Merrie Melodies - Hollywood Steps Out (1941)
Hollywood Steps Out is a 1941 Merrie Melodies cartoon by Warner Bros., directed by Tex Avery. The short was released on May 24, 1941.
The cartoon features caricatures of over 40 Hollywood celebrities.
Kent Rogers as James Cagney, Cary Grant, Edward G. Robinson, Clark Gable, Ned Sparks, Peter Lorre, Groucho Marx, Mickey Rooney, James Stewart, Kay Kyser, J. Edgar Hoover, Henry Fonda
Dave Barry as Bing Crosby, Lewis Stone
Mel Blanc as Jerry Colonna
Sara Berner as Greta Garbo, Ann Sheridan, Paulette Goddard, Dorothy Lamour, Henry Fonda's Mother
Paulette Goddard is credited as the "Coat Check Girl"
When announced for the bubble dance Sally Rand is called "Strand" by Crosby, presumably to avoid infringement. Rand refused permission to copy her dance act.
In one showing of the short, there are actually variants as to how the cartoon runs. One version shows a more revealing, erotic bubble dance by Sally Strand. If one slows the part where she lifts her bubble up, one can see much more of her nudity than is shown in the former case. The bubble also immediately comes down after going up a certain distance rather than to the left first before coming down. In addition, her nudity is never completely shown, but rather is heavily implied. Throughout the entire dance, Rand dances behind her bubble hiding her nudity. In addition, the viewer can only see her dance from the front side due to the camera view. Her sides and back side are never shown.
Strand's bubble and Marx's slingshot are makeshift objects. The former's an object shaped like a ball and is smaller than one Rand used in the actual dance, while the latter uses a rubber band to aim a ball missile, but the missile is not shown.
Out of the 46 stars caricatured, Mickey Rooney was the last survivor until his death on April 6, 2014. C. Aubrey Smith died earliest in the cast on December 24, 1948, and was the oldest personality featured in the cartoon upon its release, at age 77.
All of the female celebrities' voices were provided by Sara Berner.
Kent Rogers voiced all of the male celebrities except for Jerry Colonna (voiced by Mel Blanc), Bing Crosby and Lewis Stone (both voiced by actor Dave Barry). Rogers was a gifted impressionist and only 17 years old when the cartoon was made. In July 1944, he was killed in Pensacola, Florida, during a U.S. Navy training flight.
The original release had an extended ending where Clark Gable kisses Groucho Marx anyway (adding, Lou Costello's catchpharse, "I'm a BAD boy!"); this was cut out of the reissue print, because Clark was worried it would hurt his career. The result of cutting the ending was an abrupt black-out fade.
Caricatures of Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis were made, but ultimately not used in the film. Had they made the cut, Hepburn would've been the longest-lived of all the stars, being 96 at the time of her death in 2003. Of the personalities features in the completed version, Stokowski was the longest-lived, dying in 1977 at the age of 95.
On July 13, 2016, former UCLA film archivist Steve Stanchfield partially discovered the long-lost original ending of the cartoon.
The Film Daily called the short a "caricature novelty", saying, "Latest Leon Schlesinger foray into the realm of caricature will interest and amuse."
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