Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Just Plan Odd!

I wasn't sure if this qualifies as a Lunedi Lunacy or a Mercoledi Musicale entry.  Its borderline!  So I've scheduled it for today as ...   Martedi Madness?  Tuesday Tosh?  Jeudi Jocularity?  Just Plan Odd!

Back in the early days of cinema it wasn't unusual to include a sing-along short with the cartoon, newsreel, travelogue, comedy short and "appearing soon on this screen"  to fill out the evenings entertainment.    In this rather odd little short the sing-along and cartoon are combined to rather bizarre effect.

Betty Boop had been introduced to the world as a canine character back in 1930 but by 1932 had morphed into a 1920s flapper par excellence.  However in this cartoon she still seemed to have this thing for strays which frankly I find just a touch creepy.  The irritating smart-alack baby seemed to be a favourite 30s cartoon conceit but after all it was the Great Depression so maybe "anything for a laugh" literally meant "anything for a laugh".

In 1930 Betty Boop started life as ...  a humanized  French poodle (above) but by 1932 had morphed into the quintessential 20s flapper.  Though she did seem to continue to have a rather strange attraction to mutts and strays.

The insertion of the sing-along with Ethel Merman between the two unrelated cartoons, and the choice of song,  is totally unexpected.  But it does give a chance to hear the great Merm in her early days and in ballad mood.   I think this must have been one of her first movie appearances (1932?) and she does seem a bit stiff in front of a camera - something she never was with a live audience.

Old romantic ballads are not something I've ever associated with her but Merman does a lovely job of  Let Me Call You Sweetheart.  Listening to her made me aware of what a lovely song it is - good lyrics and a very pleasant melody.  And the reprise at the end does give us a bit of that Merman jazz belt that we came to associate with her. 

A rather odd piece of cinema and Broadway history ...  it really is a touch of melodic lunacy!

January 14 - 1724:   King Philip V of Spain abdicates only to resume the throne nine months later.
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

Ur-spo said...

Mr. V of Spain was a worry; I am glad he changed his mind.