Cracked Ice

“I can almost feel pneumonia, embracing me in its icy grip.”

Directed by Frank Tashlin.  Released in 1938

This short starts eerily similar to the Mickey Mouse short “On Ice”, which was released 3 years earlier. Many creatures are enjoying some ice skating, and we get a few sight gags, like a centipede’s segments scattering away from it’s body, and a fish skating in a pelican’s mouth. One bird is jumping over barrels. He messes up on the final jump and lands in a open area of the ice. His screams are heard by that W.C. Fields pig caricature we saw in “The Coo-coo nut grove.” (Obviously, his name is W.C. Squeals) He begins to help the best way he can: calling for someone to help him. A St. Bernard hears the cries and comes to the rescue. He hauls the bird out, picks him out of his icy prison, and makes him a drink via the various liqours in his barrel. (For the record, St. Bernards never actually had those) This drink succeeds in warming the bird up. But now, Squeals is claiming he needs some too. He is deathly ill, otherwise he wouldn’t touch the stuff. The dog ignores him, so Squeals tosses a boulder into the water, and calls for help. (Even yelling “Splash. Splash.”) The dog comes back and finds he is lying on the ice. Out Cold. (Get it? Don’t laugh. It wasn’t funny) The dog quickly mixes up another drink… and drinks it himself before leaving. A voice begins laughing at Squeals. To those of you who don’t know your W.C. Fields lore, you’d think it was just a voice from the audience. To those of you who do know your W.C. Fields lore, you’ll know that it’s Charlie Mcarthy mocking him. (I did not know this was something the two did. I had to learn it from the commentary on my DVDs.) Squeals vows to get the goods. He fills up a plate with bones and sends it sliding towards Fido. Before the dog can chow down, Squeals uses a magnent to keep the dish just out of reach. The dog gives chase and Squeals realizes too late, that he’s going to crash. The impact sends the magnent into a hole in the ice, where it gets stuck on a fish. While it struggles with it’s new accessory, the dog’s brandy (which was nowhere near the hole) begins to leak into the lake. The fish becomes a “pickled herring” if you will, and swims around drunk. The magnent pulls an axe above the ice after it, and the fish ends up using said axe to cut a hole in the ice around that bird from earlier. Squeals meanwhile, has come to and gets ready for a drink. The fish comes back, and Squeals’s skates are pulled along. The fish drags him to an ice skating competion, where it plays on a clock, (that is just under the ice. Don’t question it) and swims away from a bigger fish. Squeals is pulled along the whole time, and ends up winning the contest. He is awarded a big trophy. He thanks everyone, (mentioning Termite Terrace as well) and pours the alcohol into the tropy to drink. Before he can indulge, the fish comes back and ends up dragging the trophy away from Squeals. (Much to Charlie’s delight) 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *