Happy Harmonies

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Happy Harmonies is the name of a series of thirty-six animated cartoons distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and produced by Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising between 1934 and 1938.[1]

Produced in Technicolor, these cartoons were very similar to Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies. They would occasionally feature Bosko, a character who starred in the first Looney Tunes shorts that the duo produced for Leon Schlesinger. After the first few releases, the design of Bosko changed from an ink blot to a realistic African American boy.

The two final titles in the series was originally produced by Harman and Ising as Silly Symphonies cartoons. But when Disney only bought one of their three shorts, Merbabies, the others were sold to MGM who released them as Happy Harmonies.[2]

List of cartoons[edit]

1934[edit]

Cartoon No.
No.
Title Featuring Directed By Notes Release Date
1 The Discontented Canary Canary, Parrot, Old Lady, Cat Rudolf Ising • The very first MGM cartoon.

• The first in the Happy Harmonies, though the series title is not labeled on the original title. Instead, it is "A Metro Color Cartoon". • One of two Happy Harmonies in the public domain. The other is To Spring.

1934-09-01
2 The Old Pioneer Old Pioneer, Paper Boy, Indians Rudolf Ising • Includes reused animation from Warner Bros' Moonlight for Two (1932).

• First cartoon to label the name Happy Harmony on the title.

1934-09-29.
3 Tale of the Vienna Woods Fawn, Satyr, Dogs Hugh Harman 1934-10-27
4 Bosko's Parlor Pranks Bosko, Honey, Bruno, Wilbur Hugh Harman • First Bosko cartoon in color. 1934-11-24
5 Toyland Broadcast Toys Rudolf Ising Bing Crosby, The Mills Brothers, Kate Smith, The Boswell Sisters, Paul Whiteman, Rudy Vallee, Rubinoff and other early radio stars are caricatured. 1934-12-22

1935[edit]

Cartoon No.
No.
Title Featuring Directed By Notes Release Date
6 Hey-Hey Fever Bosko, Bruno, Mother Goose, Mother Hubbard, Old King Cole Hugh Harman • Final appearance of the original Bosko. 1935-01-09
7 When the Cat's Away Cat, Mice Rudolf Ising 1935-02-16
8 The Lost Chick Squirrels, Chick, Chicken Hugh Harman • The first letters in the names of the seven chicks - Willy, Elsie, Lucy, Cissy, Oscar, Minnie and Eggbert - spell out "WELCOME". 1935-03-09
9 The Calico Dragon Little Girl, Prince, Three-Headed Dragon Rudolf Ising 1935-03-30
10 Good Little Monkeys Monkeys, Devil, Literary Characters Hugh Harman 1935-04-13
11 The Chinese Nightingale Chinese Emperor, Nightingale, Crow, Girl Trio Rudolf Ising • Not shown on American television due to Chinese characterizations. 1935-04-27
12 Poor Little Me Skunk, Rabbit, Villain Hugh Harman 1935-05-11
13 Barnyard Babies Rooster, Hen, Animals Rudolf Ising • In one scene, a chicken impersonates Sally Rand. 1935-05-25
14 The Old Plantation Uncle Tom, Little Eva, Simon Legree, Toys Rudolf Ising • First MGM cartoon in three-strip Technicolor.

• Not shown on American television due to African-American characterizations.

1935-09-21
15 Honeyland Boy Bee, Girl Bee, Spider Rudolf Ising 1935-10-19
16 Alias St. Nick Little Cheeser, Cat, Mother Mouse, Mice Rudolf Ising • First appearance of Little Cheeser. 1935-11-16
17 Run, Sheep, Run! Bosko, Sheep, Black Sheep, Bruno, Bear Hugh Harman • First appearance of the new Bosko, reimagined by Harman as a young African child. 1935-12-14

1936[edit]

Cartoon No.
No.
Title Featuring Directed By Notes Release Date
18 Bottles Pharmacist, Bottles Hugh Harman • One of the longest Harman-Ising cartoons produced for MGM. 1936-01-11
19 The Early Bird and the Worm Bird, Work, Crows, Rattlesnake Rudolf Ising • The two lazy crows are caricatured of then-famous blackface team Moran and Mack. Much of their dialogue is directly lifted from their hit 1920's comedy recording, Two Black Crows. 1936-02-08
20 The Old Mill Pond Frogs Hugh Harman Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Bill Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Stepin Fetchit, Ethel Waters and The Mills Brothers are caricatured.

• Re-released in abbreviated form by Soundies Distributing Corporation on March 2, 1942 under the title "Hot Frogs."

1936-03-07
21 Two Little Pups Pups, Chicken Rudolf Ising • The two lazy crows are caricatured of then-famous blackface team Moran and Mack. Much of their dialogue is directly lifted from their hit 1920's comedy recording, Two Black Crows. 1936-04-04
22 The Old House Bosko, Honey, Bruno Hugh Harman • Honey sings There Ain't No Spooks In There! 1936-05-02
23 The Pups' Picnic Pups, Fox, Hound Rudolf Ising 1936-05-30
24 To Spring Elves, Old Man Winter William Hanna • William Hanna's directional debut.

• One of two Happy Harmonies in the public domain. The other is The Discontented Canary.

1936-06-20
25 Little Cheeser Little Cheeser, Good Angel, Bad Angel, Mother, Cat Rudolf Ising 1936-07-11
26 The Pups' Christmas Pups, Children, Toys Rudolf Ising 1936-12-12

1937[edit]

Cartoon No.
No.
Title Featuring Directed By Notes Release Date
27 Circus Daze Bosko, Honey, Bruno, Fleas Hugh Harman 1937-01-16
28 Swing Wedding Frogs Hugh Harman Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Bill Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Stepin Fetchit, Ethel Waters and The Mills Brothers are caricatured. 1937-02-13
29 Bosko's Easter Eggs Bosko, Honey, Bruno, Chicken Hugh Harman 1937-03-20
30 Little Ol' Bosko and the Pirates Bosko, Mammy, Frogs Hugh Harman • First cartoon in the Little Ol' Bosko and the Frogs trilogy.

Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Bill Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Stepin Fetchit, Ethel Waters and The Mills Brothers are caricatured.

1937-05-01
31 The Hound and the Rabbit Rabbit, Sniffy, Fox, Other Rabbits. Rudolf Ising 1937-05-29
32 The Wayward Pups Pups, Woman, Cat, Bulldog, Dog Catcher, Hundreds of Other Dogs Rudolf Ising 1937-07-10
33 Little Ol' Bosko and the Cannibals Bosko, Mammy, Frogs Hugh Harman • Second cartoon in the Little Ol' Bosko and the Frogs trilogy. 1937-08-28
33A Little Buck Cheeser Little Cheeser, Mother, Mice Rudolf Ising 1937-12-15

1938[edit]

Cartoon No.
No.
Title Featuring Directed By Notes Release Date
34 Little Ol' Bosko in Bagdad Bosko, Mammy, Frogs Hugh Harman • Final cartoon in the Little Ol' Bosko and the Frogs trilogy.

• Final Bosko cartoon ever.

1938-01-01
35 Pipe Dreams Monkeys, Cigarettes, Pipes Hugh Harman • Banned from television due to showings of tobacco. 1938-02-05
36 The Little Bantamweight Rooster, Champ, Challenger Rudolf Ising • Final Happy Harmonies cartoon. 1938-03-12

Home media[edit]

The only official home release containing a significant number of the Happy Harmonies film shorts is the Happy Harmonies Cartoon Classics laserdisc box set. The laserdisc set was released in 1994 by MGM/UA Home Video [1], which predated the merger of Turner Broadcasting System with Time Warner in 1996. The four-disc set contains 17 of the 36 Happy Harmonies shorts while the remaining 25 shorts include one side of six Barney Bear cartoons, the 1939 animated short Peace on Earth and the 1940 animated short The Milky Way. As of 2016, there has not yet been an official DVD/Blu-ray release for the entire Happy Harmonies series by Warner Home Video.[2]

References[edit]

External links[edit]