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Farm Frolics
Farm Frolics title card.png
Title card
Directed bySupervision:
Robert Clampett
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byWarren Foster[1]
StarringFeaturing the uncredited voice talents of:
Mel Blanc as Dog, Weasel, Owl, Rosebud and Piggy
Sara Berner as Mother Pig and Mother Ant
Cliff Nazarro as Eddie Cantor Horse
Kent Rogers as Henry Ant
Narrated byRobert C. Bruce (uncredited)
Music byMusical direction:
Carl W. Stalling
Orchestration:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Edited byTreg Brown (uncredited)
Animation byCharacter animation:
John Carey
I. Ellis
Uncredited animation:
Vive Risto
Norman McCabe[2]
Effects animation:
A.C. Gamer (uncredited)
Backgrounds byRichard H. Thomas (uncredited)
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Leon Schlesinger Studios
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • May 10, 1941 (1941-05-10)
Running time
7:30 (original print)
7:17 (Blue Ribbon reissue)
LanguageEnglish

Farm Frolics is a 1941 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon supervised by Bob Clampett.[3] The short was released on May 10, 1941.[4]

Plot

The cartoon starts with the arm of an animator drawing a farm scene. The farm scene then colors itself, and the camera zooms in as a narrator begins:

  • A realistic-looking horse is seen and introduced as a prize-winning show animal; he whinnies (courtesy of Mel Blanc), and a comic triple plays out: The narrator asks the horse to do a trot, the horse obliges. The narrator asks for a gallop, the horse again obliges. The narrator asks the horse to do a "canter"; the horse immediately changes into more of a cartoon, sporting the bugged eyes, hair, and general mannerisms of the vaudeville star Eddie Cantor singing (vocally impersonated by Cliff Nazarro) "I'm Happy About the Whole Thing" (by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer). The narrator admonishes the horse, who returns to his original realistic styling and grins sheepishly.
  • The "farmer's faithful old watchdog" is seen lazing on the porch; the narrator describes him as being "no longer very active" though "he still does a few little odd jobs around the house", one of these being fetching the newspaper. A whistle signals the newspaper's arrival; the dog springs to alertness and makes a mad dash to the end of the driveway to retrieve it. After he brings it back to the porch, he spreads it out and begins reading the comics. He looks up at the audience and says, "I can hardly wait to see what happened to Dick Tracy!" (This gag would be used by Clampett again in The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.)
  • A proud mother hen lovingly covers her eggs and leaves them 'sleeping' in her nest; a mean-looking weasel stealthily creeps into the henhouse. The narrator frets but, just as the predator is about to grab the eggs, they all hatch at once. The chicks shout "BOO!" in unison. The frightened weasel evokes a Joe Penner catch-phrase, "Don't ever DOOO that!" and, turning green, gasps as his heart pounds.
  • An owl nestled in a tree is hooting dully until it suddenly breaks into smiles and says, "Who's Yehoodi?"
  • The narrator describes a pair of birds laboriously building their nest, "A little twig, a bit of string, and a piece of straw", over and over until they actually create a house, which is approved by the Federal Housing Administration. The bird couple sing, "There's no place like home!"
  • The narrator asks a worried-looking field mouse with huge ears what is troubling him; the rodent claims, "I don't know, Doc. I...I just keep hearing things."
  • Ants are seen coming, going, and communicating with each other around their anthill. The camera and mike zoom in to allow the viewer to understand the 'language' a female will use when she summons her young. We hear her shout, "Hen-REEEE!", to which her son replies, "Coming, Mother!" (the scene reminiscent of the catchphrase from the radio show, "The Aldrich Family").
  • A mouse and a cat are seen snuggled up together sleeping. The narrator remarks on this odd friendship. The mouse awakens and responds with nods to questions about the relationship. When asked by the narrator if he has anything he would like to say to his friends in the audience, the mouse nods again, then yells, "GET ME OUT OF HEEEEEEEEERE!!!!!!!!!", and escapes. A brief circle-around chase ends with the cat catching the mouse, then returning to the cozy snuggling. The mouse shrugs, apparently resigned to the situation.
  • A recurring gag has seven piglets eagerly watching an alarm clock. When it finally hits 6:00 pm, one of them bellows, "Dinnertime!" They dash off to their mother, to the tune of the military bugle call "Mess Call". She braces for the onslaught as the sucklings (there now appears to be six of them) pile into her side. Zooming in on the mother pig's rather dejected face, she speaks to the audience in the manner of ZaSu Pitts: "Oh, dear... every day, it's the same thing!"

Notes

  • This is one of the cartoons that Warner would occasionally produce that featured none of its stable of characters, just a series of gags, usually based on outrageous stereotypes, plays on words, and topical references, as a narrator (Robert C. Bruce) describes the action. The dog was spotted in 1988's Who Framed Roger Rabbit toward the final scene.
  • The vocal group heard at the beginning is the Sportsmen Quartet, who often harmonized in Warner Bros. cartoons of the period, later becoming the resident singing group on Jack Benny's radio and TV shows. It is also on 50 Classic Cartoons Volume 3.
  • This cartoon was re-released issued into the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies program on November 15, 1949.
  • This cartoon fell into the public domain in 1969 in the United States when United Artists, the copyright owners to the Associated Artists Productions package, failed to renew the copyright in time.
  • The mouse with the big ears would reappear in Horton Hatches the Egg, an adaption of a book by Dr. Seuss that Clampett also directed. He's seen telling the other animals that Horton is sitting on a tree.

Reception

The Film Daily called the short "good", saying, "There is no story to this Merrie Melodies but the comments of the animals as the audience is taken around the farm are highly amusing."[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Farm Frolics at the Big Cartoon DataBase
  2. ^ ""Goofy Groceries" and "Farm Frolics"". Big Cartoon Forum. Retrieved January 6, 2021.
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 116. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  4. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 104–106. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Reviews of Short Subjects". The Film Daily. 79 (99): 6. May 21, 1941. Retrieved June 13, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links

This page was last edited on 9 March 2021, at 14:05
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