“You’re the god-damnest thing!”
I don’t know about you, but I for one am not too fond of work Christmas parties. Too much unwarranted joy for my tastes. (I can’t fathom the idea of being happy while cold) But say you worked at Termite Terrace back in the day? If these two glimpses into their place of employment were any indication, these people were a blast to work with. Both of these films were shown at the Christmas parties that were held there. Our first one comes from 1939.
Things start off great! Schlesinger himself is having a grand time with a Porky doll. (NEEEEEED!) For all the horror stories I’ve heard about Mr. Schlesinger, it seems that he was quite the ham and loved to be part of all these. Everyone was a ham! (Which means they have to eat kosher, lest they be labeled cannibals) Next is a shot of the happy employees coming to work. (Treg Brown, Chuck Jones, Ben Hardaway, among others) You might think they aren’t pleased to be there, because of the grumbling. That’s just because Henry Binder is marching them in with a rifle. When it’s time to leave, they sadly do. (They mask their pain well) And yes, this part is seen in “You ought to be in Pictures.”
Binder does a bit dressed like Groucho, Carl Stalling plays a clarinet (or maybe it’s an oboe.) in his head, and one man asks another a question. He in turns asks a woman. She asks another woman, who asks another man, who asks Leon. He knows the answer to this question we weren’t allowed to hear: “yes.” The answer travels back to the original asker who is pleased to hear it. He heads to the restroom.
I guess Dave Mohannan isn’t too pleased with his job, as he tries to escape to Fleischers. Henry and his gun keep him on the winning team. And Tex Avery drinks too much. In the Inking department, the ladies are hard at work. They look a bit like men in drag to me, but then, I hardly have conversations with women. Maybe they all look like this up close? The one who looks like Tex thinks he is cute, and the one who looks like Bob Clampett drinks paint. (And Binder comes around to check their rears out)
Speaking of Binder, he is also in charge of interviewing potential new talent. One woman comes in to show off some of her stuff. By which I mean what the job actually calls for. Binder keeps looking down her blouse. Eventually he pulls her into his lap. Seeing as how she was a married woman, he soon gets reacquainted with his gun pal.
This next reel came out a year later. And everyone here is playing themselves, so apologies in advance if you thought you were being made fun of. (Believe me, if we WERE making fun of you, we’d make sure you’d know) Those rascally employees are still at it. Can’t go wrong with giving each other a hot foot. (Even Leon joins in this game) Stalling composes music for upcoming “Merrie Melodies” and we get another glimpse at the ladies of the place. (The year has been kind to them. They look a lot more hot! The downside is they cluck now)
Binder still takes care of interviewing. He’s really reeled things in since last time as he hardly reacts to the woman stripping for him. (This woman was rotoscoped and her likeness would be used in Avery’s “Cross Country Detours.”) When her butt is revealed, Binder finally pays attention. (He has a lot of tongue. I knew non-toons could do that) 3:00 is relaxing time for the employees. Some play ball, others fence. (Don’t worry about the sword in his chest. I’m sure he can still work) But most of the employees play a game that everyone can play: face sucking. (Mel, I love ya, but fake kissing noises REALLY irritate me. Knock it off.) And in case any of you are trying to play “shipping” with these people, just know that couples one, three and four did actually end up married. So you can take the the holidays off.
The film is so self aware, that it can show the viewers footage of themselves at the actual party. Many people are dancing. (Poor Ted Pierce. He loses his pants) And they couldn’t resist having people of varying heights dance with each other. (Friz Freleng makes up what he lacks in height with his future Oscar wins) Someone tries to flirt with Tex, but the poor guy just can’t give in to temptation. (But he will abandon us for MGM.) And in the true meaning of Christmas, those who refused to actually give gifts, still at least wish some season greetings to everyone.
And of course, we end on the most tasteful joke ever imagined. Leon says he is off to the bowl. By which he meant the toilet. (Judging by the sign he puts up, I think it’s best to put the commode out of its misery.) Enjoy your holidays!