Rabbitson Crusoe

“♫ Once I had a secret love… ♫”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 28, 1956.

20 years is a long time to survive on your own, but that is exactly what Robinson CaruSam has had to do the past couple decades. He’s been shipwrecked on a tiny couple of islands. The largest portion in the is where he sleeps, cooks, and keeps a lookout for rescue. The smaller one is where his food source comes from: a lone coconut tree. This is where things get difficult, for patrolling the waters is a hungry shark that lacks pectoral fins going by the name of Dopey Dick. (Which sounds like a villain you’d see in an ad for E.D.)

Maybe his disability has forced the fish to hunt easier prey, maybe a certain crocodile got him hooked on the taste of man flesh. Whatever the reason, the shark has been trying to get his jaws on Sam everyday for twenty years. He gets his chance whenever the man needs to get food off the tree, or grab some supplies from his wrecked ship, seeing as how the only way to get to them is via some small stones. For the past twenty years, Sam has been able to keep alive by making it to land, grabbing a mallet or bat, and beating Dick back into the sea.

Now, Sam has been on an all coconut diet for the past ten years. (Just kidding. It’s been twenty still.) He’s become quite the expert at preparing the fruit a myriad of different ways. But the problem with coconuts is no matter how you prepare them, they still end up tasting like coconut. (That and the milk changes color once it’s in the glass) That’s a taste I’m not wishing on anyone, so I’m impressed Sam was able to last twenty years before cracking. Enter Bugs, also playing a castaway. He’s a meaty prize well worth the trouble, so Sam calls for the rabbit to come over to his island.

Bugs finds himself in a pot, and does he like it? No he does not. He pours water on the fire, which means Sam is going to have to get to the wrecked ship to get another match. This means another round of Dick dodging. Sam is able to distract him with a bone, get his match, and return to his pot. Where Dick was waiting for him. (Why Sam hasn’t just tried eating the shark by this point…) Bugs has hidden himself on the ship, and Sam attempts at getting there are thwarted by the Dick of the deep. (Why Sam isn’t using his weapons…)

Sam does get Bugs back in the pot once more, but the rabbit spies a tidal wave. Even if Sam did believe him, it wouldn’t make any difference: the entire island is now underwater. Luckily for Bugs, the pot floats. And luckily for Sam, Bugs is willing to save him from death by Dick. Seeing as how Sam isn’t really in a position for negotiating, he agrees to Bugs’s terms. Namely, rowing the two of them to San Francisco.

Favorite Part: Sam saying that dinner will be ready in a few minutes, barring accidents. That’s when Bugs puts out the fire. But watch Sam’s face. As soon as he hears Bugs take something out of the soup, he is horrified. The rabbit wouldn’t…

Personal Rating: 3. It could have been longer, and I’m kinda bummed we didn’t get a short of a shipwrecked sailor and a starving shark. Both wanting the other, but staying safe as long as they don’t leave the land/sea.

Birds of a Father

“I feel like an assassin.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 1, 1961.

Sylvester can relax in a hammock with pride. His son is the kind of kit that most father’s can only dream about: the kind who is a natural at bird chasing. But wait! The bird is chasing Junior? That’s not how it should be. Could Junior really be afraid of his natural prey? No, worse. He’s friends with the bird! The shame of it all! Time to teach the kid about proper behavior.

Junior is kind of aghast to learn that he is to chase, catch and eat a bird in that order. Spike (for that is the bird’s name) suggests a plan though: a mock fight that will take place in a shed away from Sylvester’s judging eyes. (All said in tweet-ese. Where’d Junior learn to speak that?) It starts out perfect, but the two are really putting their all into their roles, and Sylvester is a bit concerned with how violent his kid is behaving. Especially if the cleaver in the door is any indication.

Sylvester comes in (The cleaver and Spike both disappear. At least we see the bird leave.) and tells his son that there is a much more humane, much more sporting way to hunt birds: searing hot lead that can reach speeds of 2000 feet per second. Guns. What a wonderful invention. Sylvester is quite the markscat as well; gets a birdie on his first shot! I’m impressed, but the badminton player isn’t as much. (Probably because he had to pay for it.)

Round 2. (Is it me, or is Sylvester’s tail unnaturally long in this picture? I can already tell its missing the white tip.) The next bird is most definitely a bird. It may have even been alive once. But as of now, it’s a hat ornament and the owner of said hat doesn’t take too kindly to a cat with a gun. (Me personally, I’d let a cat wielding a gun do whatever he pleases. It’s a good survival tactic.) So, maybe technology is the answer. Sylvester builds a cute little plane that will shoot at any target you instruct it to. What happens when you set it to bird? Do you know?

Did you say it goes after birds? You did? Good job! Spike is plenty maneuverable though, and is able to stay alive. But the plane is tenacious and doesn’t give up after one failure, and Spike flees, right towards Sylvester. He runs with the other two right behind him. Spike is able to dodge it once again, but Sylvester gets stuck with it in an explosives shed. After the blast, Junior scatters some feathers around to make his father feel good about himself. Then heads off to play with his new friend: Spike in cat disguise. (So sad that is father is species-ist.)

Favorite Part: After Junior learns of how nature intended for  cats and birds to get along, (With the hairs on his head disappearing very briefly, I swear!) He sadly asks his dad if they are cannibals. Sylvester says yes.

Personal Rating: 3

The Leghorn Blows at Midnight

“Ask a silly question; get a silly answer.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Rod Scribner, J.C. Melendez, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 6, 1950.

Foghorn is enjoying a game of solitaire, I think. (I’m not an expert on card games. You can only expect so much of me.) He’s also cheating. Which the universe can’t handle as once he puts down the 3 of diamonds, the seven of spades disappears. And then that 3 vanishes when he puts down the ace of hearts. (Cheaters never win because they literally can’t!) Alas, the rooster should have found a better place to sit as he is well within B.D.’s leash length and is cymbal’d. (After the hound misses at first. Love the smile he wears when he succeeds the second time.)

This doesn’t set Foghorn back for long, as he swipes a pie from the windowsill and smushes it into the dog’s face. Then he plays barber, shaving the pie off and giving the dog a hot towel. (Love the expression of fear he wears when he sees it coming. This dog makes great faces.) The small stuff is not quite good enough, and Dawg sharpens up an axe. (Drama-queen.) Henery shows up and just decides the dog is a chicken. (Huh. Usually he has to be misinformed.) The dog points him toward Foggy. That’s his chicken.

In turn, Foghorn gives a sob story about how afraid he is of going into a dark oven. (Henery [with genuine concern]: “Would you rather be fried on top of the stove?”) Foghorn tells him that chickens ain’t worth a 99-cent value meal. (I’m paraphrasing of course. Those weren’t around at the time.) Now pheasant, that’s a tasty dish. Foghorn is even willing to give the kid a lift to pheasant territory. (They’re cute when they sing together.) Wouldn’t you know it, Henery had been talking to a pheasant earlier and didn’t even know it!

Foggy give the hawk some glass so he can enjoy the pheasant under it. (I want to say that the handle of which changes color, but since it was already transparent, maybe it’s the background behind it changing color?) Henery gets the “pheasant” under the glass, but has to run from the angry “bird.” The leash keeps it away, and Foghorn uses the opportunity to do like he did in “Walky Talky Hawky,” and use the dog’s stasis as an excuse to hurt him in comical ways.

Eventually, Henery calls B.D. a pheasant right to his face. Rather than correct him, he reminds the small bird that he is a CHICKENhawk. You think ANTeater’s ever vary their diet? Stick with what humans named you. Getting the hawk to untie him, B.D. fakes the sounds he usually makes when he is strangled and Foghorn is summoned. The two engage in good old fashioned fisticuffs, while Henery cheers them both on. The winner gets to see tomorrow. The loser joins Henery for dinner. (He still thinks that dog is a pheasant.)

Favorite Part: During Foghorn’s weeping, he tells Henery to feel how gristly his wing is. That’s not an empty request. As the camera zooms in for what is sure to be a heartfelt backstory, the chicken DEMANDS the child feel it. (I didn’t make that sound weird, did I?)

Personal Rating: 3 teetering on four. It’d make a fine introduction to Foghorn’s cartoons.

The Dixie Fryer

“I’m a rooster, not a roaster.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Granpre; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on September 24, 1960.

Cold is bad. Cold equals death. Foghorn is the wisest chicken this side of Aardman, so he knew enough to get south once the weather turned on him. Since he can’t fly as well as a duck, he uses one to pull his balloon basket. Taking note of the magnolia scent in the air, he figures this must be his stop and he leaps out via the Mary Poppins approach. He came well packed with all one needs for a vacation: a comfy chair, and a table to hold a drink. (The mint julep is a cute touch.)

But predators are a worldly thing, and there is a couple in that tree just yonder. If you’ve watched every Looney Tune and Merrie Melody in chronological order, then you’d recognize these guys. If not, I’ll introduce you. They are Pappy and his son, Elvis, two raptors of indeterminate species. I call them that because they were turkey vultures in their first picture, but have shrunk down to chicken hawks for this, their final appearance.

They’ve been subsisting on black-eyed peas for some time now, and Elvis is really craving a chicken. The lack of them is all that is keeping his wildest desires from coming true. They take note of Foghorn and are ready to have themselves a good old fashioned BBQ. Foghorn isn’t too pleased to wake up to someone plucking his feathers off, but he finds even more to complain about once he finds out what is on the menu for dinner. (I hate hearing people complain on their vacations.)

With their dinner on the run, Pappy chases him down telling Elvis to shoot him with the gun they have. Elvis has been trained to fire when ‘fire’ is said, and unfortunately for his father, Foghorn knows this. This calls for dueling pistols. Foggy almost immediately gets the guns into the wings of the two, and tries getting them to duel. But what makes these guys fairly amusing is that they are fairly intelligent, and they both shoot their prey.

Foggy tries to get rid of them by claiming there is a tornado on the way, and nailing them in the storm cellar. Then the actual tornado hits him. Foghorn decides to take shelter in an explosives shed. The other two follow him and Foggy leaves them in there with a light. The resulting explosion sends the raptors back to their nest. They decide that the peas will make an adequate dinner after all.

Favorite Part: When in the shed, Elvis asks his father what T.N.T. spells. A very unique way to discover and announce your doom. I hope I can go in a similar way.

Personal Rating: I want to give it a four. There are some good jokes that even manage to subvert your expectations at times. But I don’t know, are the adversaries racial stereotypes? Let me clarify: offensive racial stereotypes? I enjoyed them and didn’t think they were hurtful, but I’m naive and scared of someone accusing me of being insensitive. It’s gotta stay a 3.

Captain Hareblower

“I’m taking over your ship!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterizations by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 16, 1954.

The final of the three shorts featuring Yosemite Sam as a pirate. The first one was spectacular. The second one was very funny. This one manages to squeak by with a sea average. I apologize on its behalf.

Pirate Sam, (that’s really what he’s going by today) has his sights set on a ship just begging to be plundered. He’s got quite the reputation it seems, as just announcing his arrival is enough to send everybody on board overboard. Save for Bugs who was hanging out in a crate of carrots. Since he doesn’t know the meaning of this “surrender” word, he can’t very well do it, and decides to fight.

Sam gets cannoned to the face no matter how sneaky, slowly and slyly he sails. And Bugs isn’t above sneaking over to the opposing ship to get an extra shot on his assailant. While he’s loading the cannon, no less. Sam tries this trick out himself, but Murphy’s law is on the rabbits side, so it still doesn’t work. Even sending a keg of TNT with a sail fails, as Bugs has an electric fan to blow it right back.

Sam finally decides to just board the other ship and take it over, but Bugs has already vacated to the crows nest. Sam fails to chop him down, so he chooses his only other option and climbs up. Bugs dives into the water. Sam dives into a rock. Then its time to reuse the best gag from “Buccaneer Bunny.” The one where Bugs tosses matches into the powder room. It’s obviously not as funny here. Not just because we’ve seen it, but Bugs and Sam are on opposite ships. Part of what made the original work so well was Bugs acting like a total smug badass, totally confident that any misfortunes will only befall on Sam.

The new wrinkle they did add is Sam coming over to Bugs’s ship to do the same to his powder room. Bugs doesn’t react at all, causing Sam to flee for the horizon. (I do like how fast he left. That’s a great shot.) Bugs shows us that his powder room only contains the talcum variety, and that variety doesn’t explode. The following explosion makes me me doubt his validity.

Favorite Part: Sam trying to deliver a bomb underwater. (His eyebrows change color as he suits up.) Not only does the fuse stay lit with no explanation, but Sam is swallowed by a dolphacuda and when the explosion happens, all that is left is a skeleton. But the eyes are still in their sockets. (That’s disturbingly hilariously creepy.)

Really Scent

“Spring means nothing to you.”

Directed by Abe Levitow; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Samuel Armstrong; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on June 27, 1959.

Isn’t romance great? I’m really asking seeing as how I’ve never experienced it. But I’m not worried. After all, I’m only 27, so accounting for age and my poor diet, I’ve got about a year and a half left. I mean, Pepe wasn’t one to give up. After 14 years, could his luck finally be on the up and up?

Apart from his Oscar winner, I’d say this is my favorite Pepe short. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Taking place in New Orleans with June Foray as our narrator, we see one Pierre Cat. He and his wife, Fifi, have just welcomed their two daughters to the world. We have Jeanette and Fabrette. (Though nowadays we know her as Penelope.) They’re both perfect in their parents’ eyes; save for one feature. Through the magic of genetics and Murphy’s law, Fabrette is born with a stripe of white fur down her back. Making her look an awful lot like a skunk.

Oh, her parents still love her. The problems arrive once the girls are old enough to start attracting mates. Jeanette has no problem. Fabrette on the other hand sends the males packing once they see what she’s packing. (At least they look at her. She’s doing better than me.) The poor cat mopes, but maybe luck is going to cut her a solid today. For a boat has just docked, and it was carrying none other than Pepe Le Pew. (He’d be every mammal’s dream man if only…)

The two are instantly smitten. (Which probably means Fabrette thinks Pepe is a striped cat.) They embrace, but it’s not long before Fabrette learns exactly why Pepe doesn’t already have scads of women fawning over him. She flees with the skunk following. It takes the envy of her sister’s romance, and the frightening prospect of what others would think of her should she die single, that gets her to try once more. They have a saying in Louisiana: “A true lady does not need to breathe.” Inhaling as much as she can, Fabrette returns to her man.

Pepe is glad to see her again and the two stroll. She lasts about forty full seconds before her lungs can’t take it any more, and she exhales all over the place. (It only sounds gross. I bet you just did it too. Hypocrite.) Even perfume can’t combat Pepe’s aroma, so the cat calls it quits. Pepe, meanwhile, finally decides to learn exactly what ‘pew’ means and why everyone says it when he is nearby. What he learns shocks, saddens, and embarrasses him. But I know Pepe. He’s a swell guy. (Despite what some idiots say.) He’s willing to make an effort  to make a happy relationship. He knows just how to do it too.

He heads for some deodorizing. That’s got to be an embarrassing surgery to reques- oh. He’s just going to expose himself to chloroform. So actually, maybe he isn’t willing to win back his lady? If that’s true, then things will be very awkward in the afterlife soon, as Fabrette is planning on drowning herself. The narrator talks her out of it, telling her that the much smarter solution is to make herself more like her partner. So, she exposes herself to Limburger cheese. (Because… if she stinks herself, she’ll be immune to all odors?)

When all is said and done, it is now the skunk that flees from the cat. I’m sure they’ll work things out.

Favorite Part: Their first hug. It was cute! And if you’re like me, (a hopeless romantic) you’ve been waiting for these two crazy kids to realize they are meant for each other.

Personal Rating: 4. A wonderful change-up to a very formulaic series. Before you tell me how bad it is with how fast the two are progressing. One: they’re animals. Two: they’re toons. Three: the story only had six minutes.

The High and the Flighty

“Ace, ah-say, Ace novelty Company?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Russ Dyson, and Keith Darling; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Carl Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1956.

Foggy’s really going to get that dog today! See, he’s made sure to clearly mark the limits of the dog’s rope, so he can stay out the jaw’s range, but still mess with him. Smacking him with a fence post is just part one. The rest relies on Foghorn’s beach ball. All the while, this fracas is being noticed by Daffy of all characters. He witnesses the rooster stick the ball in the dog’s mouth and popping it, and the dog retaliating with a watermelon to the beak.

All of this is very interesting to the duck. He’s once again in the game of novelty selling, and that chicken looks like he could make good use of his wares. Daffy introduces himself, and offers up a spring-loaded bone for $2.98. Foghorn naturally has the money. Being a rooster pays well. (No benefits, though.) He walks right up to the Barnyard Dawg and offers a bone as a sign of peace. No sooner does the canine put it in his mouth, does Foghorn undo the latch and put some spring in the dog’s step. (I hope Daffy’s clientele are all toons. That looks like it’d be horribly painful to a live-action dog.)

You know, that dog could probably make good use of Daffy’s ware as well. And Daffy isn’t afraid to play both sides in order to make a profit. The dog’s gag is an ear of corn that he deliver to Foghorn as a package. So excited to eat is he, that Foggy doesn’t take note that the cob is connected to some electric wires. All right, why don’t we call it a tie? -And Daffy is once more coercing Foghorn into purchasing another prank. A fake train that he’ll charge B.D.’s house with. The hound dodges, and Foghorn runs onto an actual track. Complete with actual train.

Daffy decides to offer up the big guns. He calls it the “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.” (Complete with instructions, even.) Daffy makes even more money, and Foghorn sets up what is sure to be the ultimate prank. (Bet you thought it involved “Invisible Spray.” Ignoramus.) Just as he’s putting the finishing touches together, Foghorn spies his adversary setting up the exact same prank, from the exact same company. The two put two together and realize they’ve both been played. Time for a real truce.

They purposely make loud threats to the duck, knowing full well he can hear them. Daffy probably would like to make more money off them, but he decides to cut his losses and leave while he still has his spine intact. He doesn’t notice he is walking right into the firing space of “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.”, (Complete with instructions, even.) until he gets the brunt of it. The gag is revealed to be nothing more than rubber band launching a poor schmuck through a pipe, and into a bottle. Despite the simplicity, the customers seem quite content with their purchase.

Favorite Part: It’s not much, but I really like that Foghorn didn’t need to be told he was getting ripped off. Let’s be honest, he’s kind of a meathead. (White meathead, that is.) Yet, he was the first one to figure out what was going on. Proving that he DOES have a brain. Peanut sized, though it is.

Personal Rating: I give it a 2. Daffy doesn’t really add anything that couldn’t be filled with some generic salesman character. But for the common folk, 3.

Bosko at the Zoo

“GET IN THERE!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Larry Martin. A Looney Tune released on January 9, 1932.

As someone who has loved animals from the moment he exited the womb, I’ve also always been a fan of zoos. Granted, as an adult I now know that not every one of them is on the up and up, but I still think they get a bad rap. Many of them are really trying these days, people! What I’m trying to say is, I’m envious that Bosko would rather take his girlfriend on a zoological outing rather than me. (Even if that does mean I’d have to ride on his handlebars.)

For the time being, it looks rather nice. The habitats are spacious enough, and it looks sanitary. Bosko’s nose even turns white. (That means it’s a good’un.) Honey’s a wee bit scared of the lion, (Wimp.) but she is fairly interested in the aquarium section. (Oh!… um… I… I’ll just wait for you over by the exit. I’m sorry I intruded on your alone time!) The fish inside the tank have lots of fun, playing leap-frogfish, and using an octopus as a maypole, but the sad reality is that they are just the fodder for the larger fish in the tank. (Nice touch making Bosko and Honey all wiggly. Really adds to the illusion of bent light.)

By this point, an ostrich gets a hold of Bosko’s hat. Since there isn’t any employees around, Bosko is free to chase the bird into the enclosure. He actually manages to keep pace with the bird, and grabs it. In turn, his hat is swallowed. Bosko ain’t having none of that, and forces the bird to lay an egg. Even though the black coloring suggests this ostrich is male, it manages to get an egg out, and Bosko’s hat is within.

The ostrich is upset, and probably humiliated by this, so Bosko plays a pipe to cheer it up. (Honey is just gone by this point. Either walked home, or was thrown to the bears.) This really gets the place jumping. The beavers beat their tails and the kangaroos in the same habitat, dance. (Is Bosko just in a zoo? Oh, yeah. He really is this time.) Some monkey’s scratch themselves to the beat, but they get serious when one of them really needs his friends help to remove his itch.

The friend pulls out whatever it was, and puts it on a plate. But he only pretends to eat it. So when the other monkey tries to help himself, he gets a fork in his hand. This really pisses Bosko off for some reason, and he marches into their enclosure to spank the monkey. (I still mean that literally after four years! Sheesh.) Just like the last time he did that, he angers a gorilla who shares the space. He ain’t happy and chases Bosko through the suddenly much larger area. (Watch the teleporting monkey!)

Even though I could have sworn this was on level ground, Bosko has to jump out of the enclosure, (Which just has an exit. That’s dangerous on so many levels, including ground and where we are now.) and he lands on a lion. No clue if this is the one from earlier, but it gives chase. Bosko runs along with the ostrich and walrus also in the habitat. (More fodder. On another note, that pinniped is keeping remarkable pace with the bird.) They have no choice but to stop at a wall. As zoo animals, they have no proof that anything even exists beyond it!

Bosko leaps atop the wall, and the lion crashes into the other two. In turn, the three animals are combined into some kind of horrifying chimaera that must live whatever short life it has left in bitter agony. And Bosko is quite cheery if his smile is any indication.

Favorite Part: The whole cartoon went by, and not once did they make the stupid joke about ostriches burying their heads in fright! It’s an animated miracle!

Personal Rating: 2

Hare-way to the Stars

“At long last, my dream come true!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, and Abe Levitow; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip De Guard; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1958.

Aside from “D.D.I.T.241/5C.,” this might be Marvin’s best remembered short. Kinda odd, as I think it might be the weakest one. In terms of comedy, of course.

Bugs has just woken up for the day, and is feeling the effects of a root vegetable hangover. (Radish juice and carrot juice. Never again.) He’s in need of a nice, cool bath and begins the climb out of his hole. Unbeknownst to him, the space race is still relatively new, and one rocket is being launched right over his house. Still groggy, the rabbit doesn’t notice he has climbed aboard, and continues to not notice until he has left the planet.

Getting hit by a passing satellite, Bugs is carried to some sort of place in space. I… really don’t know how else to describe it. It’s red pathways, panes of glass, and not much else. It’s… beautiful. I’m not trying to be funny for once. These really are some great backgrounds, and I’m automatically bumping the short up a grade because of them. Bugs isn’t so taken with his new surroundings, and wonders if the only other sign of life might be able to get him back home.

Said sign, is Marvin of course. And he’s rocking a color slightly different than how most remember him. His helmet and kilt are brown rather than green, and his…skin?…clothes?…the body area is green rather than red. (A color scheme he’d keep for the rest of his golden-age movie career.) Something’s got him in a real good mood, and he takes no notice of Bugs at first. He’s far more interested in what he calls “The Illudium pu thirty-six exlosive space modulator.” (It’s taken 2000 years of work? Either he’s aged great, or it’s been a project spanning generations.)

Bugs finally gets to request a ride back to Earth, but Marvin has a bit of sad news to relay: Earth’s seconds are numbered as he’s just about to blow it up. You see, it really does a number blocking Marvin’s view of Venus, and there’s just no other way around it; the planet has got to go. Bugs isn’t quite done with the place yet, and takes the I.P.36E.S.M. when the martian isn’t looking. Marvin catches on rather quickly, and decides to send out some reserves.

Enter the Instant Martians. (Even if a previous short claims they’re not.) Ten thousand of them, all crammed into one handy little space. Just add some water, and they instantly spring to full size. (A nifty trick that another alien, Jumba Jookiba, would utilize himself one day.)The trio set out to capture Bugs, and one almost immediately catches up to the rabbit via scooter. Bugs plays a game of “do what I’m doing” with the creature, and tricks it into riding off the edge of the red. Since there is definitely gravity in space, the guy (or maybe girl) plummets.

Bugs then runs into the other…three? (Unless one of them is the one he just barely got rid of. It’s a possibility!) They chase Bugs up to some doors, and each party takes turns holding them open for each other. Sadly for them, it was Bugs’s turn to hold open the door that leads into open space, and the definite gravity takes them away. Having witnessed the whole thing, Marvin has no choice but to get some more of the martians. Good thing he has between 9,997-9,996 left. (And if you’re trying to be a smart @$$ and asking “If Marvin is  martian, why doesn’t he look like them?” Remember that iguanas are earthlings just like us, and we don’t look a whole lot alike.)

Bugs finds himself a saucer that he of course knows how to fly, and prepares for his journey home. En route, he smashes into the martian dispenser, taking the glass part with him and leaving behind Marvin’s explosive. And it’s been lit. Marvin is just happy to get his stuff back, and doesn’t take note of that. Seeing as how it was designed to blow up an entire planet, it does a good job destroying Marvin’s digs. (Eugh. I don’t like seeing him without his shoes on. Thank Chuck that never happened again.)

Bugs manages to get back home, but lands in a sewer. And those things are full of water. He flees, as we see the pavement crack, bulging with over 9,000 invasive species. Here’s hoping “War of the World’s” twist holds true!

Favorite Part: How Marvin doesn’t react with glee when he explains what he’s doing. It’s like when you take down a tree that is growing into your foundation, it needs to go, but one can still fell guilty about how many homes you’re destroying. At least he has more empathy than the Vogons ever did.

Personal Rating: 3.

What Makes Daffy Duck?

“Keep up the good work!”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by William Scott and Lloyd Turner; Animation by Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, Don Williams and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 14, 1948.

During one particular duck season, Daffy has two hunters interested in him: nature and mankind. On the former: we have a fox. No name. Until now. (Frank it is.) The other side is represented by its usual “champion,” Elmer. Both want him real bad, and neither is willing to let the other have even a feather. Daffy knows the best way to settle things: a race. First one to the lone pine in the distance is the winner.

The two make ready, but Frank is one of those sly foxes, and never actually runs. With Elmer gone, the fox takes his dinner in the opposite direction. Daffy makes things more difficult by calling out to Elmer, and pouring oil on the hill Frank is ascending. The fox runs from Elmer’s gun and ends up smacking into a tree. Elmer takes aim at Daffy. In turn, the duck gives his sob story about always being hunted, and the paranoia getting so bad that he is happy when he’s finally killed. Elmer lets his guard down for a minute, and Daffy uses this opportunity to mallet the hunter’s head and escape.

Elmer may be the type to get outfoxed by a fox, but he has a bit of a brain as well. He disguises himself as a female duck, and is able to lure Daffy closer, because Daffy is desperate for any female form. (Seriously though, that is the ugliest duck disguise I ever saw. Even the ugly duckling wouldn’t want anything to do with her.) Daffy also catches on to the disguise rather fast, but plays along. (Even offering to get “her” a chance with the W.B. I can’t explain the scary look in his eyes, though.)

While offering to show the lady some of his sketches, Daffy blows a duck call to wake Frank up, who is still at the foot of the tree he crashed into earlier. (Nice touch.) Coming to, he sees the “lady duck” and tries to make off with her. Neither predator is too thrilled to see the other again, but since Elmer has the gun, he has the advantage. (But Frank has some height on him! Either he or Elmer is not the correct size for someone of their species.) And since Daffy lassoes Elmer, (because he can, I guess) Frank takes the duck away.

He makes some impressive distance between him and Elmer, but the hunter is right behind him anyway. Daffy tells the fox to fight for his dinner, and the vulpine finally grows a pair and stands up to the gun. While the two fight, a dog game warden appears. (That’s not odd, don’t worry.) He puts up some signs signalling that duck season has ended, and fox season begins. And just like that, Frank is fearful once more. Elmer takes after him, and the warden reveals to us that he was Daffy. (See? Perfectly logical.)

Favortie Part: When Elmer has Frank at gunpoint and tells him to put his hands up, we learn that Frank’s human-esque hands were really gloves hiding paws! Not I’m wondering if there’s another reason Bugs, Mickey, Sonic and magicians wear those…

Personal rating: 3