The Music Mice-tro

“Now I’m gonna destroy you, within an inch of your miserable life!”

Produced by William Hendricks and Herb Klynn; Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Tom Dagneis and Cal Howard; Animation by Bob Bransford, Ed Friedman, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Don Shepard; Backgrounds by Walt Peregoy; Film Editor: Joe Sircusa; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released on May 27, 1967.

Daffy Duck plays his most challenging role yet as Daffy Duck, movie star of Hollywood. It’s not an easy life, despite what your fantasies tell you. You’ve got appearances to keep up, parties to attend, and constant retakes of the same scene where you just had to say ‘yup’ with a popping sound while kicking back your legs. Anyone needs a trip after a week of that. And when you need to recuperate, you’d do no better than at Balmy Springs. The resort any celebrity heads to in these trying times.

You know what’s the worst part of being a celebrity? Everyone recognizes you. Daffy is spotted by a band that I’m calling Speedy and the Mph’s. They’re hoping that he could help them get into the movie biz. But even if Daffy was the sort of guy who’d give struggling artists a break, he won’t because their music is not doing anything to soothe his jangled nerves. Speedy recommends he go and relax by the pool, telling one of his friends that they’re still going to audition. (Unless they’re both named Miguel?)

Really, Speedy. You’re kind of being a jerk this week. Daffy hasn’t done anything to you in this continuity yet, and you’re forgetting the fact that he’s only human even if he’s a duck. Ask him later. Right now, Daffy is enjoying the ladies at the water’s edge. No doubt close relations of Geordi La Forge, Elton John and Sunny Miami from Pixar’s “Knick Knack”. Before he can start enjoying life again, the band surprises him once more. He whips them off with a towel.

As a peace offering, Speedy offers a lemonade with a excessively large novelty straw. Daffy is receptive, but doesn’t look where that straw leads and ends up drinking pool water. And I don’t have the heart to tell him that those ladies probably did what we all do in pools when we think we can get away with it. (Common courtesy is no match for even more common sloth.) When Daffy gives chase, Speedy leads him onto the diving board and gives him the slip by running along the underside. The whole thing has made Daffy nervous enough to shiver, and this causes the diving board to fling him in the air. Didn’t even wait for him to bend.

Speedy watches (no tail for a frame) and tries to catch him on his reclining (wheel) chair. Daffy lands on his head, and falls in the pool. (Still can’t remember your flying/ swimming prowess, amigo?) Speedy pulls him out and attends to his “chillys” with a heat lamp. Making sure to go all the way gets Daffy a little burnt out, so he tries to smash the mouse with the lamp. He and it just fall into the water. Speedy gets to play Porky’s straight man routine, with a casual “shocking” whilst leaning back against a house. Daffy goes after him again, and rather than just stick his head in the convenient and perfectly sized hole, lifts it, loses his grip and drops it around his neck. The mice play for him once more. Daffy should not have to struggle what he little he does to escape.

To calm himself, he heads for the golf course. (Boring is soothing.) His lessons are paying off, as he hits a hole in one. Speedy throws it back out, and when Daffy goes over to them, he gets the music full blast again. He tries blowing them up, but they move the hole. They get away and Daffy reminds himself that he needs to relax, so he goes back to his game. Speedy doesn’t think a shaky duck could hit a still ball, so he puts a jumping bean in another for Daffy to hit. Doesn’t work, and when Daffy tries to grab it, it hops down his throat. The mice mistake his new jumping for dancing, and start up the music once more.

Daffy gives chase via golf cart, but crashes. Speedy then gives us an instant replay to watch it again. That’s one way to fill up the time. Seriously though, it wasn’t even played as a clever joke like in “Tabasco Road“! It’s just the same animation with ‘INSTANT REPLAY’ at the bottom of the screen. At least say this is for those who went out to the lobby to smoke or take a leak! Daffy’s had it. He’s heading back to the chaos of Hollywood. At least he’s familiar with that and has an agent he can blame if things annoy him. The band lives up to the name I’ve given them by constantly showing up while Daffy tries to pack.  Just leaving isn’t a solid plan either, as they are in the car too.

Favorite Part: Speedy tells Daffy that he can’t be caught as he is the fastest mouse in Mexico. Daffy curtly reminds him that they’re not in Mexico and gives chase.

Personal Rating: 2

The Million Hare

“He probably thinkth he’s miles ahead of me.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Keith Darling; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on April 6, 1963.

Bugs was quite the wealthy actor, back in the day. Just look at the setup on his TV antennae! Probably has ever channel available at the time. When he invites Daffy over for a vacation, all the duck wants to do is vegetate in front of the tube. That’s sorta like I was as a kid. Just replace ‘watch TV’ with ‘read all their books.’ Don’t look at me that way! They had more “Calvin and Hobbes” collections than I knew existed! Bugs is kinda against brain atrophy, but Daffy isn’t budging, so Bugs just joins in.

The program airing at the moment is called “Beat Your Buddy.” Don’t worry! It’s only as violent as one makes it. It goes like this: the host reaches into what is called a buddy barrel and pulls out D̶i̶d̶d̶y̶ K̶o̶n̶g̶  two names. The two mentioned on those scraps of paper must then race each other to the studio to claim their prize. Beautifully showing off the follies of man and how any one of us would probably kill our best pal for financial security. If networks could afford a show that would get sued every week, there’d be new episodes to this day.

Surprise, surprise! The two names drawn are Bugs and Daffy. And Daffy wastes no time getting started. He’s been preparing for this day all season. Bugs is slower, more amused than anything that the two were picked. And maybe confused? How are they getting the names? Just pushing a phone book through a deli slicer? What if you weren’t aware your name was called? Do they have cameramen that could fill you in? What if you really didn’t want to compete? What if one of the names drawn belonged to someone who was working on the show? What if I continued with the plot?

First obstacle is a lake. Daffy takes a motor boat, and when Bugs arrives he reattaches the rope tied to it to the pier. Maybe sabotaging Daffy intentionally, or not. Daffy and the motor rip through the boat, and go along under the water and ground before blasting into the air. Trying to work with this, Daffy tries to go forward, and immediately crashes into a tree. (Great timing.) By this time, Bugs has crossed the lake as well and hops along with springs on his feet. Does that count as cheating? Can you cheat at all if you started from the same place? Well, almost the same. Daffy was slightly farther from the finish then Bugs was.

Daffy takes a shortcut, which probably also isn’t cheating. And neither is trying to sabotage the other racer. Boosts those ratings. I do like how there’s just a key stone to remove in case you need to start an avalanche. You know, to make sure the rocks don’t fall on anybody? Except yourself, of course. Whoever thought this brilliant idea up, made sure the rocks would fall on top of the key stone puller. Bugs is ahead again. Daffy tries to use a tree to sling himself farther, which works for about all of two seconds before he crashes into a cliff face, and Bugs catches up again. Daffy is still able to run ahead, but because he doesn’t take his eyes off Bugs, he runs off the road. Bugs addresses the question I was asking the first time I viewed this: why doesn’t Daffy fly? (He’s forgotten he can.)

Bugs manages to get to the building the studio is in first. Just needs to make it to the top floor. Daffy plans to use a jet pack to get him up there first, but I think they still made it roughly the same time, as when Daffy flies back out, he’s got Bugs in his clutches. They fly through a china shop, hilariously breaking nothing, before they turn right around and do it properly. Emergency hos-pit stop…al. (Almost was clever.) Hey, I just thought of another question about this show! Does it have a time limit? I mean, I don’t know how long it would take to dress their injuries, but Daffy has a cast and cane, and Bugs is now in a wheelchair. Were viewers at home still enthralled?

It’s a good thing the studio building has elevators, so Bugs still has a chance. It’s a close call photo finish, but, yes, Daffy wins! He actually won! Actually… Bugs doesn’t really have a good “track record” for races, does he? Daffy asks for his prize and he gets it: it’s called a ‘million box.’ It’s called that because it has 1,000,000 little boxes inside! (Although, I did some multiplication and estimating, and have concluded that there’s really only a little more than 7,000 in there. Better get your lawsuit on.) Daffy proves what a good friend he is by opting to donate his prize to Bugs. That’s the sign of a real, honest and true buddy, seeing as each of the little boxes had a dollar inside. When asked to say more, Daffy can only bray. Looks like Bugs can upgrade his television again!

Favorite Part: Listen closely to the host when he explains what little rules this show has. I purposefully didn’t mention it earlier, but he really does say you stand to win “the million box.” It’s not his fault Daffy misheard.

Personal Rating: 3

Compressed Hare

“You are game, aren’t you?”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, and Tom Ray; Assistant Layout: Corny Cole; (Great name.) Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard and William Butler; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 29, 1961.

Wile E.’s latest scheme has him leaving a phone in front of Bugs’s hole and giving him a call. Wile E. states that he is the new neighbor, and could really use a cup of carrots for a stew he’s making. Ever the agreeable sort, Bugs complies. Of course, upon knocking on the door, Wile E. grabs him and ties him up. Ever the unflappable sort, Bugs doesn’t worry at all. He goes as far as to hold down the rope so Wile E. can tie a bow, and uses his ears to flavor the broth.

Still, his kindness has its limits, and he has to decline a stay for lunch. Wile E. isn’t letting him go, so Bugs hops in place and gets one of Wile E.’s wine bottles to pop its cork into his eye. (Genius that he is, I’m guessing Wile E. is an expert winemaker.) Wile E. ducks the next one, but who do you think taught Basil of Baker St. everything he knows? Bugs knew the cork would bounce around the kitchen, setting off a chain reaction that would ultimately cause Wile E’s fold-out bed to fall on him. Done with hopping corks, Bugs hops home.

Wile E. tries to vacuum up his prey, but gets a decoy made out of bombs, instead. Keeping in character, he’s not even mad. He’s admires Bugs’s chutzpah. Still, dinner plans must be kept, and the cunning canine next pours quick drying cement into the hole. Bugs molded it into a pillar, and sticks it back in Wile E.’s path. Both of them making puns about the situation. (These guys. These are the guys I want to be like when I mature.) Time for our finishing gag. And it’s a great one!

Wile E. gets his paws on a ten-billion volt magnet, several dynamos, and an iron carrot. If he can get Bugs to eat that, then the multiverse’s most powerful magnet will reel him in like a dead pike. Bugs just pretends to eat the carrot because he’s not a neanderthal this time. Wile E. falls for it, because even the biggest geniuses can be fooled. He turns on the device and starts attracting the carrot, and Bug’s mailbox, iron, pans, etc.

Then the gag grows to Tex Avery levels! Horseshoes, barbed wire, cars, Eiffel towers… If it’s metal, it’s migrating. And in true Avery fashion, the gag can still go farther. Satellites and rockets are also pulled in. All that metal, and rocket fluid. Something’s going to give! Bugs admires the fireworks that the camera doesn’t show us. (*humph*) You know, Russia may have beat us to putting dogs in orbit, but as Bugs points out, who put the first coyote up there? That’s right: U.S. (Hope you enjoyed hearing Wile E. speak. Barring a failed television pilot, he wouldn’t talk again for decades.)

Favorite Part: As perfect as the ending was, my favorite part is the look Bugs gives up when he sees Wile E.’s mailbox labeling him as a genius. Bugs is NOT amused. Even goes so far as to mock him. (“Are you in, genius?”)

Personal Rating: 4. This was a whole point better than the last team-up of these two. So glad to hear Bugs act like the full-grown bunny he is.

Banty Raids

“Man, you’re a weirdo chick.”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8llgry

Directed by Robert McKimson; Animation by George Grandpre, Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, and Warren Batchelder; 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 June 29, 1963.

Yes I can tie today’s featured cartoon into October once again! What’s Halloween without tricks? A safe and by extension boring Halloween. But it’s not a trick when I tell you this is Foghorn’s final starring role.

It’s like this, man. See, there’s this rooster on this farm, you dig? As the title suggests, he’s a bantam. What it doesn’t tell you is that he’s a beatnik as well, and likes his music loud. This gets him exiled from his place by the head rooster of the place. It doesn’t bother the bantnik too much as One: he’s too laid-back to get invested, and Two: he’s spotted another farm that is full of females. And they appear quite receptive to his musical charms, so he’s made up his mind to enter.

But this place has a head rooster of its own by the name of Foghorn Leghorn. Gonna need to slip by him to get the good times rolling. Using his body’s natural size to his benefit, Bantnik decides to disguise himself as an orphaned child. And Foghorn is all too willing to adopt, because as much fun as he has, he’s secretly also very lonely and wishes he had a junior of sorts to join him in dawg pranking. That’s the first thing he’s going to teach his new son about.

Foggy’s gone all out for the final dog smack around. He doesn’t have to outrun Barnyard  this time. (The dog making his final appearance.)  Foghorn’s attached himself to a rubber band. Once he’s given the dog some smacks, he just needs to leap off the ground, and physics will pull him out of harm’s way. Even better, the force sends his arm flying into a boxing glove he set aside, so now he can be flung right back into B.D.’s mug. Of course, his “child” has no interest in these kind of games, and we find him making out with a dead chicken that was stuffed by a taxidermist who was a big fan of Marty Feldman.

Cracks start to show in Bantnik’s plan. How was he supposed to know Foghorn would break rooster tradition and actually try to raise his kid? Bantnik and his lady friend of the half-hour have to put their dance session on hold and make it seems like the little guy was just napping in the hen house. But the horny kids hate to waste a second, and turn the tunes back up the very instant Foghorn simply LOOKS like he’s leaving. Foghorn is starting to get suspicious, and that mindset only gets stronger as he cuts into the kid’s line for make-outs.

He shows his “son” some pictures to see what sort of thing’s catch his interest. Ladies, naturally, get him going. This proves… that he likes girls, just as Foghorn thought. It’s not entirely clear if Foggy has caught on that he’s been played a fool or not. Maybe he just thinks his kid is full of testosterone. Meanwhile, Barnyard, no doubt scheming the whole time, notices Bantnik’s lust. (He’s ditched the disguise now. He’s too laid-back to worry about it, though.) Barnyard offers to hook him up with the girl of his dreams, and Bantnik sees nothing wrong with believing something too good to be true. (Have a I mentioned he’s laid-back?)

The Dawg sends a little tank towards the barn where Foghorn just happens to be. Seems he’s already forgotten about the son he loved so much. He recognizes the tank as the Dawg’s pawdiwork and ducks its shot. But that was all part of the plan! The shot hits a bovine who ends up bucking Foghorn into some (I think it’s) a hay-baler. (I don’t get why he smiles in there, but I chuckle all the same.) After a ride through, his wings are tied to his sides, and his beak has been tied too. Into a perfect kissable pout. Now we just apply some false eyelashes, a little lipstick, Oh! And we’ve got the perfect hat, wig and dress to bring it all together!

Bantnik likes what he sees! Good thing Barnyard is a licensed priest, since the little bird requests he marry the two of them on the spot. Foghorn tells him point blank that he’s another rooster, but Bantnik is progressive enough to not let that bother him. (And you thought I was just going to say it’s because he’s laid-back!)

Favorite Part: After Bantnik is kicked out of his first home, he says “Man, you’re the sickest.” Right as your brain finishes putting together that he must’ve been sarcastically complimenting his ex-boss, he pulls a gun on his suffering guitar.

Personal Rating: 3 that creeps over to the four’s territory sometimes to make itself feel bigger. Nice way to end Foghorn’s cartoons.

Flying Circus

“DUMMKOPF!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation: 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 September 14, 1968.

WWII is still too recent in everyone’s minds to be making light of without the excuse of it being propaganda. But WWI is a great setting for comedic mishaps. (Although given the release date of this picture, emphasis is on “mishaps”.)

Ace, our creatively named WWI flying ace has just gotten done dog fighting for the day and is glad to be back on terra firma. He gleefully slaps one of his companions on the back before reality hits him: this isn’t his airfield. And that “supposed friend” of his is actually the guy he just shot down: Fritz Von Wienerschintzel. (If the Looney Tunes Wiki is to be believed. And I believe it.) Fritz ain’t too happy to see his nemesis on this side, but it is a great chance to get back at him for the humiliating defeat. He and his troops try to fire on the enemy, but Ace is able to avoid their fire and get his plane up and running once more. He’s outta here!

Fritz isn’t about to let him get away with his actions twice, so he flies after him. (His goggles slip over his eyes for a second, but I don’t think that was intentional.) Once in the air, the two exchange bullets, fly through blimps and then Ace does his secret maneuver: half an aileron roll that gives him an opportunity to clonk Fritz’s head with a wrench. (I kinda feel Mr. Storch isn’t trying hard enough with the role of Ace. He sounds too similar to Cool Cat. At least Fritz sounds like Rimfire with a slight German accent.)

The smack sends Fritz out the bottom of his plane and at the mercy of the tag-team of gravity and the earth. Whether by intent or accident, Ace catches him. Fritz is so grateful, that he covers the pilot’s eyes. This causes them to unintentionally barnstorm and pick up a bovine. A loop evicts the animal, who was savvy enough to have taken what I believe was the only parachute. But this leaves two other bodies plummeting down to the ground, and I doubt it wants to be friends with them.

Ace, always with a plan at the ready, whistles for his plane to come back, and it does. Fritz gives it a try, and surprisingly his plane has remained in the air this whole time. It comes for its pilot, but misses him. Luckily, a blimp below bounces him back and the chase reignites and recycles animation we already saw being used during the title cards. Fritz finally manages to get some revenge, and shoots Ace’s tail off. Without that, Ace falls from his plane. But as he does, he grabs Fritz’s plane and pulls most of its frame off. Get down here, Fritz! You’re grounded, young man!

Well, despite the somewhat painful landing, Fritz is ecstatic about his victory and goes to tell his allies. The short isn’t restarting with a fresh continuity, you’re just suffering from deja view. (Sic.) After giving Ace a hearty back slap, Fritz realizes this isn’t his airfield. And it’s a shame he lost his plane in the landing, as this place looks serious. Live-action footage, and all. (Ace meanwhile, can go back to his second job: stunt-double for Roland of “Roland and Ratfink” fame. Don’t you think they look alike?)

Favorite Part: Fritz throwing a bomb at Ace whilst in the air. Since he’s behind and throwing it in the direction he’s going, it keeps coming back to him. I think the science is accurate. (Oh yeah, he ends up swallowing it and surviving. I know that science is accurate.)

Personal Rating: 2, but it probably is really a 1. I just can’t help but snicker at live-action being used as a punchline. (See “Rabbit Hood” if you want a similar ending paired with an actually funny, well animated cartoon.)

 

Moby Duck

“I wonder how prehisthtoric man usthed to open cansth.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Animation by Don Williams, Manny Perez, Warren Batchelder, Bob Matz, LaVerne Harding, and Norm McCabe; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editors: Lee Gunther and Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 27, 1965.

No explanation needed! Daffy and Speedy are marooned on a deserted island, and Daffy ain’t pleased. He’s also being extremely racist, citing one of the reasons that Speedy isn’t a good shipwreck buddy is because he can’t speak proper English. As well as not being a decent food source. Daffy needs food and the good lord provides. A box of canned goods washes up nearby. (Wouldn’t that sink? In real life, I mean.)

Speedy is glad that the two of them won’t starve, but Daffy intends for him to. See, Daffy is a very greedy duck and he plans to hoard all the stuff for himself. Speedy trying to use the logic of “I’m a smaller creature and need less” doesn’t even sway the duck’s sympathies. He probably is very well aware of Speedy’s crazy metabolism, too. (Lightning fast AND a mouse? That box would be empty by Thursday.)

Of course, the biggest problem with canned food is that it is canned. Can openers are required to partake of the goodies within. As is wont to happen in  Looney Tunes, a mouse is the one holding the tool. But unlike the more sadistic mice of the past, Speedy is willing to negotiate. Daffy shares food, Speedy shares the tool. Daffy says nuts to that, and sets about trying to get the cans open via rocks, and axes. (This doesn’t work because cans are the strongest containers in the Tune-iverse.)

I really do have to give credit for Daffy’s next attempt: baiting a sailfish into stabbing the can open. (I never would’ve thought of that.) It’s creative, but also kind of foolhardy. Daffy thinks the best way to go about this is to tie the can to his rear. Dangerous enough, but things get worse when the can comes undone. The sailfish is an unstoppable force by this point, and chases Daffy across the island and up a tree. Daffy still gets the point by the end of it. (You like that one? I got it from “The Jungle Cruise.”)

Speedy decides he’s just going to give Daffy the tool. Probably because he knows what a fat load of good it will do for them now: Daffy left the box in the tidal zone, and it’s now surrounded by water and sharks. Daffy breaks down (his feet and bill even paling to show his anguish) while Speedy makes a new friend: Robinson Crusoe. He’s a great guy to have around, because he knows all the best eateries on the island. Thank goodness it’s “Fridays”, because Daffy won’t be following them in there once he gets a look at the menu. He instead takes like himself to water, and swims for the horizon. (Speedy might follow his lead once he sees what is served up when all the ducks leave the island.)

Favorite Part: Daffy gave me a new way to spell ‘nothing’. N-U-E-T-H-Y-O-N. (Usually that joke would just have the speller spell ‘nuthing’.)

Personal Rating: 2

Rabbit’s Feat

“‘Rabbitus idioticus deliceeous’. Er, I believe that- that’s the scientific term.”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8b73uz

Directed by Chuck Jones; Animation by Ken Harris and Richard Thompson; Layouts and Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 4, 1960.

A Bugs/Wile E. picture that is light on the fun mechanical gags in order to focus more on the dialogue. Could that be because Michael Maltese was no longer writing for Chuck, having moved on to Hanna Barbera by this point?

That wily ole Wile E. He’s tracking rabbit to get himself something to munch.  He finds Bugs asleep in his crib, sucking his thumb. Let that be an indication of what’s to come. I think Chuck was trying to hearken back to Bugs’s wackier days, but to me, he just comes across as that little kid who thinks he’s the funniest thing on two legs and is in actually annoying and obnoxious, but you’re the adult so you have to pretend that he speaks in fluent comedy gold and you’ve got no choice but to encourage him, even though it would be doing the world a favor to tell him to shut his lips. Doesn’t mean Bugs is painful to listen to or watch, but I’m not finding myself laughing at his antics all that much.

Wile E. sets up a picnic and Bugs comes to join. Proving his intellect once again, Wile E. actually wanted this to happen, as he bundles Bugs in the blanket in order to transport him to the cooking pot. Once there, Chuck has Bugs dust off the old “screaming in agony to unnerve his tormentor” chestnut. Wile E. catches on fairly quick and then catches Bugs lounging outside the containment unit he is supposed to be in. Bugs responds in a way I never would have seen coming, no matter how much weed was injected into my veins: “Daddy! You’re back from Peru!”

Ties back to the kid again, who also thinks random is inherently funny. (Which it can be, but it takes skill to pull off and I’m still not sure how one can describe the proper method.) It is pretty funny, but it comes so far out of left field that I’m want to question, rather than giggle. (But I am smiling at Wile E.’s great poses. They make the picture.) Bugs is able to escape after Wile E. falls into the pot, failing an opportunity to lunge at him since Bugs ducked at the last second. Time to do some plotting.

In a very meta sense, Wile E. starts musing about gags that could feature in this cartoon, but don’t. Bugs slipping in behind him, and giving his two cents. Wile E. ultimately figures he’ll lace him some carrots full of dynamite. Bugs screams, scaring the coyote, and escapes again. Wile E. decides to settle on a gun. Bugs steps right up to him, and flips the gun barrel any way he pleases. Even at Wile E. But those brains, man. Wile E. doesn’t fall for it even when he didn’t see Bugs point it at him. He keeps pointing back to Bugs. Bugs responds by pulling away that little tip that determines which part of the gun is the front. Wile E. takes a gamble, and loses. (Brains and luck are not interchangeable terms.)

Wile E. throws an active grenade down Bugs’s hole, and blocks any possible exit. Bugs screams once more, causing the coyote to fly up and back down, just in time to catch the brunt of the explosion. He identifies himself as a vegetarian now. And reinstates the ‘Mud’ moniker.

Favorite Part: Wile E.’s line: “It is obvious, that is no ordinary rabbit.” Everyone should say this when introducing Bugs to new generations.

Personal Rating: 3. Bugs may be getting on my nerves a tad, but I know he’s just trying to mess with a predator. Still, I’d say this is the weakest of his co-starring with Wile E.

Suppresed Duck

“Pardon, please.”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8ltcih

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by DaveDetiege; Animation by Bob Matz, Manny Perez, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Ron Dias; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on June 26, 1965.

It’s Daffy’s final solo film and he’s going to spend it hunting. He’s excited about it; being on the other side and all. He wants himself a bear. But this forest is a lot more strict than the one’s Elmer used to hunt in. The forest rangers take their job seriously and mark designated boundaries for where you can and can not shoot. The bears rate an 8 on the anthropomorphic scale; being smart enough to talk, but still legally huntable. With Daffy bearing down on their backsides, they quickly take cover on the safe side of the line.

Daffy is more than willing to break the rules to get at those smug bear boars, but the ranger isn’t having it. Strangely enough, Daffy is drawn to scale with the human! So where did he get the adorably sized gun and hat? And more importantly, is Daffy fair game for the bears to shoot during his season? You know, this whole idea has the promisings to make a fascinating R-rated animated movie about “Zootopia” styled animals being allowed to kill each other only at specific times of the year, and having no choice but to starve if they fail. Somebody get on that and put me down as ‘creative consultant’.

Back to our featured attraction. Daffy tries to lure a bear over the line with a bacon lure. No bear can resist frying bacon! But I love how cautious he still is. Creeping up to the line, looking for hunters, barely sticking a foot in, finally crossing and doubling back almost instantly. But that bacon is a cruel temptress and he’s only ursine, so he eventually gives in to his urges and commandos his way over to the meaty treasure.

Just what Daffy wanted! He fires at the bear who is foolishly running deeper into the danger zone. (A hysterically dark joke would be some other hunter getting him. Bonus points if it was Elmer, of all hunters.) Daffy shoots some fur off before the bear remem-bears that, oh yeah, he’s a bear! And he force feeds Daffy his bullets. (Watch for the stray dot of brown that makes it onto the screen.)  Makes it kind of hard to believe this guy would care anymore about what side of the line he’s safe on. Daffy swears that he’ll be eating the bear tonight. Do… do hunters normally eat bear meat? Huh. Guess they can. I kinda want to try it now. (Of course, it’s completely feasible that a duck would also want to partake of such a meal.)

Daffy sneaks over the line in stump get-up, but the bear has been trained for this and sounds the alarm. The rangers aren’t ducking around! They open fire on Daffy with a tank and bomber! (And if Daffy makes it out of there alive, a hefty fine.) I love how calm the ranger is about reminding Daffy which side he’s supposed to stay on. Sounding less like he just tried to end the duck’s life, and more like Daffy took one too many cookies out of the jar. Guess it’s digging time! It’s legal to dig in the forest, right? (I’m not looking that one up too.)

Mr. Bear can hear Daffy digging, and uses his the smarts he earned in college to determine exactly where Daffy will emerge. (It’s really quite simple to surmise, really.) He sticks a shed full of dynamite on the emergence site, and stands back to watch the fireworks. Daffy loses all feathers below his bill and now has to reattach them, but finds he only had 512 of them. The rest of which got made into a necklace and head piece by that pesky bear. Resorted to barrel wearing, Daffy is all set to break the law and cross that line, but he’s too late. The hunting season is over, and the penalty for shooting a bear out of season just isn’t worth the hassle. Here’s hoping for Daffy’s sake that the bear won’t die before the next one starts.

Favorite Part: Daffy’s bullets are even willing to follow the rules as one stops short at the border and falls to the ground. A nice cartoony way of explaining why Daffy can’t just shoot the bear, and stay on his side.

Personal Rating: 3

Prince Violent*

“I see you’ve never dealt with a viking.”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Co-Director: Halwy Pratt; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Bob Matz; Layouts by Willie Ito; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 2, 1961.

*If you’re watching this short on TV, it’s called “Prince Varmint” because… kids won’t get the reference to “Prince Valiant”? Granted, I’ve never read it, but I’ve always known about it. Maybe Hal Foster didn’t like the pun? Either way, I like the original title better. If only because it doesn’t get name dropped twice in the picture. Feels forced.

The locales had best barricade themselves in the only nearby castle, Sam the Terrible the terrible viking has just landed and is clearly having the time of his life in the role. He follows the people into their castle before they can raise the drawbridge, and it’s only a matter of time before he breaks down what little doors they have left. Having witnessed this, Bugs, ever altruistic anymore, gets into costume, follows Sam and rather easily throws him out. (Treating the guy like an errant trick-or-treater.) Time for Sam to spend the rest of the cartoon breaking back in.

He goes big, elephantine even. He gets one of those European elephants that totally existed trust me on this, so he can bust his way into the fortress. Bugs paints a phony door, and the proboscidean hurts himself. And when Sam tries to be Sam and berate the beast, it reminds him who’s the largest living land mammal, and throunces him. Since the walls are too thick for even nature’s best bulldozer to break through, the elephant just throws boulders over the parapets. Bugs stops him with pepper. (Did his ears shrink?)

The two decide to be smart and hide from view until Bugs declares the bridge safe to lower. They charge, forgetting that flimsy wood and nails were never meant to carry at least 10,000 lbs. Oh, wait. I guess as a zoologist, I should say 4535.924 kilograms. (But as a writer, I can’t help but notice how clunky that looks.) Seems their running out of ways to approach, but Sam, always learning from his mistakes decides they’ll sneak in via the back. He uses the elephant as a raft, forgetting that such animals are fairly adept swimmers, but this way means Bugs can shove a cork in the trunk without being seen.

The elephant flees back to shore, forgetting that he could just stick his mouth out of the water and breathe that way. But more confusing? Why is he afraid of Sam now? We already saw that this was a beast not to be trifled with. Did Sam threaten to wait until his tusks grow in, then kill him and sell them to the Chinese? Whatever the reason, Sam chases him off and tells him to stay gone. And I just fell like the reactions should have been swapped. Have the elephant get sick of Sam’s abuse, and turn on him before leaving. Makes more sense.

Sick of playing around, Sam grabs all the explosives he has on hand to blow his way into the stronghold. As he lights the fuses, he fails to notice that the drawbridge can raise in the opposite direction as well. A risky gamble the people are betting on here, as they’re still inside. I guess they figure Sam will die and the only other casualty will be the door? But he doesn’t die this time, it just roughs him up a lot. Even took his mask off. But he regenerates it and finally gets inside. Oh-ho boy! What he’s going to do with the women and chickens…

Uh-oh. Looks like he’s already rueing the today he offended Ali Phunt, as the elephant (Oh, snap! I get it!) has joined the other side and doesn’t fear Sam at all again, chasing him off with a club. Should be a happy ending, but Sam vows to return, and I have a hunch Ali’s services will only last as long as the free peanuts.

Favorite Part: The boat on the title card. I’m glad one of the shields is the W.B. shield. I wouldn’t have ever thought of that. Wait, if that’s my favorite part, then how low will the score-?

Personal Rating: 2. It’s just a weaker retread of “Knighty Knight Bugs“. And I’ve got a feeling this was one of the first shorts Mel recorded for after his coma. A good chunk of Bugs’s lines sound stilted and bored, almost as if Mel was hurting himself as Sam, and everyone decided his first takes for Bugs would suffice as the only takes.

Tease for Two

“If you ask me, I’d say he is a very rude duck.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by David Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, Bob Matz, and Manny Perez; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on August 28, 1965.

It’s the mid-sixties, it’s a Daffy cartoon, so he’ll be partaking in his usual feud with Speedy, no doubt? Actually, he’s not the featured rodent at all! Believe it, if you would be so kind, that Daffy is facing off against Mac and Tosh! Which surprises me, no end. What are the Goofy Gophers doing making any appearances after the original studio shut down? Whatever it was, they wouldn’t do it a second time.

I guess it just makes sense to have them here, as Daffy is following a stupidly easy map to gold, and Speedy is too domesticated to live in a hole in the ground. Daffy tells them to beat it, but they refuse to. (Politely, naturally.) They’ve got an honest-to-goodness deed to the property that says they are staying right where they are. Daffy chooses to plunge them out, rubs their heads together, (I don’t get it, but the action delights me for some reason,) and sends them off via can, mockingly repeating the farewell they gave him not a minute earlier with pitch perfect accuracy. (Both gophers are voiced by Mel here. He’s doing great, but Stan was simply wonderful as the other half.)

The two burrow back into their hole and leave a lit TNT stick for Daffy to find. (Mac jumps briefly during the countdown. Giddy, perhaps?) Daffy tries to tow them out via a rope tied to lettuce, but their vegetarian diet is doing wonders for their upper body strength, and they don’t budge; Daffy’s jeep’s frame gets ripped off the wheels. And they have more explosives to spare, leaving a bomb for Daffy to vacuum up. (Of course it’s lit. What uncouth creatures do you take these gophers for?) Daffy puts what he thinks is them in a trash can with a boulder on top, and the explosion sends the can over him, and the boulder on top.

Daffy next tries to flood them out, mistakenly thinking this kind of thing always works. But being more refined than Virgil and Ross, they simply cork the hose. All the water Daffy intended to send their way quickly builds up, and when it can go no larger, bursts, sending Daffy into the stratosphere. He gets hilariously poetic, musing about the silence up here, meets a friendly, passing cosmonaut, and is smart enough to realize that his reentry is going to burn. This whole sequence has raised the rating a number.

While Daffy isn’t looking, the two simply move the land-marker rock Daffy followed here in the opposite direction. Once he notices, he packs up his shovel and tries where he figures he should have been all along. (In typical Daffy function, he doesn’t even consider apologizing.) And to show how polite they really are, the gophers even throw a nugget for him to find. Their place IS loaded with the stuff, remember. Heck! They probably made the map as a way to make new friends and share happiness! (The greedy get the piss taken out of them first.) But since greed is a sin, they won’t be giving him more than the one piece. But they will humor him, and paint many of the plain rocks the same color. Man, these guys are pleasant!

Favorite Part: If not the whole space scene, then it’s after they first show the duck the deed. Giving him the polite version of ‘Get off our property!’: “It’s been so nice meeting you!” “Drop around again, sometime!”

Personal Rating: 3. I’m honestly surprised it took so long for Daffy to get paired up with this pair. The differing personalities scream comedy. Shame we couldn’t have seen it with a higher animation budget.