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When The Looney Tunes series began in 1930, they were imitations of Walt Disney's "Silly Symphonies." The Merrie Melodies, begun later the same year, copied Max Fleischer's "Bouncing Ball" cartoons.

The Looney Tunes were made in black and white until 1942. In 1942 and 1943, Looney Tunes were produced both in color and in black and white. Four color Merrie Melodies were produced in 1934. After November 1934, all Merrie Melodies were produced in color. So from 1935 to 1942, color, or the lack of it, was the main difference between the two series.

In 1944 and thereafter, all Looney Tunes were produced only in color. The two series were then almost indistinguishable. The only difference was that the rings in the openings of the Looney Tunes were (usually) wider than those in the Merrie Melodies.

Note that in many reissue prints with the Blue Ribbon label, the entries in the Looney Tunes series are falsely identified as Merrie Melodies. The films made before 1948 also have their credits cut in the Blue Ribbon versions. These Blue Ribbon prints have even made it into recent DVD collections, as the original title cards may no longer exist. Several post-1948 cartoons were presented as Blue Ribbon versions, even though their original openings are known to exist.

Sources:

Leonard Maltin, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, NY, 1987, pp. 224, 419, 427

Dave Mackey's Warner Bros. Cartoons Filmography

Bosko makes his theatrical debut (after appearing in a test reel called Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid) and becomes the first cartoon star for Warner Bros. His girlfriend Honey makes her first appearance of any kind.

This is the first entry in the Looney Tunes series, and the first Warner Bros. cartoon in a series running from 1930 to 1969.

The title is a spoof on the song, "Singin' in the Bathtub," which Bosko does indeed sing in a bathtub.

See: IMDb's soundtrack listing for this title

What exactly is Bosko?

A Negro boy. He's a caricature of a typical blackface performer from a minstrel show, complete with Negro dialect. In later films, that characterization gets lost: Bosko speaks in a generic falsetto instead of black dialect.

Few moviegoers of the day knew what he was. More than anything, he and his girlfriend Honey resemble Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Prior to WWII, Rochelle Hudson and her husband Harold Thompson were civilians who did espionage work in Mexico. During one of their "vacations," they uncovered a supply of high-test aviation gas hidden by German agents in Baja.

Hudson's work includes playing Claudette Colbert's 18-year-old daughter in Imitation of Life (1934) and Natalie Wood's mother in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

See: IMDb's biography page for Hudson

The following films have a gag where Bosko sustains a blow of some kind and breaks up into many little Boskos:

Sinkin' in the Bathtub (1930). Bosko and Honey drive over a boulder. Bosko is knocked out of his car and falls on the road, causing him to break up into many tiny Boskos.

Hold Anything (1930). Bosko falls on top of a brick wall. The tiny Boskos play the bricks like piano keys. (This is the last gag in the film.)

Some TV prints remove Bosko's cry of "Mammy!" from the soundtrack. "Mammy" is the signature song of Al Jolson, a white man who performed in blackface.

Is this available on DVD?

Yes, it's included in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume Three (2005) (V), Disc 2. Note that the packaging for Volume Two promised this film, but it was not included in that collection.

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