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Mel Blanc Project @ The Secret Society, May 10, 17, 24, 31, 7:00 PM Admission by donation!

May 4th, 2011 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · News

Oregon Cartoon Institute presents its second  four part Mel Blanc Project Screening Series at the The Secret Society beginning Tuesday, May 10. This series follows one held earlier this year at The Waypost.


What: Mel Blanc Project Screening Series II

When: Tuesdays, May 10, May 17, May 24, May 31

What time: 7:00 PM

Where: The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, between MLK and Rodney, in Portland, Oregon

How much: $6.00, suggested donation


Tuesday, May 10

Raymond Scott, Carl Stalling & Mel Blanc: Warner Brothers’ Powerhouse

Mel Blanc was not the only genius working at Termite Terrace. Warner Brothers cartoons featured dense, layered sound environments combining dialog, sound effects, original compositions, and mischievous references to popular song. Music director Carl Stalling often drew on works by Raymond Scott, the inventor/mad scientist/jazz band leader who wrote Powerhouse. The result: Powerhouse is one of the most familiar melodies on the planet.

There They Go Go Go ( 1956) Roadrunner cartoon using Powerhouse

Target Snafu (1944) Military training cartoon using The Toy Trumpet. Mel Blanc voices Pvt. Snafu

A Lecture on Camouflage (1944) Military training cartoon using Powerhouse. Mel Blanc voices Pvt. Snafu

Meatless Flyday (1944 ) WB using Huckleberry Duck, Siberian Sleighride

Rumors Snafu (1943) Military training cartoon using Powerhouse, Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals Mel Blanc voices Pvt. Snafu

An Itch In Time (1943) WB using Powerhouse

Spies Snafu (1943)  Military training cartoon using Powerhouse Mel Blanc voices Pvt. Snafu

Tin Pan Alley Cats (1943) One of the Censored Eleven, using Dinner Music for a Pack of Cannibals

All films from The Nyback Collection

7:00 PM@ Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, Portland, Oregon

Admission by donation


Tuesday, May 17

Mel Blanc and the Jazz Age: Portland Jazz Baby

Where did Mel Blanc get his astounding ear and ability to improvise? This program is of music shorts of pre-1930′s jazz bands (Duke Ellington, Hal Kemp) and performers (Bessie Smith, Rudy Vallee, Eddie Peabody, others) which document the era during which Mel Blanc was himself a professional musician playing in Portland jazz bands. This is the music young Mel Blanc heard.

Program includes:

Kitty From Kansas City (1931) So early that Betty Boop is still a dog, and one named Kitty!  She is the title character in a song featuring Rudy Vallee, which he had made famous in 1930.Black and Tan (1929)  Dudley Murphy directs Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra

Favorite Melodies (1929) Ruth Etting

Rhapsody in Black and Blue (1932)  Short with Louis Armstrong and Sidney Easton.

College Chums (1928)   Eddie Peabody with Hal Kemp Orchestra.

St. Louis Blues (1929)  Dudley Murphy directed the only film of Bessie Smith.

All films from The Nyback Collection.

7:00 PM@ Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, Portland, Oregon

Admission by donation


Tuesday, May 24

It Was Against The Law: Mel Blanc, Prohibition and the Speakeasy Era

Mel Blanc was 12 years old when Prohibition began, an adult when it ended. Cartoons, short films, and newsreel footage from The Nyback Collection bring to life the era of rolled stockings, short skirts and hip flasks. Includes Bing Crosby, Felix the Cat, Betty Boop, and newsreel footage of bottle smashing speakeasy raids.

Woos Whoopee 1928  Felix The Cat goes on a speakeasy drunken spree while his wife waits at home.
Hearst Metrotone News (1929 sound Newsreel) Coast Guard patrols nab rum runners.
Project XX The Jazz Age (1956  Excerpt)  Television documentary with newsreel  footage of Texas Guinan and other speakeasy action.
Hell Bound (1931, Excerpt)  Clip shows speakeasy scene with Lola Lane singing while Leo Carrillo watches and guns are discretely shown.
Pathe News (1928  Silent  Newsreel )   SF Agents Destroy Booze
Hollywood and the Stars:  How to Succeed as a Gangster (1963, excerpt)  TV doc shows real speakeasy and gangster footage.  Then it shows clips from films made during Prohibition exploiting the issue.  James Cagney and  Edward G. Robinson are featured.  Joseph Cotton narrates.
The Rich Drink and get ready for the Revolution  (c1973 , Excerpt)  This clip is from a TV doc on the Depression.
Betty Boop for President (1932)  Cartoon spoofs the political process but slyly promotes FDR and the end of Prohibition.
Murder at the Vanities (1934, excerpt)  The musical number, Cocktails for Two, which  celebrates the end of Prohibition.  This Arthur Johnston song later became Spike Jones’ greatest hit.

Bonus film: Mel Blanc wearing a pre-Prohibition Era derby hiccuping his way through Clink, Clink (1943)  with Spike Jones and the City Slickers.

All films from The Nyback Collection.

7:00 PM@ Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, Portland, Oregon

Admission by donation


Tuesday, May 31

Radio Daze: Hollywood Behind The Microphone

Mel Blanc first performed on radio when he was 15 years old. Although he would become more famous for his work in animation, radio was Mel Blanc’s first love. He remained active in it his entire life. This program includes Dennis Nyback’s favorite radio themed cartoons and short films from 1929 to 1943.

Coo Coo Nut Grove (1936) WB Cartoon. Features caricatures of

Jean Harlow,

Bette Davis,

Joe E. Brown,

Hugh Herbert,

W.C. Fields,

Clark Gable,

Groucho and Harpo Marx,

Johnny Weissmuller,

Mae West,

Lionel and John Barrymore,

Laurel and Hardy,

Edward G. Robinson,

Fred Astaire,

and George Raft.  A caricatured Ben Bernie MC’s as the radio broadcasting bandleader.  Jokes comment on the feud between Ben Bernie and radio journalist Walter Winchell.

Hi De Ho (1934)  Live action short. Cab Calloway appears at the Cotton Club, on a show being broadcast on the radio.  One of his fans is a railroad porter who is worried that while he is on the road his wife ( Fredi Washington) will betray him. Cab advises the man to buy a radio to keep his wife happy and at home.

Captain Henry’s Radio Show (1933)   Live action. One of the most popular radio shows on the 1930s was the Maxwell House Showboat  This film shows a broadcast which includes the popular radio performers Annette Hanshaw and Lanny Ross.

I Love to Singa (1936)  WB Cartoon   Young Owl Jolson is a disappointment to his classical music loving father.  Kicked out of the house, he finds redemption singing jazz on an amateur hour radio show hosted by Jack Bunny.

Midnight Melodies (1936)  Loretta Lee,  Ed Paul,  Jack Gilford   Live action. Incredibly rare film featuring the Ed Paul Orchestra doing a radio broadcast.  Featured throughout is the  young comedian Jack Gilford, making his first of many film and television appearances, but eight years before his next film appearance.

GI Journal with Mel Blanc (c1944) Live action. Army-Navy Screen Magazine recreation of a radio broadcast features Mel Blanc as the character Sad Sack. Extremely rare footage of Blanc performing live. Also featuring Lucille Ball and  Kay Kyser.

God Bless America (1943)  Live action. Technicolor clip from This is the Army (1943).  Features  Kate Smith introducing the famous Irving Berlin song in the form of a radio broadcast heard by the nation and by soldiers over seas.  Among the listeners are George Murphy, who later became a United States Senator, and a fresh faced nobody named Ronald Reagan.

All films from The Nyback Collection

7:00 PM@ Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, Portland, Oregon

Admission by donation


This post brought to you by Oregon Cartoon Institute.

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