A Corny Concerto

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A Corny Concerto
Directed byRobert Clampett
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byFrank Tashlin
StarringArthur Q. Bryan
(Elmer Fudd-uncredited)
Music byInspired by:
Johann Strauss II
(for the two waltzes)
Musical direction:
Carl W. Stalling
Orchestra:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Animation byRobert McKimson
Additional animation:
Manny Gould (uncredited)
Virgil Ross (uncredited)
Rod Scribner (uncredited)
Richard H. Thomas (backgrounds, uncredited)
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
September 18, 1943
Running time
7 minutes 58 seconds
LanguageEnglish

A Corny Concerto is a 1943 American animated short film of the Merrie Melodies series starring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Elmer Fudd. They perform a parody of Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon series and specifically his 1940 feature Fantasia.[1] The film uses two of Johann Strauss' best known waltzes, Tales from the Vienna Woods and The Blue Danube, adapted by the cartoon unit's music director, Carl Stalling and orchestrated by its arranger, Milt Franklyn. It was produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. It was directed by Bob Clampett, written by Frank Tashlin, animated by Robert McKimson and released on September 18, 1943. In 1994 it was voted # 47 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[2][3]

This was the first WB cartoon ever to feature more than two of their major characters in starring roles and one of only three theatrical short cartoons in which both Bugs and Porky appear (the others, Porky Pig's Feat (1943) and Dumb Patrol (1964) feature cameos by Porky and Bugs, respectively).

Pigs in a Polka (1943) had similarly animated cartoon slapstick to the works of Johannes Brahms.

Plot[edit]

Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 is heard over the opening credits, featuring Carnegie Hall parody "Corny-gie Hall". Afterwards, a musicologist, played by Elmer Fudd (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan) appears in an ill-fitting tuxedo and glasses, directly parodying the Deems Taylor introductions in Fantasia. He struggles against his uncooperative clothing as he delivers his introductions using his characteristic rhotacism: "And as we hear the whythmic stwains of the haunting wefwain, wisten to the wippwing whythm of the woodwinds, as it wolls awound and awound, and it comes out here..." (referencing the lyrics to the popular song The Music Goes Round and Round).[4]

The first of the two musical segments is set to Strauss' waltz Tales from the Vienna Wood. Porky Pig plays Elmer Fudd's usual role of hunter, accompanied by an unnamed hunting dog (similar to the one seen the following year in Clampett's Hare Ribbin'). Since the only spoken dialogue in the cartoon are Fudd's introductions, Porky explains what he is doing via a sign reading, "I'm hunting that @!!*@ rabbit!!", which turns out to be Bugs Bunny. A series of visual gags ensue, parodying ballet, and culminating with all three characters believing that they have been shot. After Porky and the dog realize that they are unharmed, they attempt to give first aid to the apparently fatally wounded Bugs, as the dog bawls in tune with the music. When Porky finally pries Bugs' clenched hands off the supposed gunshot wound in his chest, Bugs is revealed to have a baby blue bra underneath. Emitting a scream of modesty, Bugs caps the bra over the bewildered hunters' heads and then, wearing a tutu, gracefully dances off into the distance, falling over at the music's climax.[4]

Fudd returns briefly to introduce the second segment, Strauss' The Blue Danube waltz. This plays out as a slapstick parody of Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon, The Ugly Duckling, wherein a Daffy Duck-like duckling attempts to join the three cygnets (baby swans) who follow their mother swan, all paddling around in waltz time; the mother consistently violently rebuffs the duckling. Meanwhile, a large buzzard with a "hep cat" hairdo spots the troupe and goes "Out To Brunch" by swooping down and sprinkling salt and pepper on the cygnets. He plucks each out of the water (the last youngster is revealed to be fitted with a tiny outboard motor), then grabs the little black duckling, but immediately puts him back with a sign reading—as befits a World War II cartoon—"Rejected 4F" (unfit-for-military-service). Upon realizing her children are gone, the mother swan faints and, seeing the Buzzard making off with the cygnets, the duckling gets angry, takes on the aspect of a P-40 Warhawk fighter and buzzes the Buzzard, who literally turns yellow, drops the cygnets (who parachute back to the water) and flees. The duckling stuns the Buzzard then hands him a drum of TNT which blows him sky high. The buzzard is last seen gliding towards heaven (via an attached balloon) in angel garb, strumming a harp. The cartoon ends with the swan family and duckling merrily quacking the Blue Danube as they glide across the water together. One final sight-gag occurs as the duckling's distracted reflection misses a turn, gets separated, and slams into a tree's reflection. The cartoon fades out on the birds waving goodbye as the reflection rejoins the duckling.

Analysis[edit]

Fantasia was marketed to highbrow music fans; the Looney Tunes staff responded by violating the ivory tower of classical music and concert hall culture. The short parodies both Fantasia's Silly Symphonies-derived balletic approach to storytelling. Elmer Fudd stands in for Deems Taylor and in an anti-highbrow gag, his starched shirtfront keeps erupting from his shirt to hit him on the face.[5]

There are a number of visual nods to Fantasia and the Silly Symphonies, including the use of silhouetted figures as when Fudd first appears, unnaturally colored vegetation such as purple trees, and two anthropomorphic trees as seen in Disney's Flowers and Trees (1932).

Availability[edit]

The short can be seen on disc 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2 DVD set and also appears in the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar. It can also be found on "The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 1" laserdisc, and the "Looney Tunes Collectors Edition: Musical Masterpieces" VHS.

Since most of this cartoon has fallen into public domain (with the exception of the brief quotation of “The Music Goes Round and Round”), it has made frequent appearances on many gray-market VHS and DVD cartoon releases.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE BOOTLEG FILES: A CORNY CONCERTO". Film Threat. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  2. ^ "The 50 Greatest Cartoons — As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals – Movie List". MUBI. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  3. ^ "The 50 Greatest Cartoons". TV Tropes. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  4. ^ a b Hartley, Steven (2017-04-30). "Likely Looney, Mostly Merrie: 413. A Corny Concerto (1943)". Likely Looney, Mostly Merrie. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  5. ^ Goldmark (2002), p. 107-108
  6. ^ A Corny Concerto, retrieved 2019-03-12

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Wackiki Wabbit
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
Falling Hare
Preceded by
Scrap Happy Daffy
Daffy Duck Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
Daffy-The Commando
Preceded by
To Duck or Not To Duck
Elmer Fudd Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
An Itch in Time
Preceded by
Porky Pig's Feat
Porky Pig Cartoons
1943
Succeeded by
Tom Turk and Daffy