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Directors: Chuck Jones & Abe Levitow
Release Date: January 10, 1959
Stars: Bugs Bunny
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

Baton Bunny © Warner Bros.

‘Baton Bunny’ is the last of Chuck Jones’s great tributes to classical music, following ‘Long-Haired Hare‘ (1949), ‘Rabbit of Seville‘ (1950) and ‘What’s Opera, doc?‘ (1957).

The short also forms the closing chapter on a long tradition of concert cartoons with cartoon stars conducting, which goes all the way back to the Mickey Mouse short ‘The Barnyard Concert‘ from 1930. True, ‘Baton Bunny’ is not the last of such cartoons (it was e.g. followed by MGM’s ‘Carmen Get It (1962) starring Tom & Jerry, and ‘Pink, Plunk, Plink‘ (1966) starring the Pink Panther), but these cartoons are hardly the classics ‘Baton Bunny’ certainly is.

Bugs Bunny is the sole performer in the cartoon – we don’t even see the orchestra members, only their instruments. Bugs Bunny and the orchestra play Franz von Suppés overture ‘Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna’ (1844), which Bugs conducts not only with his hands, but also with his ears and feet. Like earlier conductors Mickey (‘The Band Concert‘, 1935) and Tom (‘Tom & Jerry at the Hollywood Bowl‘, 1950) Bugs has some troubles while conducting: with a fly, echoing Mickey’s problems with a bee in ‘The Band Concert’, and with his collar and cuffs, echoing Mickey’s problems with his over-sized costume. Highlight is Bugs’ reenactment of a Western pursuit featuring a cowboy, an Indian and the cavalry, only using his ears to change into each character.

But throughout the cartoon Bugs is beautifully animated, with strong expressions, and deft hand movements. It’s a sheer pity that in the end, the fly turns out to be Bugs’ only audience. But Bugs is not too proud to bow for the tiny creature that had troubled him so much just before. Apart from the animation and Michael Maltese’s entertaining story, ‘Baton Bunny’ profits from Maurice Noble’s beautiful background art, and great staging. Thus the short is a wonderful testimony of Warner Bros. cartoon art of the late fifties.

Watch ‘Baton Bunny’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 140
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Pre-hysterical Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare-Abian Nights

‘Baton Bunny’ is available on the DVD-box ‘The Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1″

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Release Date: September 16, 1950
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Tom & Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl © MGMOnly a year after Chuck Jones’ Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘Long-Haired Hare‘ the Hollywood Bowl is visited by cartoon characters again in ‘Tom and Jerry in The Hollywood Bowl’.

This short is Tom & Jerry’s second concert cartoon (the first being ‘The Cat Concerto‘ from 1947). This time Tom is a conductor, conducting an orchestra of cats in Johann Strauss Jr.’s overture to ‘Die Fledermaus’. Jerry wants to conduct, too, but Tom doesn’t allow him. This leads to a battle between the two with a great finale in which Jerry makes the complete orchestra disappear, so Tom has to play all the instruments himself. Jerry, who conducts him shares the applause with an exhausted Tom, before the cat vanishes into a hole, too.

During the complete cartoon the feud between the two conductors is perfectly timed to the music. ‘Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl’ is not as good as ‘The Cat Concerto’, but still very funny. Its only drawback are the designs on Tom and Jerry, which both look poorer than usual, looking forward to the leaner designs of their later cartoons.

Watch ‘Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 52
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Safety Second
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: The Framed Cat

Director: Hawley Pratt
Release Date: May 25, 1966
Stars: The Pink Panther, The Little Guy
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Pink, Plunk, Plink © DePatie-FrelengIn ‘Pink, Plunk, Plink’ the Pink Panther spoils a performance of Beethoven’s fifth symphony by trying to play his own theme music, much to dismay of the conductor (the little guy).

The Pink Panther finally succeeds to replace the conductor, but there appears only to be one man in the audience, Henry Mancini, composer of the Pink Panther’s theme music, himself (live action footage).

‘Pink, Plunk, Plink’ is not one of the best concert cartoons ever made, but the little guy’s frustrations are wonderfully animated.

Watch ‘Pink, Plunk, Plink’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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