“Magical Maestro” is a funny cartoon but TV doesn’t do it justice. You use different peripheral vision watching a movie screen than a television set or computer monitor at home. Tex Avery uses that visual effect when he has the magician’s rabbits quickly jump into the action from the sides of the frame. You don’t seem them coming and suddenly they’re there. It’s really funny.
The cartoon is another one where Avery and writer Rich Hogan pitch one silly routine after another, with no time in between. If you don’t know the cartoon, the premise is simple. A magician gains revenge on Poochini the opera singer (Spike) by replacing a conductor and using his magic wand (disguised as a baton) to change Poochini’s costume. The magician’s stylised rabbits (designed by Ed Benedict, I imagine) get in on things wearing their own silly but appropriate outfits.
An opera fan unhappy with Poochini’s act gets into his. He pulls the old vaudeville custom of throwing rotten fruit at the stage.
The fruit lands on Poochini’s head. The magician waves his wand. Poochini is instantly transformed into Carmen Miranda. Below are two consecutive frames. Notice the rabbits already jumping in from the side.
Poochini waves his butt (and actually does a full body turn) and sings while accompanied by the rabbits. Are they wearing turnips on their heads? Here are some of the dance drawings.
Avery keeps building. Poochini lifts his skirt only to reveal a pair of boxer shorts.
Now Poochini’s body becomes immobile, except for his head, which he pokes out from behind different sides of the raised skirt. The rabbit merely pushes the body off stage like it’s a theatre flat, revealing the tux-clad Poochini standing behind it.
How does he grow a second body? Oh, don’t ask. Enjoy the outrageousness instead.
Avery’s down to three credited animators by the time this was released in 1952—Walt Clinton, Grant Simmons and Mike Lah.