Injun Trouble

“Groovy, man.”

Directed by Bob McKimson; Story by Cal Howard. Animation: Ted Bonnicksen, Jim Davis, LaVerne Harding, and Ed Solomon; Backgrounds by Bob McIntosh; Layouts by Bob Givens, and Jaime Diaz; Film Editors: Hal Geer and Don Douglas; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released on September 20, 1969.

Well girls and boys, hamsters and tuna, this is it. The last cartoon from Warners during their golden age. In fact, it’s so recent that my father was already alive for about two months when it debuted, and my mother was only four days away from leaving the womb. We’ve truly come to an end of an era. (Though, since I review these in random order, we’re still far from done.)

Plot? Not really. It’s the final cartoon, they can skimp on the plot this time. Instead, we’re given a bunch of gags that mainly relate to Native Americans. You might be wary, but these are some decent quality jokes. Reminds me an awful lot of what you’d see during the heyday of “The Muppet Show.” (Let us have that, Disney+) These are tied together with the continuing adventures of Cool Cat, driving his dune buggy.

The natives don’t take too kindly to big cats in these parts, and one tries to chase him down. Cool Cat drives as fast as he can, and the bridge he crosses does him a solid, by falling away when the man and horse try to cross. The man falls rather quickly, leaving the horse clutching the cliff face, calling for help. (He sounds an awful lot like Quick Draw McGraw. Guy had to find some way to make ends meet after people realized he and El Kabong were one and the same.)

Cool Cat answers his call to give him a hand. (He applauds.) Good strength in that cat, as he manages to heave the horse back to safety. (To show he’s a good sport, he also throws a rope at the man.) C.C. wouldn’t mind continuing to hang with his new equine pal, but his car is rolling away. The horse helps him catch up by giving him a good kick. Maybe the others natives will act a bit more kindly to their guest? Well, one of them does try to stick Cool Cat with a portly dame. How… generous? (I’m not really sure what his motivations were.)

The gags continue. One native puts a bucket on his head to be a “pail face.” A rather fetching one asks the tiger if he wants to “Indian wrestle.” He happily/hornily agrees, then finds his opponent was the muscly man behind the rock. A third channels Groucho. Seem like friendly folks. Still, they clearly want Cool Cat to leave, seeing as they have smoke signals stating “Cool Cat go home.” (When’d they even learn his name?)

Wish granted. He exits their territory and enters the town of “Hot Foot.” Interesting place, this. The horses play human shoes, and the horse doctor, as his name implies, treats humans. Cool Cat sees a building that sounds like his kind of place: a topless bar. All right! Let’s see some knockers! Aw crap. The bartender is a guy. (I’m not sexist, just straight.) Cool Cat has a drink when someone else enters the bar. He looks familiar. But, it couldn’t be!

The two start up a game of cards. (Love C.C.’s poker face.) The tiger proudly shows his four aces. Seeing as how the other guy has a gun with his cards, he has the better hand. Yeah, this doesn’t look like a good place for Cool Cat to hang, after all. So, time for one of the most creative endings I’ve ever seen to a cartoon. Cool Cat declares that he is “cutting out” and, grabbing some scissors, actually cuts himself out of the animation cel. (That IS cool. I guess you have to admit the guy lives up to his name now)

Still, we can’t end Looney Tunes without one last quote, and I feel that Cool Cat chooses some pretty awesome closing words. “So cool it now, ya hear?” Reading too deep I may be, but I see it as a way of saying “We’ve been at this since 1930. We’re ready to stop. Disney and MGM have already pulled out of the business, and frankly, we don’t mind letting Walter Lantz have it all to himself. Enjoy our reruns, we have plenty of them.” And so, like the best westerns (not the motels) Looney Tunes rode off into the sunset. Shane! Shane! Well done, Shane!

Favorite Part: It was actually hard to choose. (I really did enjoy the jokes.) I choose the smile the horse gives when he boots his rider off the cliff. Clearly, this has been a fantasy of his for some time.

Personal Rating: I really, REALLY, want to give this a three, but the racial stereotyping and common sense tell me that I can’t. I’ll have to give it a 2. If you aren’t bothered by a little teasing of the Red Man, you might agree with a 3.

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