Warner's Last In A Library?
Book Revue (1946) Is Tour Through Mid-40's Pop Culture
Apparently the end of the line for cartoons where book covers come to life and a whole of then-popular culture gets a roasting. Book Revue was among last that Bob Clampett directed for Warners. What a shame he left, and a year before Book Revue came out, release often a wide lag from actual production. Did some of topical gags outdate within that gap? Clampett and others at WB were drunk on what came over radios and off advertising pages (wasn't everyone at the time?). Pillage of Lucky Strike's pitch for its cigarette was constant in cartoons: So round, so firm, so fully packed, so free and easy on the draw. Generations grew up knowing the phrase, but ignorant of what it once sold. As incorporated to comedy, it was a mainstay, and continued long past Book Revue. Humphrey Bogart got laughs via recitation of it when he guested on Jack Benny's 10/25/53 TV program, not coincidentally sponsored by Lucky Strike.
Book Revue also uses Daffy Duck more or less as Danny Kaye, the latter's then-popularity great enough to subvert the cartoon duck's established personality and make Daffy the mere mimic of a white-hot comedic novelty. Was Frank Sinatra as rail thin and emaciated panic-inducer among femmes getting tired? The routine had been basis for much of WB's Swooner Crooner in 1944, Sinatra in again that year with Stage Door Cartoon, and recurring as slender enough to be sucked through a straw for 1947's Slick Hare. Book Revue may be the most barbed of Sinatra impressions, Frankie's pallor sickly as he's pushed about by a male nurse. Manic animating as in Book Revue wouldn't outlast Bob Clampett at Warners, cartoons like his not dared by directors remaining on the job. All the more reason to hold Clampett's stuff dear. Book Revue used to be hotly sought by 16mm collectors, the first title they'd ask for when a WB package jumped off back of a film truck.