|Merrie Melodies (Elmer Fudd) series|
|Directed by||Tex Avery|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Jack Miller|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Paul J. Smith|
|Studio||Leon Schlesinger Productions|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
|Release date(s)||January 28, 1939|
|Running time||7 minutes 42 seconds|
Hamateur Night is a 1938 seven-minute animated short film released to theaters by Warner Bros. on January 28, 1939. Directed by Tex Avery and written by Jack Miller, the film was a part of the Merrie Melodies series produced by Leon Schlesinger and distributed by The Vitaphone Corporation.
The premise of the film is rather simple; it features a vaudeville-style amateur talent night (see, for example, the contemporary and still-ongoing "Amateur Night" competitions at the Apollo Theater) with a format that resembles the much later television program The Gong Show in that it features a judge who strikes a gong to stop the performance of any entertainer whom he deems bad. The primary character of this short is Egghead, a prototype of Elmer Fudd who lacks the speech impediment of the character he evolved into.
The cartoon entered the public domain in 1967 when its last rightsholder, United Artists Television (successor-in-interest to Associated Artists Productions), failed to renew the original copyright within the required 28-year period.
Showing tonight at a theatre is "Four Daughters with Selected Shorts". Throughout the performance, members of the audience do some miscellaneous gags while Egghead keeps interrupting by singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" and getting dragged offstage. After a brief orchestra played by the conductor rather than the musicians, comes talented pianist Maestro Palawitski, but he instead inserts a nickel in the piano to play for him. For that, the performance judge rejects him. Next up is a divo penguin, but he too is rejected. Next, Hindumystic Swamiriver has his sword-through-the-basket act with Egghead as the volunteer, but Egghead doesn't emerge after the act. Next is the ballerina flea, Teeny-Tiny-Teensy-Tinny-Tinny-Tin reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb", but she as well is rejected. For the next act, Fleabag McFoodle gives instructions to his highly trained dog, but he is nevertheless rejected. Then there is a Hamlet acting fox who is shunned by a member of the audience who throws tomatoes and is thus rejected. The closing act is the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet played by two chickens, to which Romeo knocks out an obnoxious audience member who was constantly laughing throughout most of the animated short. Finally, comes the final judging for the performers; to the announcer's surprise, it is Egghead himself who is picked by the audience, which (due apparently to the now-dispatched heckler driving out all the other audience members) is now composed of many Eggheads applauding.
- VHS - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 3: Tex Avery
- DVD - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 1, Side 3
- http://bufvc.ac.uk/shakespeare/index.php/title/av68064 "Hamateur Night" on BUFVC Index
- http://looney.goldenagecartoons.com/DVDvideo/PD/ "Looney Tunes in the Public Domain"