'Sing, Babies, Sing' is one of a series of shorts produced by the Fleischer studio which followed an interesting format: some typical Fleischer black-and-white animation (cartoon gags with a musical soundtrack) would book-end a live-action musical performance by some popular vaudeville act of the time. Generally, the title of the short was also the title of the tune sung by the performer.
This one has better cartoon gags than most of the series. We're in some sort of baby factory, where the stork prepares the babies for delivery. We see a cartoon version of Eddie Cantor doing his duck-quack routine (from 'Palmy Days') and a cartoon version of Ed Wynn wearing a fireman's helmet and driving a fire engine: this is a reference to Wynn's popular radio show, sponsored by Texaco, which cast him as 'The Texaco Fire Chief'. There's also an astonishing gag, featuring a Jewish baby (with a big nose) singing 'Shuffle Off to Buffalo' with new lyrics.
The middle sequence is a live-action performance by Baby Rose Marie, a hugely popular child performer from radio and vaudeville of this period. At this point, she was about ten years old, but performed in baby-doll dresses that made her look younger. Her remarkable singing voice resembles the tones of a grown woman! Nowadays, the considerably older Rose Marie is best known for her adult performance on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'. Fans of her adult performances will be fascinated to catch a glimpse of her here, from her child stardom.
Apparently there was some sort of legal problem with the live-action sequences in Fleischer's series: on several occasions in recent years, these shorts have resurfaced with the live-action sequences chopped out; the cartoon builds up to the entrance of a performer who never arrives! This is a real shame, as the performers in Fleischers series often did very little other film work, so their performances here are of historical value. 'Sing, Babies, Sing' is one of the few pieces of film footage of Rose Marie from her years as a child star. I'll rate this short 9 out of 10.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?