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 father’s 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 markscat 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 is 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

Mad as a Mars Hare*

“This joint makes Siberia look like Miami Beach.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, and Tom Ray; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1963.

We are not alone in space. Someone is watching us. Observing us. His name is Marvin. And for once in his life, he’s not waging any kind of war on Earth and its inhabitants. No, he’s a scientist in this picture. (His final one, too.) And Earth has a good many species to look at. From the mighty, majestic mammals, to the small and oft-forgotten insects. Marvin has a particular interest in those. His favorite is the one called “man.”

Even more exciting though, is what appears to be some sort of fledgling species leaving Earth for the first time. It’s coming right toward Marvin too! After the crash, he decides that he must exterminate whatever is landing on his planet. It really is the only way to deal with invasive species. Might as well nip it in the bud, and have as little suffering as martianly possible.

We on Earth call this species a “rocket ship.” It’s hypothesized that they could take invasive species to new planets and give them new worlds to colonize, pillage, and maim. The downside being that we haven’t had much of a way to test it, and we sure as heck aren’t going to test it on our own kind. That’s why we send those like “Astro-rabbit” Bugs Bunny to do our dirty work. Now rabbits, they’re expendable.

Bugs wants no part in this and refuses to leave his ship. Mission control was prepared for this, and have prepared a fool-proof plan to get Bugs’ attention, and get him off the ship: a carrot. Bugs takes note, and his leave. (And his front teeth seem to be missing the line normally there to separate the two. Kinda makes them look like a large vampiric tongue.) Tricked again. Carrots lured him into Cape Canaveral in the first place, and worse,  he can’t even enjoy the one he’s just obtained. It’s aluminum.

Marvin shows up with a disintegration gun in hand. Bugs hardly bats an eye, and just takes the gun away. But it goes off anyhow, and Marvin isn’t even half the martian he used to be. This calls for a quick trip to the re-integrator, and a more powerful weapon: the time-space gun. With it, Marvin will be able to project Bugs forward in time where he’ll be a harmless, useful slave. So…what does that entail? Is it just supposed to age Bugs up? We’ve seen him that way. I don’t think he’d be complacent. Is it supposed to morph him into a higher stare of being? One that doesn’t believe in violence, and instead wishes to help those around it?

I ask these questions, because of what happens next. Marvin shoots Bugs all right, but he had the gun set in reverse, and Bugs has now become some frightening combination of rabbit and neanderthal. He’s not younger, and while yes, I would count him as a more primitive species, I’d be more inclined to think he’d end up like this:

Maybe it just wasn’t built for Earth species.

Regardless of what I think, this new form works well in the rabbit’s favor, as he is able to snap the gun with his bare paws, and squish Marvin into his own helmet. Even better, his jaws have become powerful enough to munch on the metal carrot. Sure, he’s still stuck up here for the time being, but as soon as he DOES find a way back home, Elmer (who Bugs name drops despite the studio having retired him by this point) is going to be in for quite the surprise. All in all, things worked out quite nicely.

Favorite Part: Getting some introspection on Bugs and his love of carrots. He wonders why it is that he loves them so much. They’re dry and lacking figurative meat. Like life’s hardest questions, he can’t come up with an answer on the spot. (Personally, befitting his Grouchoesque tendencies, I always saw it as the carrot equivalent of a cigar. Dependencies are hard to give up.)

Personal Rating: 3, but that’s only for the common folk who expect and want mindless cartoon action. I think the more intellectual types can classify it with the 4’s.

*This definitely gets my vote for best pun title.

The Slick Chick

“Why that little monster of yorn, makes Dennis the Menace look like an angel!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonicksen, Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Keith Darling; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc and Julie Bennett; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on July 21, 1962.

A hen is looking for somebody to babysit her son while she goes to a hen party. (Her words.) Her name is probably Widowhen, seeing as how the two guys who address her, refer to her as “Widahen” and “Widerhen.” I’ve at least narrowed it down to those three. But Mr. Cackle, the elderly rooster on the farm, refuses to take part in babysitting. Junior there, gives chickens a bad name. (Worse than McNuggets?)

Having heard those remarks, Foghorn steps in to defend the kid. (I’m pretty sure Mel is just using his Tweety voice for this character, they just didn’t speed it up.) In Foggy’s words, there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” To prove it, HE will take over the sitting while W-hen is gone. Barely out of sight, and Junior pokes his sitter with a pin. Foghorn is ready to strangle, but he can’t let the cackling Cackle have the last cackle. Chalking it up to simple boyhood pranks, Foghorn takes his charge to find him some fun.

Good thing Foghorn has a box of toys for the little scamp. He can play, and Foghorn can nap. (The best way to babysit. Only neglectful types talk on the phone while they’re in charge.)

Admit it. You’ve always hated her too.

Junior is upset to find this box intended to entertain little children only contains things to entertain little children. He decides to take a peek in the barn because “There’s always something exciting in a barn.” (Man, if I had couple hundred dollars for every time I saw that on a T-shirt.) To his delight, he finds a cement mixer and uses it to rig up a little trap. Then, playing phony phireman, he wakes Foghorn up with a phake emergency that sends him running right into the mix.

Once free of the concrete prison, Foggy threatens to tell the kid’s mother. Junior has blackmail of his own though, and he threatens to tell his mom about Foghorn’s crippling horse race addiction. Foghorn denies such things, but he can’t resist once the kid starts imitating one. The rooster angrily tells the kid to go play in the freeway. Which I only bring up so I had an excuse to make this:

Yes, well, anyway…

Junior finds a balloon to play with. It’s the weather variety, so he attaches it to Foghorn’s hammock and cuts it loose, lifting the big bird into the stratosphere. Naturally, Foggy wants down. The boy shoots him down, and provides him with a landing pad as well. It’s the land mine variety, so Foghorn blows up. And yet, he still claims there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” Mostly because this boy is the “worst.”

Favorite Part: The fact that Junior was upset with the toy selection, when one of said toys was a gun. I don’t care if it was still a toy, he could have modified it!

Personal Rating: 3

A Taste of Catnip

“Hello? Oh, Señor Duck! Como sta?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael O’Connor; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Bob Matz, Manny Perez, Norm McCabe, George Grandpre, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc and Gonzales Gonzales; Musical Direction by Walter Greene. A Merrie Melody released on December 3, 1966.

At Guadalajara Medical centre, you won’t find a better shrink than that of Dr. Manuel Jose Olvera Sebastian Rudolfo Ortiz Pancho Jiminez Perez III. (His friends call him Rudy.) He really is the top of his game, but he can’t help but point out how strange some of his clientele are behind their backs. Such as the time he helped out a fellow by the name of Daffy Duck.

It was about a year ago that Daffy entered the office with quite the peculiar neurosis. It all began when he was at the park. He saw Speedy walk by and he felt a powerful urge that he had never felt before. He wanted to eat Speedy. But that’s absurd, cartoon ducks don’t eat mice! And yet, every time Speedy crosses his path, Daffy has to avoid seeing him to keep his hunger pangs out of control. But things get worse as he finds himself desperately needing to do something else he’s never even conceived of thinking up. He rushes to the nearest trash receptacle, pokes his head in, and lets out a “meow”.

The symptoms worsen. He begins to stalk Speedy on all fours. His competion is not appreciated by Sylvester the cameo. (Marking this short as the cat’s final appearance during the golden era.) So why not just stay home, away from the source of the obsession? Well, Speedy has moved into Daffy’s house and tries to be neighborly, inviting the duck to dinner and everything.

And it’s not like the life of a cat is all overrated videos and lasagna. Daffy now has an instinctual fear of (color changing) dogs, and a need to lap milk from a saucer. That he kept in an unrefrigerated hiding place on top of a hanging lamp. From a color-changing carton. As if drinking milk wasn’t gross enough! (And yes, I’m aware that real cats aren’t supposed to be drinking the stuff either. No need to think you can try and teach me something.)

So, Daffy has come to Rudy for advice. First up, the Rorschach test. Daffy refuses to admit he sees a mouse, even though the doctor sees the same thing. Thus, he deduces that the problem isn’t mental, but physical. Which probably isn’t part of his profession, but what the hey. He enjoys looking with his microscope. He must have taken a blood sample at some point because he has some shocking news: Daffy’s blood catnip is 3.2%!

Wait…. his what?

Yeah, it seems that Daffy’s got catnip on the brain, spine, and circulatory system. Rudy tells him to find the source, and upon returning home, Daffy notices something that he hadn’t before, but probably should have. (So self-centered!) There’s a catnip factory right across the street from his place, and the fumes have been doing things to him. Well, it must be stopped. Peaceful protests, letters to the C.E.O., and poisoning the workforce all take time. Daffy jumps straight to the ultimate solution: bombing.

Well, that problem is fixed, but Daffy is now on the hit list of every cat in the country. All three of them. (One of whom is Sylvester. I wish the other two were Claude and Conrad. What joy I would have!) Still, his feline urges have been suppressed, so I’d call it a happy ending. Rudy meanwhile, is on to his next patient. Speedy himself! And if the quacking is any indication, then I think Speedy thinks he’s a duck! Looks like a certain tape factory won’t be around too much longer.

Favorite Part: Daffy bombing the factory. Such an over-the-top solution for a minuscule problem. Exactly what how I’d expect Daffy to handle it.

Personal Rating: 3 Amazing quality considering when it was released. An interesting plot with nice jokes. (If not hilarious ones.)

Hippydrome Tiger

“Get off my chariot.”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Tony Benedict; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Layouts by Jamie R. Diaz. Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 30, 1968.

Time once again for “Hunting Tigers” with your host, Colonel Rimfire.  Today, he will be hunting with his best friend that is making her second and final appearance, Ella the robot elephant. Yes, a mechanical, pink pachyderm is the man’s preferred mode of transportation. People only tend to laugh once, as one bullet is enough to silence them.

But wouldn’t you know it? Cool Cat isn’t around! He was kind enough to leave a note that says he’s going to Paris. Not knowing where the colonel is now, I can’t say how much of a trip he has to make, but make it he does and learns about the tiger’s whereabouts. C.C. has entered the Grand Prix because tigers are allowed to do that. And hunters are allowed to hunt them regardless of their race. (They were rather progressive like that.)

The race starts, and I hope you weren’t betting on any of the human racers. They’ve disappeared, and haven’t been seen since. (Though, I swear I caught sight of one at the mall.) Since Ella has wheels, Rimfire isn’t too far behind his prey. A little oil slick sends him into the drink, but since Ella has a trunk, it can be used as a periscope and they can find their way out. (Ugh. I don’t like how the thing looks now. Put the trunk down. PLEASE.)

Ella may have wheels and a trunk, but her steering leaves a good deal to be desired. When Cool Cat makes a 90 degree turn, the pursuers keep on going straight towards and over a cliff. But somehow, the track continues below, and Cool Cat was driving fast enough for the two to land on top of his vehicle. Naturally, the tiger tries to make a break for it, but ole Rimmy has a tight grip on the cat. He ends up getting pulled out of the car. Ella, being the sole occupant, is considered the winner once she crosses the finish.

With Cool Cat pinned up against a tree, Rimfire feels assured of victory. But the sporting thing is to offer the feline a final request, and Cool requests a light. Seems fair enough, but when the colonel’s back is turned, we see that the object to be lighted is a rocket that aims to blast the hunter away. It does too. C.C. heads to finish the race, but sees the elephant android receiving his victory parade. With nothing else to do and the short coming to a close, he allows the hunter to chase him once more.

Favorite Part: After Rimfire emerges from the lake, he fires a torpedo Cool Cat. The tiger freakin’ GRABS THE TORPEDO and throws it right back. Thus proving his cooliocity to you.

Personal Rating: 2

A Scent of the Matterhorn

“Le grunt.”

Directeur et Story: M. Charl Jones; Animateurs: M. Tomme Ray, M. Cannes Harris, M. Dicque Thompson, M. Robaire Bransford; Lai-out: M. Maurice Nobelle; Le Ground Bacque, M. Philipe De Guard; Effex Specialitie: M. Harre Amour; Film Editeur: Docteur Treg Brown; Voix Characterization: M. Mel Blanc; Musique: M. Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 24, 1961.

While the road is in the middle of getting a fresh line painted through it, the machine responsible for doing so gets loose and rolls away, downhill as gravity intended. It paints what it passes, leaving a nice white line over countryside and livestock. And over a cat who is fleeing from a dog. The machine lands on the canine leaving the cat to escape with a pelt that one typically sees on skunks. Oh, the possibilities are expected.

If the title isn’t lying to us, then most of our short will be taking place on the Matterhorn. They’re known to speak French there, so the cast checks out. Shouldn’t Pepe be making some sort of appearance about now? There he is. Enjoying a stroll, and happily greeting the wildlife he meets along the way. (I love how his new frog friend reacts. Walks off with a look usually seen on Death Row inmates, lets loose a single scream, and has his eyes change color.)

Pepe spots Penelope and lets loose some pretty awesome pick-up lines. “Everyone should have a hobby. Mine is making love.” and “You may call me ‘Streetcar’ because of my desire for you.” If I thought I was worth dating, I’d totally use those. Yet Penelope just isn’t interested. Has she heard those before? Or is she just a little disturbed that one of Pepe’s feet disappeared when he grabbed her? Women are a mystery indeed.

Chase time! Penelope’s only got one option here, and it is called “up.” So that is where she goes. Pepe has no problem following her because he is muscular, and thinks her preparing to jump off a cliff is a sign of willing to commit suicide rather than be without him, because she is cute. Pepe is also quite savvy to how these kind of chases work out, as when she does jump he calmly notes that she will be back. And since the ground below was sloped like a bowl, she slides back up into his paws. (Pepe: “I told you so.”)

Well, now that Penelope has gone up, a new escape option called “down” is available. But this option is particularly slippery, and she ends up sliding into an ice cave. (Only some of the reflections of her move. Which makes me wonder: how many girls has Pepe already chased in here?) Penelope is now trapped, and seeing all the reflections really brightens Pepe’s day. Eet eez ow you say, a jackpot, no?

Favorite Part: The fact that was Penelope was painted, the dog wasn’t immediately scared away. The first time I saw this, I really expected him to, despite having seen her get painted with his own eyes. Good ole Chuck. Not insulting my intelligence.

Personal Rating: 3

Shamrock and Roll

“Anything that green has to be Ireland.”

Directed by Bob McKimson; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Jim Davis, Ed Solomon, and Norman 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 Merrie Melody released on June 28, 1969.

You know, Merlin the magic mouse has spent every cartoon of his career so far in the USA. It really is a shame that he hoards his amazing feats of wonder (*cough*) away from the rest of the world. Aw, what the hey! For this, his final performance, he will perform in a different country. Picking one at random is the fun part!

Since he’s been a good sidekick, Merlin decides to let Second Banana be the one to pinpoint their destination for prestidigitation. He gives the kid a dart, and tells him to throw it at the spinning globe. After Merlin pulls the dart out of himself, he tells the kid they’ll just blindfold and spin him instead. After getting his eye poked, Merlin rescinds S.B.’s picking privileges, and decides they’re going to the emerald isle.

They travel by magic carpet, and it gets caught on a tree that I thought was part of the background. (It just goes by so fast!) This causes them to land on top of some shamrocks, and more importantly, some guy’s lawn. The lawn in question, belongs to a leprechaun named O’Reilly, who looks like kinda like a smurf that was designed by Dr. Seuss. I swear, just give the guy a couple of those half-moon pupils.

Don’t tell me you can’t see it

Anyhow, O.R. isn’t happy to see trespassers, and S.B. isn’t happy to be labeled as one. Does this guy know who he’s talking to? Merlin the magic mouse, that’s who! Maybe a demonstration of his powers is in order? Merlin’s got a great trick that a moose showed him once. You pull a rabbit out of a hat you see. But rabbits are a bit bigger than mice and leprechauns, so I can’t really be disappointed to find Merlin’s rabbit is a puppet.

The leprechaun isn’t impressed and decides to show the two a REAL trick. He makes Merlin’s watch disappear. When Merlin asks for it back, Reilly makes himself disappear. It was magic AND a trick! He’s keeping the watch, as he likes watches. Is that something leprechauns are known for? I thought they wasted their time hoarding cereal, and shining shoes.

O’Reilly says that if they can catch him, they can have the watch back. The mice chase the thief, but he leads them off a cliff. Merlin makes a paper airplane for them to ride in, and they crash into a tree. You’d think Merlin’s magic could be used to get a hold of that watch but he’s just going to use a trap instead. If you can believe it, Reilly actually falls for it. But I guess since the trap caught him, he doesn’t have to keep his end of the bargain, as he magics himself away.

His house was pretty close by, and Merlin once more demands the watch. (So angry is he, that he takes half a step back, rather than forward.) O’Reilly decides to make amends by giving the two a whole bag of watches. (He usually sells the things on the street at jacked up prices to unsuspecting brownies.) Merlin agrees to this, and he and his… son? (Are these two related?) are on their way again. (To another locale. The locals have cost Ireland its chance.)

Merlin has plans for these watches. He’ll sell them on the street at jacked up prices to unsuspecting voles! And it’s at that decision that the timepieces disappear. (Leprechauns are dicks.) But there is ticking up ahead! It’s Big Ben, and the mice visit him firsthand. And secondhand and hourhand too!

Favorite Part: Meeting O.R. When he says he’s a leprechaun, S.B. asks “Oh, really?” and is answered with “No, O’Reilly.” (Yeah, it’s a weak pun, but I’d never heard it before. And I happen to like puns.)

Personal Rating: 2