Feather Dusted

“What-ah say, what you need boy, is somethin’ more excitin’!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Charles McKimson and Sid Marcus. Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Herman Cohen; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc (and Bea Benaderet); Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on January 15, 1955.

Prissy is off to a party and is leaving her son at home. You may know this guy by sight already, but his name is Egghead Jr. (Although, nowadays he seems to go by Eggbert. Probably to differentiate himself from that other guy.) He doesn’t actually have a name in any of the three shorts he appeared in. Foghorn just calls him boy, and his mother tends to just calls him Junior. Speaking of Foghorn, he feels bad that the hen is telling her kid to just read while she is gone. (Also interesting is that she isn’t fawning over the rooster like pretty much every other time. Seeing him as a lazy oaf who could be a bad influence on her son) Well, since she isn’t going to be around to witness anything (and her son probably won’t tell anyway) Foghorn steals him away to play some typical little boy games. (Typical of the fifties. Mario Kart still needed a couple of decades to exist)

To start: a game of croquet. You may think that Foghorn has an unfair advantage, but you also might think that a kid named “Egghead” will at least be able to get some good shots in. He does indeed. Taking copious notes, he is able to figure out a way to hit the ball so it will pass through every wicket in one shot, and net him victory. Foghorn tries to point out how impossible the whole thing was, but he can’t argue with Jr.’s notes. (I mean, no matter how you look at it, the outcomes remains “I win.”)

Okay, how about cops and robbers? (I’ve only played that once. Is it more fun to be the cop?) Foghorn tells the boy to arrest him as he robs a bank. I love Jr.’s methods. He alerts the actual cops. (They’re all off screen because I doubt we could take the popo seriously if we saw them apprehending a chicken) Then, just to prove his intellect, Jr. marks out the spot Foghorn will emerge when he digs his way out of prison.

Playing pirates might work. (They’re both on the same side in this game.) Foghorn orders the kid to fire a cannon and the lad aims it in a rather unexpected way. Foghorn decides to fire it where he wants regardless, and the ricocheting cannonball comes back to bite him. Since they are already at a pond, why not go for a swim? Egghead refuses to get in, but does take up Foghorn’s challenge of trying to sink him. (He’s pretending to be a battleship) He unleashes a fleet of windup ships that take fire at the big bird.

Egghead is forced to fish him out, and that is where his mother finds him. Soaking wet, with an unconsciousness, wet, older man. (Always hated when that happened to me as a kid. It only looked so bad, because they were missing the context) She scolds her kid, and Foghorn too. She knows his tomfoolery won’t end well for him. He agrees, seeing as he is full of holes.

Favorite part: Foghorn first coming up to the kid and offering to play. He asks if it sounds fun. Egghead shakes his head without even looking at him. (Brother, can I relate)

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