Buddy’s Circus

“Get your tickets for the big show!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Bob McKimson and Ben Clopton; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on November 8, 1934.

Can Buddy buy your support with a circus? Would that make this the greatest short on Earth? He’s certainly going to try. I will give him points for arriving via balloon. But said balloon also becomes the tent. It has greatly increased in size! But no one seems interested in the magic cloth, as they only go inside to see what racially challenged “freaks” Buddy has to exploit. (After he has made music by pulling on elephant tails.)

Buddy tries to dodge any future controversy, by claiming these people are a race known as “Ubangis.” (They look a lot like what white people thought black people looked like at the time, to me) Naturally, having dark skin means your lips are gigantic. One poor fellow is forced to sacrifice his dignity, and perform as a human phonograph. Other “interests” include a rubber man, (who is kind of disappointing. He barely stretches! And in the field of animation, you really have no excuse for following science’s rigid rules of how much a human body can stretch.) There is also a fire swallower. He actually bothers to make more of an impression, and swallows a pan and raw egg, and cooks breakfast for himself, in himself.

But that’s just the sideshow! The REAL entertainment is inside the tent. Buddy leads a parade of animals, and some guy hangs by a rope by his teeth. He doesn’t last long. (I hope those really were dentures, or that looks much more painful than King had intended.) One baby in the audience is munching on some popcorn. When he drops it beneath the stands, he naturally goes after it. An elephant beats him to the punch, but happy for the snack, she makes a friend out of the infant. (Do you see any tusks on that full grown elephant? No? Then she is a she.)

Friends go places together, and the baby joins his pachyderm pals in the ring. It takes a while, but the baby’s mother does finally notice the kid has become part of the show. If he keeps the kid around, child-labor laws are going to be on his @$$ for quite awhile yet. So, Buddy joins the mom in chasing the kid down. A circus tent is not the safest place to run around unorganized, so it is isn’t weird to see the three get tossed around by the various performers. The three are flung out of the tent. The two adults, (actually, I’m still not entirely sure of Buddy’s age) land on a giraffe. But the kid lands in the hippo’s cage. If this was reality, he’d be dead about 8 times by now. (Hippos anger easily. They’re like 900 pound wasps.) Since this is a cartoon though, the kids is safe and sound and in one piece inside the animal’s mouth.

Personal Rating: 1

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