Buddy the Detective

“Ahhh! Such beauty!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Paul Smith and Don Williams; Music by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on October 17, 1934.

I really want to like this short more than I do. The atmosphere is full of macabre merriment and a decent villain to boot. We’ve seen this guy before, (since blogging in chronological order would have made too much sense) in “A Cartoonist’s Nightmare.”  where he was going by the alias of “The Mad Doctor.” (Because if you’re going to change your name, you might as well be inspired by one of Mickey Mouse’s best works.)

Why is this musician mad? Well… I guess he kind of sucks at his profession? I think it sounds rather nice, but I will admit the tree is doing a better job than he is. Of course, maybe if he bothered to practice, he could get better. Instead, he uses hypnotism to get others to play in his stead. (Which makes you the complete opposite of a musician, but hey, at least we get to see a frog play the piano.)

(Who knew originality was so hard?)

It may be specific, but I suppose what he’s doing IS illegal. Even if it isn’t, he must have broken out of some sort of prison, seeing as we randomly cut to some girl reading such a headline in the paper. Enough exposition, who’s the Mad Musician going to force to be his next performer? He’s literally going to pick a name at random from the phone book. (After all, he is a MAD musician. Rational Musician doesn’t have any kind of catchy ring.) The name he has selected is: Cookie! (No last name given.) You’re the next contestant on: “Hypno-Tease”! Come on down to our studio, now! (And don’t think I didn’t see Clampett’s name in the book as well. I’d love to see what he could have done with this picture.)

M.M’s powers don’t need eye contact. He can summon you over the phone. (Does hypnosis make a sound?) Either way, the girl who is only Cookie in name falls to his “charms” and begins making her way to his place for some piano practice. (Really though. That’s Cookie? Why the redesign? She looks like a a five year old girl!) Buddy, meanwhile, is actually in the cartoon as well. He’s busy staring at a picture of the (probably underage) Cookie. (This is the real reason Buddy is forgotten today. Big, big scandal.) Her dog (that I will call “Crumb.”) alerts the creep that something is wrong and he suits up in his detective outfit, so he can save her. (It’s not really a mystery. Seeing as Crumb knows where to go, it’s more of a confrontation. See, Clampett would know better.)

He makes it there fast enough, but has to contend with…skeletons. (Well, I guess if I had an evil music obsession, and hypnosis powers, I’d reenact “Silly Symphonies” too.)

They really aren’t much of a threat. They don’t hurt Buddy or even seem to scare him much. He even follows one around instead of trying to rescue the minor he was longing for. (He’s the hero.) The skeletons have more reason to be scared, as Crumb is liking what he is seeing. (You ever think about that? Without your skin, your dog would eat you for breakfast, dinner and tea. And we let them sleep in our beds!) Oh, and Buddy jumps around the cel at one point too. (Clampett needs that director chair NOW! I won’t wait until 1937!)

I guess the hypno power wears off, as Cookie is no longer playing and screams for help. Buddy is able to get to the room she’s being held in, by use of a portable door, and the final battle commences. While they do that, I better give Cookie the character bio I promised.

Cookie

Generic love interest for bland as rice character.

And the tussle is over. Maddy isn’t competent as a fighter. As soon as Buddy gets a hold of his head, he immediately ceases any attempt to struggle, and lets Buddy toss him around. (I didn’t know Buddy had such strength.) He flings the fiend around, and gets him trapped under a foot stool. Time to celebrate with some more music! (It’s all we got. It’s the depression.)

Favorite Part: I like how Buddy enters the villains lair. He shines a flashlight through a magnifying glass, making a blow torch. The simplest solution really is the best.

Personal Rating: 2. (Animation error and clumsy storytelling aside, horror imagery is always a fun time)

 

Bars and Stripes Forever

“Why don’t somebody do something? Do something! Say, that’s a good idea! Maybe I can do something. Sure!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 8, 1939.

Welcome to Alcarazz prison! Thought there was no such thing as a “bad” dog? Well, I still say there isn’t, but this short is full of canines who are incarcerated for some reason or another. (Maybe this is just a pound, and this is all seen from a pup’s point of view?)

We don’t have any named characters, or at least, not yet. Our large thug of the picture shall now go by: Julius. Which naturally leaves the small comic relief as: Ben. Don’t be fooled. Ben may look innocent enough, with his tiny frame, oversized clothes and squeak of a voice. But he’s in here for a reason. He snapped Dinky Doodle’s neck! (Mostly because he was the only person small enough.) These two have a bit of a running gag: Julius does something to rile up the guard, and Ben takes the punishment, all the time, every time.

We’ve also got a warden who doesn’t factor much into the picture, but he is a caricature of Hugh Herbert. So, he has that going for him. I like him. (He’s silly.) He seems really into his job. Happily waking up the inmates, and believing their blatant lies about who dug the holes in their cells. (Mice, my tail. Rats, maybe. Groundhogs? Possibly. Capybaras? By all means!… I’m rambling again, aren’t I?) There’s even a joke about one prisoner begging not to be taken to a chair, despite being told it’ll be over very soon. (Turns out, it was a barber chair. But admit it, you didn’t know that right away.)

Still, nice as it may be inside, a prison is a prison. Julius wants out. (His crime was a lot less impressive. He just shot Scrappy in the arm.)

(Admit it. You’d do the same)

He plans a riot for 2 ‘o clock. Good thing the dogs are allowed at least two guns per person in here. They let loose at the allotted hour, and Julius uses it as a cover to make a break for it. He’s almost immediately caught. What else can he do, but sing? It actually does work! I mean, the guards don’t put up much of an effort to stop him, and they get locked up to boot, but Julius is able to wish the warden farewell to his face. (Note to self: a song can get me out of work. Acapulco, here I come!)

Scratch those plans. It works for less than a minute before Warden Paws realizes the severity of the situation. His boys set off to bring the rascal back, and they manage to do it too! All too soon, Julius is back in the can, but now with much more security to keep him inside. Still bitter, he clubs the passing guard over the head. Ben is cleaning outside the cell, and he knows that he’s going to get the punishment yet again. If that’s the way it must be, he does it his way, and punishes himself. (With behavior like that, he’ll make parole in no time!)

Favorite Part: Warden Paws. He could make Death Row jolly! (And he probably does!)

Personal Rating: 3

Plane Dippy

“Get a load of this!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Sid Sutherland and Virgil Ross; Musical Score by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on April 30, 1936.

As my tribute to dads everywhere and my love of over complicating things, I choose this picture as today’s subject, because many people consider pigs as food, I.E., fodder. (And I’ll submit to that mentality when said food flys.)

Well, what’s Porky up to this time? Enlisting in the armed forces? A noble pursuit. What sounds like a good fit for my man? Infantry? Nah, too much walking. Navy? That’s for ducks. How about the air corp? That’s the ticket! Porky heads right on in, eager to join. Too bad this is back in the Dougherty days, so I hope you had nothing planned for the rest of your life. That’s about how long one conversation with the pig will last. (Don’t try and cheat by giving him some writing utensils. His stutter affects handwriting too)

Still, everyone deserves a fair shot at things, and Porky is given a uniform and tests. Beans makes a cameo to help set up a dizziness test. (I’m sure that’s the correct term too.) Porky spins all over the room, and when he is tested on firing a gun, he takes out the whole building before even scratching the plane. Looks like he’s ready to me! (I don’t care if I’m looking at him through a fanboy’s eyes. If I could swap someone else’s eyes with mine, I would. And I’d still think how I do. Eyes aren’t brains.) The guy in charge must want my fist in his gut, as he just gives Porky a feather duster. (Prick.)

Porky’s orders have him assisting a scientist by the name of Professor Blotz. He’s got something in the works that will revolutionize the airplane: a voice controlled robot plane! It’s very easy to operate. Just speak into the microphone, and tell the plane what you want it to do. No training required. (OH! So that’s why Porky was sent here! Now he can fight! It’s no different than my dream of having a self driving car in the Indy 500.) Porky even gets to give it a try. (If Mel was here, the plane wouldn’t be shaking so much. Must we really wait another ten months for his otherworldly skills?)

Porky sets to work cleaning off the plane, but Blotz doesn’t properly secure his command console, and just leaves it on the windowsill. Coincidentally, Kitty has just noticed a dog belonging to that weird looking dog child I made fun of so many years ago. Wait… Kitty made at least five appearances, didn’t she? *sigh* Here we go again

Kitty

Another character who was often used as a love interest. (Although, she sometimes was just a friend) She was voiced by Bernice Hanson.

I don’t look forward to the day when I have to do that with Cookie…

Being the only anthropomorphic dog in the relationship, the bigger one gets to force the smaller one into doing various tricks for his amusement. Even worse, since the voice command module is still on, it picks up the children’s voices and transmits them to the plane. Poor Porky. He picked the wrong time to be cleaning the inside of it. He gets taken along for the ride, doing hundreds if not thousands of dollars in property damages to the rest of the countryside. Demolishing buildings, destroying shipments of hay, and even sending the clouds into a panic. (And even then the children aren’t innocent! The bigger dog actually sics his smaller counterpart on some non-anthropomorphic cat. Kitty is oddly okay with this.)

Things get worse before getting better, as the amusing pup attracts a whole throng of children. All of them act as inconsiderate as children usually are, and all yell out countless tricks for the innocent animal to do. Poor thing! (Never give most children a pet. They’ll abuse it.) At least large dog (who I should’ve just called Rover this whole time) decides the exhausted creature has had enough and tells him that they are going home. Luckily for Porky, the plane follows suit. (And it still looks like mint condition! Blotz, you ARE impressive.) Still, this whole experience has been quite harrowing, so Porky immediately calls it quits and reconsiders joining the infantry. (Being able to admit you can’t do something. Another very adult mindset! I’m prouder still!)

Favorite Part: We get to learn Porky’s full name in this picture! Bet you didn’t know it was “Porky Cornelius Washington Otis Lincoln Abner Eleanor Aloysius Casper Jefferson Filbert Horatius Narcissus Pig” *Sniff* So… beautiful.

Personal Rating: 3

Greetings Bait

“Don’t be so reluctant, Dragon!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 15, 1943.

Fishing. A nice way to sleep and use the lack of fish biting as an excuse. Unless of course, you’re one of a rare few who actually LIKES wrenching a cold, slippery, wide-eyed, innocent animal from its natural habitat and either eating it, or mounting it on a wall. (Or the even rarer one’s who catch and release. They’re my favorite.) Our mystery fisherman of the picture is probably the “eating” type, as he sends his line down with a serving platter.

He has some bait as well. Believe it or else, this worm has a bit of a history. This short actually marks his second appearance! (Out of two.) He previously debuted two years earlier in “The Wacky Worm.” Which is why we’re going to call him “Wack” from now on. It makes me wonder why Freleng didn’t try to develop any more pictures with this worm, seeing as how this one here is an Oscar nominee.

Wack has a mustache, so in Warner Bros. fashion, he talks like Jerry Colona. Upon reaching the bottom of the water, he makes himself a sandwich. By which I mean, he makes “himself” a sandwich. He’s one of those animals who’s happy to be a part of a fishing team. Like these two were:

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Wack is suicidal. As soon as a fish tries to partake of his wacky flesh, the worm darts away, and gives the line a tug to reel in the goods. Switching out the small (but not literally) fry for a bigger catch on the way up. One fish, is that enough? Not for out mystery, fish-tory, man. Down Wack goes for part two. Fish is fish, so he has no qualms about trying to lure in one of the “lesser” varieties. This guy clearly has more mercury inside of him than a shark; if his mannerisms are any indication. He’s not even smart enough to try and take the bait. He’s gotta be fooled into thinking taking the hook is a circus act. (Seriously. Don’t put that guy in your mouth.)

As is befitting his “Wacky” name, out worm is willing to dress as a mermaid to get the fish’s attention. It works, but it isn’t his boss pulling the line up, but a crab instead. Wack almost loses the latest catch in the crab’s digestive tract, before correcting himself. The crustacean isn’t too pleased to be cheated out of a free meal, and chases the little guy. (I figured this was all taking place in freshwater, but the appearance of seahorses says otherwise. I can admit I made a mistake.)

Wack accuses the crab of only being tough due to it’s exoskeleton. (It does make up for his lack of a spine.) Good thing, that as an arthropod, he can shed it to prove the mouthy annelid wrong. Wack turns to us and admits that the following fight isn’t going to be pretty. In fact, the camera is going to return to the surface while he takes on his clawed foe. (Not cool. I had bets to pool!) After our thrashing  subsides, the loser is reeled in. Seems pride really does come before a fall, as Wack is the loser. (And our fisherman is revealed at last! Who else would make use of Colona-worm, than the human Jerry, himself?)

Favorite part: Probably what got this short it’s chance at Oscar-dom. (Oh well. Donald earned it this year) When Wack is being chased, each of the crab’s eye-stalks view him around different corners of a chest. We actually get to see what each eye sees! Wack running away from one, and closer to the other! It’s art!

Personal Rating: 3, as a whole, but the eye segment earns a four on its own.

The Pest that came to Dinner

“I thought there was a ch-chair, there.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by George Hill; Animation by John Carey, Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, and Don Williams; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 11, 1948.

Before we begin, I’d just like to say that I’ve been viewing the new Looney Tunes that have been airing on HBO Max. They’re okay, but are they as good as the classics? Well, they say there are no stupid questions, but that one alone disproves it. Of course not, but they are entertaining. I’ll give them a post of their own; about a decade or so from now. I’ve got a lot of other shorts, movies, and the occasional T.V. series already planned before then.

Relaxation time! My favorite kind of time, and probably Porky’s too. But, there’s a problem: all of his best furniture disappears before his buttocks can make contact. Seems like as bad as we have it in this year, things still sucked back then. Only instead of virus outbreaks, they were stuck with the termite variety. Luckily, Porky only has to deal with one. Unluckily, that one is Pierre. The biggest, hungriest termite on the face of the Earth. And because he is a termite, he is also dressed up like an adorable lumberjack. Because he’s Canadian. Because he’s named Pierre. (And if you want to go full circle: “Pierre” sounds like “pear”, pears are sweet, sweet things are what you want to eat, eating is what a termite does.)

Pierre is also an “artiste” as the Canuck’s say, as not only does he eat the wood, but he makes it into fanciful designs as he does. Of course, Porky TRIES to kill him, but Pierre can eat his way out of any problem. (Shame that all of Porky’s weapons are made of Pierre’s favorite food.) Time to call on the professional: an exterminator by the name of I. M. A. Sureshot. (Oh boy. Another game of initial deciding. Let’s go with Ignatius McAloysius. Sureshot for short.) He’s a dog who wares less clothing than Porky (who rocks a sexy robe in this picture) and has a permanent grin on his face. (He’s either a termite in disguise, or a shark.)

He comes over to help my pig pal. He’s not actually going to do any exterminating, but he does at least provide the tools. Among their attempts: Porky tries to vacuum up Pierre. (The termite eats the handrail Porky is standing on) The two try to flood Pierre out of the wall. (He brings the hose into the room with them, flooding that) and the cartoon classic:  TNT. (Not only does Sureshot not stick around for this one, but he loses his voice for a bit. His mouth moves, but nothing comes out. What is this? Dingo Pictures?)

After the explosion, Porky shows up at Sureshot’s place. He is fed up with the guy’s help, and he and Pierre are teaming up to teach him a lesson. (Before I forget to mention, I like Pierre’s mustache. It’s probably his antennae.) They eat the dog’s desk. But how will they live together in peace? Easy. Porky opens up his own furniture store, filled with Pierre’s artistic talents. (Turning your problem into a solution. That’s quite the grown-up way of handling things. I’m proud of you, Porky.)

Favorite Part: Sureshot gives Porky some poison that is guaranteed to send the target to “Termite Heaven©.” It really works, as when Pierre redirects the spray to Porky, he gives said afterlife a visit. (24/7 wood buffets!)

Personal Rating: 3

Jungle Jitters

“Oh, for goodness sakes!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Eager Beaver

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

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

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

(Wait for it)

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

You know what? These guys deserve two!

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

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

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

(Ble.)

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

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

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

Buddy of the Apes

“Go get ’em!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Rating: 1

Stork Naked

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Rating: 3

Angel Puss

“Four bits is four bits.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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