Rare TV screening of uncut 'Mr. Bug Goes to Town' this Sunday on TCM
It’s been announced since August 3, but it just occurred to me that it hasn’t been announced on Flayrah yet. This coming Sunday, October 21, from 8:00 p.m. (EST) in the evening until 5:00 a.m. the next morning, Turner Classic Movies will feature “Rare Animation” including three features and eighteen shorts, hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne and the Cartoon Brew’s Jerry Beck.
The three features will be the Fleischer Studios’ Gulliver Travels (1939) at 8:00 pm., Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941) at 9:30 p.m., and Lotte Reiniger’s independent silent The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) at 1:15 a.m. the next morning. It is Mr. Bug Goes to Town, a.k.a. Hoppity Goes to Town, that makes this of interest to Furry fans.
Billed as “The screen’s first full-length musical comedy cartoon”, the Fleischers’ second animated feature film has an all-insect anthropomorphized cast. Hoppity, a grasshopper, is in love with Honey, the bee daughter of kindly old Mr. Bumble Bee. But the whole insect community in a garden at the foot of a huge building is in danger from humans who are stepping unwittingly on the insects’ homes.
Complicating matters, the greedy leader of Bugville, the pompous C. Bagley Beetle, has plans to take over Mr. Bee’s Honey Shop and to force Honey Bee to marry him. Hoppity tries to foil him, but Beetle’s two henchmen, Swat the fly and Smack the mosquito, seem to stop Hoppity at every turn. There would not be another animated feature featuring bugs until the 1990s with Antz and A Bug's Life.
The feature has problems (long dull stretches between the songs), but is still well worth seeing by all Furry fans. It has occasionally been shown on TV, but this is a rare opportunity to see an uncut, restored print without commercial interruptions. If you can’t be at your TV’s next Sunday at 9:30 p.m., set your Tivos.
The Cartoon Brew, which has been heralding TCM’s “Rare Animation” program all month, has a link to the TCM magazine’s in-depth article on Mr. Bug Goes to Town by John Miller.