Monday, 19 September 2016

Boogie Woogie Army Spider

There isn’t a lot of difference between a 1930 musical cartoon to Walter Lantz’s $21 a Day – (Once a Month) other than the drawing style. Well, and there’s no villain. Ben Hardaway and Lowell Elliott have toys singing, dancing and playing instruments to the title song.

Calker’s score is really good, even though the instruments on screen don’t reflect the ones heard on the soundtrack at times. There’s a nice little scene with a spider on a piano. He steps on the keys to the music, generally close enough to the part of the piano where he should be (or at least often enough). The cameraman must have loved this one. The spider’s body is sometimes held for two frames, sometimes one, while some or all of the legs move, depending on the music.

Note how the spider is waving that boogie-woogie finger.

From Variety, August 14, 1941:
Felix Bernard, author of 'Dardanelle' and 'Am I Blue?', has written '$21 a Day — Once a Month,' a service song to be used in Monogram's 'Top Sergeant Mulligan.' Lindsley Parsons produces from the screenplay by Edmund Kelso.
And from Variety, November 6, 1941:
Walter Lantz is starting a new series of cartoon shorts for release through Universal under the title of 'Swing Symphonies'. First, for Christmas release, will be '$21 a Day, Once a Month', based on the tune by Ray Klages and Felix Bernard, Lantz is already turning out two series of cartoons for Universal, the Andy Pandy' [sic] and 'Woody Woodpecker' pen-and-inkers. Producer has added three scripters to his writing department, Ben Hardaway, Charles Crouch [sic] and Ford Baines [sic].
Andy and Woody both make appearances in this cartoon. Chuck Couch and Ford Banes do not. Banes never got screen credit at Lantz. He did at Columbia after he left the studio. An obit in the Detroit Free Press of December 2, 1972 reveals:
William Ford Bains, Mickey Mouse Voice
A memorial service for William Ford Banes, a former Walt Disney writer and director who also provided the voice for Mickey Mouse, will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the First United Methodist Church, 1589 W. Maple, Birmingham. Mr. Banes, 58, of Troy, died Saturday in Hollywood, Cal., where he was serving as a consultant for the Icecapades. He was with Disney from 1937 to 1941 and was in the motion picture division of the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945. He joined the Jam Handy organization in 1948 as a producer, director, planner, writer and designer. He created dimensional multiimage films for Chevrolet new car and truck presentations, among other productions, remaining with Jam Handy until 1971. Earlier this year he formed his own firm of Creative Services by Ford Banes.

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