Tag Archives: MGM

Pink Turns 50! Let’s Celebrate!

10003446_10152049972182965_282434669_nOne of the greats in the ani­ma­tion char­ac­ter pan­theon has just hit his golden anniver­sary. First appear­ing in the open­ing title sequence of the 1963 film The Pink Pan­ther, the ani­mated cat had such an influ­ence on audi­ences he went on top star in a series of ani­mated the­atri­cal films, var­i­ous tele­vi­sion series, and, of course, a slew of other ani­mated title sequences. In fact, the only Pink Pan­ther film the pan­ther was not fea­tured in was the sec­ond, A Shot In The Dark.

Con­tinue read­ing “Pink Turns 50! Let’s Celebrate!” »

Cartoon of the Day: The Early Bird And The Worm

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.”

Cartoon of the Day: Bad Luck Blackie

Bad Luck Blackie

Bad Luck Blackie

Our first Tex Avery short of the year is Bad Luck Blackie, from 1949. Not his most pop­u­lar char­ac­ter or short, but one worth watch­ing if you are a fan of Avery.

Bad Luck Blackie is a black cat whose job it is to bring bad luck wher­ever needed… and it IS needed by a poor lit­tle kit­ten, con­stantly tor­tured by an evil bull­dog. “When­ever you need me, just blow the whis­tle,” Blackie says to the kitten.

When­ever the dog both­ers the kit­ten, the kit­ten blows the whis­tle and Blackie comes out of nowhere, cross­ing the dog’s path and giv­ing him bad luck… usu­ally in the form of some­thing large and heavy falling on him from the sky!

As his luck gets worse and worse, the objects get big­ger and big­ger. Falling objects include (in suc­ces­sive order) a flow­er­pot, a kitchen sink and a battleship.

Cartoon of the Day: The Missing Mouse

The Missing Mouse

The Miss­ing Mouse

From nearly the end of the the­atri­cal series, The Miss­ing Mouse was unique in a few ways. Pop­u­lar voice actor Paul Frees– Cap­tain Hook from Disney’s Peter Pan from the same year– han­dles the voice duties for this short, and therein is one of the unique aspects of the film.

While Jerry is loot­ing the fridge, Tom comes by and ham­mers him… He pinches Jerry’s tail in a mouse­trap, and while run­ning away, the mouse spills a bot­tle of white shoe pol­ish on himself.

Sud­denly, the radio blurts out that an exper­i­men­tal “explo­sive” white mouse has escaped from the lab. Tom sees Jerry and is fright­ened to death. Jerry takes advan­tage, and keeps try­ing to fall off shelves and such… the cat catch­ing him no mat­ter what. Tom lets irons and pianos fall on him instead of Jerry.

When the mouse falls in the sink, Tom real­izes that he’s been a fool; he hits Jerry with a ham­mer and throws him out. The real white mouse then enters, and when Tom washes the fake one and then sees Jerry, he ages 50 years! The radio then announces that the explo­sive mouse is no longer dan­ger­ous… Tom strikes him and BOOM! The cat sticks his head out of the rub­ble and says, “Don’t you believe it!”

This is one of the rare car­toons in which Tom speaks; although here it sounds as though he is imi­tat­ing char­ac­ter actor Ned Sparks in the final scene.

This is the only Tom and Jerry car­toon (and pos­si­bly the only MGM car­toon) for which Scott Bradley does not receive music credit.

 

 

Cartoon of the Day: The Dot And The Line

The Dot And The Line

The Dot And The Line

Chuck Jones made a lot of mem­o­rable films. But the best may not have starred a Rab­bit, a fleet-footed desert bird, or a mar­t­ian, or even the Grinch… it may have only fea­tured a cou­ple sim­ple geo­met­ric shapes. Released on the last day of 1965, The Dot And The Line won an Acad­emy Award for best short film with it’s sim­ple yet time­less story.

A love story in which the line has unre­quited love for the dot; she only has eyes for the squig­gle. He over­comes his straight-laced life, and the dot sees him for what he truly is. The moral? To the vec­tor belong the spoils. The dot has an evil laugh and goes around doing bad things. It mis­be­haves quite a bit, but it shows col­ors, shapes, and a smily face which mouths off to the nar­ra­tor. The first 30 sec­onds of the car­toon take place in an art room with easels.

Chuck Jones would ani­mate two books by author Nor­ton Juster; this, and 1970’s The Phan­tom Toll­booth.

This and 1967’s The Bear That Wasn’t were MGM’s only non-Tom and Jerry ani­ma­tion after 1958.

Cartoon of the Day: Good Will To Men

Good Will To Men

Good Will To Men

A clas­sic Christ­mas film, Good Will To Men was an Acad­emy Award nom­i­nee for MGM in 1956.

A group of young mice is in the ruins of a church, prac­tic­ing singing for an upcom­ing ser­vice. After singing an adul­ter­ated ver­sion of “Hark! The Her­ald Angels Sing,” the mice won­der about the last line, “Good will to men.” One of them asks the cho­rus mas­ter, an old mouse, “What are men?”

The old mouse explains that they all killed each other off by build­ing big­ger and more destruc­tive weapons, first guns, then mis­siles, then bombs. At the end of the fight­ing, clouds are seen, imply­ing that nuclear weapons were used by each side.

The old mouse shows the boys some rules to live by that men seem to have for­got­ten. He is read­ing from a Bible.

This film was a remake of “Peace On Earth” (1939).

Cartoon of the Day: Mouse Cleaning

Mouse Cleaning

Mouse Clean­ing

Back before their tele­vi­sion empire, back before the Flint­stones and Scooby Doo, William Hanna and Joseph Bar­bera played a cat against a mouse. From Tom & Jerry, today’s car­toon of the day is Mouse Clean­ing from this date in 1948.

Mammy-Two-Shoes tells Tom that if the house gets dirty or untidy, he will be thrown out. Once she leaves, Jerry uses a cig­a­rette ash­tray to spread filth all over the place. Gags and chase sequences ensue. Jerry diverts a coal chute into the liv­ing room as Mammy comes home.

She and Tom col­lide out­side the front door. When Tom pokes his head out of the coal, he becomes a stereo­typ­i­cal black Stepin Fetchit-style char­ac­ter. Mammy thinks Tom is a man and asks, “Hey you! Has you seen a no-good cat around here?” Tom replies (in a stereo­typ­i­cal black voice), “No ma’am! I ain’t seen no cat around here! Uh-uh! No cat, no place, no how, no ma’am!”

Mammy spots Tom’s tom­fool­ery and yells “Thomas!” Tom runs away and hob­bles along the side­walk, shuf­fling and mumbling.

This car­toon was redubbed in the 1960s, with Mammy-Two-Shoes speak­ing in an aggres­sively non-racial white-bread accent (her legs are still 100% “of color,” though!).

Addi­tion­ally, the scene where Tom, in black­face, does his “Stepin Fetchit” rou­tine was excised and replaced with some newly-created ani­ma­tion by the Chuck Jones MGM unit nearly 20 years later.

Ken­neth Muse did the ani­ma­tion in the sequence where Tom jug­gles eggs and an ink pad, accord­ing to ani­ma­tor Mark Kausler. Ed Barge ani­mated the old horse and the coal, while the final sequences were done by Ray Pat­ter­son and Irv Spence.

The House Of Tomorrow (1949) — MGM Theatrical Short

The House Of Tomorrow

The House Of Tomorrow

#CotD: The first of four of Tex Avery’s “Tomor­row Themes” car­toons, “The House Of Tomor­row” was a trend-setter pre­dict­ing the future.

The House Of Tomor­row (1949) — MGM The­atri­cal Short

One of Tex Avery’s “Tomor­row Themes” which fea­tured the “house of the future” with many cus­tom and adjustable gad­gets around the house, such as a record changer that starts throw­ing the records against the wall. But the accom­mo­da­tions for the mother-in-law (includ­ing a med­i­cine cab­i­net) is the real sell­ing point.

You can watch “The House Of Tomor­row” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Tom Turkey And His Harmonica Humdingers (1940) — MGM Theatrical Short

Tom Turkey And His Harmonica Humdingers

Tom Turkey And His Har­mon­ica Humdingers

#CotD: Hugh Har­man directed “Tom Turkey And His Har­mon­ica Humdingers” at the same time Hanna and Bar­bera were cre­at­ing the first Tom & Jerry car­toon across the hall.

Tom Turkey And His Har­mon­ica Humdingers (1940) — MGM The­atri­cal Short

Tom Turkey wan­ders over to the gen­eral store, his har­mon­ica in hand. In no time he and the good ol’ boys there begin a jam ses­sion on har­mon­i­cas (and one pic­colo) that end up turn­ing the store into a total wreck.

You can watch “Tom Turkey And His Har­mon­ica Humdingers” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase

Mouse For Sale (1955) — Tom and Jerry Cartoon Series

Mouse For Sale

Mouse For Sale

#CotD: A much more mature Tom and Jerry meet again in “Mouse For Sale” from 1955.

Mouse For Sale (1955) — Tom and Jerry Car­toon Series

White mice being all the rage, Tom paints Jerry white with the idea of sell­ing him for a tidy profit.

Come see “Mouse For Sale” on video at Big Car­toon DataBase