Tubby the Tuba

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From an orchestral children's composition/story "Tubby the Tuba" composed by Paul Tripp and George Kleinsinger and released in 1945 with vocals by Danny Kaye. It's not a song, but a narrated orchestral tale like Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" (1936). Other named musical characters are Tubby's friend Peepo the Piccolo and conductor Signor Pizzacato. And wow are the violins a bunch of stuck up a-holes! It was turned into a short animated film Tubby the Tuba, in 1947. That film was much expanded and remade in 1976.

1947 Short Film

The song was turned into an George Pal Puppetoon animated film Tubby the Tuba, in 1947 and nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. However, it lost to the Warner Bros. cartoon "Tweetie Pie."

1976 Animated Film

The 1976 version? Well, you would think in a music-centric cartoon, it would be vital to have catchy melodies and good songs. Well, think again, chump. This cheap cartoon has neither. In this sucky remake, Dick Van Dyke voices the hapless anthropomorphized title character. Tubby is a tuba in a nameless symphony orchestra, fed up with always playing oompah-oompah, and never getting to play a melody. All the other instruments treat him like crap, so he joins the circus, where his droning oompahs just so happen to be the precise tune that makes elephants get some funk in they trunk and up and dance, shakin' their multiple ton boo-tays. Soon Tubby's dancing elephants act is a big hit, and he goes on a successful worldwide tour.

On his triumphant return, he's suffering from that sitcom disease BHS (Big Head Syndrome), and plows forward with his dangerous new act, against the wishes of the ringmaster and even the elephants. There's a near disaster when the act ends up with Tubby in the lion cage, and he quits the circus and gives up on fame and fortune. Quitter! He slouches back to the orchestra where his one pal invites him along on the orchestra's trip to Singing City, where the anthropomorphic instruments will all hook up with new anthropomorphic melodies. It's a sort of orchestral spring break, with the instruments as frat boys, and the melodies as Mexican hookers. Tubby gets the hots for beautiful orphan melody Celeste, but he can't play her melody, and she hooks up with hunky aristocrat Prince Cello instead.

Tubby slinks off into the swamp, once again kicked in the 'nads by life. There he chances to meet a frog, from whom he acquires a tuba-friendly melody. But since the frog is a guy... does that make Tubby gay? Cause that would explain a lot. Back home, he plays the new melody for the orchestra, and finally gets some respect from them, as they ooh and aah over this new melody.

2006 Children's Book

In 2006, a very faithful to the original recording children's picture book version was released by Dutton Children's Books, credited to Paul Tripp, and illustrated by Henry Cole. The book comes with a CD featuring the author's performance with full orchestration.


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