If you ever wondered where the splendid colors of Spring come from after a black-and-white Winter, wonder no more.... Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's 1936 Happy Harmonies cartoon To Spring demonstrates the entire process in full detail. For those who took the time to research the science behind the Winter-to-Spring season change, then it is no secret at all that gnomes control the varying pastel tints that are apparent in the flowers, trees, and fields in April and May.
These little elves work furiously to pump vibrant colors through the veins under the earth into the roots of the trees and flowers, struggling to get the colors of Spring above ground and on schedule every year. Old Man Winter sometimes has other notions about their schedule, and before he is ousted out of the country he usually attempts to blow some cold air onto the budding flowers, but the gnomes always prevail in the end.
"It's time for Spring.....It's time for Spring, I say!"
This nine-minute classic from the "Harman-Ising" duo of Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising brilliantly captures the excitement of the season change in that customary bouncing fashion of 1930s cartoons. It was the 24th of 38 cartoons that the team worked on together and one of their best. The animation is marvelous and beautiful color tones literally burst into view thanks to the Technicolor process it was filmed with. To Spring also marked the directorial debut of William Hanna, who later started his own studio with Joseph Barbara ( Hanna-Barbara...just in case you missed the connection ).
Many of the animation techniques seen in the segment featuring the gnomes hammering away with their pick axes hint at the style that would be seen in the "Heigh-Ho" sequence of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was released by Walt Disney just a year later. To Spring also has many clever character touches, such as the black-bearded little gnome scrambling to put his pants on so he can help pump the colors and finally giving up at the end, instead tripping along with one pant leg up and one down. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the voice of Mel Blanc as one of the gnomes.
This cartoon was one of my favorites when I first saw it several years ago on a DVD collection of public domain cartoons, and after numerous viewings I have still not tired of it. Ultimately, whether a cartoon wins animation awards or receives plaudits for its creative techniques does not matter, it is the lasting entertainment value of a cartoon that makes it a true winner.
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