Sunday, April 28, 2013

Say WHAT, Mel?

So, there I was, working my way through LOONEY TUNES SUPER STARS: SYLVESTER AND HIPPITY HOPPER: MARSUPIAL MAYHEM, enjoying the shorts and taking notes for a future “Loooong DVD Review”…

I’m in cartoon # 13 (one of the 15 “New-to-DVD” shorts), “Freudy Cat”.  This 1963 “cheater”, lifting scenes from two prior Cat and Kangaroo toons, finds Sylvester being treated by a German-thick-accented, stereotypical psychologist over his fear of the dreaded “giant mouse”. 

Did I say the psychologist’s German accent was THICK?  Yes, indeed… Thick enough, it would seem, to apparently allow Mel Blanc to get away with a then-unprecedented word for an animated character. 
Check out these two consecutive images with English subtitles on.  You may click to further enlarge. 


Subtitles don’t lie (…well, sometimes they DO on matters of content, and I’m quite surprised Warners didn’t alter this one) because, as the second subtitle shows, Mel Blanc clearly says “Smartasses” (or, maybe he doesn't -- see our Comments Section), amid all the other random nonsense, with that thick German accent in the cartoon’s soundtrack!  (...Anyone ever notice that on TV?)
Get a copy, and check it out for yourself! 

…Aw, just get a copy, anyway.  The set’s quite good, considering all those “giant mouse” plots contained therein!    We’ll have a full review in the not very distant future. 


joecab said...

He meant "schmattes" of course: he's Jewish and once worked in the Garment District and was commenting on their raggy clothes.

Joe Torcivia said...

You know, it certainly could be! And, if so, I’m both glad and relieved to learn that!

Sure sounded like that “other word” to the ear. That’s why I went back to view the subtitles, and see what they put up. There are cases, though I can’t cite one right now, where DVD subtitles ignore or otherwise alter that which is being said – or perhaps misinterpret it to mean something differently.

Now, I’d expect this is, more often than not, an intentional practice – because, unlike “TV Captioners” who must often type it on the fly, DVD subtitlers would seem to have the luxury of working with the product in (for lack of a more articulate description) “non-live mode”.

Perhaps the most unfortunate TV caption blooper I’ve ever seen was while watching a baseball game on a non-sound, captioned TV at the gym, where Seattle Mariners pitcher “Felix Hernandez” found himself being referred to as “He licks Hernandez”!

That makes ANYTHING Mel Blanc may or may not have said look rather tame by comparison!

Thanks for shedding light on this! I can always count on you for great insight!

I’ll further assume (not that my assumptions here have been any more accurate than Sylvester’s concerning “giant mice”) that Mel must have been uncharacteristically ad-libbing that part – throwing out as many nonsense words as he could spout, including the one in question. I’d think it unlikely that writer Tedd Pierce or director Robert McKimson would have put the word in question into their script. Then again, here comes a giant mouse…

joecab said...

Hee hee! But seriously, when have they EVER given the caption house a decent budget? Half the time they're lucky to have a script handy. Remember how the "We have pay or play contracts" line got screwed up in the Animaniacs subtitling so famously that they actually make a joke about it on one of the episodes?