Porky’s Super Service

“At the sound of the gong, it will be, exactly, ten gallons.”

Supervision by Ub Iwerks*; Animation by Charles Jones and Robert Clampett; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 3, 1937.

*Yes. THAT Ub Iwerks. The very same man who animated Mickey Mouse’s first cartoon, all by himself. As it turns out, the studio had planned to outsource some cartoons to Ub’s studio, but he only directed two before a newly promoted to director, Bob Clampett, took over the second half. (Of course, according to Chuck Jones, the two supposed Iwerk’s shorts were directed by Chuck and Bob, themselves.) Either way, this was the second of the two.

As the title suggest, we find Porky at the owner of his own service station. I’d say he is well worthy of the “super” part of the title, as sells gas for only three cents! (Sure, that comes attached with a tax ranging from state to unemployment to carpet, but a pig’s gotta make a living.) Porky is also quite the friendly type. He’s not afraid to ask where a gas tank is located, or let someone know of a flat tire.

It ain’t all sunshine and pleasantries, though. One customer has a bump in car that he’d like removed. Porky and his trusty hammer can remove the bump, but the cost is having it reappear elsewhere on the car. Standard procedures say to just keep hammering away at it until it is removed. This comes back to bite Porky when the bump decides to appear on the windshield. Actually, no. That’s good news. Not only does smashing it get the bump gone, but now Porky can charge the guy for a new windshield. And when Porky wins, everyone wins.

The meat of the picture begins with the arrival of a very ugly woman. She wants Porky to fix up her car, but this also means he can’t disrupt the child sleeping in the backseat. Kid’s a butt, but really, I too would be rather sore if my mother just abandoned me in a vehicle. (It’s always sad when parents don’t love their children enough to hold them.) Porky tries to do his job, but Junior isn’t making it easy on him. He plays with the various car functions when Porky is in prime “pain locations.” Turning on the ignition to give him a shock, or honking the horn in Porky’s ears. Porky can’t even proof that the little snot is responsible, as he feigns sleeping whenever the pig checks.

Until Porky checks on him from the opposite window that is! Caught, the kid rolls the window up, and gets Porky’s nose caught. Now at the baby’s mercy, Porky has an air hose placed in his pants, which lifts him up into the air, and gives the kid a target to shoot at with a grease gun. After a few shots, the gun appears stopped, and the kid takes a peek up the barrel. Karma decides to give him a dose, and he is as greased as the pig. Porky has no sympathy, but unfortunately, the mother comes back at this time, finding the two of them covered in muck, the kid in tears. It doesn’t look good for my pal.

Yep The mother not only drives off without paying, (b*tch) but she threatens to tell the authorities. Making matters worse, her kid ties a hose to her car’s tire, and when she drives away, she ends up dismantling Porky’s whole operation. (Actually, this also works in his favor. Now he can have her charged with stealing his business. See you in court, sucker!)

Favorite Part: Apparently, even the awful woman can’t stand her evil offspring. As when she is telling Porky off, and her kid won’t shut his yap, she slaps him. (I’d watch a ten hour loop of that.)

Well, a week from now is another anniversary for here. Number 9. I’ll be continuing the tradition of adding something new to all future posts. Hope anybody is interested.

False Hare

“Is he for real?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroeck; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on July 16, 1964.

This here is the final Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Okay, fine. Released during the Golden age. *sigh* I feel I shouldn’t have to mention that, but if I don’t, I’ll either have some smart@$$ correcting me or a dumb@$$ asking why he still sees Bugs on the occasion. It’s exhausting being an expert.

His adversaries in this final short are a couple of wolves. They actually, are making their last appearance too, as they previously appeared six years earlier in 1958’s “Now Hare This.” The bigger one of the two is called Uncle Big Bad by the smaller one who doesn’t get a name. (Logically, he would be Nephew Short Annoying) They’re just your typical big predator who thinks he is smarter than he is, and the other one who has more common sense, but never gets much of a chance to prove it.

I’ve heard people say this cartoon sucks, but aside from the nephew laughing at things that aren’t funny every other minute, I don’t have any problems. It may not be much of a grand finale, but knowing Bugs, he’d prefer things be low key.

The elder wolf (who despite his name, isn’t actually THE Big Bad wolf. That guy has no tail.) has just hung a sign that advertises a club for rabbits. Deliberately getting Bugs’ attention, the two don some rabbit disguises and hype up the club. (I like the name. Even if it is the most basic it could be. The Spanish makes it sound just a smidge better.) Bugs isn’t fooled, but he’s bored. Why not see the attempts being made? He heads to the wolf’s place.

Bugs pretends to be interested in joining, and a series of “initiations” take place. First, ring the bell to summon someone who will show you to the initiation room. He… really didn’t do a good job of disguising his trap. The razor sticking out of the bell could be seen by anyone with a complex eye. (Scratch that. Even if you only had eye-spots, you could see it.) Seems once you push down on the button, the highly obvious razor will cut a rope, and a safe will crush your head. Bugs isn’t so easily fooled, and purposely rings the bell as many wrong ways as he can. Naturally, the wolf tries to show him how it’s done and the outcome is obvious as the razor. (Still amusing)

Okay. What new members need now is a photo. You pose in front of an open iron maiden. (It makes you look like a bad@$$) As long as no one comes out of the door behind it, you won’t get impaled. So, B.B. gets his nephew to hide behind the door, and wait to hear “Now!” That will be the cue to open the door, and close the maiden. Bugs pretends to play along, but does goofy poses. For the sake of the joke, I get why the wolf doesn’t get him killed, but wouldn’t it still work? (For that matter, the wolf clearly says “Now” but the nephew doesn’t respond. Not until Bugs says it. That’s gotta hurt.)

Well, initiation time. It’s rather dumb, but it gets the job done. Just climb in the hole. (It’s a cannon) Soon as the wolf is out of sight, Bugs paints another one. Asking which hole he’s supposed to enter, he has the brilliant idea of each party taking a hole. The wolf is cannoned out of the house. Bugs flips the cardboard, and gets the wolf to do it again. (See? We’ve got some decent jokes in this picture. Some people are just cartoon snobs.) The wolf finally tells Bugs to wait in a tree. In turn, he fills it with dynamite, unaware that Bugs has left the tree. One explosion later, and the wolf is out a house. Licked, he wonders if there’d be anyone interested in joining a chicken club. Cue the Foghorn cameo! No, really. Foghorn makes a cameo. Making this cartoon HIS final appearance as well.

*sigh* For the golden era.

Favorite Part: I like this quote from Bugs. “I don’t see why anybody thinks these club initiations are dangerous. Nothing has happened to me yet.”

Riff Raffy Daffy

“What a sthet-up.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Animation by Don Williams, Emery Hawkins, Basil Davidovich, and J.C. Melendez; Story by William Scott and Lloyd Turner; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 7, 1948. (In Cinecolor)

That’s right, Cinecolor! The precursor to the much more celebrated Technicolor. They’re might look similar, but the former can have a bit of problems having certain colors appear in their full glory. (Green and purple, for example) So, why the switch? A Technicolor strike led to some of the cartoons at this time having no choice but to go the other option. It didn’t last too long, and things would return to normal. (As normal as cartoons get, that is.)

Officer Porky is quite the responsible cop. It may be the middle of the night, but he happily patrols whistling as he does. He has to act tough though, as he finds a sleeping Daffy on a bench. The law says that he is not supposed to be sleeping in any of the locations within the park, and he is thrown out onto the streets. Cue the snow! There’s just gotta be a place where Daffy can rest, and his answer comes to him in the nearby Lacy’s department store. He makes himself comfortable in a display window, and it looks like his problems are over.

Cue Porky! This is even more illegal then the park loitering and the two have a shouting match. Half of which is kept muted, (as we are hearing things as they are) The other is comprised of indistinct shouting. Looks like Porky is going to have to remove the duck himself. Seeing as he is a policeman, he gets in, no problem, thanks to his skeleton key. Daffy invites him to sit down, offers him a smoke, and even a drink. (Which he uses as an excuse to spray soda all over his face.)

Seeing as they are in a department store, and those tend to sell sporting goods, Porky grabs a bow and arrow. Daffy glues his hand to it, so when Porky fires, he sends himself into a grandfather clock. (The cuckoo inside sends him back out) Daffy isn’t above letting his greed out either, (why do his eyes get rings? It’s scary! Save me, Porky!) as he is willing to sell Porky a gun that would be perfect for shooting ducks. (“The thingsth, sthome ducksth will do for money.”) He manages to avoid the bullets, but it looks like Porky found the cannon the cashiers stored behind the counter, (only available by personal request, and you’d better have the I.D. to back it up.) and it looks like Daffy can’t escape anymore.

He admits defeat, but points out that the only reason he did any of this, was to provide for Aphonse and Rodrigo, his…children? AWWWWW! Daffy is the father of the cutest wind-up ducklings! Porky, too, instantly regrets his actions. He allows Daffy and the kids to stay as long as they want, and Daffy finally gets the relaxation he wanted. You might think he’s being too soft on the duck, but Porky knows too well how hard it is being a father. He has three wind-up piglets of his own. (That’s my pal! He’s a champion advocate for single fathers everywhere!)

Favorite part: The ending for sure. But since I already mentioned it, I’ll pretend it’s the part where Porky finds a sobbing gopher sitting amongst his furniture. He immediately knows who evicted the rodent.

Rover’s Rival

“You old antique!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Charles Jones; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on October 9, 1937.

This short is very important to the history of Warner Bros, and yet, unless you’re a full fledged “Looney-tic” (like me.) you wouldn’t know that. I’ll get to why, but the summary comes first.

Porky is excited over his latest read. A book full of great tricks one can teach to their dog. Not only are they sure to build some great social bonding exercises with your hound of choice, but it surely is fun. Porky rushes to share some great times with his dog, Rover. Unfortunately, Rover is quite old and shaky. He’s at that age where one should really just let him sleep all day, or put him down. Still, Rover is as loyal as you’d expect a dog to be, and despite his lack of hearing, bad back, and possible rheumatism, he does his best to share in Porky’s joy.

Enter our titular rival. He’s chubby, he’s a puppy, his catchphrase is “Yeah, man!” so we’ll call him “Chuppy.” He’s also quite the prick. Witness event A, where Rover tries his darnedest to roll over, but Chuppy blows him back once he’s halfway. He’s also here to steal any glory he can, as he jumps through the hoop Porky is holding. He pulls it away before Rover can attempt the jump, and the old dog leaps into a washtub. (Tragic AND hilarious.)

Chuppy flat out tells Rover that he’s finished. He’s through. (Yes, both dogs can talk.) Mel even shows off his vocal prowess again, by having the little stinker imitate Rover and Porky. Porky still loves his dog, and wants to prove to everyone that he’s no has been. Why, surely he can fetch a stick. A classic! So sure of him self, Chuppy gives the old dog quite the head start before he runs off to get it himself. (Maybe he’s such a douche because his stub-tail keeps disappearing?) Porky tells the young dog to let Rover give it a try, and he half succeeds. His dentures get left behind with the stick. Chuppy retrieves both.

Porky throws again, and this time restrains the pup from stealing Rover’s thunder. Seems he threw the wrong way, as it lands next to a box of dynamite. Rover still brings it back, and Porky panics. He throws it away, and Chuppy runs after it. Rover, however, rushes to a dictionary to see what exactly this “dynamite” is. (He may be old, but the brains are there.) Chuppy, meanwhile, found the rest of the explosive stockade and brings it all back to Porky. Poor guy tries to throw it away, but the dog sends it right back. And I can’t say he just doesn’t know any better, because the little b*stard lights it all. (He’s a literal, figurative S.O.B.)

Rover finally learns the meaning of the word, and rushes to save the day. (Meanwhile, the little dog is actually laughing as Porky says his prayers. So unfair! Why’s he gotta be so adorable! Keeps me from kicking him.) Rover to the rescue! He gets the dynamite, says a silent farewell to his best friend, and gets it away from the two. Porky and Chuppy rush to his side, but it looks like they are too late. Chuppy sobs and admits that this is all his fault, and that not only CAN you teach old dogs new tricks, but he concedes that Rover is the best stick retriever there is. That’s all Rover wanted to hear, and he reveals that he’s fine. Maybe they can all be a family now.

Oh, and as for that important tidbit? This is the first time Porky did his take on “That’s all folks!” Cementing his place in Pop culture for all eternity. *salutes*

Favorite part: There was plenty of great Clampett action and comedy here, but my favorite part was when it looks like Rover died. They drew him to look like he’s been torn into pieces! There’s no blood, but it looks like there should be! Clearly neither dog has been fixed, because this picture has BALLS!

Elmer’s Pet Rabbit

“That was weawwy, an awfuwwy good, weg of wamb.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Rudolf Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on Janurary 4, 1941.

The title should tell you all you need to know about the plot of the picture. Still, I feel compelled to ask: Do YOU know who Elmer’s pet rabbit is?

Your stupidity is astounding. Simply astounding.

It’s Bugs of course! But I must concede, that at the time of release, you probably wouldn’t know that. Not only was this only the second appearance of the fully fleshed out Bugs character, but it was the first time his name was given. And he sounds like Jimmy Stewart in this picture. (Wait. Why.) Not to mention the yellow gloves and lack of buck teeth. (I’ll chock this all up to puberty. Toons can have it too. You should have seen how Goofy was affected.)

(No. You shouldn’t)

All this talk and I’ve still yet to start my synopsis. As Elmer strolls down the street, something catches his eye. (And I wasn’t talking about the lingerie on display) It’s a rabbit! Such a cute animal! Quiet, lucky, coprophagic, it’s everything you want in a pet! The store seems to really trying their best to sell the one in the window, so he must be the best rabbit of all, right? (Well, yeah. But not to live with!) Elmer gives in and purchases the “wittle, gway, wabbit.” The bunny is not pleased to be named as such, and verbally makes it known. Could this be a mistake?

Even if it was a rather spur of the moment purchase, Elmer makes a great pen for his new pet. Really! There’s shelter, space to roam, and as many vegetables as one could eat. (Okay, that last one proves ignorance. Maybe why that’s why Bugs continuously protests eating them as he eats them? Starving is simply out of the question.) Still, no matter how nice you make a prison look, it still counts as a prison. Bugs is jealous of Elmer’s house. In fact, why not just go inside? Being a pet technically makes him part of the family. And families share.

Bugs barges in, turns on all the lights he can find, and starts a dance. Elmer is not amused and sends him back outside. If you think Bugs is going to listen, you must have… oh wait. You are the same person who thought Elmer was actually going to adopt someone outside his studio. Sorry.

Whatever you thought, Bugs heads right back in there. He even beats Fudd to the bathroom, insisting he wait his turn. Looks like he plans on being in there awhile, judging by that magazine. Really though, reading on the john is one of the most entertaining ways to spend one’s time. (Lord, do I need a girlfriend.) Elmer busts in and heads to his shower. He pays for the water, he gets first dibs, and he throws Bugs out. Even more crazy, when Bugs marches in again, Elmer throws him out a second time! (Betcha thought Elmer was going to be thrown out, right?)

Landing in the tub, (which has some water in it for the sake of the joke) Bugs decides to fake drowning. The cries for help summon his owner, who pulls the bunny out of the bathtub. Bugs is amazed and humbled. Despite all the problems he’s been causing, Elmer still cared enough to rescue the animal he paid 98 cents for. (Is there no greater love?) Bugs feels he deserves a kick in the rear for his behavior, and tells Elmer to do it. Takes some persuading, but Elmer gives in and delivers a very light kick. Quote Bugs: “Of course, you know this means war.” (Making this the first time he said that.)

Enough play, Bugs goes into the bedroom and takes over the bed. Elmer has had enough and goes in there. We don’t actually get to see what goes down, but I bet it’s cool. There’s lightning, and stars, and explosions showing that you can only cross a Fudd so many times! He chases the rabbit back outside where he is supposed to sleep, and heads back to what’s left of his bed. Need I mention who is waiting there for him?

*sigh* You’re really bad at this.

Favorite part: When Elmer first asks how Bugs likes his new home. “Frankly, old man, I don’t like it. It stinks.” It’s the “old man” that gets me. It really shouldn’t be as funny as I’m finding it.

Buddy and Towser

“Hold ‘im, Towser!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Jack King and Bob McKimson; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on February 24, 1934.

All the greatest Toons have dogs. Mickey has Pluto, Bart has Santa’s Little Helper, and Norville has Scoobert, just to name a few. And why shouldn’t they? Dogs are obedient, loyal, friendly, cute and warm. Am I biased? Sure, but it doesn’t change the fact the dog is the best choice of pet for humanity. Never let a thing like allergies hold you back. I’m rambling again.

With all those positive traits, is it any wonder that Buddy too, has a dog? Towser, (for that his the pooch’s name) has the essential job of guarding Buddy’s poultry house. Chickens and ducks don’t make you money if you have to replace them every morning, and replace them he might if the fox on the way has any say. (Looks like a non-anthropomorphic Foxy. At least this way nobody will get sued.) He’s quite the resourceful one, as he rather easily slips into the building. (Towser! You had one job!)

Actually, the birds seem to be handling themselves just fine. Eggs make great ammunition. (Umm… Please tell me they aren’t fertile.) Rather than just eating the free yolk, this is enough to make the fox leave.  Now Towser wakes up, and sounds a warning. While Buddy gets his gun, Towser gives chase around the coop. (I love how the fox just rides on the doghouse being drawn along. It’s not just humorous, but smart. Always try to tire out your pursuer. It makes escaping easier.)

With Buddy on the alert, the fox decides it’s a good idea to flee. The two could just let him leave, but it won’t guarantee him not coming back. They have to kill him. It’s the only way. Towser thinks he finds his target, but it was only a bear. He seems quite unhappy to be woken up in winter, so he gives chase. And you gotta give Buddy credit, he actually fires his gun. Strangely enough, it doesn’t get rid of the bear. On the contrary, it multiplies him. (And they all told the inventor that a bear making gun wouldn’t sell. Now who’s laughing?)

Non-anthro Foxy is still pissed that Buddy has a career (struggling, though it is) and he doesn’t, so he gets the two to chase him again. They follow him up a hill, and he makes the ever common mistake, of turning to look at them. BOOM! He crashes into a tree. Thus causing snow to fall on him and encase him in a snowball. The two try to escape, but are scooped up. When they crash and are freed, they try to clobber the fox with some fence posts, but are so dizzy that all they his is each other. Foxy escapes and his evil plans will continue! (Or, you know, they won’t.)

Favorite Part: The last time Warners does the “chick needs bathroom” bit. There’s a twist this time: the mother doesn’t want to get out of her nest, so she makes one of her older chicks take him. Look at that disgusted face, reluctance to comply, dragging the younger by the arm, and still sulking while being thanked. (Boy, is it all relatable!)

Inki and the Minah Bird

“ROAR!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Animation by Robert Cannon, Shamus Culhane; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released o November 13, 1943.

That title is no typo from me. For whatever reason, the bird is labeled as a “Minah.” (Unless that is his actual name. Minah the Mynah. I’ve heard of worse names.) Whatever the reason, this continues the trend of shorts being nothing more than the characters’ names even though it wasn’t their debut.

It’s a beautiful day in the jungle. Even the annelid snake is frolicking. (And it takes a lot to get that guy to show any joy. It’s hard being the only one of your species.) Oop. Spoke too soon. Such a beautiful day means one should take advantage of it, and hunt some game. That’s Inki’s plan, and he just barely misses the earthworm squamate by that much. (It really would have made a cute trophy.) Sure, he could try and hunt literally any other animal in the jungle, but a certain something in the distance sends them all packing. Whatever it is, it shakes the very ground it walks on. None who tangle with it ever survive. When you hear the accompanying music, if you’re smart, you’ll run in whatever direction is opposite of the commotion, and you won’t look back once. You’ll only pray that you aren’t the unfortunate soul who is unlucky enough to suffer the creature’s wrath. It is simply known as: The Mynah Bird. (goosebumps.)

Inki initially takes cover too, but either he isn’t aware of this bird’s otherworldly power, or he really just wants to be the guy who stuffed it. (Or he’s suicidal. It’s not ideal, but it’s a possibility.) He’s got a color changing spear, so why not take a “stab at it?” (I won’t apologize. That pun was worth your time.) He takes his trusty weapon in hand, and heaves towards the bush the bird hopped into. Success? The spear hit something. Might as well see what was hooked. Ah. It appears to be a lion. (Which means if this is Africa, that explains the terror the bird caused. Invasive species are ruthless.)

The big cat doesn’t seem too injured by the weapon, but he is understandably peeved. Inki runs home to get a peacemaker. The steak in the fridge will do nicely. (Why so shocked? People who live in huts can still have modern amenities. Stop being so judgmental.) The lion is happy to eat, but the bird was in his mouth and takes it for himself. The lion is so upset that not only does his hair change color with stress, but his eyes disappear. The bird has gone too far! So the lion gives chase. The bird would probably kill it, but he just ate, so he just hops into some hay. And it shrinks away into nothing before the lion’s eyes!

Things really aren’t going his way. When he beats on a tree in anguish, Inki falls into his paws. (It was still a decent hiding place.) The original chase resumes, but eventually, the lion sees the hay reappearing. The bird is back, and the cat shall have its vengeance! (Warner felines are great at achieving that, right?) Still not giving a d*mn, the bird just hops into a hole. The lion tries to catch him as he comes out, but finds Inki instead. (That was an ever better hiding place! This bird just screw everyone over.) The trio all pull the dust cloud running fake out, (Impressive. Usually, only one of them tries that at a time.) then the bird finally takes the lion and makes him disappear. Inki is saved. He’s a good kid, and offers to shake hand…wing…limbs with the bird.

Rookie mistake! That bird hates being touched, and he brings the lion back. A tussle breaks out, with Inki being the first to run for it. The bird meanwhile, ends up stealing the lion’s teeth for himself. (Now the whole planet is doomed. The only way this bird could any more powerful, is with internet access!)

Favorite part: it was a dang good short all around, but I give props to the lion crying after his steak is eaten. Normally, crying in media annoys me, but it sounds great here. Kudos!

Inki and the Mynah Bird

We now come to the year 2020 A.D. The year of hindsight. I’m well aware that I’m not even close to being the first person to make such a joke, but I will use it to tie into today’s post, where I’ll ask this question: “Was this character a good idea?”

This is Inki. He is a young hunter. At least, that’s what he tries to be. For most of his pictures, he doesn’t seem to be very capable. (Like all Warner Bros. hunters) And you probably noticed the thing that I’m not bringing attention to: he looks like a girl. (At least, that was my first thought when I saw him.) Really, its the rest of him. The large hooped earrings, the loincloth, and the prominent lips. All are signs of the stereotypical African. Yet, the audiences never found him too offensive. (For one thing, it’s never outright stated that he is from Africa. Kid never speaks.) It was the higher ups that figured he shouldn’t be seen, and that accounts for his obscurity. (Even though none of his pictures crack the “Censored Eleven.”

As the title of the post suggests, he is only one half of a comedy duo. Thus, I introduce his co-star: the Mynah Bird.

What is widely known about Mynah Birds? Their ability to mimic human speech, of course. Forget that. This bird is as silent as Inki. Not only that, but he just might be the Looney Tunes biggest bada$$. Nothing rattles this passerine. Whenever he makes an appearance, he looks straight ahead, skips to the tune of “The Hebride Overture” and prefers not to interact with anybody. Naturally, this tends to get the attention of everyone nearby. (Although, many flee in terror when he’s around) Woe betide anyone foolish enough to tangle with this bird. He can do things. We don’t see how he does it, but he can hurt, humiliate, and sometimes even help others. (But don’t try thanking him. He doesn’t want to put up with you.) So cool.

Inki may have fallen into obscurity, but the bird still made the occasional appearance later on in life. Making cameos in “Tiny Toons”, “Animaniacs,” and “Tweety’s High Flying Adventure.” (He’s less likely to tie knots in the panties of oversensitive folk) Really though, as a Looney Tune-iseur, I’d recommend giving the cartoons a watch. They really aren’t as bad as appearances might lead you to believe. (They were done by Chuck Jones. THE master of the silent slapstick.) But the real reason I think they are great? That bird is clearly my spirit animal. (He’s not the only one people tend to run in fear from. Probably for slightly different reasons, though.)

Country Boy

“♫Teacher’s gonna get’cha cause she’s not a fool…♫

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Mith; Musical Score by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on February 9, 1935.

Morning time is the time that all well behaved bunnies go to school. (To learn how to make clothes. Living naked is a sin!) So, for fun’s sake, let’s look in on the one naughty rabbit. You can tell he is naughty because he tries to avoid school by hiding amongst the poultry. That and his name is Peter. The universal name for naughty rabbits. Yes, this is essentially a retelling of the classic story. More importantly, Beatrix Potter was still alive at this time of time. And I wonder, did she ever watch cartoons? Was she a fan, with how much she loved animals wearing clothes, and having adventures beyond the typical mate/survive/end up dead lifestyle they usually have?

Yeah, yeah, off topic. Peter heads off after being caught by his mother, but on the way, he spots a delicious looking garden. But before he can sneak in and have a feast worthy of the best salad bars, he is caught by three of his goody-goody classmates. (Heck if I know the genders. Bernice Hansen uses the same voice for all of them. And girls don’t wear nothing but dresses.) They warn him that not only will he end up as a stew ingredient should he trespass, but they will do the most horrible thing they can do to him: tattle. (All in song form, too) Before things get too ugly, they hear the school bell and rush off. Clever little Peter, though, he doubles back at the last moment and heads off to what I want to call “Vegetable Valley.” (If only it was a valley.)

He starts with the carrots, and then heads to the peas. Well, at least they seem like peas. Really, they’re jumping beans. (Which makes me wonder what they were originally, before the farmer just gave up and let the animals rule this part of the garden.) Maybe he should stick to things his body can actually digest? Beets! Even the bull is feasting here. (Is the farmer okay with that?) A tug of war between the two herbivores ends with the bovine in the well, and its cries alert farmer McGregory of the intrusion. Chase time! (Just like in the original stories, he never questions how a rabbit was able to make/purchase clothing and put it on without hands or a complex brain.)

Peter could run, but why not take the mower? Not only does it mean he can run without using energy, but he can tear up the area. (That’ll teach that farmer for his lack of sharing! Sucks to your hard work!) Still, it doesn’t end especially well for the rabbit. He ends up flying through the farmer’s syrup harvest, and his hen house. Once more, he can hide amongst the poultry. And if he wants to keep his body unstewed, he’s going to have to. (If this Peter wasn’t a child, I’d say this is the untold story of how Peter Sr. ended up in a pie. Mcgregory: “Why does this chicken taste like rabbit?”)

Favorite part: The rabbit children’s song. (It’s catchy)

The Mouse on 57th Street

“Oh boy! Da diamond!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble and Owen Fitzgerald; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 25, 1961.

With the holidays around, my thoughts turn to all the tasty treats that occur this time of year. (I’m not big on this “loving your fellow man”, stuff. They’re annoying) I’m particularly fond of sweets. So, if I was on the “57th” street that the title mentions, my eyes would float right past the diamond on display at “Spiffany’s.” Sure, the Sunflame diamond is the largest uncut diamond in the world, but I’m no geologist. It’s just a rock to me. That bakery looks interesting, though.

What a display! The world’s largest uncut rum cake! (I don’t even care for the flavor of rum, but it sure beats that rock.) The mouse featured in the title seems to think so. (Poor guy. He’s just another mouse without a name. We’ll call him: “Al.” (Kaholic) He tries some of that cake, and love it so much, he eats a tunnel right through! Even though, most of the liquor should have cooked out, there still seems to be enough to get the little guy soused. (Of course, being so little, what small amount was there would probably do the trick.) He staggers home.

After ingesting that much rum, all anyone wants to do is just lounge around and wait for the hangover to dissipate. (You’d think with my constant griping about the world, I’d drink too, but the threat of a hangover scares me. I’m not one for pain. That and I dislike the taste.) Too bad for Al, he lives next to a construction site, and all that machinery seems all the louder when it is several times his size. Head throbbing, he tries to get a drink. Just then, one of the workers notices that rock, and comments on the size of that “ice.” Ice? Why, that’d be just the thing to fix Al up! His size makes it easy for him to “borrow” the stuff.

Yet, everyone seems to get really excited over the loss of their rock. Just go find another one. Is it really that hard? (Well, seeing as it is a diamond and not talc, yes.) Naturally, since it is NOT ice, it’s not helping. Al goes back for that drink, and is spotted by two cops. Big, dumb, Muldoon, and the smaller, smarter, (no name), Earl. They chase the rodent all over, but he always manages to barely escape. (His rock appears to fluctuate in size. Maybe it really IS ice?) While being chased through the subway, he manages to escape out and run over a manhole, just as Earl jumps out via it to avoid a train. The rock comes off of Al and lads on Earl. Since Muldoon is the dumb one, he begins hitting his partner over the head with his billy club.

Al, meanwhile has gotten over the hangover. Well, since that’s settled, how about some more rum cake? (They even refilled the part he already ate.) Ah, how sweet life can be!

Favorite part: Both cops have the exits of a pipe guarded. When Earl shines his flashlight, Muldoon shoots thinking it is the perpetrator. Earl’s response: “Why do you hate me, Muldoon?”