Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Champin; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 20, 1945.
A little woodpecker has just moved into a tree and Sylvester isn’t far behind. Using a hair net and twigs for camouflage the cat makes it about halfway up the tree before he is spotted. The bird haphazardly slathers the tree with some grease, and the next thing you know, the whole thing is covered, sending Sylvester sliding back down. And chopping the tree down is not an option, so says the nearby bulldog. (I like that he doesn’t interact with the plot much. He couldn’t care less what Sylvester does, as long as the tree if left alone.)
Sylvester tries stilts. He really should’ve thought this one through, as they don’t last long against an animal that frequently pecks holes in wood. The branch he grabs onto has a a similar fate. Sylvester tries crossing on the telephone wires. The bird finds the control switch, and Sylvester pleads for it to not be touched. The woodpecker does some good baiting here with a little ‘all right’ shrug. Sylvester does his best to book it to safety, knowing the bird is going to go back on his word. He does, and we never see it. (Does this cartoon seem a bit dim to anyone else? Even Sylvester’s fur is more gray than white.)
The plan that gets Sylvester to the branch is the riding a kite one. (Who’s holding the other end?) He’s got the bird trapped in his own house, so said bird tries a trick he saw Bugs do once. It works flawlessly, and Sylvester thinks that the totaled tomato is pressed picidae. He’s not getting any sleep tonight, which means it’s time to move to phase two. The bird disguises himself as an angel (Naturally, “Angel in Disguise” is playing. Stalling never misses an opportunity.) The “angel” gives his murderer a gun in order to make things right, because that’s totally what angels do. Sylvester actually starts to go along with it before he sees through the charade. He even manages to get a few well deserved shots taken.
The next day Sylvester is right back at it, and tries to batter down the bird’s front door. He ends up getting stuck in another branch, and the woodpecker baits him again by really taking his time getting set to give him a good pin poking. Fed up, Sylvester wraps some dynamite around the tree before the dog reminds him that it isn’t a good idea. As the cat puts out the fuses, the bird relights them and once they are all exploded, there’s no sign of Sylvester. The bird points up, showing who really wears the angel getup in this relationship.
Favorite Part: Sylvester figuring out an easy way to get up to the branch: just climbing air as if it were stairs. Then flashing the motto by which all animator’s swear: “Anything is possible in a cartoon!”
Personal Rating: 3