271. Symphony in Slang – Tex Avery

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: When a New York hipster arrives at the gates of Heaven, neither St. Peter nor Noah Webster can accurately interpret his strange manner of speaking.

WHY IT’S HERE: One of Tex Avery’s most ingenious animated shorts, ‘Symphony in Slang’ owes its success chiefly to a brilliant script by Rich Hogan which plays on popular slang of the era to create a series of visual puns that interprets phrases like ‘Cat got your tongue’ and ‘Born with a silver spoon in my mouth’ completely literally. The design and animation here is limited, with many of the gags being presented as still images, and whether this approach was a stylistic choice, a financial requirement or an attempt to emulate the success of the UPA studio (as even Disney were doing at this stage), it works perfectly for this material. Both a great historical record of 50s slang and a gateway into wordplay, ‘Symphony in Slang’ is one of the cleverest of Avery’s MGM cartoons.

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