Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Best Animated Short - 1941


1941, what a memorable year. It was the year Ted Williams hit a walk-off home run in the All Star game, and went on to hit .406 to become the last hitter to bat .400 in a year they qualified for the batting title. Yet his accomplishment went mostly unnoticed as fellow outfielder Joe DiMaggio stole most of the thunder with his legendary 56-game hitting streak. He later played a role in the Yankees' Game 4 comeback in the World Series that started after Mickey Owen couldn't get his hands on Hugh Casey's spitball. It was the year that Lou Gehrig lost his battle against what may or may not be the disease that bears hi name today. And of course the "date which will live in infamy" happened in 1941.


And 1941 also saw the release of what many film historians would call the best film of all time. Orson Welles was a cocky young talent who had become a radio star with his crowning achievement being the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938. He was hired by RKO Radio at the young age of 25 and given carte blanche to make a movie, and he proceeded to make Citizen Kane, which was a critical success. Unfortunately, it rubbed newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst the wrong way, who declared all out war against the film which was documented in the film The Battle Over Citizen Kane* Still, despite the poor publicity Citizen Kane was well represented at the Oscars, getting nine nominations tying it with the Bette Davis The Little Foxes for third, behind only the religious WWI film Sergeant York (11) and the Irish drama How Green was My Valley (10). The other nominees (in descending order by nominations) were Here Comes Mr. Jordan (seven, less than what the remake Heaven Can Wait would get almost 40 years later), Hold Back the Dawn (six), Blossoms in the Dust (four, based on the life of Fort Worth legend Edna Gladney), The Maltese Falcon (three), Suspicion (three), and One Foot in Heaven (one).

*The Battle Over Citizen Kane was itself nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 1995 alongside Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream. Both films would lose to Anne Frank Remembered. It was one of the first Oscar categories I remember watching. 

Citizen Kane didn't do so well from the beginning. It was one of 20 films nominated for the Best Music (Dramatic) Oscar but lost in spite of Bernard Herrmann's now classic score. However, Herrmann didn't mind as he picked up the win for his work in The Devil and Daniel Webster. Meanwhile Disney's hit film Dumbo won the Oscar for Best Music (Musical), but it lost Best Original Score to Lady Be Good for the song "The Last Time I Saw Paris." Best Sound went to Vivien Leigh's That Hamlton Woman. Citizen Kane's luck didn't improve in the visual categories. The work of Gregg Toland and his deep focus and the use of ceilings in the sets is now celebrated, but it lost both Best Cinematography and Art Direction to How Green Was My Valley. Meanwhile the color categories went to Blood and Sand for Cinematography and Blossoms in the Dust for Art Direction. Sergeant York would go on to win Best Editing, and Best Special Effects went to I Wanted Wings. Citizen Kane eventually won its first Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Here Comes Mr. Jordan won two for Original Story and Best Screenplay.

The acting awards also didn't go Citizen Kane's way, although it had only one nomination. Best Supporting Actress went to Mary Astor, who starred in the critically acclaimed The Maltese Falcon, although the win was for The Great Lie. One of the actresses she beat was the young (22) and lovely Teresa Wright for The Little Foxes. Best Supporting Actor went to Donald Crisp for How Green Was My Valley. Best Actress featured a battle between sisters as Joan Fontaine was nominated for her role as the suspicious wife in Hitchcock's Suspicion and Olivia de Havilland as the trusting wife in Brackett and Wilder's Hold Back the Dawn. In the end it was Fontaine that ended up triumphant. Meanwhile, Orson Welles had pinned his hopes for winning Best Actor at the tender age of 26, but that went out the window as Gary Cooper took the win for Sergeant York.

Going into the final categories, How Green Was My Valley had three wins while Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Sergeant York had each won two. Citizen Kane had won one, while The Little Foxes was still winless. All five of those films had been up for the coveted Best Director honor, as it may direct who would go on to win Best Picture. In the end it went to John Ford for How Green Was My Valley, his second straight win. And then How Green Was My Valley went on to capture Best Picture as well. This turn of events is often cited as one of the worst Oscar results, but with Hearst declaring a vendetta against Citizen Kane it really didn't stand a chance of winning. You gotta love the politics of Oscar.

Meanwhile the Academy also chose to nominate ten films for the Best Animated Short Oscar, by far the most in the category's history.

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Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "B"
Hot Breath Harry is one of the top trumpet players in all of Chicago. He and his band the Harlem Heatwave attracts a large crowd every night. One night he receive notice that he had been drafted, thereby ending his performing career. He tried to resist but soon finds himself in basic training, where he was assigned to be the bugler to play the Reveille every morning. However, the bugler is most hated position in the entirety of Company B. Can he find a way to survive his new position? The Andrews Sisters is one of the most famous female performing teams in the 20th century, so famous that they were parodied in Disney's A Symposium on Popular Songs. They rose to stardom in the 1940s, and much of it was thanks to their most famous song, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," which was introduced in the Universal Abbott and Costello film Buck Privates. The song was a major hit and was even nominated for an Oscar, although like Dumbo's "Baby Mine" it lost to "The Last Time I Saw Paris." Still "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" continued to increase in popularity, becoming one of the most iconic songs from the 20th century. The fact that Michelle "Apple Bloom" Creber sang the song in her performance at Fiesta Equestria is a testament to the song's lasting value. When the song became a hit Walter Lantz, who supplied cartoons to Universal, got a chance to make a film based on the song. The film can be split into two parts, the first half being a tale of how the bugler, now named "Hot Breath Harry," became a part of the army and his initial difficulty with the new position. The second half is shows how his bugle playing livens up the entire company, featuring selections from the song sang by a male trio. The first half is more episodic while the second half is built around slapstick and sight gags. The execution is quite well done as it flows nicely from the first to the second half. Some of the gags are pretty funny. Unfortunately Company B is portrayed in the film as being all black, and while the depiction of the African Americans may not be as extreme as some of the caricatures in cartoons from the 1930s, it may still come across a being somewhat offensive. So it isn't quite as well known today as the song it was based on, but it was still a pretty good film.
Where Can I Watch It?


Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt
Bugs Bunny sits by a large lake, reading the poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. However, he suddenly comes to the realization that Hiawatha was hunting rabbits and quickly runs away, especially since Hiawatha was seen nearby. The real Hiawatha comes marching along preparing to hunt for his prey. The two end up running into each other and they go into back and forth. Who is going to come on top? The incompetent Hiawatha or the resourceful Bugs? Bugs Bunny is the most popular character in the Warner Bros. mascot lineup, if not the most famous in the history of animation. A wisecracking rabbit has appeared in Warner Bros. cartoons as far back as 1938, but for all intent and purposes Bugs's official debut came in 1940 with A Wild Hare. The battle of wits between Bugs and an overmatched Elmer Fudd was so popular that this became a formula for several other films, including Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt. This was the first Bugs Bunny cartoon directed by Friz Freleng, who would go on to make several more. It was also a parody of the popular Silly Symphony Little Hiawatha, only instead of a brave little Indian Hiawatha became a clumsy oaf that speaks like Ed from Ed, Edd, n Eddy. The main focus of the film was supposed to be the interaction between Bugs and Hiawatha, but the film seems to suffer from pacing problems. There was really only four situations. Naturally Bugs gains the upper edge in all of them but they all seem to drag along. For example in one scene Hiawatha was planning on tying Bugs to a tree but Hiawatha ends up behind the ropes. Then Bugs does an Indian dance thing...for almost 30 seconds. The funniest part may be an incidental gag where Bugs jumps out of his rabbit hole after kissing Hiawatha, but instead of landing in the hole he lands several feet to the side. He crawls back to the hole in shame. It's pretty unexpected scene especially considering Bugs's persona. It's almost as if the scene was from a blooper reel that made the final cut. The ending is also a surprising but good, and there were a few nifty visual gags, but Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt probably won't go down as among the best in Warner Bros. history.
Where Can I Watch It?
You can watch it here for now. No telling how long before Warner Bros. has it removed.


How War Came
After the end of the Great War, the League of Nations was formed to safeguard world peace and prevent another destructive global conflict. Some of the world's most powerful nations banded together to resolve global disputes, but some of their efforts were undermined by members who was looking to expand their territories. Japan started things by invading Manchuria and later down to much of China. Italy followed suit with its invasion of Ethiopia. Meanwhile Germany, one of the losers in the Great War, rearmed itself and took over many of its neighbors, leading to the need for Britain and France to intervene. Can America prepare itself for the inevitable global conflict before it's too late? Back in the first 11 months of 1941 America was still living the isolationist life. War had been going on in Europe for two years and in Asia for even longer than that, but the United States was still hanging out on the sidelines watching the action. There were signs that war may be closer than they expected, especially with President Roosevelt instituting the peacetime draft the year before, leading to films like Buck Privates and two other nominated films of the year. However, much of the public was still not exactly sure what to make of the war, so journalist and celebrated radio personality Raymond Gram Swing decided to help them out. Swing may be mostly forgotten today, but in the 1930s he had been a crucial player in leading to the rearmament of America, coming out against Fascism in his radio broadcasts and becoming the chairman of the Council for Democracy. He spoke out against Nazi aggression, and this led to his involvement in creating a series of films to explain the war. Interestingly enough, he paired up with Cartoon Films Ltd., a division of Columbia producing animated films, one of the first films to use animation for documentary purposes.

The content of How War Came was fairly simplified compared to the complexity of the actual events, of which I'm sure numerous dissertations have been written, but still quite dense. It explores the aggressive policies of Japan, Italy, and Germany in ways that the average moviegoer can possibly understand. It reinforces the events being described with maps and reenactments of the conflicts as depicted through animation. The animation itself is fairly bare. The images are mostly static, as whatever motion are depicted are rather minimal like planes flying, soldiers marching, or flags waving. Still, it is rather clean and easy to understand. When Swing talked about German interest in the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia, the map highlights the pertinent area. Swing is an effective narrator, although his speaking can be a bit dry, and he has some sort of an accent. It is worth noting that there was a short scene of Hitler speaking, with his voice provided by voice acting legend Mel Blanc. Overall, How War Came was a fairly informative piece of work, very much like the newsreels of the day. this may be the most significant thing about How War Came and the "This Changing World" series. Prior to this, animated films have been mostly used to generate some laughs and rarely used for more serious films. The potential for animation to be used in documentaries have been recognized by Tex Avery, although he mostly specialized in mockumentaries like Detouring America. Meanwhile, that same year Rudolf Ising and Hugh Harman used a more serious animation style at MGM in their anti-war parable Peace on Earth. Still, nobody actually relied on animation outside the recreation of maps until "This Changing World," but the series showed how with animation you can help better visualize important concepts such as the growth of Germany's army as well as recreate battle footage. It eventually lead other studios to create animated documentaries such as Disney's The New Spirit and Victory Through Air Power, and Warner Bros.'s So Much for So Little. Those films are more visually interesting than How War Came, but How War Came is still an interesting look back at a tumultuous event in the history of the world.
Where Can I Watch It?


Lend a Paw
It is a cold winter night, but even so Pluto was out in the snow and ice sniffing around. He hears a strange noise coming out from a nearby river and rushes over to see a bag floating on a piece of ice. He bravely goes and rescues the bag only to see a kitten emerge. He chases the kitten away, but the kitten follows him as he goes home. Mickey sees the new kitten and take him in, much to Pluto's chagrin. Through his seething jealousy a devilish figure appears and convinces Pluto be mean to the kitten, but Pluto's conscience also appears. Who is going to win out in the end? As I said in with Pluto's Blue Note, Pluto kind of gets the shaft when it comes to Disney mascots. His roles are usually quite limited and he often serves as the fall guy for slapstick just like Donald Duck. However, if Pluto's Blue Note was a major step forward for Pluto's characterization, then Lend a Paw would be his finest hour. The entire film plays out as a morality tale, with two aspects of Pluto's subconscious battling for supremacy in a shoulder angel/devil kind of way. Of course Pluto does spend most of the film under the shoulder devil's influence, but the opposing forces on Pluto's decision making plays makes for a rather compelling tale in a way that is flows much better than Reason and Emotion. And the film is incredibly cute. I don't think Pluto ranks very high on the adorable scale, but I'm sure many people would disagree. That kitten, however, is through the roof. It is so cute it's almost sickening. If there's anything wrong with the film it's just that it's not very original. The film was a remake of the 1933 film Mickey's Pal Pluto. Yeah, they did turn a litter of kittens into just one, and they got rid of Minnie, but for the most part the film is pretty much the same, especially the climactic fight between Pluto's subconscious. And the shoulder Plutos don't talk in rhyme like they did in the original. These things may keep Lend a Paw from being a masterpiece, but it's still a great and cute film.
Where Can I Watch It?


The Night Before Christmas
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except maybe a mouse. Jerry the mouse came out of his little mouse hole and began to enjoy himself amongst all of the Christmas decorations. He licked the stripes off of a candy cane and plays with some of the stuffed animals. Unfortunately, his antics wake up another sleeping denizen, the kitty cat Tom. Tom chases his nemesis around the house and they get into a vicious scuffle, but can the the true spirit of Christmas come into their hearts? William Hanan and Joe Barbera introduced a cat and mouse cartoon the year before, and the end result was a massive hit that was nominated for an Oscar. The duo came back in 1941, this time under the alias Tom and Jerry. They starred in one film titled The Midnight Snack, but it was their second that would go down in history. The Night Before Christmas took the battle to Christmastime. The film was notable in that the battle between the two didn't really take up the entire film. The first two and a half minutes of the film features Jerry playing around with the decorations and toys. It's more cute than funny, but it was a welcome intro. Then he runs into Tom and the slapstick starts. There are some nifty gags involving the Christmas items, such as Jerry evading Tom on top of a toy train and a rather bizarre but funny scene involving some mistletoe. And then comes the finale where the characters get into the spirit of Christmas. Some people have criticized the ending for being too cloyingly saccharine, but I think it is a nice touch to have the two embittered enemies coming together in peace. Perhaps it's because we've seen so much violence in some of their other films. I mean, Tom dies in the end of The Yankee Doodle Mouse, Mouse Trouble, and The Two Mouseketeers. I personally think the ending really elevates the film. Too bad this truce is only temporary as they'll be at each other's throats for the next 70 plus year.
Where Can I Watch It?
Warner Bros. will probably have this removed soon and I won't notice, but here it is for now.


Rhapsody in Rivets
A new skyscraper is under construction in New York, but this won't be an ordinary construction project. The foreman is going to make sure that this skyscraper would be like another that has come before, as instead of leading the action he is going to be conducting it. The workers all contribute to the performance art construction project in tune with the music, but would the workers play along? Not with some workers sleeping on the job, coming late, and accidents happening left and right. Can the skyscraper ever get finished? Construction site gags have always had a prime spot in animated films from the golden age, ever since Disney's Building a Building became a hit and earned Mickey Mouse an Oscar nomination. Later films involving construction sites included Mr. Magoo's Trouble Indemnity and two of the Pink Panther's earliest films The Pink Phink and The Pink Blueprint. Of course Warner Bros. probably had the quintessential construction site film with Rhapsody in Rivets. For one thing it had something the other films didn't have in an epic soundtrack. Okay, the Pink Panther films had Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme", but Rhapsody in Rivets had Franz Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2". Yes, this was the first time that the song was used by Warner Bros. in a cartoon. Of course it wouldn't mean anything if the corresponding gags were lame, but Rhapsody in Rivets had a lot of terrific slapstick, visual and situational gags all done to the tune of the music. You've got workers pounding nails in each others' behinds, large animals tapping on a stake with small hammers while a small mouse pounding it with a big one. Not all of the jokes work, but a good majority of them do, and that makes Rhapsody in Rivets and entertaining work from beginning to end. And Franz Liszt!
Where Can I Watch It?
The quality is terrible, but that may be why Warner Bros. has let this stay up for so long.


Rhythm in the Ranks
Little Jan is a member of the army of the toy soldiers, and he's also kind of a disgrace. He's constantly late and doesn't march in line with the other soldiers, so he's given the thankless job of dragging the cannon around. One day while dragging the cannon he stops to take a breather and lays eyes on a beautiful ice skater. He spends a special afternoon with her, but in the process he loses the cannon. He was given a dishonorable discharge from the regular army and sent to clean the barracks. Can he ever redeem himself when the Screwball Army attacks? George Pal is the visionary director of Puppetoon shorts, one of the earliest stop motion animation to gain distribution from a major film company, in this case Paramount. Rhythm in the Ranks was one of his first films for Paramount after coming over from Europe, and as such it gains a rather notable historical milestone in that it's the first stop motion animation film to get a nomination for Best Animated Short, just like how Hunger was the first film animated by computer. Rhythm in the Ranks isn't quite the masterpiece that Hunger was, though. The story is rather cliched, being the tale of a misfit that somehow saves the day. (I'm pretty sure there's a trope for that.) A lot of the jokes don't quite work out. I think the scene with the singing telegram delivering the declaration of war was supposed to be funny, but it isn't. Still, Rhythm in the Ranks is notable for its animation. Not only does it have the replacement animation popularized by Puppetoons making it look far ahead of its time, but there's also some nifty special effects with the way how camouflage pant turned things invisible. And Rhythm in the Ranks does have one of the best pieces of sexual innuendo in any of the nominees we've seen, ranking up there with the piston scene in Great. Of course that may also be why this film has become so tough to find. Which is too bad, because any Puppetoon film is worth watching.
Where Can I Watch It?
You're out of luck for now, but this film and its innuendo is gong to make it onto the Blu-Ray release of The Puppetoons Movie so go buy that, even if you don't have a blu-ray player.

The Rookie Bear
Barney the Bear is a lazy sort who enjoys hanging out in his cozy den, especially since it's the winter months and he's hibernating. However he won't get a normal rest this year, as he finds out that he's won an all expenses paid vacation by the US government. Unfortunately it's not the sort of vacation that is nice and relaxing. Strife magazine is present to track his progress from being a new recruit to killing machine. Can he survive the process and fight for the country? 1940 was a significant year in the history of conscription in America. While America still officially held an isolationist stance, there was significant interest in the war overseas that the first peacetime draft was held. It was a rather stressful time as young men were being called into service. This peacetime draft also became a source for humor by animation studios, with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "B" reviewed earlier and The Rookie Bear. The latter film starred Barney Bear, a mascot character for MGM created by Rudolf Ising that is largely forgotten now, but was quite popular in the 1940s. The Rookie Bear plays out like a mockumentary on the evolution of a soldier, narrated by reporters from Strife Magazine, an obvious play on the popular Life magazine. The first half of the film is the introduction of our intrepid hero, how he was waken up from hibernation and tricked to report willingly. Once that's done the second half is spent with his evaluation and his army life. Unfortunately the latter part is spent mostly featuring Barney marching long distances and throwing in numerous references of the feet being dogs. The rest of the film is also mostly with visual and situational humor, which can be hit or miss. One memorable one is a look at Barney's teeth, which features cavities the size of the Grand Canyon. The repair is portrayed as being a WPA project, reminding you that yes, this film was made during the Great Depression. Barney is a goofy and likable character, but unfortunately The Rookie Bear doesn't do enough with the concept.
Where Can I Watch It?


Superman
Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! That's right, the sole survivor of the destruction of the planet Krypton is here to save the day. He's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap a tall building in a single bound, but he doesn't really have to do that because he can fly. Superman lives his life as Clark Kent, a mild mannered news reporter, breaking out as Superman only when necessary. And it may be necessary when the Mad Scientist break out his Electrothanasia Ray on the public, and he's got Lois Lane, trying to break the story with an exclusive interview, in his grasp. Superman may have seen his reputation take quite a hit in recent years in the comic book world, especially compared to some of the more complex superheroes like Batman and Spiderman, but there's no denying that he's the first truly iconic comic book superhero. He shot to superstardom since his debut in 1938, and by 1941 he was one of the most in-demand characters, so imagine the excitement of Paramount when they picked up the license. They immediately implored Fleischer Studios, the famous animation studio that produced their cartoon shorts, to produce a series. The Fleischers were reluctant to make the film, but Paramount executives were so desperate they were willing to throw three the money than they would a Popeye cartoon for the first film. So armed with the budget, the Fleischers went to work on their first film, now subtitled "The Mad Scientist." The storyline is rather cliched, with Superman coming out to save the day, but only after the Mad Scientist killed off numerous innocent commuters. The dialogue is cheesy, and people make pretty dumb decisions. But the animation is fantastic. The Fleischers have always been very innovative visually with their films, and armed with the high budget for Superman they pushed the limits with amazing special effects animation and some nifty character animation done without the use of the rotoscope (which the Fleischers invented.) And the end result was a film that was truly ahead of its time.
Where Can I Watch It?


Truant Officer Donald
Donald Duck has gotten a new job, this time as a truant officer. It's his task to make sure that kids stay in school, so imagine his shock that his own adopted children are out having fun at the swimming hole in the middle of the day. He captures each of them and on the way of taking them to school, but they manage to escape. He chases after them and find them hiding in their own. Can he get them out of the clubhouse and back in school where they belong? Donald Duck has had several nemeses that frustrated him over the years, and none have caused him more trouble than his own short temper. Beyond that his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie have given him fits for over 70 years in both the cartoons and the popular Donald Duck comics. Their appearance in the cartoons have almost always been as mischievous pranksters, especially after their incorrigible debut in Donald's Nephews, and this combined with Donald's fiery temper would lead to comedy gold. Their methods of foiling Donald's effort to capture them is the main focus of Truant Officer Donald. The gags are mostly slapstick, although the climactic prank is more on the psychological side. This final joke is the highlight of the film, but the scene is dialogue heavy which becomes a problem with Clarence Nash's difficult to understand voice for Donald and his nephews. That kind of destroys the mood. The rest of the gags, which also includes Donald's methods of capturing his newphews, are rather cliched and uninspired. The animation also doesn't seem to have quite the polish of some of the other Disney films of the time. Truant Officer Donald is an enjoyable film, but that's about the extent to what it achieves.
Where Can I Watch It?


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Ten nominations, the most in the history of the category, and thanks to Jerry Beck posting How War Came I've finally seen them all. They're all decent films, but three films in particular stands out: The Night Before Christmas, Rhapsody in Rivets, and SupermanSuperman has the best animation and the best reputation, but the story is kind of lacking. Rhapsody in Rivets has the best gags and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, but it has barely even has a story at all. The Night Before Christmas has great gags and with the addition of the sweet ending. Lend a Paw could have been another but the fact it's a remake doesn't exactly sit well with me when ranking the film on quality, although I'm sure I ranked another remake highly. The Academy didn't have a problem with this, and they awarded the Oscar to Disney, their ninth Oscar in the first ten years of the category. But it's nice to have Pluto rewarded like that.

My rankings (by quality)
The Night Before Christmas > Superman > Rhapsody in Rivets > Lend a Paw > Rhythm in the Ranks > How War Came > Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt > Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "B" > The Rookie Bear > Truant Officer Donald

My rankings (by preference)
Rhapsody in Rivets > Lend a Paw > The Night Before Christmas > Rhythm in the Ranks > Superman > How War Came > Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "B" > Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt > The Rookie Bear > Truant Officer Donald

Well, we have only nine reviews left after this, after which I'll have no idea what to do about this blog. So in an effort to try to continue this into the next Oscar race, I think I'll be switching my updates to once every two weeks. That way I also won't have to keep trying to spend all of my free time trying to catch up. Let me know what you think of this in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. It is interesting we are getting cartoons this year that focused on the approaching threat of war our country may get involved in sooner or later, so you did have a lot of films dealing with issue of those that get drafted such as in "The Rookie Bear" or "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", this would also continue with Disney's "Donald Gets Drafted" a year later.

    BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY OF COMPANY B
    "So it isn't quite as well known today as the song it was based on, but it was still a pretty good film."

    Of course when comparing this to the other walter Lantz black-filled "Scrub Me Mama With A Boogie Beat", this surely was a slight improvement I felt. I first saw the film courtesy of a video tape that was mostly episodes of the Amos & Andy TV series with this one cartoon placed in the middle (though from a black & white Castle Films print). It's a nice tune and I recall singing it in music class back in elementary school!

    LEND A PAW
    I did sorta wonder who was this "Tailwagger Foundation" mentioned in the opening title. Best Google can give me is the address of this non-profit organization based in Oxnard, CA but that is all.

    It should noted this was also the year or such that Disney cartoons, while not having production credits yet placed at the beginnings of the shorts, started putting the MPDA approval logos in with the title cards. This lasted sometime between 1940-41 but stopped after that for some odd reason (deciding to stick the logo in with the main title card again).

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