A Corny Concerto
|A Corny Concerto|
|Directed by||Robert Clampett|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Frank Tashlin|
|Starring||Arthur Q. Bryan|
(Elmer Fudd - uncredited)
(Mother Swan, Baby Swans - both uncredited)
(additional voices - uncredited)
|Music by||Musical Direction:|
Carl W. Stalling
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
|Edited by||Treg Brown (uncredited)|
|Animation by||Robert McKimson|
C. Melendez (uncredited)
A.C. Gamer (uncredited)
|Backgrounds by||Richard H. Thomas (uncredited)|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
They perform a parody of Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon series and specifically his 1940 feature Fantasia. The film uses two of Johann Strauss' best known waltzes, Tales from the Vienna Woods and The Blue Danube.
Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 is heard over the opening credits, featuring Carnegie Hall parody "Corny-gie Hall". Afterwards, a musicologist, played by Elmer Fudd (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan) appears in an ill-fitting tuxedo and glasses, directly parodying the Deems Taylor introductions in Fantasia. He struggles against his uncooperative clothing as he delivers his introductions using his characteristic rhotacism: "And as we hear the whythmic stwains of the haunting wefwain, wisten to the wippwing whythm of the woodwinds, as it wolls awound and awound, and it comes out here..." (referencing the lyrics to the popular song The Music Goes Round and Round, as well as the popular dance orchestra, Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm).
The first of the two musical segments is set to Strauss' waltz Tales from the Vienna Wood. Porky Pig plays Elmer Fudd's usual role of hunter, accompanied by an unnamed hunting dog (similar to the one seen the following year in Clampett's Hare Ribbin'). Since the only spoken dialogue in the cartoon are Fudd's introductions, Porky explains what he is doing via a sign reading, "I'm hunting that @!!*@ rabbit!!", which turns out to be Bugs Bunny. A series of visual gags ensue, parodying ballet, and culminating with all three characters believing that they have been shot. After Porky and the dog realize that they are unharmed, they attempt to give first aid to the apparently fatally wounded Bugs, as the dog bawls in tune with the music. When Porky finally pries Bugs' clenched hands off the supposed gunshot wound in his chest, Bugs is revealed to have a baby blue bra underneath. Emitting a scream of modesty, Bugs caps the bra over the bewildered hunters' heads and then, wearing a tutu and pointe shoes, gracefully dances off into the distance, falling over at the music's climax.
Fudd returns briefly to introduce the second segment, Strauss' The Blue Danube waltz. This plays out as a slapstick parody of Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon, The Ugly Duckling, wherein a young Daffy Duck attempts to join the three cygnets (baby swans) who follow their mother swan, all paddling around in waltz time; the mother consistently violently rebuffs the duckling. Meanwhile, a large buzzard with a "hep cat" hairdo spots the troupe and goes "Out To Brunch" by swooping down and sprinkling salt and pepper on the cygnets. He plucks each out of the water (the last youngster is revealed to be fitted with a tiny outboard motor), then grabs Daffy, but immediately puts him back with a sign reading—as befits a World War II cartoon—"Rejected 4F" (unfit-for-military-service). Upon realizing her children are gone, the mother swan faints and Daffy becomes shocked. Upon seeing the Buzzard making off with the cygnets, Daffy gets angry, takes on the aspect of a P-40 Warhawk fighter and buzzes the Buzzard, who literally turns yellow, drops the cygnets (who parachute back to the water) and flees. Daffy stuns the Buzzard then hands him a drum of TNT which blows him sky high. The buzzard is last seen gliding towards heaven (via an attached balloon) in angel garb, strumming a harp. The cartoon ends with the swan family and Daffy merrily quacking the Blue Danube as they glide across the water together. One final sight-gag occurs as Daffy's distracted reflection misses a turn, gets separated, and slams into a tree's reflection. The cartoon fades out on the birds waving goodbye as the reflection rejoins Daffy.
Fantasia was marketed to highbrow music fans; the Looney Tunes staff responded by violating the ivory tower of classical music and concert hall culture. A Corny Concerto parodies Fantasia's Silly Symphonies-derived balletic approach to storytelling. Elmer Fudd stands in for Deems Taylor and in an anti-highbrow gag, his starched shirtfront keeps erupting from his shirt to hit him on the face.
There are a number of visual nods to Fantasia and the Silly Symphonies, including the use of silhouetted figures as when Fudd first appears, unnaturally colored vegetation such as purple trees, and two anthropomorphic trees as seen in Disney's Flowers and Trees (1932).
The short is available on disc 4 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2 DVD set and also appears in the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar. It can also be found on The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 1 laserdisc, the Looney Tunes Collectors Edition: Musical Masterpieces VHS, and Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection: Volume 2.
Since most of this cartoon has fallen into public domain (with the exception of the brief quotation of “The Music Goes Round and Round”), it has made frequent appearances on many gray-market VHS and DVD cartoon releases.
- Hartley, Steven (2017-04-30). "Likely Looney, Mostly Merrie: 413. A Corny Concerto (1943)". Likely Looney, Mostly Merrie. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
- "AC Gamer Reel (Remake)". YouTube. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
- "Motion Picture Herald". Quigley Publishing Co. September 1943. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
- Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 144. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
- Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 124–126. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
- "THE BOOTLEG FILES: A CORNY CONCERTO". Film Threat. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
- Goldmark (2002), p. 107-108
- "The 50 Greatest Cartoons — As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals – Movie List". MUBI. Retrieved 2019-03-12.
- Quotations related to A Corny Concerto at Wikiquote
- Media related to A Corny Concerto at Wikimedia Commons
- A Corny Concerto at IMDb
- A Corny Concerto at The Big Cartoon DataBase
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