I Love To Singa was an extremely popular Merrie Melodies
short directed by Tex Avery
(or, as he is still credited here, "Fred Avery," with his animators, "Charles Jones"
and Virgil Ross) that premiered on July 18, 1936.
The cartoon, designed to feature the eponymous tune by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg
, has a plot mirroring that of Al Jolson's most famous film, The Jazz Singer
; uncoincidentally, Jolson (with Cab Calloway
) had introduced the song
in a 1936 Warner Bros.
feature, The Singing Kid
This short was also a runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons
list. It has also made it onto The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes
Tropes Used In This Short Include:
- Ambiguously Jewish: The owls speak with heavy Teutonic (Yiddish?) accents; the plot is based on that of The Jazz Singer, which deals with the conflict between an Orthodox Jewish cantor and his son.
- Animated Music Video: Many of the Warner Bros. shorts made at this time were designed to push the sales of songs that appeared in their feature films; this was no exception.
- Billy Elliot Plot: Owl Jolson wants to sing, but his father doesn't approve.
- More specifically, he wants to sing popular music, while his parents want him to be a classical musician.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Almost literally, as the protagonist retrieves his trophy from outside the black irised-in screen at the end.
- Catch Phrase: Professor Fritz Owl: "Enough is too much!"; Owl Jolson: "I love to singa!"
- Earworm: Don't attempt to watch this unless you are prepared to singa, about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a, for the next few days-a.
- Feather Fingers: Able to play a variety of musical instruments
- Four-Fingered Hands: Averted only in the "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" bird.
- Funny Animal
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The young Owl is voiced by Tommy Bond, AKA "Butch" of The Little Rascals series.
- Hopeless Auditionees: A line of Hopeless Auditionees are trying out for “Jack Bunny’s” radio talent show; however, averting the second part of this trope, he gives them no encouragement at all.
- Indecipherable Lyrics: The middle section of the song:
I was born a singin' fool-a,
Ol' Major Bowes is gonna spot me,
Got through Yale with boula-boula,
Old microphone's got me!
- "Major Bowes" was the master of ceremonies of a popular radio amateur competition.
- Iris Out: Subverted in a bit of fourth-wall tomfoolery.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jack Bunny and Owl Jolson are take-offs on Jack Benny and Al Jolson, popular radio personalities of the day.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Mama Owl
- The Owl-Knowing One: Fritz. If not supremely wise, at least extremely cultured.
- Pie-Eyed: All the characters, in a rare color example.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The owlets perform the beginnings of various classical works: the tenor part from the Sextette of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; Schumann's Träumerei: Felix Mendelssohn's Frühlingslied; and Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes (words by Ben Jonson, melody anonymous).
- The Radio Talks Back: Perhaps one of the earliest examples:
Mama Owl: I vonder if they found my leetle boy!
Police Radio: No, we didn't, lady!
- Simpleton Voice: The stuttering bird.
- Slapstick: The sequence in which Jack Bunny is disposing of the talent show losers.
- Strong Family Resemblance: All the owlets look exactly alike, except for "Owl Jolson's" red coat and blue tie.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female birds have eyelashes, to distinguish them from the males.
- Through A Face Full Of Feathers: When Fritz Owl throws his son out, his feathery face turns bright crimson from rage.
- Title Drop: Every few seconds — Avery has the owlet restart the song several times, while other sections of the song are obscured, as if to drive the title of the short into the audience's head. Even Fritz Owl himself picks up on that particular line.
- Toothy Bird: The stuttering bird.
- Trap Door: How Jack Bunny disposes of his rejected amateurs.
- White Gloves: Jack Bunny.
- Whole Plot Reference: The plot is based on that of Al Jolson's most famous film, The Jazz Singer, in which the father of the title character rejects his son for wishing to sing jazz music; in that film, however, the father and son are reconciled only at the father's death-bed, and the son sings the Mourner's Kaddish at his father's funeral.
- Also this version has no one in blackface; the lack (or at least, reduction) of Values Dissonance allows the cartoon to have retained more cultural popularity than the film upon which it is based.