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  • The first thing that strikes one in this 9-minute 1940 cartoon is the beautiful artwork. The opening scene depicting a castle high on a hill, silhouetted by trees, is just magnificent. That's one thing about good animation around the time: the watercolor look of some of these - "Bambi," for instance - is something that was only done back then. By the end of World War II, this beautiful watercolor art, which also had a 3-D like affect to it, was gone from most animated shorts.

    On the somewhat negative side, Looney Tunes material was very subdued until around 1945 with very few "edgy" and more humorous, wild material. Even famed animator Tex Avery was a little restrained in the beginning years, such as we see in this cartoon. Also, as fellow reviewer Robert Reynolds points out here, Tex - who was billed as "Fred Avery" in the beginning - also did some voice work and was modest enough not to want credit for it.

    Bernice Hanson, voicing "Goldilocks," was funny as were the three bears, who were always seen in contrast with each other and the humor was subtlety very good with them. This cartoon had its share of laughs but was more "cute" than funny. However, that's not to hint that it wasn't worth watching. It's extremely well done in a number of areas and highly recommended. It has a lot of charm to it and humor that may not make you laugh out loud but you'll smile frequently!

    Hey, there aren't too many stories with Goldilocks AND Little Red Riding Hood in on the same story. For that original thought alone, it's worth watching.
  • This short, in addition to being an early, if somewhat restrained, Tex Avery re-casting of a familiar fairy tale, features Tex Avery doing voice work as Papa Bear. You can recognize he vocals talents of Mr. Avery almost instantly just by the distinctive timbre he had, but I suspect the reason he did so much voice work was that marvelous belly laugh he had! It was absolutely wonderful and was used to great effect even in cartoons he didn't direct. Pay close attention to the opening, especially the cast credits. A delightful little short, well worth the effort to see. Most highly recommended.
  • lee_eisenberg22 December 2007
    OK, so children's stories are a common basis for cartoons (actually, Disney was responsible for that, as it was he who decided that cartoons should be directed at tykes). But Tex Avery's "The Bear's Tale" sends not one but two fairy tales down a crazy path. I guess that I should have predicted that someone would combine Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood, but I gotta say that Tex Avery (billed here as Fred) did probably the coolest job that I've ever seen. As you may guess, there are more than a few sight gags - namely the ubiquitous split-screen telephone call - and the final scene looks like the sort of thing that the censors would have cut...but they left it in! Can you imagine how that must have looked to moviegoers in 1940?! All in all, this is a funny one. Another great from Termite Terrace. Available on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 5 Disc 2.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Bears go for a bike ride while they wait for their porridge to cool. The Big Bad Wolf then meets Goldilocks who accidentally arrived at Red's grandmas house. The wolf, wanting to eat Goldilocks instead takes a taxi to the bears house. As Goldilocks is going in, Red arrives and calls the bears house. She tells Goldilocks that the wolf is going to eat her. So Goldilocks and Red then leave the scene and the bears get home. Papa Bear thinks Goldilocks ate his porridge. When he goes upstairs, he finds out that the wolf is in his bed. The wolf scares Papa away and the three bears run away from their home, possibly far away. The Papa Bear, the Mama Bear, and the little Bear from behind. The baby bear's pants fell off in the end as he was running, lol, as the cartoon irises out.

    The cartoons 1943-44 opening titles were hacked off by AAP and replaced with a 1947-48 opening from a BR reissue, I do not know which one. In 1995, the dubbed version restores the original BR opening, but the closing is replaced. In 2007, the original opening, music cue, and credits were restored for DVD on Volume 5 Golden Collection, Disc 2.

    Highly Recommended, funny, 10/10
  • 'The Bear's Tale' had so much going for it, with the enormous level of talent involved with the animation, the music, the writers and the voice actors.

    At the same time, there was a worry that 'The Bear's Tale' might not come off. Cartoons using fairy-tale characters and stories and putting their own spin on it can suffer from feeling like too much going on, too many characters, feeling rushed due to so much happening in so short a time and the gags and such varying in whether they work well or not. One example being 'Foney Fables' from 1942, an interesting, often amusing and very well made cartoon but uneven with some great moments and also misfires.

    Luckily, there is absolutely nothing to worry about in 'The Bear's Tale'. This is as close to how to perfectly put your own spin on more than one fairy tale character and story, and it doesn't have any of the traps mentioned above. It is true that the earlier Looney Tunes stuff is somewhat more subdued and not as wild as later (Tex Avery definitely did wilder stuff since), and that cartoons from about 1945 or so on-wards took more risks and were even funnier. However, is this a bad thing or a knock on this cartoon or any other early Looney Tunes effort? Absolutely not.

    Best things about 'The Bear's Tale' are the animation and music. The animation in particular is simply stunning, so clean, smooth, beautifully drawn, always interesting to look at and very colourful and vibrant to look at. Carl Stalling never (if he ever did, have yet to hear it) put a foot wrong, and he brings his usual energetic rhythms, lush orchestration, lively wit and seamless ability to not only add to the impact of a gag or an action but enhance it, something that his successors didn't come close to excelling so well in.

    Even with a subtle edge, 'The Bear's Tale' crackles with energy, is never dull and there is not a gag that doesn't work. All the material is very funny at least and at most hilarious. Unforgettable also is the ending which is agreed hilariously risqué for early Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies (and in general), am amazed it made it past the censors.

    All the characters are a joy. Little Red Riding Hood is neither bland or annoying, though Goldilocks is funnier and more charming. Making even more of an impression are the riotous Three Bears and the wolf. The voice work is superb from all involved.

    Overall, a riot and a fantastic cartoon. Fairy-tales rarely get more colourful or entertaining than this, of the numerous Looney Tunes takes on fairy-tales 'The Bear's Tale' is one of the best and should be seen more. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • Tex Avery brilliantly tackles both Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks & the Three Bears in this fun Merrie Melodies short. We all know the two stories so I'll spare you the rundown but I will say it's cute how Avery combines the two. His Goldilocks is especially awesome. As humorous as this is, enough good things can't be said about the animation. Beautiful colors and exquisite backgrounds. Anyone who thinks these old cartoons weren't works of art is high on paint fumes. The music is also lovely. From the clever opening with mock movie title card to that hilariously risqué ending, it's really a fun and creative cartoon with wonderful artwork. Tex was one of the greats and this short is a solid example of his talent.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "The Bear's Tale" is a 9-minute cartoon from the earlier days of World War II, so this one is already over 75 years old. It was directed by the famous Tex Avery, who (along with other very famous voice actors from that time) also lends his voice to one of the major characters. I was initially a bit worried as I am not the greatest Avery fan and thought fitting all these characters into under 10 minutes may be an impossible task, but they managed it nicely. I also liked how the wolf was reading in the fairy tale book, pretty smart inception reference somehow and how the bear was talking to the audience near the end. The ending was the only part i did not like that much, but everything before it was really well-written and the animation is outstanding of course too. A pretty convincing cartoon. Check it out.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . American by-ways, much to the chagrin of Warnologists, who've been decoding the key warning embedded in the Warner Bros. animated short THE BEAR'S TALE since the late 1900s. Both Little Red Riding Hood's Grandmother's house and that of The Three Bears are depicted here with their own individual coin-operated pay phones. Someone untrained in Warnology might take that to suggest that Warner was receiving Payola from the Pay Phone Industry, with an eye toward placing a coin-charging device from Ma Bell inside every American home. Nothing could be further from the truth. When THE BEAR'S TALE came out in the 1940s, 63% of the women in the U.S. Work Force were Pay Phone Operators. The always prophetic Warner animators foresaw that all these gals--if displaced by soulless automation--would snap up high-paying men's jobs in nuclear reactors, on space stations, and in the U.S. Senate and Supreme Court if cell phones allowed do-it-yourself communication, causing Chaos. Worse yet, these Warner scribes divined that the Terrorists would win if their Evil Messages were locked up forever inside Apple Phones, rather than being circulated by the gossiping gals at the "Overhear something, say something" Hello Central offices. Instead of being in a position to nip attacks in the bud, America's now at the mercy of butt-dialed suitcase nukes!