New Year's Cartoons

Cartoons for the New Year:

The Geek with a .45 was celebrating an apparent Looney Toons marathon held today in honor of the new year. I missed it, lacking television of any sort, but his enjoyment of the thing reminded me of an example of the beauty that sometimes can arise from needless duplication. Consider the strange case of "Rhapsody Rabbit" versus "The Cat Concerto."

The same year Warner Bros. released Rhapsody Rabbit, MGM produced a very similar Tom and Jerry cartoon called The Cat Concerto, which features Tom being distracted by Jerry while playing in a concert. Most of the gags are identical to both cartoons, and they used the same music that was played. The Cat Concerto won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Both MGM and Warner Bros. accused each other of plagiarism, after both films were shown in the 1947 Academy Awards Ceremony. Technicolor was accused of sending a print of either cartoon to a competing studio, who then plagiarized their rival's work. This remains uncertain even today, though Rhapsody Rabbit has an earlier MPAA copyright number and release date. The massive similarities could be coincidental. The animators at Warner Bros. and MGM were experienced in making cartoons, and it could be likely that they all thought of similar concepts and expanded them, not knowing that similar situations resulted in each cartoon.
Judge for yourselves.

You might also be forgiven for thinking that Bugs Bunny's tongue-out performance was a clever mockery of The Devil Himself; but you'd be wrong. Jerry Lee Lewis cut his first demo record in 1954, eight years after this cartoon was filmed. Bugs Bunny got there first.

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