Monday, 8 April 2019

Let's Try This Plot, Rudy

“I know!” said one of the writers at Harman-Ising, “Let’s do a musical cartoon featuring a pile of little characters where a big bad guy comes in around the start of the first half, abducts the girl, everyone gangs up to finish off the bad guy, then they cheer to the end the picture.”

“Why didn’t we think of this before?” said one of the other writers.

Actually, they did. Over and over and over.

Here’s the version from the 1933 short for Warner Bros., The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon, animated by Ham Hamilton and Bob McKimson. It’s set in a bake shoppe. The bad guy—a huge piece of dough that’s eaten yeast and turned into a Mr. Hyde.

The pile of little characters sing and dance to the Warners-owned “Young and Healthy.”

The bad guy. The scream.

The pile of little characters realise he’s got the girl.

Let’s get him with cans of tomatoes. “Frank, play that music in double-time. We’ve never tried that before.”

“Hey, Rudy, let’s throw in a crotch pain gag. We’ve never done that before, either.” “Let’s do it three times. It’ll be three times as funny!”

The evil guy is turned into yummy baked goods.

And waffles! Hurray for waffles!

So long, folks!

“What’ll we write for the next cartoon?” “Say, I have an idea....”

“Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and “Am I Blue” are in Frank Marsales’ score, though the cartoon was likely plugging “The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon” composed by Paul Eisler in 1932.


  1. Many of Harman-Ising's cartoons were basically this plot. It Got Me Again even got nominated for an Academy Award.

  2. The everyone-gangs-up-on-the-bad-guy trope would outlast Harman & Ising at Warners. Friz would use it, albeit with less and less regularity, all the way to "Fifth Column Mouse" a decade later, and it would even make a cameo appearance six years after that, at the end of "Swallow the Leader" (though by 1994, just having the good guys cheering at the end wasn't going to cut it, so McKimson has the vanquished villain head off to the nearby outdoors bar to get his swallows).

  3. The dough "monster" animation is at least a little like the animation (of clothing) on "the Flintstones".