wise little hen

Donald Duck: 80 Years of the “Sweetest Disposition”

On June 9, 1934, the Walt Disney animation studios released The Wise Little Hen, a Silly Symphony adapted from a classic fairy tale. As with most of the Silly Symphonies, the cartoon did not feature any of Disney’s stock recurring characters, such as the already-legendary Mickey Mouse. But one member of Hen’s supporting cast–a petulant, musical, sailor suit-clad duck–would…

horn

Athanael, come blow your horn.

Director Raoul Walsh was not particularly known for producing lighter cinematic fare. Though his five decade-long filmography ranges from comedies to dramas to Westerns, Walsh is primarily remembered as the director of a string of successful, heavily male-driven flicks in the 1940s, beginning with a trio of Humphrey Bogart-led movies including The Roaring Twenties (1939), They Drive by Night (1940),…

andy hardy

Remembering Mickey Rooney.

Labeling Mickey Rooney a “legend” of the screen feels something of an understatement. Though he reached the height of his fame relatively early in his career, Rooney maintained an acting career for almost nine decades–an unparalleled record that is unlikely to be matched any time soon. He began performing when he was still in diapers, and…

zachary scott

Book Review: Zachary Scott: Hollywood’s Sophisticated Cad (2013)

Zachary Scott: Hollywood’s Sophisticated Cad Ronald L. Davis Release Date: July 24, 2013 (Reprint); February 27, 2006 (Original printing) University Press of Mississippi  Softcover, 238 pages Last summer, the University Press of Mississippi reprinted Ronald L. Davis’ biography of character actor Zachary Scott, subtitled Hollywood’s Sophisticated Cad, in paperback. As today marks the centennial of Scott’s…

gerald mcboing-boing

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Gerald McBoing-Boing (1950)

When it comes to theatrical animation in the 1950s, there were no greater innovators than the talented artists at United Productions of America. UPA’s highly stylized, modern aesthetic was visually appealing; the cartoons were creative and fresh, with entertaining characters and funny, unexpected new ways of storytelling. One of those new characters came directly from…