Friday, 26 April 2019

A Tale of Two Deer

Rudy Ising goes for Disney “realism” to open the 1934 short Tale of the Vienna Woods. With gentle classical music in the background, the sun rises to enlighten a forest. There, a little deer’s reflection can be seen in a pond as it drinks water.

The animator is trying to make the deer look somewhat like a deer.

Later in the cartoon, the deer looks like a cartoon and wags its tail like a puppy.

Only Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising get screen credit. Nothing for the animators, composer Scott Bradley or the woman turning the storybook pages in live action at the start.


  1. The second deer wouldn't have been out of place in a Bosko or Merrie Melodie cartoon of a year earlier. The first deer would have been used by Avery a few years later in spot gag effort to portray real life, before having it guzzle water from the pond and burp. Hugh and Rudy wanted to be Disney; Tex wanted to take the type of animation Disney pioneered and do something funny with it.

  2. Thirty years ago I screened a 16mm print of this cartoon for a group of very young children. At the exact point the 'realistic' deer transforms into 'cartoonie' deer the kids broke out in laughs as big as if there had been a killer Avery gag.

  3. Since this cartoon was part of the very first group of HAPPY HARMONIES titles, the budgets weren't entirely increased beyond what the Schlessinger cartoons were, except for the use of two strip Technicolor, although I don't think that you'd even find a live action hand in the LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES created by Hugh and Rudy for Warner Brothers. The "cartoon emerging from an open book" idea would also be used in all three of the final MGM Bosko cartoons.