Boy Meets Dog (1938)

Boy Meets Dog (1938)
Article 6026 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-14-2021
Directed by Walter Lantz
Featuring the voices of Mel Blanc, Billy Bletcher, June Foray
Country: USA
What it is: Cartoon Comeuppance and Dental Commercial

A tyrannical father is knocked unconscious and dreams that pixies put him on trial for cruelty and failure to encourage proper dental care.

This is a rather weird cartoon from the Walter Lantz studio.  The title refers to a minor plot element in the story; the main thrust of the story is how a tyrannical father is taught a lesson when he has a dream that the pixies in a painting kidnap him and take him to trial.  On top of that, the cartoon is packed with references to dental hygiene, and in fact the cartoon was made for Bristol-Myers to plug their toothpaste.  On top of that, it’s pretty bizarre; a lot of the pixies seem to be doing celebrity impressions and the trial sequence is full of bizarre non-sequiturs.  Though it makes for an interesting viewing experience, it feels like an undisciplined mess at times.  

Bold King Cole (1936)

Bold King Cole (1936)
Article 6016 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 10-10-2021
Directed by Burt Gillett
Featuring the voices of Walter Tetley and Gus Wickie
Country: USA
What it is: Van Beuren cartoon

Felix the cat seeks refuge from a terrible thunderstorm in the castle of Old King Cole, whose bragging has upset the spirits that inhabit his paintings. The latter take Old King Cole hostage in order to teach him not to brag so much. Can Felix save the king?

Felix lost a lot of his appeal after he made the transition to sound, and the fact that his cartoons were made by Van Beuren (the weakest of the cartoon studios) only makes things worse. That being said, this one is a little better than usual for the series at this time, though it seems to spend less time with Felix than with Old King Cole. The plot is a bit novel at any rate, and with a whole gaggle of ghosts running around, it at least has some horror content. Still, this only a mediocre cartoon.

The Andromeda Breakthrough (1962)

The Andromeda Breakthrough (1962)
Article 5772 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-17-2020
Directed by John Elliott and John Knight
Featuring Peter Halliday, Susan Hampshire, Noel Johnson
Country: UK
What it is: British limited run series

A multi-national corporation combines forces with a newly-liberated middle eastern country with the intent of using a computer developed from alien technology. Toward that end, they kidnap scientists associated with an earlier project to work with the computer. However, complications arise…

The opening episode of this six-part British miniseries left me feeling I was dropped into the middle of a story rather than beginning a new one, but there’s a reason for that; this miniseries is a sequel to an earlier one called A FOR ANDROMEDA. I’d love to see the earlier series, but from what I gather, only one of the episodes is extant. Nevertheless, I rather enjoyed this series even without having seen the earlier one; it tells a complex story and is peopled with complex characters. It isn’t quite up to the level of the Nigel Kneale series from this era, but it’s solid and entertaining.

Bugs’ and Daffy’s Carnival of the Animals (1976)

Bugs’ and Daffy’s Carnival of the Animals (1976)
aka Carnival of the Animals
Article 5758 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 5-3-2020
Directed by Chuck Jones, Herbert Klynn, Gerry Woolery
Featuring Michael Tilson Thomas and the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: TV special with Bugs and Daffy

Bugs and Daffy are competing pianists in performance of Camille Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals”.

Since the presence of anthropomorphic animals alone is not sufficient for me to declare an animated work as being genre, there’s a distinct possibility I will not be covering ALL of the seventies TV specials which featured Looney Tunes characters. In fact, I was half expecting not to cover this one, but the fact that one of the sections of the “Carnival of the Animals” concerns fossils, we get some fleeting images of dinosaurs, which is sufficient for me to include it. Though I am tempted to compare and contrast it with BUGS BUNNY IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT, I really can’t, because this one is rather a different animal from that one. This one isn’t a full-blooded attempt to emulate the Looney Tunes world, but rather it merely grafts a certain element of that world (the rivalry between Bugs and Daffy) onto a performance (with animated inserts) of the musical piece. In fact, I do wonder if the Bugs/Daffy animation was a late addition to the mix; they may have been added to add a little more commercial appeal to a project that would otherwise prove a bit too refined for a TV audience. The best thing about this as a whole is that musically the piece is well performed and the conductor is quite charismatic, though I should point out that only portions of the work are featured. The animation for the pieces that does not involve Bugs and Daffy (and was directed by Herbert Klynn) is passable but not particularly memorable. As for the Bugs and Daffy footage, it’s disappointing; it mostly consists of multiple repeats of the “Bugs gets the applause and Daffy gets the crickets” gag and a tiresome argument about the pronunciation of the composer’s name.

Butterscotch and Soda (1948)

Butterscotch and Soda (1948)
Article 5756 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-29-2020
Directed by Seymour Kneitel
Featuring the voices of Mae Questel and Amanda Randolph
Country: USA
What it is: Little Audrey cartoon

When Little Audrey is caught neglecting her regular meals in favor of gobs of candy, she is locked in her room with all of the candy removed. Then she starts to go into ….withdrawal.

At one point in this cartoon, Little Audrey is desperately hunting for candy in her locked room, and she looks up at the light fixture on the ceiling and sees the shape of a bag of candy in it. Immediately, a whistle went off in my head, and I found myself heading to IMDB to see if my suspicion was true, and indeed it was; this cartoon was referencing THE LOST WEEKEND, which also explains the hallucinations Little Audrey starts having. This bit of cleverness is the high point of this cartoon, which in other ways is very similar to the Little Lulu cartoon A BOUT WITH A TROUT; in each one, the main character has a bizarre fever dream in which they learn the error of their ways. Actually, the similarity between the two characters may not be a coincidence; Famous Studios made Little Audrey the replacement for Little Lulu when they decided to not continue purchasing the rights for the latter. This cartoon is actually fairly good, but it is marred by the presence of a racial stereotype with the black mammy character on display here.

Bunny Hugged (1951)

Bunny Hugged (1951)
Article 5755 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-28-2020
Directed by Chuck Jones
Featuring the voices of Mel Blanc and John T. Smith
Country: USA
What it is: Bugs Bunny cartoon

Bugs’ career as the mascot of wrestler Ravishing Ronald is in jeopardy when his employer is being pummeled by a wrestler known as The Crusher. He decides to take his employer’s place in the ring.

This cartoon is something of a remake of 1948’s cartoon RABBIT PUNCH, in which Bugs takes on a boxer. This one switches the milieu to the wrestling arena and takes a few potshots at the theatricality of the sport; in particular, the introduction of Ravishing Ronald (a parody of wrestler Gorgeous George) is pretty amusing. Like BULLY FOR BUGS, the only fantastic content is Bugs himself, but its listing in the Walt Lee guide ensures it review. It’s not quite up to the level of BULLY FOR BUGS, and I know quite a few people prefer RABBIT PUNCH, but this one has its moments; my favorite moment has Bugs employing a bank vault door in a strategy to win the match. This one is solid and entertaining.

Bully for Bugs (1953)

Bully for Bugs (1953)
Article 5754 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-28-2020
Directed by Chuck Jones
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: Bugs Bunny cartoon

Bugs takes the wrong turn at Albuquerque and, instead of ending up at the Coachella valley, finds himself in Mexico in the middle of a bullfighting ring. There he must contend with a bad-tempered bull.

Usually I don’t review cartoons like this one in which the only real fantastic element is anthropomorphic animals, but I make exceptions if the title is listed in the Walt Lee guide. I’m not going to complain; this is one of best of the Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it serves as a good counterpoint to my review of the dismal BUGS BUNNY IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT from a couple of days ago. Like that one, we have Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc on hand, but we have all the other elements that made Warner Brothers cartoons what they are; superb animation (especially of the bull), dialogue kept to a minimum in favor of comic action, wonderful use of music (including “La Cucaracha” and other familiar pieces), and exquisite comic timing. My favorite touch was the insults Bugs hurls at his foe; Gullabull, Nincowpoop, Embezzle, and Ultra-Maroon.

Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge (1937)

Bulldog Drummond’s Revenge (1937)
Article 5753 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-28-2020
Directed by Louis King
Featuring John Barrymore, John Howard, Louise Campbell
Country: USA
What it is: Bulldog Drummond movie

Hugh Drummond gets caught up in an attempt to steal a new (but highly unstable) explosive. Will this impact his upcoming wedding?

I’ll admit that the Bulldog Drummond series from the thirties is one of my favorite B-movie franchises. It’s not so much for the plots (which were so-so), but to enjoy the relationships and witty banter of the four main characters (Drummond, his servant Tenny, his friend Algy Longworth, and Colonel Neilson from Scotland Yard). I’ve covered most of them, but for some reason this one escaped me, which is surprising because it does have some clear fantastic content, which is the explosive which is demonstrated early on and then consigned to Gizmo Maguffin-hood. This one has a bit of horror tossed into the mix, as a severed arm also plays into the proceedings. Nothing major here, but it’s enjoyable enough for its hour running time.

Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court (1978)

Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court (1978)
aka A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur’s Court
TV special
Article 5752 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-27-2020
Directed by Chuck Jones
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: You can’t go home again

Bugs Bunny is stranded in the time of King Arthur where he must do battle Sir Elmer of Fudde.

This was one of several TV-special cartoons made by Warner Brothers as vehicles to revive their classic animated characters. And you know, I don’t really blame them for wanting to do that. Nor do I blame them for bringing the talents of Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc into the mix. But there’s just too much missing. They can’t rely on the comic skills of their classic animation department because it’s long gone now, nor do they have Carl Stalling to compose a perfect little soundtrack for their work; the music sounds anonymous and sometimes inappropriate. The result here is a rather glum cartoon shot at half the speed of the originals, is overly talky and a bit too self-conscious, and it makes very poor use of its characters. Jokes about the fact that the story was lifted from Mark Twain and passing references to Ray Bradbury just seem off-putting here. I’m afraid all this TV-special did for me is make me nostalgic for the original forties and fifties cartoons; whatever they had back then is sorely missing here.

Bubbles (1930)

Bubbles (1930)
Article 5751 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 4-26-2020
Directed by Roy Mack
Featuring the Vitaphone Kiddies, Judy Garland, Mary Jane Gumm
Country: USA
What it is: Not the main attraction

A woman sings about bubbles, and then children in costume sing and dance in a cavern presided over by the moon.

There’s really nothing in the plot to make this qualify as fantastic, but, since it’s part of a series of musical shorts made by Warner Brothers in the thirties, there really isn’t any plot at all. Rather, it’s just a set of musical pieces, and it’s being reviewed here because, after the initial song, it takes place in a cavern where the moon presides, and we see performances from comets, moonbeams, stars, and the planet Venus, or so says the moon. If it is the moon, that is – it could be the sun, but they never say which and the fact that he’s smoking a cigar doesn’t help clarify. If dancing and singing children trip your whimsy meter, this one’s for you; as for me, I’m glad it’s only eight minutes long, but I will confess I’m impressed with the athleticism of some of the performers. And, no, I wasn’t able to spot Judy, here performing with her sisters.