Friday, 1 March 2013

Al Jolson by Porky Pig

Since Al Jolson was Warner Bros. first big sound-era star (arguably, Jolie’s “The Jazz Singer” saved the studio) , it’s appropriate that he’s parodied in a bunch of cartoons released by the studio.

Jolson is a stick figure in “Porky’s Preview,” a Tex Avery cartoon released in 1941.

“The leaves are brown, came tumbling down, remember?”

“In September in the Rain.”

“Spring is here and it’s September, that’s what it is. Build it up, play it!”

And because Porky “drew” the cartoon, it has a lousy looking iris-out. Why would Porky draw an iris? Because, shucks, he’s an artist.

In a way, it’s fitting Jolson isn’t the star of this cartoon. By 1941, his starring role days in films were over and he wouldn’t have another radio series for a few years. It was the huge success of “The Jolson Story” (1946) that brought him back into the public eye, where he stayed until his death in 1950. The Jolson voice in the cartoon is supplied by Cliff Nazarro (thanks to Keith Scott for the ID).

Virgil Ross gets the animation credit. Bob McKimson, Sid Sutherland and Rod Scribner would have been in the unit as well.


  1. Someone at Famous Studios/Paramount must have seen this film and decided to make their own stick figure cartoon in 1943's "Cartoons Ain't Human" with Popeye the Sailor.

  2. By 1941, all the directors were trying to find work-arounds for Porky in the established Looney Tunes format, since he still ostensibly had to be the 'star' of the short. Avery came up with one of the best, even if it meant reverting the pig back to his childhood years (Porky really hadn't been a kid in any of his shorts since a few of the initial Hardaway and Dalton efforts in 1939).

  3. McKimson did this - the perfect lip synch and graceful hand movements are evident in this scene.