Monday, 23 January 2012
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t
“Solid Serenade” is probably best known for Tom’s rendition of Louis Jordan’s hit “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” accompanying himself on the double bass. Daniel Goldmark in his “Tunes For ‘Toons” (2005, University of California Press) gives a fine critique and examination of Scott Bradley’s scoring technique in the short, but nowhere does he mention who does the actual singing of the song. Various internet sources claim it’s Buck Woods but, as usual, it’s impossible to determine whence the information originated.
As I’m now using words like “whence” in a post, maybe I should post a few frames that I liked, in the order they appeared on the screen.
The credited animators are Ken Muse, Mike Lah and Ed Barge. I would have guessed Ray Patterson worked on this as well, as the opening scene has the wide-mouthed Tom that I’ve come to associate with him. The singing Tom has sharp teeth, but at times he also has a scrunched-up grin that Muse drew for Mr. Jinks in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons. And a compilation reel existed on the internet of Mike Lah’s animation which included the scene from this cartoon where Tom-as-Boyer is wooing the dog by mistake. He draws Tom’s mouth small and a bit to the side of the face like he did later in cartoons at Hanna-Barbera. If I had to guess, I’d say the scene where Tom clunks the dog with the brick and plays fetch is Lah, too. But I’m not going to speculate any more than that because I don’t want to create any misinformation.
Still, the song’s the best part of the cartoon. You can watch the Jordan version from ‘Follow the Boys’ (1944) below.