“I’m so crazy, I don’t know this is impossible.”
Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert Cannon and John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on August 6, 1938.
After slapstick, there’s no truer sense of comedy, then the kind you find in the straight man/ funny man duo. Laurel and Hardy. Abbot and Costello. Or maybe my favorite: Daffy and Porky. (Bet you thought I was going to title drop today’s short, didn’t ya?)
They’re living together in this picture, because Daffy is a boxer and Porky is his manager. (So naturally, Porky gets the better mailbox. Helps hold his fan mail. Only 99% is from me.) The paper delivers some decent news. (Wouldn’t that be a nice change? Aren’t cartoons the best?) Looks like there’s a champion boxer who is willing to take on anyone who’s willing to get in the ring with him. This is the break “Porky and Daffy” (Supervision by Robert Clampett) have been waiting for!
Porky rushes to deliver the news to his client, but Daffy is asleep. Quite the heavy sleeper at that. Porky knows what to do! (I love his little idea face. I’ve been copying it ever since I first saw this cartoon back in 2010.) Using only a pan lid and a spoon, Porky wakes his champion fighter up. Let’s skip to the match, shall we? I doubt the training could be half as fun as the fight. Seeing as that’s our next scene, I think Clampett’s team agrees with me. (What’s that white shape in the crowd shot? It’s so conspicuous.)
Who is this champ anyway? That scrawny, skinny, nothing of a rooster? He’s struggling to breathe! Anyone could take this guy. I could take this guy. (To Popeye’s, preferably. The chicken shack, not the sailor man.) Porky puts his pugilistic pal in the ring. This should be a short… uh-oh. Seems the champ was struggling to breath, because his robe was too tight. It had a lot of muscles to cover up. Well, we might as well get started. In this corner: the champ. In the other: Daffy. In the middle: our pelican referee.
Now, this fight might look pretty one sided, but don’t forget: Daffy is a nut. He doesn’t take anything seriously, so he has no fear. (His neck stripe also seems a bit more jaggedy today. Must be mating season.) Okay, I lied. He has plenty of fear and tries to flee. What’s a good manager to do? Talk to your fighter. Use words he can understand. Porky suggests that Daffy get on his bicycle. Being Daffy, he is able to mime one that is fast enough to outpace the terrifying champ. Even run him over. That’s one point! (Boxing uses points, right?)
Wait. Daffy is gone! I may be wrong about the points, but I do know that you can’t leave the ring mid-match. Is Daffy disqualified? Oh, he’s still in the ring. In fact, he’s in something else. The pelican’s bill. This means the poor ref gets some of the punches that were aimed at Daffy. Daffy manages to get away, still avoiding the wrath of the champ. Time to exploit the weakness that every living being, human or toon shares: candy. He offers Daffy a generously sized candy cane. (Daffy: “How’d you know I like lollipops?”)
It’s a trap! A trick! A tricky trap! However you say it, the champ beans Daffy with the confection and this keeps him from escaping once more. He censors his actions, (Awww! Now where will I get my bloodshed fix? Happy Tree Friends hasn’t been entertaining for at least a decade now) and it looks like Daffy’s out for the count. Good thing the ref takes his sweet time counting out the seconds. (I haven’t been this anxious for the count to reach ten, since I last played “Punch Out!!”) Porky begs, pleads, a third synonym for his fighter to reawaken. Oh, look it’s the return of his idea face!
He runs home, as fast as his trotters can carry him. He grabs the secret weapon and hurries back. The count has just passed nine when Porky once more bangs the lid over his duck’s head. Daffy is up and raring to go! The poor champ doesn’t stand a chance now! (As the ref is passed, the speed gets him stuck in his own bill. A joke we would later see shot for shot again in “Porky’s Hotel.” The pelican even looks exactly the same, save for a hat. Must have been his ex-wife.)
A frantic fight follows, but the champion loses his title. Daffy is our new winner, and by extension, Porky is, since the manager always walks away with accolades. (Just like in that famous movie about boxing, “Mickey.”) I think Daffy must have hit the poor ex-champ a little too hard, because now he is suffering from a nasty case of “Daffy-itis.” (I don’t care if that’s not the correct suffix. It is on my site.)
Favorite Part: The referee asking who wants to fight. Seeing as how he didn’t clarify, he gets no end of thugs wishing to thrash him.
Personal Rating: 4