Saturday, February 27, 2010

029 The Birth of a Toothpick

Title: The Birth of a Toothpick
Studio: Walter Lantz
Date: 2/27/39
Burt Gillett
Story -- Vic McLeod, Kin Platt
Music -- Frank Marsales
Frank Tipper -- LaVerne Harding
Series: Walter Lantz Cartune
Running time (of viewed version): 7:15

Synopsis: In part we follow how a toothpick comes to be, but mostly we see a guy (Big (Dan?)) in romantic love with a tree (Sylvia).

Comments: I think the narrator is the Screwy Squirrel voice; it is close if it is not. A woodpecker shows up briefly. The trees move nicely when they grow or are on trains. I doubt this is the first appearance of the gag of a giant tree being turned into a single tiny toothpick, but I am uncertain. Nature boy Dan looks a bit Terrytoonish. I don't have very much to say about this cartoon. Again, not the worst Lantz cartoon so far. This cartoon pops up as a credit for Ed Benedict; I'm not sure why tho; the Lantz Encyclopedia lists the animator credits as Ed Benedict and LaVerne Harding, but both opening versions I looked at for the cartoon list Frank Tipper and Verne. I am trying to find out the basis for the Ed Benedict animator credit on this cartoon. Burt Gillett was a director at both Disney and Van Beuren before his time at Lantz. In spite of all the above text, I maintain that there really isn't much to say about this cartoon...


  1. I like that stylish-looking switchboard operator gal! That's something I always enjoy seeing in 1930s-40s cartoons: the attention given to women in terms of the sexy stylishness (particularly in, say, an Avery film).

    I'm glad I found your blog, as I enjoy the specialized focus on 1939. It also adds perspective to what was being shown along with all those classic films in this, Hollywood's Greatest Year.

    I'm looking forward to your next entry.

  2. I remember this cartoon from my childhood on 1950's TV. I've searched for it many times before but this is the first time I've found anything substantial. Sure would like to see it again. Thanks for the blog. You've made my day.

  3. Dear Ted, I am really interested in this cartoon. Do you know if it has been released on some DVD, or where can I find a copy of the film? Any information will be useful. Thank you very much!

  4. I found it tonight on YouTube. It was posted there on April 17, 2016. It was truly like finding a dear old friend from long ago.