Friday, June 1, 2012

082 Towne Hall Follies

Title: Towne Hall Follies
Studio: Lantz
Date: 06/03/35 (there may be an issue with this date)
Story and Lyrics
Walter Lantz - Victor McLeod
Musical Score
Jsmrd Dietrich
Fred Avery
Ray Abrams
Cecil Surry
Series: Oswald
Running time (of viewed version): 7:49
Commercial DVD Availability: -

Synopsis: In the past, Oswald went and saw a vaudeville show, and got the girl.

Comments: One of the cartoons Tex Avery supposedly laid claim to as a directorial effort to get a job directing at Warner Bros. (see the end of this post for some expansion and links to discussion on the point; it is not an uncontested point). Gay '90s musical. I like the weapons around Blackie Sourpuss. Some bad singing. Mop top conductor. Parting the dark curly hair. Wall break gag is basically a silhouette shot. Blackie, a rat, has a high pitched Mickey Mouse-esque voice. "I will be your oyster, if you will be my stew/ I will be the laces, if you will be the shoe". When the busty dancer breaks all her buttons, she gets fat, instead of topless. Blackie doesn't do anything until Bunny Lou hits him with her umbrella. Repeatedly. In the face. Then he chases her. So Oswald throws him down a tightrope and ultimately a manhole. Which is a wholly unreasonable reaction. Ends with a silhouette kiss. Wy this is told as a tale, happening at a theater in the past, is unclear.  It's like they just slapped on extra layers of tropes.

Art from this cartoon is well represented in the market. Mostly from the tightrope sequence. I am fortunate enough to own several drawings from it. 

Ads behind the band:  "Ladies Ready to Wear Comfy Corsets Clark's First and Main", "C-Smith and C-Better" (for glasses), "Fireproof Celluloid Collars [Brook's]",  "[Sienplease] Furniture and Undertaking 'Parlors' ", several I can't read.

My post in September 2011:
"Tex appears to have claimed to have directed two cartoons at Lantz to get the job at WB, and apparently said to Joe Adamson decades later that he "wrote" two cartoons at Lantz, 2&hl=en&ei=_tRsTrWYEtSMsAKQ69DPBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA

but it was Joe Adamson's guess that it was those two titles

It's a reasonable guess.

Canemaker's excerpt:

So the better formulation would be "the two cartoons Avery claimed to have directed (likely QH and THF)"."


  1. For me, TOWNE HALL FOLLIES bears all the hallmarks of an early Avery cartoon. QUAIL HUNT, not so much—the topic (hunting) is one he would often use, but the pacing is dead slow and the gags not too funny.

  2. I like the animation of Bunny Lou. I heard that at this time Preston Blair worked at Lantz studio. He worked for Lantz from 1931 to 1932, but then he came back for a short time in 1935. I wouldn't be surprised if he worked on Bunny Lou(if he returned to Lanz before the release of that cartoon).
    The villain somehow reminded me of Disney's Mortimer Mouse from "Mickey's Rival"...
    But this is a very average cartoon for me. "Possible-gags-from-Tex" is a pleasant surprise, but the script is painfully mediocre and Oswald don't have to do much in this cartoon.

    It should be noted that immediately after the departure of Avery two more animators was fired - it was Virgil Ross and Sid Sutherland. And Cecil Surry was fired too. All these animators moved to WB, where Avery started his own unit. Well, you know the rest of this story =)