The Village Smithy

“Get out of the scene now!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Cecil Surry and Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 5, 1936.

Still relatively early in Avery’s career, and yet this short is comic gold! This guy really knew what he was doing! (If only all directors did the same.)

What can be said about a village smithy? Well, as the poem dictates, he is a mighty man. A strong man. And kind of a dope. I like him. He is kinda like that doofy uncle we all have. The short wastes no time in getting the jokes started. From everything falling into the scene, to awesome fourth wall jokes that don’t let up through the picture.

The smith has an apprentice/assistant, my all around favorite guy, Porky. He’s a bit clumsy, but eager to be of assistance. All we need to get the story underway is a horse. (A camel from one of their foreign legion pictures shows up. Is that a reference to “Little Beau Porky”? Very Clever, Tex!) Time to get to work! Smith measures the horse’s hooves and instructs Porky of the size. Porky gets the right size, but wrong material and begins hammering a rubber horseshoe. (It’s always good to have some around a blacksmith.) He ends up hitting his head when the hammer bounces off the shoe. (In accordance with the law of the Tooniverse, he stops once he has a helmet on.)

Let’s get this thing on the horse. Or the smith, that works too. It certainly puts a spring in his step! (I’m not sorry. The short didn’t make that joke, so it was up to me.) He rips it off, but has a hard time getting rid of it. Every throw just brings it back to his head. His solution is simple: shoot the freaking thing. It works, but Porky is banned from getting more. Instead, he is told to heat a new one up at the forge. Prepare yourself, the last bit of the cartoon is one wild and funny gag!

Porky trips with the searing horseshoe, and drops it on the poor creature. As it runs in pain, it hits the smith and drags him along. Their destination: all over the countryside! They destroy a great many of the surrounding landmarks. Demolishing a general store, a bank, and nearly running over a digger in the road. Horses have a goodly amount of stamina, so unless something can stop it, it’s probably going to keep on going. Luckily for the smith, a fence acts like a rubber band and sends them back, all the way home. (Reversing the footage they already had. Brilliant, Avery! One can only imagine what your future projects will contain!) Back at the beginning, the smith is shaken, but apart from some color changing eyebrows, he’s fine. He would like to know how this all happened, though. As Porky explains, he accidentally repeats his screw-up, and the whole thing starts over again!

Favorite part: Well, obviously, the ending gag is the best part, but it is the little touches that really brings it together. As they run, the smith pauses the action to comment on the situation. (A common Avery gag.) Even better, when they reverse everything, he speaks backwards. That clever Avery! Death should have given him a pass.

Leave a Reply

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