Monday, 30 November 2020

Familiar Character Designs

Wide open mouths with slit tongue? Huge black pupils? How many Warner Bros. cartoon characters does that describe? Plenty.

There are a bunch in the 1932 Merrie Melodies short Pagan Moon, which features singing and dancing, a villain threatening the hero and the same squeaky falsetto voice you hear on almost all the shorts made by Harman-Ising for the studio.

Look at these way-too-happy fish in the background ecstatic over the trumpet playing of another fish.

In an extended gag, another happy fish (fish with hands?) trips and lands inside a trombone played by another fish.

Want the old caterpillar-parts-separate routine? Here it is as a fish plays a clarinet. The caterpillar is very happy, too.

Ham Hamilton and Norm Blackburn are the credited animators.

Variety of September 29, 1931 has this interesting little story about trying to get the title song into a Warners film.
Fastest campaign on a song ever started by Witmark emanates from local office with coast plugging on ‘Pagan Moon,’ Dubin-Burke tune written about six months ago. Buddy Morris, head of Witmarks and out here to spot numbers in Warner pictures, heard the ditty at the studio and ordered professional copies and vocal arrangements made here [Hollywood]. Number will be started west by Art Schwartz and material shipped east for a swift campaign there.


  1. Oscar: "Who in the Halibut trips underwater!?"

  2. I never thought of the tongues looking actually slit, just that it was the groove that ran down the center. What confused me as a kid was why characters had three lines on the back of their hands, and later on, why gloves did, and for that matter, why so many wore gloves in the first place.