Tag Archives: Rock-A-Doodle

Rock-a-Doodle “The Owls’ Picnic” (1991)

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Rock-a-Doodle is, unfortunately, a cinematic dud for the most part, but it DOES feature some awesome (if somewhat disturbing) songs. One of these is “The Owls’ Picnic” which comes towards the end of the film when our heroes are on their way back to the flooded farm with Chanticleer in tow. While they’ve been gone, the remaining farm residents have been keeping the Grand Duke’s owls at bay with any and all light sources (the film established early on that the owls detest light). However, as the last battery goes dead, the gleeful owls swoop in for a “picnic.”

Who, who, who, who
We are the creatures of the night
And we invite you all for dinner
There’s plenty of food to go around
When the food is you!

Who me?

Yes, you!
We thought a picnic would be nice
And we’re so pleased that you could join us

 

We’re glad you’re home
Trick or treat
Falalalalala
How sweet!

Now’s the time
Say your prayers…
Time’s up!

Falalalalala
How sweet!
Falalalalala
Let’s eat!

As the song is going on, the terrified farm animals are divided among the various owls (with the Grand Duke naturally receiving the largest portion) and the villains prepare to dine on their still-very-much-alive captives (I was tempted to put this scene in Disturbing Bluth because it comes very close to being disturbing)! This doesn’t seem to bother the owls, who are all too happy to prepare a picnic table to have their meal on. After all, they believe that Chanticleer is never coming back, and once their meal is finished, no one will ever be able to stop them.

This is another rare example of the villains almost achieving their goal (for another example, think of the scene where Jasper and Horace have the puppies cornered in 101 Dalmatians). It’s scary because the owls are plucking up the helpless farm animals and are clearly reveling in the thought of the meal they’re about to have. Fortunately for the would-be victims, the heroes arrive just as the meal is about to start, otherwise this scene would be at the top of any “Most Disturbing” list. Even so, this scene always scared me just a little when I was a kid (I had a mild fear of the dark for a time, and the idea that giant owls could swoop down and grab you if the lights went out was terrifying to say the least).

What do you think about “The Owls’ Picnic”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Rock-a-Doodle “Never Let Him Crow” (1991)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

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Rock-a-Doodle “Never Let Him Crow” (1991)

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Before I get to the song (which I do actually like), a little backstory is needed:

Once upon a time an animator named Don Bluth had a dream: a dream to create an animation company that would rival (and hopefully surpass) Disney itself. To that end, Bluth created his own animation studio and early on produced an acclaimed classic: The Secret of NIMH. More success followed with The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.

With all of these well-known films, one might ask the question: if they were doing so well, why did the studio eventually go bankrupt? Well…a lot of it had to do with films like Rock-a-Doodle (1991), films that looked good as far as animation went, but were really bad in all other areas. In fact, this film did so poorly that it was the beginning of the end for the studio (their final release was The Pebble and the Penguin in 1995).

Rock-a-Doodle “Never Let Him Crow” (1991)

Therefore, if you haven’t heard of Rock-A-Doodle, I’m not surprised. Viewing the film with adult eyes, I can’t believe how flawed the story is. The film follows a young kid named Edmond (Toby Scott Granger) who loves the story of Chanticleer (Glen Campbell), a rooster who sang every morning to make the sun rise. But when the Grand Duke of Owls sabotages the rooster to make it look like the sun comes up on its own, Chanticleer leaves for the city, humiliated. Constant rain has fallen ever since, and in the real world, Edmond’s home is in danger of being flooded too. Seeing his family (out battling the flood) close to being swept away, Edmond opens his bedroom window and begins yelling for Chanticleer. Instead, Edmond somehow summons the Duke, who decides to teach Edmond a lesson by turning him into a cat (somehow in all of this Edmond was sucked into Chanticleer’s animated world, I told you the plot was full of holes). Edmond encourages the remaining farm animals to band together and find Chanticleer in the big city.

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There is one bright spot in the film and that is the casting of Christopher Plummer as the evil Duke (an Owl who plots to drive the rooster Chanticleer from the farm because if he leaves the sun won’t rise. Yes, really, that’s the basis of the plot.) How they got Plummer to do this role, I don’t know, but I’m glad he did because he absolutely rocks this part. One of my favorite moments is “Never Let Him Crow.”

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To be technically correct, “Never Let Him Crow” is not so much a song as it is a spoken monologue (from the Duke) with sung commentary from a chorus of Owls. This monologue is also accompanied by a HUGE pipe organ that is playing a slightly abbreviated rendition of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (aka that first song from Disney’s Fantasia). The infuriated Duke is relaying the story of how, earlier in the film, he got bit in the leg by a certain “flea-bitten cur” (the dog Patou, played by Phil Harris, aka the voice of Baloo. This was his final film role) and also how he got blasted in the face with a flashlight by Edmond (the kid who gets turned into a cat by aforementioned Duke, yes really! And in this film owls have an extreme dislike of light in any form and fashion, flashlights included).

So he turns on the duke?
And with what do you suppose he turns on the duke?

What master?

A flashlight!

What a horrible thing to do!
What a horrible thing to do!
Thing to do!

But then, when my back is turned
What four legged, flea-bitten louse comes sneaking through the window
That has the nerve to bite me on the leg?

Who? Who? Who? Who? Who? Who?

Patou.

*Gasps*
Yes!

Death to Patou!!

Destroy the farm! Destroy the cat! The dog!
Or do you want the chicken back?

No! We hate the sun! The answer’s no!

And it’ll make my leg feel so much better…
If that rooster never crows! Tahahaha!

We hate the sun, that much we know
We hate the rooster, we’ll never let him crow
(Never let him crow!)
We hate the sun, from head to toe
(From head to toe!)
We hate the rooster, we’ll never let him crow
Never let him crow!

Never let him crow.

I love the back and forth between the domineering Duke and his cowed subordinates (it doesn’t matter what the Duke says, he is their leader and therefore he is always right). I will also say again how much I like Christopher Plummer’s performance; he certainly sounds like he was enjoying himself.

While I can’t recommend the film as a whole, “Never Let Him Crow” is a relatively solid moment and I hope you enjoy watching it.

See also:

Rock-a-Doodle “The Owls’ Picnic” (1991)

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