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Western Animation / Mother Goose Goes Hollywood

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Mother Goose Goes Hollywood is a 1938 animated short film (8 minutes) from Disney, one of the Silly Symphonies. It was directed by Wilfred Jackson.

It does not have a plot but is rather a series of cartoon gags based on famous Hollywood celebrities of the day. The various scenes are all Mother Goose nursery rhymes as acted out by movie stars. Caricatures include Katharine Hepburn (as Little Bo Peep), The Marx Brothers (as Old King Cole's fiddlers), Charles Laughton (in his Mutiny on the Bounty costume), Spencer Tracy (in his Captains Courageous costume), W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Laurel and Hardy as Simple Simon and his pieman, Greta Garbo, Edward G. Robinson, Cab Calloway, Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, and lesser stars.


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Tropes:

  • Animated Adaptation: Mother Goose nursery rhymes made into a cartoon.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Marx Brothers, as Old King Cole's fiddlers three, appear to prepare to play their violins, then break them instead.
  • Blackface: A racist joke in which Katharine Hepburn gets hit by a pie, which is drawn to look like blackface, leading her to talk in stereotypical uneducated African-American speech.
  • The Cameo: Besides all the celebrities, there's Donald Duck making a rare appearance in a Silly Symphonies short.
  • Covered in Kisses: Joe E. Brown from Fanny Brice (as Jack and Jill, respectively) at the end.
  • Dance Party Ending: The final segment is a party at the home of the Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe.
  • Doomed Supermarket Display: Stan Laurel as Simple Simon picks a pie from near the bottom of the pile, much to the horror of Oliver Hardy as the Pieman. Surprisingly, the pies above land neatly back in place. Hardy thinks he can do it too, but all the pies end up splattering all over the place, including one on his head.
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  • Eat the Camera: The final shot of the cartoon is the camera zooming on Joe E. Brown's open mouth. Inside of which is Katharine Hepburn as Bo Peep, still looking for her sheep.
  • Logo Joke: Mother Goose appears in a logo similar to the famous Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer combo. She roars like a lion as well, and has below her a slogan saying "Ertznay To Ouyay" ("Nertz to you" in Pig Latin), mocking the MGM "Ars gratia artis" motto.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The whole point of the cartoon, really, a series of caricatures of Hollywood movie stars.
  • Nursery Rhyme: Mother Goose nursery rhymes forming the basis for a Disney cartoon.
  • Pie in the Face: Katharine Hepburn takes a pie thrown by Stan Laurel after Oliver Hardy drops it, leading to a racist Blackface gag.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Only instead of rockers, it's the Marx Brothers, and instead of guitars it's fiddles. And they don't even get to play them first.
  • Running Gag: Katharine Hepburn as Bo Peep keeps looking for her sheep throughout the cartoon.
  • The Show Goes Hollywood: Silly Symphonies goes Hollywood, along with Mother Goose, for a series of celebrity gags.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: A Real Life example, W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen's dummy Charlie McCarthy, is spoofed in the Humpty Dumpty segment.
  • Something Completely Different: Although Disney had done celebrity caricatures before, making a series of vignettes based on them is more in keeping with what Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were doing at the time.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: A racist Blackface gag, a racist Stepin Fetchit gag, and the racist stereotype of the black singers that burst out of the pie during the "four-and twenty blackbirds" nursery rhyme.
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