Magical Maestro

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Magical Maestro is a 1952 animated short film directed by Tex Avery and produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio. It tells the story of Poochini, a canine opera singer who spurns a magician. The magician is able to replace Poochini's normal conductor prior to the show through disguise. In 1993, Magical Maestro was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Contents

Plot

Mysto the Magician appeals to a snobbish opera singer, the Great Poochini (a pun on opera composer Giacomo Puccini), to let him perform an opening act at the show that night. Mysto's tricks primarily come from his magic wand, which can summon flowers and rabbits. Poochini emphatically says "NO!", kicking Mysto out the door into the alley.

While on the ground, Mysto plays with his magic wand and realizes he can pass it off as a conductor's baton, being further inspired by seeing himself in place of the conductor in a promotional poster outside the door. Later, as the performance is starting he freezes the conductor, steals his hair, tuxedo, nose and facial hair, then takes his place in front of the orchestra to conduct the Great Poochini, who is unaware of the imposter in front of him.

During the performance, in which Poochini sings Largo al factotum from Gioacchino Rossini's The Barber of Seville, Mysto unleashes a variety of tricks with his wand. He begins tamely by summoning rabbits and flowers, then turning Poochini into a ballet dancer, Indian, tennis player, prisoner rock-breaker and football player. Mysto's revenge gets more brutal as he throws a cymbal on Poochini's head, turning him Chinese (see below), then transforming him into a country singer. After levitating Poochini to the ceiling and slamming him down to the stage, Mysto turns him into a square dance caller. Poochini actually continues his performance for a good 20 seconds after this without interruption, except for the "hair gag". Poochini is then transformed into a Shirley Temple–esque child, then a Carmen Miranda–typesinger (with two rabbits accompanying him on guitar) after an irritated audience member hurls an armload of fruit onto Poochini's head where it piles up like Miranda's headdress. The same guy later sprays black ink on Poochini and drops an anvil on his head (see below). A rabbit hoses Poochini off and works his arm like an automobile jack to get him back up to full height, and the fun continues as he is transformed into a Hawaiian singer with two rabbits for harmony. Mysto's plan comes to an end when Poochini spots his wig falling off. Poochini grabs the hairpiece and puts it on while Mysto makes a run for it, but Poochini, having also grabbed the magic wand, puts Mysto up on stage, and unleashes the same gimmicks on the hapless magician at high speed. A red curtain with the words "The End" then falls on the magician and the rabbits.

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