152. A Corny Concerto – Bob Clampett

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SUMMARY: Two stories set to music a la ‘Fantasia’, as introduced by master of ceremonies Elmer Fudd.

WHY IT’S HERE: ‘A Corny Concerto’ is Bob Clampett’s inspired parody of Disney’s ‘Fantasia’. A cartoon in two parts (packing an incredible amount into seven minutes), ‘A Corny Concerto’ was actually written by director Frank Tashlin. It opens with a magical moment in which Elmer Fudd, taking the Deems Taylor role, emerges in silhouette onto a platform but confounds the audiences expectations of how tall he will be. Elmer’s opening speech is a masterpiece of speech-impediment exploitation, a great piece of word-smithery in a largely musical cartoon. Both sections of ‘A Corny Concerto’ are set to pieces of music by Johan Strauss. The best of the two is the gloriously off-colour ‘Tales From the Vienna Woods’, in which Porky Pig and a pointer dog hunt Bugs Bunny to the strains of Strauss’s music. It opens fairly inoffensively but then heads into the sort of sick territory only Clampett would ever dream of exploring. Porky’s gun falls into the hands of a squirrel who fires it randomly at the trio. Fearing they’ve been hit, Clampett has the three characters dance around in their death throes! This section ends with a bawdy (for its time) gag in which Bugs slaps a bra on the heads of Porky and his dog and pirouettes into the sunset, hilariously collapsing in the cartoon’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it highlight.

The second section tells a tale set to ‘The Blue Danube’, in which a baby version of Daffy Duck attempts to find favour with a group of swans. Their rejection of Daffy is hilarious, particularly the moment the mother swan finds him under a rock and uncaringly slams it back down on his head. The short has a happy ending, however, as Daffy saves the baby swans from a vulture and is accepted into their family. It’s the sort of story that could have been played straight and with a doe-eyed sweetness but Clampett and Tashlin instead fill it with gags which defy all accusations of cutesiness. ‘A Corny Concerto’ is a jaw-dropingly event-packed cartoon and another classic in the classic-stuffed Clampett canon.

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