Dog Tales

“Now, here’s a Newfoundland. With his grandfather, an Oldfoundland.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Grandpre, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas. Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterizations by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on July 26, 1958.

I’ve said it several times before, dogs are amazing animals that deserve all the adulation they get and more. (Lots more.) And I’ll continue to say that. (With the loss of a Grandfather in my imminent future, my dog is likely the only thing that will keep me going.) With that said, I can’t really fault McKimson for releasing a gag-centric short full of reused and obvious canine jokes, but as late as 1958? Was there any demand?

Not only are the jokes pretty tired, but we aren’t even given a lot of original dogs to carry the gags. This does lead to a fun game of “Which Looney Tune did I hear that one in?” (Not now, not ever with a home edition.) Not only that, but the animators even sneak in half the cast from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp!” Lady, Jock, Peg, Boris, Pedro, Bull, and Dachsie all appear to illustrate a small sampling of the various “flavors” the wonderful animals can come in. (All with a slight paint job, so Disney’s lawyers don’t get too upset.)

Those gags? They’re the kind of ones you’d see in a Kindergarten level joke book. The Chihuahua shivers because he really IS cold. The French Poodle is a canine Casanova. (Mel uses his Speedy and Pepe voices for them, respectively.) A Pinscher pinches Private Doberman. (A “Sergeant Bilko” reference? That’ll hold up great in reruns!) Heck, Charlie Dog makes a cameo even! (Sadly, doing a near word for word repeat of his “50% various breeds” bit from “Often an Orphan.”)

I won’t lie, I do get a sick sense of pleasure seeing a boy drop a cat into a dog show. (Leading to ANOTHER cameo. This time of the large mass of hounds who chased Bugs in “Foxy by Proxy.”) And before any of you say it, that child looks NOTHING like me. (I don’t wear hats.) So, how should we end a mediocre short full of mediocre table scraps that even your loyal dog would feel insulted to be offered? Another obvious joke! How about the one about the dog who travels across the entire United States, not to reunite with his family (that live several time zones away for what reason, I’m not sure, exactly) but to get a bone buried under a tree? (It’s a classic.)

Favorite Part: The narrator unable to tell if the dog on screen is a “setter pointing,” or a “Pointer sitting.” Ultimately showing a “Pointsettia” instead. (I honestly can’t say I’ve heard that one before.)

Personal Rating: 2 (I’d give it a one if humanity didn’t love dogs so much. So I think every Homo sapiens on the planet will agree with my rating.)

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