Sunday Go to Meetin’ Time

“Get your hands off me.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Smith; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on August 8, 1936.

Here we go. The first one of the censored 11 I’m featuring here. Is it worthy of that title? In some spots, yeah, but there’s SOME good things in here.

As it is Sunday, (as I type this and in the short) it’s also time to go to church. Everyone in the community puts on their finest clothes and heads for some sweet, sweet, gospel. (I won’t lie. I’m a little uncomfortable seeing young children having their heads shined like shoes. Luckily, that’s probably the worst this picture has to offer. The big lips hardly phase me after witnessing that.)

One lady is set to go, but has misplaced her husband, (Or he could be her son. It’s never established.) Nicodemus. Since he’s black, the cartoon thinks that he’d most definitely rather be playing craps than going to church. (I’ll just pretend that it just happens to be his favorite game.) He’s found and dragged off to the building. (Talking in that kinda dopey tone of voice Hollywood was fond of having black people use. The tone that I doubt was ever THAT noticeable? Okay, okay. I’ll stop. )

Once there, he of course ducks out. All that talk of the bible can make a guy hungry, and since everybody is at church, nobody can catch him trying to take a chicken. (I love how he tries to prove to the bird that he isn’t holding anything in his hand. The bird ain’t fooled.) Giving chase, he hits his head on a fence post and Nicodemus begin to see things that will scare him straight.

Now standing before a judge, he has his life history looked over. Seems he sinned plenty. All stereotypical sins no less. (The craps, and chicken snatching weren’t obvious enough. That’s why he was also had to be guilty of watermelon theft.) Fate’s sealed, he’s going to hell. Satan and his demon minions are quite happy to have a new soul to torture. (Satan and his followers also have uncomfortably large lips. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Isn’t making fun of Satan totally fine? Then again, those lips aren’t really funny on anybody. I’m conflicted.)

As the imps began his torture with some pitchfork pokes, he wakes up to find the chickens pecking him. With the threat of hell fresh in his mine, Nicodemus repents and heads back to church without further hesitation. I knew he was a good guy, deep down.

Favorite part: Say what you will about the visuals in this cartoon, but the music is awesome! Very catchy and a treat for the ears.

 

The Censored Eleven

When you watch as many old cartoons as I do, you notice that like many things, they are a product of their times. From referencing the biggest stars of the silver screen at the time, to making mention of a war that has been over for nearly 75 years as I type this. However, the biggest change (at least to me) is how the cartoons represented African-Americans.

Remember, at this time in history, many people of different races were still seen as different. Were they people now and not slaves? Sure, but they still looked different to white folk, and you know how society treats what is different. Either with fear, or mockery. In this case, mockery was what was considered the appropriate response.

Is this appropriate today? F*ck no! Get away from me if you think that! Was it appropriate then? No, not really. So why was it so commonplace in American culture? Simple, it was just how the world worked. Were black people offended? No doubt the majority of them were, but what were they to do about it? Society said it was okay, and that was enough fort the whites. I’m sure many of them weren’t entirely comfortable with these things, but if everyone is doing it, surely it must be fine. (And again, it isn’t.)

So that is why many of these older cartoons can seem a tad racially insensitive at times. Because they are. Now, what if society’s opinion on these “harmless” drawings were to change over time? No worry, we have editing for that. Just snip out that little bit of offense and none will be the wiser. Everyone can laugh at the slapstick and puns, and nobody need be upset. Unless of course, the cartoons in question were built upon this form of “comedy”…

Thus, we have what is known as “The Censored Eleven.” These cartoons have so much racist stereotypes in them, that you couldn’t edit them and still have any cartoon left. What’s the solution here? Well, I suppose you could put one of those “viewer discretion is advised” signs and- NAH! There’s only one thing to do to protect the easily molded human mind. Just flat out pretend that they never existed! Never let them grace the television screen again, or for that matter, any licensed home media. Do this and all will be right in the world. What a good idea!

Except… no. That’s a terrible idea. Okay, these probably aren’t the best things to allow children to view, but flat out refusing to acknowledge they exist? So, what are we supposed to take from this? That there was never animosity towards different races and we got along great after slavery was abolished? That the white man saw the black man as his equal and treated him as such? That’s insulting to history! Why can’t we take responsibility for our actions? We can’t look at these and say: “Wow. That wasn’t funny. Good thing we don’t do this kind of crap anymore. Interesting what jack@$$es we used to be, huh?”

Keeping these off of networks that children may watch, and DVDs that they might want to view? Again, probably for the best. Children are impressionable and it is possible they might think these things are still socially acceptable. (Though, I would like to point out that I saw a few of these cartoons as a kid, and I never thought they were accurate. In fact, I asked the adults in my life why the black people were talking and acting in such a way. Was it supposed to be funny because that’s not how anyone acts?)

However, banning these cartoons outright from adults? I think that’s a little extreme. Why not just add one of those disclaimers that preface other DVDs that portray earlier time periods. Give the whole “It’s wrong and always has been, but many people didn’t intend to offend as the world was messed up, and ignoring it is worse, so we are flat out showing it. Be an adult and learn from this.” spiel.

Honestly, is it so wrong to view these? What about “South Park?” A show that at least offends one type of people with every episode. It’s lauded as one of the greatest animated series to ever be created. (I myself, have watched very little of it, as it offends me.) However, that doesn’t mean I actively try and get it removed from the world. I don’t like, I don’t view. Simple. Besides, doesn’t all humor have to offend at least a little? Slapstick humor derives from anothers physical pain, puns tend to be funny when they are used to annoy someone else, and these cartoons… honestly, really DO go a little far. But they still are animated wonderfully, have some voice talent that is still really quality stuff, and still can have a joke or two that can be funny. Heck, two of these cartoons are considered to be part of the eclectic “100 greatest” and one of those two even managed to earn a spot on “the 50 greatest cartoons of all time.” (And it wasn’t near the bottom of the list either. It was in the top half, thank you very much. At number 21)

All in all, I’ll say it again: These were wrong, and they probably should never have been made. Still, what’s done is done and we should stop pretending we have nothing to be ashamed about. Making mistakes helps us grow as people, and sets examples for us to learn from. (And boy, are these some big mistakes.) As long as you are an adult, (or if you are underage, if your parent thinks you can view these) then I don’t see why we can’t re-release these on DVD. It probably won’t ever happen, so it’s a good thing you can view these online. (Crappy quality, but that’s fitting for the crappy stereotyping)

Busy Bakers

“We must work fast before he wakes, and fill his store with pies and cakes.”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Richard Bickenback; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 10, 1940.

Before I begin with the summary, I insist that you watch this:

One brilliant person made this work of art, and if you come here, then you’re the kind of person who’d enjoy it. (I was only going to put this up with permission, but I was told to just do it regardless. I guess civility really IS dead.)

Back to what I normally talk about on Sundays…

Poor Swenson the baker. He’s got no customers, because he’s got no products to sell. He can’t sell any products, because he has no ingredients. He can’t buy more, because has no funds. Funds that could be given to him by the customers he doesn’t have. (A vicious cycle) I’m not sure how things ended up this way. Maybe he spent all his dough (tee hee) on the premises. Or he could just be terrible at his chosen profession.

Enter an old man. He appears to be blind, hunchbacked, and nearly toothless, so clearly, he’s seen better days. (Figuratively, what with being blind and all) He asks for some crumbs. Even if Swenson is the world’s worst purveyor of pastries, he is a kind man and gives his sole patron the last doughnut. Free of charge. (Not like selling it would be much help anyway. He’d probably be able to afford half a stick of butter at most) Still, the old guy is grateful for the kindness and heads out.

As it turns out, this was all a test. In reality, the old man is… some random old man dwarf. He lives with others of his kind in what’s left of Disney’s “Old Mill.” (Which is the greatest Silly Symphony says I. Go watch it to celebrate the series turning 90 this year!) Because of Swenson’s generosity, the dwarfs are going to supply him with their own ingredients, and bake him a stores worth of goodies. (They will do it while he sleeps. Not only because surprises are fun, but people who run failing businesses tend to force smaller beings into being slaves. This is why cobblers no longer exist.)

So, we get gags about making pastries. They’re…honestly, not the best Warner Bros. has cooked up. (Tee hee) They put egg shells into batter, try squeezing whole pumpkins into pie crusts, and get trapped under unrolling jelly rolls. I don’t know if I’d want to eat their wares. What does one put into dough to get it to stick to a table like that? It may look pretty, but the eyes can be deceived. (I once tried to eat a poison dart frog because it was beautiful. It dissolved my colon)

Despite the mix ups, the little guys seem rather adept at what they are doing. Still, noise is noise, and Swenson wakes up and sees what is going on in his kitchen. With the jig up, the dwarfs flee. Word travels fast, as the store is already packed with people wanting to purchase the pastries. Since they weren’t made with high fructose corn syrup, I’m not surprised to see them sell like hot cakes. (Tee hee) When the day is done, Swenson has a good amount of gold coins in his possession.

Now comes the true test! The old man comes back to once again beg for scraps. (Gotta see if success has changed the baker for the worse.) Happily, he is still a rather nice fellow, and gives the beggar a whole pie. (Maybe he knows the old guy is related to his booming business somehow, and doesn’t want to lose his luck. A little food for thought. (Tee hee.)) However, when Swenson mentions that there is a five cent deposit on the pan, he gets the pie heaved in his face. (I don’t understand. Doesn’t that mean if the old guy returned it, he’d get payed? Why so angry?)

Favorite part: Like I said, the gags were sadly a little weak. (Though the art is very nice) I suppose my favorite part is the song they sing while they bake. It’s catchy.

Mutiny on the Bunny

“He’s not long for this world.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Arhthur Davis; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 11, 1950.

What a great start to this cartoon! A man escapes from a ship known as the “Sad Sack”

Aren’t you clever? Smarta$$.

It’s his line that lets you know you’re in for a good time. “I was a human being once.” One of the best things said by man or toon on screen. (I’ve used it before. Sadly, instead of laughing, people ask what I mean. I hope whoever lives on my home planet rescues me someday.) Said man was the prisoner of Shanghai (Yosemite) Sam. A man who likes to have a one-person crew to do everything on the ship that he feels is beneath him. With the guy gone, looks like Sam will need a new one.

What luck! Bugs Bunny is hanging around this place. (I’m calling it the “Whaztup Dock” Applaud now.) Sam, acting like a barker, offers a free cruise around the world. Seems legit. Bugs accepts and happily boards the ship. As he waves farewell to the crowds. (Read: one mouse) Sam strikes, and a dazed Bugs ends up rowing the ship (the sails are just for show) with a ball and chain on his leg.

He complains. The best joke in the picture happens right afterwards. Words do it no justice, so I’ll let you watch for yourself.

You seen it? It was a gut-buster, right?

As the crew, Bugs is ordered to swab the deck. He does the classic “Oh no I’m not” bit, and, surprisingly, loses. (It always helps to shake up the formula a bit. Well done, everyone!) He gets his revenge by writing unflattering comments about his captain on the deck. Angered, Sam takes the mop himself to remove the graffiti. Bugs enjoys his short break before Sam wises up and points a gun in his face.

Bugs claims the ship is sinking, and since Sam is the captain, he has to go down with the ship. As captain, Sam makes Bugs captain. Under the new command, Bugs still refuses to let Sam escape. Women and children first, you know. (Why is that the rule? Is it just common courtesy? Or are men not worth saving? *thinks about the various guys I’ve met in life* Yeah, it’s a good rule.) Sam has to sacrifice his dignity, and dress in a wig to get out alive. Bugs also insists he take a baby along with him. (It’s an anchor, but Sam doesn’t realize that until he is in the water.)

Once back on board, he steals what Bugs claims is a treasure map. Sam follows the clues to the promised riches. (Keep your eyes open and you might see one of Sam’s disappear for a millisecond. I love these tiny errors.) He finds the spot and digs. On a wooden ship. In the middle of the ocean. Which is going to cause it to sink. Which it d-

He fixes the hole, and shoves off once more. Bugs is clearly not worth the trouble, so Sam is going to cannon him to death. He takes aim, but Bugs moves. The ship gets another hole that Sam has to fix. So the solution is simple: aim UP this time. It works in theory, but gravity ruins things and the ship goes down for the third time. Sam fixes it again, but Bugs attaches a rope to the vessel. This strips most of the wood, and it sinks again. Sam calls it quits. In turn, Bugs gets the cruise he wanted via a rowboat. Sam is the one doing the rowing this time. I bet they’ll end up great pals.

Favorite part: The joke I wouldn’t spoil is tempting, but I think I love that one fellow’s quote much more. It could be used in several literary classics.

Wild Over You

” Le ha-ha.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philp DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 11, 1953.

Before we begin, a couple notes.

1. I met the nicest woman at work the other day. She really knew her Looney Tunes. We spent a few fun minutes quoting them. There was only one thing that kept me from asking her out. (It wasn’t because she was married. We could have worked around that) No, it was because she was at least 40 years too old for me. Such a shame.

2. I ask you to raise a glass in honor of Richard Williams. Possibly the greatest animator that will ever grace this planet. His work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is right up there as one of the pinnacles of human creation. He will be missed and never replaced. (And he shouldn’t)

Thank you for your time. Let’s get the 500th post underway.

Back in 1900, when the world still had world fairs, (man, it would be fun to attend one of those. It’s too bad we don’t really have much good as a species to show off, anymore) one was held in France. Even by this time, zoos were nothing new, but a chance to see exotic animals is always a sure way to draw in the crowds. (And my lord, the cages here are horrifying. The giraffe is poking out of the top. The elephant is pressed against the bars! Aushwitz isn’t being topped here, but things are close.)

Such horrible living conditions, its no surprise to me that one of the animals has made their escape. It’s a wildcat, and although that’s not the worst case scenario of animal escape, the crowds go into panic. (Probably smart. Fear, while often an overreaction, does keep us alive) Immediately, a zoo keeper and dog begin the hunt. Poor creature. She means no harm, but a lifetime of imprisonment is hers unless she can find someway to avoid detection. What ho! Could those cans of black and white paint be the answer?

One coating later, the answer is yes. Decked out in the years finest skunk model, she has the hunters fleeing. This is usually the time in Warner Bros. shows that Pepe shows up. Right on cue. He’s quite happy to find not only find a female, but a LARGE female! (Bigger is better!) He makes his move, but seeing as how this time his target is a much more dangerous animal, he gets a bit mauled. (Now, obviously, this is meant to show sadomasochism as a good thing. That’s why Pepe is so into it. Why would we be expected to just think its funny? Cartoons ALWAYS have deeper meanings to them)

The chase begins. You know the classic formula, chasee hides and chaser is already there. Like in a fortune telling booth. The feline is told she is to meet the male of her dreams. (Nightmares are technically dreams) When she flees, she finds this man. (He looks an awful lot like that swami. Could they be… brothers?) There’s a good number more places to hide inside. Wax statues, (the cat hides as Marie Antoinette’s stole, Pepe as Daniel Boone’s cap) a suit of armor, (the cat’s mauls rearrange it into something you’d see in a modern art museum) and a replica of Madame Pompadour’s carriage. (Where Pepe asks himself if this is all worth it. And answers himself that it is worth it.)

The chase continues, but it seems that the cat is starting to wear out. No longer is she fleeing as fast as she once was. Pepe is using this to his advantage, taking his sweet time to catch up. There’s clearly only one option: escape via hot air balloon. She leaps in, cuts the ropes, and says farewell to dwelling on terra firma. Sure, it will quite the adjustment. (She can no longer stalk prey, but the sky is full of birds and water particles, so she won’t want for sustenance) In fact, the only downside I can see is the lack of company. Good thing Pepe also made it aboard. She can maul him all she wants, he’s not going anywhere.

Favorite part: The fortune telling bit. Especially when Pepe calls her existence drab. How come when I tell girls they have the same problem, I get hit?

Mouse Warming

“Dear Cat (Pal)…”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 8, 1952.

I won’t lie; this cartoon is cute. Luckily, it’s balanced out quite nicely by some good comedy to keep you from losing your foot to diabetes.

Moving day is an exciting time in any young person’s life. Mice included. Mr. and Mrs. mouse have just moved into the neighborhood with their young daughter. (Who, for lack of a better name, I’ll call Alice.)

Shut up, it wasn’t my idea. (Although, it’s possible that this could be an origin story)

Moving into a new home, not only gives you new surroundings and the chance to make new friends, but also, new potential boyfriends! What luck! Here comes one now! He even has his own car. (The humans of the house don’t seem to mind sharing toys. In fact, they never feature in this picture.) Boy mouse, (who might have a name, but I couldn’t tell since he never speaks) is smitten by the cutie he sees in the window. Sure, they’re judging strictly by appearances, but maybe it’s pup love. (Mouse joke, there.)

Boy mouse intends to go right over and say hi. (Which will be hard, due to him being mute) He’s a bit shy though, so he pretends to be in need of sugar. (He appears to live alone, which makes him hitting on the teenager kinda creepy. But then, mice live by different standards than I.) He doesn’t make it too far before being intercepted by Claude. He manages to escape, but now there is a cat blocking the way to eternal happiness. (Something cats do that I’ve always been aware of.)

Claude begins to take note of how odd the male is acting, and sees why. It’s not only adorable, but it’s fodder for a very dastardly idea. Claude decides to write a love note to the boy. Setting up a fake rendezvous in the kitchen. The little mouse takes the bait, and arrives to find his dream girl waiting. (Actually a puppet. To be fair, she makes a cute puppet too.) Upon seeing the cat attached, he takes the girl and escapes. (He finds out off screen that she was fake, good thing as I don’t think I could stand to watch his teeny-weeny heart break. Or worse, living out some fantasies that a puppet can’t object to.)

Plan A obviously didn’t work. Claude tries another letter, but he’s not dumb enough to expect his target to fall for it a second time. No, this time he sends a letter to Alice’s father. Or rather, a threat that says the boy is coming over to steal their home. Father readies his human sized gun. (When protecting your family, you want to make sure the enemy stays dead.) To further mess things up, Claude puts up a sign asking for a boarder. The boy mouse falls for it again, (Love truly clouds judgements. I’m pretty sure the parents wouldn’t rent a room to someone who clearly just wants their daughter.) He flees for his life again. (Accidentally making a quick detour into Claude’s mouth. In turn, the cat gets the bullet)

The young mouse seems to have caught on to this chicanery, and he writes his own note to Claude. Rather than messing with one’s romantic feelings. (something only cats would be low enough to try) the mouse instead makes it from the dog outside who wishes to befriend the cat. In fact, why not he come over for a game of Canasta? Claude is all for it. In fact, he not only brings the table, but the refreshments. (Swell guy, that Claude.) The dog is confused, but still beats him up. And the lovebirds? They finally hooked up and went on a date to the coolest place around: the fridge. Aren’t they sweet? (I guess they straitened things out with the father already)

Favorite part: Definitely Claude’s first letter. Where he not only says that the girl is 16…months, (Which would make her middle-aged as a mouse) but according to her friends she’s “not unattractive.”

The Foxy Duckling

“I gotta get a duck! I gotta get a duck! I gotta get a duck!”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Animation by J.C. Melendez, Manny Gould, and Don Williams; Layouts by Thomas McKimson; Backgrounds by Phil DeGuard. A Merrie Melody released on August 23, 1947.\

Night is probably my favorite time of day. Things are still and quiet, soothing and peaceful. Perfect for slipping into sleep and forgetting your troubles in the blissful state of unconsciousness. The only problem is when insomnia rears its ugly head. Such is the fate of poor A. Fox. (A for Adam) He can’t, and I mean can’t, sleep. He’s tried near everything too. Boxes of sleeping pills litter the floor, there’s a whole bucket of milk, and he’s tried every possible sleeping position. Even clamping his eyes shut don’t make a difference.

Falling out of bed causes one of his insomnia books to land on his face. I guess he didn’t read this one much, as it states a solution he never thought to try: a pillow full of duck down. (His is full of various metals. Not comfortable, but… actually, I can’t think of a “but” after that.) Well, if that’s what’ll help, the only solution is to get a duck. So he heads out with a mallet. (I like that he isn’t just hunting for some food. There’s already so many cartoons like that)

He finds a duckling and readies his weapon. (It’s interesting that Daffy was not used in this picture. Not bad, just interesting.) He takes a little too long to swing, so the duckling escapes to a lake. Adam follows, but is reminded that he can’t swim. (Despite the fact he should be able to, and adult ducks also have down. There you go. The two animal facts I’ll teach you today.) He tries some tricks. Blowing a duck call gets him shot by hunters, and when he throws an anvil from a boat, the bird just drags him into the firing line. (It frightens the fish, so I guess he won’t be sleeping with them either.)

Maybe this swimming thing could work. All he needs is a flotation device, and a diving board. (With all that preparation, the duck has plenty of time to aim the board towards a tree) Okay, maybe the heavy object trick could work if one was to throw it from a tree. (Since their is a rope tied to the thing, I guess it was an anchor) Duckling ties the rope to Adam’s leg, but the fox is smart enough to cut the rope. (But dumb enough to keep holding it afterwards)

The duckling climbs a strangely placed mountain, (When God gets drunk, he just places them any old place) and when Adam catches up, the duckling flies over the edge, just out of reach. (I’d tell you that the bird hasn’t yet grown the feathers for that, but I’ve already given you your two facts. Don’t be greedy.) Our fox isn’t going to have that, and begins nailing many planks together to catch up to the fowl. Once he’s out a ways, the bird saws through most of his work. It’s just barely hanging on, and Adam freezes in place to not upset it further.

Sadistic duckling that he is, the little guy plucks out a single feather, (his feet flash yellow) and lets it drops on the frightened fox. (The tension is wonderful here!) No fake outs either; once the feather makes contact with the fox, his structure collapses and he falls to his death. You’d think that now he’d be able to rest. (In peace) But forget that! Being an angel means he has wings of his own! And he’s going to use them to chase that duckling! Iris out.

Favorite part: It’s small, but a great touch. When the duckling walks around in the air with his wing/hands behind his back, he still flaps them to keep aloft. Being a cartoon, nobody would have to animate that and everyone could just accept it. But they did. I’m very proud of them.

Fish and Slips

“I hope you know what you’re doing, father.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Granpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 10, 1962.

Breaking news! A record sized fish has just been caught! (By Treg Brown, no less.) I can’t quite make out what the newscaster is saying. Sounds like “Shark-nosed tralfaz,” which sounds more like a name for a dog to me. Not only that, but the fish look like marlins to me. (But what do I know about fish? Oh yeah! Plenty!)

Sylvester and son saw that broadcast, and Junior is mighty impressed. Seeing as how the only other fisher”man” he knows is his dad, he doesn’t have a lot of options. Sylvester is not pleased to hear this, and takes his son to prove that he does know how to fish. Not from a pier. That’s too hard. Why, humans are kind enough to build buildings fulls of sea life, just begging to be eaten. We call them aquariums. And since the place is closed, cats get in free!

Sylvester’s biggest problem (and where all of the jokes stem from) is his inability to check the sign telling what is in which tank. Using his tail as a line is all well and good, but not when sticking it in a piranha tank. Let’s step away from freshwater and move to the salty stuff. Much more flavor! (That’s not a joke. You’ll learn lots from me. And not just about cartoons.)

This tank is much bigger, so Sylvester can dive in. He catches a good number of groupers, but they’d be a rather boring specimen all on their own. This tank also contains a shovelnose. (Which looks nothing like how they normally do for the sake of the joke) Curiosity is a trait cats tend to have, so Sylvester takes a peek at its hole. It also tends to kill them, as a hammerhead pound him in and he is buried. Junior has to fish him out.

Could Junior do better? It’s possible. He managed to catch a small fish off screen. (I wouldn’t call it a small fry. It looks too old for that. Just “a little fish” humor.) It’s not enough to fill Sylvester’s belly, but it could probably make decent bait. The sperm whale seems to think so. (Wow. Cartoons sure are terrific! My universe has never had such a large creature in captivity!) Junior laments the fact that his father has become a meal. (He also calls it a fish. Something I was sure science had disproved by the 60’s.)

Sylvester uses the classic escape: a fire. (Why was there a raft in there? What sick sense of humor does this place have? “Don’t worry ma’am. Sure, we tricked your kid into being eaten, but there’s a raft in there. If he’s done any scouting at all, he’ll come out fine. Oh. He’s four?”) Sylvester gets out, but the dolphins have gotten bored with no humans around that they can warn of impending doom. They play catch with him. (WITH him.)

One last tank. Sylvester will go in via diving suit, and Junior will pump air to him. Things don’t get off to a great start, as this tank contains such amazements as an electric eel. (So, we’re back in freshwater?) a… lobster? (Well, it could be a very large crayfish. I’m sure there wouldn’t be any more contradic-) and an octopus. (Darn it, McKimson! Unless the mollusk is suicidal, you messed up.) Things get even worse for the feline, when Junior takes a break from pumping to observe an inchworm. Realizing his mistake, he pumps harder, and all that air makes Sylvester’s suit inflate. He winds up landing in a tank of dogfish. (Junior doesn’t bother trying to save him this time. He’d rather make another smart remark.)

Favorite part: A quote from Junior that all children have said at least once in their life: “I don’t think I’ll ever understand grownups.” I know I still don’t, and I’m 24.

Chimp and Zee

“Peanut?”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Don Jurwich; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released on October 12, 1968.

A pretty late entry, and it kinda shows. Seems there wasn’t a lot of heart put into this one, as we aren’t given a lot of information. I’ll do my best to explain, but most of it is based on guesswork.

In the jungle, (the mighty jungle) a… and we already have our first guess. I’m not sure what this guy’s profession is. All he tells us is that he is looking for a blue-tailed simian. Apparently, it’s the rarest species of monkey in the world. What he won’t tell us is why he wants one. Fame? Money? An exotic pet? We’re not even given his name! I suppose this could be like a mad-lib, so I’ll “happily” oblige.

His name is “Dexter” he is a “professor” at “Lovy University” and wants a monkey so he can “have his students dissect it to learn how much in common man has with fellow primates.”

So, why the title of this short? Again, I have to guess! Luckily, this one is a bit easier to figure out. There is indeed one of these monkeys in this jungle, but he is accompanied by some type of jungle boy. Neither of them talk, so…

The boy’s name is “Chimp.” (because he looks more like an ape than the monkey does) His parents were “tourists” who were “looking for a way to abandon their offspring.” He was adopted by a “family of monkeys” who “gave him his name, due to a lack of tail.” His brother is named “Zee” because he was the “26th child” his family had.

That should do it. Let’s return to the “plot” so you can “be entertained/educated.”

Dexter takes a shot at what he believes is his monkey prize. It was only a coconut. Hey, a free snack is a free snack. Despite the college degree I gave him, he can’t seem to figure out how to open the fruit. Chimp pulls the pull tab off for him. Dexter drinks before realizing the boy has a monkey in tow. He’s not civilized, so he gets no say in what happens to his “brother” and that is why Dexter chases them down. Chimp shoots a suction cup arrow at the professor’s head, and ties the other end of the rope it is tied to, to a boulder. Dexter plummets.

As the chase gets going, the two come to a river. The camera begins zooming in on the wrong side of the screen for half a second, leaving more evidence that this cartoon was made for a paycheck and nothing more. (Which is too bad. The slapstick isn’t terrible) Zee asks a crocodile to help scare Dexter off. *Sigh* Here we go again…

The “animals” all “respect Chimp” because he has a “highly developed brain.” Therefore, they will “do anything” he or his family ask. (That, and blue-tailed simians have got to be poisonous. The blue tail has to mean SOMETHING!)

What else can fail? Dexter aims a blowgun around a boulder to shoot at them. (He gets himself. Hope there weren’t any toxins in the dart. For his sake) He reaches into a log and finds two arms exit. He bites the one that was hitting him, and finds it was his. Pulling on the other drags out an elephant. UGH!

The “elephant” lives in a “hollow log” because “her husband threw her out for daring to look at another bull.” It was a hippo, but the loophole didn’t make him any happier. (And why do the pachyderms in this jungle have gross looking pompadour-esque growths on their heads? It can’t be healthy.)

The professor’s final plan is to simply dress up as his prey. Not only that, but he will lure him out with a mating call. It works, but a little too well. He attracts every male blue-tail in the jungle, and they clearly have no qualms about initiating a 17 way with the “female.” (Although, if they are as rare as he says, it would probably make sense for the females to do as many males as they could. Gotta rebuild that population.) As Dexter flees, the title characters swing off. (Zee was “not affected by the call” because he is “gay.”)

Favorite Part: As Dexter falls off the cliff, he lands in a raptors nest before falling the rest of the way. Emptying her next of crushed eggs, she finds one intact. In retaliation for the infanticide, she throws the final one at him. (It survives, but the very idea was so dark, that I loved it)

Saps in Chaps

“Go west, young man!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Sgt. Dave Monahan; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on April 11, 1942.

What a time it was expanding the west! There was so much untapped land just waiting to be claimed. (I’m pretty sure there weren’t already PLENTY of people living there, otherwise I’d feel guilty for living where I do.) Things were plenty different back then. Not only were the states in more irregular shapes, but every president on Mt. Rushmore was still a baby.

Not everybody had the luxury of crossing via covered wagon. A few had to make do with crawling desperately through the desert. It was dangerous too! Hungry vultures kept their eyes peeled for any living being that couldn’t cope with the heat. Luckily for the guy we’re following, he comes across a fill-up station that is happy to supply him with water. (His thirst may be quenched, but he is still stuck crawling the rest of the way.)

Towns seemed to grow like fungi, and the people who populated them all walked with a dumb cowboy gait. Even the horses. Even the mice! (When they aren’t being hunted by lasso twirling cats, that is.) At a nearby saloon, you could not only escape the midday heat, but converse with other people. You had to watch out though. Villain types came in rather frequently, and you were pretty much dead unless you were the hero type. (The one who can laugh off gun shots. I wish I could be so bass)

Entertainment? Sure, rodeos exist. Where the men show off how tough they are by riding animals that DO NOT want to be mounted. One of which in particular throws everyone out of its pen. Still, as tough as he is, he can’t cope with an audience, and quietly slinks away to get his much needed privacy. Oh! I nearly forgot! Mail was delivered via pony express in those days, but that doesn’t mean everyone was suited for the job. What to do if you just can’t mount the horse? Simple. Let HIM ride YOU. (It’s good for the back)

Favorite part: During the rodeo, one horse is told that he can’t throw off his rider. He bluntly grabs the man and throws him down. (Sticking his tongue out at the narrator)