez, this short has a sur­prise char­ac­ter in addi­tion to the two stars.

Another clas­sic episode as Elmer chases Bugs into a the­ater and ends up being the main attrac­tion and the main course for a lion.

A paint­ing in the the­ater is appar­ently of a nude lady! (How­ever, there’s not much detail.)

The last car­toon where Bugs is seen sit­ting on The Warner Bros. Shield and then he pulls it down.

Cartoon of the Day: Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Herr Meets Hare

Back to World War II with Herr Meets Hare, an Isadore Fre­leng pro­pa­ganda film from 1945. And who wouldn’t want to see Adolf and Her­man face off against.… Bugs Bunny!

Her­mann Goer­ing heads to the Black For­est for rest and relax­ation; because of a wrong turn in Albu­querque, so does Bugs, who encoun­ters “Fatso” while try­ing to get to Las Vegas. Bugs taunts the Nazi, who cap­tures him and takes him to Adolf Hitler, but Bugs gets the last laugh– dis­guised as Stalin.

Great par­o­dies of Goer­ing and Hitler. Lew Lehr is also caricatured.

The first short in which Bugs takes that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Cartoon of the Day: Rabbit Hood

Rabbit Hood

Rab­bit Hood

The day before Christ­mas, and all through BCDB, not a crea­ture was stir­ring because they were all watch­ing Rab­bit Hood. You wouldn’t think a whole lot of good car­toons were released on Decem­ber 24th, but you would be wrong… Rab­bit Hood is just one of them!

Sher­wood For­est is stud­ded with “No Poach­ing” signs– “Not even an egg!” Bunny tries to swipe a car­rot from the king’s car­rot patch, but is caught crimson-fisted by the Sher­iff of Not­ting­ham. Just then, a goofy Lit­tle John announces, “Don’t you worry, never fear, Robin Hood will soon be here!” Robin doesn’t appear (the film’s run­ning gag), so Bugs announces, “Lo, the king approacheth!”

As the sher­iff bows for the king, Bugs bops him and runs. The sher­iff chases Bugs around the king’s Royal Ground, where the rab­bit imi­tates a real estate sales­man and sells the sher­iff the land. The flim-flam works so well that the sher­iff is build­ing the sec­ond story of a house before he finally gets wise. The sher­iff cor­ners Bugs, who com­i­cally intro­duces Lit­tle John to him. Next, Bugs pre­tends that the king is com­ing; this time, he dis­guises him­self as His High­ness and bestows knight­hood on the sheriff.

Bob­bing him with his staff with each word, Bugs declares the sher­iff “Sir Loin of Beef, Earl of Cloves, Baron of Mun­chausen, Milk of Mag­ne­sia, Quar­ter of Ten.” The groggy sher­iff sings “Lon­don Bridge” as he falls into a freshly-baked layer cake. Lit­tle John finally intro­duces Robin Hood: a live-action shot of Errol Flynn, caus­ing an aston­ished Bugs to shrug and say, “Eh, it couldn’t be him!”

Con­tains actual footage of Errol Flynn as Robin Hood from the 1938 film “The Adven­tures of Robin Hood.” Flynn’s price for using his image was report­edly only a copy of this car­toon for his collection.

Released exactly one day before retired WB car­toon pro­ducer Leon Schlesinger died of viral infec­tion at the age of 65.

Songs include: “Lon­don Bridge is Falling Down” (Unknown-arr. Carl Stalling), Per­formed by the Sher­iff of Nottingham.

Cartoon of the Day: Transylvania 6–5000

Transylvania 6-5000

Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000

Released on this date in 1963, Tran­syl­va­nia 6–5000 was the last Bugs Bunny car­toon directed by Chuck Jones. And this car­toon is thor­oughly Chuck. From the back­grounds to the char­ac­ter design to the tim­ing, this short is a one-stop les­son in Jon­sian car­toon directing.

After tak­ing a wrong left turn, Bugs ends up in the cas­tle of a blood­thirsty Count. Luck­ily, Bugs knows the secret work, and con­founds the Count’s attempts to retrieve Bugs’ blood.

Note that when Bugs rings the cas­tle door­bell, the chimes play the open­ing notes of the TV series “Alfred Hitch­cock Presents.”

A fit­ting cli­max to Jones’ career at Warner Bros, or a card­board epi­taph– what do you think?

Cartoon Of The Day: Hittin’ The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hittin' The Trail For Hallelujah Land

Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land

Released this day in 1931, Hit­tin’ The Trail For Hal­lelu­jah Land is a found­ing mem­ber of the infa­mous Cen­sored Eleven is also one of the least seen… I guess that is the point of being censored.

A kindly old Uncle Tom brings Fluffy down to her sweet­heart Cap­tain Piggy’s river­boat. As he dri­ves back in his horse and buggy, Uncle Tom ends up in a grave­yard where var­i­ous skele­tons come to life singing the title song. Uncle Tom flees the grave­yard but falls in the river where Piggy saves him. As Piggy comes to Uncle Tom’s res­cue, a vil­lain tries to make off with Fluffy.

In 1968, United Artists (then own­ers of the A.A.P. library of pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Mer­rie Melodies car­toons) com­piled the car­toons they con­sid­ered too poten­tially offen­sive to be shown on tele­vi­sion, and with­held those car­toons from dis­tri­b­u­tion. AT that time, UA felt that these eleven car­toons should be with­held from broad­cast because the depic­tions of black peo­ple in the car­toons were deemed too offen­sive for con­tem­po­rary audiences.

This car­toon is one of those with­held from dis­tri­b­u­tion, one of the so-called “Cen­sored 11.” (The “Eleven” are: Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lelu­jah Land (MM,1931), Sun­day Go to Meetin’ Time (MM, 1936), Clean Pas­tures (MM, 1937), Uncle Tom’s Bun­ga­low (MM, 1937), Jun­gle Jit­ters (1938), The Isle of Pingo Pongo (MM, 1938), All This and Rab­bit Stew (MM, 1941), Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (MM, 1943), Tin Pan Alley Cats (MM, 1943), Angel Puss (LT, 1944), and Goldilocks and the Jivin’ Bears (MM, 1944)). More recently, when Ted Turner became owner of the library, he con­tin­ued the ban, and refused to allow any of these car­toons to be shown or released on video. To date, these shorts have not been offi­cially broad­cast on tele­vi­sion since 1968.

Sound­track:

  • Hit­tin’ the Trail for Hal­lalu­jah Land,” Music by Rube Bloom, Lyrics by Joe Young, Sung by Var­i­ous Characters
  • De Camp­town Races,” Music by Stephen Fos­ter; “Mys­te­ri­ous Mose,” Music by Wal­ter Doyle

So watch this one today, and let us know what you think– rightly sup­pressed or much ado about nothing???

Lucille Bliss, 96, Was Cartoon Voice of Crusader Rabbit, Smurfette

Lucille Bliss

Lucille Bliss

Voice actress Lucille Bliss, who por­trayed the title char­ac­ter of the first made-for-TV car­toon series, Cru­sader Rab­bit (1949–51), died Thurs­day night, ani­ma­tor Dave Nimitz said. She was 96.

She had been liv­ing in Mesa Verde Res­i­den­tial Care Cen­ter in Costa Mesa, California.

Bliss voiced Smur­fette, the only female Smurf, from 1981 to 1989 in the Hanna-Barbera series Smurfs, as well as the 1987 TV spe­cial ‘Tis the Sea­son to Be Smurfy. Other Smur­fette appear­ances were in the TV-movies The Smurfs Christ­mas Spe­cial and The Smurfs Spring­time Spe­cial (both 1982), My Smurfy Valen­tine (1983), and The Smurfic Games (1984).

For Dis­ney, she por­trayed step­sis­ter Anas­ta­sia in Cin­derella (1950), Sun­flower and Turnip in Alice in Won­der­land (1951), and the Kanine Krunchie Com­mer­cial Singer in 101 Dal­ma­tians (1961). Other roles in car­toon films were Mrs. Fitzgib­bons in Don Bluth Pro­duc­tions’ The Secret of NIMH (1982) and the Pigeon Lady in Blue Sky’s Robots (2005).

Also at Dis­ney, she nar­rated “Story of Thumper,” “Story of the White Rab­bit” and “Story of Grandpa Bunny,” three sto­ries on the Dis­ney album Peter Cot­ton­tail and Other Funny Bun­nies.

Her other reg­u­lar TV series roles included Snoopy in H-B’s The Space Kidettes (1966), Queen Slugga in Ewoks (1986–87), and Ms. Bit­ters in Invader ZIM (2001).

Over the 1950s, Bliss was heard in sev­eral the­atri­cal Warner Bros. and MGM the­atri­cal car­toon shorts. Though uncred­ited, she was Suzanne in Friz Freleng’s A Kid­dies Kitty (1955), the Lit­tle Girl and Mama in A Wag­gily Tale (1958), Jerry’s lit­tle mouse friend Tuffy in 1958’s MGM car­toon Robin Hood­winked, and the Lep­rechaun in another 1958 MGM release, Droopy Lep­rechaun.

On TV, she guested as Hugo and Scout in the 1961 The Flint­stones episode “The Good Scout,” The Librar­ian in the 2005 Duck Dodgers episode “All in the Crime Fam­ily,” and Yagoda (aka Yugoda) in the 2005 Avatar: The Last Air­ben­der episodes “The Water­bend­ing Mas­ter” and “The Siege of the North Pt. 1.”

Bliss por­trayed Bamm Bamm Rub­ble in the 1977 TV-movie A Flint­stone Christ­mas and Dusty in the 1978 TV-movie The Flint­stones Lit­tle Big League. Other TV-movie and TV spe­cial roles included Miss Witch in The Great Bear Scare (1983); and Lick­ety Page and other char­ac­ters in the ABC Week­end Spe­cials Cap’n O.G. Readmore’s Jack and the Beanstalk (1985), Cap’n O.G. Read­more Meets Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Cap’n O.G. Readmore’s Puss in Boots and Cap’n O.G. Read­more Meets Red Rid­ing Hood (both 1988).

She was in the voice casts of the two-part 1972 spe­cial Oliver and the Art­ful Dodger, released as an install­ment of The ABC Sat­ur­day Super­star Movie; the 1975 TV-movie The Tiny Tree. Bliss was also in the 1979 TV-movie Casper the Friendly Ghost: He Ain’t Scary, He’s Our Brother (aka Casper Saves Hal­loween).

Bliss por­trayed Quinby in the 2007 the­atri­cal car­toon short Up-In-Down Town, and also was heard in the the­atri­cal shorts Hug Me (1981) and Betty Boop’s Hol­ly­wood Mys­tery (1989)

In the 2005 video short Blue Har­vest Days (reti­tled Who Saves the Vil­lage?), she voiced Bear Brat.

Born in New York City on March 31, 1916, Bliss moved to San Fran­cisco in the 1950s. There, she hosted ABC affil­i­ate KRON-TV’s The Happy Birth­day To You Show, a live local kids’ pro­gram, from 1950 to 1957.

For her work in Cin­derella, Bliss received the For­mer Child Star Life­time Achieve­ment Award at the 1999 Young Artist Awards. At the Annie Awards, she won the Win­sor McCay award for life­time achieve­ment in 2000.

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Looney Tunes Movie Back In Action

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam look to be back in action, or at least headed back to the big screen. Warner Bros. has announced that they plan to reboot the clas­sic car­toon short char­ac­ters into an as-yet unti­tled new hybrid live-action/CG film.

For­mer Sat­ur­day Night Live cast mem­ber Jenny Slate is already on board as writer for the new flick. Jef­frey Clif­ford, Harry Pot­ter pro­ducer David Hey­man and Dark Shad­ows writ­ers David Katzen­berg and Seth Grahame-Smith are slated to pro­duce the film.

No cast­ing has yet been announced.

The clas­sic Warner Bros. Looney Tunes (and Mer­rie Melodies) char­ac­ters appeared in shorts from the stu­dio from 1930 through 1968. Dur­ing their ini­tial the­atri­cal run, the Looney Tunes and Mer­rie Melodies series became the most pop­u­lar of all the­atri­cal series, exceed­ing even Dis­ney in audi­ence draw. Var­i­ous revivals of the shorts have occurred since, includ­ing some well regarded CGI shorts over the last few years.

The char­ac­ters have also made their way into two pre­vi­ous live-action/CG films, Space Jamwhich fea­tured Michael Jor­dan, and the Bren­dan Fraser/Jenna Elf­man film Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

Space Jam grossed $90 mil­lion domes­ti­cally and $230 mil­lion world­wide, while the sec­ond film only made only $20 mil­lion domes­ti­cally and $68 mil­lion worldwide.