The Isle of Pingo Pongo

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The Isle of Pingo Pongo
Directed byFred Avery
Produced byLeon Schlesinger
Story byGeorge Manuell (credited as Geo Manuell on the original issue)
StarringMel Blanc
Tex Avery
Gil Warren
The Sing Band
(all uncredited)
Narrated byRobert C. Bruce (uncredited)
Music byMusical direction:
Carl W. Stalling
Orchestration:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Animation byCharacter animation:
Irven Spence
Virgil Ross (uncredited)
Effects animation:
A.C. Gamer (uncredited)
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros.
The Vitaphone Corp.
Release date
May 28, 1938 (USA) (original)
August 19, 1944 (re-release)
Running time
8 min
LanguageEnglish

The Isle of Pingo Pongo is a 1938 Merrie Melodies cartoon supervised by Tex Avery.

Plot[edit]

The short follows a cruise ship's trip from New York to the island, presumably located in the South Seas. The ship sails past the Statue of Liberty, who acts as a traffic cop, past the "Canary Islands" and "Sandwich Islands".

The cartoon revolves around themes of jazz and primitivism, and is set on a remote island. The central character is an early version of Elmer Fudd known as Egghead, and most of the cartoon consists of travelogue-type narration and blackout gags, many including Egghead. The inhabitants of Pingo-Pongo are mostly tall, black, and have big feet and lips. Like other cartoons at this time, the native inhabitants resemble animals and reflect stereotypes of the time. The natives are at first playing drums, then break into a jazz beat, still described as a "primitive savage rhythm," which leads the audience to connect the savage jungle to modern jazz music.

There is a running gag with Egghead where he says, "Now Boss?", but the narrator keeps saying "Not now." That is, until the end, where the sun fails to set when he says "as the sun sinks slowly into the West". Egghead reappears and says "Now Boss?" The boss says "Yeah, now!" Egghead shoots the sun, making it sink into the West and ending the film.

Notes[edit]

  • "The Isle of Pingo Pongo" is the first of Avery's spoofs of travelogues, followed on with similar cartoons such as "Detouring America", "A Day at the Zoo", "Fresh Fish", "Cross Country Detours", and "Crazy Cruise".
  • This cartoon was re-released into the Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies program on August 19, 1944. Because the short credits Schlesinger on re-release, the original closing title card was kept. Despite the cartoon's re-release, a physical copy of the original titles is known to exist.
  • Because of the racial stereotypes used against black people throughout the short, it prompted United Artists to withhold it from syndication within the United States in 1968. As such, the short was placed into the so-called Censored Eleven, a group of eleven Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts withheld from television distribution in the United States since 1968 due to heavy stereotyping of black people.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Straight Dope.

External links[edit]