Assault and Peppered

“You’ve got to use brains when you fight a war.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Manny Perez, Warren Batchelder, Bob Matz, LaVerne Harding, Norm McCabe, and Don Williams; 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 April 24, 1965.

Daffy is the owner El Rancho Rio Daffy. Watch in awe as I use the half-year of Spanish I took in middle school to deduce that stands for… The Daffy River Ranch. (Don’t correct me if wrong.) He must have a lot of food on that property, but with only him, it’s not being enjoyed to the fullest. That’s what the starving mice on the border are thinking, anyway. Daffy is angry to see them, because starving on his property lowers the value. He even goes so far as to whip the little guys. (A little too cruel for my tastes.)

They threaten to call Speedy, but Daffy dismisses the hero as a myth. One “yee-ha” later he is angrily challenging the mouse to a duel. A duel of the highest caliber, with forts and cannons. Speedy agrees and we cut to months later with the forts now finished being built. (What? You think Daffy just had those ready made to challenge anybody he dislikes? Clearly, you don’t know Daffy like I do. He’s nothing but pleasantries and lemonade when he’s got everything he wants.)

Daffy fires his cannon and Speedy hurriedly moves everything in its path out of its way. With a clear path, the thing continues along its way until it returns to Daffy’s face. (Speedy makes a lot of noise without actually moving his mouth in this picture. Darn those mid-sixties budgets!) Daffy also plants a mine field, keeping careful track of where each one is buried. Speedy takes the cheat sheet, leaving the duck stranded (Even though it’s way too obvious where they are! Did you not make every mound of dirt on screen?)

Speedy is happy to help him navigate back, listing each mine as Daffy steps on it. (“What do you mean you don’t know where they are? You haven’t missed one yet!” Love that line.) Wait, listen to the sound effect of Daffy falling over. That’s the sound of a fast character arriving on the scene with a short stop! DARN THOSE MID-SIXTIES BUDGETS!) Speedy decides he’s tired and hungry, so he surrenders so he can eat. Daffy can’t believe his good fortune, and pokes the fourth wall by mentioning how he usually gets the losing end of these type of skirmishes.

Daffy decides to celebrate with a 21-gun salute, er cannon salute. When he pulls on the lines, the cannons all turn to him and fire, Speedy gleefully counting each one off.

Favorite Part: Learning Daffy’s full name this time: Don Daffy De La Scrooge Del Meanie Toturro De La Quack… Junior. (Pray you never meet Don Daffy De La Scrooge Del Meanie Toturro De La Quack… Senior.)

Personal Rating: 2

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.)

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

The Spy Swatter

“There’th my vphictim!”

Produced by William Hendricks and Herbert Klynn; Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Tom Degenais, and Carl Howard; Animation by Ed Friedman, Virgil Ross, and Bob Bransford; Film Editor: Joe Siracusa; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on June 24, 1967.

Speedy is about to make great leaps for mouse-kind. Some mouse professor, (that I’m calling Professor Plutonium because that’s about how creative I’m feeling today.) has created some kind of steroid cheese that can make a mouse stronger than ten cats. (Okay, he calls it super cheese and seeing as how Speedy’s muscles don’t swell any, it’s probably steroid-free. But tell me your mind didn’t immediately jump to that conclusion! You can’t!)

The cheese is as good as Plutonium’s word, and Speedy is able to defeat the robo-cat Professor P. throws at him. (Feels a bit out of character for Speedy to be scared enough to hesitate. I’ve seen you take on robots before this!) Since the cheese is a success, the professor sends Speedy on a mission. Should he choose to accept it, he must deliver the formula for making the cheese to the mice’s cheese factory. (Wait, how did they get one of those?)

Somehow this has all been viewed by our “bad guys” of the picture. (Because trying to make your race and your race alone be unbeatable against those who mean to cause you serious harm automatically makes you the good guy.) Secret agent Daffy and his superior… SAM? Now that’s a cameo I really didn’t expec- oh. This is Mr. Brain, is it? I guess the brown fur should have tipped me off, but I’m still believing him to be Sam’s brother. (Still waiting for an answer to my factory question, too.)

Daffy takes off via jet pack and remembers why it’s a bad idea to do that indoors. He spots his target, but his jet pack decides to run out of fuel at this second. Daffy detaches himself from it, (for no other reason than setting up a punchline.) and gives the finger to Galileo’s theory of objects falling to Earth at the same speed. He lands in the sewer, with his pack landing on his head. The element of surprise is dead and gone now. Speedy is well aware he is being followed. Daffy isn’t upset. He has a device that can show him wherever Speedy goes. (Hello, Logic? Please tell me how that works. Your pal, Dr. Foolio.)

Daffy has a cute little spy car with which to keep pace with the rapid rodent, but Speedy is small enough to duck between two cars that are very close to each other. Pulling a Benny the Cab, (21 years early, yes I’m aware.) Daffy has his car rise above the traffic. So pleased that it worked, he takes his eyes off the road just long enough to crash into a cement mixer’s mixer. (Would “drum” be the right word?) He now has half a car, but it’s luckily the half that has a machine gun. He fires at Speedy who hides behind a telephone pole. The pole falls on Daffy, and the wires shock him. (Oh, Logic! You’re here again! Can you answer my question? Oh, Speedy was chipped, huh? I’ll accept that explanation. Please visit again soon!)

Speedy is closing in on the factory, so Daffy uses his jet pack once more to beat him there. He loses it on a street light and is launched to his target. He decides to use his glove gun. (Because “hand gun” wouldn’t be taken seriously.) But Speedy lives up to his name, and dodges the bullets. He tells Daffy to think of something else. A good idea. Sticking a loaded glove gun to your temple to think, isn’t.

Daffy starts building something, and Speedy just lets him do it. (Hey, this might be a good opportunity to finish your delivery. Just a thought?) Daffy finishes his mouse-seeking missile. While he waits for it to blast off Speedy switches the title to duck-seeking. (By just tapping the letters. Oh, Logic. Why did you leave so soon? I still need you!) Daffy runs back to his H.Q. with the missile in tow. Mr. Brain figures that the duck’s mission was a success. After the explosion, Speedy reminds the two that as the “good guy” he was guaranteed victory from the start.

Favorite Part: While the hesitating was out of character for our protagonist, I did like Professor P. screaming at him to eat the cheese. Sometimes I’m easily amused.

Personal Rating: 2. It’s definitely one of the better Daffy/Speedy team ups. Decent gags and a fun idea. And really, if you asked me to choose a Looney Tune to be a secret agent, Speedy would be one of my top choices.

And with that, I must continue to prepare for ComicCon 2022. If you see anyone dressed up as Michigan J. Frog, make sure it really is me. (Please? At least give me the illusion I have a fan/s.)

Hoppy Daze

“No mouse is no match for no cat.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on February 11, 1961.

Age happens to the best of us. (The worst of us too. It don’t discriminate.) Sadly, this leaves one with the inevitable fact that there will be one day where you just will simply not be able to do the things you enjoy. Even basic things like getting sustenance. Such is the fate of a cat I’ve decided to call Moe. He just can’t catch mice like he used to. (Also, he stole Spike’s clothes.)

Spying an equally hungry Sylvester gives Moe an idea, offer to train him as a “champeen” mouser. Sylvester likes the idea and agrees to that, and the fact that he’ll get 20% of the mice. This… seems kind of out of character for him. Sure, he’s gullible, but I’d think his ego would be big enough to think he already was a “champeen.” If anything, I’d think he’d be more likely to just try and prove that the little cat’s tutoring would be useless. (Also, I can’t help but think this would’ve been a perfect opportunity to bring Dodsworth back.)

Sylvester enters a warehouse, and begins chasing a non-anthro mouse. (Which looks scary and out of place here.) It runs into a crate, and Sylvester opens ‘er up, failing to notice the label saying there’s a baby kangaroo inside. Look at that, a giant mouse. Kicks him out, too. Moe doesn’t believe the giant mouse story, and reminds Sylvester that they’re small creatures. Filled with resolve, Sylvester enters again. He is thrown out. Again.

After entering the third time, Sylvester finds Hippety is copying the cat. Without hesitating, Sylvester realizes that he can use this fact to his advantage, and a game of follow the leader commences. Once Hippety is back in his crate, Sylvester slips some TNT in with the marsupial. Hippety sends it back, along with the other five that was in with him. (What the? If he needs to be put down, can’t you find a more humane way?)

Time for an actual tip. (Brought to you by Moe, the cat whose hands change color briefly.) He tells Sylvester to keep his left up. Sounds like a good idea, so Sylvester tries it. (And he tries talking without moving his lips. He gets about six words in before he cracks.) Since Hippety is out of the crate again, he can bounce away from the pugnacious putty-tat. Sylvester tries the bouncing trick himself with some old bed springs. Then, well this happens:

He tricks Syvlester into jumping off the top of a pile of crates. He lands on a barrel of gunpowder. The springs get stuck, and Sylvester in launched up to the ceiling. The springs pull the barrel up, and launch Sylvester out of the warehouse, and into a nearby incinerator smokestack. Seeing the launch, Moe follows and the resulting explosion sends Sylvester’s left right into Moe’s mug. He’s mighty impressed with his pupil. (Oh, by the way, could you tell that Moe talked like Jimmy Durante? No? Then allow Hippety to end with another impression.)

Favorite part: The little clap Hippety gives is adorable. He really thinks Sylvester is here to play with him.

Personal Rating: 2. For the out of character, and missed opportunity.

Woolen Under Where

“Another day, another dollar.”

Directed by Phil Monroe and Richard Thompson; Animation by Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, Tom Ray, and Ken Harris; Designed by Maurice Noble; Layouts by Alex Ignatiev; Backgrounds by Philip De Guard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on May 11, 1963.

The last short to star Ralph and Sam begins with the two enjoying some breakfast in the same house. Probably just on a business trip. I like Ralph’s odd today, as Sam’s fur is being more of a hindrance than usual. He can barely, get his coffee mug to his mouth, and blunders into just about every tree in his path. Since Ralph is such a good buddy, he clocks the dog in for the day.

Things are just about to get started, and Sam’s lack of vision has caused him to almost walk right over his cliff spot. Ralph is on his top game and rushes to the muttony treats as soon as the whistle blows. One successful grab and Ralph rushes back just as Sam finishes struggling back up the cliff. He knocks a rock loose, and it makes contact with Ralph’s head. He puts the sheep back.

All right, let’s review what we know about these sheep: they like to graze. That means the grass itself might be a good spot to set up an ambush. Ralph uses this knowledge by slipping under the grass (but still above the dirt) to get closer. Sam does the same and punches him back out. Armor won’t help much against those punches, as Sam can grab Ralph’s raspberrying tongue, and yank him through the helmet. And we’re not even going to dignify Ralph’s half of a uni-tank. (Seriously man, what were you thinking?)

A good healthy sheep mixes up the green part of its diet with a healthy helping of fresh water. Ralph plans to dive in so he can ambush the ungulate, crocodile style. But his dive is botched when he lands back on his diving board, dislodging it and the boulder keeping it in place, (I’m loving Ralph’s “Oh, what now?” look.) and when the two land below, Ralph launches into Sam’s grasp. He drops Ralph off the cliff, forcing the wolf to swim through the dirt below.

This calls for now tomfoolery. Ralph needs serious weaponry. A guillotine, axes, arrows, cannons, bombs, dangerous reptiles. The works, really. But just as Ralph is about to pull the switch that will activate everything, the time clock blows. Well, if he’s not going to get paid, there’s no point in offing his best friend. Sam apologizes for Ralph failing again, but the wolf takes it all in good spirits. Still friends, the two walk home. (Or wherever they’re staying these days.)

Favorite Part: The fact that it didn’t end with Ralph suffering at the end. He’s ending his film career in good health, his best friend at his side, and a gorgeous sunset. Life can pretty good, sometimes.

Personal Rating: 3

Birds of a Father

“I feel like an assassin.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 1, 1961.

Sylvester can relax in a hammock with pride. His son is the kind of kit that most fathers can only dream about: the kind who is a natural at bird chasing. But wait! The bird is chasing Junior? That’s not how it should be. Could Junior really be afraid of his natural prey? No, worse. He’s friends with the bird! The shame of it all! Time to teach the kid about proper behavior.

Junior is kind of aghast to learn that he is to chase, catch and eat a bird in that order. Spike (for that is the bird’s name) suggests a plan though: a mock fight that will take place in a shed away from Sylvester’s judging eyes. (All said in tweet-ese. Where’d Junior learn to speak that?) It starts out perfect, but the two are really putting their all into their roles, and Sylvester is a bit concerned with how violent his kid is behaving. Especially if the cleaver in the door is any indication.

Sylvester comes in (The cleaver and Spike both disappear. At least we see the bird leave.) and tells his son that there is a much more humane, much more sporting way to hunt birds: searing hot lead that can reach speeds of 2000 feet per second. Guns. What a wonderful invention. Sylvester is quite the marks-cat as well; gets a birdie on his first shot! I’m impressed, but the badminton player isn’t as much. (Probably because he had to pay for it.)

Round 2. (Is it me, or is Sylvester’s tail unnaturally long in this picture? I can already tell its missing the white tip.) The next bird is most definitely a bird. It may have even been alive once. But as of now, it’s a hat ornament and the owner of said hat doesn’t take too kindly to a cat with a gun. (Me personally, I’d let a cat wielding a gun do whatever he pleases. It’s a good survival tactic.) So, maybe technology is the answer. Sylvester builds a cute little plane that will shoot at any target you instruct it to. What happens when you set it to bird? Do you know?

Did you say it goes after birds? You did? Good job! Spike is plenty maneuverable though, and is able to stay alive. But the plane is tenacious and doesn’t give up after one failure, and Spike flees, right towards Sylvester. He runs with the other two right behind him. Spike is able to dodge it once again, but Sylvester gets stuck with it in an explosives shed. After the blast, Junior scatters some feathers around to make his father feel good about himself. Then heads off to play with his new friend: Spike in cat disguise. (So sad that his father is species-ist.)

Favorite Part: After Junior learns of how nature intended for  cats and birds to get along, (With the hairs on his head disappearing very briefly, I swear!) He sadly asks his dad if they are cannibals. Sylvester says yes.

Personal Rating: 3

The Dixie Fryer

“I’m a rooster, not a roaster.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Granpre; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on September 24, 1960.

Cold is bad. Cold equals death. Foghorn is the wisest chicken this side of Aardman, so he knew enough to get south once the weather turned on him. Since he can’t fly as well as a duck, he uses one to pull his balloon basket. Taking note of the magnolia scent in the air, he figures this must be his stop and he leaps out via the Mary Poppins approach. He came well packed with all one needs for a vacation: a comfy chair, and a table to hold a drink. (The mint julep is a cute touch.)

But predators are a worldly thing, and there is a couple in that tree just yonder. If you’ve watched every Looney Tune and Merrie Melody in chronological order, then you’d recognize these guys. If not, I’ll introduce you. They are Pappy and his son, Elvis, two raptors of indeterminate species. I call them that because they were turkey vultures in their first picture, but have shrunk down to chicken hawks for this, their final appearance.

They’ve been subsisting on black-eyed peas for some time now, and Elvis is really craving a chicken. The lack of them is all that is keeping his wildest desires from coming true. They take note of Foghorn and are ready to have themselves a good old fashioned BBQ. Foghorn isn’t too pleased to wake up to someone plucking his feathers off, but he finds even more to complain about once he finds out what is on the menu for dinner. (I hate hearing people complain on their vacations.)

With their dinner on the run, Pappy chases him down telling Elvis to shoot him with the gun they have. Elvis has been trained to fire when ‘fire’ is said, and unfortunately for his father, Foghorn knows this. This calls for dueling pistols. Foggy almost immediately gets the guns into the wings of the two, and tries getting them to duel. But what makes these guys fairly amusing is that they are fairly intelligent, and they both shoot their prey.

Foggy tries to get rid of them by claiming there is a tornado on the way, and nailing them in the storm cellar. Then the actual tornado hits him. Foghorn decides to take shelter in an explosives shed. The other two follow him and Foggy leaves them in there with a light. The resulting explosion sends the raptors back to their nest. They decide that the peas will make an adequate dinner after all.

Favorite Part: When in the shed, Elvis asks his father what T.N.T. spells. A very unique way to discover and announce your doom. I hope I can go in a similar way.

Personal Rating: I want to give it a four. There are some good jokes that even manage to subvert your expectations at times. But I don’t know, are the adversaries racial stereotypes? Let me clarify: offensive racial stereotypes? I enjoyed them and didn’t think they were hurtful, but I’m naive and scared of someone accusing me of being insensitive. It’s gotta stay a 3.

High Note

” ‘THE BLUE ADNUBE’ “

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard and William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on December 3, 1960.

MUSIC NOTES ARE PEOPLE!

I know you don’t want to believe me, but it is true. Chuck Jones said so! See, when one writes sheet music, they are really just playing god. Deciding who will live where, and ultimately creating beautiful music/ear cancer. The notes take their job very seriously, they do. They set up the score themselves, including folding out the treble clefs, the score, and the other things that have names.

The notes themselves have the most important job. Not for the faint of heart, you understand. See, what they have to do, is take their place on top of the score, and hang upside down to make what appears to our eyes as this:

Hello, note!

Once everyone is in place, and everything is ready, the conductor note takes to their podium and begins the show. “The Blue Danube” is a classic piece that has can be heard in series ranging from “Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants.” (And beyond, but they were the first two examples that entered my head.) The notes have performed this piece so many times, why would they ever expect anything could go wrong?

Things go wrong sixteen notes in. The seventeenth note is missing, and that is quite the anomaly as he’s never been late before. Oh, he’s around all right. He’s been  in the sheets next over. The booze related ones. (“Little Brown Jug” IS a catchy tune.) This doesn’t really make him “high” as the title suggests, but there isn’t as many puns one could make. I suppose there could be “Hey Mary, wanna do marijuana?”, or “I’m in pain without cocaine in my brain.” Or the always classic “P.C.P. and L.S.D. (Tell me what they mean to me.)” But those are all terrible ideas that I just made up, so we’ll have to stick with a drunk note. For now.

Highrum (as I affectionately call him) can be identified as an alcoholic by the classic symptoms: tipsy staggering, hiccuping loudly, and a red nose. (Although, since he lacks one of those, his whole head is a lovely vermilion.) He stumbles back to his workspace, but now that his head isn’t very clear, he starts interacting with the other notes. Why, a whole note looks a lot like an egg. That’s because it is. This is how notes reproduce. But hatching it too early, could really throw the tempo off. And it’s rather rude of him to get the quarter rests worked up, seeing as how they are essentially dogs.

The conductor note is constantly many steps behind their quarry, even though High is constantly evading them unintentionally. Seems the conductor will have to act like a drunk note to catch one. So, when High takes one of their eighth note steeds out for a run, the conductor does the same. They are even willing to sacrifice one of their trebles, using it as makeshift lasso with which to catch the interloper. Hope it was worth it. Those things are a b*tch to tangle. (But in all seriousness here, I LOVE the backgrounds in this short.)

Keeping High pinned in his place, the conductor can finally get on with the music. Things go wrong sixteen notes in. Not only did High escape, but the rest of the notes got sick of waiting, and went to try out the liquor lyrics for themselves.

Favorite Part: When High is playing with the rest dog. Not only is it cute, but the object he grabs for it to fetch was just barely established as a baby note. That is so dark. I love it.

Personal Rating: If you’re a kid, you’d probably go no higher than a 3. (And I’m flattered/impressed you’re here, but you’re way too young for my jokes.) For the rest of us, 4. (The rest of us.) Those who really know music will especially enjoy it.

Fast Buck Duck

“Ingenuity triumpths every time!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Co-Director: Ted Bonnicksen; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Geroge Grandpre; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on March 9, 1963.

Daffy has clearly hit hard times if the slums he lives in is any indication. And the morning paper isn’t doing anything to lift his spirits either. A local millionaire has willed everything to his butler. (Probably because nobody stopped by to make him laugh.) It’s not fair! But wait, there’s a want ad in the paper related to another millionaire. (Having two of them locally might actually play some part in why Daffy’s neighborhood is so crummy.) This one is asking for a companion.

That’s a swell job opportunity! True, it doesn’t list any amount of pay, but being friends with the one percent always pays off. And I do mean “pays.” Daffy heads to the mansion, and finds one of those “beware the dog” signs. Worthless really. The richest people own the tiniest dogs because….

So Daffy plans to befriend the most definitely pekingese or even chihuahua with a ham. His arm is chewed by a bulldog.

So we have the classic “get past the guard” plot. Daffy tries digging, but gets flattened by the dog’s… well, what does one actually call those things that flatten the ground when you push it? A manual steam roller? Which I guess wouldn’t have steam. That’s my convoluted way of saying Daffy is flattened, and the dog makes him a kite to get rid of him.

No self-respecting toon bulldog would ignore a cat, so Daffy concocts a plan to lure him out by calling for nonexistent felines and readying a mallet. But real cats show up, and leap onto the duck’s head to avoid the dog’s jaws. The cat’s fearful scratching tears Daffy’s head up something awful, so he tries to drown them. They leap back on top of him, and when he dives in he finds out why: the dog beat them into the water.

Daffy has a good plan this time! Sleeping… powder? Does that exist? Is it just ground up pills? Do I do any research or do I just ask my generally silent readers to answer things for me? The world may never know. But what is certain is this powder. The stuff works! Daffy just pours it into the dog’s water dish, and he’s out like an underage kid at a strip club. Just to be sure, Daffy makes a goodly amount of noise to test it. The dog sleeps on.

Ah, but as we dog owners know, a dog has to be REALLY out of it to sleep through an invitation to play. Even the unintentional ones count. That’s me offering a scientific explanation as to why the dog wakes upon Daffy stepping on a stick. Maybe playtime could also be the solution? Daffy throws another stick, and the dog happily chases it down. He’s a lot faster than he looks, and returns for another round. Daffy aims to get rid of him with a firecracker.

Daffy makes his way to the mansion’s front door without the dog returning. That’s because the dog was inside waiting to give the duck the stick back. Aw, he likes him! Additionally, Daffy has made it to the front door, so he can get inside and offer up his services. The millionaire is quite impressed by the resume that Daffy probably concocted in the hallway. He gives the duck the job. Daffy suggests some activities they could do, but the man clarifies things: HE didn’t want a friend. (That’s what his money is for.) PERCY wanted a friend. Percy is the dog’s name. Wah-wah.

Favorite Part: The little pose Daffy makes when the cats land on his head for the umpteenth time. Suggesting that he prefers it to the dog’s bites.

Personal Rating: 3