The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos

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The Woods Are Full Of Cuckoos
Merrie Melodies series
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Melvin Millar
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Robert Bentley
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) December 4, 1937
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 min
Language English

The Woods Are Full Of Cuckoos is a Merrie Melodie cartoon directed by Frank Tashlin, and released in December 1937. It is a parody/send-up of several different radio programs of the era, particularly the then-popular "community sing" programs. Author and critic Alexander Woollcott is parodied as Owl Kott in the cartoon, a parody that Tashlin would revisit in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938). This is the very first cartoon to use the orange-yellow color scheme for the Merrie Melodies opening rings.

Plot[edit]

The cartoon starts with an owl named "Owl Kott" (satirizing Woolcott's "Town Crier" radio program) giving an introduction to the festivities. This is followed by a Ben Bernie caricature called "Ben Birdie", feuding with "Walter Finchell". The same spoof was used in the cartoon The Coo-Coo Nut Grove (1936). Walter Winchell had a well-publicized feud with Bernie at the time, which, like Jack Benny's "feud" with Fred Allen, was faked for publicity purposes - Bernie and Winchell were actually good friends.

Next is "Milton Squirrel" (Milton Berle, emcee of Gillette Community Sing) introducing "Wendell Howl" (Wendell Hall) and an audience trying to figure out which page to go to in their songbooks, which results in Wendell getting pelted by the audience's songbooks. Then, "Billy Goat and "Ernie Bear" (Billy Jones and Ernie Hare) and everyone else sings a song which the words are:

The Woods are full of cuckoos,
Cuckoos, cuckoos,
The Woods are full of cuckoos
and my heart is full of love.

During the song, a fox (a caricature of Fred Allen) called "Mr. Allen" is told that he's singing "Swanee River" instead of the actual song. Then the song is sung by "Eddie Gander" (Eddie Cantor), "Sophie Turkey" (Sophie Tucker), "W.C. Fieldmouse" (Fields), "Dick Fowl" (Dick Powell), "Fats Swallow" (Waller), "Deanna Terrapin" (Deanna Durbin), "Irvin S. Frog" (Irvin S. Cobb), "Fred McFurry" (Fred MacMurray), "Bing Crowsby" (Crosby), "Al Goatson" (Jolson), "Ruby Squealer" (Ruby Keeler, Jolson's wife at the time), and "Lanny Hoss" (Lanny Ross). Then "Grace Moose" (Grace Moore) and "Lily Swans" (Lily Pons) sing notes, each note higher than the other. Comedienne and jazz singer Martha Raye (caricitured here as a mule named "Moutha Bray") makes an appearance in a scatting jazz take. Then, more spoofs are made, including movie critic and gossip columnist "Louella Possums" (Louella Parsons), Raven McQuandry (Haven McQuarrie, emcee of Do You Want To Be An Actor?), Joe Penguin (Joe Penner), Tizzie Fish ("Tizzie Lish", a character on Al Pearce's radio show), Jack Bunny (Benny), Mary Livingstone, and Andy Devine (a regular on Benny's radio program). Finally Owl Kott finishes the cartoon by bidding the audience goodnight, and saying "All is well, all is well..."

Availability[edit]

This cartoon is found on The Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3.

Preceded by
Porky's Hero Agency (LT)
List of Merrie Melodies Cartoons
1937
Succeeded by
September in The Rain