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The Isle of Pingo Pongo

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The Isle of Pingo Pongo
The Isle of Pingo Pongo
Directed By: Fred Avery
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: May 28, 1938
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Geo Manuell
Animation: Irven Spence
Virgil Ross (uncredited)
Layouts: TBA
Backgrounds: TBA
Film Editor: Treg Brown
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Tex Avery
Gil Warren
The Sing Band
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Narrator
Egghead
Zulu Natives
Mockingbird
Canary
Elephant
Gazelles
Polar Bear
Vacationing Eskimo
Preceded By: Injun Trouble
Succeeded By: Porky the Fireman
The Isle of Pingo Pongo08:31

The Isle of Pingo Pongo

Higher Quality Copy a.a.p. original end title

Pingo1

Blue-Ribbon Re-Issue Titles

Pingo 2
46

Lobby Card

The Isle of Pingo Pongo is a 1938 Warner Bros. cartoon directed by Tex Avery. It is the first of Avery's spoofs of travelogues. The cartoon was banned from TV syndication in 1968 by United Artists (the owners at the time) for racist depictions of black people and is one of the "Censored Eleven". UA believed that no amount of editing could make it allowed to be distributed on United States television.

This is the final Merrie Melodies cartoon to end with RELEASED BY WARNER BROS. PRODUCTIONS CORP and the last cartoon to have the lowercase f in "That's all Folks!" as evident in the end title. The next Merrie Melodies cartoon, Katnip Kollege, would have a newly designed logo (although not shown in surviving prints because it was reissued in 1946), which changed again in 1938 and again in 1939, until the finalized one came out in 1940.

Plot

The short follows a cruise ship’s trip from New York to the island, presumably located in the South Seas. The ship sails past the Statue of Liberty, who acts as a traffic cop, past the “Canary Islands” and “Sandwich Islands,” and the overall story was less plausible than some of Tex Avery's other cartoons.[1]

The cartoon revolves around themes of jazz and primitivism, and is set on a remote island. The central character is an early version of Elmer Fudd known as Egghead, and most of the cartoon consists of travelogue-type narration and blackout gags, many including Egghead. The inhabitants of Pingo-Pongo are mostly tall, black, and have big feet and lips. Like other cartoons at this time, the native inhabitants resemble animals and reflect stereotypes of the time. The natives are at first playing drums, then break into a jazz beat, still described as a “primitive savage rhythm,” which leads the audience to connect the savage jungle to modern jazz music. [2]

There is a running gag with Egghead where he says, "Now Boss?", but the narrator keeps saying "Not now." That is, until the end, where the sun fails to set when he says "as the sun sinks slowly into the West". Egghead reappears and says "Now Boss?" The boss says "Yeah, now!" Egghead shoots the sun, making it sink into the West and ending the film.

Bans

The ban has been upheld by the cartoon's successive owners and is unlikely to be released on home video, however, as The New York Times reports[3], unauthorized copies are relatively easy to find. The cartoon was reissued as a Blue Ribbon Classic, however, the original titles are known to exist.

A recreation of the original titles can be found on YouTube. In this video, the original titles show up while the Merrie Melodies theme is playing. Thus, there is no original title cue to go along with the titles. After the cue ends, the video skips to where the Blue Ribbon reissue started.[4]

The short in its 1944 reissue can be easily found on DailyMotion. There are 2 copies, 1 in good condition, the other is a poor bootleg copy. Additionally, the short was recently viewed with 7 films part of the Censored Eleven at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood on April 24, 2010 as part of a classic film series, presented by Donald Bogle. It is unknown if the original titles have been restored for the future DVD release. The release has yet to come, but Jerry Beck said transfers are done with a few extra banned films owned by WB. However, around August 2016, Jerry Beck said that WB was not going to release their Censored 11 DVD until the DVD market goes up in sales again.

Original titles

Link in English here, with original titles. https://my.mail.ru/inbox/mail.personal/video/82/7505.html

References

  1. Barrier, Michael. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford University Press, 2003. page 343
  2. Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedGoldmark, Daniel (2005). pp. 91-92. University of California Press.
  3. Cartoons of a Racist Past Lurk on YouTube http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/business/media/28cartoon.html
  4. "The Isle Of Pingo Pongo" (1938) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h98ImdTlQh4

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