Friday, 16 October 2020

Fall on the Frog

Think Tex Avery originated the super-long limo that went around corners? Perhaps not. We find one in the 1934 Columbia cartoon The Katnips of 1940.

The limo belongs to opera singer Mlle. Fifi La Frog. Fifi gets her throat sprayed. Then the gag. Her uvula is oiled.

Columbia cartoons always seem to have something inexplicable that’s just weird, not funny. In this cartoon, diva Mlle. Fifi is a humanised frog. She begins rehearsing on stage with Krazy Kat. A meddlesome, over-enthusiastic would-be chorus girl drops from high above the stage and lands on Fifi.

The blow transforms Fifi from a humanised frog to a real one. Why? Beats me. She doesn’t sound like a frog. She baaas like a sheep. Why? I give up. I’ll never understand some of the Columbia shorts.

Harry Love came up with the story and Allen Rose and Preston Blair get the rotating animator credits in this Charles Mintz production (see note in the comment section).


  1. Actually, the original screen credits on this one are: Story by Ben Harrison / Animation by Manny Gould, Al Rose, Preston Blair / Musical Direction by Joe de Nat. Samba Pictures didn't care very much about credit accuracy when making their TV titles, and those should not be relied upon; in lieu of these being properly released with their original titles reinstated (reportedly largely still extant), the Cumulative Copyright Catalog listings are the best available record of the original credits.

    TV prints of this particular cartoon also have about two minutes of footage cut out, comprising two additional musical numbers with fan dancing and celebration of the New Deal and end of prohibition.

  2. Yeah, see, that kind of "gag" only made me uncomfortable in the "what-the-heck-did-I-just see" kind of way where you feel like you're missing the point and someone's just messing with you. Except there isn't any point.
    Vaudeville had been around for decades by then. Didn't these guys ever go to a single performance? Ever do any research? Makes me appreciate Chuck and Tex and Bob all the more.
    Thanks for the post. Love reading them!