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Western Animation / The Magic Fluke

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The Magic Fluke is a 1949 animated short film (7 minutes) directed by John Hubley, produced by UPA.

It stars The Fox and the Crow in the next-to-last cartoon in the series, which began in 1941. In this one Fauntleroy Fox and Chester Crow are a jazz duo playing nightclubs, whose career is disrupted when Fox gets a lucrative job offer to conduct an orchestra. He dumps Crow without a moment's hesitation.

Chester falls into poverty and is wandering the streets one day when he sees his old partner's name on a theater marquee. He gets a ticket for the Fox's show and, completely by accident, ruins it.


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Tropes:

  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening shows Fauntleroy in black tie and tails about to conduct. Instead of a classical orchestra, however, he's conducting Chester - who is playing all the instruments - as he plays a hot swing number in a nightclub.
  • Bland-Name Product: The Fox receives a telegram via Western Onion and conducts a concert at Corneggy Hall.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When the Crow greets him in the line outside the concert hall the Fox doesn't even recognize him, merely signing an autograph on his hand.
  • Cartoon Conductor: Rather than follow their sheet music, the orchestra wildly veers between different pieces as the Fox creates havoc with his baton. At one point the baton turns into a Yale pennant and the orchestra starts playing the Yale fight song.
  • Foreshadowing: There are advertising posters for the Stage Magician on the streets in the early part of the cartoon, as the Crow is wandering around.
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  • How Do I Shot Web?: The orchestra hall forgot to provide a baton for the Fox to use while conducting. The Crow, determined to help, steals one from...a stage magician. Chaos then ensues at the concert as the Fox starts accidentally performing magic tricks with his baton/wand.
  • Jump Cut: From a shot of the audience sitting in their seats as the Fox and Crow play at the nightclub, to a shot of the audience up and dancing.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The Fox and the Crow are the only Funny Animals on the cartoon. All other characters are human, except for a few rabbits the wand conjures up.
  • Love Martyr: A non-sexual example of this, as the Crow seems to not understand how he was used and dumped by his old partner. When he gets a ticket for the Fox's concert he's thrilled, saying "It's good to see him again."
  • Magicians Are Wizards: The baton that Chester "borrows" from the magician seems to be a working magic wand, as it does things such as summon rabbits out of thin air or make the musicians disappear.
  • Narrator: Chester tells the story of how he was dumped by Fauntleroy and how he rode to the "rescue" at the orchestra's concert.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: The Crow's descent into tough times is illustrated by showing him to be unshaven, with a stubbly beard on his...beak.
  • One-Man Band: After the Fox has accidentally made his entire orchestra disappear by waving the wand, the Crow comes to the rescue, playing the musical piece as a one-man band.
  • Seven Minute Lull: When the orchestra is playing the Yale fight song, Fauntleroy is screaming at them to stop, but is drowned out by the music. The music stops just as Fauntleroy shouts "STOP THE MUSIC!" at the top of his lungs, covering his mouth in embarrassment right afterwards.
  • Something Completely Different: While the Fox and Crow are usually adversarial, here they start out as best friends. Chester, who normally antagonizes Fauntleroy for fun, is here fiercely loyal to him, even though Fauntleroy ignores him for most of the cartoon.
  • Stage Magician: The Crow steals a stage magician's wand. After he does this the Lovely Assistant that the magician was levitating crashes to the ground.
  • Standard Snippet: The piece Fauntleroy is conducting is that old cartoon standard, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No, 2.
  • Thick-Line Animation: UPA's signature style, which would become very popular in the 1950s.
  • The Worst Seat in the House: Chester goes into Corneggy Hall to witness Fauntleroy's big debut, only his seat is so high up the stage is barely visible.
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