Sunday, February 6, 2011
The plot is a send-up of Warner Brothers' own "books come to life" cartoons of the type that frequently appeared under the Merrie Melodies banner (such as 1938's Have You Got Any Castles). The cartoon is loaded with puns and pop culture references, even by Warner standards. After this lampoon, Warner never issued another of that genre.
The cartoon starts out in the same, pastoral "after midnight at a closed bookstore" fashion of previous versions, to the strains of Moonlight Sonata. The storefront is realistic, suggesting it was rotoscoped. Initially the cartoon has a serious feel to it. Then, an inebriated "cuckoo bird" pops out of a cuckoo clock to announce the arrival of midnight (and signaling the "cuckoo" activities to follow), the cartoon's first lampoon and pun appears, a book cover called "COMPLETE WORKS of Shakespeare". Shakespeare is shown in silhouette while his literally-rendered "works" are clockwork mechanisms, along with old-fashioned "stop" and "go" traffic signals, set to the "ninety years without slumbering, tick-tock, tick-tock" portion of "My Grandfather's Clock".
Cut to a book titled Young Man with a Horn; a caricature of Harry James breaks loose with a jazz trumpet obbligato similar to James' "You Made Me Love You", instead resolving into the standard, "It Had to Be You". A striptease is about to begin on the cover of Cherokee Strip. Book covers for The Whistler and The Sea Wolf show their characters shouting and whistling at the off-screen action. (The Sea Wolf's howl segués into a sentence, sometimes rendered as "Howwwww old is she?" but that phrasing is unclear, perhaps purposely.) The now-panting Shakespeare silhouette's inner workings explode in a shower of gears and clocksprings.
Enjoy your time.
Posted by Mister Sharaf at 12:30 AM