Thumb Fun

“WHOA-HO-HO-HOOOOOOO, NELLY!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Bob Wickersham; Layouts by Peter Alvarado; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 1, 1952.

Daffy scoffs at the idea of flying south for the winter. I mean, it’s not like ducks are champion endurance flyers. While the common mallards will waste time AND energy, Daffy will get south the way evolution intended him to: hitchhiking. Nobody is offering rides though, and Daffy is reduced to having to paint a fake canyon in the road. (Nice use of perspective. Really brings to mind the works of the masters.)

One driver stops. His name is Porky Pig. Even though he was only stopping to avoid a potential crash, Daffy takes that as an offer to ride. He even fills the trunk with his excess luggage. (What does he even have in there? He’s not even wearing clothes. And people harp on Porky’s lack of pants.) There’s not much room, but Daffy makes do. When Porky takes a peek, suitcases fly everywhere. What a start.

They get going, but find they aren’t the only ones on the road. There’s a driver who wants to pass them. Now, Porky has no reason to give in. He got where he was first, and the other driver is acting like an a-hole with a horn. But this is Porky Pig we’re talking about. Friend to the common man and road jerks alike. He wants to let the guy pass, but Daffy shares my sentiments and continuously steers the car back in front. This goes on for awhile, until the other driver crashes into our stars.

Porky is not happy this has happened, but Daffy isn’t worried. The other car is ridiculously small, so the driver ought to be just as well. Said driver is not only tall, but pissed. It’s not enough that kids find his appearance while driving a vehicle humorous, but now he has to find another comediacally small car. Daffy’s reaction is great: he acts like groveling dog. I guess the big guy finds this endearing, because he lets Daffy live. He gives Porky a punch.

After they get going again, Daffy complains at the lack of speed. Porky is a responsible driver, and refuses to speed. Daffy steps on the gas himself, and that’s when the cop shows up. (It’s the universal law.) Daffy has a plan: he tells the officer that Porky has “something” in the trunk. Knowing all too well what will happen, Porky begs for the man to NOT look in the trunk. This doesn’t help matters, it only makes him look worse. The cop takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Before Daffy can get Porky to flee, they are nabbed.

They’re brought in to Muddville. (Where there is no joy. It’s their slogan.) Not surprisingly, Porky gets off easy. A fine of $2.00. (Sweet!) Daffy is angry to hear it, and goes to fight. This ends up costing Porky an extra fifty. Daffy still feels that’s a victory. Porky has had it, but plays it cool. In fact, he ups and buys Daffy a present. But the fun in giving, is seeing the surprise on the giftee’s face. Therefore, Porky refuses to let Daffy have it right away. He stuffs it in the trunk.

Daffy’s greed gets the better of him. He takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Porky takes his chance, and drives away. Daffy is able to take some solace in still having the present. He opens it up to find: a novelty hitchhiking thumb. (Wah-wah.) Come winter, Daffy is still desperately waving his thumb. There’s only two things that can end that cease the suffering: the season, or Daffy’s life.

Favorite Part: The man who pulls over for a hitchhiking Daffy, just to tell him that he never picks his kind up. (It really is a shame that so many dickweeds ruined trolling for the rest of us. It’s actually quite humorous when done right.)

Personal Rating: 4

 

The Curious Puppy

“Fun! Exciting! Baffling!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Robert Givens; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 30, 1939.

We regret to inform you that the local amusement park is closed for the season. Those of you who live in a world of pre-covid Disney resorts, might scoff at such practices, but as someone who lives in an area that gets snow, (If you call that living. I don’t.) I can assure you such ways are real. But Joe is our titular curious puppy, and he can’t resist making a quick visit.

The thing that immediately catches his interest is a cat shaped sign. Like a good little, curious puppy, he immediately sets to barking. It might not be a real cat, but its good that he starts with a harmless version. As he barks, he accidentally pulls the master switch. The very switch that turns the whole park on. (Really should have hid that better. It’s why this park is now a strip mall.) Is there no security? Yeah, we spared no expanse. We got a boxer.

Enter Charles. He’s a little grumpy because he’s been left in an empty park with no food, only enchiladas. (I joke, but I find those are rarely worth eating) They may have been friends in past shorts, (or at least, co-stars) but Charles has a job to do, so Joe has got to go. The chase begins.  First stop: the house of mirrors. A perfect opportunity to do the routine Groucho made famous in “Duck Soup.”

Charles creeps ever so slowly, making sure the only other dog he sees is his reflection. Joe appears at the one point where there is no mirror. Although, Charles has his real reflection for a split second. I swear! (Well, I censor myself.) The mirror gag starts, with Charles trying to catch his “reflection” not copying him. (I love the ridiculous happy face he wears. That should be a meme somehow) Joe does eventually screw up, revealing himself and running again.

The puppy hides in a photo booth, using a photo board as camouflage. Charles isn’t fooled, and lunges. The resulting force sends Joe out a window and into a popcorn machine. He’s pretty cool with this, and helps himself to a snack. Charles finds him again, and turns the thing on to get himself a bag of “pup-corn.” He gets the mutt, and carries him off. (To eat? Maybe just to get rid of him, but maybe to eat.) But a flimsy paper bag, weakened by grease no less, was not meant to carry an at least 15 pound animal. It breaks, and Joe leaves.

He probably could have gotten away this time, but he has to stop at bark at the cat toy prizes on show. (More practice! Good boy!) Charles gives chase again, leading them into a… fake mountain? I guess its just a way to give shade to those who wait in line for the pool slide. (I’m pretty clever.) The dogs take a quick dip, before Joe escapes. Charles follows to what is the perfect hiding place: an entire stall of toy puppies, all of which look identical to the little trespasser.

Charles pounces! Good thing he isn’t finding the real one. Just look at the heads fly! When I said Joe escaped, I meant it. He’s outside the park now. Charles sobs. (Even if the puppy is out, he’s probably out himself. Of a job. I counted at least forty toys destroyed. That’s about $20.00 US dollars more than Charles makes in a year.)

Favorite Part: The pup-corn bit. It was cute! The way Joe gets scooped, salted, and buttered. (Luckily it doesn’t burn him.) And packed up neatly in a sack! I wish the parks I attended sold such joys.

Personal Rating: 3

Moonlight for Two

“Stand back, villain!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Larry Martin. A Merrie Melody released on June 11, 1932.

You ever heard of Goopy Geer? There’s no shame if you haven’t. He’s one of the WB’s most minor of minor characters. He’s your basic run-of-the-mill anthro-dog. He sings, he dances, he plays musical instruments. He was another attempt to make a recurring character for Merrie Melodies. And I know what you are thinking now: that name and species? It’s another blatant Disney ripoff! Yet, Goopy came first. He predates the dippy dog by a couple of weeks. And, yet, (again) one went on to have his own movie in the 90’s, while the other got a cameo on Tiny Toons. (There are no losers, but some won more than others.)

Late at night, in some Ozarks-ish area, a girl dog heads out with her boyfriend/ormaybehusbandbrotherorjustdancepartner for some dancing fun. Even the birds sing in excitement. (Probably on the other side of the globe. It’s clearly day where they are.) The guy is Goopy and the gal is just Goopy’s gal. (So, it is once more up to me to supply a name. Gigi sounds appropriate) They sing our title song, jump onto a cart, (not sure if that was intentional) and they crash. They end up going to the dance in a wheelbarrow.

Random transition to the dance! We’re just there, man. It kind of feels like we got a different carton shoved in here. Everyone is having such a wonderful time! Look at those asses wiggle! No, really. They have long ears, and are clearly equines. (And yes, their posteriors are moving too.) Goopy and Gigi are ready to cut a rug. Bust a move. Shimmy a shake. Even the stove gets in on the action. (The animators clearly wanted to make him the star. He’s so much more lively.)

You want some conflict? We’ve got a surplus of generic Ozark villains on standby. Have an a-hole Amos on the house! He doesn’t do much more than make a kiss face at Gigi, but that’s enough for Goopy to fight him off. He’s not too good at it, though. The stove ends up chasing the rogue away with his burning embers. (Coming next month: Pot Billy Stove in, “Some like it not!”)

Favorite Part: Two dachshunds dance. One chugs some firewater, and burns most of his flesh away. His partner doesn’t mind how vertically challenged he has become, and continues to dance with him without hesitation. That’s adorable.

Personal Rating: 2

The Unmentionables

“Dis is fun, Rocky!”

Directed by Friz Freleng;(The last one from him at WB) Story by John Dunn; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Art Leonardi, and Lee Halpern; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc, Ralph James; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on September 7, 1963.

You like television spoofs, right? You like “The Untouchables,” right? Then this is the picture for you! (And if you aren’t afraid of violence, then you won’t have a problem.) It’s the 20’s. (Looks at the calendar.) The roaring 20’s! A much better time to be living. I mean, the market surely wouldn’t crash, cartoons weren’t going to get any better than “Felix the Cat”, and people weren’t wearing masks. Truly, you couldn’t find a better place to live than the 48 states of America.

Okay, sure. There were still problems, even in the past. Namely, gangsters. They’re all eager to control the underworld, and aren’t afraid to kill each other to do so. (Witness the poor guy who tries calling the cops. His head and body will miss each other.) Things are bad, and when things are bad, you get someone to fix things for you. Enter agent “Elegant Mess” who is so different from Eliot Ness that even a tube worm could tell the two apart. Biggest clue: Mess is a rabbit.

This leads me to believe that Mess’s real name is Bugs. Bugs Bunny. (It’s a good name. Who knows what kind of fame he could achieve with a name like that?) He’s off to find crooks and bring them to justice. He enters a taxi and he finds them. Er, they find him? Someone finds someone, and when you find someone, you should make your feelings about them perfectly clear. In this case, Mess is given a new pair of shoes. Cement ones.

Rocky and Mugsy (who are making their final golden age appearance) drop the rabbit into lake Michigan. They don’t feel the need to stick around and watch, but if they did, they’d see the rabbit escaping. He had a pipe on him for breathing purposes, and he is strong enough to hop out onto the shore. As for the crooks, they’re celebrating Rocky’s birthday. (I got him a razor. He’s got a noticeable 5 o’clock shadow) Everyone is here. A nastier gang of miscreants you’d never see because they wouldn’t let you live. Just look at these case files.

Name: Jack “Legs” Rhinestone

Favorite baby animals: Calves

Favorite Cooking instrument: Wok

Name: Baby Face Half-Nelson

Favorite Sea Creature: Urchins

Favorite Potato Style: Tots

Name: Pizza-Puss Lasanga

Favorite Toy: Dominoes

Favorite Historical Figure: Caesar

Name: Pistol Nose Pringle

Favorite Game: Chutes and Ladders

Favorite Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Name: “Teeth” Malloy

Favorite Looney Tune Character: K-9

Favorite Mode of Transport: Chopper

Bad enough individually, but together, they could only be bested by the best.

Everyone wants to show Rocky how much they respect him, so they got him one of those cakes that has a woman in it. Considering the time period, are you surprised that a flapper comes out? Wait, I recognize that “lady.” It’s Mess! Rocky is fooled and tries to hit on the woman, but she is too focused on her dancing to notice. (She kicks him a bit too. Just for good measure, you understand.) Rocky fires his guns in frustration, and Mess decides to flee. Rocky meanwhile, finds that firing your weapons so recklessly isn’t a good way to keep living henchmen. (At least Mugsy survived.)

The two chase after the rabbit, who leads them into some dark building. They fumble around in the dark a bit, before Mess turns on the lights. It’s a cereal factory that they’re in. Actually, it’s a cereal making machine they’re in. Once Mess starts the machine, the two find themselves boxed up quite nicely. Mess has won! He takes the two away, and they receive a good 20 years of hard labor. Mess, who handcuffed himself to the two is forced to stick around. He’s lost the keys.

Favorite Part: It’s not just one part. I like how they weren’t afraid to kill people in this cartoon. (Which usually portray characters as experiencing way worse and living) They’re portraying dangerous gangsters after all. They refrain from bloodshed, but it still is ballsy to me.

Personal Rating: 4

Daffy’s Inn Trouble

“This will put ‘im outta busineth, but permanently!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and George Grandpre; 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 September 23, 1961.

Daffy isn’t pleased with where his life is. Yeah, that’s nothing new, but really, who wouldn’t be upset if their occupation was nothing more than one who sweeps the floor of an inn? Considering who the boss is, I wouldn’t! Porky is a great guy to work for. Benefits, paid vacations, insurance coverage, and he’ll even give you a present on the odd occasion! Daffy is eager at first, but quickly sours when he sees the new broom Porky is gifting.

That does it! Daffy will start his own inn! With Blackjack! And Hookers! (No, not really. I just like to quote “Futurama.” But he really is building an inn.) Porky is a bit confused that Daffy is doing this, but is still a good guy, and wishes the new competition all the best. Daffy isn’t worried in the slightest. In fact, there’s a gentleman right now! With two locations right across from each other, how could he choose? Daffy will help with that, and brings him to his location. Turns out, this is a robbery, and Daffy loses his cash register.

Business at Porky’s is booming! Which is a bit odd, as Daffy is offering free refreshments. What could Porky possibly have that beats that? Live action dancers! They have actual depth! (Just try to imagine a hottie from the tenth dimension. You’d be attracted in ways you can’t even wrap your brain around.) Daffy can top that! He’ll dress in drag and dance himself! It attracts quite the crowd. (It’s a little known fact that all cowboys are bird furries. Er, featheries? I’m not curious enough to look it up.) When the record starts to skip, his lip-syncing is revealed, and the tomato throwing commences.

Yep, Porky is pretty much unbeatable. Daffy tries to save face by suggesting they be partners. Porky turns him down because he is already quite successful. Daffy decides to just destroy his place. Since Porky’s inn is located at the base of a cliff, Daffy can drop a boulder, and it will look like an accident. However, he chooses the bounciest boulder he could find, and he ends up destroying his own place. R.I.P. Daffy’s Inn. (Trouble) Today-Today.

Well, if Daffy’s out of a place, then the only logical action is to destroy Porky’s business still. Dressed in drag once more, Daffy smuggles a bomb into the place and orders some lunch. (Did he just order Foie gras? Even if he’s not really going to eat it, that seems like something he wouldn’t want to even mention. Especially since Porky has no problem preparing it.) Daffy plants the bomb and bolts, but is upset to find Porky has followed to ask if “she” meant to order no drink. (So, yes, Daffy was trying to kill Porky.)

The bomb goes off, and destroys Porky’s place, but better than that, strikes oil! Porky’s rich! What will he do with the wealth? Not retire, but expand and relocate his building! He’s even willing to hire Daffy back. In fact, with such a large building, Daffy can even have his own office! Of course, it’s a broom closet as he is still the janitor.

Favorite Part: When Porky turns Daffy’s team-up down, Daffy pulls out a gun. We know this won’t work, but before we can theorize how things will backfire, Daffy accidentally shoots himself in the head.

Personal Rating: 3

He was her Man

“Johnny! Where are you?”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Paul Smith and Cal Dalton; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 2, 1937.

Oh, boy. You thought the Censored Eleven were bad? They kind of are. This… this is worse. This was uncomfortable to watch. Hardly any humor, but plenty of… of… heck, I’ll start from the beginning.

In a world of anthropomorphic mice and birds, we find Frankie. Her name is never mentioned in the picture, but she is in a relationship with a guy named Johnny, and she does take a gun on him, so it’s appropriate. Right now though, she is trying to sell apples in the middle of winter. You know, the season of misery. Business isn’t going too well. I mean, one prick just eats it out of her hand without a cent. I’d love to defend her honor.

It’s not just being chivalrous, she’s adorable. Sure, it wouldn’t work out between us, but she really deserves better. She finally sells one, and heads back to her living quarters. She is blindly in love with Johnny Mouse. He’s… well, I’m sorry to break out the foul language, but he’s an asshole. He not only forces her to freeze outside, peddling her wares, he also does nothing to help, takes away every cent she makes, and forces her to do the cooking. And yet, she is still hopelessly obsessed with him.

Seeing as how I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, I can’t pretend I know how awful it is. I do know, that nobody deserves such an awful life, and I wish Frankie knew that. She almost gets an out, too. Johnny sees another mouse doe across the street, and falls for her on the spot. Keeping with his dick cancer ways, he leaves without telling Frankie. (I guess they weren’t married. He’s just a cock ulcer she can’t bare to part with.) Oh, wait. He did leave a note. A very brief, short note that doesn’t tell her anything.

For all she knows, he could have been kidnapped. Or killed. (Not like he doesn’t deserve it.) Still, she’s unhappy. She shouldn’t be. This is her chance to live her own life, but she wants the anus cyst. The poor thing. An unspecified amount of time passes, and Frankie now makes her living singing in a saloon, singing the title song. (The mice who are partaking of the free lunch don’t move until there’s a good shot of them on screen. Just so you know.)

Frankie is still upset. When you know who walks in? That taint scab of a mouse, Johnny. Still with his new doe. And Frankie? She’s excited to see him! What kind of Stockholm syndrome did Johnny employ? This is painful to see! Oh, but it gets better. As Frankie begs him to take her back, he…he…he smacks her right in the face! Sure, her body reacts like a cartoon would, but it isn’t funny. No matter what kind of music they play.

Frankie tries to fight back, but Johnny is relentless. He punches her! Multiple times! He grabs her neck and shakes her around! He feels no remorse either! This…this… this is f*cked up! Frankie happens to find a gun, and well, I can’t say I blame her, but she shoots the rectum tumor. And she immediately feels bad. I mean, it’s a good thing she isn’t happy to have killed someone, but she needs to get away from this guy. He’s vile, he’s awful, he’s…getting up?

Yeah, turns out the bullets just barely grazed him, so he’s still alive. At least Frankie is still angry enough to break a bottle over his head. So, how should we end such an unpleasant cartoon? Have the two switch roles. Johnny sells the apples, while Frankie lounges around. Giving her “lover” another bottle whack whenever he looks at anyone else. She really decided to stay with him. I’m going to have to believe it’s sorely to keep others safe from this fecal pus sack. I think I’ve made my point.

Favorite Part: Well, I guess there was one part that wasn’t too bad. When Frankie climbs the stairs to Johnny’s place, she seems to pass by a Porky cameo. It wasn’t really worth repeating twice more, but at least it keeps the Johnny time limited.

Personal Rating: 1. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this. Go watch UPA’s “Rooty Toot Toot,” instead. It’s a much better retelling of the tragedy of Johnny and Frankie.

Porky’s Bear Facts

“Were you havin’ dinner?”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1941.

Apart from “Porky in Wackyland,” this might just be the Porky cartoon I’ve seen the most. Because it’s so good, right? No. Because it was always put on VHS tape compilations, due to its public domain status. I’ve seen it on at least five different tapes, and they were all the ugly recolored version. Not a good way to start off my Porky fanboy ways.

Porky is quite the responsible farmer. The weather is nice, so what does he do? Work of course! Plowing his fields, and storing his canned goods. His work ethic spreads to his livestock as well. His chickens lay piles of eggs, and his dog stores his bones. What a hard life. Isn’t there an easier way? Perhaps we should take a peek at the farm across the way there.

This is where our titular bear lives. He’s a lazy, worthless, good-for-nothing sack of sand. So, the most fitting name for him is Landon. (If you got offended by reading that, then you clearly aren’t the guy I’m insulting. I don’t think he can read.) Landon prefers to spend every moment sitting in a chair, singing about how great it is to procrastinate. (I can’t say he doesn’t make it look tempting.) His bad influence spreads, though. His dog can hardly bark at cats, his chickens play mahjong, and his cow reads books. Even the mouse has a hammock.

Still, there is a problem with such a lackadaisical life. Sure, it’s great now, but it’s almost never great later. And time passes. From the lovely, gentle warm days of August, to the one of the worst times to live, January. (I’m aware what month I’m writing in, thank you.) It’s cold, it’s freezing, it’s a miserable time to live through, and the only way you could possibly want to do so is with a full belly. Here’s where Landon’s habits have come back to bite him. He’s got nothing to eat!

All he and his dog can do is imagine the glorious meal they COULD be eating. (You know, was slaughtering his animals not considered work?) Then, there’s a ray of hope. A dog’s nose is phenomenal. Probably only second to sharks and bears. (Awkward.) It catches that telltale whiff. That marvelous scent! THE MOST BASIC, PRIMAL INSTINCT THAT ALL LIVING THINGS ARE AWARE OF! There’s food in the house! To the cans! They search and search, and there efforts are not in vain. They’ve found a bean! And they couldn’t be happier!

Time to eat! Actually, Landon stops his dog from going to town. Not because he’s greedily hoarding their salvation. Quite the opposite in fact. He insists that they say grace and give thanks for finding a means of staving off the grumbling bellies. Very spiritual, but not very practical, for as soon as they have their eyes shut, the mouse from earlier takes it for himself. Landon misses his chance to catch the rodent, and breaks into sobs. Then laughter. Then sobs. (I usually can’t stand the laughing to crying gag. I guess it goes by fast enough to not annoy me.)

The dog decides to get some lines in this picture and points out his master’s decline of sanity. Heck, he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, if the bear suddenly decided to eat him. Hmm, that IS an idea! Landon is all for it, advancing on his loyal pet with utensils in hand. (His eyes are either closed or gone, but they come back) The poor creature begs for his life, pleading to be spared. (Mel is comedic when his characters get worked up. That man could SHOUT.) Their march takes them all across the way, to Porky’s place. (Who finally shows up again.)

Passing by his window, they spot a lovely feast. Clearly too much for just Porky and his dog to eat. (I’m available.) Landon spares his dog, and they both go to his door to beg. I’ll give the bear credit. He doesn’t invite himself in. He tries to play it innocent, but he can’t even get to the sob story before Porky slams the door on them. Rightfully so! If they aren’t going to take life seriously, then I don’t see why they’d give death much thought. But then, Porky sees his “Love Thy Neighbor” sign, and his conscience begins to prickle. (Be strong, man! I’m sure God wants those bums to suffer! It’s because he loves them!)

Porky gives in, and lets the two inside. They gorge. Later, the bear is plump and happy. (And I won’t lie, as a kid, I thought he ATE Porky. I mean, he pats his stomach whilst saying the pig’s name.) Landon promises to have learnt his lesson, and vows to be a different bear next winter. But wait! Birdsong! Could it be…? Yes! Spring! (Which isn’t much of an upgrade, but it isn’t winter.) Old habits die hard and Landon returns to his porch, to continue wasting time. It’s lucky for him that bears eat grass.

Favorite Part: I like the fact Landon demands they give thanks. Even if it’s just one bean, he’s grateful all the same. It’s a good lesson.

Personal Rating: 3

Naughty but Mice

“Sleep tight, ole pal.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 30, 1939.

If you’re from the future, you might know this but: 2020 A.D. was one of the low points in the history of years. I wouldn’t expect anyone to forget, but humanity’s stupidity never ceases to amaze. Perhaps in the future, it will be offensive to mention, and people will try and censor any cartoons that have the characters wearing face masks. The babies. Well, so you don’t forget, here’s one last film to end said year with. About illness, no less.

Chuck’s fifth film, and the debut of Sniffles. (Who apparently was never voiced by Bernice Hansen as I’ve previously stated. Blast that lack of on screen names! Instead, it seems to have been by one Margaret Hill, who also supplied the voice for Andy Panda, and a couple of Toms.) He’s earned that name, seeing as he has  a cold. He has an idea of how to go about getting a cure, and that’s by visiting the local drug store for a cold remedy. (That’s all it takes? And here I thought that the common cold couldn’t be cured. Sniffles made me look like more of a moron than I usually do.) The sign says the place is closed, but normal rules don’t apply to Sniffles. He slips in through the mail slot.

So many choices, and only about six and a half minutes to select.  Sniffles opts for the first one he comes across. It must be the best. It has “XLNT” written on the side. (Xiphosurans Love Nude Tabloids) It has another label on it that Sniffles either doesn’t see or doesn’t dignify: 125% alcohol. (Forget how impossible it is, alcohol kills viruses.) Dangerous enough, but Sniffles proceeds to take a human sized dose. (Does being dead count as being cured? I mean, the virus will go with you.)

That puts some fire in the belly! Sniffles cools himself down with a drink from a random glass. It works, so I guess it was some form of dairy. Now, the drunken stupor. But before things get too crazy, Sniffles runs into a friendly face. A living, electric razor. (Not too crazy.) Since the mouse is plastered, this could possibly be a hallucination, but I doubt it. Too much evidence contradicts that later. The razor (should we call it Buzzy? We should call it Buzzy.) has sympathy for Sniffles, who has something to share too: his cold.

What a worthless remedy. If it can’t immediately solve a problem, why even bother with it? Either way, whatever pathogen that can give a mouse cold-like symptoms, can also infect Buzzy. (So, humans don’t have a chance.) Sniffles is a good guy, and goes to get more tonic for his new friend to take. The machine must have some sort of digestive tract, as he can take the tonic, and get just as drunk as his mouse pal. His stupor barely lasts before he passes out. Sniffles treats him as one of the deceased. (Since he’s drunk, it’s cute.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               There’s a cat in the store, and he or she finally shows up, taking note of the still drunk Sniffles. Before it can nab him, Sniffles falls into a claw game. That has no ceiling? (Someone could easily reach in there and take many goodies. Not me, though. I’m an angel.) Cats always carry change, so the feline decides to take a chance, and win dinner. (It’s a pretty sweet machine. Prizes range from perfume to a camera. And all for only five cents! (Which I guess would now be 92 cents as I type this. Still…)

After only three tries, the cat wins the desired prize. (Those games aren’t rigged, but only select few are allowed to win. The gods make sure of that.) Buzzy comes to, and notices what fate is to befall the heroic soul who healed him! After infecting him. (Still a hero in my book.) Attacking as only a razor can, Buzzy shaves the cat of nearly all its fur. The cat flees, meaning Sniffles will live until tomorrow, barring his illness getting worse. As he thanks his savior, he sneezes again. The force sending him back into the machine.

Favorite Part: Buzzy’s manner of speech. He only talks in the sounds a razor can make, and yet, I have no trouble understanding him. It must be heard to be believed.

Personal Rating: 3

Believe it or Else

“I don’t believe it!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by Dave Monahan; Animation by Virgil Ross; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 25, 1939.

You ever hear of “Ripley’s Believe it or not”? It’s a bit obscure. Newspaper comics, books, museums, and more: all to inform you of things you might just claim as false. I mean, a little boy named Chalres Schulz getting a drawing published? Preposterous. I’m sure he never went anywhere, did anything, knew anyone.

So yeah, obscure it may be, it was still worth a parody in a Warner Bros. picture. Brought to us by the master of gags: Tex Avery. Imagination is limitless, so we’re guaranteed a good time! Egghead is also here, but he’s going to play the role of doubting thomas. (Which isn’t fun to be. Be warned, children.)

What sort of oddities, strangeities, and weirdities could we possibly be shown? Example: a man has been drinking fifty quarts of milk a day for two years. Would you believe that all those calories didn’t kill him? It just makes him unleash a good lowing. (Which is odd. Cows give milk, they don’t drink it. Would eating enough apples make you act like a tree?) There’s a snake charmer, (Whose hood looks more like a shell than anything. Cute gag though.) and a man who builds ships in bottles. (You might not be impressed, but I am. I couldn’t even fit my head in one.)

A man calls pigs from several states away, (you don’t believe that most of our states are just misshapen blobs? We said “Believe or else!”) another hasn’t left his room in years. (Jails frown on that, you know.) There’s even a human basketball! (I’m not jealous. You’re jealous.) Keeping in “Ripley’s” style, there’s even some demonstrations on brain tricks you can play with your friends. (If I had friends, you know I’d give it a try.)

Take a look through the telescope. There’s life on Mars you know. (Warner cartoons with martians? No!) Well, it’s really just “Buck Dodgers.” (What a bad pun. Why isn’t he named “Duck?”) And he’s an over the top gay stereotype. The third I’ve seen this year. Okay, there’s life on Mars. Is there any on the Moon? Nope, and we’ll check to prove it- Hey! There’s men on the moon! Men who sing! I wouldn’t have thought that possible, what with the lack of an atmosphere and all, but I guess I’m just wrong about everything.

With what we’ve seen, is there any reason to return to Earth and see what wonders are still there? I’d say so. There’s a wishing well that responds to the wishes made. It doesn’t grant them. Technology isn’t there yet. There’s even a device that allows us to hear the ants talk. (Must be a newly discovered species, as our narrator identifies it as a male, but I see no wings.) Last up, we’re going to see the classic trick: sawing a person in half. Egghead still doubts, despite all he’s experienced, and offers himself as a test subject.

Believe it or Not! (By Dr. Foolio)

Today, a one Egghead Penner found out that the human body can survive in two halves! His head and torso stayed in one location, but his waist and legs walked off by themselves!

This drawing of a nose was submitted by Bradley Daniels, of Annapolis, Maryland.

TRY THIS TRICK!

Draw a square. Cut the square in half. Magically, you now have two rectangles! Amaze your friends!

 

Favorite Part: Seeing the berth of a baby, for the first time on screen. (It’s much more funny when you hear it spoken, as opposed to reading it.)

Personal Rating: 3

 

Past Perfumance

“Holy smoke!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Phil DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 21, 1955.

The year is 1913. The place is Super Magnifique Productions. It’s a movie studio that as the name suggests, is in France. So, Pepe should be around shortly. But what reason would he have to be here? I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a movie in production. With animals. Lots of animals! I’m not quite sure what sort of plot they have planned, but seeing as it is French, plot probably isn’t their biggest concern. (Maybe they’re just going to adapt some of Saint-Saens’ work. He’d still be alive)

Things are going smoothly enough, but the man in charge of casting the animals, (who is voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan. I almost didn’t recognize him. So talented!) has at least one problem: the movie needs a deodorized skunk. He doesn’t have that. He doesn’t even have a skunk period. What to do? Well, I’ve heard that if want a cow in your movie, your best bet is to paint spots on a horse because cows don’t resemble themselves on camera. So, logically, painting a cat should produce a similar result for those in need of skunks.

While the cat is getting prettied up, Pepe shows up looking for autographs. (I’m not entirely sure if people are hearing and understanding his speaking) As a skunk, he scares most everyone off. The director, his oui-men, the animals, and the casting director once he returns. Pepe is quite happy to take the cat off his hands, because she looks like a skunk and therefore, must be a skunk. Appearances are never deceiving. Penelope isn’t one for dating co-stars, and tries to flee. Plenty of movie sets to hide out in. Too bad Pepe finds her on each one.

She hides on the balcony, made famous in “Julio and Romette.” He calls to her in the words of the immortal bard himself. She hides in a film canister on a set of “The Two Musketeers.” (Maybe there was supposed to be three, but Pepe ruins the shot before such an amount can get on screen.) He finds here there too. He even finds her in a screening room. The characters in the silent movie that is playing, can smell him too. (So, they broke their fourth wall, but not THE fourth wall. They broke the eighth wall, then? If they did acknowledge us, the audience, would that be breaking the fourth wall squared?)

No matter where she runs, Pepe is there. In appropriate costume too. (He looks good in that Tarzan getup. Almost turns me on.) Soon, Penelope has run out of ways to run. Pepe has her trapped on a cliff set. She’d rather jump than be with him, so if that is what must be done, it’s the action she’ll take. Pepe rushes to look, and finds she landed in some water. Which means… the paint washes off! Pepe sees the paint washing off! For once, he realizes that he wasn’t in pursuit of a skunk! What will he do with that knowledge?

Well, I guess he’s desperate. His answer is to paint over his stripe and continue the chase. That should solve everything. Pepe should write a book about how to score.

Favorite Part: Shaking up the formula and letting Pepe know he was mistaken. A nice swerve to throw at us. When your cartoons are the basic chase plot, it helps to keep them from growing stale.

Personal Rating:3