***** Please go dance around to this catchy little ditty *****↑
Character and Film Section
The Michigan J. Frog Lowdown:
In 1955 the movie, “One Froggy Evening” featured one very green and charismatic character that was hard to forget. At the time of filming the unforgettable green frog wasn’t given a namesake with Merrie Melodies or Looney Tunes. Still, the lasting nature of ‘that singing green frog’ was such a favorite among audiences was so overwhelming that Director Chuck Jones gave the character his a moniker.
Initially the character was named Michigan Frog, but when Time Magazine suggested that a middle initial would give the character name a stronger presence, the initial of “J.” was added for effect. Welcomed to the world was the earned title of Michigan J. Frog, an icon and cartoon celebrity that began with the credentials of only “frog” in the original “One Froggy Evening” screenplay.
The “One Froggy Evening” lowdown:
The screenplay of “One Froggy Evening” was written by Michael Maltese and the 7 minute Theatrical Cartoon was directed by Chuck Jones. The 1955 Technicolor short film has been critically acclaimed, ranking #5 on the greatest cartoons of all time. It can also by found in The US Congress National Film Registry, recognized for its cultural significance.
The voice of “frog” was that of Bill Roberts. A Los Angeles night club owner, actor and musician of the ‘5os, Bill Roberts can also be heard providing the musical score in the MGM 1948 Theatrical Cartoon, “Little Tinker,” as a skunk who disguises himself to be a fox.
*Ma’ Baby Music Section*
Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson
The “Hello, Ma Baby” lowdown:
The “Tin Pan Alley” tune, “Hello, Ma Baby” was written in 1898 Broadway composers and producing team Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson. The song was first recorded in 1899 by Arthur Collins and was one of the first big musical hits to have been created. This little ditty was in fact the first musical number that referenced the telephone, an emerging technology at the time the song was created. The song was often referenced as “Telephone Rag” because of this fact, and became so successful and musically acclaimed that the original composers, Howard and Emerson created a sequel to the original tune entitled, “I’ve Lost Ma’ Baby.”
The Story Behind The Sheet Music:
In the song, “Hello Ma’ Baby” the lyrics describe the situation of a young man in love with a girl he knows only through the telephone. As he calls his love every day, eventually faced with the possibility of meeting her face to face when he is given her address, he is overwhelmed with fear. Terrified that if they were to meet he may someday lose his dear ‘Bess,’ he vows to keep their love by calling her each and every day.
In 1955 a musical sequel to “Hello Ma’ Baby” was composed by the original creating team of Howard and Emerson. In “I’ve Lost Ma’ Baby,” it is revealed that the fears of our love-stricken boy are realized. It seems as though he has lost his dear Bess, as the song begins with the line “Used to have a little ragtime baby.” * Click Here For The Sheet Music *
A record breaking accomplishment in character development, Michigan J. Frog is an inspiration. This little ditty goes out to you buddy, with a genuine admiration for the musical collaboration of Joseph E. Howard and Ida Emerson.
“Hello! ma baby, Hello! Ma honey, Hello! ma ragtime gal.
Send me a kiss by wire, baby my heart’s on fire!
If you refuse me, Honey, you’ll lose me, then you’ll be left alone;
Oh baby, telephone and tell me I’m your own.”
Other Michigan J. Frog Sightings Worth A Visit:
Chuck Jones and the strange fare of ‘Phantom Tollboth’ (herocomplex.latimes.com)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) [Retro Review] (mutantreviewers.wordpress.com)
Shrek the Musical closes today (timeoutny.com)