Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence

“How about some lovin’?”

Supervision by Earl Duvall; Animation by Jack King and Don Williams; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on December 16, 1933.

Everything is asleep at night. The clock, the dentures, the man. (Slow down cartoon! My suspension of disbelief can only go so far!) Now really, the world couldn’t function if there wasn’t SOMETHING nocturnal, so it is quite a relief to see some cats up and about.

A female, (you can tell she is female because of her bow.) heads out of the house at the request of a male. (You can tell he is male because of his Y chromosome.) They make a cute couple. (I could too, but no lady wants to give me the time at midnight.) During a gag where the cats walk in the moonlight and are x-rayed, it is strange to see a cartoon actually remembering that the nose and ears don’t contain bones. Plus one point for zoological accuracy!

Plenty of other cats are in the alley, and they make some music with various junk. Nothing more romantic than “Home on the Range.” (Oh good. I have a copy of that movie.) Now, while they two may seem happy to be together, like all females of all species, she will never truly be happy with any man, and will always be on the look out to trade up. Who could be a better match than generic Tom? How about the scruffy one eyed cat drinking liquid Kat-nip? (From the same company that manufactures liquid Viagra. It’s an odd company.)

Once one eyed Scruff asks her to dance, it’s all over for generic Tom. But he’s not going to just let his ex ruin his life like that! So he throws a brick at Scruff. (Attack a lady? Perish the thought! To this day we seem squeamish to inflict physical harm on the female form. I like to think we’ve gotten a little better at offering slapstick to all genders.) Scruff gives chase and only now does someone become aware of the noise, and sends a rolling pin their way. We get a very nice shot of the two rolling over telephone wires, whilst hanging onto the handles with their tails. (This is exactly what I look for in animation!)

Soon the chase leads into a doghouse, and the angry occupant chases both of the felines. He’s pretty tame as far as dogs should be with cats, he doesn’t even kill them. (But I suppose hitting them in the face is worth a “you tried.”) And as for that lady cat? She already upgraded again. (Her new boyfriend has a hat!) And since cats have the fastest gestation periods of all mammals, they already have had several kittens together.

(Okay, I admit it. Women aren’t the only ones who are constantly looking for someone better. Men do too. But probably not all men. I’m sure if I had a girlfriend, I’d be loyal. Interested, ladies?)

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