A 1945 (released in 1946) Merrie Melodies
short subject directed by Bob Clampett
, "Book Revue"
is a semi-remake of the 1938 Frank Tashlin short "Have You Got Any Castles?" (or just a throwback to the many "things come to life in a store" motif that was very common in early 30's cartoons). However, pop culture references are up, front, and center this time, along with Clampett's trademark expressive distortions and caricaturing, as well as some very catchy music. Midway through the short, good old Daffy Duck
appears and intrudes on the story of "Little Red Riding Hood
" — and the fun really begins!
This short has been voted No. 45 on The 50 Greatest Cartoons
list. It has also earned a spot on The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Yes, the Looney Tunes did have a comic book series back then. In fact, they still do (only it's by DC Comics).
- Digital Destruction: The print used in Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2 is ruined by nasty digital interlacing, which causes the film to jitter and strobe like crazy if you freeze frame it—if you look hard enough, you can even notice it in motion! Fortunately, Warner Home Video has a replacement program for the defective disc. The print of this short included on "The Essential Daffy Duck" also does not have the interlacing problems of the Golden Collection print.
- Even the Guys Want Him: At the end, the wolf is sent tumbling into the Dante's Inferno book in awe of Frank Sinatra's singing.
- Genre-Killer: This cartoon was the reason why those "things come to life in a store" cartoons stopped being made.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Next to the Looney Tunes comic is a "Familiar Quotations" book containing partially-obscured entries including "Damn the torpedos" and "Go to Hell".
- Malaproper: As suggested by the image caption. A "balalaika" is "a stringed instrument of Russian origin, with a characteristic triangular body and three strings";co a "samovar" is "a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, with an attachment on the tops of its lid to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate."
- Mood Whiplash: Daffy, in his smooth-talking Danny Kaye persona, suddenly breaking into "La Cucaracha" with a loud shriek of "CUCARACHAAAAAA!!!"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Daffy imitates Danny Kaye (signalled by his appearing in front of the book Danny Boy). The toon also parodies a number of popular band leaders and musicians Young Man With a Horn is Harry James; The Voice in the Wilderness is Frank Sinatra; Brass is Tommy Dorsey (who snags W.C. Fields' nose in his trombone slide); Drums Along the Mohawk is Gene Krupa; The Pie-Eyed Piper is Benny Goodman; So Big is Jimmy Durante. The wolf, in his last appearance, does an imitation of comedian Joe Besser, going, "Ya sthillies!"
- Poirot Speak: Used by Daffy in his Danny Kaye persona.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: When the Judge, the Wolf, etc., start singing to the tune of the Sextette from Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor
- Pun-Based Title: The title is a pun on "Book Review", "Revue" meaning "Variety Show", which this short basically is. However, the pun was ruined in its re-release when the new title card changed it to just "Book Review."
- That's because the studio's producer Eddie Selzer (who reportedly had no sense of humor), genuinely thought Bob Clampett screwed up, and used the word "Revue" by mistake, so when the cartoon was re-issued, Selzer "fixed" it.
- Scatting: Used by Daffy to warn Red Riding Hood in song about the Big Bad Wolf.
- Shout-Out: Daffy's famous "morph into a giant eye" wild take (officially dubbed the "Clampett Corneal Catastrophe") would appear again in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Inside Plucky Duck", where Plucky successfully pulls it off...only to remain stuck in it for the rest of the episode.
- Also, in the toon itself, there is a reference to The Aldrich Family, a popular radio comedy series, when the mother calls, "Hen-RY! Hen-ry-the-Eighth!" and he replies, "Coming, Mother!"
- Squee!: Every female character (and the wolf) in the library does this at the sight of Frank Sinatra.
- Spiritual Successor: The Animaniacs episode, "Video Revue" is one to this cartoon.
- Toothy Bird: Look at the page image.
- Visual Pun: Tons. For instance, when the Wolf receives his sentence from the court, he's thrown behind bars for life — or rather, behind bars on the cover of an issue of Life Magazine.
- Wild Take: One of the most famous — Daffy transforms into a GIANT EYEBALL.