Old Brew


Thanks to the restoration efforts of Warner Home Video, and the series of Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD sets, there are (or will be) very few pieces of Warner Bros. animation lost to history. But not every bit of “Termite Terrace” animation is safe, nor is every bit owned by the studio. When Leon Schlesinger ran the studio independently (prior to 1944), he took on several outside assignments (for example the opening titles to Paramount’s The Lady Eve) and even loaned his characters (and animators) to other studios (see our previous link to Bugs Bunny in the George Pal Puppetoon, Jasper Goes Hunting).One rare piece of animation, long unseen, is the cartoon sequence in She Married A Cop (1939). This film was a Republic Picture, and that library is today controlled by Viacom (Paramount Pictures). The film was a fairly typical Republic B picture, with two notable claims to fame: (1) It was one of Cy Feuer’s first Oscar nominated film scores – but more importantly (2), the plot revolves around a Hollywood cartoon studio. The story followed the romance of a New York City policeman (played by real life “singing cop” Phil Regan) and a female animator (actress Jean Parker, playing “Linda Fay”, producer of the Fay-Fables cartoon series for Mammoth Pictures). The fact that this is a New York based animation studio, and that a woman is portrayed as the producer/director of the cartoons, are two interesting and unusual aspects of the film.In this first clip below, we see Linda (Jean Parker) directing her animators (note she refers to a model sheet from Tashlin’s Case Of The Stuttering Pig [1936] as a “cue sheet”) and being romanced by studio suit (and suitor), played by Jerome Cowan.

All Movie.com:

This comedy is set in New York and centers upon a singing Irish cop who causes quite a sensation among two producers when he sings at the annual Policeman’s Ball. For a long time, they have been looking for a voice for their new cartoon feature, “Paddy the Pig,” and the cop is just perfect. The policeman is tickled pink at the prospect of being a star and begins telling all his friends about his good fortune (he has no idea what they plan to do with his voice). Eventually he ends up marrying one of the producers, who still hasn’t told him the truth. Suddenly the night of the big premiere finally arrives and all of the policeman’s old friends and colleagues are there. As it begins, the policeman is appalled and humiliated to see that he has been mocked and has become a laughing stock. He immediately spurns his new wife and goes back to the police force. Time passes, and fortunately, the two reunite and settle their differences.

Below is the “Paddy The Pig” animation sequence itself. I love the part where Parker turns to Regan and says in disgust, “Jim, it’s a cartoon!”. If I were a betting man, I’d say Schlesinger gave the animation assignment to the unit Cal Dalton was supervising at the time (but if anyone can definitively ID the animator involved here, we’d appreciate it). It certainly doesn’t look like the work of Tashlin, Avery, Jones or Clampett.

Eight years later, Republic dusted off the script and remade She Married A Cop as Sioux City Sue (1947), a Gene Autry B-western (with an animation sequence by Walter Lantz Productions). The western has been remastered and is available on DVD. Meanwhile, the original nitrate film elements to She Married A Cop still await restoration at the UCLA Film & Television Archive in Hollywood.

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