Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" - A Walter Lantz Cartoon (1941)

In this classic cartoon from just shortly after the draft began in 1941, the Ray Price and Hughie Prince composition of the iconic song, which is mostly associated with the Andrews Sisters or Bette Midler, gets a full blown workout as a Chicago bluesman is caught up in the first round of the draft.

This cartoon was made just after the January 1941 release of the Andrews Sisters recording, which was featured in the Abbott and Costello film “Buck Privates.” That film also had an earlier composition in it called “Beat me Daddy Eight to the Bar” which is almost identical to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, but is about a piano player instead. But “Bugler Boy” must have hit a stronger, more major chord with the public, as it was even nominated for an Academy Award. (Pardon the puns.)

This is a very fun cartoon to watch, and in spite of claims about racial stereotyping. Walter Lantz did receive many complaints about the cartoon, some even from the NAACP, and eventually stopped doing the stereotypical characters altogether. He even went so far as to see that none of those cartoons which he had produced ever made their way to television; which is kind of a shame; as there are valuable lessons to be learned by viewing the mistakes of the past.

At any rate, enjoy the cartoon for the music and the fluidity of the animation, which are both great examples of the era in which they were produced. And, in spite of the “politically correct” crowd, are still enjoyable to watch today. 

And here are the Andrews Sisters performing the song in the movie "Buck Privates."

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