Scrappy, by Paul Etcheverry and Will Friedwald

Scrappy

Reprinted from Animania #20, February 1981
and Animania #21, June 1981

[Click here for 1933-1934]

Scrappy Goes Hunting

1935

43. THE GLOOM CHASERS / January 18 / Story by Art Davis / Animated by Sid Marcus.
Scrappy and Oopy play traveling musicians. Scrappy, with his banjo and Oopy, with his violin, try to cheer up a sad little girl.

44. GOLD GETTERS / March 1 / Story by Sid Marcus / Animated by Art Davis.
This film consists of two largely unrelated sequences of hi-jinks and escapades set in a California gold rush setting, whilst a background vocal chorus merrily sings, “You Cotta Find Gold” over and over. The first transpires at a river, where dozens of prospectors try in vain to find the yellow rocks; the only one who has. any luck / little Scrappy, who effortlessly uncovers nugget after nugget. The second part takes place in “Ye Old Saloon”, where Scrappy, with his wheelbarrow full of gold, steps up to the bar and orders, a la Eddie Cantor, “A glass of milk and a spit spit spit (three bubbles).” As revelers dance to the sounds of a one-legged violinist and fat flutist, Scrappy stops a tough guy from robbing the place. The action reaches a crescendo when Scrappy stands on’top of his wheelbarrow and shouts out a few more bars of the ever continuing theme song, “You Gotta Find Gold”. Not surprisingly, the adventure turns out to be a dream. GOLD GETTERS ends with Scrappy and his strange bedfellow, Oopy, clobbering themselves on the head and dreaming away, still singing the song.

45. THE GRADUATION EXERCISES / April 12 / Story by Ben Harrison Animated by Harry Love and Manny Gould.
Scrappy hurries his naughty brother off to school on the last day of the semester before summer vacation, but Oopy, true to form, takes a detour to the fishing hole. The boys find themselves late for graduation exercise and locked out. Their solution: impersonate. the School Board Chairman. The disguise, a long false beard and a scarecrow’s overcoat, succeeds. Once in, they flirt with the teacher, mimic her bustled’ walk when her back is turned. Not satisfied, Oopy shoots a pea at her, knocking her wig off, and places a huge nail on her chair. Ultimately, the disguise falls ~off. The furious teacher chases Scrappy, while Oopy attempts to flee by running on top of a globe. Then, the real School Board member arrives, and, seeing the schoolmarm momentarily (and accidentally) wearing Oopy’s phony beard, beats a hasty retreat. The picture ends with the two brothers dancing away, singing joyously, “No more teachers, no more books…”

46. SCRAPPY’S GHOST STORY / May 24 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Nanny Gould and Harry Love.
A marvelously effective horror cartoon that begins with Scrappy and Oopy cooking popcorn on a dark, stormy night, but soon, in a series of terrifying nightmares, it’s Scrappy that’s being chased by a horde of monstrous haunts, spooks, walking trees and Indians, all chanting, “I’m a ghost, I’m a ghost…” These surreal hallucinations turn out to be partially caused by Oopy dancing in front of a fireplace. Considered by critics at the time of its release to be too frightening for little kids (and I’d have to agree).

47. THE PUPPET MURDER CASE / June 21 / Story by Art Davis / Animated by Sid Marcus.
After Scrappy catches Oopy trying to sneak into the former’s puppet show without paying admission, and punches him out, the brat vows revenge. He crawls into the back of the theatre through a loose board to spit a load of pits at the strings of the performing marionettes, who then fall and die. As Oopy tries to escape, Scrappy threateningly shouts. “Who did that?!” Finding the assailant hiding under a box, Scrappy strings him up like a marionette, and gives him a trial, with puppets as judge and jury, humiliating Oopy before the entire audience. In the fade out, a marionette beats up on Oopy on stage. A great, cinematic cartoon, notable for its wry, shadow-laden parody of murder scenes, and a marvelous, pre-Tashlin montage, recounting the events leading up to the crime, as Oopy’s conscience torments him.

48. SCRAPPY’S BIG MOMENT / July 28 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Manny Gould and Allen Rose.
Scrappy and Oopy, both with aspirations to fight the heavyweight champ, train relentlessly in the kiddie gym. The two accidentally knock each other out and lapse into a dream, in which Scrappy, managed by Oopy, takes on the champ (a caricature of Max Baer?) at Madison Square Garden. The challenger finds himself somewhat overmatched. Coaching from his corner, Oopy, in his enthusiasm, knocks himself out so Scrappy tries to revive him between rounds. When the bell sounds, Oopy sprints into the ring and proceeds to beat the heck out of the champ. His boxing prowess increases tenfold when, thrown out of the ring, Oopy lands on a fan propeller; the little pest flies around, bombarding his opponent with boxing gloves. Eventually, the boys ‘wake up from their fantasy. Deciding they want their heavyweight crowns back, they pound each other on the head and fall unconscious, crowns on their crowns and goofy grins on their faces. This outstanding film, beautifully timed and paced, offers several bits of virtuoso character animation.

49. SCRAPPY’S TRAILER / August 29 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Nanny Gould and Harry Love.
Scrappy and Oopy sing “Come Ride In My Trailer”, as the happily drive across the countryside. Soon, they stop at a clearing, where, by the turning of a few cranks, the trailer opens up into a house and garden setting, complete with picket fence, a cow, and a tree with birds. They start to enjoy a picnic. Scrappy exclaims, “Aw, life in the open! Nature in the raw!” Then, scores of grotesque insects steal their food, torment Oopy, and pummel the pair with sugar cubes. This literally drives them up a tree, but an angry bear chases them down and they bolt off in the trailer. Converting his car’s steering wheel into a helicopter propeller, Scrappy flies away, leaving Oopy, in the trailer, to run over a bear and careen down a perilous mountain passage. Scrappy and the trailer manage to hook up again, only to hit a tree head on; our heroes emerge unharmed. A pretty good Scrappy cartoon, featuring several lovely, elaborately animated moving background shots. While not the masterpiece that MICKEY’S TRAILER is, SCRAPPY’S TRAILER has the advantage of pre-dating the Disney film by three years.

50. LET’S RING DOORBELLS / November 7 / Story by Art Davis / Animated by Sid Marcus.
Since Scrappy and Oopy have nothing to do on a lazy summer day, they ring doorbells and run, scoffing at the warnings of a moralistic butterfly. Their mischievous pranks backfire in a big way when they find themselves in the clutches of a mad fiend, who lives in a mansion full of doorbells, and chortles maniacally, “And you won’t get out until you ring the right one!” The pranksters endure some horrifying experiences before encountering a lovable granny behind one of the doors; she comfort’s them with the knowledge that this is the exit, then kicks the brats out. From now on, Scrappy and Oopy become little angels whenever passing a doorbell. Despite a sluggish opening, much of LET’S RING DOORBELLS is stunning. The inventive house of doorbells sequence succeeds because it treats the animated cartoon as film, masterfully using lighting, jump cutting, and the moving camera.

1936

51. SCRAPPY’S BOY SCOUTS / January 2 / Story by Art Davis / Animated by Sid Marcus.
Little Oopy is shunned by big brother Scrappy’s boy scout troop, so he organizes his own troop, consisting of three dachshunds. Later that night, Scrappy and troop are stranded on a mountain during a storm. Oopy and his canine pals come to the rescue. The dachshunds use each other as a makeshift slingshot, catapulting the children to safety. During Oopy’s subsequent swearing in as a new Scout, he and the dachshunds (who play snare drum and fife as they stand in his pants) perform a “Spirit of ’76” march. Fine character animation and effective use of lighting and modeling are this film’s strong suits.

52. DR. BLUEBIRD / February 5 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Manny Gould / A COLOR RHAPSODY / 3-color Technicolor.

53. SCRAPPY’S PONY / March 16 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Manny Gould.
Scrappy receives a pony as a gift. He and his brother name the pet Sugar, and sing a jaunty song about him, as they blissfully ride around an otherwise dreary city suburb. Peppy music, handsome backgrounds, and in the case of “Sugar”, animation with a great deal of personality, partially compensate for a lack of story and gags.

54. SCRAPPY’S CAMERA TROUBLES / June 5 / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Manny Gould.
Frustrated by disastrous attempts to photograph wildlife, Scrappy resolves to take some shots of his dog, Yippy, who at first resists determinedly. Once the canine agrees to pose, pesky little Oopy ruins everything by trying to get into the picture.

55. PLAYING POLITICS / July 8 / Story by Allen Rose / Animated by Harry Love.
Scrappy promotes an unwilling Oopy as a presidential candidate; instead of making their own speeches, phonograph records are used. Trouble arises when a tough yegg from a rival party muscles in, punching kids right and left, bragging, “I’m da boss of dis neighborhood.” He soon starts switching Scrappy’s records around, from opera to dance music, to an exercise record, to Chinese music, then repeatedly back and forth until everyone becomes dizzy. A free-for-all results. One kid throws gum at Oopy; it sticks to his nose, so Oopy dons a derby and does his best of New York politician Al Smith. The bully then dares his opponents to smoke his he-man cigars. As Scrappy and Oopy get very sick, their adversary accidentally lights up one of his exploding cigars. The smoke enveloping the stage spells out the words, “We Don’t Want To Be President,” in the closing gag. Fairly amusing, but since the story promises so much, it’s something of a disappointment.

56. IN MY GONDOLA / September 3 / A COLOR RHAPSODY / Story by Sid Marcus / Animated by Art Davis / 3 strip Technicolor.
Scrappy, Margie and Yippy glide along the Venetian canals, and enjoy the romantic music of local troubadours. On flute and mandolin, Scrappy too, tries a little serenading, but is upstaged by the pranks of a violinist lobster. Yippy complicates matters by falling overboard and being chased by a swordfish at the bottom of the canal. After he returns, the threesome humorously eat huge amounts of spaghetti at a nearby restaurant, concluding a happy day. This light, uncharacteristically innocuous Scrappy entry presents smooth animation and attractive overall visual styling.

57. LOONY BALLOONISTS / September 24 / Story by Allen Rose / Animated by Harry Love.
Assisted by a kindly professor, Scrappy plans to fly his balloon in the upcoming air show. As usual, Oopy persists in disrupting his brother’s preparations, causing Scrappy to take two precipitous falls from a ladder. Understandably, he chases Oopy away. The brat’s revenge: leading a rope, from the balloon, through various rooms ‘of their house, as well as up the chimney, tying the other end to Scrappy’s foot, hiding in a sandbag, and cutting the mooring line. The balloon takes off; with Scrappy hanging on to the rope; luckily, he manages to climb aboard. But then, the elements have a bit of ‘fun with the balloon, knocking it about and using it for a billiard ball, be-fore it returns to earth. During the air show, this unexpected entry reveals an uncanny talent for flying in the direct path of all planes, while narrowly avoiding collisions. Order arise from chaos when the balloon’ and planes collaborate on crowd-pleasing stunts. Oliver Hardy awards the balloonists the trophy for best stunt flying. The, cartoon ends with Oopy accidentally letting all the air out of their victorious vessel. An incredibly catchy music score, the inventive story, and pleasing versions of Scrappy and Oopy lend wistful charm to this unpretentious cartoon.

58. MERRY MUTINEERS / October 2 / A COLOR RHAPSODY / Story by Ben Harrison / Animated by Manny Gould. / 3 strip Technicolor.
Scrappy and Oopy, sailing their toy boats in a pond in the city park, encounter a bevy of Hollywood caricatures, gliding about in boats of their own. A battle takes place between the stars: Bing Crosby, W.C. Fields, The Marx Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Laurel and Hardy, Charles Laughton, Wallace Beery, Joe E. Brown and Major Bowes, of the famous radio amateur program, among others.

59. DIZZY DUCKS / November 28 / Story by Art Davis / Animated by Sid Marcus.
The most inept duck hunters of all time turn out to be Scrappy and Oopy. Constantly shooting off humongous rifles with bullets the size of rocks, they hit everything but the ducks. To make matters worse, an ostrich swallows some of their ammunition, and coughs the bullets back at them. In the end, the ducks join in and attack these would-be predators. Beautifully produced, DIZZY DUCKS is full of Warner Brothers style gags, and just a notch below Tex Avery’s PORKY’S DUCK HUNT, made a few months later.

[Click here for 1937-1938]

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