Saturday, February 2, 2008

"Buddy's Adventures" (1934)

1934, as I have said before, was not a good year for Warner Bros. cartoons. But there are some interesting cartoons in the batch. While Buddy never set the world on fire in terms of popularity or, for that matter, personality, several of his rarely-seen cartoons deserve another look. The problem with Buddy is that the bad cartoons in the series were SO bad that they're all people remember about the character. Add to that an absence from TV and video for 20 years and historians and critics recoiling in terror at the mention of his name, and you've got a character with a reputation worse than that of rapper Vanilla Ice...except that guy has somehow managed to remain in the public eye.

What made the Buddy series so uneven was a lack of character development. Buddy's age seemed irrelevant, he was sometimes portrayed as a young boy, others a childlike, almost Pee Wee Herman-like adult. Here, unseen by most of the world for a very long time, is one of my favorite Buddy cartoons. In "Buddy's Adventures", Buddy's ultra-happiness and love of music is used as a plot device rather than an an accepted constant. In the more run-of-the-mill entries in the series, Buddy doesn;t have to make much of an effort at anything. In this one, directed by Ben Hardaway (later a key player in the development of Bugs Bunny and Woody Woodpecker), Buddy runs up against a whole kingdom full of people who don't like happy, musical cutesy characters like him...and I think it works pretty well.

Too bad cartoons like this were the exception rather than the rule.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, it's about time! I was looking for this cartoon online for a long time. I haven't seen it in a while and I absolutely love it, even if it is a Buddy cartoon. It's not often you see a "Looney Tunes" cartoon revolve around music. (Note that I said "Looney Tunes" and not "Merrie Melodies".) Here's hoping for Buddy cartoons on DVD.

Speedy Boris said...

The music at the beginning of the short sounds familiar- what other LT short was that disconcerting melody used in?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Bob McKimson animates the close up of Buddy and Cookie(''What'll we do now,Buddy?)

Dave said...

I think that music after the main titles was also heard in "Porky the Rain Maker".

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