Friday, April 16, 2010

050 Small Fry

Title: Small Fry
Studio: Fleischer
Date: 4/21/39
Dave Fleischer
Willard Bowsky
Orestes Calpini
Series: Color Classics
Running time (of viewed version): (7:42 on 600; 7:58 on Somewhere in Dreamland)

Synopsis: A young fish neglects his school to play pool, but the big fry do not accept him and scare him away with their initiation.

Comments: Two fish cartoons in a row. The cartoon acknowledges the ridiculousness of flowing water under water by simply having a faucet suck in the surrounding environment and then spew it out, somehow now significantly more visible. This is not Fleischer's first cruel initiation cartoons (wanna be member wanna be a member?). I wonder if it was studio policy to paddle newcomers... The cartoon tells the small fry to become a lawyer. The cave scenes with their colored outlines are quite good looking. Tracey Ullman era Homer Simpson's laugh is kinda like that of the first pool hall tough. The song is extremely catchy. I cannot overemphasize how catchy it is.


  1. Willard Bowsky was the undisputed king of nightmarish images in Fleischer cartoons (that would last for years in the heads of innocent kiddies watching them on TV in the 1950s and 60s). While he slacked off a little from the early and mid 1930s after shorts like "Swing You Sinners" and "Minnie the Moocher", apparently the move to Miami gave him some new impetus to try and disturb the audience a bit, since Bowsky followed up "Small Fry" with "Wotta Nightmare".

  2. The Fleischer's always had the best popular music in their cartoons. I used to think it was a reflection of their tastes, and being in NYC instead of Hollywood, now I can understand that Paramount had more jazzier music than Warners or MGM.

    It is a tune so catchy, that all I had to do was see the title of your post and it came roaring into my head.

  3. Well I think Bing Crosby introduced the song, a Hoagy Carmichael classic, in a 1938 feature "Sing You Sinners". But the cartoon is a classic, too! One of my all time faves.

  4. Oh me, Oh my, Small Fry! God I love this cartoon. One of my personal favs.