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Nelly's Folly is a Merrie Melodies cartoon short, released in 1961, which was written and directed by Chuck Jones. A singing giraffe leaves the jungle to pursue a singing career, but finds herself lonely and out of work following an affair.
Screenshot of Nelly's Folly title card
|Directed by||Chuck Jones|
|Produced by||David H. DePatie|
|Story by||Chuck Jones|
(Turtle, Male Giraffe as he calls Nelly a "has-been")
(Narrator & Agent, uncredited)
|Music by||Milt Franklyn|
|Animation by||Ken Harris|
|Backgrounds by||Philip DeGuard|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Vitaphone Corporation
|December 30, 1961 (USA)|
The cartoon opens as a camera pans across the continent of Africa where the narrator describes how dark and terrifying it is, amid jungle sounds and roars. As the camera pans across the darkest area, we hear the melodious sound of someone singing. A second later the camera opens on a singing giraffe named Nelly, who is performing for her animal friends. A hunter appears from out of the bush, surprised at the sight of this singing giraffe and remarks, "I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't hoid (heard) it with me own eyes!", and immediately has Nelly sign a contract offering her fame and fortune.
Nelly waves a tearful goodbye to her friends in the jungle as she leaves for civilization, captivated by the idea of show business. Once she arrives in New York City, she is put to work singing jingles for "Algonquin Rutabaga Tonic" - a cure for ailments, puts on live stage shows, and produces a line of giraffe-neck sweaters. The camera closes in on a turtle reading a magazine article on the giraffe-neck clothing. His head turns toward the camera and he says, "Well, that's show business".
Nelly releases several albums, but over time becomes lonely and disenchanted with fame and longs for male companionship. One day she wanders into the Zoo and falls in love with a male giraffe, but she finds out he's already married (albeit unhappily, as the "wife" catches him looking at her). Scandal ensues and her agent tells her she's ruining her career (reduced to performing in empty opera houses and taking roles in foreign movies). She leaves show business to go back to her lover in the zoo, who is back together with his wife and wants nothing to do with a "has-been" celebrity. A devastated Nelly appears to go back to Africa.
Back in Africa, Nelly is seen singing a beautiful love song, her sad reflection in a pond, tears dripping from her eyes, and from the eyes of her jungle friends. Moments later, a large male giraffe begins singing along with her and as if all the darkness in her life disappears, the two fall in love and the cartoon ends.
- Nominated for an Academy Award in 1962, for Best Short Subject, Cartoons.
"Nelly's Folly" is included on Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume Three. It also comes with the Warner Bros Movie “Sex and the Single Woman”.