The Booze Hangs High

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The Booze Hangs High
Directed byHugh Harman
Rudolph Ising
Produced byHugh Harman
Rudolph Ising
Leon Schlesinger (associate producer)
StarringCarman Maxwell
Music byFrank Marsales
Animation byIsadore Freleng
Paul J. Smith
Color processBlack-and-white
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
December 1930 (USA)
Running time

The Booze Hangs High, released in 1930, is the fourth title in the Looney Tunes series and features Bosko, Warner Bros.' first cartoon character.


The scene opens with a close up shot of a cow's rear end. She moos as she walks away, tail and udders swaying in time to Turkey in the Straw. Bosko appears and does a Mexican style dance with the cow. At one point, the cow's "pants" drop, revealing polka-dotted underwear. Bosko points and laughs, at which the cow pulls her pants back on and walks off in a huff—with her nose up and tail held erect.

Next, Bosko laughs heartily at a horse and the horse laughs back. He then climbs onto the horse carriage and uses a whip to play the horse's tail like a violin. He tunes the "horse" by twisting his ear. The horse seems to enjoy the music and dances in an odd fashion. He skates along, floats a few feet above the ground and makes swishing movements, with his hoofs, as if mimicking a mop. Bosko then takes a rake and starts playing it like a fiddle, as the horse begins trotting on two legs.

The scene cuts to three ducklings and their mother. Whilst walking in single file, they start bouncing on their rears in tune to the music. The mother duck starts to sway and the ducklings follow her lead. One of the ducklings, crosses its legs and whispers something in the mother duck's ear. She undoes a flap on his rear, as if he was wearing pants, and motions him off screen, presumably to relieve himself. When he returns, she replaces the flap and they all jump into a pond.

The scene moves back to Bosko and the horse. It seems to be an exact repeat of the earlier dance routine, with Bosko playing the horse's tail while the horse goes through his unique dance moves. Bosko eventually slides down the horse's neck and goes to feed the pigs, who seem to be squealing in hunger. He tilts a trash can into their trough, and they eat greedily. One of the piglets finds a bottle of booze and tries to loosen the cork. Eventually, he manages to open it using the other piglet's tail as a corkscrew. Bubbles begin to float out, and the piglets pop them merrily, making xylophone-like sounds that play How dry I am. They start drinking it and soon get drunk. Their father comes over and starts drinking from the bottle too. He laughs with a deep bass guffaw and sings One Little Drink, using nonsense syllables. He gestures expressively and flings the bottle away which shatters against Bosko's head.

Trapdoor stomach scene

Bosko becomes soaked in booze and inebriated. He walks over to the pigs and they sing Sweet Adeline together, barbershop style. The father pig launches into One Little Drink again, but the effort causes him to belch up a corn cob. Looking embarrassed, he uses his belly button like a knob to open the door to his stomach and puts the cob back inside. He starts to sing again and Bosko helps him reach for the final low note by pulling his tail, which deflates him temporarily.

Bosko and the pigs dance some more until the end credits.

Other references[edit]

This cartoon opens when the blackness of the title card becomes the back of a cow's utter, as it did in Plane Crazy (a Mickey Mouse cartoon which Harman and Ising worked on) and a musical operetta film Song of the Flame (which is now lost). The latter features a song titled The Goose Hangs High from which this short gets its name.

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