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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music OPUS 111: The Fingal's Cave Overture, by Felix Mendelssohn (28 comments)

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  •  There I Can Help You (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dumbo, jazzmaniac, martyc35

    The music was used in a series of Chuck Jones cartoons done at Warner Bros. for their "Merrie Melodies" series which are usually given the general title "Inki and the Mynah Bird".  The main character is a little African boy named Inki living in the jungle and having adventures usually invovling hunting a mynah bird.  The mynah bird is slow, solemn and apparently oblivious to Inki's pursuit as it hops across the screen to the tune of the theme from "Fingal's Cave".  Even in the shorts where the Mynah bird wasn't the main object of the case, he would show up periodically and everything would stop as the other characters stared at the mournful little bird pacing across the screen to Mendelhsohn and hopping on the off beats.

    Chuck Jones once said that Walt Disney was baffled by these cartoons and didn't understand them.  Jones said that the mynah bird was a Fourth-dimensional character; "I don't undersand the Fourt Dimension either."

    I remember seeing these cartoons on TV as a kid, but they were quietly pulled from circulation sometime in the late '60s or early '70 from fears, as I understand, of racial sensitivity.  Which is a pity, because compared to the way blacks were generally portrayed in cartoons in the '30s and '40s, Inki is a pretty decent character.  Yes, he has a bone sticking through his top-knot and a ring in his nose, but he is not depicted as lazy or cowardly, nor is he given a mockable comic dialect; (the Inki shorts have no dialogue at all).  On the contrary, Inki on the whole is brave and resourceful, even if he does sometimes find himself biting off more than he can chew.  True, he never does catch that Mynah Bird, but nobody ever catches anything in Chuck Jones cartoons, and the Mynah bird is nigh unto a Force of Nature, invincible and inperturable.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:03:05 PM PDT

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