“Nice instrument, Junior.”
Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on March 3, 1951.
You watch this, and you can’t help but wonder: did McKimson want to create a new series of cartoons here? One starring an oreny old farmer Al Falfa wannabe and the illegitimate cousin of Heckle and Jeckle? Calling it the Crow and the Coot? Can’t really tell anymore, but we’re here and we can see this short, so let’s watch shall we? Maybe there IS potential here.
A crow (that I’m calling Cornfed) has a habit of eating the cornfields dry. He clearly hasthe brains crows possess, as he isn’t fooled at all by a scarecrow. He has a propeller beanie and a dickie as a wardrobe. The hat makes sense. As he has arms instead of wings, he needs something to fly with. The dickie… *shrug* a pun on dickey bird? What’s really interesting is his voice. He’s not voice by Mel! If IMDB is to be believed, the crow is voiced by a one Pat Patrick. To me, he sounds like Francis X. Bushlad. Could there be a connection?
As is typical of these kind of cartoons, the farmer (Who I’m calling Pop and thinking might be a relation to the Martin brothers,) has no chance in killing the corvid. Even when he has the bird cornered in a tree stump, he still manages to miss. I do love Cornfed’s reply: “You missed me. You didn’t exactly miss me either, but I wasn’t exactly standing where you shot.” (I’ll have to remember that one for if I ever play “Godeneye” again.) Since he missed, Pop chases him with an axe and begins chopping the tree Cornfed is hiding in. In a nice subversion of expectations, the tree doesn’t immediately fall on Pop, but threatens to crush his car. And succeeds despite his best efforts.
Pop comes home. There, he and Cornfed have a very intellectual and philosophical discussion about the refrigerator: whether or not the light stays on. Cornfed is a believer, Pop is not. The crow tells him there IS a way that they can find out, and Pop is willing to do that. He shuts himself in the fridge, and is soon begging to be let out. Cornfed does no such thing, but don’t worry, Pop gets himself out. (And is pleased that he proved his theory correct. This is how scientists are born.)
Maybe booby trapping some corn will wor- it won’t work. Pop tucks some TNT into a cob, but Cornfed sticks it back in his pocket. And making a pre-PVZ cob cannon fares even worse. (And keeps Pop’s mouth from moving.)The crow pulls on the cob, yes, but he pulls hard enough that the cannon is redirected at Pop when it is fired. And I do love his face. Looking at it, you can immediately read his thoughts: “Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I win? Is it even worth living anymore?” That last question gets answered after he lands in a boat, and angrily throws the cannonball down, making a hole.
He could swim, but he stubbornly chooses to drown. Stating that wherever he is going, there won’t be crows there. (Please don’t be heaven! I couldn’t face paradise without one of my favorite birds!) Dark enough, but the envelope gets pushed further. I guess Cornfed loves pestering him THAT much, for he quips that there soon will be, and plunges himself into the water too. HOLY-!
Maybe it’s good that any potential series stopped here.
Favorite Part: The bold and bass way Cornfed enters the house. Doesn’t knock or nuthin’, just struts in like he owns the place. Crows are so awesome.
Personal Rating: 3. Good effort. Some new twists on old gags, willing to let another person voice your characters, (I think I like Pat’s performance) and great facial expressions. (Still confused about that dickie, though.)