Thursday, September 2, 2010

115 The Autograph Hound

Title: The Autograph Hound
Studio: Disney
Date: 9/01/39
Credits: -
Series: Donald Duck
Running time (of viewed version): 8:15 (without Leonard, but with Buena Vista intro)

Synopsis: Donald trespasses for autographs, but ends up crushed under the weight of other people's interest in him.

Comments: The title card begins the caricatures, Harpo Marx on the left, Greta Garbo in the middle, and that milquetoast Hugh Herbert on the right. None of these people are actually people Donald seeks an autograph from in the cartoon... Another cartoon I can clearly recall from my youth; I remember the faking being in Garbo's car gag. Maybe the Disney Channel played it more often than average; maybe the varied characters just left more of an impression and allowed the overall cartoon to be remembered more clearly by me. I didn't really know who almost any of the stars were at the time (there's way more that I could screencap in this than in the average Disney short). I only knew old Mickey Rooney, and didn't associate him with young Mickey in the cartoon. The guard's badge shines an unusually large amount. It's almost like they're recycling the ice rink from The Hockey Champ, but this one doesn't look as real; on the other hand, it has the actual (yeah yeah, I know) Sonja Henie. Silhouettes in a tent, turn out to be the Ritz Brothers (they go through many hat changes). I'm not sure the Ritz Brothers coming out of the cloud is done effectively. This is the most "hammer you over the head with the names of the stars" caricature cartoon ever, I think. Donald says the names of many of the stars, and those many sign their names. This is in stark contrast to most caricature cartoons, which rely solely on the caricature itself to communicate who it was of. This of course makes this cartoon much easier to identify the signing stars than in the other caricature cartoons (and all the unsigning stars in this cartoon) for us now, when we are not day to day familiar with the relevant celebrities. Strangely, Donald is famous as well, which makes this self referential.

There's an excellent page comparing actual photos of some of the stars with their caricatures at
which provides some of the the unsigning (or unspoken; Garbo is named but does not sign) stars names; Mischa Auer, Joan Crawford, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Charlie McCarthy, Henry Armetta, Clark Gable, Eddie Cantor, Katherine Hepburn, Slim Summerville Irvin S. Cobb, Edward Arnold, Hugh Herbert, Roland Young, Stepin Fetchit (it's not "Steppin"?), Joe E. Brown, Martha Raye, Bette Davis, Lionel Barrymore, Charles Boyer. (Also possibly the Andrews Sisters; this makes sense, as the caricatures are three kinds of poison, and their official site lists their hair as red (LaVerne), brunette (Maxene) and blonde (Patty) and following; Patty seems to still be alive as of this writing, making her a third surviving subject along with Mickey Rooney and Shirley Temple). It's unclear if the bayonetting soldiers are specific; they look cartoony generic compared to the known caricatures (not Disney cartoony tho). The Lone Ranger could be intended as a caricature of his actor at the time; his horse sounds like he could be a specific voice caricature; it's a voice similar to Eddie Anderson's, but I think someone else; maybe I'm just thinking of a cartoon voice that's come up for me before, tho. There's someone in a green vest behind Bette Davis who looks like a caricature. Also two guys in overalls behind Groucho and Harpo, tho they could be generic. There is a crowd of top hat-ed dog men behind Auer and Crawford which might be a grab from Society Dog Show.

I've used many crossfade caps here as they make for fewer images, not because I find them beautiful. THat final sequence of fades still takes up a massively disproportionate amount of the caps for the cartoon.

Welcome to World War II.

The Shirley Temple drawing below is from a Howard Lowery auction.


  1. Damn...I like this cartoon, but I simply HATE TO HEAR how Disney fans present this cartoon as the best caricature cartoon ever...hate it...

  2. Well, it's the most caricature-based Disney cartoon I can think of, so any Disney partisan is likely to take the position it's best for the same reason they'd tend to lobby for any Disney cartoon. In their defense, it is one of the most technically proficient cartoons made with a flurry of caricatures that I've seen. Are the Disney fans just extrmely dismissive of other caricature cartoons?

  3. I think one of the problems with the blackface / whiteface idea in cartoon caricatures is shown above; the black guy has a fairly typical stereotypical black face, but if you go up and down, the white faces even in one cartoon don't follow one pattern.