Wholly Smoke

“I ain’t a p-puh-puny puss!”

 Supervision by Frank Tashlin; Story by George Manuell; Animation by Robert Bentley; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1938. Supervision by Frank Tashlin; Story by George Manuell; Animation by Robert Bentley; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1938.

You know, you really shouldn’t smoke. It’s bad for you, makes you unpleasant to be around, and eats up funds you could be using for something more important. And don’t give me any of that: “It’s too addicting” crap. You don’t want to learn the hard way. My pal Porky did.

Another of the 100 greatest and my personal favorite from Tashlin.

It’s a lovely Sunday and Porky’s momma calls her offspring down. (Hilariously voiced by Ted Pierce) She sends him off to church with a nickel for the collection plate. (Why isn’t she going too? I guess she just doesn’t want her child to be an atheist like herself.) On the way, Porky comes across some kid smoking a cigar. He points out that it’s bad but the kid doesn’t take him seriously. Instead, he shows off some tricks he can do with the smoke. Making a target and hitting it with an arrow, creating a duck that flies, and kicking his cigar like a hackey sack and catching it again in his mouth. (Set to an ominous “Merry Go Round Broke Down”) With his masculinity threatened, Porky bets the thug 5 real cents (They’re children and this is the thirties, that’s some serious dough right there) that he is just as tough. The kid accepts and hands over his cigar, taking the nickel. (He hasn’t won yet, but he doesn’t need to stick around really. Porky is practicing.) He treis to show off some tricks with the smoke. He makes a target but hits his own behind with an arrow, creating a duck that flies and lays an egg on his face, and kicking his cigar like a hackey sack an catching the lit side in his mouth. (Set to an adorable “Merry Go Round Broke Down”) But all that tobacco takes its toll on poor Porky and he woozily blunders around, coming to a stop in a smoke shop. There he is spotted by some kind of smoke gremlin. He has the power to shrink Porky in size and wake him up with a snap of his fingers. He is a little shocked Porky doesn’t know who he is. All smokers know his name: Nick O’ Teen. (Who is one of the scariest things Looney Tunes has to offer. With his soulless eyes, magical powers, and soft voice. (Again, brilliantly portrayed by Pierce.) Nick ties Porky up and prepares to go “Pigs is Pigs” on him. With musical accompaniment. There are some singing matchsticks who look like they have blackface, (but you could say its debatable since they are extinguished) some chewing tobacco, and the three stogies. Singing a frightfully creepy version of “Mysterious Mose” about how little children shouldn’t smoke. (No one should, but they don’t want to come across as preachy.) Porky is forced into smoking more cigars, and given chewing tobacco, (which the poor guy swallows) as all the mascots come to life to scold him. (I would say it’s a nightmare version of “Foodfight”, but the original already earned that title, so this is the family friendly version by default) Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee are there as some “Crooner” brand cigars. (Corona) Cigarettes march, snuff boxes are drums, and even a pipe cleaner gets in the fun by imitating Cab Calloway. (Taking a break from appearing in Betty Boop cartoons) Porky does manage to get free and wakes up from this trippy… “pipe dream?” (Screw you, it’s funny) Hearing the church bell, he hurries over. Except, he still needs that nickel. He takes it back from the bully, shoves the cigar in his face and goes back to church to donate it. He vows never to smoke again. (Except he did in “Rocket Squad.” And “Deduce, you say.” And “The Awful Orphan.” And… Well, at least he never smoked a cigar again. So take it from me and Porky: Don’t smoke. Or we won’t be your friend.)

Personal Rating: 4 (But if “Pigs is Pigs” never had come out, it’d get the 5.)

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