Strangled Eggs

“Some pretty posies picked for a pretty pippin.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Grandpre, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribborek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on March 18, 1961.

Foghorn and me, we agree on a number of things. Most notably, cold weather is a miserable experience that no living thing should have to live through. Especially if you’re living in squalor the way Foghorn is. But, you know, Prissy has a pretty nice place, and she is always pining for a husband, maybe pretending to be into her could allow Foggy to crash at her coop for the worst season nature ever spawned?

Not much is needed for the plan to go off hitchless. Foghorn gets in quite easily, and it looks like his cold problem is solved. (Not like Prissy would say much if given the chance. Her dialogue in this picture is nothing but her trademark “Yes.” and a few “No’s.” What a sad way to make your final film appearance.) Hark! A knock at the door. And an abandoned child. We know him as Henery Hawk, but Foghorn is convinced he is food. (Eating children left on our property. Another trait we share)

You might think Foghorn is just trying to adhere to the rule of “eat or be eaten” but he really does think Henery is a squab. The little hawk is quick to correct him, and Foghorn immediately tries to kill him for being a predator. (Who is also making his final appearance on the silver screen.) Prissy may not have a variable vocabulary, but she is smitten with the chick nonetheless. He is staying as her own. So, let’s see: Foghorn can either choose to die by beak, or die by sleet. (After which, I’m sure Henery would still eat him.) Neither sounds very pleasant.

Alternative time! What if Foghorn took the kid outside, under the pretense that he is teaching the child about how to be a chicken? Then they’d be out of Prissy’s sight, and she wouldn’t have to know if anything bad were to befall her foundling. She allows it, and Foggy takes Henery out for some training. And at first, his efforts seem sincere. He takes Henery up high for some crowing practice, and despite having an opportunity to push Henery off, and die via gravity’s hand, (because if he’s young enough to be left on doorstep, he’s also too young to fly) he actually tries to pull if off without a trick. Henery uses the height to try and hang the rooster.

Too dark? Henery quickly transfers the chicken to a cauldron, and prepares to make a meal. Foghorn escapes and berates the kid. Leading to some interesting thoughts from his tormentor. He’s not trying to kill the ones he is being raised by, but the scent of chicken is awakening his primal instincts. (And really, is it his fault that chickens are so dang delicious?) Enough philosophy, back to the original plan of trying to kill the bird. Foghorn tries to pass off sitting on grenades, and finding landmines as sitting on eggs and scratching for food, respectively. (They backfire of course.)

Well, if Henery is going to be a chicken, (which it looks like he has accepted) Foghorn is going to be the hawk. (Even managing to glide on thermals! Where was this guy in “Chicken Run?” Oh yeah, a different continent.) Henery flees to his mother, and the two take shelter, leaving Foghorn to crash face first into the coop he so desperately wanted to live in at the beginning.

Favorite Part: When Henery reveals that he is a hawk. Foghorn immediately grabs a gun.

Personal Rating: 3

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