Back Alley Oproar

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Back Alley Oproar
Sylvester does a wild musical number in Elmer's back yard inspired by Spike Jones.
Directed by Friz Freleng
Produced by Edward Selzer
Written by Michael Maltese
Tedd Pierce
Starring Mel Blanc
Arthur Q. Bryan
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates March 27, 1948 (1948-03-27)
Running time 8 minutes
Language English

Back Alley Oproar is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies (Blue Ribbon reissue) animated short originally released in theaters on March 27, 1948. The short features Sylvester and Elmer Fudd as its main characters, voiced by Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan respectively. The title is a play on "uproar" and "opera". It is the only Sylvester/Elmer pairing sold to a.a.p.. All others were retained by WB. It can be seen with its original titles and blue ribbon reissue. This is a rare exception for Sylvester as he actually wins in this cartoon. The blue ribbon reissue (reissued in 1956) is shown on Cartoon Network and other TV channels, while the original titles are seen everywhere else.



Elmer is ready for bedtime, but Sylvester has other plans as he starts singing in Elmer's back yard. A series of gags play out, as Elmer tries everything up his sleeve to get rid of that unwanted pest. Elmer eventually confronts Sylvester, but before Elmer can blast him with his shotgun, Sylvester sings a sweet, gentle lullaby to ease him to dreams. However, this doesn't last, and the insanity continues…

Elmer eventually dies from explosives from his attempts to get rid of Sylvester. His spirit of his life winds up in Heaven, on a cloud ascending into space. Momentarily he thinks he will finally get some peace and quiet. However, the spirits of Sylvester's nine lives ascend around him, with the male and female cloned ones following them, each with a numeral on its back, singing in a multi-nonet from "Lucia di Lammermoor", with their voices. Just after one of the spirits steals his halo, Elmer's spirit dives off his cloud and a crash is heard off-screen.


The cartoon is a remake of 1941's Notes to You, also directed by Freleng. It has a similar plot (although the ending of the original doesn't have the characters die from an explosion; instead the cat dies from getting shot, and returns as nine singing angels), but the Elmer and Sylvester characters in Notes to You were taken by Porky Pig and an unnamed alley cat (the latter bearing a striking resemblance to the cat from Bob Clampett's The Hep Cat).

Back Alley Oproar is notable in the Warner cartoon canon as one of the very few shorts in which Sylvester actually "wins out" over another character, albeit at the presumed cost of his life.

At the end, the singing is made up of by what seems like three voices (in order of most prominent to least prominent): Blanc's voice, the female voice from earlier, and a deep voice.


When this cartoon aired on The WB, the three times Elmer runs down the steps (which are slippery from grease) and steps on tacks when trying to stop Sylvester from singing were cut.


This cartoon was reissued with Blue Ribbon titles and shown that way in TV for years. It was restored with original titles (and shown uncut and uncensored) for the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2 DVD.

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