LADY, PLAY YOUR MANDOLLIN!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2024 4:13 pm.

You know, it’s crazy to think there was a time where we couldn’t drink alcohol. Other than those times we smuggled beer into our dorm rooms, Prohibition for adults is a thing of the VERY distant past.

But one good thing about Prohibition is that it led to Lady, Play Your Mandolin!  from 1931, the first Merrie Melodies cartoon EVER!!

Merrie Melodies is, of course, the sister series to Looney Tunes, both of which include some of the best cartoon characters ever:  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, etc.  I don’t know why Warner Brothers had to make TWO cartoon series about characters being wacky and music playing in the background but they did. Whatever, the more cartoons the better.

Once upon a time, Waner Brothers did not have such a great roster of stars. No Bugs or Daffy, or Porky in this one, but it does have FOXY!!

Foxy obviously never made it as a big time Warner Brother’s character but he does a perfectly serviceable job in this short.

Now, in case you have ADHD like me, and don’t feel like watching the entire cartoon, (IT’S SEVEN MINTUES LONG!! EVEN I CAN SIT THROUGH THAT!!) I will describe it for you concisely:

The song Lady, Play your Mandolin plays INCESSENTLY in the background.

A gorilla waiter pours a beer down the throat of what I think is a dog.

A hippo screams.

Foxy  rides a horse to the tavern. (I only know he is a fox because I looked up his Wikipedia page. He looks just like Mickey Mouse with different ears.)

He and his horse bop on into a bar, which I think is in the middle of a wasteland. (And that might be a horse but it COULD be a  camel. Hard to tell.)

Then, Foxy walks into the bar and says something  unintelligible.

Then, what I THINK  is an ambulatory broomstick takes Foxy’s sombrero off.

Look, I REALLY don’t want to spend the rest of this article explaining the cartoon. If you wanna watch it, it’s on YouTube. Here is a link: Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (youtube.com)

Nothing about this cartoon is as good as the behind the scenes stuff.

Bob CLAMPETT worked on this!! He was probably the goofiest Warner animator and this might have been one of his FIRST assignments!!

There is a bone of contention between Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones about who created Bugs Buny (And they are both dead now so they probably don’t care anymore) but Clampett did direct some of my favorite cartoons.

THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY starring Daffy Duck as Duck Twacy is one of my faves.

PORKY IN WACKYLAND might be even better. Because Porky visits Salvador Dali-land.

I don’t wanna spoil Lady Play Your Mandolin for you, so just watch the damn thing.

I don’t even know what the hell a Mandolin IS, but after watching this cartoon, I WANT ONE!!!

And Warner  Brothers, please, bring back FOXY!!

The guy didn’t  have long to prove himself. It was like when Conan O’Brien got the Tonight Show.

I will leave you with this fun anecdote Wikipedia has about Foxy:

 

In 1925, Hugh Harman drew images of mice on a portrait of Walt Disney, a reminder of Disney’s fondness for the rodents living at the Laugh-O-Gram Studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Disney and Ub Iwerks would then use it as inspiration for their creating Mickey Mouse, the character who eventually established Disney as a major figure in Hollywood, also sparking a wave of “clones” at competing studios.[2] Comics historian Don Markstein, calling Warner Bros. animator Rudolf Ising‘s subsequent Foxy “perhaps the leading Mickey Mouse imitator”, observed that:

“Never in animation, before or since, has a character looked more like Mickey Mouse. Smooth out the tiny points that supposedly turned his big, round ears into fox ears, shave the bushiness off of his tail, and they were ringers. Do the same to his girlfriend (unnamed at the time), and she looked exactly like Minnie [Mouse]. They also acted like Mickey and Minnie did at the time. Despite this lack of originality, Foxy was the first character to originate at Warner (as opposed to being brought in from outside, like Bosko)”.[3]

 

 

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