Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007: The Twentieth Anniversary of Aardman's Visualization of a Nina Simone Hit

It's coming up on the twentieth anniversary for one of my favorite early Aardman shorts, "My Baby Just Cares for Me."

The track is Nina Simone in a performance of the Gus Kahn & Walter Donaldson standard. Nina's association with the tune marks its fiftieth anniversary this year; she included it on her first album in 1957. The Aardman short, however, uses an even sexier and sultrier version that became popular after Chanel No. 5 used it in a commercial in 1987. (That version is still charting: it's in the top-twenty best-selling jazz songs on iTunes.)

The film is directed by Peter Lord. Briefly available in the U.S. on VHS, it's long been out of circulation and has never made it to DVD (in Region 1, at least). So, thank you, YouTube.

Lord presents Baby as the most smitten and love-goofy animated animal since Chuck Jones's Pepe Le Pew. In what may be an homage to Jones, Lord has Baby hopping from table to table in a version of the four-footed "pronk" that Jones devised for Pepe's moments of highest joy and anticipation.

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