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As others have pointed out, this is the first official Looney Tunes
cartoon to be released, so it certainly has historical merit. I like it
because it has the odd, early '30s cartoon humor. It's hard to explain
but because it's so dated, it has its own flavor to it, as Betty Boop
did around this time. Is it almost primitive-looking in spots? Of
course, but it was made at the beginning of sound being heard on screen
and, well, it's over 75 years old so that's what you get. Frankly, in
an innocent basic way, the cartoons of this period offer something
It's still innovative in that you see some great sights that only animation can give you, like Bosco switching the shower to aim out the window, then surfing on the spray out the window, then pulling out a giant harmonica - that's bigger than he is - out of his pants! Outrageous!
I don't believe I laughed out loud once during the eight-minute cartoon, but I enjoyed every minute of watching "Bosco" and his girlfriend and thought there were a lot of "cute" things in here. It got a little repetitive near the end but overall had enough sight gags to still call the whole thing "entertaining." That's not a bad way to start off the famous "Looney Tunes."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the first official Looney Tunes short (there was a
demonstration short, called Bosko the Talk-ink Kid, that served as a
pilot and got the ball rolling and is actually a more interesting short
than this one is, in some respects) and it has the first recurring
character, Bosko. As characters go, Bosko is average-not the best, but
not the worst either. The main problem with Bosko shorts is the
sameness of them. They have some very amusing and occasionally clever
bits, but a lot of the gags are repeated ad tedium. I want to talk
about some of the things happening in the short, so there may be
spoilers below: Almost anything can be a musical instrument in a Bosko
short (and often is). The short begins with Bosko in the bathtub, with
Bosko humming the song, "Singing In the Bathtub" and playing various
"musical" instruments and eventually dancing, where the bathtub also
starts dancing as well. Bosko gets dressed and goes to his garage to
get his car, which is in the out-house. He drives over to his
girlfriend Honey's place and she too is humming the same song in her
bathtub. I'm curious to know just how much sheet music for "Singing In
the Bathtub" was sold after this short came out. But I digress.
After turning various items (including steps) into musical instruments, they go off in Bosko's car. After a misadventure or two, Bosko falls out of the car and breaks into several tiny versions of himself (a gag they would often repeat in later shorts with Bosko and other characters) eventually "pulling himself together" and chasing after the car. In the end, everyone goes off a mountain cliff and Bosko and Honey wind up "Singing In the Bathtub" again-a lake! This is on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 3 and is well worth seeing. The Collection itself is highly recommended.
As an animation nut, the truly significant moments in animation history always make my heart swell and my pulse race. 'Gertie the Dinosaur' genuinely makes me tear up. So it was perhaps inevitable that I would enjoy Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising's 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' since it is the first ever Looney Tune(not counting the short pilot film 'Bosko The Talk Ink Kid'). Animated by the great Friz Freleng, 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' is surprisingly enjoyable on its own merits. It quickly establishes a bawdier atmosphere than previous cartoons (completely naked characters, a dance involving toilet paper, a shot of a bra and a cow with an enormous, pendulous udder) which would come to characterise Warner Bros. animation. It also establishes a sense of enormous inventiveness instantly when lead character Bosko plays his shower like a harp. The subsequent story is thin on plot (Bosko visits his girlfriend Honey and they go for a drive encountering some very mild danger) but there are plenty of funny moments, my favourite being Bosko's anthropomorphic car unexpectedly emerging for a distant shed instead of the garage. If the short ever tends towards the dull, there's always the sense of "I'm watching the first ever Looney Tune" to get you through the weak patches, Surprisingly, these are few and far between (Bosko crying after a goat eats his flowers is a little saccharine but otherwise there's little that comes to mine) and while there was still a long way to go before the recognised Warner style was achieved, 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' is a charming start to a truly great story. Bosko's climactic intonation of the soon to be iconic phrase 'That's All Folks' will surely floor any animation fanatic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Sinkin' in the Bathtub" is a very important landmark in the history of
theatrical animated cartoons: it just happens to be the very first
Looney Tune! Starring Bosko the Talk-Ink Kid (created by animators Hugh
Harman and Rudolf Ising), this rather sprightly musical cartoon is full
of cheer and optimism, and it was made during the Great Depression,
when the United States most definitely needed a good cheering up. In
"Sinkin' in the Bathtub," which was animated by Friz Freleng (soon to
become a director), Bosko joyously anticipates a road trip with his
girlfriend, unaware that various perils await them!
My favorite scenes from this wonderful cartoon include the following (but don't read any further until after you have actually seen this film). The opening scene has Bosko whistling "Singing in the Bathtub" and playing a few "instruments" while taking a bath; the bathtub itself becomes quite animated as it dances while we hear a brief snippet of Felix Mendelssohn's "Spring Song." Before Bosko drives to his girlfriend's house, he plays a short harmonica solo, which ends with "Shave and a Haircut." Bosko attempts to serenade his girl with a saxophone (made from parts of his vehicle), but she disapproves and dumps a tub of soapy water into the saxophone's bell; Bosko's tune changes to "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" as the girl wiggles her torso and hops onto each floating bubble. Right after that, Bosko and his girl happily tap dance on a series of wooden xylophone bars that lead toward the girl's house. And as Bosko struggles with all his might to control his vehicle as it rapidly charges down a steep hill, he gets smacked in the head (and groin) with rocks and trees.
Bosko never did become a big star in the Warner Bros. cartoons, and he may have secretly been jealous of all the recognition Mickey Mouse was receiving at the Walt Disney studio. In fact, the Warner Bros. cartoon studio had to wait several years before any star characters would emerge, but that didn't really matter. "Sinkin' in the Bathtub" got the series off to a great start, eventually resulting in several decades worth of classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sinkin' in the Bathtub is the first official Looney Tunes short independently produced by Leon Schlesinger in association with Hugh Harmon and Rudolf Ising for distribution by Warner Bros. After Bosko has taken a bath while singing, the tub also does some dancing. Bosko then gets his car who simply walks to him before they leave. As he tries to serenade Honey in another apartment, the cow behind him eats his flowers making Bosko cry. Honey tells Bosko she still loves him as she comes downstairs. As they drive off, they encounter a horse who won't leave the road so they lower him below his legs and run over him! They then come to a mountain road that goes around as Bosko falls off then splits into little versions of himself when he lands behind the car at the bottom. Car then falls over a cliff where Bosko lands on a branch and Honey on a rowboat which takes Bosko as they play "Singing in the Bathtub" once again on some lily-pads with some frogs joining in. After that ending we fade to the Harmon-Ising sign with Bosko in front of it saying for the first time, "That's All Folks!" with a dog licking him. Since this is a pre-Code cartoon, I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see some nudity of both Bosko and Honey (though no private parts were shown on their tops or bottoms). Frank Marsales' music keeps things going and Friz Freling's animation runs smoothly. A far cry from what we get on later Looney Tunes but as a start it's entertaining enough. Worth seeing for animation buffs especially of all things Warner Bros.
In this Looney Tunes short, the first Looney Tunes short ever made (the
first proper one anyway), the main characters, Bosko and Honey, are
black people. This makes watching the cartoon very sad, because Bosko
and Honey are portrayed more as animals than people (otherwise it would
not be a big deal at all). You grow to love them, but I cannot come
over the fact that I am watching cartoon PEOPLE rather than cartoon
ANIMALS. Even though I am seethingly against racism, I cannot help but
love this cartoon (like a few other racist Looney Tunes shorts, but not
in the same way).
Anyhow, in this very odd (for today's standards) cartoon, there are two characters called Bosko and Honey. They are both black people, Bosko is a person who manages to make an instrument out of everything and Honey is his sweet sweetheart. They both go out together and find themselves in some quite turbulent adventures, but everything becomes all right in the end and shows that (not avoiding the cliché) love always finds a way. :-)
I loved this short because I found Bosko and Honey such cute characters, I liked the "oddness" of the episode and I enjoyed the old type of slapstick involved (which ran through both Looney Tunes and Walt Disney's cartoons at the same time, in very similar ways).
I recommend "Sinkin' in the Bathtub" to people who can understand the racism of this episode and not let it spoil the short, and to cartoon historians. It is worth it for every Looney Tunes fan to watch just for the fact that this was the first Looney Tunes cartoon (which was a series that ran until 1969). Enjoy "Sinkin' in the Bathtub"! :-)
8 and a half out of ten.
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