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One Froggy Evening (1955)

A man futilely struggles to make his fortune with a frog that sings and dances, but only when it is alone with the owner.

Director:

(as Charles M. Jones)

Writer:

(story)

Star:

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Bill Roberts ...
Michigan J. Frog (singing voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

A workman finds a singing frog in the cornerstone of an old building being demolished. But when he tries to cash in on his discovery, he finds the frog will sing only for him, and just croak for the talent agent and the audience in the theater he's spent his life savings on. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der singende Frosch  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some believe that the story of this frog was at least partly inspired by a real amphibian. In Eastland, Texas they tell the story of one horned toad named Old Rip. He was placed in the cornerstone of the courthouse there in 1897. In 1928 the courthouse was demolished and the story is that they pulled Old Rip out and he was still alive (he did not get up and dance however). Eleven months later, Old Rip finally "croaked" and the citizens made him a fancy velvet-lined casket and put him on permanent display, where you can still see him today. In 1973, an anonymous person claimed that he wanted to come clean about Old Rip. He claimed that it was all a hoax back then and they had switched the dead "original" toad with a live one. No-one has ever come forward to verify this claim, but most think it is probably true that it was a prank. Whatever the real story, the legend of Old Rip has some interesting similarities to the frog in "One Froggy Evening". See more »

Goofs

When the construction worker is imitating the frog in the talent agency, he's initially holding his hat, then throws his hands up in the air. When his hands come back down, his hat has disappeared. See more »

Quotes

Michigan J. Frog: [singing] Hello, my baby / hello, my honey / hello, my ragtime gal. / Send me a kiss by wire / baby, my hearts on fire / if you refuse me / honey, you'll lose me / then you'll be left alone / Oh baby, telephone and tell me I'm your own.
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Connections

Referenced in Behind the Tunes: Sing-a-Song of Looney Tunes (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

The Michigan Rag
(uncredited)
Written by Michael Maltese
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Perfection
1 October 2008 | by (Lincoln, England) – See all my reviews

What is there to say about Chuck Jones's 'One Froggy Evening' that hasn't been said already, not just one of the greatest cartoons ever made but one of the best things to ever happen anywhere ever! The story of a demolition worker who discovers a singing frog in the cornerstone of a building and attempts to exploit the creatures talents for profit, 'One Froggy Evening' is often called "the 'Citizen Kane' of animated shorts". That level of artistic worth is not an exaggeration. Everything, absolutely everything, is perfect about 'One Froggy Evening'. For one, the timing is astonishing. Jones tells the story (from a uniquely brilliant script by Michael Maltese, the author of many of the greatest cartoon scripts of all time) completely silent apart from the singing of the frog, who bursts into song at precisely the most hilarious moments possible.

Aside from being side-splittingly funny, 'One Froggy Evening' also works on a deeper level as a profound parable about greed. Presented with this wondrous of a singing frog, the demolition worker's immediate and only impulse is to use it to make money. To his ever-growing frustration, the frog will only sing in his presence. Despite his obsession with money, the demolition worker is extremely sympathetic and the audience shares in his pain even as they howl with laughter at his misfortune. The cartoon ends with another poor sap about to make the same mistakes, showing that no matter how much we progress as a society, greed is a constant in human beings. One element that is not often mentioned is the haunting quality of 'One Froggy Evening'. There's a sense of the supernatural in both a singing frog and a frog that can last for years sealed inside the cornerstone of a building, which always leads me to think of the frog in slightly more sinister terms, as a karmic lesson enforcer! The final image of 'One Froggy Evening' coupled with the distant echo of the frog's song always sends a shiver down my spine.

Aside from all this, there's the wonderful animation and the glorious soundtrack. From the moment the frog leaps out of the box, his back foot slipping a couple of times, he is one of the great animated creations. His ability to snap from spellbindingly charismatic showman to the most uninspiring and ordinary croaker you've ever seen is both hilarious and impeccably achieved. The demolition worker, meanwhile, goes through a wonderful range of Chuck Jones's trademark expressions. The music is great throughout, with a virtuoso performance from singer Bill Roberts who sings a range of classic Tin Pan Alley songs, a snatch of opera and, best of all, a cracking original composition by Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese themselves. Called 'The Michigan Rag', the song is not only the best and catchiest in the whole cartoon, it also provided a name for the frog character when, overwhelmed by the popularity of the film and inundated with requests for the character's name, Jones dubbed him Michigan J. Frog. Despite this popularity, Jones wisely refused to use Michigan in any other cartoons, ensuring 'One Froggy Evening' remains a true one-off and one of the greatest strokes of genius animation has ever seen.

In the interests of keeping it brief, I'll leave it there but I could gush about 'One Froggy Evening' for pages and pages. It really is a landmark piece of film history and more than justifies its appearance on every single list of greatest animated cartoons that's worth a damn.


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