Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Froggy Evening

One Froggy Evening is an approximately seven-minute long Technicolor animated short film written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones, with musical direction by Milt Franklyn. This popular short contained a wide variety of musical entertainment, with songs ranging from "Hello! Ma Baby" and "I'm Just Wild About Harry", two Tin Pan Alley classics, to "Largo al Factotum", Figaro's aria from the opera Il Barbiere di Siviglia. The short was released on December 31, 1955 as part of Warner Brothers' Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.

A mid-1950s construction worker involved in the demolition a building finds a box inside a cornerstone. He opens it to reveal a singing, dancing frog, complete with top hat and cane. The box contains a document dated April 16th, 1892. The man tries exploiting the frog's talents for money, but as it turns out, it will not perform in front of anyone else. For the rest of the cartoon, the man frantically tries to demonstrate the frog's abilities to the outside world (first by trying to get an agent to accept him, then by renting out a theater), all to no avail. The haggard man spies a construction site and joyfully hides the box in the cornerstone of a building that is under construction. The timeline then jumps to the year 2056, where the building is demolished, and the box with the frog is discovered yet again by a 21st century demolition man, starting the process all over again....

Some critics and observers regard this cartoon short as the finest ever made. Steven Spielberg, in the PBS Chuck Jones biography Extremes & Inbetweens: A Life In Animation, called One Froggy Evening "the Citizen Kane of animated film." (Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 5, Disc 2) In 1994 it was voted #5 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. The film is ranked at IMDb as the sixth best short movie ever. In 2003 the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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