Hi Diddle Diddle (1943)

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:

The entire flick can be seen on 50 Movie Pack: Classic Musicals, a DVD boxed set from Mill Creek Entertainment, which I recently snagged for $9. at Big Lots. The aforementioned Trocadero is on the set, as well as King Kelly of the USA (1934) which has a really odd animation sequence – which I will posting very soon.


  • Andrea Ippoliti

    I noticed how the dogs here look exactly like the one in Freleng’s “Hiss and Make Up”

  • Iritscen

    Well that was odd. But I’m actually impressed with how the animation on the walls is a seamless part of the shot with the actors.

  • Jay Sabicer

    I was half-expecting that everyone around the piano would start singing Michael Maltese’s “Return My Love” from “What’s Opera, Doc”. That would have made it worth the 5+ minutes of watching what would normally be consider a standard B movie from that period. An interesting find, nonetheless.

  • http://stanleystories.blogspot.com Frank Young

    The opening animation looks like it might be from Tashlin’s unit… the birds have that weird concave forehead one sees in 1940s Tashlin characters.

    The end sequence fairly screams Freleng.

    I’m pretty sure I should be very glad not to have seen the entire movie. A little of that longhair stuff goes a long way!

  • uncle wayne

    I think that that is FAScinating!! “Cartoonology” within live-action films should be an entire SITE!! (And, man, there could sure have thousands of ‘em….especially if we include title credits, etc.!) Anyone know how I can find out where to find that Doris Day dancing with Bugs in a feature!??

  • http://cartoonlandanimation.com Kevin C.

    The shots showing the entire room with animated wallpaper are pretty funny.
    Stepping away from animation for a moment, speaking of those “50 movie packs”– the “Mystery Classics” boxed set features the most beautiful copy of Edgar Ulmer’s “Detour” I’ve ever seen-sharp and crisp, splice free, from a lovely 35 mm print. Easily worth the price of the entire set.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Classics-Movie-Pack-Collection/dp/B0001HAGTW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1251398695&sr=1-1

  • Dennis Lynch

    Caught this via Netflix, (I think). It was nominated for an Oscar in 1944: Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, to Phil Boutelje. It didn’t win. There’s also a 1927 film with the same title, with synchronized music.

  • http://www.jessieforer.blogspot.com Firfly

    Speaking of animation in live action, have you seen Hollywood Party? There’s a disney short featured in it and Mickey Mouse makes a cameo appearance at the party itself.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtKfXl4zrpw

  • R.J. Laaksonen

    Andrew L. Stone has a reputation of a minor auteur, mainly because of his no-frills thrillers of the fifties, but this early stuff is difficult to find. Andrew Stone Productions logo is beautiful. Never seen it fefore.

  • Dave

    It’s not animation, but how about the sequence in “The Horn Blows at Midnight” that’s ghost-composed by Carl Stalling? Very odd to see Stalling’s trademarked musical style used in live action.

  • http://www.itsthecat.com Mark Kausler

    That’s Cal Dalton’s animation of the footman wrapping up the picnic lunch and stowing it away in the carriage. The horses are Cal’s animation as well. He was an animator in Freleng’s unit by this time. Thanks for posting this Jerry, very smooth edits!

  • Larry T

    I made the exact same observation, Andrea. Whoever did this sequence has the exact same scenes in “Hiss And Make Up” where the dog gets the shaving cream on his mouth (“Mad Dog! Mad Dog!”), and also when the cat pulls down on the servant’s cord to ring the bell.

    I wish I knew who did this- I’ve been trying to find out who this animator is for years….

  • Mike Kazaleh

    I really hate to contradict my pal Mark, but the animation of the coachman looks more to me to be the work of Jack Bradbury. Jack was also in Freleng’s unit at the time. Great find. The wide shots with the animated wallpaper looked wild.

  • Tom

    I’m in the middle of watching this film. Just had to make a quick comment. Haven’t gotten to the animated sequences yet, but it’s been a fun film so far. I’ve had this collection for about a month or two, but I haven’t watched any of them yet. Thanks for the heads-up.

  • http://www.chelsearialtostudios.com Ray Faiola

    I have a gorgeous 16mm print of HI DIDDLE DIDDLE. It’s a wonderful picture with a lot of surprising subversive inserts (Menjou telling the nursing mother of twins “wedding breakfast AFTER the ceremony, please!”). The animated finale is the icing on the cake.