Charlie Cuckoo (1939)
Article 5767 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Elmer Perkins
Voice cast unknown
What it is: Walter Lantz cartune
A cuckoo-clock bird discovers that congress has passed a bill for a 44 hour work week, and decides he’s been overworked. He quits, and tries to enter life as a real bird, but runs into problems…
I made a judgment call on this one. A talking cuckoo-clock bird doesn’t quite qualify as an anthropomorphic animal since he’s more of a figurine than an animal. Also, the bird’s employer seems to be father time, which puts forth a fantasy world underlying the story. Add to that the fact that our cuckoo bird seems to have multiple personalities (he talks himself into quitting with two different voices), and I think we’ve strayed far enough from normal cartoon convention for this cartoon to qualify as legitimately fantastic. Unfortunately, the cartoon then veers into a pretty ordinary cartoon situation, where the cuckoo bird finds himself a fish out of water in the real world, and he runs into a variety of perils; the most interesting foe he encounters is a woodpecker. I would rather have had the cartoon explore the fantasy world a bit further myself, but I’m not sure it would have been significantly more amusing whichever direction then went with it; the Lantz cartoons (or cartunes, as he would have it) weren’t particularly inspired at this point of time.