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 byI. Freleng
Produced byEdward Selzer (uncredited)
Story byMichael Maltese
Tedd Pierce
StarringMel Blanc (Sylvester)
Arthur Q. Bryan
(Elmer Fudd-uncredited)
Gloria Curran
(Female Cat Singer)
Music byCarl Stalling
Animation byGerry Chiniquy
Manuel Perez
Virgil Ross
Ken Champin
Layouts byHawley Pratt
Backgrounds byPaul Julian
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
March 27, 1948 (Original)
February 5, 1955
(Blue Ribbon Re-Issue)
Running time

Back Alley Oproar is a Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies (Blue Ribbon reissue) animated short directed by Friz Freleng [1] and 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". This is a rare exception for Sylvester as he wins in this cartoon. It is a remake of Freleng's Notes to You (1941).


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 into a deep sleep. However, this doesn't last, and the insanity continues.

Sylvester doing the "Hornpipe" in Back Alley Oproar

Elmer eventually gets defeated from explosives from his attempts to get rid of Sylvester. His spirit ends 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 cat spirits steals his halo, Elmer's spirit dives off his cloud and a crash is heard off-screen.[2]


The cartoon is a remake of Notes to You (1941), a Looney Tunes short that was 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 gets shot to death, and returns as nine singing angels), and the roles of Elmer and Sylvester were taken by Porky Pig and an unnamed alley cat. Back Alley Oproar is one of the very few shorts in which Sylvester "wins out" over another character, albeit at the presumed cost of his life.[3]

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.


This cartoon was reissued with new Blue Ribbon opening titles and shown that way on television for many years. It was restored with original opening and credits (as the original closing title was kept in the reissue) for the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2 DVD and Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 2, uncut and uncensored.[4]



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