Jungle Jitters

“Oh, for goodness sakes!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by George Manuell; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 19, 1938.

It’s only number three of the censored 11 that we’ve covered, and this one just might be the most offensive. I’m getting ahead of myself, so lets take a closer look.

The picture takes place in some sort of tribal village. The natives here are black, so that means:

A.) Their lips are grotesquely huge and the whole concept is rather disgusting

B.) They have nose rings that are large enough to jump through, and that is distasteful

C.) The rings around their neck actually ARE their neck, and that’s (admittedly, kinda cool but…) ultimately, rather insensitive

D.) It’s the 1930’s so how about ALL OF THE ABOVE!

We’re just in that sort of era, I get it. Doesn’t make it any more okay.

Enter another character. A salesman of some species. (I…think?) I can’t tell what this guy is! As offensive as the tribals are, I can at least tell they are humans. This guy… Well, he kind of looks like Goofy combined with some sort of dinosaur. We’ll call him Doofy.

As stated, he’s a salesman. Selling (and I quote) “Assorted, useless, utensils.” (At least he’s honest.) If their door slamming wasn’t indication enough, the natives aren’t interested in his wares. Still, they could get SOME use out of the guy. He does look… delicious? (I’m not agreeing, but maybe whatever this guy is, is their natural prey. I seriously doubt eating him counts as cannibalism.) They place him in a cooking pot, and (giving another point to humorous, here) he looks less afraid, (or relaxed, which has also been done to death) and more, confused. In the meantime, the locals are absconding with his merchandise. (Dinner and toys? Christmas reaches all corners of the globe!)

News of the upcoming feast, reaches the queen. I would like to know how she got the position. Not only is she white, but she too is some sort of humanimal. Instead of a proper mouth, she has what looks like some sort of pelican beak, but unless it matches her skin color, than it’s inside of her lips? Excuse me, Mr. Freleng? What are you letting your unit put to screen? It’s unholy! Unnatural! I would even be inclined enough to suggest it as evil! I’m scared, and I don’t scare easily. (Unnerve, sure. But not scare!) And to make things even more disgraceful, one of her black guards has a bad, offensive, over the top, Asian accent. (It’s the culmination of unfunny stereotyping! All that’s missing is a Jewish witch doctor! Which probably was included in the first draft.)

(Wow. That’s off topic, even by my lax standards.) Queenie asks to see the meal, and Doofy is brought before her. As much as her people see a roast bird, she only sees celebrities. Even ignoring his toaster that butters the toast for you. (It’s every American’s dream! Gimmee!) She decides that they are meant to be, and organizes a wedding that would even be a record by Disney movie standards. Doofy, (still keeping that clueless look about him. It’s starting to get old.) agrees, but the deal breaker is being told he has to kiss THAT face. I don’t blame him for hopping back in the pot. He ends his life with the hope that they’ll all get indigestion from him. (I’m sure that’s fairly apt to assume.)

Personal Rating: 1. (Yeah, this might be the low point of the series.

Favorite Part: To be fair, there was one point that I found enjoyable. A bunch of the natives start riding a makeshift merry go round. As to be expected, some of the others actually whistle “The Merry-Go-Round broke down.” Always a pleasure to hear.

The Eager Beaver

“Ge-Ge-Ge-Geronimi-mi-Geronim-Ge-Ge-a-Ge-Ge-Geronim-a-Ge-Ge-Ge-Geronimo.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce. A Merrie Melody released on July 13, 1946.

Another one of nature’s most impressive creatures, IS the beaver. To think, these rodents aren’t just smart enough to make a home for themselves out in water, so their predators have less of a chance to feast on them, but even go so far as to dam flowing waters to make the still bodies of H2O they need. Even using the materials as their food source to boot! It’s fantastic! And furthermore, it’s unbelieva-

(Wait for it)

So, as I was saying, beavers deserve a cartoon of their own.

You know what? These guys deserve two!

Beavers are always busy, right? As long as the camera isn’t on them. Then they leap into action doing what they do best: chopping down trees. (An interesting method they use, is setting one another on ice blocks, to make their teeth chatter. Then they can be used like chainsaws.) Then, they remove the fallen wood of any parts that might get in the way. Excess bark, twigs, that sort of thing. So they just use a corkscrew to get the smooth, creamy, centers out. Then they are ready to be part of the dam.

Out title promised one who is especially eager, and here he comes now. He’s easily identifiable by the ski cap on his head, and lack of voice in his mouth. He wants to join in on the work, but finds it a bit too crowded. (The beavers have also upgraded to axes for the rest of the picture. Technology is so cool.) He opts to chop at the tree that no beavers are working on. (Probably because it’s a telephone pole. An easy mistake.) Guess he has no choice but to get in the fray.

He joins in, but makes himself a nuisance. The beaver he is bothering sends him off to chop down a tree quite a distance away from everyone. On top of a mountain that no beaver has ever dared climb before, due to lack of water and un-lack of eagles. But Eag is so eager, that he knows no fear and rushes to do his duty. But this tree has seen it all, and is more than a match for a puny axe. Even dynamite does nothing more than blow away the surrounding dirt. (Gee, if only he could chew it down. But that wouldn’t be much of a climax.)

(Ble.)

The other lodge members are still working, when a bird comes bearing dire news: there’s a flood approaching! If these guys don’t have a dam ready, the forest will be underwater! It might sound nice at first, but even a beaver can’t swim for all eternity, they’ve got to move fast! Maybe Eag could save the day? He’s finally figured out how to get the tree down: chewing! Good thing he had termite on paw. Thanks to the insect, the tree comes down. Right in the flood’s path. He may not be built for running, but he’s so eager, that he not only outraces the flood, but gets the tree in place just in time! He’s saved the day! He’s everyone’s hero! Just goes to show, just leave it to Eager Beaver.

Favorite Part: When Eager first tries chopping down a tree, a dog begs him to spare it. (Moderately funny.) Because he has a bone buried there. (Nice misdirection!)

Personal Rating: 3. (This cartoon is full of that nice “smear animation” that Chuck used so well in “The Dover Boys.” It still looks rather amazing.)

Buddy of the Apes

“Go get ’em!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway; Animation by Paul Smith and Sandy Walker; Music by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on May 26, 1944.

Good old Buddy. Boring, bland, basic Buddy. What’s this I hear about him being “of the Apes” all of a sudden? Well, there’s no backstory to explain any of it. Buddy lives in the jungle now. Deal with it.

You may think that a jungle is a frightening place for someone like Buddy to live, but it actually seems quite pleasant. None of the animals even seem interested in killing each other for food. Or, maybe that happens later in the day. As for right now, it’s time for nature’s morning routine. Even if he is a wild man with nothing but a loincloth and shoes, Buddy understands the importance of good hygiene, and takes a shower under an elephant’s trunk, before b-rush-ing his teeth.

As stated, the animals are there too. Crocodiles take excellent care of their dentures, using a porcupine to scrub them. Hippos, however, can’t brush properly with hooves, so they have a monkey on hand to scrub their teeth clean. And mother gorilla is giving her young one breakfast. You can’t turn your back on baby apes for more than a second. This one, for instance, starts rocking his cradle too hard, and falls out of the tree, cradle and all.

He lands in the water, and unfortunately, the current is part of a proud waterfall, that has dragged many an innocent infant to their demise.  In standard tradition, the baby is enjoying every moment of it. (I don’t like that cliche. I’m pretty sure majority of babies would not be pleased if they were out of their comfort zones) Seeing as he is “of the apes” and therefore, “for the apes”, Buddy has to make the save. He fashions a grappling hook out of his knife, and all is well. (That dancing tiger killed any chance of this being an African jungle) I’d say that was an okay picture, but that was only the first act. What’s next?

Racial stereotyping! An abundance of it! Buddy has been sighted by a native. (Is that the right choice of words? For all I know, Buddy is a native too.) He alerts his leader, and I suppose they are cannibals, as they look ready to eat the little man. (But then, I’m not sure they are the same species as Buddy. At least two of them have lips larger than any human being ever had! It’s actually kind of disgusting. Not to mentions how many jokes are being made about nose piercings as well.)

The tribe heads out, but because of his brave ape heroics, the animals side with Buddy for this fight. They don’t need so stinking weapons, they are the stinking weapons. (I didn’t see any of them bathing.) Elephants use their trunks as (elephant) guns. And hippos are being used as cannons. Even a kangaroo joins in the fray. (Now, really. Kangaroos don’t even LIVE in jungles. Why does that keep happening?)

Things really aren’t in the king’s favor, so retreating is the only sensible solution. (Fighting to the death isn’t smart, it’s brave.) Buddy sees the fleeing monarch, and swings down to beat him to a pulp. Having proven his superiority, the animals grant Buddy the kings crown. (Enjoy it Buddy. You certainly aren’t the king of cartoons.)

Favorite Part: The whole morning routine bit. I particularly enjoyed the animation of the crocodile putting his teeth back in. His lower jaw just hangs limply until he pulls it into place. That’s unusual for cartoons.

Personal Rating: 1

Stork Naked

“I’LL GIVE THAT STORK A RECEPTION HE WON’T FORGET!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Virgil Ross, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 26, 1955.

A sober stork in a Warner Brothers Picture? It’s unthinkable! And yet, that’s how this one starts out. The stork may have a clear head, but that’ll soon be fixed. He doesn’t have just one bundle to deliver. The first one offers him a toast to the baby. As does the second. And the third. There we go. That’s more like the stork we know. He needs a name that I will claim as canonical. From now until the end, he is Tipsy the stork.

Just one more delivery to go. It’s an egg, so it must be headed for some birds. That is correct, specifically, a couple of ducks. Daffy and his wife, Daphne. (Which is a perfect name for her. It’s what I call the wife Daffy has every time he’s married.) Daphne knows he’s coming, as she is already knitting a sweater. (It’s a little known fact that all ducks get one piece of clothing. Hence Daphne’s bow, and her husband’s slippers) Once Daffy catches on that the sweater isn’t intended for him, he realizes that the stork is on the way again. (Again? So, Daphne has had more than one miscarriage? That’s hard. No wonder she spends the rest of the short off camera, grieving.)

It’s never stated why Daffy is so adverse to being a parent, but it’s pretty obvious. Kids are whiny, greedy, egotists who think they can get away with everything. (I would know. I was one, once.) So, Daffy really has no other option than to kill the stork. (Or at least just chase him away.) He’s got quite the impressive armory at the ready, but Tipsy just walks right past him and heads for the chimney. Daffy’s trap-oline works wonders and sends the bird right back up. Too bad Daffy misses his chance to hit him on the return.

Chimney didn’t work, so Tipsy heads for the front door. (Drunks always try and start with the chimney. Why do you think Santa has a red nose?) Daffy has another trap planned: a trap door that leads to an alligator basement. Tipsy walks around the pit, and when Daffy tries shoving him back out, he falls down himself. (He does manage to get away, but at the cost of a good chunk of his plumage.) When Tipsy tries a window entrance, he accidentally enters one of Daffy’s cannons and is fired back into the sky. (Little note, but I like how pleased he is to see the egg is okay. It’s not his kid, but he still wants it to be safe.)

I don’t know how long the egg must be in Daffy’s possession for it to count, but the cartoon is still going, so I guess things are in his favor. Still, Tipsy hasn’t given up either, so Daffy starts chasing him down with an axe. (I never thought about it before, but being a stork must suck. On a different note, someone should make a cartoon about a stork trying to deliver a baby to a teenager, while they, in turn, try to keep it hidden from their parents. I’m sure it would be a hit at a film festival.) When the stork creeps onto a telephone wire to evade the psycho, Daffy chops the wire his adversary is standing on. (It makes his pole fall, and he lands back in the reptiles company.)

Finally, the egg starts to hatch, so Tipsy gets it to deliver itself. It manages to get inside Daffy’s house, and hatches just as Daffy gets his wings on it. Why, it’s not a duckling after all! It’s a stork chick. And if the hat is any indication, it really IS Tipsy’s child. Daffy is delighted as he flies the chick back to where it belongs. Not only because he’s ducked out of responsibility once again, but the stork is finally going to see what it’s like on the receiving end.

Favorite Part: It’s another little thing, but when the egg starts to hatch, look at the legs. They actually foreshadow the twist, by not drawing webbed feet. They took the time to be consistent. I’m so proud!

Personal Rating: 3

Angel Puss

“Four bits is four bits.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Lou Lilly; Animation by Ken Harris; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 3, 1944.

Poor Li’l Sambo! It’s not enough that he is portrayed as some sort of fish lipped person, (as was what white’s thought many a black looked like at the time) and having an annoying Stepin Fetchit-esqe voice, (as whites thought blacks possessed) but he’s been asked to partake in a most terrible job: namely, Cat Drowning. He doesn’t really want to do it, but he IS getting paid, and naturally, if he doesn’t go through with it, he’ll have to return the money. (We never see the woman who hired him to do her own dirty work, but if she hates cats, she’s my kind of lady.)

The cat, for some reason, isn’t too keen on dying, and slips out of the sack. (Replacing his weight with some bricks.) Even though Sambo tries to talk himself out of it, for some reason, the cat pretends to be his conscience, and tells him to do the deed. (But why, though? You have an escape means! Use it you imbecile!) But no, then he wouldn’t be able to screw with the boy, so Sambo goes against his own common sense, and throws the phony sack into the water.

Time for that aforementioned “screwing with.” The cat paints himself white, and adorns himself with phony wings. The perfect striking point? The cemetery, naturally. Just as Sambo passes by, the cat appears and takes his time in building up some great atmosphere. No fooling! He knows he’s scaring the living crap out of the kid (or he could be a teenager) and he does it quite well. It’s probably the best part of the short!

Before  Sambo can run home, the feline beats him there, and moves his gate in front of the place next door. Of course, Sambo enters. He tries to make a retreat, but seeing as how this is one of the censored eleven, the cat is able to easily lure him back with some shaking dice. (It’s probably the worst part of the short.) The chase goes on, but the two aren’t paying enough attention, and run off a balcony, and into the water below. Water doesn’t remove paint, does it?

It does, and the cat is unaware. (Wait, I forgot I’m supposed to name him! Is Peter okay? Too bad! It’s what I’m going with.) This results in another pretty darn good scene where Peter is trying desperately to frighten Sambo again, unaware that he’s been revealed. He doesn’t sound scared, but more frustrated with his failure to horrify. Which makes sense, he doesn’t yet know he’s been exposed. Sambo is pissed. This cat has been playing him for a fool, so he’ll pay with his life. Good thing there’s a gun on the wall. Blammo!

Whoops. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Because the cat comes back, the very next second. Yes, the cat comes back. You thought he was a goner? Nah, the cat comes back. He’s not one to stay away. Sambo thought he had it bad earlier, but now there’s not just one ghost here to screw with him for the rest of his life. The other eight are going to join in the fun too!

Favorite Part: Like I said, the Peter’s initial reveal of himself is handled perfectly! Like the best ghost stories, he doesn’t just pop out and shout “Boo!” right away. He hides, letting his eerie harp music be all of him that is revealed at first, THEN he shows up. He really knows what he’s doing!

Personal Rating: 2 (Maybe if this wasn’t so offensive today, it could reach a three)

Clippety Clobbered

Space Science.

Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Tom Dagenais; Animation by Bob Bransford, Hank Smith, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Don Sheppard; Backgrounds by Anthony Rizzo; Film Editor: Al Wharman; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 12, 1966.

This here is the first Roadrunner cartoon I’ve talked about that wasn’t directed by the creator himself, Chuck Jones. (Golden age, I mean. Theatrically, too.) It’s also clear that Chuck was a master who could not be replicated. The whole short might seem fine to the common folk, but Looney-tics (like me) can tell it’s not as good as the others.

Wile E. isn’t wasting energy chasing his prey this time. He calmly waits by his mailbox for a package. Since he ordered it airmail, he really doesn’t have anyone but himself to blame for it landing on his head. So, what’s in this wonderful box? A chemistry set! Chemists are the unquestionable experts when it comes to bird trapping! Or, you know, Wile E is just trying out new and unique ways to catch some food.

Just mix the right ingredients together, and you’ve got paint! A special kind of paint that only comes in one color: invisible. Paint it on yourself, and you can’t be seen by anybody. (Including yourself, since your eyes no longer will gather the light needed for sight, but I digress) This does indeed include roadrunners, but this also means that they won’t slow down if you happen to jump in their way, so you’ll probably end up knocked off the road. A cliff, probably wasn’t the best testing grounds.

Wile E falls, and the impact knocks his paint off. (I guess? There’s not really much of a reason as to why he is suddenly visible) Then, something that should never happen in a Roadrunner cartoon, happens. The bird paints a boulder invisible, and pushes it off the cliff, and onto his pursuer. WRONG! NO! UH-UH! That doesn’t happen! It goes against Chuck’s own rules for these cartoons: namely, the bird doesn’t hurt the coyote! It was one of the things that made these pictures different from the endless chase cartoons that people watched. Now I’m upset.

Fine, I’ll keep going.

Wile E invents a new thing with his kit. It’s bouncing capabilities mixed with the viscous consistency, lead me to believe that he invented Flubber. But since this is 1966, (and the substance is blue) what he really made is Phlubber. Coating himself in it, (but first giving us a completely unnecessary thought bubble. I mean really, if we weren’t going to guess what he was going to do with his concoction, his actions would show us) he gains a coat that allows him amazing bouncing properties. Too bad he misses his catch. He bounces all around the desertscape. He eventually bounces straight up (with very unfitting music, I might add. That’s the tune that accompanies a jaunty walk. Not deadly plummet) and comes down. (His protective coat getting snagged off by a rather ugly tree branch. It really looks out of place. Go back to Snagglepuss, where you belong!)

Next up, some type of jet fuel. It’ll be perfect for chasing down the bird. But instead of building an actual jet pack, Wile just pours it into a small seltzer bottle like container. (Again, why? It doesn’t add much to the comedy. You could still have an inevitable crash with a full size model) Either way, this actually gets the Roadrunner to… show fear? It’s not wrong, but it’s kinda werid to see that bird anything other than blissfully happy.  The chase leads to a railroad tunel. (First the bird has a spasm. I think he meant to go “Beep-beep.” but nothing comes out.)

Wile E. turns back upon seeing the approaching light, but it was the bird with a miner’s hat. So he turns once more, and doesn’t flee from the next light source he sees. It is a train, and he ends up pinned against it. We zoom into his stressed eyes and see that his pupils are the Roadrunner. The end.

That was the ending? Call it seven days because it was WEEK!

Favorite Part: When Wile E first gets the package, the bird runs by. Because of the speed, the resulting wind catches the parachute that came with it, and Wile E is dragged off a cliff. The animation of him landing in a cactus patch is rather nice. It builds the tension reasonably well, and the punchline is fast and funny.

Personal Rating: 2

Fool Coverage

“What are you doing? Jusht looking for an accident?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen, and Rod Scribner; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Carlos Manriquez; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. Musical Directions: Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1952.

That awful virus! It’s responsible for cancelling comicon this year! I hope its proud of itself. But I suppose you’d rather hear me blog about my chosen subject. Fine.

Daffy plays an employee of the Hot Food Casualty Underwriter’s Insurance Company. He has just knocked on Porky’s door to try and sell him a policy. At first mention, this sounds like some kind of miracle. With Daffy’s company, you stand to acquire a million bucks for even a black eye. Of course, there are some stipulations. Conveniently, Daffy only reads what they are after he has placed some earmuffs on Porky. Doesn’t matter though. Porky is quite the careful individual, and refuses to buy on account of him never suffering any unfortunate accidents.

Daffy isn’t one to be deterred. He aims to prove to Porky that he NEEDS insurance. He’ll just follow Porky around as he does some chores. And if nothing dangerous occurs, Daffy will be right there to make things worse. Although, is his help really needed? Porky starts off by looking for his screwdriver in his oven with a lit match. Since the great Bob loves Porky, he is spared, but Daffy gets explosion-ed when demonstrating a flashlight is a safer method.

Maybe a trap is required after all. It’s rather clever too. Daffy just saws a hole in the floor, covers it up, then rigs the rocking chair so Porky will fall through. Only problem, Porky doesn’t feel like rocking, and only agrees to do so to humor the salesduck. With his heart not really in it, he doesn’t rock enough to fall. (Although, in my eyes, Porky always rocks enough) Daffy shows him some real rocking, and falls for his own trap.

Just as he’s about to booby trap the bathtub, (With lard. Which has horrifying implications. I hope Daffy didn’t find that in Porky’s house. Though, considering what I’ve seen Porky do, it wouldn’t surprise me. Just horrify.) Daffy sees Porky headed to the basement. Perfect! Porky could fall down the stairs! After Daffy does just that, Porky is need of another candle. Daffy fixes up a stick of TNT to look like one. His weakness to landing himself in Porky’s good graces, gets him holding the explosive just as it goes off.

He lands outside, dazed. Good news, though! Porky is ready to buy! Not because he needs it, per se, but all of Daffy’s mishaps are proof enough that the premises are dangerous. One signature later, and Porky gleefully announces that the million dollar policy is a sweet payoff. Of course, Daffy also gleefully tells of all the stipulations: the black eye must be received by elephants, within the house, between 3:55 P.M. and 4:00 P.M., on July 4th, during a hailstorm. (I hate policies like that.)

Porky is disgruntled, but the great Bob comes to his aid once more. (In a painful way, but he works in mysterious methods) One by one, all of the Daffy’s stipulations are met, and Porky ends up with the most beautiful shiner I ever saw! (It’s worth a million bucks.) Daffy tries to weasel out of it, by adding a baby zebra to the list. The great Bob provides.

Favorite Part: I got a chuckle of Porky announcing he left his screwdriver in the oven. I should start storing mine in the same place.

Personal Rating: 3

I Wish I had Wings

“Hi, Pop!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Paul Smith; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on October 15, 1932.

Well, yeah, I guess I do.A little snack would be just the fuel I need to make an amusing blog post. Whoops. That was just a title. (You were laughing though, right?) It’s morning at Bird Farm U.S.A. and the rooster wakes all the birds up. (It takes a bit of rousing.) He’s not content with just his hens being up, he wakes the water fowl too. (And he sends them off goose stepping. I knew him learning German wasn’t a waste of money.)

Now that the birds are up, it’s time for some breakfast. One hen has located a very healthy looking worm, and calls her children. Only now does she realize the problem. One worm. Eleven chicks. You do the math. (I’m not your tutor.) She has a brilliant, if rather inhumane idea: (good thing they’re birds) put the meat in a grinder! (Holy hell!) Good thing this is a cartoon. It follows this popular myth: When one cuts a worm into pieces, each piece becomes it’s own new animal. (Only here they eventually grow faces and limbs. What was in that grinder, exactly?)

Ready for a bit of plot? Chicken couple number 412 are expecting! (And if you think you’re suffering from Deja Vu, it’s probably because you saw this exact sequence in “Wise Quacks.” Only with ducks instead of chickens) The father to be is ecstatic, and calls the stork to come do his thing. (What weird farm is this? Is that stork livestock? Are stork nuggets any good?) The blessed event goes smoothly, and the rooster meets his many chicks. 29 white, (yes, I bothered to count) and one black. He is called: Otis. (Because I said)

As all new life can attest, being born is hungry work. (You got all that egg breaking, womb squeezing, budding, etc.)Otis is ready for some grub. (But he’ll settle for corn.) Being the youngest though, he is always last to the feeder and any stray cobs. He stares longingly at a garden just on the other side of a fence, and whines/sings about wishing he had wings to get him over to the edibles. (Poor guy was born with arms instead. What an awful fate for a bird to befall)

His wish is fulfilled with the corset the farmer’s wife just left on the ground. (What a b*tch. Always expecting the animals to pick up after her.) Otis uses the clothing as makeshift wings, and once up, makes a parachute out of what I presume is the same person’s panties. (She deserves it.) Ah, to be in your very own all you can eat buffet. Otis has got to be the happiest bird in the world! But I guess this garden is in Oz, because the nearby scarecrow comes to life, and threatens to…actually, what would he do besides scaring the bird? Scarecrows really aren’t all that threatening.

Otis does indeed run, but he takes care of the dummy. Not only slamming a well crank into it, (why would that hurt him?) but lighting him on fire. Defeated, (even if he’s not dead) the strawman flees.

Favorite Part: Honestly, that scarecrow. He’s a unique one in that, he doesn’t even have a face. (Makes him all the more terrifying.)

Personal Rating: 2

Ant Pasted

“You wascuwls!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, Manuel Perez, and Ken Champin; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 9, 1953.

Elmer is all excited for an Independence day picnic. What separates those from their boring everyday counterparts, is the fireworks, naturally. Elmer is just a big kid/arsonist at heart. Even if it’s light out, he gets started lighting the explosives and  flinging them away. One lands near an ant, who despite having antennae, sniffs at the device much like a dog. (Because making animals do things they don’t do is instant comedy.) Poor thing is caught in the blast. (It’s a pretty big ant too! Must be of the “bulldog” variety. Oh! I just got the sniffing!)

I wouldn’t find any fault in Elmer if he just laughed it off with a “whoops” but he actually takes delight in tormenting these innocent animals. (Picnickers are just savage) In fact, he tosses all that he can at the insects, destroying their hills. Not pleased, an ant declares war on Elmer in plain English. (They have chipmunk voices.  I don’t care what anyone says, It’s a gag that never stops being funny.) The war is officiated by presid-ant Harry Truman, and the drafting begins. (Sending the chosen ones to a literal boot camp.)

Elmer is sleeping now. (Probably saving his energy and remaining fireworks for tonight.) This gives the ants the perfect opportunity to sneak over and steal some of his fireworks to use against him. They send him a warning shot to wake him up. Based on the animals that he has faced before, I don’t find it odd, that Elmer doesn’t find it odd, that he is surrounded by literal army ants. He is willing to go to war, and suits up. (With saucepan.) The ants might be strong, but they can’t really heave, so they use mousetraps and “kazookas” to launch their attack. (Not so funny when you’re on the receiving end, huh, Elmer?)

Despite the fact that this is Elmer we’re talking about, he is actually able to put up a decent fight. He sticks his fireworks in the hills, and down the periscopes looking at him. But the ants aren’t only not killed, but they have plenty of numbers. I mean, for every one of Elmer, there’s a million of them. So, he better stock up on troops/supplies. The ants are pretty smart, too. When Elmer tries launching a firework via pipe, the ants rubber band it back into his stomach. Elmer tries to put it out with the water cooler he brought along, (and to think we all laughed at him) but it just causes him to end up inside it. (Which not only makes us all laugh at him, but reminds us of the time this exact thing happened to Sylvester.)

The ants really mean business, and call out the “Royal Flying Ants.” (An obvious nod to the “Royal Air Force” but I like to think that Freleng and his team knew that the royal ants really are the ones who can fly. It’s also another returning gag.) The navy too! Elmer is just a one man army, and knows enough to flee when he is clearly fighting a losing battle. (Nope! I couldn’t type that with a straight face!) Still, he takes what’s left of his supply, and bolts. Unbeknownst to him, many of his fireworks are leaking gunpowder, and the ants light his trail. This leads to a rather spectacular explosion, as the insects celebrate their “Indepen-ants day.”

Favorite Part: I’m sorry, did you miss the fact that Ant Harry Truman is in this picture? He’s one of the most hilariously terrifying, and terrifyingly hilarious creatures I’ve ever seen!

Personal Rating: 3

Bugged by a Bee

“Looks like a blast!”

Directed by Bob McKimson; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Jim Davis, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens and Jaime Diaz; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on July 26, 1969. (Which makes it the last Looney Tune released during the golden age)

For Cool Cat’s penultimate performance, the fab feline has decided to ditch Colonel Rimfire and go solo for the rest of the series. So what wacky hi-jinks will he get up to? Going to college of course! (Tigers are well known for doing that) Disco Tech is his school of choice. Not even there for a minute, and he makes his first enemy: a bee. The insect was just living its life when C.C. took a swipe at her. Said C.C.  also takes note of a statue on campus of Musclehead Murphy. (What an awful name.)

This Murphy fellow got the statue erected because he’s the greatest athlete Disco Tech ever had. Cool Cat isn’t pleased to hear this, and sets out to prove that he is a much better athlete. (Which makes perfect sense to me. A male tiger has got to fight for mates. Physical prowess is a perfect way to prove you’re cub fathering material) His first stop is what I thought was pole vaulting, but Mr. expert athlete calls it “Vole Paulting.” (I never was one for sports, so I’m perfectly happy to admit to being wrong) Seeing all the sexy girls watching him, he happily attempts the leap.

After a failed first attempt, (only because his “vole” ended up in the wrong hole. He would’ve made it otherwise) he sets to do it again. That bee comes back to get her revenge and stings the tiger. In turn, this pain gives Cool Cat the extra lift he needs to set a new school record. And if you’re good at “paulting” you must be good at baseball, because the coach asks him to join in the game against Hippy College. (Since we don’t see how it is spelled in this picture, I’m declaring my spelling canon.) Cool Cat agrees.

I’ll admit, I also don’t know much about baseball, so I couldn’t tell you why the coach waits until the last moment to put in his new athlete. (But I can tell you he looks like a fatter Mr. Magoo. Maybe he’s a relative) The tiger steps to the plate, but misses the first two strikes due to the bee coming back to distract him. Still, despite that, he manages to hit the final ball. Guess he was stunned to find he was capable of it, because he doesn’t even run at first. Not until the bee gives him another sting. (That’s at least two stings with no bee fatality. I can’t pinpoint the exact species, but she ain’t no honeybee.)

The trend continues. The bee and her stinger compel the tiger to make even more feats of daring in rowing, hurdles, and football. (Good thing Cool Cat has an amusing scream, or this might get a bit tedious) Come graduation day, the school is set to give an award to their new greatest athlete. (Being awarded by some relative of Norman Normal‘s I think.) Naturally, the tiger gets squat. The bee is the one who is awarded the trophy. (Just the way things are. Don’t take steroids, because they’ll get all the credit)

Favorite Part: There’s plenty of fun touches in this cartoon. (The guy who yells “stroke” has a megaphone strapped to his face, and Cool Cat has a running gag of hitting his head on stadium walls.) But my favorite part is the left most member of Cool Cat’s girl group. Not only is she the hottest, but her method of cheering strikes me as funny. (She jumps without bending her knees)

Personal Rating: 3