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Cartoons:
1930
1931
1932
1933
Characters:
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Serving the Toon Community since August of 1998
Title Card "One Step Ahead of My Shadow"
Merrie Melodies (cartoon-specific titles)
Released: February 4, 1933
Length: 7:14

Credits:

Supervision by - Rudolf Ising
Drawn by - Isadore Freleng, Max Maxwell
Musical Score by - Frank Marsales


Summary:

Wacky hijinks in China.

Description:

The words fade from the title card revealing a gong, which when struck fades to reveal a busy Chinese city. We see a traffic cop directing the foot-powered vehicles of Chinese aristocrats (and the outhouses that follow behind them), a bicyclist who yanks on his hair and rings his head against his hat like a bell, a "Shanghai Express" trolley, a woman with a pot on her head containing a whole series of people with pots on their heads, and a pair of Amos 'n Andy impersonators. We watch as a young Chinese boy pushes his boat down a stream, and a duck swims alongside of him gobbling down a series of fish. The tables are turned however, when a giant fish appears and swallows the duck whole! As the boy continues downstream, he pulls out a banjo and starts singing the title tune in the worst Chinese accent you've ever heard. The boat stops under the balcony of his sweetheart, and they continue the song together (though a trio of whistling birds join in at one point). The boy goes ashore and pushes a tree swing up to his sweetheart. After he pushes her on the swing a few times, we cut to a Chinese aristocrat riding along on a rickshaw, pulled by a man who whinnies like a horse. When the rickshaw hits a bump in the road, the taxi-like meter spins and rings "No Sale", much to the passenger's delight. The aristocrat then uses a pencil sharpener to sharpen his long fingernails, yanks on the driver's hair like a car horn, then falls off and climbs back onto the rickshaw by shaping its convertible top into a stairway. Coming to a stop at his home, he gets off and straps a feedbag to the driver. He enters his home and hears the sounds of a traditional Chinese band. "Stop! Me show you 'melican way!" he shouts, then pulls out an instrument and starts playing a modern tune. The traditional band and all of the servants quickly join in. Nearby, one servant boy bangs on a man's teeth, while that man yanks on another man's hat, playing him like a cymbal. Outside, the boy and girl on the swing hear the music, then rush into the home (taking care to bang the gong outside with their feet first). We watch as a wall hanging of a dragon comes to life and sings to the beat, and we also see a man who plays percussion on a row of seated bald men. The aristocrat and two servants continue the title tune, with mock-Chinese words sounding more like scat phrases. Nearby, a caged dragon melts the iron bars of his cage with his fiery breath, then sneaks into the house and lets out a roar. The dragon chases the girl into a corner, and the boy's attempt to save her by attacking the dragon with a sword fails. They manage to get away, but are soon cornered again. The boy notices a box of fireworks nearby, so he throws it into the dragon's mouth. The fireworks explode inside the dragon, though a few of the rockets escape, including one that flies between the legs of a row of men, and another that explodes inside of a goldfish bowl. One final explosion leaves only the skeleton of the dragon remaining, which quickly runs out of the house and into the distance, as everybody cheers.


Memorable Scenes:

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Video Availability:

Laserdisc: Golden Age of Looney Tunes, Vol. 3

 

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