Friday, 8 October 2021

The Swinging College Crowd

“Another in the appealing series of Leon Schlessinger [sic] animations. The color tones are attractive and musical effects deserving of applause. The story concerns the big egg laying contest of the season with the losing team coming up from yonder and carrying off the laurels.”

Motion Picture Daily is talking about Along Flirtation Walk, a 1935 short directed by Friz Freleng.

I’m not sure what it means by “musical effects.” A quartet of college chickens with megaphones bops up and down in place while singing the title song. One interesting thing is the mirror-image cycle animation of a band in the stands. It’s like they took 16 drawings and inked them on opposite sides of each cel so there are two sets of drawings, with the left side the exact opposite of the right.

Here’s the cycle, about the speed it is in the cartoon.

The song in the background is the "University of Nebraska March" by John Philip Sousa at an insane speed.

This poor cartoon has been chopped with a lawnmower. You can hear the edits in Norman Spencer’s score and see the gaps in the plot. And the two-tone Technicolor is washed out in copies I’ve found on-line (which I think come from a laser disc set).

I gather Warners charged extra for colour cartoons, as one theatre owner told the Motion Picture Herald: “Merrie Melodies Series—I can’t see why these are worth extra money.” Well, Friz’s gags in the mid-‘30s were never all that strong but Tex Avery was about to show up to brighten the screen and lead the Warners cartoons in a better direction.

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