Clippety Clobbered

Space Science.

Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Tom Dagenais; Animation by Bob Bransford, Hank Smith, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Don Sheppard; Backgrounds by Anthony Rizzo; Film Editor: Al Wharman; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 12, 1966.

This here is the first Roadrunner cartoon I’ve talked about that wasn’t directed by the creator himself, Chuck Jones. (Golden age, I mean. Theatrically, too.) It’s also clear that Chuck was a master who could not be replicated. The whole short might seem fine to the common folk, but Looney-tics (like me) can tell it’s not as good as the others.

Wile E. isn’t wasting energy chasing his prey this time. He calmly waits by his mailbox for a package. Since he ordered it airmail, he really doesn’t have anyone but himself to blame for it landing on his head. So, what’s in this wonderful box? A chemistry set! Chemists are the unquestionable experts when it comes to bird trapping! Or, you know, Wile E is just trying out new and unique ways to catch some food.

Just mix the right ingredients together, and you’ve got paint! A special kind of paint that only comes in one color: invisible. Paint it on yourself, and you can’t be seen by anybody. (Including yourself, since your eyes no longer will gather the light needed for sight, but I digress) This does indeed include roadrunners, but this also means that they won’t slow down if you happen to jump in their way, so you’ll probably end up knocked off the road. A cliff, probably wasn’t the best testing grounds.

Wile E falls, and the impact knocks his paint off. (I guess? There’s not really much of a reason as to why he is suddenly visible) Then, something that should never happen in a Roadrunner cartoon happens. The bird paints a boulder invisible, and pushes it off the cliff, and onto his pursuer. WRONG! NO! UH-UH! That doesn’t happen! It goes against Chuck’s own rules for these cartoons: namely, the bird doesn’t hurt the coyote! It was one of the things that made these pictures different from the endless chase cartoons that people watched. Now I’m upset.

Fine, I’ll keep going.

Wile E invents a new thing with his kit. It’s bouncing capabilities mixed with the viscous consistency, lead me to believe that he invented Flubber. But since this is 1966, (and the substance is blue) what he really made is Phlubber. Coating himself in it, (but first giving us a completely unnecessary thought bubble. I mean really, if we weren’t going to guess what he was going to do with his concoction, his actions would show us) he gains a coat that allows him amazing bouncing properties. Too bad he misses his catch. He bounces all around the desertscape. He eventually bounces straight up (with very unfitting music, I might add. That’s the tune that accompanies a jaunty walk. Not deadly plummet) and comes down. (His protective coat getting snagged off by a rather ugly tree branch. It really looks out of place. Go back to Snagglepuss, where you belong!)

Next up, some type of jet fuel. It’ll be perfect for chasing down the bird. But instead of building an actual jet pack, Wile just pours it into a small seltzer bottle like container. (Again, why? It doesn’t add much to the comedy. You could still have an inevitable crash with a full size model) Either way, this actually gets the Roadrunner to… show fear? It’s not wrong, but it’s kinda werid to see that bird anything other than blissfully happy.  The chase leads to a railroad tunel. (First the bird has a spasm. I think he meant to go “Beep-beep.” but nothing comes out.)

Wile E. turns back upon seeing the approaching light, but it was the bird with a miner’s hat. So he turns once more, and doesn’t flee from the next light source he sees. It is a train, and he ends up pinned against it. We zoom into his stressed eyes and see that his pupils are the Roadrunner. The end.

That was the ending? Call it seven days because it was WEEK!

Favorite Part: When Wile E first gets the package, the bird runs by. Because of the speed, the resulting wind catches the parachute that came with it, and Wile E is dragged off a cliff. The animation of him landing in a cactus patch is rather nice. It builds the tension reasonably well, and the punchline is fast and funny.

Personal Rating: 2

Bugged by a Bee

“Looks like a blast!”

Directed by Bob McKimson; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Jim Davis, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens and Jaime Diaz; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on July 26, 1969. (Which makes it the last Looney Tune released during the golden age)

For Cool Cat’s penultimate performance, the fab feline has decided to ditch Colonel Rimfire and go solo for the rest of the series. So what wacky hi-jinks will he get up to? Going to college of course! (Tigers are well known for doing that) Disco Tech is his school of choice. Not even there for a minute, and he makes his first enemy: a bee. The insect was just living its life when C.C. took a swipe at her. Said C.C.  also takes note of a statue on campus of Musclehead Murphy. (What an awful name.)

This Murphy fellow got the statue erected because he’s the greatest athlete Disco Tech ever had. Cool Cat isn’t pleased to hear this, and sets out to prove that he is a much better athlete. (Which makes perfect sense to me. A male tiger has got to fight for mates. Physical prowess is a perfect way to prove you’re cub fathering material) His first stop is what I thought was pole vaulting, but Mr. expert athlete calls it “Vole Paulting.” (I never was one for sports, so I’m perfectly happy to admit to being wrong) Seeing all the sexy girls watching him, he happily attempts the leap.

After a failed first attempt, (only because his “vole” ended up in the wrong hole. He would’ve made it otherwise) he sets to do it again. That bee comes back to get her revenge and stings the tiger. In turn, this pain gives Cool Cat the extra lift he needs to set a new school record. And if you’re good at “paulting” you must be good at baseball, because the coach asks him to join in the game against Hippy College. (Since we don’t see how it is spelled in this picture, I’m declaring my spelling canon.) Cool Cat agrees.

I’ll admit, I also don’t know much about baseball, so I couldn’t tell you why the coach waits until the last moment to put in his new athlete. (But I can tell you he looks like a fatter Mr. Magoo. Maybe he’s a relative) The tiger steps to the plate, but misses the first two strikes due to the bee coming back to distract him. Still, despite that, he manages to hit the final ball. Guess he was stunned to find he was capable of it, because he doesn’t even run at first. Not until the bee gives him another sting. (That’s at least two stings with no bee fatality. I can’t pinpoint the exact species, but she ain’t no honeybee.)

The trend continues. The bee and her stinger compel the tiger to make even more feats of daring in rowing, hurdles, and football. (Good thing Cool Cat has an amusing scream, or this might get a bit tedious) Come graduation day, the school is set to give an award to their new greatest athlete. (Being awarded by some relative of Norman Normal‘s I think.) Naturally, the tiger gets squat. The bee is the one who is awarded the trophy. (Just the way things are. Don’t take steroids, because they’ll get all the credit)

Favorite Part: There’s plenty of fun touches in this cartoon. (The guy who yells “stroke” has a megaphone strapped to his face, and Cool Cat has a running gag of hitting his head on stadium walls.) But my favorite part is the left most member of Cool Cat’s girl group. Not only is she the hottest, but her method of cheering strikes me as funny. (She jumps without bending her knees)

Personal Rating: 3

Zip ‘N Snort

“Guaranteed slippery”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, Tom Ray, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on January 21, 1961.

Title not obvious enough? There are some introductions labeling our two main characters. (Love Wile E’s smug expression. It’s how I would smile if I saw my name in a moving picture.) He begins the never ending chase, when his prey pulls a sneaky one. He stops short at a tunnel entrance, and has Wile E make a u-turn away from the large truck. So happy that he is actually outrunning it, he doesn’t notice that he has run off a cliff. When he tries climbing back up, the peak falls off.

What hasn’t he tried yet? Sending out a wind-up plane with a grenade attached? Only the propeller flies away. When he throws the rest, the grenade somehow stays behind. Here’s an idea! Putting some iron pellets in bird seed. Then, his magnet fishing rod will reel the bird in. (If it didn’t get caught up on a power line.) Despite the pain, Wile E takes some solace in the cool fact that his nose glows better than Rudolph’s ever did. (He’s got a lot of great reactions in this picture. The gags come at a fast pace too. You’ll barely have time to catch your breath before you laugh at another one.)

Getting the Roadrunner to stop for more birdseed, the coyote aims a cannon straight down. It comes undone with him on top, and despite his struggling, he ends up in front of it. (Great reaction #2: Wile E praying to Chuck upon seeing he is heading inside.) The bird  finishes just as both crash down. The cannon fires and flings itself back up the cliff, and brings everything down on Wile E’s head.

I think we’ve had ten gags, time for our big finish. Wile E has a bucket of axle grease, and he smears it all over his feet. This lack of friction is just the thing a coyote needs to match the speed of a roadrunner. Too bad it doesn’t work if the bird stops short. Wile E, in turn, ends up on some railroad tracks. Even worse, he winds up struggling to keep himself from being run over. He’s not going to get any respite either. It’s a nonstop trip to New York.

Favorite Part: When Wile E first goes off the cliff, he unhappily notes the lack of ground beneath him. Since he (and by extension, we) are looking down, nobody sees him about to smash into the opposite cliff. (The funniest jokes are the ones you don’t see ahead of time.)

Personal Rating: 4.

Mice Follies

“Morton, you are a mental case!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Granpre, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on August 20, 1960.

Happy national Pig day! As per tradition, we here at Wackyland2.com want to offer you a free update to all future posts to give you a reason to keep coming back. That means, from now on, each short will have a rating to help you understand how much you should be viewing art of this caliber. This will apply to all previous posts as well. (At least eventually.) Sad to say though, this will probably be the last yearly update. Unless someone can suggest any good ideas. I’ll be putting the rating rules in the “Welcome page.”

Here’s another short focused on America’s favorite animated family!

No, no. Before that.

No! Before that!

There you go!

They may have only had a total of three cartoons, but their must have been at least one person counting the days between shorts, right? (Regardless, this was their last appearance.)

It’s late. Much too late for anybody’s husbands to be out. Whoops. Seems like the Ralph Kramden mouse, Ralph Crumden, has been out at his lodge meeting for three hours more than he promised his wife. The Ed Norton mouse, Ned Morton is in the same boat. To add to their problems, they are being followed home by a cat that Ned provoked. Seems like their dead meat either way. I might have never been married, but I know that the wrath of a woman is just as dangerous (if not more so) than an attack by a dangerous animal.

Once home, the cat beats them inside and disguises itself as their apartment. The two don’t notice right away. Good thing Ned had a match on him, so they could get a look around. After the cat spits them out, the two make head to their real home. Slipping in through the grate, the cat beats them to the punch. Ralph goes in first to confront his angry spouse, but gets irate himself at the fur coat “she” appears to have purchased. (It really is a waste of money. Why buy what you were already born with?) He tears it off her, and angrily shows his pal. “She” pummels him. (Actually, I don’t know if the quotes are necessary. Maybe the cat IS female.)

Well, maybe Ned can reason with his wife. Nope. The fury is too much for him to handle as well. I guess the women folk are just not going to listen to their spouse’s side of the story so late at night. The males decide to go sleep in the park tonight, and let the two calm down. (I like how the cat’s cries sound like “Rrrralph.” Not only because it makes it understandable for him to confuse it with his wife, but that’s also what I want to do when I hear a cat’s cries.) Wait a minute! Here I am going off on another anti-cat tirade when there’s a genuine problem here! Didn’t those two just leave a predator alone in their domicile with their wives?

Nope. Crisis averted. Alice and Trixie were also out of the house. They went to the movies. They also are worried about their spouses are going to react, but reason that since they got to go to their activity, the girls should get a pass. (I’ve mentioned before how attractive Alice is, and it seems Trixie is no different. If you gals can’t patch things out with the men, I’d be happy to console you. Don’t let my being a good 3,000 times your size deter you in any way.)

Well, the girls manage to avoid death, but they too mistake the cat for angry spouses. Was domestic abuse not such a problem in the sixties? Because the women also decide to just leave the “men” to their fuming and go sleep in the park. They find a bench. (Which is mouse sized. That’s so cute!) Unbeknownst to the two, their husbands are sleeping on the opposite side. (Meanwhile, the human occupants of their house heard a scratching noise from a trapped animal in the walls. Not bothering to investigate, they just pumped it full of gas.)

Favorite part: Just the fact that Morton bothers the cat in the first place. As far as I can tell, he’s not even drunk. He just did it for fun! (A real mouse after my heart.)

Personal Rating: 3

False Hare

“Is he for real?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroeck; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on July 16, 1964.

This here is the final Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Okay, fine. Released during the Golden age. *sigh* I feel I shouldn’t have to mention that, but if I don’t, I’ll either have some smart@$$ correcting me or a dumb@$$ asking why he still sees Bugs on the occasion. It’s exhausting being an expert.

His adversaries in this final short are a couple of wolves. They actually, are making their last appearance too, as they previously appeared six years earlier in 1958’s “Now Hare This.” The bigger one of the two is called Uncle Big Bad by the smaller one who doesn’t get a name. (Logically, he would be Nephew Short Annoying) They’re just your typical big predator who thinks he is smarter than he is, and the other one who has more common sense, but never gets much of a chance to prove it.

I’ve heard people say this cartoon sucks, but aside from the nephew laughing at things that aren’t funny every other minute, I don’t have any problems. It may not be much of a grand finale, but knowing Bugs, he’d prefer things be low key.

The elder wolf (who despite his name, isn’t actually THE Big Bad wolf. That guy has no tail.) has just hung a sign that advertises a club for rabbits. Deliberately getting Bugs’ attention, the two don some rabbit disguises and hype up the club. (I like the name. Even if it is the most basic it could be. The Spanish makes it sound just a smidge better.) Bugs isn’t fooled, but he’s bored. Why not see the attempts being made? He heads to the wolf’s place.

Bugs pretends to be interested in joining, and a series of “initiations” take place. First, ring the bell to summon someone who will show you to the initiation room. He… really didn’t do a good job of disguising his trap. The razor sticking out of the bell could be seen by anyone with a complex eye. (Scratch that. Even if you only had eye-spots, you could see it.) Seems once you push down on the button, the highly obvious razor will cut a rope, and a safe will crush your head. Bugs isn’t so easily fooled, and purposely rings the bell as many wrong ways as he can. Naturally, the wolf tries to show him how it’s done and the outcome is obvious as the razor. (Still amusing)

Okay. What new members need now is a photo. You pose in front of an open iron maiden. (It makes you look like a bad@$$) As long as no one comes out of the door behind it, you won’t get impaled. So, B.B. gets his nephew to hide behind the door, and wait to hear “Now!” That will be the cue to open the door, and close the maiden. Bugs pretends to play along, but does goofy poses. For the sake of the joke, I get why the wolf doesn’t get him killed, but wouldn’t it still work? (For that matter, the wolf clearly says “Now” but the nephew doesn’t respond. Not until Bugs says it. That’s gotta hurt.)

Well, initiation time. It’s rather dumb, but it gets the job done. Just climb in the hole. (It’s a cannon) Soon as the wolf is out of sight, Bugs paints another one. Asking which hole he’s supposed to enter, he has the brilliant idea of each party taking a hole. The wolf is cannoned out of the house. Bugs flips the cardboard, and gets the wolf to do it again. (See? We’ve got some decent jokes in this picture. Some people are just cartoon snobs.) The wolf finally tells Bugs to wait in a tree. In turn, he fills it with dynamite, unaware that Bugs has left the tree. One explosion later, and the wolf is out a house. Licked, he wonders if there’d be anyone interested in joining a chicken club. Cue the Foghorn cameo! No, really. Foghorn makes a cameo. Making this cartoon HIS final appearance as well.

*sigh* For the golden era.

Favorite Part: I like this quote from Bugs. “I don’t see why anybody thinks these club initiations are dangerous. Nothing has happened to me yet.”

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?”

Hocus Pocus Pow Wow

“The president of the railroad will hear about this!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on January 13, 1968.

Merlin (the magic mouse, not that wizard guy) and Second Banana are on their way to Pow wow city to perform. Shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Then the conductor asks for some tickets. Merlin tries to oblige, but the only thing his hat chooses to produce is flowers. (You know, I don’t think they actually HAVE any tickets.) The conductor doesn’t put up with the shenanigans for long before kicking the two off the train. Seems like walking is their best bet. But first, why not kick back and relax with one of Merlin’s patented magic hat dinners? Featuring great choices such as: Beef Wellington, Pumpkin soup, and the featured attraction: Turkey for two.

Eating all alone in the middle of a desert? Hungry eyes are going to be able to find you easily. It’s not vultures that are eyeing the dead animal on which the mice munch, but a Native American. The credits have credited him as Lo, the poor Indian. (He’s clearly not Indian, and I can’t say that he’s poor, but one CAN greet him with “How, Lo.” It’s not very PC, but in 1968, what Caucasian would care?)

If he really is poor, that might be why he wants Merlin’s hat so much. Or maybe the thought of a never ending food vessel would entice anyone. Regardless, Lo takes the hat and tries getting some food. He actually is able to bring some animals out, but doesn’t manage to take any bites before they flee. Merlin takes the hat back and runs. Lo, in turn, tries firing some arrows at the two, but only manages to hit himself.

Merlin tries a couple tricks to help himself and sidekick escape. Conjuring up a railroad crossing with an actual train attached, wearing a disguise, (Lo isn’t fooled. He can tell mouse feet from human.) and taking the man’s tomahawk and making it disappear. (He can bring it back. But one should really know better than to say “Give it to me!” in  a cartoon. Lo brought that pain on himself) Still, he is insistent that Merlin relinquish the hat. Merlin agrees, but figures they should smoke a peace pipe first. Said pipe is a firecracker, and Merlin is able to escape at last.

Making it to their destination, the mice are all set to perform at the local theatre. So, what are the locals like? Actually, they are all Native American, and I don’t think they are taking too kindly to all the racial stereotyping this cartoon contained. Maybe they just really liked Lo? Whatever the reason, they chase the mice out of town. (Drat. I was really looking forward to the show)

Favorite Part: How Merlin greets the audience. “Greetings ladies and gentlemen! Or whatever the case may be.” It’s always a good idea to put the theatre-goers in their place.

Fish and Slips

“I hope you know what you’re doing, father.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Granpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 10, 1962.

Breaking news! A record sized fish has just been caught! (By Treg Brown, no less.) I can’t quite make out what the newscaster is saying. Sounds like “Shark-nosed tralfaz,” which sounds more like a name for a dog to me. Not only that, but the fish look like marlins to me. (But what do I know about fish? Oh yeah! Plenty!)

Sylvester and son saw that broadcast, and Junior is mighty impressed. Seeing as how the only other fisher”man” he knows is his dad, he doesn’t have a lot of options. Sylvester is not pleased to hear this, and takes his son to prove that he does know how to fish. Not from a pier. That’s too hard. Why, humans are kind enough to build buildings fulls of sea life, just begging to be eaten. We call them aquariums. And since the place is closed, cats get in free!

Sylvester’s biggest problem (and where all of the jokes stem from) is his inability to check the sign telling what is in which tank. Using his tail as a line is all well and good, but not when sticking it in a piranha tank. Let’s step away from freshwater and move to the salty stuff. Much more flavor! (That’s not a joke. You’ll learn lots from me. And not just about cartoons.)

This tank is much bigger, so Sylvester can dive in. He catches a good number of groupers, but they’d be a rather boring specimen all on their own. This tank also contains a shovelnose. (Which looks nothing like how they normally do for the sake of the joke) Curiosity is a trait cats tend to have, so Sylvester takes a peek at its hole. It also tends to kill them, as a hammerhead pound him in and he is buried. Junior has to fish him out.

Could Junior do better? It’s possible. He managed to catch a small fish off screen. (I wouldn’t call it a small fry. It looks too old for that. Just “a little fish” humor.) It’s not enough to fill Sylvester’s belly, but it could probably make decent bait. The sperm whale seems to think so. (Wow. Cartoons sure are terrific! My universe has never had such a large creature in captivity!) Junior laments the fact that his father has become a meal. (He also calls it a fish. Something I was sure science had disproved by the 60’s.)

Sylvester uses the classic escape: a fire. (Why was there a raft in there? What sick sense of humor does this place have? “Don’t worry ma’am. Sure, we tricked your kid into being eaten, but there’s a raft in there. If he’s done any scouting at all, he’ll come out fine. Oh. He’s four?”) Sylvester gets out, but the dolphins have gotten bored with no humans around that they can warn of impending doom. They play catch with him. (WITH him.)

One last tank. Sylvester will go in via diving suit, and Junior will pump air to him. Things don’t get off to a great start, as this tank contains such amazements as an electric eel. (So, we’re back in freshwater?) a… lobster? (Well, it could be a very large crayfish. I’m sure there wouldn’t be any more contradic-) and an octopus. (Darn it, McKimson! Unless the mollusk is suicidal, you messed up.) Things get even worse for the feline, when Junior takes a break from pumping to observe an inchworm. Realizing his mistake, he pumps harder, and all that air makes Sylvester’s suit inflate. He winds up landing in a tank of dogfish. (Junior doesn’t bother trying to save him this time. He’d rather make another smart remark.)

Favorite part: A quote from Junior that all children have said at least once in their life: “I don’t think I’ll ever understand grownups.” I know I still don’t, and I’m 24.

Chimp and Zee

“Peanut?”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Don Jurwich; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released on October 12, 1968.

A pretty late entry, and it kinda shows. Seems there wasn’t a lot of heart put into this one, as we aren’t given a lot of information. I’ll do my best to explain, but most of it is based on guesswork.

In the jungle, (the mighty jungle) a… and we already have our first guess. I’m not sure what this guy’s profession is. All he tells us is that he is looking for a blue-tailed simian. Apparently, it’s the rarest species of monkey in the world. What he won’t tell us is why he wants one. Fame? Money? An exotic pet? We’re not even given his name! I suppose this could be like a mad-lib, so I’ll “happily” oblige.

His name is “Dexter” he is a “professor” at “Lovy University” and wants a monkey so he can “have his students dissect it to learn how much in common man has with fellow primates.”

So, why the title of this short? Again, I have to guess! Luckily, this one is a bit easier to figure out. There is indeed one of these monkeys in this jungle, but he is accompanied by some type of jungle boy. Neither of them talk, so…

The boy’s name is “Chimp.” (because he looks more like an ape than the monkey does) His parents were “tourists” who were “looking for a way to abandon their offspring.” He was adopted by a “family of monkeys” who “gave him his name, due to a lack of tail.” His brother is named “Zee” because he was the “26th child” his family had.

That should do it. Let’s return to the “plot” so you can “be entertained/educated.”

Dexter takes a shot at what he believes is his monkey prize. It was only a coconut. Hey, a free snack is a free snack. Despite the college degree I gave him, he can’t seem to figure out how to open the fruit. Chimp pulls the pull tab off for him. Dexter drinks before realizing the boy has a monkey in tow. He’s not civilized, so he gets no say in what happens to his “brother” and that is why Dexter chases them down. Chimp shoots a suction cup arrow at the professor’s head, and ties the other end of the rope it is tied to, to a boulder. Dexter plummets.

As the chase gets going, the two come to a river. The camera begins zooming in on the wrong side of the screen for half a second, leaving more evidence that this cartoon was made for a paycheck and nothing more. (Which is too bad. The slapstick isn’t terrible) Zee asks a crocodile to help scare Dexter off. *Sigh* Here we go again…

The “animals” all “respect Chimp” because he has a “highly developed brain.” Therefore, they will “do anything” he or his family ask. (That, and blue-tailed simians have got to be poisonous. The blue tail has to mean SOMETHING!)

What else can fail? Dexter aims a blowgun around a boulder to shoot at them. (He gets himself. Hope there weren’t any toxins in the dart. For his sake) He reaches into a log and finds two arms exit. He bites the one that was hitting him, and finds it was his. Pulling on the other drags out an elephant. UGH!

The “elephant” lives in a “hollow log” because “her husband threw her out for daring to look at another bull.” It was a hippo, but the loophole didn’t make him any happier. (And why do the pachyderms in this jungle have gross looking pompadour-esque growths on their heads? It can’t be healthy.)

The professor’s final plan is to simply dress up as his prey. Not only that, but he will lure him out with a mating call. It works, but a little too well. He attracts every male blue-tail in the jungle, and they clearly have no qualms about initiating a 17 way with the “female.” (Although, if they are as rare as he says, it would probably make sense for the females to do as many males as they could. Gotta rebuild that population.) As Dexter flees, the title characters swing off. (Zee was “not affected by the call” because he is “gay.”)

Favorite Part: As Dexter falls off the cliff, he lands in a raptors nest before falling the rest of the way. Emptying her next of crushed eggs, she finds one intact. In retaliation for the infanticide, she throws the final one at him. (It survives, but the very idea was so dark, that I loved it)

Fistic Mystic

“One of those little, tough guys, eh?”

Directed by Bob McKimson; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Jim Davis, Ed Solomon, and Norm McCabe; Layouts by Bob Givens and Jaime Diaz; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1969. (Also sports a unique version of “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” that was not used in any other shorts)

As one does when they are of the magic arts, (and are willing to let the muggles view it) Merlin is off to perform. His destination is Oshkosh, but you wouldn’t know it if he didn’t say if the surrounding desert is any indication of where he is heading. After he and his sidekick, Second Banana, lose their handcart, (and Merlin is run over by a train) they see a sign advertising the town of Rattlesnake Gulch. Seems like as good a place to take a breather as any.

As is typical of these kind of towns in these kind of pictures, there is a thug at the saloon looking for any excuse to start a fight. Merlin just being polite counts, and the brute dares him to take a punch. (The poor guy has no name in this picture, but I swear I read once that he goes by Tuff. So Tuff it shall be. Isn’t that a shame?) Second Banana takes that opportunity, and then goes on to build Merlin up as some sort of mighty mouse.

To prove it, S.B. puts a board on Merlin’s shoulder, and tells Tuff to knock it off. Hitting one end, causes the other to rise up and knock the galoot out. When he comes to, Merlin is more than willing to pass the blame onto his sidekick. Tuff can’t believe he could have been knocked out by the little fella, and Merlin decides to set up a boxing match. $100.00 to the winner. Tuff agrees. After all, beating up a mouse proves you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. (It also gets you banned from Disneyland)

That night, Merlin reveals the secret to ensure his little buddy’s success. He will be wearing some enchanted boxing gloves that will do all the hitting for him. Hopefully they hit fast enough, so S.B. doesn’t have to worry about dodging or anything, but they look like they’re up to the task. Next day, and everyone is ready to get this fight underway. In one corner, a chubby, nipple-less man without a real name. In the other, a mouse with no pants who everyone wants to see win. (It’s an interesting fight)

Those gloves are a marvel! Second Banana wails away, and Tuff doesn’t land a single punch. In fact, they might be a little too good, as Merlin can’t get them to stop once they get started. Leaving S.B.’s body behind, the gloves chase the Tuff guy out of town. I suppose that makes the mouse our champion? I mean, the fight IS still going on.

Favorite Part: When Merlin makes the wager, he asks for the ruffian to put his hundred bucks in the hat. When asked where HIS contribution is, Merlin pulls the same money out. (I saw this joke coming, but it still got a chuckle out of me)

Personal Rating: 2