The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos
|The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos|
|Directed by||Frank Tashlin|
|Produced by||Leon Schlesinger|
|Story by||Melvin Millar|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Robert Bentley|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Vitaphone Corporation
|December 4, 1937|
The cartoon starts with an owl named "Owl Kott" (satirizing Woolcott's Town Crier radio program) giving an introduction to the festivities. This is followed by a Ben Bernie caricature called "Ben Birdie", feuding with "Walter Finchell". The same spoof was used in the cartoon The Coo-Coo Nut Grove (1936). Walter Winchell had a well-publicized feud with Bernie at the time, which, like Jack Benny's "feud" with Fred Allen, was faked for publicity purposes – Bernie and Winchell were actually good friends.
Next is "Milton Squirrel" (Milton Berle, emcee of Gillette Community Sing) introducing "Wendell Howl" (Wendell Hall) and an audience trying to figure out which page to go to in their songbooks, which results in Wendell getting pelted by the audience's songbooks. Then, "Billy Goat and "Ernie Bear" (Billy Jones and Ernie Hare) and everyone else sings a song with the lyrics:
- The Woods are full of cuckoos,
- Cuckoos, cuckoos,
- The Woods are full of cuckoos
- and my heart is full of love.1938–1941
During the song, a fox (a caricature of Fred Allen) called "Mr. Allen" is told that he's singing "Swanee River" instead of the actual song. Then the song is sung by "Eddie Gander" (Eddie Cantor), "Sophie Turkey" (Sophie Tucker), "W.C. Fieldmouse" (W. C. Fields), "Dick Fowl" (Dick Powell), "Fats Swallow" (Fats Waller), "Deanna Terrapin" (Deanna Durbin), "Irvin S. Frog" (Irvin S. Cobb), "Fred McFurry" (Fred MacMurray), "Bing Crowsby" (Bing Crosby), "Al Goatson" (Al Jolson), "Ruby Squealer" (Ruby Keeler, Jolson's wife at the time), and "Lanny Hoss" (Lanny Ross). Then "Grace Moose" (Grace Moore) and "Lily Swans" (Lily Pons) sing notes, each note higher than the other. Comedian and jazz singer Martha Raye (caricatured here as a mule named "Moutha Bray") makes an appearance in a scatting jazz take. More caricatures appear, including movie critic and gossip columnist "Louella Possums" (Louella Parsons), Raven McQuandry (Haven McQuarrie, emcee of Do You Want To Be An Actor?), Joe Penguin (Joe Penner), Tizzie Fish ("Tizzie Lish", a character on Al Pearce's radio show), Jack Bunny (Jack Benny), Mary Livingstone, and Andy Devine (a regular on Benny's radio program). Finally Owl Kott finishes the cartoon by bidding the audience goodnight, and saying "All is well, all is well..."
- The cartoon is notable for being a parody/send-up of several different radio programs of the era, particularly the then-popular "community sing" programs. Author and critic Alexander Woollcott is parodied as Owl Kott in the cartoon, a parody that Tashlin would revisit in another Merrie Melodies cartoon, "Have You Got Any Castles?", which was released in 1938.