‘To Spring’ Is The Weirdest Cartoon Ever Made About Springtime

Among the most frustrating aspects of spring—if you don’t live in southern California—is the fluctuating weather. One moment it’s T-shirt weather, the next, heavy overcoat. The 1936 MGM cartoon To Spring explains the scientific reason for why this occurs: the elves who live underground aren’t working hard enough. It’s actually a more reasonable explanation than the racist 1944 cartoon Suddenly It’s Spring, which suggests that spring doesn’t start until the lazy black cloud moves out of the way.

Besides the sheer weirdness and lush production values, To Spring is also notable for being the directorial debut of Bill Hanna, who co-directed with Paul Fennell. Hanna would go on to win seven Oscars as the co-creator/director of the Tom & Jerry series, before launching the iconic TV studio Hanna-Barbera. Credits are sparse for the short, which was produced by the legendary team of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising, but we do know that Lee Blair, Mary Blair’s husband, did background layout on it.


  • Lee

    This has always been one of my all-time favorite shorts. I remember it from childhood, seeing it on tv, but then I rediscovered it on public domain vhs as an adult. Since then I’ve been trying to locate ever-increasingly better quality copies. I think they outdid Disney with this one.

  • Bryan

    Why isn’t this on DVD along with the other great MGM cartoons of the 30′s? I know, they’ll come out right after the complete Tex Avery set.

    • Alan Caudel

      Actually it is on DVD. I found it on one of those 100 Classic Cartoons DVD’s you see in the grocery stores. I think it was released by Mill Creek.

  • azzamckazza

    I love this short! We had a collection of random Cartoon shorts on VHS growing up and this, ‘Somewhere in Dreamland’ and the Christmas inventor cartoon were the ones that lodged deep in my brain. Thanks for the nostalgia hit!

  • samuel

    Does the names of the producers makes you uncomfortable too ?

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    Even though Harman and Ising weren’t as successful as most other animators of their time, they certainly made some beautiful looking shorts. I love these posts about obscure cartoons forgotten by time. Can we have more of them please? :)

  • Tom Minton

    Paul Fennell stated that Bill Hanna and he shared the same timing style. Fennell began at Disney in the early 1930s as an assistant animator, then moved into directing after he left that studio and, years later under his own shingle, into producing many commercial films. He was a colorful character and his eclectic body of work as a director deserves its own DVD collection.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Then there’s “Swing Wedding”. ’nuff said!

  • Liam Feld

    I find it almost comical how much these old shorts REALLY hated characters who slept late. That and the almost comically melodramatic stormcloud (“Blow-ow-ow” in a minor third, basso profundo), lots of machinery gags, lots of lookalike semitic gnomes – this is the UR-thirties cartoon!