Lantz piece spotted in Columbia Picture

Here’s one of the most trivial discoveries in all my years of cartoon research.

So last night I was catching up on some movies I recorded off TCM and in the middle of a 1944 Columbia Pictures B-musical, Kansas City Kitty (1944, Directed by Del Lord), star Joan Davis is standing in the office of a music publisher. On the wall behind her (see frame grab below) are several pieces of sheet music tacked to the wall. It isn’t hard to notice that one of them is Cow Cow Boogie, from the Universal Walter Lantz cartoon, with a cover by Alex Lovy.

It just goes to show, you never know where references to classic cartoons will show up…


Here’s a close up of the real deal…


  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    I love trivia. I love animation. Thanks for the post.

  • Was My Face Red

    I’ve got a copy of that stuck on my office wall too!

  • simon

    looks like michelle bachman

  • uncle wayne

    Try watching the film “Bye Bye Birdie!” You’ll flip when she sings “Lovely to be a Woman!”

  • Peter Hale

    The sheet music in the still is not the version celebrating the “Swing Symphony” (released in January 1943) but a presumably slightly later edition from the same publishers (and using the same line drawing but with flatter tones, just black and orange) promoting the Capitol Records recording of Ella Mae Morse and the Freddie Slack Orchestra, from Columbia’s 1943 film “Reveille with Beverley”. The original Morse/Slack recording, one of Capitol’s first, released in 1942, had been a gold hit.

    The lines of text read (top left):
    ‘by DON RAYE GENE de PAUL BENNY CARTER’
    and (top right):
    ‘Featured on Capitol Record No. 102
    by FREDDIE SLACK ORCHESTRA
    and ELLA MAE MORSE
    From Columbia Picture
    “REVEILLE WITH BEVERLY”
    and WALT LANZ “SWING SYMPHONY”‘

    The song was originally written for the 1942 Abbott and Costello film “Ride ‘Em Cowboy”

  • Rod Araya

    A somewhat related trivia:
    I saw last week the 1987 Columbia Picture, ”La Bamba”, which featured some Lantz cels from Andy, Woody and even Oswald Rabbit (though the film was set in 1957-58) being rescued by one of the main characters while working as a trash man.

  • Corduroy

    If Del Lord was thinking he’d have had Lantz animate the cow telling Joan Davis “Lay off the smokes or you’ll be dead of a heart attack in eighteen years.”

  • http://ratso.podomatic.com Carl Russo

    My piano teacher foisted that sheet music on me in the early 70s–along with anything else that was “boogie woogie”–to keep my fourth-grade interest on the piano. It worked for about a year.

  • Daniel Goldmark

    Apparently the folks at Columbia really liked to push sheet music in the backgrounds of their features: an almost identical image of the sheet music for “Cow Cow Boogie” can be seen on display in the music/record shop in “Reveille with Beverly”: it’s on a rack of sheet music in the entryway to the store, stage right on the set. So this would have been at least the second time the music appeared in a feature (I’ve not tried going through every Columbia feature from the 1940s in search of cartoon-related music… yet).

    BTW: while “Cow Cow Boogie” was a big hit, no question, it couldn’t have been a gold hit, as the RIAA gold certification program didn’t begin until 1958.

  • James E. Parten

    At the time, Columbia Pictures did not own any music publishers. (That would come much later, during the 1960′s, when Columbia was involved with the Colpix and Dimension labels, beloved of rock and roll fame).

    That may explain why some 1930′s Charles Mintz cartoons utilize songs from 20th. Century=Fox films. (Why not? Philip Scheib didn’t get to use them at Terrytoons–it would have cost Paul Terry too much money!) This may also explain why Fauntloroy Fox sings to the melody of a Strauss waltz (safely in the Public Domain) in “Woodman, Spare That Tree”.

    On the other hand, one wonders who owned the copyright on “Let’s All Sing Like The Birdies Sing”, which shows up in another Fox and Crow short, “The Egg Yegg”. That 1933 song wasn’t from any film.

  • Adam

    On the topic of cartoon references in old movies, There’s a movie from 1942 called “Thunder Rock”. In one of the scenes the main character goes to a movie theater to watch the newsreels on the war. When the newsreel is over the Popeye theme blasts through the theater and everyone, except the main character is in a fit of laughter. The cartoon itself is not shown but the audio is from the end of “Popeye Meets Rip Van Winkle”. I was always baffled as to why a cartoon would start at the end, possibly the director’s choice to get the point accross.

  • http://www.clownalley.net Pat Cashin

    Was Joan Davis having a heart attack in this scene?