"The Lion's Busy" (1950) Breakdown Thread

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Sean Gaffney
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"The Lion's Busy" (1950) Breakdown Thread

Postby Sean Gaffney » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:10 am

Image

Directed by: I. Freleng
Story: Tedd Pierce
Animation: Arthur Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross
Layouts: Hawley Pratt
Backgrounds: Paul Julian
Voice Characterizations: Mel Blanc
Musical Direction: Carl Stalling

Series: Looney Tunes
Release Date: February 18, 1950
Blue Ribbon re-release sometime from 1959-1964. Original opening/closing missing.
Production Number: Unknown, Blue Ribbon
MPAA Number: 13186

Synopsis: A party is being held for Leo the Lion, who is celebrating his 10th birthday. Leo, with a thick Irish accent, is regaling the crowd with stories when they all rush off seeing the arrival of a package from Beaky Buzzard. It contains a book noting that the life expectancy of a lion is only about 10 years. Sure enough, Beaky soon shows up, waiting for Leo to drop dead so that Beaky can eat him. And when that doesn't seem to be happening, Beaky is happy to try to help Leo along to his demise. After various attempted murder/attempted cooking gags, Leo decides the safest place is the Moon! But even there, Beaky sits waiting for him. Leo seals himself up in a cave, and 10 more years pass. Finally, Leo gives up and emerges an elderly lion, ready to let Beaky eat him. Unfortunately, Beaky is now just as ancient!

Video Availability:
Looney Tunes: The Collector's Edition Vol. 6 - Supporting Players VHS (Columbia House, approx. 2000)

Music Used:
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Chauncey Olcott/George Graff, Jr./Ernest Ball), from the musical The Isle O' Dreams (1912)
Taps (arr. Daniel Butterfield). 1862.
The Arkansas Traveler (Sanford Faulkner). approx. 19th C.
Powerhouse (Raymond Scott). 1937.
The Irish Washerwoman (traditional). Date unknown.
Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean (Thomas Becket). 1943.

Trivia:
A rabbit with similar looks to Bugs Bunny can be seen in the opening scene, though it's not clear if this is a Bugs cameo - the rabbit looks noticeably shorter than Bugs.

The book Leo reads is titled The Kidney Report, a reference to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, which came out in 1948. Along with the 1953 book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, they would become known as 'The Kinsey Reports'.

Beaky might be a little early: most sources indicate lions in the wild live 15-18 years.

Beaky himself is featured in his first non-Bob Clampett cartoon, and seems to have a very different personality.

Marshmallows had been around a while before this cartoon was made, but it's notable that the extrusion process that led to the standard 'cylindrical shape' was invented in 1948.
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Postby Sean Gaffney » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:11 am

More screenshots:
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Postby Sean Gaffney » Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:12 am

And more screenshots:
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Postby Nick » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:37 am

Am I right in saying that the voice over of the Lion reading the book outloud was tacked onto the reissue print? Blanc's voice sounds noticeably different.

Also I believe that this cartoon and McKimson's Strife with Father were specifically ordered by the WB front office to give the Beaky Buzzard character more exposure due to his prominence in the Looney Tunes merchandise at the time.

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Postby Brandon Panther » Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:18 pm

Freleng probably found Beaky too dumb, so he made him a little smarter in this cartoon. It's an interesting mix. Beaky comes off looking and sounding like a dummy, but he does show some quick-wittedness. An interesting take on beaky.

Blanc does a better job of sounding like Kent Rogers, than he does in Strife with Father.

I wonder why they're weren't more cartoons with Beaky. Were these cartoons just not popular with audiences, or did the directors not like him much?
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Postby Fibber Fox » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:13 pm

I've always been curious about the reason for the little flurry of Beaky cartoons about this time. I don't suppose we'll ever really know.

Here are some random ads from 1950 (June, December, February, May). You'll notice the one Republic studio film is pushing its Tru Color process. And did Trigger's agent negotiate billing?

The second short in the May 1950 ad is one of the 'Candid Microphone' series produced for distribution by Columbia. Allen Funt developed the Candid Microphone radio show as a summer replacement for ABC in 1947 and astutely worked out a deal for a series of shorts which, I suspect, helped prepare him for television when he launched 'Candid Camera' a few years later.

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Postby The Crazy HR » Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:54 pm

Some PD compilations feature this cartoon, but the short is not in the public domain.

Leo the Lion previously appeared in "Hold the Lion, Please" (directed by Chuck Jones), but he is much smarter here, has an Irish accent and is differently designed. Tedd Peirce voiced him in HTLP and Mel Blanc voiced him here.

The gag with the Rubber Band marching by (this time replaced by stars) was reused from "Tin Pan Alley Cats".

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Postby looneyboy » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:52 pm

I don't know why but this cartoon doesn't look like a Freleng cartoon.

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Postby David Gerstein » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:14 pm

Nick wrote:I believe that this cartoon and McKimson's Strife with Father were specifically ordered by the WB front office to give the Beaky Buzzard character more exposure due to his prominence in the Looney Tunes merchandise at the time.
Beaky was very popular in the LT comic books in the 1940s. He had his own series of solo stories in 1943-44, then was a prominent guest star in various Bugs, Porky, and Henery Hawk stories for quite awhile afterward. He was treated, essentially, as the "Goofy" of the WB gang, and I can see why readers liked him.
So—it makes sense that the WB front office would have ordered more Beaky cartoons.
But how do we know they did? I've heard it cited here before, but never from a verifiable source. Can anyone give me a source for the information?
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Postby zavkram » Sat Jul 30, 2011 4:52 am

The Crazy HR wrote:Some PD compilations feature this cartoon, but the short is not in the public domain.

Leo the Lion previously appeared in "Hold the Lion, Please" (directed by Chuck Jones), but he is much smarter here, has an Irish accent and is differently designed. Tedd Peirce voiced him in HTLP and Mel Blanc voiced him here.

The gag with the Rubber Band marching by (this time replaced by stars) was reused from "Tin Pan Alley Cats".


I disagree... I don't think the lion depicted in the two cartoons are the same exact character. You just stated that it's the exact same character; except that he looks and sounds different in each cartoon... how is that the same?

Also, the stars are actually circling Leo's head, not marching by; so it's not really the same gag (with perhaps the exception that each has the same SFX) that was used in "Tin Pan Alley Cats"... If any cartoon did reuse that gag, lock-stock, and barrel, it was "Dough for the Do-Do".
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