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Old 11-27-2002, 01:12 AM
racinchikki racinchikki is offline
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These toons are making me looney! or Old pop culture references in WB cartoons

I like to watch old Warner Brothers cartoons from the '40s and '50s, but I'm always finding myself confounded by some kind of pop culture reference that made the original audience cracks up and leaves me thinking "What the heck was that about?"

The one that's bugging me most at the moment has to do with a specific song, apparently titled "Carolina in the Morning" according to a Google search I ran on what I remembered of the lyrics. ("Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the moooooooooooooooooooooorning...") It's showed up in at least three cartoons that I've seen, one with Bugs Bunny, one with Daffy Duck and one with characters that I've since forgotten. When they sing it, it always ends with an identical string of scat/babble that doesn't seem to belong with the song itself, but maybe that's just another reference I'm missing.

The really perplexing one is the cartoon featuring Daffy Duck. In the 'toon there are a bunch of books which come to life, with characters stepping out and interacting. One of the books spawns a sickly caricature of Frank Sinatra, who sings a typical pointless string of "ba-ba-ba-boo"s and attracts flocks of fawning, fainting females. This incites the jealousy of Msr. Duck, who dons a powder blue zoot suit and a yellow "conk" hairstyle and takes the stage himself. (You can see the outfit here on the cover of the tape where I saw this cartoon, at Amazon.) He sings with a (Mexican?) accent and acts, of course, absolutely daffy. "Nossing could be feener than to be in Caroleener in ze maaaaaaawning..." Followed, of course, by the scat, which I think he did while somebody tried to drag him off stage/arrest him/something like that.*

Who, what, where, when, why? What's the reference here?


* In the Bugs Bunny cartoon in which this song is sung, the scat portion is also during some sort of struggle. If there's a significance, I dunno.
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Old 11-27-2002, 01:20 AM
Kyomara Kyomara is offline
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Re: These toons are making me looney! or Old pop culture references in WB cartoons

Quote:
Originally posted by racinchikki
One of the books spawns a sickly caricature of Frank Sinatra, who sings a typical pointless string of "ba-ba-ba-boo"s and attracts flocks of fawning, fainting females.
Can't help you with the song, but I can tell you that the caricature is of Bing Crosby, not Frank Sinatra.

Crosby: "ba-ba-ba-booo"

Sinatra: "doobie-doobie-dooooo"
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Old 11-27-2002, 01:31 AM
racinchikki racinchikki is offline
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It looked like Sinatra. I might just be using the wrong onomatopaeia.
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Old 11-27-2002, 01:33 AM
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In the one with the books, Daffy is impersonating Danny Kaye:

http://members.aol.com/EOCostello/
Under K we have:
Quote:
Kaye, Danny (1913-1987)
Brooklyn-born comic with a taste for frantic, tounge-twisting wordplay (especially Eastern European types) and shameless mugging. Daffy Duck imitates him in Book Revue (Clampett, 1946)
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Old 11-27-2002, 01:34 AM
racinchikki racinchikki is offline
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didn't occur to me until after i hit submit

Anyway... I thought "doobie doobie doo" was the Bud Ice penguin...


kidding! i know that reference, at least!
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Old 11-27-2002, 01:35 AM
racinchikki racinchikki is offline
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Oh, cool, GIGObuster - thanks!
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:03 AM
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There is a reference that I have seen in one, possibly two cartoons. The most recent one that I've seen (just a couple of weeks ago on the Cartoon Network) was Bugs Bunny sitting down at a grand piano and then says in a weird voice--well, weirder than usual--"I wish my brother George was here."

I'm convinced that this is a reference to something that audiences in the 1940s or 1950s would understand, but damned if I can figure it out. Can anyone help?
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Atreyu
...Bugs Bunny sitting down at a grand piano and then says in a weird voice--well, weirder than usual--"I wish my brother George was here."
Liberace, from his TV show in the 50s and 60s.
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
There is a reference that I have seen in one, possibly two cartoons. The most recent one that I've seen (just a couple of weeks ago on the Cartoon Network) was Bugs Bunny sitting down at a grand piano and then says in a weird voice--well, weirder than usual--"I wish my brother George was here."
Bugs is imitating Liberace (who used to refer to his brother George a lot on his old 1950's TV show).

Also, the reason why the Sinatra caricature looks skinny and sickly is because it's the 1940's idol-of-the-bobby-soxers version, not the later "Ratpacker" and "Chairman of the Board" versions that people today are more familiar with.
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:21 AM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is online now
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One other thing about Sinatra in the cartoon with the books:

The song he's singing is "It Had to Be You."

It even made the Big Bad Wolf swoon.
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:56 AM
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Well it isn't that old a reference but I remember an episode of "Pinky and the Brain" ( I think it's WB) which is a parody of the 70's film-noir classic "Chinatown". Needless to say no child is going to get it and many adults won't either. Just a way for writers to have some fun.
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Old 11-27-2002, 07:03 AM
dougie_monty dougie_monty is offline
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WB cartoons in the forties often included references to World War II, with stock phrases such as:
"Was this trip really necessary?"
Daffy: "I'll say I did! I forgot: The government doesn't want us to do any nonessential traveling!" (When I first heard him speak this line I thought he was saying "nonsensical troubling"--but where would he be without that?)
Daffy also parodied a popular song with:
"So don't you go and beat me Daddy, to the nearest bar!"
(From "Beat me Daddy, Eight to the bar.")
Daffy, again, in a cartoon where Elmer shoots him, says at one point, "Go ahead! Sthee ifth I give a moon and sikshpenshe!" (From a Somerset Maugham story, I believe...)
But the best pop-culture example was a cartoon with Bugs and Elmer working in a restaurant. Humphrey Bogart orders fried rabbit. Before Bugs sees Lauren Bacall at the table--and is happy to comply--he keeps screwing up Elmer's orders, so that at one point the pie-splattered Bogey growls at Elmer, "Why did you hit me in the face with a coconut-custard pie with whipped cream?"
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Old 11-27-2002, 08:31 AM
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Luckily for Warner Brothers, MANY (maybe most) of the pop icons they included in cartoons were stars for the ages (Bogart, Peter Lorre, Bing Crosby, Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson), people whose movies remain so popular that even today's kids know who they were.

They only get in trouble when they include people like Jerry ("Aaah yessss!") Colonna, who may have been well known in the 40s, but who are pretty much forgotten now.
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:14 AM
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The zoot-suited character *might* be a parody of Cab Calloway (best known for "Minnie the Moocher.")

For other celebrity spoofs in Warner Brothers cartoons, see:

http://home.nc.rr.com/tuco/looney/li...lebrities.html
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:28 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Jerry Colonna's also the one responsible for
"Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo- oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooook-lahoma!"
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:43 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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OK. How about this one. . .

I think this was in a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon, but maybe not.

At the end, Tom (or whoever) says in a low, echoing type voice:

"Dooooon't you belieeeeeve it."

Was that a reference to anything?
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Old 11-27-2002, 02:06 PM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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"Don't you believe it" is a reference to an old short radio program from the 40's, called Don't you believe it. It was sort of a 15-minute audio-version of The Straight Dope, (or maybe more accurately, Snopes.com,) in which common misconceptions were presented and debunked. I have a few of these kicking around, but not as many as I'd like to.

If you want to have a whole whack of Warner Bros cartoon references explained, watch the film version of Hellzapoppin!

Hellzapoppin was an anarchistic and surreal Broadway play, and strangely enough made a large contribution to the aesthetics and logic of cartoon shorts. You'll recognize a number of gags that became stock bits -- like the little fella delivering a house-plant to an absent "Mrs. Jones." He inexplicably wanders onstage (or onscreen), interrupting scenes, while haplessly calling "Mrs. Jones! Mrs. Jones!" With each appearance, the plant is a bit bigger, until finally it's a big ol' california redwood on the back of a lumber truck, with the little guy standing on the tip of it.

To give you an idea of how f%cked-up this movie is, the eighties cult movie The Forbidden Zone is, in many ways, an imitation of it.
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Old 11-27-2002, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Larry Mudd


If you want to have a whole whack of Warner Bros cartoon references explained, watch the film version of Hellzapoppin!

Hellzapoppin was an anarchistic and surreal Broadway play, and strangely enough made a large contribution to the aesthetics and logic of cartoon shorts. You'll recognize a number of gags that became stock bits -- like the little fella delivering a house-plant to an absent "Mrs. Jones." He inexplicably wanders onstage (or onscreen), interrupting scenes, while haplessly calling "Mrs. Jones! Mrs. Jones!" With each appearance, the plant is a bit bigger, until finally it's a big ol' california redwood on the back of a lumber truck, with the little guy standing on the tip of it.

To give you an idea of how f%cked-up this movie is, the eighties cult movie The Forbidden Zone is, in many ways, an imitation of it.
Yes!! A wonderful movie! (At least the last time I saw it, which was probably 40 years ago on TV.) It does not appear to be on video - if anyone can point me to where I can buy it, please do.

My mother actually saw the play. They actually dropped things on people in line with what they talked about on stage.
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Old 11-27-2002, 04:08 PM
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One of my first OPs, from three years ago.
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Old 11-27-2002, 05:21 PM
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Here's one I always wondered about: They frequently imitated someone saying "How DO ya do?", like it was some sort of catch-phrase of the day. Who were they imitating?

And another one: "[fill in the blank] is da cwaaaaziest people!"
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Old 11-27-2002, 06:18 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Here's one that's bugged me forever:

In the cartoon where Porky & Daffy are running the "baby factory" Daffy's on the phone doing 'customer service'. First he says, "No, I'm sorry Bing, you've used up your quota" which I get. Crosby had a million kids.

But then he answers the phone and says, "Oh hello Mr. (somebody, Dupree maybe?)". Then Daffy does a real shock take and says in an outraged voice, "Mr. Dupree, PAH-LEEZ!!"

Who and what is this about? Is it a dirty joke of some kind?
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Old 11-27-2002, 06:21 PM
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The Censored Cartoons page: http://looney.toonzone.net/ltcuts/

Lots of pop-culture references here. Mostly Warner Brothers, but some MGM cartoons, too.
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Old 11-27-2002, 06:51 PM
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I remember a different WB cartoon from the forties where the major singers of the day (Sinatra, Crosby, Calloway) were roosters competing for the hens in a henhouse. Sinatra's caricature mostly showed how frighteningly thin he was back then.
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Old 11-27-2002, 07:41 PM
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Looked for, but didn't find.....

....a Porky Pig reference where Porky stammers, "Sonofabyeea...sonofabayeea.....SONOFAGUN!"

Pause....

Porky: "Bet you thought I was gonna say 'Sonofabitch' didntcha!"

In all fairness, this might have been a Mel Blanc outtake, but a local radio station in Atlanta used to play the little snippet all the time on their morning show

Quasi



Quote:
Originally posted by NutWrench
The Censored Cartoons page: http://looney.toonzone.net/ltcuts/

Lots of pop-culture references here. Mostly Warner Brothers, but some MGM cartoons, too.
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Old 11-27-2002, 08:48 PM
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Hail Ants, I remember that cartoon (mainly because of the fact that the exterior painting of the factory showed a gorgeously Moderne building I'd love to see in real life; yes, I'm a geek)... The name of the cartoon, it turns out, is "Baby Bottleneck" and it's on the same tape as "Book Revue" which I spoke about in my O.P.

I didn't get the Bing Crosby reference at the time. I think "Mr Dupree" is actually "Mr Dionne," a reference to the Dionne Quintuplets.
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Wumpus
The zoot-suited character *might* be a parody of Cab Calloway (best known for "Minnie the Moocher.")

For other celebrity spoofs in Warner Brothers cartoons, see:

http://home.nc.rr.com/tuco/looney/li...lebrities.html
The clincher that Danny Kaye was intended is that in the cartoon Daffy begins his routine in front of a book whose title is clearly seen: "Danny Boy".
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:31 PM
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The song Carolina in the Morning pops up in a lot of old tv. I remember seeing Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore do it on an episode of his show. I must have heard this song somewhat frequently as a kid because I'm familiar with the lyrics but I'll be darned if I can remember where and when I heard it.

I really love watching the old cartoons and trying to figure out all the references. I usually have to get Mom to help a bit with that but it's a ton of fun.
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:37 PM
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Almost forgot. The "How do you dooo?" guy was an actor named Bert Gordon, aka The Mad Russian. I also saw him on an episode of the Dick Van Dyke show. A regular treasure trove, that.
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:46 PM
Guy Propski Guy Propski is offline
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Blowero--The "cwaziest people" line is a reference to comedian Lew Lehrer. He narrated a series of Fox Movietone comedy shorts, and would often used the "Monkeys is Dah Cwaziest People" line. "How Do You Do?" is another Danny Kaye reference, this time to a Russian character he used to do (Russians became very popular after Germany invaded the USSR and the Russians joined the Allies).

Racinchikki--Bing had all boys and was known to have wished for a girl. The other joke in "Baby Bottleneck" was a reference to the Dionne Quintuplets ("Mr Dionne, please!").

Krokodil--you're thinking of "The Swooner Crooner"; you get to see rooster versions of Bing, Sinatra, Cab Calloway, Durante, and others. The thin Sinatra gag was used over and over again in many toons.
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Old 11-27-2002, 09:46 PM
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Love that song and will be singing it for Christmas!

http://www.perfessorbill.com/lyrics/lycaroli.htm

I don't know if this will make a link or not but it will give you an address for the lyrics.

There was also a sort of gross version sung in the 1970's or so.
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Old 11-27-2002, 11:36 PM
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Well, perhaps Kaye lifted it from Bert Gordon or vice versa. Scroll down to "Duffy's Tavern".
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Old 11-28-2002, 01:23 AM
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There are a lot of pop music references in Warner Brothers (and other) cartoons that were probably meant as jokes but are now simply part of the cartoon vocabulary.

For instance, a good-looking cartoon babe is often accompanied by the music cue "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" or "Ain't She Sweet."

Chickens in a farmyard are accompanied by the same piece of music (but I'll be darned if I know the title--anyone?).

I've also heard "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" many times in cartoons.

The song "Hello My Baby" sung by Michigan J Frog in "One Froggy Evening" is a real song, released around the Aughts of last century.

FISH
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Old 11-28-2002, 01:42 AM
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Also there's that one where Yosemete Sam is chasing Bugs Bunny around a circus big top. Bugs slams a door in Sam's face, and Sam pounds on it and yells "open the door!"--upon which he turns and faces the audience to remark, "you notice that I didn't say 'Richard?'"

I've been told that refers to a popular song in the 1940s called "Open The Door, Richard".


Now, could someone explain to me what the "Hennnry!" / "Coming, Mother!" exchange is all about?
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Old 11-28-2002, 02:04 AM
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Chickens in a farmyard=Turkey in the Straw.

There is a song-- two, actually-- in this very old Merrie Melody that I have on tape. No "name" cartoon characters. The little chick wants to sing a swing song, but his mother makes him sing something like a hymn. Drink to me with only thine eyes and I will drink with mine. . . and the song he wants to sing has the words I wanna singa about the moona in a Juna in the springa. . . I always thought that they were just songs for the cartoon. Now I'm wondering if these were popular back then and if so, when.

This is a great tape, btw. I brought it from a video store for my kids when they were 4. It's five hours long and has some pretty old cartoons: Betty Boop, Lil Audrey with her mammy, a bouncing ball sing-along and cool anthropomorphized cars that party all the time.




What is Bogey saying "Why did you hit me in the face with a coconut cream pie" a reference to?
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Old 11-28-2002, 02:08 AM
dougie_monty dougie_monty is offline
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The "Henry!..."Coming Mother!" is a reference to The Aldrich Family of radio, and Henry was played by Ezra Stone. He became a movie director; he appeared in two episdoes of Emergency! as a director (in both epsiodes, that is).
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Old 11-28-2002, 02:13 AM
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The guide I found early has that answer too:
http://members.aol.com/EOCostello/c.html
Quote:
Coming Mother

Phrase usually uttered in a cracked adolescent voice by Henry Aldrich, played, mostly, by Ezra Stone, on the radio show The Aldrich Family.

Used in a variety of situations in WB cartoons, including by a mother and son ant in Farm Frolics (Clampett, 1941), Hollywood Steps Out (Avery, 1941, with Henry Fonda saying it), Goofy Groceries (Clampett, 1941, said by the gorilla), Book Revue (Clampett, 1946, said by Henry VIII). The horse in the Private Snafu short The Home Front (Tashlin, 1943) also uses the phrase.
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Old 11-28-2002, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Biggirl
The little chick wants to sing a swing song, but his mother makes him sing something like a hymn. Drink to me with only thine eyes and I will drink with mine. . . and the song he wants to sing has the words I wanna singa about the moona in a Juna in the springa. . . I always thought that they were just songs for the cartoon. Now I'm wondering if these were popular back then and if so, when.
Well, the first one was actually popular as an eighteenth-century drinking song, I believe. The text is by Ben Jonson. (Mmmmm...Ben Jonson. )
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:04 AM
dougie_monty dougie_monty is offline
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Those were owls, Katisha.
To Guy Proposki: "The Swooner Crooner" has some strange twists; the Crosby and Sinatra roosters cause the hens, who had not been producing eggs, to lay huge piles of eggs, each far greater in volume than the hen's own body. And they also cause one hen to lay an egg that hatches into a hen chick--which lays an egg, too--one egg, considerably larger than the newborn hen chick that laid it!
But the strangest twist is at the very end, when the Crosby and Sinatra roosters sing to Porky himself--and helays eggs!
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:06 AM
Katisha Katisha is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dougie_monty
Those were owls, Katisha.
True. Though I wasn't the one who brought up the cartoon in the first place...
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:53 AM
happyheathen happyheathen is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by dougie_monty
Those were owls, Katisha.
More specifically:
"Owl Jolson" in I Love to Singa (Avery, 1936), a parody of The Jazz Singer (Al Jolson)

( http://members.aol.com/EOCostello/index.html is your friend. Same for Tuco and Nonstick ( http://www.nonstick.com/ )
  #41  
Old 11-28-2002, 04:10 AM
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Here's one I don't get.

There was an old Daffy Duck cartoon where Daffy was bieng chased by a dog. At one point the dog gets himself stuck in a knothole in a barrel, leaving his rump exposed. Daffy shakes a little salt on the dog's rump, bares his teeth and prepares to bite.

But, just before he bites down, he says "Ut! Wait a minute". He then pulls from his pocket a little blue book, tears out a little square of paper or a stamp or something, and then proceeds to bite the dog.

Huh!?
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Old 11-28-2002, 07:20 AM
happyheathen happyheathen is offline
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WWII meat rationing - people were given "rationing books" which gave them permission to buy meat - before getting the meat, one had to surrender stamps from the book - Hence, before Daffy could take a bite of the "rump roast", he must tear out the appropiate stamps.

Note: during WWII, nearly everything was rationed - the "A" gasoline rationing stickers show up in several 'tunes of the era.
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Old 11-28-2002, 02:18 PM
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Re: Looked for, but didn't find.....

Quote:
Originally posted by Quasimodem
....a Porky Pig reference where Porky stammers, "Sonofabyeea...sonofabayeea.....SONOFAGUN!"

Pause....

Porky: "Bet you thought I was gonna say 'Sonofabitch' didntcha!"

In all fairness, this might have been a Mel Blanc outtake, but a local radio station in Atlanta used to play the little snippet all the time on their morning show
Every year for a number of years, the Warner Bros. studio would show a blooper reel during their Christmas party-basically actors flubbing their lines and cursing and such. One year, the folks at Termite Terrace produced this little, obviously pre thought-out, scene for the reel.

Another interesting reference that shows up sometimes in cartoons: Bing Crosby owned a number of racehorses. They weren't very good. (Headline from 2000: "Cwosby's Howse Hasn't Come In Yet!")
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Old 11-28-2002, 03:21 PM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Quote:
More specifically:
"Owl Jolson" in I Love to Singa (Avery, 1936), a parody of The Jazz Singer (Al Jolson)
In the very first episode of South Park (the one where aliens kidnap Ike) Cartman, who keeps insisting that there's no such thing as UFOs, finally shouts "and I am definitely NOT under alien control-" then there's a loud ZAP! and he starts dancing and signing that god awful "I like to sing-a" tune.

I had a tough time explaining to others I was watching it with exactly what it was from!
  #45  
Old 11-28-2002, 09:34 PM
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GIGObuster GIGObuster is offline
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'bout the sky of blue-a,
or a tea for two-a,
anything-a with a swing-a
to an I love you-a,


Damn it!! I have stuck in my head!!
  #46  
Old 11-28-2002, 11:18 PM
dantheman dantheman is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Atreyu
There is a reference that I have seen in one, possibly two cartoons. The most recent one that I've seen (just a couple of weeks ago on the Cartoon Network) was Bugs Bunny sitting down at a grand piano and then says in a weird voice--well, weirder than usual--"I wish my brother George was here."

I'm convinced that this is a reference to something that audiences in the 1940s or 1950s would understand, but damned if I can figure it out. Can anyone help?

Are you guys sure this is Liberace? I never saw him perform anywhere (including TV), but I was thinking it was Ira Gershwin, referring to his brother George.
  #47  
Old 11-28-2002, 11:22 PM
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CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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Quote:
Are you guys sure this is Liberace? I never saw him perform anywhere (including TV), but I was thinking it was Ira Gershwin, referring to his brother George.
Yes. I've heard this many times, and I know from other sources that Liberace referred constantly to his brother George during hi 1950s TV show.
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  #48  
Old 11-29-2002, 12:06 AM
happyheathen happyheathen is offline
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Liberace - right down to the candelabra.

Next silly question?
  #49  
Old 11-29-2002, 01:44 AM
Lure Lure is offline
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On Henry Aldrich and other pop references.

Those lines-- Mother calling for her teenage boy (which mothers used to do in the GODs-do they stll?),either by hanging out of apartment windows,or on their porches.HENRY-Henry Aldrich,to which Henry replied Coming Mother-were the opening lines of the radio show.Instantly recognizable in those days.Like the Beaver theme song before the cast is introduced.

He was the forerunner of the Archie comics,up to,I guess.the Dobie Gillis tv series.

Open the Door Richard was a top ten novelty song of the late 40s/early 50s.A significant portion of pop music in those days.Mitch Miller was a big proponent of those.I think every one of Columbia's/Capitol's ? artists had to do at least one.

Others of the genre that may have made the cartoons would be Rag Mop,Mairzy Doats,up to possibly the Thing (you'll never get rid of that ratatat) by Phil Harris,one of the 30s/40s Hollywood band leaders, drinking buddy to the stars,and occasional Jack Benny foil.Incidentally another caricature done in a cartoon I've seen on TMC.


Man I need a slug of Geritol after these memories.
  #50  
Old 11-29-2002, 05:35 AM
dougie_monty dougie_monty is offline
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In a really old WB cartoon, Daffy is in an operating room in a hoispital. He holds up several title cards, including one with "SILENCE IS FOO" and one with a word in Hebrew or Yiddish, with Aleph and one other Hebrew character.
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