3 November 2008 | phantom_tollbooth
A charming start to a truly great story
As an animation nut, the truly significant moments in animation history always make my heart swell and my pulse race. 'Gertie the Dinosaur' genuinely makes me tear up. So it was perhaps inevitable that I would enjoy Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising's 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' since it is the first ever Looney Tune(not counting the short pilot film 'Bosko The Talk Ink Kid'). Animated by the great Friz Freleng, 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' is surprisingly enjoyable on its own merits. It quickly establishes a bawdier atmosphere than previous cartoons (completely naked characters, a dance involving toilet paper, a shot of a bra and a cow with an enormous, pendulous udder) which would come to characterise Warner Bros. animation. It also establishes a sense of enormous inventiveness instantly when lead character Bosko plays his shower like a harp. The subsequent story is thin on plot (Bosko visits his girlfriend Honey and they go for a drive encountering some very mild danger) but there are plenty of funny moments, my favourite being Bosko's anthropomorphic car unexpectedly emerging for a distant shed instead of the garage. If the short ever tends towards the dull, there's always the sense of "I'm watching the first ever Looney Tune" to get you through the weak patches, Surprisingly, these are few and far between (Bosko crying after a goat eats his flowers is a little saccharine but otherwise there's little that comes to mine) and while there was still a long way to go before the recognised Warner style was achieved, 'Sinkin' in the Bathtub' is a charming start to a truly great story. Bosko's climactic intonation of the soon to be iconic phrase 'That's All Folks' will surely floor any animation fanatic.