Feather Bluster

“… I prefer, I say, I prefers to dish it out.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Tom Ray, George Grandpre, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bill Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn and Carl Stalling.

I knew it! I frigging knew it! Foghorn and the Dawg were really friends deep down! See? They’re they are, clearly in their 70’s (in respective dog and chicken years) and playing a friendly game of checkers. The horseplay of yesteryear is carried on through the younger generation, as Foggy’s grandson paddles the Barnyard’s grandson, runs to the limit of his rope, and tells him to shaddup. Wait… that puppy looks famil- OH MY BOB! THIS! He’s the answer to the question I asked nine years ago! I finally figured it out!*

Foghorn can’t believe how today’s youth behaves, but B.D. reminds him that they used to get up to the same kind of pranks. Flashback time! Wait, is this another clip show short? COCKDOG IT! At least we’ve got a fairly interesting framing device to tie it all together. And yes, I understand why these kind of shorts were necessary in a pre-Bugs Bunny Show era. But they really don’t give me too much to talk about that I wouldn’t rather say later or earlier.

They reminisce about “Henhouse Henery,” and the time Foghorn painted and carved a bat. Next, they remember that time that was high and flighty. When Daffy sold Foghorn a trick bone? Well, these two remember it differently. In their version, Foghorn just got the bone in the mail. Why would you want to scrub your mind of Daffy Duck? He hadn’t yet embarrassed himself chasing Speedy yet. And then a pipe trap from “All Fowled Up”. But this is just small stuff, as Foghorn remembers what he considers his coup de grace. Another memory from “Henhouse Henery” that ended with Barnyard having a green tongue.

Unfortunately, since the window was open this whole time, the kids heard it all. (How old is chibi-Foghorn exactly? He’s got adult plumage and a comb.) Seems you can’t beat the old classics, but you can reinvent them. Foghorn the third starts a game of doctor to get Barnyard Dawg the third to open his mouth. Thus giving him access to his canvas. (Where are their biological parents, anyway? KFC and Petco?)

Favorite Part: Foghorn didn’t need any encouraging from Barnyard to start scolding his grandson for teasing the puppy. Shows how much he’s matured since 1946.

Personal Rating: 2. I’m sorry, but the only clip show I’ve seen that ever had a chance of being more than just a lazy cop out wouldn’t happen until “Phineas and Ferb” took a crack at it 55 years later.

*Actually, I figured this out about four months after I wrote that post. I decided to never say so because I know how people like to act. We feel a need to inform and correct anyone/anything that can be found online to make ourselves feel a little less insecure about our own mistakes. Who am I to try and spoil that for you?

 

Hare Brush

“Brudder, you got yourself a preposition.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Art Davis and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 7, 1955.

Observe the E.J. building. HQ of Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire. (I hear he has a mansion AND a yacht.) He owns plenty of businesses too, so he’s done very well for himself. But owning all this takes a lot of pressure, and sooner or later, something’s gotta crack. Sadly, it was Elmer’s brain. Now, he thinks he’s a rabbit! He hops on all fours, eats carrots, and even makes the same noises rabbits make: Ehwhatsupdoc. This has his board members worried, and they decide he needs professional help.

They send him to the Fruit Cake Sanitorium. (It’s the best they can do with the lousy pay Elmer’s been giving them lately.) Now, I don’t know anywhere near close enough to be considered a psychiatrist, but is indulging in the patient’s delusions really how you want to start? Look at the guy. He’s even dressed like a rabbit now. (And if you know anything about what rabbit’s eat, you should be very concerned right about… now.) It’s then when Elmer notices another rabbit outside the window. He easily lures his fellow lagomorph inside with the promise of bushels of carrots.

Said rabbit is Bugs who is fooled into thinking Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire is one of his own. Since the window is now open, E.J.F. the M. bolts. (Probably to check on his mansion and his yacht.) Bugs finds the place comfortable enough. Comfy bed, plenty of carrots, a rabbit could really learn to love it here. Now the doctor enters. Getting a look at Bugs has him claiming this as the most severe case yet. (So tell me, “doc” whose name is on that M.D. in your office? And why do your pants keep changing color?) He assures “Mr. Fudd” that while there is nothing wrong with being a rabbit, being a millionaire is even better. (You’ll get a mansion and a yacht!)

Thanks to modern medicine and verbal conditioning, Bugs leaves the place as Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. He owns a… yeah I’m sick of that too. I apologize. It’s Wednesday, and that is the day when Mr. Fudd goes hunting. Bugsmer is all for it, and in the woods he finds the perfect target: Fudds Bunny. Let the chase begin! Bugsmer thinks he’s got the rabbit cornered in a cave, but it’s really a bear. Running for his life, Fudds tells him to play dead. Always works. Too well, for the bear decides to dig him a grave. And since they’re atop a cliff, down the hunter goes.

When hunter finally finds hunted, victory is most definitely assured. That’s when a man taps Bugsmer’s shoulder asking if he is Elmer J. and you know the rest. The hunter affirms that he is, and the man reveals himself to be here to take him away. Seems even millionaires aren’t immune to the certainties of life, and Mr. Fudd has a good number of back taxes to his name. Bugsmer is dragged away, leaving Fudds to his freedom in the forest. Which leads us to the biggest question: was this Elmer’s plan from the beginning? (Smart AND rich. You don’t see that combo much anymore.)

Favorite Part: When Elmer first sees Bugs outside and get his attention. Bugs asks if Elmer is trying to get his attention and when Elmer confirms, Bugs gives him the (hare) brush off. That’s probably the most human thing he’s ever done!

Personal Rating: 4. Wow, has Freleng and his unit improved since last time! Far more interesting story, plenty of time for Blanc and Bryan to imitate each other’s characters, a brilliant way to shake up the standard plot; you’d find it hard to believe that Friz ever disliked Elmer.

Corn Plastered

“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.)

A Star is Hatched

“Goodnight my little pine knot.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Bob McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 2, 1938.

In the little town of Hickville, Emily the hen idolizes the stars and starlets of Hollywood and fantasizes about the time when she too will be on the silver screen. (Ironically enough, this short actually being her second time. She wouldn’t get a third.) So enamored is she that she even talks like Katharine Hepburn. (Unless that is her normal speaking voice. It’s possible. I sound like J.K. Simmons, myself.) She can’t be bothered with the local rooster who comes a courtin’ for her wing in marriage. The high life is always the best life!

What luck! There’s someone at the gas station she lives at who could be a huge help with getting into pictures. A one J. Megga Phone by name, on his way back to Hollywood. (I love how he wears three pairs on sunglasses. I should do the same.) Emily lets him know that she has every intention of being big one day, and he likes what he sees. (She is pretty cute.) He hands her his card telling her to look him up, as home he goes.

Emily rushes to get her bags. (Past Alfred Hick-cock who never moved an inch.) She’s Hollywood bound! And she’s so committed to her dream that she walks the entire 2,000 miles which means Hickville is located in Maryland or West Virginia. (Or maybe her hitchhiking had more success than the montage suggested. Less impressive.) She makes it though, and she gets to see what some of the stars are doing when not on screen. Clark Gable drives a trolley, and W.C. Fields directs traffic, for example. And we see the cement footsteps left behind by Robinson and Garbo. (The former having a gun print; the latter being humongous.)

The picture business, that’s what Emily is here for. And Mr. Colossal wasn’t bluffing, he really is a director. One with at least 15 assistant directors who agree to whatever he says. (Except the 15th one who still has a shred of individuality and personality. Give us one week more, we’ll fix him.) His latest picture is a musical medley to America’s 48 states and if the clapboard is accurate, his name is actually Buzzard Berkelee. (I knew his cool name was too cool to be true.) Odder still, his movie is comprised of humans. Yeah, we already saw plenty, but it was only now that I realized how weird this world is. What does everyone eat?

Emily finds a casting office, but it turns out she’s not the only pullet here. Seems Mr. C gives out business cards to any girl he comes across and the room is already packed. And when the man himself enters, Emily can’t catch his attention; not that he even looks at or acknowledges she exists. Emily is already broken. Embarrassed and upset to find she was just one of many, she decides to forgo any hard work that would get her a position, and heads back home.

She married Alfred and we see how happy their little family looks. But one daughter can’t help but idolize the silver screen, and fantasize about when she too will be a star. Emily ain’t having it and gives her kid such a smack. If she’s not going to be an instant success, then nobody is.

Favorite Part: When Colossal says, “If you ever want to get in pictures, look me up.” and hands Emily his card. Flipping it reveals just that is written on the back. Not only gives a clue that he has so many of those cards, he’s memorized the script, but can be interpreted as him just being too dumb to remember what to say.

Personal Rating: If you’re not familiar with some of the biggest stars of the day, you might find the majority of jokes confusing. It’s a 2 for people like you, and a 3 for the rest of us.

Cats and Bruises

“Here comes Mr. Butt-inski.”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Co-Director: Hawley Pratt; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Bob Matz, Norm McCabe, Don Williams, Manny Perez, Warren Batchelder, and Lee Halpern; Layouts by Dick Ung: Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on January 30, 1965.

On every Cinco de Mayo you can find all the mice in Mexico celebrating. That’s all well and good, but it also means they’re all in one location and Sylvester knows that spot. He tries to infiltrate the party with his own mouse ears (It’s worked before.) but Speedy can see through the disguise and tells everyone to run while he takes care of the party crasher. Speedy even uses an old sign to taunt him. (They still have that? Move on, guys.)

Speedy gets Sylvester into the nearby dog pound a couple of times. (Must be why they chose this venue.) But the budget doesn’t allow any scratches on the cat. He does manage to get Speedy in a net, and dragged around. He’s smart enough to grab a hammer, but slams into a pole. Later, Speedy takes a romantic boat ride with a mouse doe, whilst Sylvester tries to sneak up via rubber raft. Speedy pops that with a dart.

Like the new saying I just made up goes: if you can’t bead’em, outspeed’em. Sylvester is putting his engineering degree to good use as he designs a car that will actually outpace Speedy. We said it was crazy and couldn’t be done, but only the first part of that statement came true. As amazingly enough, the car is doing a dang fine job of catching up to the guy. (If we could see the speedometer, we could use basic math to figure out Speedy’s top speed. I’ve never wanted to do basic math more in my life!)

As it turns out, Speedy is the fastest mouse in all Mexico, and that includes his stopping speed. Meanwhile, it seems Sylvester never foresaw the mouse calling it quits, and didn’t bother to install brakes. He drives off a cliff and into a lake. (Although the camera pans upward. So we should all be forgiven for thinking it launched him into the thermosphere.) Speedy lets everyone know that it is safe to continue partying, and they dance again in the same shot we saw them in originally. (Wait… Speedy really kept them waiting while he went on a date? What a cheesehole!)

But Sylvester isn’t dead if that’s what Speedy was implying; he’s just in a wheelchair. So he can still chase the mouse in a way. Speedy humors him by running a fraction of a fraction of his normal pace. What a cheesehole.

Favorite Part: After Slyvester gets out of the dog pound. Speedy asks if he’s nervous. I like Speedy’s smug face, and the quick “yup” Sylvester responds with.

Personal Rating: 2. And that’s me being nice. This whole picture was a mishmash of reused gags we’ve seen before! (Probably why the animation looks a bit more polished than what was coming out at this time.) However, casual fans and newbies could probably find enjoyment here. (Still, I wouldn’t use this to introduce the characters to them.)

Stooge for a Mouse

“…You like cats, how come?”

Directed by I. Freleng; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Emery Hawkins, Ken Chapin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 21, 1950.

It’s so nice to see Sylvester happy. Even better? He’s happy with a dog! A dog! His natural enemy! It doesn’t matter what he does, any dog sees him and he gets mauled. Mike is much more understanding than those neander-canines. He’s even happy to let his pal use him as a pillow. But there are still responsibilities to uphold, and Sylvester’s main one at the moment is keeping his eye on a mouse.

Whoever owns this house loves leaving unwrapped cheese on the table. Naturally, the visible scent is going to attract a mouse. But Sylvester is on the job, and while not fully catching him, does send him running back to his hole. Seems like this isn’t the first failure for the rodent, so he’s going to have to resort to chicanery if he wants that rotting milk-wad.

He cuts a hole in the ceiling and lowers a phone receiver. Taking the other end, he starts putting doubts in Mike’s head about enjoying the company of cats. They only like other life-forms for their warmth, and will kill you once you outlive usefulness. (I mean, I don’t think he’s wrong…)  To make things worse, he plants a knife in Sylvester’s paws and has the dog look. He’s not pleased and banishes his chum to the other side of the room. Let’s call the mouse D.J.! (Short for dick jerk)

Mike sleeps once more, and Sylvester decides it’d be okay to at least share the rug. Mike can have some personal space, sure. But once the two are asleep once again, the mouse ups the ante. Wielding a mallet, he gives Mike a whallop and plants the weapon on Sylvester’s person once more, fleeing before his trick is discovered. Again, Mike is pissed to think what he once considered a good friend is now causing him bodily harm.

D.J.’s tricks get worse, and Mike decides the only option is to put the cat in shackles and throw him out of the room. Even though this should help prove Sylvester’s innocence, Mike still blames him when the mouse saws a hole around him, and gives Sylvester the saw. (Really, Mike? You don’t see ANYTHING suspicious about this? You KNOW there’s a mouse in the house.) He gives Sylvester a pounding leaving the cat dazed. But the mouse has one more scheme to try: it involves a boxing glove and horseshoes.

Figure it out yet? D.J. is going to use a magnet to drag a horseshoe-filled-gloved-Sylvester into Mike’s mug. That’s it. Mike retaliates and punches the (still oblivious) cat right back again. And the mouse pulls him right back once more. This goes on for a while, and when it’s all said and done, the house is a wreck and the two pets have been knocked senseless. D.J. goes to get his cheese, but thank goodness for small mercies. You see, you can’t turn a magnet off and it pulls on something else metal. The lighting fixture which comes undone and knocks D.J. unconscious. Hopefully when everyone comes to, they’ll know who’s really to blame: the moron who lets good food sit and spoil.

Favorite Part: Mike being a very supportive friend when Sylvester admits the mouse got away. He still thinks his pal did a good job scaring the pest, and that’s what really matters. What a good dog!

Personal Rating: Before we get to that, here’s a bonus Toon for you to watch:

Now, even thought this cartoon doesn’t look or sound as good as what we’ve already discussed today, I find it the better picture. First off, the dog and cat’s friendship is so cloyingly, saccharine-sweet, that you kinda want to see them change tune. (Doesn’t help that the cat sounds like Meowth with his balls caught in a vice.) Second, Herman actually makes BOTH of them think the other is turning traitor, so you don’t pity them too much. And most importantly, they catch wise to his scheme so things will most probably work out.

TL;DR: I’d give this today’s short a 2, but if you’re not as sentimental as me, you’d probably say it deserves a 3. ( Herman’s short DEFINITELY earns a 2.)

The Lone Stranger and Porky

“Magic mirror on the wall, who needs my help the most of all?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis and Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 7, 1939.

It’s 1865 and with the end of the Civil War, a new problem arises to fill the void. Many settlers are out west settling, but the activity is attracting all sorts of villains, bullies, thieves and probably even the occasional cad. (One of these crooks is known as Cob Blampett. Reminds me of the similar person we have in our universe: Ogd.) But we need not worry, as our narrator brings a hero to our attention. A man whose horse is faster than a speeding roadrunner. The man; more powerful than rattlesnake venom. With a mask to not only keep his identity secret, but his house’s as well, he is: The Lone Stranger! (And no, we never do get to see under that mask.)

He and his horse (named ‘Silver’ because we were so proud of our Lone Ranger parody, we forgot to think up a better name for the equine.) have had a busy day. Just like all the rest. Time for some vittles and shuteye. Even eats with that mask on? I hope he washes it. (Whilst wearing it.) These two are comfortable enough with each other to share a bed. It’s not weird. They’re partners, and everything they own, they share. It helps build camaraderie.

Now for Porky’s addition to the title. He’s got a shipment of gold to deliver, but this has caught the attention of a cad! (I knew they were out here!) He looks pretty tough. He’s got a color-changing mustache and a gun he doesn’t mind using. And a horse to tie it all together. (I think I’ll call his horse “Bullion”. “Bullly” for short.) One of the rarer breeds: a mustache mustang. (They need breeding to avoid extinction.) The cad with no name holds the pig up at gunpoint. (And I do mean “up”.) Porky is scared enough to phase out of the plane of existence for a moment. Where is a stranger when you need one? We’d settle for a social one, even!

Not to worry, the Stranger’s faithful scout, Pronto, has seen the whole thing and lets the hero know of the threat. Hero and horse come to the rescue, splitting up to take on their same species. Maybe that cad’s gun isn’t such a threat after all, as after unloading all the bullets it’s revealed that every one missed the target. Then the narrator mocks him, and is shot for his troubles. (You probably found him annoying anyway.) The cad now has a body count. (Of one, but that’s always just a start.)

The horses hiss and arch their backs as horses do when threatened, but then they actually get a good look at each other. It’s love at first sight! (You didn’t even know that Silver was a mare, did you? Sometimes it rocks to be a zoologist.) The two go off screen for some quality time, and that’s for the best. Not just because I respect their privacy, but the stallion clearly ate Goofy and it is distracting. (Makes him sound like a Pinto pinto.) The Stranger, however, has gotten himself knocked off a cliff. Will he be killed by gravity and sharp rocks? It’s up to us, folks.

You have chosen…”No”. A very good choice. Well, I did catch a few smart asps say “yes” and some idiot who didn’t vote at all. (Turns out he was deaf. Whoops.) With the power of audience participation, our hero ascends the perilous precipice, pounds the pugnacious palooka, and sends him… er, flying into a boulder. The impact turning it into an impenetrable prison. Porky is saved, and it is now time for our heroes to return home. Silver is followed by the litter horses naturally have. The five fillies are spitting images of their mother, and the colt has his father’s mustache. The breed will live on!

Favorite Part: When we first see the villain, we are so scared that we miss our cue. The narrator is on top of his game and asks us to not hiss the villain. Naturally, we have to save face, and begin our role at last. (Heh… sorry. First time jitters.)

Personal Rating: 3 that borders on four territory. Maybe I’d have let it have that higher score if Porky HAD ANY LINES! He doesn’t get any dialogue apart from his outro. (Which might be why it sounds like he’s really putting his all into it.)

Africa Squeaks

“Now we’re looney-tuney!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Dave Hoffman; Animation by John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 27, 1940.

Africa is a place I’d like to visit someday. (But not if I have to share a plane with other human beings. Guess I better start walking.) In the meantime, I think I’ll remember the tales Porky told me after HE went to that particular continent.

He was accompanied by a legion of politically incorrect guides as they traipsed through the various dark stages of Africa. (This time, Porky stops in the darkest part. He knows what he’ll find if he keeps going…) What he actually finds is none other than Spencer Tracy who is quite the method actor, as he came all the way out here to mistake Porky for Dr. Livingston. But he’s not the only one mistaken around here. Tell me Bob, why are you insulting every ostrich on the planet with one of those ‘hiding their head underground’ jokes? I’m not mad. I’m disappointed AND mad!

And then we see some lions who must think they’re hyenas with all the bones they’re devouring. (I pity their stomach lining.) And, wouldn’t you know it, the world’s first Aipom! (Okay, Bob. You and me? We are cool again.) At night, we get a joke that is funny because it’s true. Porky can’t sleep due to the “silence” of the jungle. And Tracy is still looking for the doctor. He’s gotten way off course, as he’s now looking in kangaroo pouches. (He covers good amounts of ground.)

The next day, one of the native’s lets Porky know of the strange white man that is in their village. The narrator can’t believe someone of that complexion would willingly want to stay here! I mean, it’s not like there’s any other humans around here. (Actually, with how they’re drawn, I’m not entirely sure the native’s are human. That’s the kind of hurtful caricatures you just have to expect in this era.) This must be the man Tracy is looking for, and Porky helps the two lost souls reunite at last. Dr. Livingston, we presume?

Not quite. It’s actually Cake Icer! (A brilliant pun on radio personality Kay Kyser.) He’s here to turn up the musical charms and the whole jungle gets jumping! This is great! Who knew Africa was lovely not just for its scenic vistas, but also auditory parties? I could get to like hanging around here, but sadly our time is up. As we leave, the whole continent waves goodbye. (Did you know Madagascar was a hand?)

Favorite Part: After some baby deer shoot down a… condor? (Bo-ob! We need to have another ta-alk!) They laugh in the same way the bird was when he thought they were his dinner. Cute.

Personal Rating: 2 (Lot of hurtful images here, and nothing really noteworthy to offset them.)

Bushy Hare

“I’m scared of the dark!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 11, 1950.

Bugs is a park dweller today. Most of the time, it’s a very peaceful place to live. No guns, no predators, no playing in the fountain… but today is different as Bugs is being watched by a very creepy Italiano who was never taught the meaning of “personal space.” (Kids, if you ever see this guy handing out balloons, run. Run and scream!) He would like it very much if Bugs would hold onto the balloons he sells whilst he ties his shoe. Bugs is happy to oblige, but being much lighter than the man allows the balloons to take him away from the reassuring grip of gravity. Once Bugs realizes this, he’s too high to let go. (No giggling.)

These are some quality helium balloons! Bugs has traveled from L.A. to Hawaii and still they persist. (Well worth the 25 cents. Just keep them away from the ocean, please.) If world geography has taught me anything, then Australia should be the next noteworthy location Bugs will fly over. And there it is! (No Zealand, though.) Bugs isn’t the only one up here; a stork is also heading down under to deliver a kangaroo joey. Looking nothing like how a newborn one of them should look. Shall we compare?

Cutest jellybean ever!
Bean’s growing like a stalk.

That darn stork union. When they’re not drunk off their tail-feathers, they show up six months late. After both Bugs and the bird enter the same cloud, there’s a bit of a mix-up. Bugs is now the one being delivered, while the joey is having the best birthday ever. (Nine balloons with super helium? I always knew my parents hated me.)

Delivery time! Mama roo is instantly smitten with her “child”. So big and strong from day one! All the other marsupials in her bridge club would sell one of their uterus’s to be so lucky. Bugs wants no part in this. (And he’s got to be seriously concerned that McKimson keeps making this happen to him.) But Bugs’s biggest weakness calls him back: the tears of a female. He agrees to being her child, and she happily pouches him up for baby’s first ride.

Australia is no stranger to dangerous animals, and the deadliest one of all has the two in his sights: man. An aborigine who is either hungry or a sportsman, follows the two with the best weapon ever: a boomerang. If he misses, it will just return to him. But a direct hit is gonna hurt. Bugs learns this fact the hard way. He gets in a shouting match with the man, (dubbing him “Nature Boy”) and I can’t make out what they’re actually saying, but Bugs must have called the guy some really good words, as it really rages him up.

He thinks he has Bugs in a hole at the mercy of his spear, and Bugs does the ole “You killed me and I’m dying” bit. Unlike Elmer though, he has no remorse and happily continues to stab. (I do love hearing Bugs say “Just go away and let me die in pieces.” Why don’t I hear kids quoting this line? You are shameful parents.) Perhaps the lack of sympathy from N.B. is why Bugs angrily kicks him in the hole himself. And tickling him? That’s cold, man. Natechy tries to shoot something poisonous with a blowgun too, but Bugs beats him to the draw and blows it down his throat. (Not as cold, for some reason.)

It’s Kanga who finally gets the best of the the aborigine and boots him off a cliff and out of their fur. Even better news? Those balloons have finally started to lose their power, and her biological baby drifts down to her glee filled arms. The two are happy to give Bugs a lift back to the U.S.A. and attaching an outboard motor to her tail, makes for a nifty little boat. (As for me, I don’t think I’d be comfortable sitting in her pouch that long. I’ll just stay here.)

Favorite Part: I’m a sucker for displays of motherly love, so I adore seeing the kangaroo not taking guff from Nature Boy. Soon as she sees her adoptive son is in danger, she shows why you don’t piss off an animal that has feet large enough to function as water-skis.

Personal Rating: 3

Ready Woolen and Able

“See you tomorrow, Sam.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 30, 1960.

Sam Sheepdog drives to work in his humble, rattly car. Ralph Wolf is doing the same, but because he makes more, he has a much faster, spiffier ride. (That still has nuts, bolts and bits of wire streaming out of it.) The two park in their very own parking spaces, (one of the perks of working in their field) and share pleasantries as they clock-in. Ralph, as previously established, is all about speed and runs right to his first sheep of choice. Partaking in humbler, but still successful means, is Sam who drops a rake for Ralph to step on.

You know how to tell if your friend is a true friend? True friends are allowed to try and blow each other up. Ralph is going to try with his own invention: the TNT-totter. With this device, he plans to fling an explosive stick at the dog. But it just rolls towards him when he jumps on his end. Continuing from there, the wolf tries to roll a lit barrel of gunpowder at his best pal. It bounces over the dog, (leaving Ralph with a wonderful “Oh my aching head” expression) and detonates under a boulder that flies back to Ralph.

Okay, so maybe the simpler approach has some merits after all. Ralph attempts to swing via trapeze over to a plump morsel. But wouldn’t you know it, Sam is at the other end. Ralph puts him back where he belongs confused at the switch. But wait! At the apex of the upswing, there is Ralph again! Ralph climbs up the trapeze only to find Sam was the one holding it up, all along! And when he slides back down, Sam is sitting on the other end. Seeing as how he can’t escape that dog, Ralph opts to jump.

Would you believe it? He passes five Sams on the way down! (One of which is riding in the most static hot-air balloon I’ve ever seen.) A sixth is fishing, the seventh is sleeping with the fishes, (literally, thanks.) and an eighth is inside the whale that Ralph swims into. (A freshwater sperm whale with inaccurate dental structure? Now I’m starting to freak out!) And yes, there’s a ninth one that Ralph encounters when he is spouted out. Terrified, the Wolf swims for shore only to find himself on a nude Sam beach of 33! (Always room for one more, though.) I don’t think Ralph can take much more of this…

Theory, correct. At the end of the day, Sam drives home in his crummy looking, but functional car, and Ralph goes home in an ambulance. Complete with strait jacket. And to think it’s only Monday…

Favorite Part: Ralph tying out some bed springs on his feet. They flip him on his face. And really, what else should he have expected to happen?

Personal Rating: 3