Thursday, July 1, 2010

089 Old Glory

Title: Old Glory
Studio: Warner Bros. (these should all be Schlesinger or Vitaphone, of course, but too bad)
Date: 7/01/39
Credits: None listed on print (but Chuck Jones directed).
Series: Merrie Melodies (according to Blue Ribbon print)
Running time (of viewed version): 9:03
Available: LTPCv1 regular ugly box version, ultimate uglybox edition, LTGCv2

Synopsis: Porky is taken by a spectral Uncle Sam through history to encourage him to feel good about being forced to learn the pledge of allegiance, in spite of the fact that a flag is neither the philosophy nor the actions he is shown.

Comments: The WB short I remember most clearly so far. The pledge doesn't have the despicable theist addition to it yet (even if it does come up in the Gettysburg Address section), tho I'm still not really comfortable with the mindless patriotism it attempts to instill; it's better to have Sam try to convince you that patriotism is right than to just have to learn it unquestioningly. Chiaroscuro Porky. Uncle Sam is extremely un-cartoony. Like a less airbrushed version of the Alex Ross Uncle Sam (which is of course much like the classic poster). Patrick Henry looks like the Phantom of the Opera (the commentary from Jerry Beck says it's rotoscoping of actor John Littel (spelling?) from the live action short "Give Me Liberty"). The Paul Revere silhouette looks creepily rotoscoped, as do the nameless minutemen. They would have been better off caricaturing the historical figures than making them realistic. The cartoon wrongly superimposes several guarantees in the Bill of Rights over a down pan of the signing of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights beinf enacted several years later. A concertedly creepy looking cartoon, relying on effects. It has rather poor narrative; it goes through history, but it requires a pre-existing knowledge of American history to understand much of it (two if by sea, the civil war, etc.). Jerry's commentary also mentions a clipping saying there would be 150 prints of this cartoon, 100 more than normal. According to Martha Sigall's commentary, it premiered at the (Carthay Circle?) Theatre in LA, instead of the usual premiere for LTs and MMs at the WB movie house on Hollywood Blvd.

Update 1/9/11:
Repro sig style cel, I believe from Old Glory. Tim wins again.

Update 9/15/11: Two contemporary newspaper stories (6/17/39, 3/31/39) on Old Glory posted by Yowp/Fibber Fox:


  1. Credits:
    Supervision: Charles Jones
    Animation: Robert McKimson
    Story: Dave Monahan or Rich Hogan
    Music: Carl W. Stalling
    Orchestrations: Milt Franklyn
    Voices: Mel Blanc, John Deering

  2. Another candidate for story of this short could be Robert (Bob) Givens.