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Just watched this Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon on YouTube. In this one, one of three kid blackbirds is trying to wake up early to catch a worm despite his mammy (yes, they're caricatured African-American stereotypes though it's not too obvious here) warning him of foxes. Anyway, the book gets thrown out the window and the worm gets a heads up...This was one of Tex Avery's cartoons for Termite Terrace before his more productive output at M-G-M. As such there isn't too much of his trademark wackiness. Still, there are still touches that seem unique to him at the time such as the fox's reaction when he thinks he sees blood. So on that note, I highly recommend The Early Worm Gets the Bird.
"The Early Worm Gets the Bird " is short animated movie from the "Merry Melodies" series. It is a story about one small blackbird inspired by the proverb in the title. One morning he wakes up early and he starts the "worm-chase". But there's another early creature - a weasel who wants to eat the blackbird. This classic is full of funny raids and scrambles where the worm appears more clever than little bird. Blackbirds are stylized as colored men, their faces have Negroid features and their cloth is similar to the mode of blacks in the South. There are many witty moments in this film like in the others from this famous series. But it lacks playful atmosphere which is characteristic for them.
Yes, "The Early Worm Gets the Bird" is one of the many creative cartoons that unfortunately is now hard to laugh at due to racial stereotypes. In this case, the blackbirds are caricatures of African-Americans. But as long as we understand that, it's not a bad cartoon, as a baby bird wakes up early to catch a worm, but the worm is ahead of him (and there are warnings about the hungry fox). The truth is, although Tex Avery directed this, it comes out a little bit flatter than most of his cartoons. But make no mistake, it does elicit a few laughs, especially with the surprise ending. I guess that it's worth seeing maybe once. Available on YouTube.
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