Monday, November 8, 2010

139 Fresh Fish

Title: Fresh Fish
Studio: Warner Bros.
Date: 11/04/39
Credits: - (but directed by Tex Avery)
Series: Merrie Melodies (on Blue RIbbon retitle)
Running time (of viewed version): 7:36

Synopsis: Puns abound in this documentary about what goes on under the sea.

Comments: I'm not sure what the opening bit about Santa Anita, a race course, means. Maybe a fish is a sucker. It's not even the only horse racing joke; there are seahorses who race, and one with crutches and a mustache named Malicious wins. Seems pretty specific. Second cartoon in two days with a direct overhead shot, this one form a glass bottomed boat, which makes it a more natural choice than over Swee'Pea. Lots of familiar tunes in this one; One little two little three little Indians, that standard barnyard music that isn't Turkey in the Straw, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby... The old crab looks like a turtle and may sound like Fred Allen, or else possibly that guy who looks like Fred Allen (the teacher fish may also be a Fred Allen impression). The water effect lens is too much. I like the "taxi crab" joke. Hepburn impression on the starfish. Fin is/was slang for a five dollar bill, and the obvious pun shows up here, as puns would show in Avery's later work, at its most extreme in Symphony In Slang (the whole cartoon is more or less the same idea). A two headed fish is looking for Mr. Ripley, as in Ripley's Believe it Or Not (it's the repeating gag in the cartoon). Prof. Fishface is dressed like Egghead. The WHim Wham Whistling Shark is thuggy with the egghead hat on, like the fish in Small Fry. He also quotes the line "how do you do", which is a lift from someone I'm blanking on at the moment. The pickled herring looks a lot like Michigan J. Frog (or rather vice versa).

First of three Schlesinger cartoons in one day (tho making this first is strictly an alphabetical thing).


  1. I think that "How Do You Do" one is supposed to be Bert Gordon's character "The Mad Russian." The voice was used again in Bob Clampett's "Hare Ribbin'" some years later.

  2. "barnyard music that's not supposed to be 'Turkey in the Straw'"
    It's "Chicken Reel".

    "looks like Fred Allen and might be"
    Ned Sparks. He's also the influence for a few TV characters-Leonardo-TTV's Baldy Eagle in 1963's "Tennessee Tuxedo" and Art Clokey Studios's "Prickle Dinosaur" [about 20 episodes] in 1966's revival of "Gumby" [the dino had other voices as well].

    And JoeCab about the "Mad Russian" reference. In Bob Clampett's "Hare Ribbon"['44] it's said that a now obscure comic named Sammy Wolf did the impression there.

    Steve C.

  3. "How to Live Alone' is the book Miss Prissy reads in Bob McKimsons' 1951 "Lovelorn Leghorn" when we first spy her.

  4. I always liked how there was somber music under the "Any resemblance" title card, with an abrupt change to "First Call" once you read the part about Santa Anita. Good timing there, Tex.