Random semiconscious musings

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Back from the dead with "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood"

HOLY ABSENCE, BATMAN!! What the heck happened to this blog???

Never mind that Robin, the important thing is that IT'S ALIIIIIVVVVEEEE!!!

I apologize everyone, (or anyone who cares to visit), for the absence in postings. The truth is, that since last post I been on one f**k of a ride- jobwise, interpersonally, relocating, you name it. Good thing that I'm like a cat, and have several lives. (wonder how many I have left.... hmmm, better not entertain that right now, I may be on the last one... eeeekkkk). The good news is, I'm back and planning to keep this thing up to date with at least one blog per week.

Now onto business.

With the release of Disney's most magnificent DVD collections in the past few years, the public has been treated to some absolute masterpieces of animation that were in danger of being long forgotten in the slowly disintegrating vaults of history. As a result, it is possible now to see exactly what real entertainment is about and maybe to understand how the industry managed to be appreciated by many people- imagine, cartoons without farting and burping jokes that are still funny? Who'd have thought of it?

I'm pointing in particular to one offering, Disney's fantastic cartoon "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" which can be found on the Silly Symphony Collection Vol. 2. If you haven't picked this up, I urge you to GO BUY IT... NOW!!! I'll wait. Got it? OK, let's go on....

This is my favourite Disney short hands down, and is an excellent example of how animation was geared towards adults as well as children. Although it has the Mother Goose nursery rhyme spin which no doubt appealed to the kiddies, it is chock full of appearances of popular entertainers presented in an amusing way.

One thing I want to point out is how celebrities were presented then, in opposition to the way they are parodied today. It is clear that as an entertainment venue, our world has become nothing but a sarcastic farce which jab the famous personalities who are in the public eye. However in MGGH, they are displayed in a much more endearing and welcoming manner. They have been celebrated- because they truly were talented individuals who gave their all for what they love to do- entertain, unlike many of the superficial talentless Hollywood fabrications we are subjected to these days. Whether it was through screen appearances, singing, dancing, comedy, the public embraced them and their craft in an appreciative manner as opposed to our times, where nothing is sacred, and are the focus of crude jokes about their marital status or personal foibles and made ridicule of- but hey- ridicule is funny until it's directed at the 'ridiculer'.... but I digress....

Anyway, the main focus of this post is to showcase the artistic talent throughout this cartoon, and to familiarize everyone with the characters in this film. I was certainly inspired by Mark Mayerson's and Thad Komorowski's wonderful posts on the cartoon. So I'd like to take it a bit further, and draw attention to the great talent that went into caricaturizing the celebrities within.

Enjoy my gallery of the Hollywood personalities from "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" in order of appearance.

Katherine Hepburn

Hugh Herbert

The Marx Brothers:




Ned Sparks

Joe Penner

Charles Laughton

Spencer Tracy

Freddie Bartholemew

W.C. Fields

Charlie McCarthy

Stan Laurel

Oliver Hardy

Greta Garbo

Edward G. Robinson

Eddie Cantor

Wallace Beery

Edna Mae Oliver

Joan Blondell

Zazu Pitts

George Arliss

Clark Gable

Thomas "Fats" Waller

Fred Astaire

Lincoln Perry, a.k.a. "Stepin Fetchit"

Cab Calloway

Joe E. Brown

Martha Raye

If you might be interested in learning more about these talented entertainers, I highly urge you to search out some of their best films on Google and seek the DVDs at your local video store.... it's worth the time.



  • Hi Larry,
    Very nice ID photos with the caricatures from Mother Goose Goes Hollywoood. However, that's Hugh Herbert as Old King Cole, not Ed Wynn. Hugh was known for his "woo-woo" exclamations, which were the basis for Daffy Duck's very fast "woo-woo"s.
    Mark Kausler

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:50 AM  

  • Great post... I like that cartoon, too ;D I first came to see it just to check Laughton's Captain Bligh's parody.
    To me, the absolute winner of the cartoon is hepburn as Little Bo-Beep, it gets me laughing everytime (the caricatures were designed- but you must already knoe, by the brilliant T. Hee).

    Incidentally, is it really Joan Blondell the blonde bombshell at the end of the cartoon? I thought it was Mae West.

    By Blogger Gloria, at 5:32 AM  

  • Thanks Mark! Corrected... my bad! ;)

    By Blogger Larry T, at 8:57 AM  

  • This is also one of my favorite Disney animated shorts. I'd never seen it before I picked up the DVD. The price of the disc was worth it for this underrated gem alone.

    By Blogger J. J. Hunsecker, at 7:50 PM  

  • Glad you're back!!
    Terrific post!

    Didn't you write, "centuries ago" (ih ih) about doing some posts about "our hero" Art Davis?
    I'd love to hear more about him and his work from you!

    By Blogger Duck Dodgers, at 7:17 AM  

  • I'm a week and a half belated, but...


    Great post, but you didn't identify which star that was in the big kettel Joe Penner was holding. Was it a white face version of Daffy Duck? If so, why is he wearing Popeye's sailor suit, I wonder...

    By Blogger Craig D, at 11:40 AM  

  • Is that supposed to be Joan Blondell ? !

    I think most of the caricatures in this fim are nicely done, but that doesn't work as Joan Blondell at all . The Fats Waller caricature isn't very good either . Fats had very interesting, fine facial features , especially his eyes and his mouth which is unfortunately drawn in this cartoon as a standard streotypical "mush mouth" .

    I always remember as a kid when I'd see this cartoon and Avery's "Hollywood Steps Out" I was fascinated by the sour-puss character who I later found out was Ned Sparks the first time I saw "Gold Diggers of 1933" and "42nd Street" back-to-back at a revival house --- I was thinking to myself : "Hey ! It's that guy ! " Finally got the jokes.

    Overall I prefer "Hollywood Steps Out" , but this one is good , too. Nice post.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:16 PM  

  • It's a pity that the Disney caricaturists fell prey to the stock racial stereotypes of the era, which limited their abilities to achieve closer resemblances to the black musical stars in the cartoon. The minstrel show-like features filter their identities, echoing the social constraints of the day and applying prejudice even to drawings of successful individuals who deserved better. But it would be worse to deny the existence of these few scenes, which the Disney studio preferred to edit out of "Mother Goose Goes Hollywood" for decades.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 PM  

  • Great idea! and you can watch the whole cartoon on y website dedicated to Cab Calloway: www.thehidehoblog.com

    By Blogger The Hi de Ho Blog, at 9:36 AM  

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