Hocus Pocus Pow Wow

“The president of the railroad will hear about this!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on January 13, 1968.

Merlin (the magic mouse, not that wizard guy) and Second Banana are on their way to Pow wow city to perform. Shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Then the conductor asks for some tickets. Merlin tries to oblige, but the only thing his hat chooses to produce is flowers. (You know, I don’t think they actually HAVE any tickets.) The conductor doesn’t put up with the shenanigans for long before kicking the two off the train. Seems like walking is their best bet. But first, why not kick back and relax with one of Merlin’s patented magic hat dinners? Featuring great choices such as: Beef Wellington, Pumpkin soup, and the featured attraction: Turkey for two.

Eating all alone in the middle of a desert? Hungry eyes are going to be able to find you easily. It’s not vultures that are eyeing the dead animal on which the mice munch, but a Native American. The credits have credited him as Lo, the poor Indian. (He’s clearly not Indian, and I can’t say that he’s poor, but one CAN greet him with “How, Lo.” It’s not very PC, but in 1968, what Caucasian would care?)

If he really is poor, that might be why he wants Merlin’s hat so much. Or maybe the thought of a never ending food vessel would entice anyone. Regardless, Lo takes the hat and tries getting some food. He actually is able to bring some animals out, but doesn’t manage to take any bites before they flee. Merlin takes the hat back and runs. Lo, in turn, tries firing some arrows at the two, but only manages to hit himself.

Merlin tries a couple tricks to help himself and sidekick escape. Conjuring up a railroad crossing with an actual train attached, wearing a disguise, (Lo isn’t fooled. He can tell mouse feet from human.) and taking the man’s tomahawk and making it disappear. (He can bring it back. But one should really know better than to say “Give it to me!” in  a cartoon. Lo brought that pain on himself) Still, he is insistent that Merlin relinquish the hat. Merlin agrees, but figures they should smoke a peace pipe first. Said pipe is a firecracker, and Merlin is able to escape at last.

Making it to their destination, the mice are all set to perform at the local theatre. So, what are the locals like? Actually, they are all Native American, and I don’t think they are taking too kindly to all the racial stereotyping this cartoon contained. Maybe they just really liked Lo? Whatever the reason, they chase the mice out of town. (Drat. I was really looking forward to the show)

Favorite Part: How Merlin greets the audience. “Greetings ladies and gentlemen! Or whatever the case may be.” It’s always a good idea to put the theatre-goers in their place.

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