Hamateur Night

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Hamateur Night
Merrie Melodies (Elmer Fudd) series
Hamateur Night title card.jpg
Title card
Directed by Tex Avery
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Jack Miller
Voices by Uncredited:
Mel Blanc
Sara Berner
Tex Avery
Phil Kramer
Danny Webb
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Paul J. Smith
Studio Leon Schlesinger Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) January 28, 1939
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes 42 seconds
Language English

Hamateur Night is a 1938 seven-minute animated short film released to theaters by Warner Bros. on January 28, 1939. Directed by Tex Avery and written by Jack Miller, the film was a part of the Merrie Melodies series produced by Leon Schlesinger and distributed by The Vitaphone Corporation.[1]

History

The premise of the film is rather simple; it features a vaudeville-style amateur talent night (see, for example, the contemporary and still-ongoing "Amateur Night" competitions at the Apollo Theater) with a format that resembles the much later television program The Gong Show in that it features a judge who strikes a gong to stop the performance of any entertainer whom he deems bad. The primary character of this short is Egghead, a prototype of Elmer Fudd who lacks the speech impediment of the character he evolved into.

The cartoon entered the public domain in 1967 when its last rightsholder, United Artists Television (successor-in-interest to Associated Artists Productions), failed to renew the original copyright within the required 28-year period.[2]

Plot

Showing tonight at a theatre is "Four Daughters with Selected Shorts".

After a brief orchestra played by the conductor rather than the musicians, throughout the performance, members of the audience do some miscellaneous gags while Egghead (voiced by Tex Avery) keeps interrupting by singing "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain" and getting dragged offstage by means of a shepherd's crook.

The upcoming performance (with a broken curtain set) comes talented pianist Maestro Palawitski, but he instead inserts a nickel in the piano to play for him. For that, the performance judge rejects him with a bell sound and followed with a trap door opening under him, sending the contestant and the piano crashing into the ground below.

Some antics happen with the audience in-between acts, such as a dog-like character (voiced by Mel Blanc) trying to relax his feet into the empty seat, but then a hippo character sat down on his seat and the person behind him screamed in agony and tearfully leaves the theater with his feet bent and crooked.

Next up is a divo penguin, as he sings his notes higher and higher and higher, but he too is rejected.

During the break, the hippo (voiced by Tex Avery) was laughing uncontrollably and inadvertently bashed an audience member from the fit, causing the man to be squished with his hat covering his body down to his waist and then leaves the theater, also.

Next, Hindumystic Swamiriver has his sword-through-the-basket act with Egghead as the volunteer, but Egghead doesn't emerge after the act. He called for an usher to give the volunteer his refund as the act finishes.

Next is the ballerina flea, Teeny-Tiny-Teensy-Tinny-Tinny-Tin reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb", but she as well is rejected, with a suspenseful fall and a big crash, shaking the stage.

For the next act, Fleabag McFoodle gives instructions to his highly trained dog, including a speech, but he is nevertheless rejected.

Back at the seating, the same hippo is still laughing from the excitement and then playfully nudges the audience members across from him a bit too hard as they were sent flying out of the theater walls.

Then there is a Hamlet acting fox who is shunned by a member of the audience who throws tomatoes and is thusly rejected.

The closing act is the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet played by two chickens, to which "Romeo" eventually knocks out an obnoxious audience member who was constantly laughing throughout most of the animated short. As he resumes the act, "Juliet" started to laugh just like the heckling hippo and, as the curtain closes, was clobbered by "Romeo".

Finally, comes the final judging for the performers, after a momentary interruption by Egghead; to the announcer's surprise, it is Egghead himself who is picked by the audience, which (due apparently to the now-dispatched heckler driving out all the other audience members) is now composed of many Eggheads applauding.

Availability

  • VHS - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 3: Tex Avery
  • DVD - The Golden Age of Looney Tunes Vol. 1, Side 3

References

  1. ^ http://bufvc.ac.uk/shakespeare/index.php/title/av68064 "Hamateur Night" on BUFVC Index
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2011-04-13.  "Looney Tunes in the Public Domain"

External links

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