Thursday, April 8, 2010

046 Bars and Stripes Forever

Title: Bars and Stripes Forever
Studio: Warner Brothers
Date: 4/08/39
Ben Hardaway & Cal Dalton
Story by
Jack Miller
Rod Scribner
Musical Direction
Carl W. Stalling
Series: Merrie Melodies
Running time (of viewed version): 7:40

Synopsis: Gags happen in a prison, vaguely centered around a dog who beats a guard (who then beats a small unassuming prisoner), escapes briefly, and is recaptured.

Comments: Starts off with St. James Infirmary Blues. It seems like there's less making fun of prisons in cartoons now. The Dalton/Hardaway cartoons are a little harder for me to identify as such compared to their contemporary WB directors; this is not due to their cartoons being less distinctive, but because they were thinner on the ground of televised showings for me. Chuck Jones made cartoons for another 40 or 50 years with his name slapped all over them; H/D disappeared as directorial names by the time Friz Freleng returned to WB from MGM (tho Hardaway's nickname would stick to a certain very famous bunny). It's hard to read the clock, but it seems to go to the far away date of 2010. It seems like there was a rash of cartoons proving they could make unusual transitions. I wonder why WB dropped the world of dog men. I also wonder if they had a giant model pack of dog men laying around to populate the world that they came up with mostly in a single fevered session, or if they had to grind out similar yet different dog men each cartoon. Probably the latter. They really cheaped out on the riot by making the scene symmetrically animated (except for a single character in the center and the cloud effects); the background color differences and the cloud effects do help to hide the perfect character symmetry, but it still feels odd watching it. I think of the main dog as a bulldog, as he is similarly beige and tough as Spike was, tho this dog does not exhibit other bulldog characteristics. But then neither does the Tex Avery Spike, and I've just always assumed he was a bulldog, probably because the same named dog in Tom and Jerry cartoons is clearly a bulldog.

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