You may see me dancing around the office, shaking my finger and singing the tune from this Warner Brothers cartoon.
The 1936 cartoon “I Love to Singa” is one of those cartoons I saw as a child that has always stuck with me.
Every night before bed, I watched Warner Brother and MGM cartoons on Cartoon Network and TBS while I was growing up.
One of my favorite was the Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Tex Avery that features Owl Jolson. This was Avery’s ninth animated short.
In the cartoon, Mama Owl is sitting on her eggs as Papa Owl paces. They are waiting on their new children to be born in their home inside a tree.
When they hatch: one owl pops out singing “Chi mi frena in tal momento” from the opera Lucia di Lammermoor, another is playing “Traumerei” on the violin and a third is playing Mendelssohn’s “Spring Song” on the flute.
Yet when the fourth owl hatches, he’s dancing and singing “I love to singa, ‘bout the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a.”
Papa Owl covers his ears and calls him a crooner and a jazz singer.
To correct his son’s love for contemporary music, Papa tries to teach him the classics and we see Owl Jolson unhappily singing “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes.”
Owl Jolson runs away from home and is on a radio talent show hosted by Jack Bunny-a spoof of Jack Benny.
When his family hears little Owl on the radio, they rush down to the station, encourage his jazz music and he wins the talent show.
“I Love to Singa” is a small tribute to Al Jolson’s film “The Jazz Singer” (1927). The song comes from the Jolson film “The Singing Kid” (1936).
The voice of Owl Jolson is child actor Tommy Bond who played Butch in the “Our Gang” series.
The cartoon demonstrates Tex Avery’s talents while paying homage to an early sound film.
One of my favorite parts of the eight minute cartoon is when all the different animals are trying out for the talent show, and all are so bad they fall through a trap door.
My other favorite is when all the little owls hatch, already equipped with instruments and excellent musical prowess! Mama owl must be quite talented!
There isn’t one thing I don’t love about “I Love to Singa.” The title song is catchy, the jokes are witty and the name “Owl Jolson”-spoofing Al Jolson’s name- doesn’t fail to make me chuckle.