A Cartoonist’s Nightmare

♫The tables are turned, and now you’re in, our clutches!♫

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Don Williams and Paul Smith; Musical Score by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on September 21, 1935.

Before we move on to today’s short, it’s time for another rendition of “Something that actually happened to me, that I didn’t make up and is still related to our source material.” I was at work, and a little boy saw my Marvin the Martian shirt. Somehow, he knew that I was someone who actually watches the source material of what he wears, and not only complimented my attire, but asked what Looney Tunes DVDs I had. He had several of the same ones and I sent him away with some ideas about what others he should get. I’m just glad that SOME parents are making sure their kids watch true art. Wouldn’t be great to have a little pal to watch cartoons with?

Yᴇᴀʜ! Tʜᴇɴ I ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ sᴏᴍᴇᴏɴᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴘʟᴀʏ ᴡɪᴛʜ!

Too bad that will never happen. Now leave! The adults are talking.

Today’s short is a creepy good time! Definitely one of the more underrated shorts. It begins at Animated Cartoon Studio. (A subsidiary of Generic Products United.) Another day of work is done, and everyone goes home. (Keep your eyes open, and you’ll find that Clampett works here.) The night watchman begins his rounds. This looks like a fun place to work. There’s a staircase that leads to a door too small for anyone to enter, and a sea star in a water cooler. Those rascally artists!

There seems to be a cartoonist still here. He’s working on the latest short for their newest star, Beans. (Making this the first “Looney Tune” to not feature Bosko or Buddy. Warner’s was just all about those B’s.) Yes, by this point Buddy had been abandoned, and I Haven’t got a Hat had come out, so it was time to see if this new character had what it took to be the star. (Porky won.) I will admit, it would have been cool if all this opeing stuff that happens in the short was in live action, but the technology wasn’t there yet, and even if it was, we don’t need another “Coolworld.”

I don’t know what part of the short the man (Name time! I’ll call him Bob McClampet.) is working on, but it is a part where Beans had just been threatened by a beast, but had bars put in front of him, keeping him safe. I guess the short is done, because even though he said he needed to finish, Bob decides to sleep. (Sleep is best often enjoyed at your work) Seeing his chance, the beast grabs Bob and yanks him into the world of cartoons. With Beans still safely locked away, no one can save Bob. Oops.

Bob is dragged down to a room where all the cartoon villains are kept. (Which is right next to where the cartoon heroes are kept. You know them, they are what they’re supposed to be. Illusions of your fantasy.) And in a brilliant move, some of these guys actually appeared in previous Warner shorts. The “Mad Doctor” was the “Mad Musician” from “Buddy the Detective,” “One-punch Otto” the octopus appeared in “Mr. and Mrs. is the name;” even the beast who pulled Bob in appeared once. (Naturally, in 1934’s “Beauty and the Beast.”) They’re are plenty of original faces there too. Including Battling Barney the gender confused kangaroo. (Males don’t have pouches. Females aren’t called “Barney”) And Spike the spider*. (Who doesn’t have the right number of legs. And has a beetle’s shell. And a nose. And… Oh wait! “Spike the spider” is probably just his wrestling name. Of course, that must be it.)

So why all the kidnapping? Seems they’re angry at Bob. In every picture he makes, they are the villains. Don’t get them wrong, they love doing what they do, but they don’t like how they are always the losers. So, they are going to make Bob kill himself. (Dang! A cartoonist’s nightmare indeed! Imagine being hated by your creations! Sure, this kind of situation would come back in “Fairly Odd Parents,” and the “Goosebumps” movie, but being forced to end your life? That’s harsh.) Seeing as how if he doesn’t comply, the rouges are probably just going to kill him themselves, Bob complies and begins drawing a pit.

Remember Beans? He is still in this short too. He’s just been given a loaf of bread by… somebody. Seriously, who is that? We never saw them! (I’m not using gender specific pronouns because I legit don’t know what gender they are.) They came from where Bob was taken. Are they one of the cartoon heroes? The ones who will last forever? I doubt it because we never see them again! Also, I guess Beans wasn’t too upset about his creator probably dying, as his face lights up at the thought of a snack. It’s a pretty comfy cell. As long as someone feeds him, he could stay there for years, no problem.

Okay, okay, back to the plot. Random character in a dress and bonnet hid a saw in the bread, and Beans begins to make his escape. Bob meanwhile, has drawn the pit, and is thrown in. And there is a crocodile in there, so he’s pretty much screwed. When Beans arrives, he finds the villains watching the action. They’re smart enough to make sure their plan works out. (Impressive!) Beans sends some boots to kick the beast, and the whole lot chases after the cat once he is spotted. (Well, at least they look evil. Brains don’t matter much.)

Beans sends the pencil down to Bob, who draws a ladder to get himself out. Then, with the use of a grease gun, Beans sends all four villains (no idea where all the rest went) sliding into their own trap. Bob then erases it. (Which is also pretty harsh. They’re trapped in a enclosed space with a dangerous reptile. Even if they manage to fight it off, they are going to starve. I hope the two heros are proud of themselves.)

Considering the smiles are their faces, I guess they are. They shake hands, which is really the night watchman shaking Bob awake. When the title said “nightmare” it meant it literally. Still, Bob is grateful for Beans’ help. To reward him, not only does he remove the beast and cell from the scene, but he draws him up a giant plate of dessert. (Ice Cream? Pudding? Custard? Maybe it’s all three.)

Personal Rating: 4

* Hi. It’s me from the future. I’ve since learned that Spike also came from an earlier short. But I’m leaving the post unedited, because I found that description I wrote about him hilarious.

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