You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘1956’ tag.

Director: Friz Freleng
Release date: October 13, 1956
Stars: Sylvester, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Yankee Dood It © Warner Brothers‘Yankee Dood It’ was the last of three propaganda cartoons Friz Freleng directed for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, following the earlier ‘By Word of Mouse‘ (1954) and ‘Heir-Conditioned‘ (1955).

This cartoon is an original take on the famous fable of the shoemaker and the elves. Elve company W is missing, and elven king (Elmer Fudd but smaller and wih pointed ears) is wondering where they are. They turn out to be still helping the old shoemaker.

In order to get the elves back, a little elf and the king tell the old shoemaker how companies work, thus telling the short’s propagandistic message. Unfortunately, the shoemaker’s exclamations of ‘Dear Jehosapath’ turn the elves into mice, much to delight of the cat Sylvester (who appears in all three of these shorts).

‘Yankee Dood It’ is a nice, if rather slow propaganda short that only sees advantages of the capitalistic system: lower prices and higher wages. Possible drawbacks like poverty, monopolization, unemployment and pollution are, of course, wisely left out.

Watch ‘Yankee Dood It’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.b99.tv/video/yankee-dood/

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Director: Chuck Jones
Release date: February 25, 1956
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Witch Hazel
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Broom-stick Bunny © Warner Brothers‘Broomstick Bunny’ was the second of three Bugs Bunny cartoons, featuring Witch Hazel, the others being ‘Bewitched Bunny’ (1954) and ‘A Witch’s Tangled Hare’ (1959).

‘Broomstick Bunny’ is a halloween cartoon, in which Bugs Bunny, wearing a witch mask, tries to get trick or treat from Witch Hazel.

Unfortunately, she sees in him a competitor in ugliness. In the end, she drinks her own beautifying potion, turning into a beautiful redhead girl, soon being chased by the genie from her magic mirror. Hazel’s girl image was allegedly modeled after her voice actress, June Foray.

Jones’s animation style becomes close to a mannerism here, with a practically obligatory way to depict Witch Hazel speeding away, leaving numerous hairpins in the air. The cartoon is saved by Ernie Nordli’s extreme layouts and Philip DeGuard’s more than fabulous backgrounds, which belong to the most beautiful of the cartoon modern age.

Watch ‘Broom-stick Bunny’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.ulozto.net/live/x5US9Dz/bugs-bunny-broom-stick-bunny-1956-avi

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 120
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Bugs’ Bonnets
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Rabbitson Crusoe

Director: Bill Justice
Release date: July 18, 1956
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Jack and Old Mac © Walt DisneyDirector Bill Justice had co-directed two educational shorts in 1943: ‘The Grain That Built a Hemisphere‘ and ‘The Winged Scourge‘, but ‘Jack and Old Mac’ marks his solo direction debut.

Taking the cartoon modern-style to the max, ‘Jack and Old Mac’ brings jazzy versions of two familiar addition songs: ‘The House That Jack Built’ and ‘Old MacDonald Had A Farm’.

This simple and unpretentious idea leads to one of Disney’s most daring cartoons. The first song only uses characters made out of words and throughout the picture startlingly modern backgrounds are used, which constantly change and which are totally abstract, giving no sense of space whatsoever. The animation, too, is mostly very limited, although some animation is reused from the ‘All the Cats Join In’-sequence from ‘Make Mine Music’ (1946).

George Bruns’s score is strikingly modern for a Disney cartoon, using genuine bebop jazz. In comparison, Louis Prima’s dixieland jazz in ‘Jungle Book’ from eleven years later is much more old-fashioned.

In all, ‘Jack and Old Mac’ is a neglected little masterpiece, and Disney’s modest, but most daring contribution to the cartoon avant-garde.

Justice would direct four more specials: ‘A Cowboy Needs a Horse’ (1956), ‘The Truth about Mother Goose’ (1957), ‘Noah’s Ark’ (1959) and ‘A Symposium on Popular Songs’ (1962), all strikingly modern in design.

Watch ‘Jack and Old Mac’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Jack and Old Mac’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’

Director: Jack Hannah
Release date: April 27, 1956
Stars: Humphrey Bear
Rating: ★★
Review:

Hooked Bear © Walt DisneyIn 1956 Jack Hannah directed two Cinemascope cartoons starring Humphrey the bear and the park ranger, without Donald Duck.

‘Hooked Bear’ is the first one. In this short the park is visited by fishermen. Humphrey, of course, wants to join in, trying to catch some fish, but he is entirely unsuccessful.

Even though Humphrey is a well developed and likable character, ‘Hooked Bear’ does not rank among Hannah’s most inspired cartoons. The short marks only Humphrey’s fifth appearance, but some routine already has sneaked in, and none of the gags ever seem to pay off satisfactorily.

Watch ‘Hooked Bear’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Hooked Bear’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: 1956
Stars: Ralph Phillips
Rating: ★★★
Review:

90 Days of Wondering © Warner Brothers’90 Days of Wondering’ is a rather propagandistic advertising film to persuade ex-soldiers to reenlist.

Despite its rather questionable message, the film is beautifully designed and animated. Especially striking is its dazzling opening sequence in which we see a young man (an adult version of dreamer boy Ralph Phillips from ‘From A to Z-Z-Z-Z’ from 1954) being extremely happy to leave the army and rushing home. This opening sequence has a speed and gusto that recalls the Warner Brother shorts from the 1940s. It contrasts with the slow pace of the scenes following after, where the young man soon discovers he is out of tune with is hometown. Soon he is visited by two small characters explaining him why he should reenlist…

In 1957 ’90 Days of Wondering’ was followed by yet another propaganda film for the army called ‘Drafty, isn’t it?‘. It also stars the adult version of Ralph Phillips.

Watch ‘90 Days of Wondering’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: November 10, 1956
Stars: Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote
Rating:   ★★★★
Review:

There They Go-Go-Go! © Warner BrothersThis ninth Road Runner cartoon has a deviant opening, in which we watch the coyote baking a chicken out of clay.

Of course he rather has real meat, and his attempts to catch the Road Runner include a spear on a chord, a revolver on a spring, a catapult, a bundle of maces, a half-sewn-through ladder, a wheel of dynamite sticks and a rocket.

The best gag is saved for last, in which the coyote has assembled several rocks above the road. When these fail to fall on the Road Runner, the coyote nervously tries to make them fall until he realizes that he succeeds and they will fall on him. He then brings forth a sign saying “In Heaven’s name, what am I doing?”.

‘There they Go-Go-Go’ contains the most abstract backgrounds ever conceived in a Road Runner cartoon – Maurice Noble really pushes the limits here. Nevertheless they were reused the next year in ‘Scrambled Aches’.

Watch ‘There They Go-Go-Go!’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Paul J. Smith
Release Date: October 22, 1956
Rating:  ★★★★½
Review:

Niagara Fools © Walter LantzIn this cartoon Woody Woodpecker wants to ride the Niagara falls in a barrel.

However, there’s a park ranger who tries to stop him, and it’s this ranger who repeatedly ends in a barrel on the falls.

It’s amazing to discover a gem like this between the badly designed, badly animated and badly timed Walter Lantz shorts of the late 1950s. Although this cartoon, too, features ugly animation, the story and the gags (penned by Disney-veterans Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer) are very good. The result is by all means one of the best Woody Woodpeckers of the fifties.

Watch ‘Niagara Fools’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://oldiesbutgoodiesmusic.e-bookmembers.com/woody/Woody_Woodpecker-Niagara_Fools/

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: July 7, 1956
Stars: Daffy Duck
Rating:  ★★★
Review:

Stupor Duck © Warner Brothers‘Stupor Duck’ is a spoof on the Fleischer’s Superman cartoons, a series that had ended 13 years before, and was earlier parodied by Chuck Jones in ‘Super Rabbit’ (1943), starring Bugs Bunny.

This time Daffy is “Stupor Duck”, who, overhearing a television program, seeks for the non-existent villain Aardvark Ratnick, seeing his deeds in everything. Daffy, for example, rescues a submarine from ‘sinking’. The best part of the cartoon is its opening sequence which perfectly parodies the Fleischer’s opening sequence. The rest of the cartoon is unfortunately hampered by mediocre timing.

Watch ‘Stupor Duck’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/82993447/

This is Daffy Duck cartoon No. 75
To the previous Daffy Duck cartoon: Rocket Squad
To the next Daffy Duck cartoon: A Star Is Bored

‘Stupor Duck’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Five’

Director: Jack Kinney
Release Date: February 24, 1956
Stars: Donald Duck, Chip ‘n Dale
Rating:  ★★★
Review:

Chips Ahoy © Walt DisneyThis Cinemascope cartoon is one of finals. It was the last screen appearance of Chip ‘n Dale, it was the last non-educational Donald Duck short and it was the last cartoon directed by Goofy director Jack Kinney, whose own Goofy series had stopped three years earlier.

The short features a quite ordinary battle between Chip ‘n Dale and Donald. This time the squirrels steal Donald’s miniature boat to sail to an island full of acorns. Highlights are Donald acting out a thunderstorm and Dale’s deadpan reactions to Donald’s attempts to persuade them into various boats.

By 1956 Jack Kinney, the greatest director of comedy the Disney studio had ever seen, had been out of favor for some time, and on March 13, 1958 he was fired. He continued animating during the dark ages of animation, in which animation was only seen in light of expenses. He worked on UPA’s first feature, ‘1001 Arabian Nights’ and on Popeye films for television, besides several small and often unfinished projects with his own animation company. In 1988 he wrote his highly entertaining and richly illustrated autobiography ‘Walt Disney and Assorted other Characters’. Jack Kinney passed away on February 9, 1992, 82 years old.

Watch ‘Chips Ahoy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 114
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Up a Tree
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: How to Have an Accident in the Home

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