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A Car-Tune Portrait (1937)

Approved | | Animation, Short, Comedy | 26 June 1937 (USA)
A symphony composer lion is determined to show the audience that cartoon characters can be more than just silly and childish by having cartoons play a symphony orchestra. Things quickly ... See full summary »


Dave Fleischer


David Ross


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Uncredited cast:
David Ross David Ross ... Lion (voice) (uncredited)


A symphony composer lion is determined to show the audience that cartoon characters can be more than just silly and childish by having cartoons play a symphony orchestra. Things quickly fall apart as the true nature of cartoons comes out anyways. Written by Quantom X

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Plot Keywords:

color classic | See All (1) »








Release Date:

26 June 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Animal Orchestra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fleischer Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The opening credits music is Ludwig van Beethoven's Minuet in G. The music during the action is Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. See more »


Lion: [Lion walks out on stage and addresses the audience] Greetings, my good friends. You all, undoubtedly, have been under the delusion... or shall I say, misapprehension. That we of the cartoon animal kingdom, are lacking in the finer sensibilities. Now to disprove this we shall ask you to forget our formal pranks and playfulness. We ask you in the name of dignity, and art... to put yourselves in a receptive frame of mind. And not to expect of us... the foolery, and clowning you generally associate...
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Featured in Planet X: Episode #2.3 (2006) See more »


Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Music by Franz Liszt
Music played during the concert
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User Reviews

Proof that cartoon animals will always be the screen's clowns
11 August 2016 | by TheOneManBoxOfficeSee all my reviews

"A Car-Tune Portrait" is a cartoon short directed by Dave Fleischer that proves one and all that no matter what you do to make yourself look different, your true nature is going to come out one way or another, and it is especially the case when it comes to the various cartoon animal characters that many moviegoers around this time period are immediately exposed to before the feature film begins.

Right as the picture begins, we are shown some of the characters being drawn by an "animated" hand (it's really a photograph of one moving frame-by-frame) and we transition to a concert hall where a lion conductor informs us that for the first time, we will be shown that the cartoon animals we often see can be more dignified and self-contained by performing classical music. The song the animals play: none other than Franz Liszt's Hungarian Symphony No. 2 (or simply "Number Two"). Everything's all fine and dandy as the tune begins, but as the picture goes on, the characters' true nature begins comes out and becomes a musical frenzy.

While not the first animated short to use Franz Liszt's "Number Two", this is the animated cartoon that practically started the trend of using it as a musical joke throughout the entire picture as opposed to just a small section of it. I'm pretty sure that's what went through the mind of director Dave Fleischer. Several other shorts from different studios would soon follow years later with this concept, including the 1946 Oscar-winning short "The Cat Concerto", directed by Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera. As for this short, it's well done. The animation is smooth and precise, as usual with cartoons made by the Fleischer brothers, and the build-up to the slapstick was genius at the time. Nowadays, it's seen as another short that happens to use "Number Two" as a primary basis of comedy, but let's be honest, it never gets old when done right.

The film is in the public domain and not under any form of copyright, therefore it is freely available to watch on the internet, specifically YouTube, and in my opinion, it's worth a watch, especially if you're interested in finding out where "Number Two" as a joke got its roots in animation history.

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