The unique thing about ‘Rupert and the Frog Song’ is that you don’t have to be a fan of Rupert the Bear or Paul McCartney to appreciate the full glory of this short little ditty.
It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what makes this such a special piece of film, but it has definitely made its mark in pop culture history. Next to the Beatles, this is probably the biggest thing Paul McCartney is famous for. Ask the average Joe on the street to sing a Paul McCartney song and more than likely out of their mouth will come “Bom, Bom, Bom”.
On top of everything, what makes this so special is its ability to appeal to the young as much as the old. It’s got a comforting sense of innocence tagged along with humour, great music and an iconic figure (Rupert). Looking back after 20 years since its release, there is also a sense of relief to see the basic drawing design that most of us grew up with, rather than the computer animated cartoons of the present day.
So what is the story all about?
Well it all starts in what seems to be the attic of Paul McCartney’s house. He is searching through an old trunk that is full of magazines and annuals, ranging from ‘Hundreds of things a Boy Can Make’ to ‘Heroes of the Sea’. But then down below all this rubble is the golden egg…the 1958 Rupert the Bear Annual. Paul takes it out, blows the dust off, which whisks off like magic fairy dust, showing all the colours of the rainbow enriched with a golden powder. The annual is opened and so the historic music begins, as does the story…
It all starts with Rupert about to go off to the hills for a walk. His mother wraps his famous coloured scarf around his white neck and tells him to “keep well wrapped as there’s a chill in the air”. Straight away the morals for the children are there, “You be careful son and take notice of what your mother tells you” says Rupert’s father.
For the Rupert fans old faces Edward and Bill are there to greet Rupert before his historic venture. While being given the offer to join Rupert both decline using shopping and babysitting as excuses.
So off to the hills Rupert goes, being followed by fly’s and bugs as he wonders through the long grass. While resting on a tree Rupert takes in the beautiful surroundings of the countryside. A butterfly lands on his shoe, so Rupert helps it fly away up high, only to find he is soon surrounded by hundreds more, when what originally seemed to be the leaves on the tree, are actually butterfly’s swarming around until they fly away, leaving a bare tree stump and branches. Making the most of his encounter with nature, Rupert chases after them. While gone, an evil looking owl perches on the tree stump with red glowing eyes. At the bottom of the tree appears two of the owl’s accompanists; the cats.
The butterfly’s lead Rupert high onto a rocky hill where all that can be heard are the croaks of frogs as many jump up around him and then dive into the water. One frog even has his own little china cup to paddle in, with spoons for oars. Scratching his head in confusion but being the daring bear he is, Rupert goes for an exploration and finds a waterfall, which he decides would be a good idea to walk through, and this is where it all begins.
FROGS ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT
EVERYTHING EXCEPT FROGS MUST BE KEPT ON A LEAD
GUARD FROGS OPERATING
These three signs are what greet Rupert, but the potential danger of what may lay ahead can’t suppress his curiosity as he makes his first steps down the dark and misty cave. Nearly caught by a guard frog, Rupert ducks behind the rocks, creeps over and finds a resting place behind a large leafy plant.
Next we meet two very lovable characters; a father and son (both frogs of course). “Dad! Dad! Hey Dad! When’s the show going to start? Hey Dad?” The father, annoyed as he just wants to have a quiet night out, tells his son “This only happens once every couple of hundred years. If you don’t pipe down I will…I will not bring you again”. As the ambient noise of the spectators is hushed by the conductor tapping his stick, everyone waits with baited breath as the music starts…
Fat frogs, singing frogs, musical frogs, ballet dancing frogs, even an operatic fish, this musical ensemble has everything. The evil cats return during the musical number looking dangerous and out for trouble, however they soon start singing along to the melody, much to the disgrace of the evil owl who has also joined the congregation.
The musical interlude sees many frogs joining together to make ‘trippy’ like colours and patterns in the water. Nearer the end we see even more frogs ride the sky in hot air balloons.
The grand finale takes place with the Frog King and Queen singing proudly the last lines, “We All Stand Together”. The applause ruptures around the rocks, grass and hills from everyone, but the clapping and cheering is cut short when on seeing the evil owl swooping down to seize the King and Queen, Rupert shouts “Look out!” and everyone disappears very quickly leaving an eerie vacant atmosphere where only the waterfall can be heard.
It’s now time for Rupert to leave and head home as he hears his mother call his name from afar. Down the grassy hills Rupert skips along whistling the frog song. “They’re never going to believe this. Wait ‘til I tell Edward and Bill what they missed”. With the excitement overwhelming him, he try’s to explain to his mother everything he experienced. Although she humours him in disbelief, she is much more concerned that it’s passed his bed time. The story ends with Rupert saying “It all happened…really it did!”. Then the final words appear on the screen:
“That’s All For Now”