Monday 22 December 2014

Santa Sings to Scrappy

Santa Claus at a Thanksgiving party? Making an alcoholic toast to a little boy? That’s the scenario we get in “Holiday Land,” a 1934 Columbia cartoon where producer Charles Mintz tried to do his best Walt Disney impression. There’s Technicolor (two-strip only), there’s a sunrise revealing tweeting birdies, there’s sentiment, and there’s special musical material.

Scrappy dreams that every day is a holiday, and is led by Father Time into rooms with Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations. Scrappy is beckoned into a party at a long table (with a bottle of champagne prominent in the foreground), as revellers, with swaying glasses, chant the following song (is it a Joe De Nat original?):

Come, we call, each Tom, Dick and Harry
Come on and be merry and happy!
Fill your glass with laughter and folly
And chase melancholy away!

Laugh, laugh, ah-ha-ha-ha!
Sing, sing, tra-la-la-la!

Come, we call, and make life worth living
Our thanks we’ll be giving today.

Santa gets the “laugh” line.

A toy (?) kangaroo pops out of a box in Santa’s sack to “sing, sing.”

Then three joeys pop out of individual pouches to “tra-la-la-la” on the soundtrack.

The cartoon was nominated for an Oscar along with Walter Lantz’s attempt at mimicking Disney with colour and song, “Jolly Little Elves,” while Disney countered with “The Tortoise and the Hare” (guess which cartoon won?).

Here’s a lovely version of the opening title card.

This is from a print owned by Steve Stanchfield. You can read a bit more about his hunt for it on Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research blog.

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