It’s no masterpiece, but it is rare and significant.
Below is the first four minutes from the Joe E. Brown comedy When’s Your Birthday? (released February 19th, 1937) and it marks the first directorial effort of Bob Clampett. Those familiar with Bob’s art and Chuck Jones drawing style from this period can pick out the scenes they did. There is little of Bob’s trademark zaniness (though there are a few semi-naked girls running around Zodiac heaven), but my guess is that this sequence was probably script-driven – as any dream sequence in a live action movie would’ve been back then.
When’s Your Birthday?, which isn’t very good by anyones standard, was extremely hard to see in the last 25 years. The print that turned up last week on Turner Classic Movies wasn’t very good either – and the “Technicolor sequences” (which I assume included this opening cartoon bit) only exist in black and white. As this will not be included on any DVD any time soon, I’ve posted it on YouTube as a public service for all the Clampett completists who missed it.
(Thanks to Thad K for taping it.)