Chiquita Banana
Director: Dave Gould

Director: Stephen Worth

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Chiquita Banana The Terry Twins in Chiquita Banana (1946) is a thrillingly kitschy Latin beat soundie features the Terry Twins dancing in front of a small band, then bursting into a rendition of the song that would a decade or so later become a banana brand's theme song.

But in this case it is sung as pure Latin swing: "I get the blues in the morning/ I get the blues in the night/ But when I eat a banana sundae, I feel just right."

The words include instructions for how to keep bananas fresh, how to prepare them, & it really was written (by Leonard MacKenzie, Garth Montgomery & William Wirges) to promote bananas at a time when they weren't yet a familiar fruit.

The band isn't a real Latin band & don't sound authentic, & the Terry Twins are fake Latinas, but they're fun enough to be forgiven.

Chiquita BananaThe song was written in 1944. The character of the lady-banana was created by Dik Browne who also created Hagar the Horrible.

It was not originally so much a brand-name jingle as it just generally about promoting bananas, whatever the brand. The promotion was funded by the United Fruit Company, which was a conglomeration of far-scattered produce distributors.

A singing actress playing Miss Chiquita was sent around the country making personal appearances doing radio shows minor & major & even having guest spots in movies. So the song became well known before ever there was an animated film with a singing banana.

Patty Clayton was the first radio voice of Chiquita for radio in 1944, followed by Elsa Miranda for 1945-6 promotional tour. Elsa Puerto Rican not related to the Brazillian singer in the fruit hat who inspired the character of Chiquita Banana. Chiquita as a banana survived as an advertising symbol until 1987, when she was at last replaced by a live woman in the Carmen Miranda fruit hat.

Throughout 1945 the song had become the most popular in America for radio play & it was embraced as far more than a commercial jingle.

The tecnicolor cartoon Chiquita Banana (1947) was the first of several minute & a half cartoons which widely introduced the banana song & the character of Chiquita through cinema houses.

It was an appealing song in its own right & it was fun to see & hear sexy banana-girl delivering lyrics instructing the public on judging ripeness, various uses, including the famous lines: "But bananas like the climate of the very very tropical equator/ So you should never put bananas -- in the refrigerator."

Chiquita Banana& the CannibalsChiquita Banana Goes North (1947) opens with a seedy salesman trying to sell a refrigerator to an eskimo who lives in an igloo.

Then Chiquita appears driving a dogsled & bringing an electric range while singing the instructional banana song with a few new lyrics: "In the arctic regions where the north winds blows/ An oven's more attractive to the eskimos." It cuts to live action with instructions on how to cook bananas.

The stereotype Inuit was pretty bad but it's nothing compared to the racist caricature in Chiquita Banana & the Cannibals (1947), which should be singular since there's only one cannibal, who talks like a cultured butler while boiling a white guy alive.

Outof the jungle into the clearing dances Chiquita singing: "I'm Chiquita banana & I'm here to say/ That you really shouldn't treat a fellow man this way," then gives advice on how properly to eat bananas instead of people. It then cuts to the live-action cooking instruction for making breaded & fried "banana scallops."

Chiquita Banana's MagicChiquita Banana's Magic (1947) begins with the magician Professor Zoot doing the "saw a woman in half" trick on a stage. The girl screams hideously, jumps up still in the box, & runs away.

The inept magician then promises to make an elephant appear, but instead, we get Chiquita to sing the banana song: "I'm Chiquita Banana & I've come to say/ That I've got a better kind of magic to display." There follows direction for bananas in gellatin.

There are many other Chiquita cartoons of this era, Chiquita banana & the School Brides, Chiquita Banana Helps The Pieman, Chiquita Banana's Fan, & so on.

They are all in bright technicolor with excellent animation. As they were shown in theaters, we see there's nothing new about all the bloody adverts viewers suffer through today after paying a whopping sum to be sitting there as a captive audience, the difference being that these older ads were fun.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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