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Have You Got Any Castles?

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Have You Got Any Castles?
Have You Got Any Castles title card
Directed By: Frank Tashlin
Friz Freleng (archival from Clean Pastures)
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: June 25, 1938
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Jack Miller
Animation: Ken Harris
Bob McKimson (uncredited)
Phil Monroe (archival)
Paul J. Smith (archival)
Layouts:
Backgrounds: Art Loomer
Film Editor: Treg Brown
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Tedd Pierce
The Four Blackbirds
Delos Jewkes
Georgia Stark
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Town Crier
Praying Earth
Rip Van Winkle
Emily Host
Aladdin
Vocal Group
Old King Cole
W. C. Fields
Whistler's Mother
Heidi
Preceded By: Porky's Party
Succeeded By: Love and Curses

Have You Got Any Castles? is a seven-minute short film that premiered in theaters on June 25, 1938. It was a part of the Merrie Melodies series produced by Leon Schlesinger and distributed by Vitaphone.

It was re-issued as a Blue Ribbon on February 1, 1947 as "Have You Got Any Castles" (without the question mark).

The cartoon fell in the public domain in 1967 due to United Artists, successor to Associated Artists Productions, failed to renew the copyright in time. It can be seen on bootleg DVD copies and YouTube. However, many uploaders have uploaded the restored, uncut version to YouTube.

Background

The daily publication Daily Film Daily called the short a "fine fantasy", and gave it the following review: "The story takes place in a library, with all the characters coming to life from well known works of fiction, both classical and modern. Rip Van Winkle is the center of interest, as he cannot continue sleeping with the noise. Finally he gets The Hurricane to blow all the noise-makers back into the covers of their books again, and he goes peacefully to sleep. The final titles show the pop book, Gone with the Wind. Produced by Leon Schlesinger. Story by Jack Miller. Animation by Ken Harris. In Technicolor.

The caricature of Alexander Woollcott in this short is a human version of the owl caricature in another Tashlin short, The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos, which was released the year prior, and had similar mannerisms. The theme of the short is similar to another 1937 Tashlin short, Speaking of the Weather.

Summary

As the cartoon opens, following the cuckoo clock, the town crier (a caricature of Woollcott), after a brief introduction, introduces four monsters who introduce themselves roaring, but then dance a minuet. As characters from other books cheer them on, the globe-shaped protagonist of The Good Earth prays by his bedside. The library is panned over to the right, revealing the books The Invisible Man with an invisible man dancing, Topper (a novel from a series by Thorne Smith, as well as a film series) with a similar theme, The Thirty-Nine Steps and "Bojangles" Robinson dancing down the steps, and the novel So Big, and The Green Pastures which turn into a big band presentation of Swing for Sale led by a caricature of Cab Calloway.

Panning over the cheering crowd, the camera reveals a singing Heidi, a literal Thin Man walking over into the White House Cook Book and coming out fat on the cover of a Great Works of Art book performing literally, and three Little Women and other characters singing together with the characters of The House of the Seven Gables and a drumming bulldog -- a play on Bulldog Drummond. Next, Louis Pasteur mixes chemicals from test tubes until they blow up, revealing Pasteur in Seventh Heaven. Also appearing is Captain Bligh on the Mutiny on the Bounty. None of this pleases a sleeping Rip Van Winkle complaining about Old King Cole being a noisy old soul while using The Valiant Little Tailor's scissors to snip hair from Uncle Tom to plug his ears.

The music gets louder, with The Three Musketeers playing, Drums along the Mohawk providing a beat, and a character from Mother India also plays along. Then, Emily Host scolds Henry VIII for his rudeness. Rip takes scissors from The Valiant Little Tailor and tries to use them on a character from Uncle Tom's Cabin, only to be beaten back. Diamond Jim comes along pitching mortgage payments as the Drums Along the Mohwak beat louder, Henry VIII becomes even more gluttonous, and Oliver twists. W.C. Fields with a red nose (a play on So Red the Rose), and the Pied Piper join in.

The Musketeers become Three Men on a Horse, grabbing the Seven Keys to Baldpate along the way, and free the Prisoner of Zenda over Aladdin's objections. As the Three Men pass The Informer, he whispers to Little Boy Blew who then trumpets for a Charge of the Light Brigade. Robinson Crusoe also fires at the Three Men, along with guns from All Quiet on the Western Front and backup cavalry from Under Two Flags. With the incessant firing, Rip has had enough, and opens a book entitled The Hurricane, which then blows all of the characters away, making them all be put into a book.

The town crier than appears to conclude the cartoon, with Rip sleeping on the cuckoo clock (with its cuckoo muzzled; see Censorship below for information about the beginning and ending).

Censorship

  • After this film's initial release, Alexander Woollcott, the voice of the town crier, requested that his caricature in this cartoon be cut for reissue after his death. The cuts are as follows:
    • After the cuckoo clock sounds and the camera pans over the library, the shadow of the Town Crier appears, which then fades out to the books being presented.
    • The cartoon ends after eliminates the fighting cowboys and Indians into a book called "Hurricane", and then the then-recent book pops up, with a fade out.
  • On TBS, in addition to the above cuts made for the reissue, the following scenes were cut:
    • Caricatures of Bill Robinson tap dancing in a book called "The 39 Steps", and the immediate next scene of Cab Calloway singing "I've Got Swing For Sale", reused from Clean Pastures.
      • It should be noted that the scene's unedited appearance on Cartoon Network in the late 1990s into the early 2000s on the installment show, The Acme Hour, makes it the closest a Censored Eleven cartoon has ever made it to airing on American television.
    • Rip van Winkle twice stealing scissors from "The Valiant Little Tailor" and using them to cut Uncle Tom's hair to use as ear plugs (the second time resulting in Uncle Tom punching Rip van Winkle in the face and cutting his beard off).

Goofs

  • The Turner "dubbed version" changes the ending music from what it was originally. This is evident on the DVD version, as the audio was sourced from the "dubbed version".

Availability

  • Have You Got Any Castles? is available on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2, Disc 4. This version retains the BR opening, but the cut scenes above are restored. However, the 1941-55 MM ending plays instead of the 1937-38 due to the "dubbed version" being the source of the soundtrack.

See also

  • Book Revue, which uses a similar plotline, but is more comedic.

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