#99) One Froggy Evening (1955)

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#99) One Froggy Evening (1955)

OR “Frog In His Throat, Song In His Heart”

Directed by Chuck Jones

Written by Michael Maltese

Class of 2003

The full short is tough to track down online (almost like it’s copyrighted or something), but here’s the clip you’re really here for.

The Plot: While demolishing an old building, a construction worker finds a frog (voiced by William Roberts) who can dance and sing ragtime. The man tries to exploit the frog’s talents, but learns that the frog will only sing and dance when no one else is around.

Why It Matters: The NFR cites the film as being “on every short list of the greatest animation”.

But Does It Really?: It’s still really funny with solid animation and storytelling throughout. Who am I to say no?

Everybody Gets One: Though his identity was unknown for years, famous L.A. baritone William Roberts was the voice of Michigan J. Frog. Roberts’ singing career didn’t transition to the movies, where he only appeared in bit parts throughout the ‘40s. “One Froggy Evening” is his last film appearance.

Wow, That’s Dated: Three words: Tin Pan Alley!

Seriously, Oscars?: No nomination for “One Froggy Evening”. The Looney Tunes choice that year was “Speedy Gonzales”. Only one of these two shorts can still be shown on TV.

Other notes

  • Everybody remembers “Hello! Ma Baby”, but that is just one of many songs Michigan sings throughout the short. Among the others are “I’m Just Wild About Harry” and cartoon staple “Largo al factotum”.
  • Interestingly, “The Michigan Rag” was an original song written for this short by Michael Maltese, and was the reason the frog was eventually named Michigan.
  • A quick question about the year 2056; Why is he wearing a space helmet? What happens to Earth’s oxygen in less than 40 years?

Legacy

  • Michigan & Chuck Jones returned to the big screen 40 years later in “Another Froggy Evening”. Despite the fact that it treads almost exactly the same water as the original short, it’s still very entertaining. Plus that’s the original Officer Lockstock as Michigan!
  • For those who remember a time before the CW, Michigan J. Frog was the mascot for the short-lived WB network.
  • “One Froggy Evening” has been spoofed many times over the years, but will any of them top “Spaceballs”?

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