Then along comes the Bing Crosby rooster, who casually arouses the hens into renewing their fertility and pumping out endless stacks of eggs. The Hens Can’t Help It. And who better than the Ol’ Groaner? His wife Dixie Lee had four sons by the time this cartoon was released in 1944.
(You’ll notice I’ve avoided any comment about the use of the word “lay”)
We get a bra and panties joke.
And then there’s the famous “between-the-legs” shot as the camera pulls back to demonstrate another of Tashlin’s fixations—camera angles.
In the finale, the crooner roosters prove to be so hyper-masculine when combined, they even make men (or, rather, a male pig) fertile like a female chicken.
Nice use of coloured filters in the shot. Presumably, Tashlin handled his own layouts. Historian Graham Webb says Dick Thomas did the backgrounds.
Of course, Sinatra and Crosby don’t supply their stand-ins’ singing voices. Tashlin didn’t have to look far to find his Crosby. He used Dick Bickenbach, who was animating for Friz Freleng unit but ended up in the Tashlin unit. Bick toddled off to MGM in 1946 to replace Harvey Eisenberg doing layouts for Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, then stuck with the pair when they opened their own studio.
Bick sang for his wife’s mixed fraternal group and in a church choir—he came from a fairly religious background—but he was also a vocalist on radio before he got into the animation industry. The newspaper back home in Freeport, Illinois published this story on January 12, 1926:
RICHARD BICKENBACH TO BROADCAST SONGS TONIGHTBick was born August 9, 1907, so he was 18 at the time. He lent his Crosby-esque tones to several other cartoons, if the voice experts are correct. He died June 28, 1994. You can read more about him here.
Richard Bickenbach, son of Fred Bickenbach, formerly of Freeport and now a resident of California, will be on the air tonight and doubtless many of his friends in this city will listen in. The young man is to broadcast several songs from station KTBI, Los Angeles, between 11 and 12 o’clock, Freeport time, tonight. He is said to have an excellent voice and has been heard over the radio several times in the past few months.