For the sake of film history, I’ll occasionally seek out odd bits of animation contained in obscure Hollywood movies and post them here – so you don’t have to. Previous postings in this series included Dave Fleischer in Trocadero (1944), and the Leon Schlesinger animation sequences in When’s Your Birthday? (1937) and She Married A Cop (1939).
Today’s clip (below) is three sequences bunched together from United Artists 1943 screwball comedy, Hi Diddle Diddle. Leon Schlesinger provided a bit of animation at the beginning of the film (looks like McKimson animation to me, but I’ll defer to the more knowledgeable experts in our readership) and a cartoon bit in the last scene. The clip in the middle, coming in the middle of the film, sets up the end gag: An egotistical opera singer (silent screen actress Pola Negri, in a comeback role) has wall paper depicting a cartoon Richard Wagner and his family. In the final sequence, Adolphe Menjou, who’s been drinking, imagines the cartoon images (looks like from Freleng’s unit) on the wall paper coming to life and running away from the awful singing of his family (including “good witch” Billie Burke, seated at the piano bench). You don’t want to know what leads up to this; you don’t want to see this movie. It’s pretty bad. Even the animation stuff is rather lackluster. But here it is, for those of you who were ever wondering about this relatively rare sequence: