Monday, January 02, 2012

Released To Theaters 75 Years Ago Today

While it's tough to, when it comes to starting a new year right, equal Ernie & Edie, as well as George & Gracie, here goes. . .

Friz Freleng and the boys at Warner Brothers created this "Frankie and (Abusive Dirtbag) Johnny" tale, released on January 2, 1937. It's obvious that Friz had been wanting to break loose from seven years in the "all talking, all singing, all dancing" artistic strait jacket, so this Merrie Melodie - unlike the cartoons Tex Avery and Frank Tashlin were producing at that time - presents a Depression-era melodrama, hardly "merrie" and at times stark. And the stars are. . . MICE. Yes, rodents, seven decades before Pixar's Ratatouille.

Enjoy this subversive animated poison pen letter and bear in mind that John Hubley would get - and keep - the last word on the "Frankie And Johnny" genre 15 years later with his UPA cartoon, Rooty Toot Toot.

1 comment:

Steven Hartley said...

I always found Friz Freleng's cartoons for Warner Bros. in the 30's "interesting" in a way. His timing, pacing and directing was way different compared to what he did in the 40's and 50's. I feel that once he returned to Schlesinger, after his stint in MGM in 1940 - that's when he found his style - in terms of timing, gags, etc.