Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: March 21, 1931
‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ is a rather odd commercial for Oldsmobile, done in Screen Song fashion. The cartoon will be familiar of readers of Leonard Maltin’s ‘Of Mice and Magic’, for his book features several stills from this film.
The film starts weird to begin with. We watch an evil male character sneak upon a woman undressing(!). Luckily she reveals countless dresses under each other. The creepy guy sneaks into her home and asks the terrified woman for a ride, which she unsurprisingly refuses. Then suddenly a little guy arrives offering her a ride in his Oldsmobile outside. This section uses a lot of dialogue, but no lip synch whatsoever.
The little guy’s invitation for a ride prompts the barbershop title song (a hit song from 1905) and the bouncing ball, so typical of Fleischer’s Screen Songs. The song is accompanied by images of a couple riding an Oldsmobile Curved Dash from 1904, the car celebrated in the song. Then we watch the cartoon characters riding this car, and suddenly there’s a lot of metamorphosis of words into the car etc. The film ends as oddly as it started: when the couple gets married, they’re immediately in a boxing match, indicating that marriage is one long fight.
One wonders how such a story would help Oldsmobile selling more cars. Moreover, none of their latest models is featured in the cartoon, only their first model, which by 1931 was of course extremely outdated.
Watch ‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘In My Merry Oldsmobile’ is available on the DVD ‘Fleischer Classics featuring Gulliver’s Travels’