Doggone Cats*

“That’s a nice doggy.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by Lloyd Turner and Bill Scott; Animation by Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, Don Williams, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard. A Merrie Melody released on October 25, 1947. (*It was reissued as “Dog Gone Cats” I didn’t misread the title.)

Wellington Dog delights in what any dog would: cat beating. His targets of choice are an orange one I named Stan, and a black one Chuck Jones named Sylvester. And he seems a little out of character as we know him; he’s more dope than oaf. This isn’t even the only time he was portrayed this way, as Davis’s unit would do it again in “Catch as Cats Can”. (That’s now two weeks in a row I’ve mentioned that short. That means I’ll discuss it someday.) I don’t know why he is portrayed this way, but I can’t help but wonder if Freleng said something along the lines of “My cat’s a clown, not a dolt.”, and that’s how Davis made Heathcliff.

Welly’s fun is interrupted by a call from his human. (And yes, that bit of him wearing a trashcan lid on his head and turning quote unquote Chinese had to be cut on some prints.) He is to deliver a package to Uncle Louie, because mailmen got sick of being chased by dogs and decided they could do the job themselves. She also threatens bodily harm on the dog if something happens to his cargo. This is good news to his prey, as now he has a weakness they can employ. They start immediately with glove slaps and eggs to the face. And Wellington can’t do more than growl at the pests, lest he let go of the package. (Wait, was Stan able to see that ghostly image of the woman Wellington imagined? That’s scary.)

Sylvester gets the package hooked on his fishing pole and reels it in, Wellington desperately hanging on by his teeth. This leads to him getting his head stuck in a gap of a fence. Stan is utilizing a crane to lift the end of the board that isn’t nailed down and wasn’t there when Sylvester was fishing, while Sylvester cuts the rope holding it up. (Ouch. A delicious ouch.) Wellington gets the parcel back from them, but loses it again when Sylvester leads him in a dance into Stan’s pin. Sylvester takes it and runs.

Hey! Error! Wait a minute! The next shot has Stan carrying the package. When did they switch? I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder. Actually, I don’t. It’s actually quite trivial and easily ignored in the grand scheme of things. Stan hurls it onto some train tracks, (Leading to a fun little skid on Wellington’s part where his body and head spin independently from each other.) imitates a train with Sylvester to scare Wellington into ducking for safety, and leaving him to get run over by the real deal.

Then, to really mess with the dog, they wrap an iron weight up the same way, and hurl it from a bridge. Wellington and his rental boat sink trying to catch it. (And the repairs are coming out of his pocket, too.) But they lose it again, because Sylvester hits Stan with a mallet instead of Welly. (Which would have happened even if he was in his smarter form. Let’s not fool ourselves.) With the brains of the outfit out for the moment, the dog retrieves the goods once more.

Stan blows on a phony cigarette of pepper to make Wellington sneeze, sending the package right into the line of Sylvester’s steamroller. It may cost every bone in his body, but Wellington manages to keep the package safe, and finally get it delivered to Uncle Louie. He seems a bit too young to be the lady’s uncle. Is he Wellington’s uncle? I guess that means Wellington enjoys beating his cousins up because the cats not only belong to Louie, but the package contained their dinner. Does the woman just have a side business of making homemade cat food? Was it a mail mix-up? Did the cats know what it was? And what was my favorite part?

Favorite Part: The “shh” Wellington tells the cats when his lady is calling him. You may see it as a psychopath telling his victims to stay silent or die, but I see it more like a child not wanting the other kids tattling on him.

Personal Rating: 3

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