Buddy and Towser

“Hold ‘im, Towser!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Jack King and Bob McKimson; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on February 24, 1934.

All the greatest Toons have dogs. Mickey has Pluto, Bart has Santa’s Little Helper, and Norville has Scoobert, just to name a few. And why shouldn’t they? Dogs are obedient, loyal, friendly, cute and warm. Am I biased? Sure, but it doesn’t change the fact the dog is the best choice of pet for humanity. Never let a thing like allergies hold you back. I’m rambling again.

With all those positive traits, is it any wonder that Buddy too, has a dog? Towser, (for that his the pooch’s name) has the essential job of guarding Buddy’s poultry house. Chickens and ducks don’t make you money if you have to replace them every morning, and replace them he might if the fox on the way has any say. (Looks like a non-anthropomorphic Foxy. At least this way, nobody will get sued.) He’s quite the resourceful one, as he rather easily slips into the building. (Towser! You had one job!)

Actually, the birds seem to be handling themselves just fine. Eggs make great ammunition. (Imm… Please tell me they aren’t fertile.) Rather than just eating the free yolk, this is enough to make the fox leave.  Now Towser wakes up, and sounds a warning. While Buddy gets his gun, Towser gives chase around the coop. (I love how the fox just rides on the doghouse being drawn along. It’s not just humorous, but smart. Always try to tire out your pursuer. It makes escaping easier.)

With Buddy on the alert, the fox decides it’s a good idea to flee. The two could just let him leave, but it won’t guarantee him not coming back. They have to kill him. It’s the only way. Towser thinks he finds his target, but it was only a bear. He seems quite unhappy to be woken up in winter, so he gives chase. And you gotta give Buddy credit, he actually fires his gun. Strangely enough, it doesn’t get rid of the bear. On the contrary, it multiplies him. (And they all told the inventor that bear making gun wouldn’t sell. Now who’s laughing?)

Non-anthro Foxy is still pissed that Buddy has a career (struggling, though it is) and he doesn’t, so he gets the two to chase him again. They follow him up a hill, and he makes the ever common mistake, of turning to look at them. BOOM! He crashes into a tree. Thus causing snow to fall on him and encase him in a snowball. The two try to escape, but are scooped up. When they crash and are freed, they try to clobber the fox with some fence posts, but are so dizzy that all they his is each other. Foxy escapes and his evil plans will continue! (Or, you know, they won’t.)

Favorite Part: The last time Warners does the “chick needs bathroom” bit. There’s a twist this time: the mother doesn’t want to get out of her nest, so she makes one of her older chicks take him. Look at that disgusted face, reluctance to comply, dragging the younger by the arm, and still sulking while being thanked. (Boy, is it all relatable!)

Inki and the Minah Bird

“ROAR!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Animation by Robert Cannon, Shamus Culhane; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released o November 13, 1943.

That title is no typo from me. For whatever reason, the bird is labeled as a “Minah.” (Unless that is his actual name. Minah the Mynah. I’ve heard of worse names.) Whatever the reason, this continues the trend of shorts being nothing more than the characters’ names even though it wasn’t their debut.

It’s a beautiful day in the jungle. Even the annelid snake is frolicking. (And it takes a lot to get that guy to show any joy. It’s hard being the only one of your species.) Oop. Spoke too soon. Such a beautiful day means one should take advantage of it, and hunt some game. That’s Inki’s plan, and he just barely misses the earthworm squamate by that much. (It really would have made a cute trophy.) Sure, he could try and hunt literally any other animal in the jungle, but a certain something in the distance sends them all packing. Whatever it is, it shakes the very ground it walks on. None who tangle with it ever survive. When you hear the accompanying music, if you’re smart, you’ll run in whatever direction is opposite of the commotion, and you won’t look back once. You’ll only pray that you aren’t the unfortunate soul who is unlucky enough to suffer the creature’s wrath. It is simply known as: The Mynah Bird. (goosebumps.)

Inki initially takes cover too, but either he isn’t aware of this bird’s otherworldly power, or he really just wants to be the guy who stuffed it. (Or he’s suicidal. It’s not ideal, but it’s a possibility.) He’s got a color changing spear, so why not take a “stab at it?” (I won’t apologize. That pun was worth your time.) He takes his trusty weapon in hand, and heaves towards the bush the bird hopped into. Success? The spear hit something. Might as well see what was hooked. Ah. It appears to be a lion. (Which means if this is Africa, that explains the terror the bird caused. Invasive species are ruthless.)

The big cat doesn’t seem too injured by the weapon, but he is understandably peeved. Inki runs home to get a peacemaker. The steak in the fridge will do nicely. (Why so shocked? People who live in huts can still have modern amenities. Stop being so judgmental.) The lion is happy to eat, but the bird was in his mouth and takes it for himself. The lion is so upset that not only does his hair change color with stress, but his eyes disappear. The bird has gone too far! So the lion gives chase. The bird would probably kill it, but he just ate, so he just hops into some hay. And it shrinks away into nothing before the lion’s eyes!

Things really aren’t going his way. When he beats on a tree in anguish, Inki falls into his paws. (It was still a decent hiding place.) The original chase resumes, but eventually, the lion sees the hay reappearing. The bird is back, and the cat shall have its vengeance! (Warner felines are great at achieving that, right?) Still not giving a d*mn, the bird just hops into a hole. The lion tries to catch him as he comes out, but finds Inki instead. (That was an ever better hiding place! This bird just screw everyone over.) The trio all pull the dust cloud running fake out, (Impressive. Usually, only one of them tries that at a time.) then the bird finally takes the lion and makes him disappear. Inki is saved. He’s a good kid, and offers to shake hand…wing…limbs with the bird.

Rookie mistake! That bird hates being touched, and he brings the lion back. A tussle breaks out, with Inki being the first to run for it. The bird meanwhile, ends up stealing the lion’s teeth for himself. (Now the whole planet is doomed. The only way this bird could any more powerful, is with internet access!)

Favorite part: it was a dang good short all around, but I give props to the lion crying after his steak is eaten. Normally, crying in media annoys me, but it sounds great here. Kudos!

Inki and the Mynah Bird

We now come to the year 2020 A.D. The year of hindsight. I’m well aware that I’m not even close to being the first person to make such a joke, but I will use it to tie into today’s post, where I’ll ask this question: “Was this character a good idea?”

This is Inki. He is a young hunter. At least, that’s what he tries to be. For most of his pictures, he doesn’t seem to be very capable. (Like all Warner Bros. hunters) And you probably noticed the thing that I’m not bringing attention to: he looks like a girl. (At least, that was my first thought when I saw him.) Really, its the rest of him. The large hooped earrings, the loincloth, and the prominent lips. All are signs of the stereotypical African. Yet, the audiences never found him too offensive. (For one thing, it’s never outright stated that he is from Africa. Kid never speaks.) It was the higher ups that figured he shouldn’t be seen, and that accounts for his obscurity. (Even though none of his pictures crack the “Censored Eleven.”

As the title of the post suggests, he is only one half of a comedy duo. Thus, I introduce his co-star: the Mynah Bird.

What is widely known about Mynah Birds? Their ability to mimic human speech, of course. Forget that. This bird is as silent as Inki. Not only that, but he just might be the Looney Tunes biggest bada$$. Nothing rattles this passerine. Whenever he makes an appearance, he looks straight ahead, skips to the tune of “The Hebride Overture” and prefers not to interact with anybody. Naturally, this tends to get the attention of everyone nearby. (Although, many flee in terror when he’s around) Woe betide anyone foolish enough to tangle with this bird. He can do things. We don’t see how he does it, but he can hurt, humiliate, and sometimes even help others. (But don’t try thanking him. He doesn’t want to put up with you.) So cool.

Inki may have fallen into obscurity, but the bird still made the occasional appearance later on in life. Making cameos in “Tiny Toons”, “Animaniacs,” and “Tweety’s High Flying Adventure.” (He’s less likely to tie knots in the panties of oversensitive folk) Really though, as a Looney Tune-iseur, I’d recommend giving the cartoons a watch. They really aren’t as bad as appearances might lead you to believe. (They were done by Chuck Jones. THE master of the silent slapstick.) But the real reason I think they are great? That bird is clearly my spirit animal. (He’s not the only one people tend to run in fear from. Probably for slightly different reasons, though.)

Country Boy

“♫Teacher’s gonna get’cha cause she’s not a fool…♫

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Mith; Musical Score by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on February 9, 1935.

Morning time is the time that all well behaved bunnies go to school. (To learn how to make clothes. Living naked is a sin!) So, for fun’s sake, let’s look in on the one naughty rabbit. You can tell he is naughty because he tries to avoid school by hiding amongst the poultry. That and his name is Peter. The universal name for naughty rabbits. Yes, this is essentially a retelling of the classic story. More importantly, Beatrix Potter was still alive at this time of time. And I wonder, did she ever watch cartoons? Was she a fan, with how much she loved animals wearing clothes, and having adventures beyond the typical mate/survive/end up dead lifestyle they usually have?

Yeah, yeah, off topic. Peter heads off after being caught by his mother, but on the way, he spots a delicious looking garden. But before he can sneak in and have a feast worthy of the best salad bars, he is caught by three of his goody-goody classmates. (Heck if I know the genders. Bernice Hansen uses the same voice for all of them. And girls don’t wear nothing but dresses.) They warn him that not only will he end up as a stew ingredient should he trespass, but they will do the most horrible thing they can do to him: tattle. (All in song form, too) Before things get too ugly, they hear the school bell and rush off. Clever little Peter, though, he doubles back at the last moment and heads off to what I want to call “Vegetable Valley.” (If only it was a valley.)

He starts with the carrots, and then heads to the peas. Well, at least they seem like peas. Really, they’re jumping beans. (Which makes me wonder what they were originally, before the farmer just gave up and let the animals rule this part of the garden.) Maybe he should stick to things his body can actually digest? Beets! Even the bull is feasting here. (Is the farmer okay with that?) A tug of war between the two herbivores ends with the bovine in the well, and its cries alert farmer McGregory of the intrusion. Chase time! (Just like in the original stories, he never questions how a rabbit was able to make/purchase clothing and put it on without hands or a complex brain.)

Peter could run, but why not take the mower? Not only does it mean he can run without using energy, but he can tear up the area. (That’ll teach that farmer for his lack of sharing! Sucks to your hard work!) Still, it doesn’t end especially well for the rabbit. He ends up flying through the farmer’s syrup harvest, and his hen house. Once more, he can hide amongst the poultry. And if he wants to keep his body unstewed, he’s going to have to. (If this Peter wasn’t a child, I’d say this is the untold story of how Peter Sr. ended up in a pie. Mcgregory: “Why does this chicken taste like rabbit?”)

Favorite part: The rabbit children’s song. (It’s catchy)

The Mouse on 57th Street

“Oh boy! Da diamond!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble and Owen Fitzgerald; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 25, 1961.

With the holidays around, my thoughts turn to all the tasty treats that occur this time of year. (I’m not big on this “loving your fellow man”, stuff. They’re annoying) I’m particularly fond of sweets. So, if I was on the “57th” street that the title mentions, my eyes would float right past the diamond on display at “Spiffany’s.” Sure, the Sunflame diamond is the largest uncut diamond in the world, but I’m no geologist. It’s just a rock to me. That bakery looks interesting, though.

What a display! The world’s largest uncut rum cake! (I don’t even care for the flavor of rum, but it sure beats that rock.) The mouse featured in the title seems to think so. (Poor guy. He’s just another mouse without a name. We’ll call him: “Al.” (Kaholic) He tries some of that cake, and love it so much, he eats a tunnel right through! Even though, most of the liquor should have cooked out, there still seems to be enough to get the little guy soused. (Of course, being so little, what small amount was there would probably do the trick.) He staggers home.

After ingesting that much rum, all anyone wants to do is just lounge around and wait for the hangover to dissipate. (You’d think with my constant griping about the world, I’d drink too, but the threat of a hangover scares me. I’m not one for pain. That and I dislike the taste.) Too bad for Al, he lives next to a construction site, and all that machinery seems all the louder when it is several times his size. Head throbbing, he tries to get a drink. Just then, one of the workers notices that rock, and comments on the size of that “ice.” Ice? Why, that’d be just the thing to fix Al up! His size makes it easy for him to “borrow” the stuff.

Yet, everyone seems to get really excited over the loss of their rock. Just go find another one. Is it really that hard? (Well, seeing as it is a diamond and not talc, yes.) Naturally, since it is NOT ice, it’s not helping. Al goes back for that drink, and is spotted by two cops. Big, dumb, Muldoon, and the smaller, smarter, (no name), Earl. They chase the rodent all over, but he always manages to barely escape. (His rock appears to fluctuate in size. Maybe it really IS ice?) While being chased through the subway, he manages to escape out and run over a manhole, just as Earl jumps out via it to avoid a train. The rock comes off of Al and lads on Earl. Since Muldoon is the dumb one, he begins hitting his partner over the head with his billy club.

Al, meanwhile has gotten over the hangover. Well, since that’s settled, how about some more rum cake? (They even refilled the part he already ate.) Ah, how sweet life can be!

Favorite part: Both cops have the exits of a pipe guarded. When Earl shines his flashlight, Muldoon shoots thinking it is the perpetrator. Earl’s response: “Why do you hate me, Muldoon?”

One Step Ahead of my Shadow

“Me show you Melican way!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Max Maxwell; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on February 4, 1933.

With a title like that, I’d assume our picture would take place in the land of the rising sun. I guess China is a close enough choice. We dumb Americans think all Asian cultures are one and the same. Considering the time period it’s coming from, should we expect plenty of stereotype jokes? Yes, but luckily most of them seem pretty subdued. Seems the animators were more focused on “the Chinese have long braids of hair” jokes, over the classic “they have freakishly large teeth!” ones. (Though there is one of those in here.)

Although, really, we shouldn’t make fun. The people there are not that different than you or me. They have traffic, folks who quote “Amos N Andy,” and Mickey clones, just like we do! (Numbers 704 and 251, to be precise.) And who is our hero of the day? It’s a young oriental boy named…I won’t lie. I’m afraid to supply him with a name, in case I somehow choose something offensive. I’ll just go with Craig.

Craig sings the title song, while on his way to pick up his girlfriend for a date. If it isn’t Fortune Cookie! (And if it isn’t, it must be her sister, Fortune Wafer.) The two enjoy some swinging. (That’s not a music joke. They use a literal swing. Do couples still do this sort of thing?) Let’s step away from the two for minute and look at another character. Some fat guy who you’d probably expect to be the antagonist, at first glance. Not only does he treat his rickshaw driver as a horse, (but then, he IS neighing. Why do they keep doing that?) but he also has claws, and takes joy in finding the meter go down to zero after hitting a bump. (Actually, that one is rather relatable.)

He heads into a building, and they start swinging. (That’s not a literal description. They play some music) The building in question is right next to where Craig and his gal pal are playing, so they go inside and have more fun. Now we’ll meet the antagonist. A dragon that is in captivity. (It’s easier to worship something when it doesn’t run away.) It has fire breath, (which these type of dragons don’t normally do, so maybe this one IS just a zoo exhibit.) and it is able to melt the bars of its cage and escape. It begins terrorizing everyone, but Craig has the rather brilliant idea of shoving some fireworks down its throat. This doesn’t kill it, but it does succeed in blowing off all the skin and organs within.

Favorite Part: While Craig paddles his boat along the Yangtze (I’m sure there are other rivers in China, but its the one I’m declaring canon) he sees a quacking goose eat some fish. The last fish is big enough to turn the tables.

Buddy’s Trolley Troubles

“All aboard!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Drawn by Ben Clopton and Frank Tipper; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on May 5, 1934.

I don’t know what it is about trolleys, but if you drive one, there will be trouble. Doesn’t matter if you’re a lucky rabbit, a fox, or a purple dragon. Then again, it wouldn’t be very entertaining if nothing happened. Then again, (again) if the main character is Buddy, it probably still won’t be TOO entertaining. (I love ya, Buddy. But you are rather boring.)

One fine day, Buddy awakes wearing that same wide smile he always wears. Isn’t life swell? Nothing can go wrong, and if it does, one can solve any problem with a sunny disposition. Golly! Aren’t we in for boatloads of fun! Buddy keeps his trolley in his garage, and gets it to the tracks by using his fence. (Yeah, that is pretty clever, but it must be a pain to replace each day.) Be it that it’s a nice trolley, or the only trolley, Buddy gets some riders. A fat lady, (always has to be at least one) and a guy who hangs on to the outside before getting in. (And it must be larger on the inside, because we never see the two again. Then again, (part 3) I never did see Buddy eat breakfast today…)

The passenger Buddy is most happy to pick up, is his girlfriend. He even has a scissors lift installed so he can reach the floor of the building she lives on. (And he just…stares at her. It’s rather creepy, but she seems to enjoy it. I’ll never understand couples.) This causes trouble for Buddy, as he holds up traffic. (Go on then, show us that smile!) The cop isn’t too patient with him, punching him in the face, and telling him  to shut up. (Something I’m sure many of us would love to do.) They get moving.

As they ride along, they eventually come to a part of track that a convict is hiding under. A trolley would be just the thing to cut the chain on his ball and chain. It works, and Buddy hops out to see what the damage is. The smart thing to do in this situation is to lay low, maybe disguise yourself. Then again (I’m saying again) this guy probably got arrested in the first place for charging people for a game of punch the cop’s balls. (Fun game, disastrous consequences.) So it doesn’t surprise me to see him take off with Cookie in tow.

Buddy manages to chase the brute down with a hand cart, and even get some licks in. He even gets Cookie back without too much of a struggle. Still, he might want to look into a new line of work as the thief can’t slow down in time, and hits a truck of dynamite stuck on the tracks. (Yep, that’s Dumbasp Mcgee, all right. What a pathetic excuse for a criminal)

Favorite part: Me being me, I like what Buddy uses to ring his bell: a cat. (I’m probably going to hell)

Hobo Bobo

“Bobo felt very hurt when he fell down on his… first attempt.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster. A Merrie Melody released on May 17, 1947.

India is a delightful country. I’ve never actually been there, but the awesome Asian elephant can be found there, and that’s enough for me. Because they aren’t the more temperamental African variety, these ones can and have been used for manual labor. This doesn’t set very well with one little fellow. The calf, Bobo by name, is still in that small and impossibly adorable phase where he is mostly head. It doesn’t matter, he is SO CUTE! I want to hug him! (I guess I’m just a sucker for small elephants.)

As he is such a smart species of animal, little Bobo knows that just because he only has easy logs to haul now, they are going to get bigger as he does. A lifetime of work? That’s no way to live! It will make Bobo a dull calf! If only he could live at the circus. That’s where Uncle Jumbo lives. He’s a performer that everyone loves, and he is on the…baseball team. The circus elephant baseball team. Uh, oh yeah! The Pachyderm Pirates! Twelfth in the league… and… uh… no. It’s just weird. (Lord, I love cartoons.)

You know, why not? And since there are no circuses in India (or here anymore, for that matter) Bobo decides to board a ship for the states. However, the human supremacists won’t let someone of Bobo’s species on their boat. (Four legs bad, two legs are fine, but no birds either.) Bobo tries sneaking in on various ways, but they either fail to get him on board, or get him evicted on sight. Enter a mynah bird. Correction: THE mynah bird. A character from Chuck Jone’s Inki cartoons. (Who I’ve yet to discuss because I’m not capable of having a schedule that makes sense. In fact, I’m gonna just call it right here: I probably won’t summarize any of those shorts until, let’s say, 2024. See you then!

Oh yeah, I’m not done here. The bird has a grand idea: Bobo should just paint himself pink. People will see him, surely, but they won’t admit it. Being so young, naive, innocent, (and cute. Did I mention that yet?) the little elephant has no idea why everyone is suddenly so accommodating to him, but it’s suits him just fine. They even share there meals and beds with him. (I would. I don’t care if it would cost my bed its life. Beds are replaceable, Bobo’s aren’t.)

Land ho! Welcome to New York! I guess the people there had yet to accustom to  the wacky shenanigans on a daily basis, because everyone is still acting like they don’t see anything. Poor Bobo. It hurts to be ignored. (They’re not even giving him any freebies anymore.) As he mopes though, a street sweeper comes by, and washes off his pretty, pink paint. Suddenly, EVERYONE takes note that there is an elephant running around. (While I won’t lie calling the authorities would probably be wise, I do think everyone is overreacting. Just a tad. As long as his mother isn’t around, I think it’s safe to pet him.)

Well, he’s arrested. (Sure. When it calls for punishment, everyone is HAPPY to treat him like a human. If only I could say we’ve come so far.) Standing before the judge, Bobo awaits his verdict. He is sentenced to life. In the circus that is! Oh, happy day! Bobo is finally going to achieve his dream at last! He even makes it as the team’s bat boy. However, turns out that doesn’t make him happy at all. Finally speaking, he shows his distaste. After all that, he still has ended up carrying logs. Wah-wah-wah.

Favorite part: Such an adorable picture! I’d like to say any part with the main character was my favorite, but by my own rules, that’s cheating. I award the honor to the baby who throws out his bottle upon seeing the pink elephant. (He’s never going to trust his mother again.)

Lumber Jack-Rabbit

“I keep smelling carrots.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, Richard Thompson, Abe Levitow, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip Deguard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 13, 1954*.

It’s Warner Bros. first cartoon to be produced in 3-d! (And the only one from the golden age!) And why do it? Honestly, because everyone was. Donald Duck with Chip and Dale. Popeye. Woody Woodpecker. Even Casper! Sadly, they did very little to take advantage of the fad. All it amounts to is the shield smacking us in the face at the beginning. (Careful! You’re liable to knock loose my fillings!) Even without the gimmick, it’s kinda your basic Bugs short. Not their best.

The title references the fact that Paul Bunyan is in this picture. (Ironic, that the only cartoon of Bugs’ to win an Oscar beat out an adaptation of Paul’s story.) Some people may not believe in ole’ P.B. (which is weird since he can’t really hide that well) but Bugs had first hand proof as he actually wandered into Paul’s country once. (Yes, Paul has his own country and everything there is set to his scale. I guess he had to come from somewhere.)

Bugs isn’t initially aware as he’s singing “Jimmy Crack Corn.” (Yes, I know that all of us who are old enough to know that song, are aware of it’s unfortunate origins, but screw it, it’s a catchy song!) Bugs takes a nap against a giant carrot, and flips out once he realizes what it is. He immediately starts mining. (And just dumping away all the part’s he is digging out. Such a waste. If I was mining through a candy bar, I’d eat the “dirt”) Trouble is on the horizon. (Literally, given the size) Paul is heading out to do more lumberjacking off somewhere. (Go ahead and giggle. I know you want to.) He leaves his dog behind to guard things.

Said dog looks an awful lot like Frisky, but he takes things more seriously. (Also, the tag clearly reads “Smidgen” Kind of a mean name. Was “Speck” too cruel?) Dog plucks Bugs away from his work, and tries to rid the vegetables from the rabbit. When Bugs uses a feather to his advantage, the dog’s sneeze sends Bugs into the house and inside a large moose call. When the dog blows Bugs out. (No laughing this time, it’ll be forced) he unwittingly summons a moose. Poor creature flees once he sees who made that call. (Why even have a call if it only attracts normal moose?)

Bugs winds up in an apple eventually, and Smidgen eats it, thinking he’s won. Shouldn’t have picked his teeth, or he might have succeeded. Time to make peace! Bugs scratches the beast, and that’s all it takes! (Dogs are so wonderful. Always willing to forgive.) Now in the hound’s good graces, things actually seem worse as the pup won’t stop following Bugs. (Plus, you could drown in that tongue.) Bugs is able to solve the dilemma by pointing out something even better: a redwood tree. (Which is probably only slightly bigger than the animal, but dogs will be dogs.)

Favorite part: When Bugs is first taken away from his new mine by the dog, he let’s loose this gem of a line: “I’ll be scared later! Right now I’m too mad!” That’s just awesome.

*Correction: it was originally released on September 26, 1953. The release date up there was when it was released in regular format. Thanks to SJC for pointing it out!

Count Me Out

“I’m a professional prize fighter!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Herman Cohen; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 17, 1938.

This is actually a rather important cartoon for the good ole’ WB. You may not notice it right away, so I’ll just tell you. It’s all on the piece of mail Egghead is reading. This was the first appearance of ACME! The greatest “sell anything” company since… well, I suppose it was the first, and nobody else has ever been crazy enough to sell such content. That makes them number one to this day!

Back to business, the ad Egghead is reading promotes some boxing lessons (equipment included, ACME cares about its customers). What really hooks Eggy, is the ad challenging his masculinity. He can be a man or a mouse, and mice don’t box, do they?

Then I guess Egghead doesn’t have to prove anything. But what fun would that be?

He orders the kit and almost immediately gets it. (The delivery man would have been there sooner, but the bridge was out.) Time to get to work! There’s all sorts of nifty gear to make you the champion boxer of the neighborhood! Instructions relayed to you by a Mel Blanc narrator. The most basic rule of boxing is knowing how to punch, so that’s a good starting point. Egghead may not look like he’s got a lot of strength, but he can really hit that punching bag! In fact, it won’t stop swinging when Mel tells him to stop. (Egghead has no choice but to shoot it)

Like any sport, you can’t have offense without defense. (Otherwise, you’d just be getting payed to bully others) Next, will be lessons on dodging. The kit comes with a nice wall of gloves that will try and give you a good socking. Dodge them! Egghead does just that, and the instructions deem him ready! He’s a real boxer now, and real boxers right real matches. (Believe me, I’m tempted to put in joke about real Boxers (the dog breed), but I can’t make such a bad joke if you’re expecting it!)

He must have the right kind of connections, because Egghead is booked to fight the world champion, Biff Stew. (Oddly enough, Egghead is the only person in this short who isn’t an anthropomorphic animal. Then again, I’ve never been entirely sure that he wasn’t a hooded seal.)

(Uncanny.)

The referee is being played by Tex Avery. (Doing that oh, so enjoyable laugh he does. You can’t help but join in.) And the fight begins! Egghead does have some agility on him, and he lands several jabs, but it’s kind of like a grasshopper hitting an ox. No fazing is going to happen. It’s not long before Egghead is getting his rear handed to him. (So dazed is he, he thinks he is Charlie McCarthy at one point and takes a seat on the champ’s lap.)

He can’t just quit. Oh, don’t think he wouldn’t try! Biff is just not going to give him that luxury! They are fighting to the death! Biff might have overdone it on that last punch though, as after stretching the ropes as much as possible, (Egghead comes close enough to kiss! Any desperate people in the audience tonight?) he comes back and knocks Biff off his feet, and onto Eggy’s body. Only one way to get that lummox off, a bite! The galoot flies up, and comes down, the impact dragging the rest of the ring down with him. Could Egghead go down too?

If he was actually there! Turns out Egghead was knocked out by his dodging wall, and dreamed the whole thing up. Dream or not, he’s convinced that a fighter’s life is not for him and he throws everything out. (Except the wall, which gives him one more punch.)

Favorite part: After a grueling exercise, Egghead pants. The record tells him to not have his tongue hanging out, because we’re watching him. (Glad I didn’t have to say it.)