Lady, let that tune begin!
When you sing that song of sin,
I'm a sinner, too!"Lady, Play Your Mandolin
— The theme of the short.
is a 1931
theatrical cartoon, the first of the Merrie Melodies
series of short subjects, and the solo directorial debut of Rudolf "Rudy" Ising
. It was intended to be the first of a series of animated music videos that Warner Bros.
would use to promote its newly acquired music library. The short has a strong Disney
influence in its animation, not surprising since Harman and Ising were former employees of Walt Disney
(and would, indeed, work for him again on one occasion as independent contractors).
The fairly loose plot takes place in a desert speakeasy set during Prohibition, where the patrons have a massive beer party and sing "that song of sin". Mickey Mouse
lookalike Foxy promptly arrives and the fun really begins! Light on plot, but heavy on gags and sheer audacity (with a dose of swinging music), Lady
was a smashing debut for the Merrie Melodies, helping launch it forward as a flagship series for decades, up to its end in 1969.
The short is in the public domain
and can be viewed here
, and while only a time-edited version was included in a documentary on the Looney Tunes
Golden Collection Vol. 1, the uncut version has made its way onto the Little Caesar
DVD, as well as the Thunderbean DVD collection "Attack of the '30s Characters".
This short provides examples of:
- Alcohol Hic
- Animated Music Video
- Animate Inanimate Object: A hat rack, a cactus, some tables, and even the bar itself. However, they don't fit any of the three types.
- Bad-Guy Bar: Considering that they're having an illegal beer party and proudly proclaiming themselves as sinners.
- Captain Ersatz: Foxy. He's such a shameless copy of Mickey Mouse that Walt Disney quickly got wind of Foxy and asked Rudy Ising to stop using the character after two more shorts.
- Also, Merrie Melodies? The Disney cartoons were "Silly Symphonies"
- Have a Gay Old Time: When Foxy sings "A Gay Caballero". No relation to The Three Caballeros.
- Jerkass: Foxy's horse was about to enter the bar himself, but Foxy, with a pissed off look on his face, drags him by the tail to a nearby cactus and wraps his neck around it. The horse later frees himself and brays into the bar. Foxy, again with an angry look on his face, comes out and smashes a bottle of beer over the horse's head.
- Looney Tunes In The Thirties
- Public Domain Animation
- Refuge in Audacity
- Rule of Funny
- Shout-Out: When Foxy says "Mammy" during the climax.
- Stock Footage: Used five times. The first two times while the gorilla was dancing during the opening song, the third when the gorilla walks over to Foxy, and the last two times while Foxy's horse walks around the bar.
- Some footage of this cartoon would later be recycled for the Van Beuren Cubby Bear short "The Gay Gaucho" that Harman and Ising worked on.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Roxy, the "Lady" of the title.
- Wrap Around Background: While Foxy is singing "A Gay Caballero".