I Love to Singa (1936)

Article 4709 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-15-2014
Directed by Tex Avery
Featuring the voices of Billy Bletcher, Tommy Bond, Johnnie Davis
Country: USA
What it is: Warner Brothers cartoon

A jazz-hating music-teaching owl discovers that one of his sons has an ear for jazz. He throws the child out, much to the distress of his mother. The child decides to audition for a spot on “The Jack Bunny Show”.

During the thirties, the Warner Brothers cartoon unit was still mostly in its formative phase, and there really aren’t a lot of memorable cartoons from the studio during this time. This is one of the most noteworthy exceptions, and I’m willing to bet a lot of you out there already have the title song running through your head. I think the sheer catchiness of the song is one of the reasons it works so well, as well as the fact that it’s a perfect choice for the story of this cartoon, which is a parody of THE JAZZ SINGER (the young owl’s name is Owl Jolson). I’m also willing to bet that when the title song stops running through your mind, you’ll also find yourself remembering the painfully shrill rendition of “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” that serves as the musical counterpoint to the main song. It’s only with this viewing that I realized that the cartoon was directed by Tex Avery, who was still developing as an animator himself; there’s a couple of gags here that hint at the later Avery style, but it’s one of his least wild cartoons. The only fantastic content is the talking/singing animals. Nonetheless, this is one of Warner Brothers’ true classics of this era.

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