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Western Animation / A Corny Concerto

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"A Corny Concerto"note  is a Merrie Melodies short from 1943, directed by Bob Clampett, animated by Robert McKimson, and written by Frank Tashlin.

The short is a parody of Walt Disney's Fantasia, keeping the musical aspect fully intact, but throws Fantasia's highbrow attitude right out the window in favor of slapstick, risqué humor, and hilarious sight gags (as well as throwing in sound effects and Voice Grunting). The short is split into two segments, both based on two classic waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr; "Tales from the Vienna Woods", which is centered on one of the very few times Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig have shared screen time, and "Blue Danube", which is a retelling of "The Ugly Duckling" with Daffy Duck (or a baby version of him at any rate).

As for the host? Itís Elmer Fudd, in one of the equally few times he isnít being antagonistic or being antagonized.

This short is in the public domain (in fact, if you were a child of the 1980s and 1990s and had a VCR and a family who loved to watch videos, then you may have seen this short on a lot of gray market, public domain videos) and can be viewed here.

"A Corny Concerto" provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody:
    • Of Fantasia.
    • Of the Silly Symphonies, in particular the "Blue Danube" sequence, basically a retelling of the Ugly Duckling tale, which had been done twice by Disney in his series. And the name of the cartoon is clearly a take-off on the name of Disney's cartoon series.
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: In the "Blue Danube" segment, the buzzard provides one to the cygnet he was shaking salt and pepper over to stop her Pepper Sneeze. The results zigzag from how things typically go, as while she sneezes anyway, her family pays it no mind.
  • Badass Adorable: The black duckling, most likely a child version of Daffy Duck. An adorable little black feathered duck who blows a hawk out of the sky when it carries off some baby swans whose company he wanted to join.
  • Batty Lip Burbling: Porky's dog after hitting his head on a tree.
  • Bullet Holes and Revelations: After a chipmunk fires Porky's rifle at them, Porky, his dog and Bugs clutch their chests as if they've been shot. Porky looks down at his chest - he's okay! The dog looks down next - he's okay too! Bugs then looks at his chest... gets a look of utter horror and faints. Porky pulls apart Bugs' hands to check... and it turns out Bugs is wearing a bra and was just faking it.
  • Call-Back: Porky hunting Bugs in "Vienna Woods", because the character who evolved into Bugs first appeared in Porky's Hare Hunt.
  • Character Development: The swans start out hating how Daffy interrupts their song and constantly try to force him away. After he saves the cygnets from the buzzard, they welcome him and alter the song to work with his voice.
  • Children in Tow: A mother swan and her cygnets in the "Blue Danube" segment.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Elmer's pants fall down after introducing Blue Danube, exposing his striped boxers.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The titular Ugly Duckling.
  • Digital Destruction: The print used on Golden Collection Vol. 2 used digital interlacing, which caused a lot of frame ghosting on it. The print used in Vol. 4 via the "Bugs Bunny Superstar" documentary uses a much better print, however.
  • Disney Death: Bugs in "Vienna Woods".
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Elmer is probably the last person on Earth who should be trying to deliver erudite introductions to Classical Music pieces, but, naturally, Rule of Funny is in full effect.
    Elmer Fudd: Wisten to the wippwing wefwain of the woodwinds, as it wolls awound and awound, and comes out hewe!
  • Faking the Dead: Bugs does this.
  • The Flapping Dickey: Elmer is wearing an ill-fitting tuxedo. He keeps trying to hold the dickey in place while introducing the first segment, and when it finally hits him in the face, he just tears it off.
  • Green Around the Gills: Bugs after he's supposedly shot.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Twofold example in the "Blue Danube" segment. After treating Baby Daffy poorly just for trying to join their song, the mother swan has her cygnets stolen by a buzzard to be his dinner. Said buzzard then finds himself attacked and beaten by Baby Daffy and arguably deserves his fate more than the swans (The swans were just put out at Daffy interrupting their song while the buzzard goes out his way to insult Daffy).
    • Baby Daffy gets a good version of this in the end. After the mother swan continually attacks Daffy for what she sees as him ruining their song, he doesn't hesitate to go and save her cygnets from the buzzard, which results in him finally being welcome among the swans.
  • Metaphoric Metamorphosis: When going after the vulture, the Ugly Duckling briefly crossfades into a WWII bomber plane.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Porky and his Dog discover they're fine; Bugs fakes having a mortal wound.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Porky, in the usual role of Elmer Fudd, mourns Bugs after Bugs has apparently been shot by an angry chipmunk. (Though Porky didn't actually fire the bullet, he'd been hunting Bugs to begin with.)
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: The duckling whenever the mother swan is about to hit him.
  • Pepper Sneeze: The cygnet in the back in the "Blue Danube" segment has one of these after the buzzard seasons her with pepper.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Two waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr, and the opening title is an excerpt from Tchaikovsky's "Piano Concerto No. 1".
  • Shout-Out: Elmer refers to the 1935 song "The Music Goes Round and Round."
  • Something Else Also Rises: Elmer's dickey.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Elmer's rising dickey.
    • After the Mortal Wound Reveal, Bugs slaps his bra on a couple of boobs. ("Foolish person")
  • Take That!: One of the Warner crew's most direct shots at Walt Disney, taking specific aim at Fantasia, which was Disney's crown jewel at that point.
  • Talking with Signs: Porky holds up a sign to the audience telling them that he's "hunting that @!#! rabbit", and his dog holds up a sign reading "ditto".
    • Bugs also holds up a book on etiquette telling the dog it "ain't polite to point".
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: Bugs' face turns green (pictured above) after he's been 'shot'.
    • In the "Blue Danube" segment, rather through a feathery face, the frightened buzzard turns yellow when he realizes he's about to be done for and flees as the black duckling (possibly Daffy) comes chasing after him.
  • Toothy Bird: The duckling often gives the mother swan a big, toothy, sheepish grin.
  • Voice Grunting: The segments don't exactly follow Fantasia's presentation, y'know...
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Bugs, who is wearing a brassiere.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: The buzzard. Though due to Rule of Funny, he flies not with his wings (which are busy playing a harp), but with a balloon attached to his rear end.