Unnatural History

“One of the most difficult birds to train, is the pigeon.”

Directed by Abe Levitow; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Richard Thompson, and Keith Darling; Layouts and Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on November 14, 1959.

As an animal lover, I can’t help but notice the parallels between us and them. It all boils down to one question: Are humans animals? Or are animals human? Our host, Dr. Beest Lee, (That’s really his first name? The X-Men weren’t around yet, so nobody in his childhood took him seriously. Well, he’s shown them all! He hosts this!) is here to guide us through several gags. It’s up to us to decide.

The most intelligent animal is  a good place to start. A chimpanzee is taking part in an experiment where he has to make use of boxes to get a banana. He is more clever than the unseen researchers give him credit for. Not only does he make it to the fruit, he saws around it in order to get at the fridge that was on top. (Actually, that was probably part of the test. Who puts a fridge on a chimp cage, and doesn’t expect it to get stolen?)

Chickens tend to live in factories these days, and some bits of technology are sure to rub off on them. Namely, laying cube-shaped eggs. And they show that old gag about the man trying to prove his dog can talk, but only asking questions whose answers sound similar to a basic dog call. That’s a little weak. What other gags we got?

Chibi-Bugs is being sent into outer space as some sort of… experiment?  What exactly is this supposed to accomplish? I suppose they were just trying to crossbreed lagomorphs. The bunny comes back with his Martian bride and offspring. And what of rodents? A groundhog is a natural meteorologist. (Although he now uses several pieces of high tech machinery to get info) A beaver damns a river. (Probably the best joke here.) And porcupines kiss despite the pain. (Also, that skunk looks a lot like Pepe. What is with all these cameos? Is the featured subject not strong enough to hold our attention?)

A chameleon is capable of changing color. Being from the 50’s, he is still under the illusion that he can match any background instantly. (Not plaid though, a lizard has his limits) And throughout the whole short, we’ve seen a poor dog waiting dutifully for his master to return. Luckily, we’re not given the “Jurassic Bark” treatment, as we see the reunion unfold. It’s not that cheerful. (The dog is irate to have been left alone for as long as he was. 3 years is nearly a third of his lifetime!)

Favorite Part: That beaver was pretty funny, but I like the elephant gag better. After a mouse gets some kicks terrifying one, he himself gets some comeuppance by an even smaller elephant. And you know what that means: Teeny procreated!

Punch Trunk

“I did see an elephant in my birdbath.”

 

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 19, 1953.

Welcome. New year. Yadda-yadda. From this time on, I’ll be listing my favorite part of each short. We’re getting into the territory of cartoons I’ve seen few times or not at all.

At the harbor, a ship has just come in. (I like that it’s called the “S. S. Michael Maltese.” You have no choice but to remember the name now.) But there is something stirring in the bananas. Normally, it’s a rat or a wandering spider, but for once, it’s an elephant. He’s a full grown bull, but he’s only five inches tall! He’s adorable! Evidently though, people don’t seem to agree as the bulk of this short’s jokes are seeing how everyone freaks out at the sight. Doing what introduced species do, he heads off to explore his new home. (Seeing as how there is only one of him, he probably won’t do TOO much damage.)

A man spots the petite pachyderm in his birdbath and calls the police. The elephant meanwhile is acting like an elephant at a crowded watering hole, and hogs it all. (How’d he even get up there?) The police in turn sent some people from the psych ward to take the man away. A different man walks out of the optometrist with a new pair of glasses. Seeing the little guy, he heads back in to give a punch. (No trunk)

Nights are sure to be unpleasant, so it’s not surprising to hear the elephant makes his way into a penthouse. (Okay, how did he get up there? Did a falcon pick him up and drop him?) A little girl discovers him and christens him Teeny. (Which is a cute name. I’m declaring it canon.) Due to her childhood innocence, she is not afraid of him and even tries to fill his tummy. (Elephants eat cake, right? It’s like 45% of their diet.) Because of the fainting mother though, Teeny continues being a drifter.

A really good joke is next. A drunk stumbles out of a bar and sees the animal. (And a great detail is how the background is drawn warped and surreal. Like we are seeing the way he is.) Seeing the animal doesn’t make him scream, faint, or lose his sh*t in any way. Instead, he just scolds the beast for being late. (Also musing about how he isn’t pink this time. Genius.)

Even his own kind freaks out at the sight of him. Finding a circus, he joins a parade of elephants. (Okay, maybe not his own kind as that would make these Asian elephants, but they look just like him, only bigger. Seems ole Chuck doesn’t know as much about elephants as moi. On another note, Teeny is just as cute dangling off the ground.) Even those who are trained to handle fears aren’t immune, as a psychiatrist (or psychologist. I’m pretty sure they’re interchangeable) switches places with his patient upon seeing the cutie.

People all over the city now have claimed to see the beast. So, is it really there? Scientists say no. In fact, one goes on TV to explain why it isn’t real. He doesn’t go into the fact that an elephant could not survive being so small. (Freezing to death I mean. Not being eaten by a cat) Instead, he just blames our troubled times. (Considering my parents weren’t even born as of his saying this, I’ll have to ask Grandpa if the times were really that bad.) Not very happy to be told he doesn’t exist, Teeny takes the microphone away. (If this short has taught me anything, it’s that if science could make a teacup elephant that could survive at such a size, I would get one.)

Favorite part: It’s not especially funny, but it IS sweet. A woman is doing her laundry and Teeny comes over and HELPS! He hands her the clothespins! So precious! Keep up the good work, sweetie!

Sleepy Time Possum

“I’d know’d I’d get some action!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Emery Hawkins, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 3, 1951.

Attention everyone! Opossums are NOT possums. They live on entirely different continents! Apart from both being marsupials, they are only distantly related! Look…

Possum. Poss-um.

Opossum. O-poss-um.

Now, why do I bother so much? Because as the Lorax speaks for the trees, I speak for the animals. Since they can not tell when someone is using the wrong name, (that ironically, humans gave them) I will have to do so. And today’s picture is full of this kind of mistake.

The mailbox at the beginning is the only time the creatures are given the correct name. Seeing as how they all have American accents, they are clearly opossums. Though, honestly, you can’t really tell. The two parents look like some subspecies of kinkajou and their son looks like Hippety Hopper. (  At least he’s another marsupial)

Speaking of the son, his mother is upset to find him sleeping. (I am also upset. Opossums DON’T sleep upside down! They don’t even hang that way! They’re too heavy to do so!) Her reason is a lot more poignant. He’s got chores to do! But the kid is so lazy, that as soon as he hangs down, he sleeps again. (I understand his motives at least. The best part of life is being unconscious.) Ma threatens to sic his father on him, but Junior doesn’t care and sleeps once more.

Ma makes good of her word and tells Pa. He agrees that their son needs some discipline, but reasons that talking will net no results. Good thing he has a hunting dog costume on standby. (Don’t we all? I can’t count all the times I’ve needed to dress up as a dog.) One session of son scaring will keep the kid awake for days! Seems to work too, as one look sends Ma into hysterics and has Junior running for his life. Still, lazy as he is, he doesn’t go far before he stops to sleep once more.  Run and sleep, run and sleep. It goes on like that for awhile before Pa gets his son cornered.

Junior decides to try something opossums actually do, and plays dead. Seeing as how he is one himself, Pa doesn’t fall for it and instead ties his offspring to a firecracker. (Wait, what is the point of this? I though you were trying to stop his nap habits, not KILL him.) Either way, Junior ties the rope around his dad’s ankles when he’s not looking and escapes again.

Finding him at the top of another tree, Pa ties another one down with a rock so he can use it as a bridge to get to his sleeping son. Of course, said son cuts the rope just when his dad is crossing and flings him miles away. Pa proves his Olympic training was worth the effort, and he runs back immediately to catch his kid.

Back home, Pa tells his wife that Junior is finally doing the potato peeling he was supposed to be doing this whole time. The scare tactic didn’t work, so Pa just tied a balloon around his son. Now, forced to be upright, Junior can’t fall asleep anymore.

The Hole Idea

“Inventive genius makes great discovery!”

Directed by Robert McKimson (One of his favorites, in fact); Story by Sid Marcus; Animation by Robert McKimson; Layouts and Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc (June Foray); Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 16, 1955.

Of the many great scientists that have existed throughout time, (and for that matter, the ones who have yet to exist throughout time) I think the greatest is: Calvin Q. Calculus. Because he specializes in making paradoxes a reality. In the past, he’s made everything from dry water to round squares. (There wasn’t much of a market for them, so they can no longer be found today, but it’s fascinating to imagine) And he did all of that without the support of a loving wife. (Gertrude is not the patient type. But she has good qualities. I mean, there must be SOME reason he married her)

His latest breakthrough is really a wonder: portable holes! (And it’s hard to be impressed in the crazy city he lives in. I think one of the bridges has a row of buildings on top of it) Nevertheless, he is granted instant acclaim! This hole thing is really a marvel! You can duck out of responsibilities, cheat at golf, and get the children you locked in a safe, out before the authorities arrive! (That’s an interesting picture on the wall. Not really a picture, but random farm related words and even a math equation. 4×4=4, huh? Math never was my best subject.)

Calvin has only one hope for his invention: that no one shall use it for nefarious purposes. (Minor mistake, but his award pokes out of the screen he is projected on. Minus one point) Ah, but you see, temptation is a powerful thing. And if there is an easier way to get what one wants, you can bet at least one person will try and ruin things for everyone. In this case, a (Man? They could be a very ugly lady.) person takes the professor’s case of holes while he sleeps and begins committing crimes. Using the holes for easy access into banks, jewelry stores, and Fort Knox. They begin calling this mystery person “The Holey Terror.”

They eventually move on to living targets, and break into a burlesque house. (Based on how sexuality is, that still gives no concrete evidence to the gender) But the cops are on their tail, and the thief is running out of holes to use. Down to one left, they use it to escape through a wall, just as the cops grab it. Said wall lead into a prison. (Never panic in these situations, it’ll always spell your undoing) Calvin is pleased to see things right in the world. (His sleeves are red in one scene then white in the next. Minus two points) Gertrude is still being a b*tch, and her husband finally decides to be rid of her. (Love his smile.) He tosses a hole in her path, and it must have been pretty deep. She ends up in hell. Satan sends her right back. (Even he doesn’t want to put up with her crap.)

 

Much Ado About Nutting

“Brazil Nuts”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Lloyd Vaughn, Ken Harris, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 23, 1953.

A brilliant little silent short from a brilliant man who knew exactly how to tell such stories. Not only considered one of the greatest, but the picture’s star would go on to at least have a cameo in “Back in Action.”

On a lovely warm summer day, a little squirrel crosses the street and heads towards a nut store. Unlike how it usually is in these cartoons, this squirrel doesn’t speak. In fact, he acts quite a bit like a real life squirrel. For the most part. For example, I don’t think he read the sign saying “Nuts” judging by how his nose twitches, he acted like most squirrels do and simply smelled the food. Luckily for him, (I’m just assuming the squirrel is a male. Everything I’ve read about this short says so.) all humans have mysteriously vanished from the picture, so there is no one to stop him from heading straight to the peanuts. (Which aren’t really nuts. I claim false advertising)

It’s not long before he spies the walnuts for sale. (An actual nut this time. Good for them.) Since they are bigger, he doesn’t hesitate to ditch the peanuts for a more abundant food source. But there’s always a bigger fish and he ultimately lays eyes on the coconuts. (Which really aren’t nuts, but nobody cares at this point.) They’re big enough for the squirrel to just need one, so he heads back across the street to enjoy some lunch.

But here’s where the conflict really begins. Despite being a rodent, his teeth don’t make so much as a crack in the fruit’s shell. He decides to act smarter than the average squirrel, (which to be fair, is still rather smart.) and uses some tools. Seeing as he is an animal, he starts with one of the tools chimps swear by: a rock. Upon slamming it onto the fruit, the rock snaps in two. And dropping it from a tree just embeds it in the ground. Time for the human tools. (There are too many obvious jokes for me to use here, so just use your favorite one.)

First up: a saw that loses its teeth. Then a jackhammer that is weathered away by the coconut. Eventually,  the squirrel is forced to take drastic measures. It’s time to drop the thing from the highest building he can. We get some great shots here. Several fade-ins to show the squirrels progress as he slowly, but surely hoists the heavy load up the countless stairs. The poor thing! I would gladly carry them to the top. But the squirrel is determined, and does ultimately make it. And he drops his meal. Wouldn’t it be great if this worked? Instead, the fruit just makes a chunk of the street lower than the rest.

That’s it. The squirrel gives up. And he is thoughtful enough to return the thing to where he found it. (Besides, there are many more things to choose from. Those walnuts looked pretty tasty.) But just as he puts it back in place, it slips and lands back on the ground. And it finally is cracked! The squirrel hurries over and pries open his prize. Alas, this appears to be a rare subspecies of matryoshka coconut, as there was another one inside it. Adding disbelief upon stress, the squirrel passes out.

Wild Wife

“A giant chocolate malt, please.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Herman Cohen; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling.  A Merrie Melody released on February 20, 1954.

Our week long commercial is finally over, now back to “Amazing animals, exciting encounters, interesting ideas, obscure oddities and unique uh…ther things!” With your host, Gabby Yacksby.

Welcome back to our show. Today, we have been fortunate enough to obtain a transcript sent in by my creator, Dr. Foolio. In it, he recounts an encounter he had studying wild Homo sapiens in their natural habitat. His words, are as follows:

In a lovely house, the matriarch of the group has just collapsed from a very stressful day. (I won’t lie. She is hot! She definitely matches my description of a MILF. That means, a “mother I’d like a sandwich from”, right?) Having had followed her through out it, I can confirm. Her mate arrives shortly afterwards, and they exchange pleasantries. In this species, all members of the family have certain jobs to do. While the adult male goes out into the world to secure the means necessary for food and shelter, and the children prepare their minds for their own futures, the adult female is left in charge of many much smaller, but no less important tasks. Seems she forgot to do one: mowing the lawn. Upon hearing this, her mate flies into a rage and accuses her of never contributing to the upkeep. Standing her ground, she regales him with what transpired earlier in the day.

6:00 A.M.: After a night of trying to sleep through her mate’s constant snoring, the adult female awakes to prepare breakfast for the family. It is also her responsibility to wake all the members of the family up. Her offspring do not thank her for the sustenance, and her mate hardly looks her in the eye. He must leave to fulfill his role in society. He leaves while kissing his offspring, mate, and dog. (And the mailman.)

7:00 A.M.:  A clean habitat is a healthy one, so the female gets out a vacuum that was a gift from the male. It looks too complicated for me, what with all the attachments. She manages to get it running, but neglected to attach a bag, and now must sweep up all that she sucked up.

9:00 A.M.: She leaves the house and heads to a bank. She is to deposit some checks for her mate. Upon arriving, she finds a massive line leading up to the teller. To her luck, a new line opens up. Unfortunately, she doesn’t make it to the front in time, as an elderly female beats her to the punch. Said woman plans to deposit $200.00 in pennies. It takes so long that the other line diminishes. By the time she tries to take advantage of the now empty other line, she finds herself behind another woman depositing pennies.

12:30 P.M.: Having just finished purchasing a few things, the subject goes to eat. Her diet of choice is simple sugars served in liquid form. Like the noble hummingbird, she needs all the energy to keep up with her demanding workload.

1:00 P.M.: Not forgetting the rest of the family, she buys enough to keep them well fed for the upcoming week. After filling up her automobile, the food empties onto the pavement when she opens up the other door.

2:00 P.M.: To keep her mate attached to her, the female of the species regularly pretties herself up so he won’t be attracted to younger species who have larger breasts, and rounder buttocks. She pulls up to a beauty parlor, (doing a much better job at parallel parking than I could ever hope to achieve) and learns all the latest gossip. A pivotal skill that all her kind must learn. Of course, she must make repeat trips outside to feed more nickels into the parking meter.

3:00 P.M.: Unbeknownst to the female, two guys from the city have arrived to remove the parking meter. (One of which is capable of teleporting himself out of their vehicle) They put a fire hydrant in place of the meter. When the female exits, she finds her vehicle being ticketed by a police officer.

5:00 P.M.: And so we come back to where my notes began. Despite her tough day, her mate does not cut her any slack. As it turns out, she also bought him a present: A rolling pin that she whacks him with.

Conclusion: This species seems dangerous when provoked. (Just like the best animals) Seeing as how I scare easily and provoke on a daily basis, I doubt I shall ever attempt to take a mate of my own. End notes.

That was interesting. I don’t think I’ll ever show up again. I didn’t really contribute anything, and have my own things to do on Sundays. Good night.

Goo Goo Goliath

“He’s a heavy one, isn’t he?”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 18, 1954.

Time for another delivery, courtesy of the stork. (Did you think babies came from outer space? What idiot told you that?) The bird in charge of the latest baby doesn’t look like he’s the best candidate. Having recently finished one delivery, and given glasses of champagne for his troubles. Nonetheless, he takes his bundle and flies off. It’s a rather large baby, as he is intended for the giant couple who lives at the top of the beanstalk. The inebriated bird gives up by the time he reaches Greentown and opts to just drop the child off at the only pink house located for miles.

Luckily for everyone, the stork’s logic of “never seeing any couple not want a baby” pulls through and our couple (Ethel and John) happily take the kid in. (We’re never explicitly told whether or not they actually were supposed to have a kid) And the majority of this picture is showing the hi-jinks that ensue with a baby who is born large, and soon grows larger.  Bouncing him on your leg will break every bone in said leg, he feasts upon gallons of milk and when he moves on to solid food, it is delivered via cement mixer, and they sidestep any tasteless gags they COULD make by just showing a delivery of a diaper that needs two men to carry. Although I must admit, I’ve always wondered similar things about Clifford the dog. I can’t help it, I’m a zoologist! And going back to that last point, isn’t it a little TOO big? How much is needed? I’m no expert on kids!

Dᴀᴅ? I ᴛʜɪɴᴋ I’ᴍ sɪᴄᴋ.

Just wait it out. If you die, that means you were too weak to survive.

More gags follow. The baby (who does look cute, I’ll give him that. But I’m not naming him. That’s a job for his parents.) gets bathed in the pool, uses tires as teething rings, and can push his dad to work when the car doesn’t start. (I guess it just gets towed home each night?) But babies will be babies, and our outstanding parents leave the gate open one day, so he wanders off on his own. (At least they do have the sense to call the police.) It’s like “Honey, I blew up the kid.” (Going off on another unrelated tangent, that movie annoys me. The kid was a danger to countless people as well as himself! Why shouldn’t people be allowed to tranquilize him? Plus, shooting annoying children is always a plus in my book)

Tʜᴀᴛ ᴇxᴘʟᴀɪɴs ᴀ ʟᴏᴛ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ʏᴏᴜ.

*gunshot*

Despite the fact it’s been several weeks if not months by now, the stork is just BARELY going after the kid. (And apparently is going to keep his job. I bet you could write a fascinating book about the stork’s labor union.) And I think they sneak in a subtle reference to why some people are infertile, as the stork says no more babies are to be delivered until this is fixed. He finds the kid asleep in the arms of lady liberty. Impressively, he manages to hoist the titanic toddler up to his real home. (Mr. Giant has been having to make do with a miniature baby. It’s like trying to raise a Lego figurine.) The stork then finishes up by giving the smaller baby to what his still tipsy body identifies as its new home: a kangaroo. (Despite how slimy it probably is in there, the baby seems happy. What a trooper!)

Rocket-Bye Baby

“Somebody goofed.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Ernie Nordli; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on August 4, 1956.

Back in the year of 1954, the planets of Earth and Mars got a little too close to each other. Because of this, two babies, both of whom were heading towards the planets got intercepted and each ended up heading to the other one. (That’s right! Babies come from space. You didn’t really think a stork delivered them, did you?)

Enter Joseph Wilbur. He’s about to become a father. While nervous, he is also quite happy. So when he is called to see his new child, he is quite excited. His kid is really cute. (When Jones draws something that is supposed to be cute, it is DANG cute.) Chubby body, little eyelashes, big smile. Oh yes, and green skin and antennae. (Perfectly normal for that age. I’m sure it will clear up by his teens.)

Father is a little bit ashamed to of his offspring. But Martha, the wife, won’t have any excuses and sends the two off for a afternoon stroll. Those antennae are marvelous things! They allow the infant to communicate with insects and act as an extra pair of limbs. Perfect for taking an old ladies glasses off, and giving them a try. For some reason, the broad goes into hysterics. Maybe Dad had a reason to be so wary?

Martha also soon sees that the kid is much more different than your usual baby. He does income tax, builds molecule models, and predicts the possibilities of hurricanes thirty years into the future. You’d think most parents would be over the moon to find their kid gifted with such intelligence, but they are more in the “worried” camp. Considering we humans don’t especially like strange things that can’t be explained, it’s probably for the best that they try to make him take up more age appropriate activities: like TV watching. Seeing “Captain Shmideo” holding up a toy spaceship inspires the lad to make his own. (I’d think that the parents would freak out again, but this time they are more impressed than anything. Hypocrites.)

Later, they get a message. From Mars of all places! Turns out, they have the wrong baby. The Martians would like to exchange the two. (Given how self-sufficient the Mars variety is, they are probably going insane with all care they have to supply the Earthling with. On another note, at least the Martians bothered to give both babies names. Joseph and Martha couldn’t even be bothered to do that. So from now on, our green baby is Mot and the one we never see is Yob)

Wouldn’t it be interesting if it turned out that the Wilbur’s actually decided they loved the kid they were given? Well, that’s not happening. It’s the 1950s! What makes you think a white suburban couple would want to look after a child who dared to be part of a different race? Sign them up for the exchange! Only one problem: Mot’s ship he was building actually works, and Joseph has to chase after him. The Martians aren’t going to give him squat if he doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain. Despite Jo’s efforts, the chase ends with him missing his chance to grab the baby and falling out of a open window several stories up. Mot meanwhile, makes his way aboard the (in this case probably literal) mother ship. They got what they came for, they leave. (They’re probably just going to eat Yob)

But Joseph doesn’t die, because it was all a dream. He is back at the hospital and goes to look at his normal human baby. But before you get upset for the use of the most cliched of twist endings, do note the band on the babies wrist. It must be in some kind of foreign language. I mean, what on Earth does “Yob” mean?

It’s Hummer Time

“I tawt I taw a putty-tat.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Rod Scribner, J.C. Melendez, Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 22, 1950.

The plot for this picture: a cat trying to catch a hummingbird of all creatures. (It’s like chasing a chicken nugget. I want a short where a spider tries to catch one of these birds, as flies won’t cut it anymore.) The bird isn’t dumb enough to swim in the birdbath the cat is holding, and flies off after squirting him in the face. The cat (who can also be found in “A Fractured Leghorn” and “Early to Bet.”) gives chase, but ends up sinking his claws into a dog. Much like in the latter of the two shorts up there, the dog subjects the cat to various punishments. Only here, the cat doesn’t get any say in things. First up: being pulled through a hole in a fence.

As the cat hunts with net in hand, the bird flies close to the dogs head. With them both being on one side of a wall, the cat swings but gets the dog. Now he must attend a birthday party for himself. He doesn’t even have to share the cake! (The candles are explosives though) Next, he ties a flower onto a balloon and tries to fish for the bird. Said bird paints the cats face on it and brings it to the dog’s attention. When he pulls the string, the cat reels him in. This earns him a trip down a drain pipe.

Is this really worth all the trouble? Well, given a hummingbird’s diet, I suppose they are the cat equivalent of candy. (Like a flying Bit-O-Honey) So the cat chases the bird over near the dog’s house. There, he makes the mistake of laying a paw on the dog’s bones. That’s earned him a trip into a cement mixer. (Normally, that would be horrific way to go, but here it just freezes him in cement.)

Now really, in a universe where a dog can collect monetary rewards, why can’t the cat just go BUY something to eat? You know, that is an excellent question. So, the bird sticks one of his feathers into the dog’s mouth and so the cat has no other option but to take a peek inside and see if there is anything left. (He’s not dumb enough to open the mouth on his own. He uses sneeze powder. But really, why is he afraid of the dog? Notice how he phases out of existence when doing this.) The dog has had enough, and prepares to subject the cat to “the works.” Here, the cat has a rope tied around his tail, that will take him through the fence, through several other obstacles (including a drainpipe) and landing him in the cement mixer once more. Neither of them notice the bird who ties some extra rope to the dog’s leg and the cat’s body. Unaware, the dog ends up dragged into the machine with his victim. The bird then sets it to birdbath, and gets a nice new place to bathe.

 

The Oily American

“Your thomashawk, sir.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Sid Marcus; Animation by Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen, and Rod Scribner; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 10, 1954.

One of the reasons I love cartoons so much, is that they are weird and can get away with it. But sometimes, they’re less “weird” and more “odd.” In other words, the cartoon is weird, but you can’t necessarily just write it off as cartoon logic. That brings us to today’s featured short.

Moe Hican is as his name suggests, a Native American. And as the title suggests, he is something of an oil baron. He has so much of the stuff, he has at least two decorative fountains on his property, spouting the black gold instead of water.  So what does a multi-billionaire do to occupy his time? He hunts, but he does so in a rather “unique” way. He has animals shipped to his house, and released inside. That way he doesn’t have to… actually, it’s not said WHY he does it this way, but I suppose it means he doesn’t need to drive anywhere.

Joined by Jarvis the butler, he turns on a stream in his house and heads to the forest room. (He is rich enough to afford that, AND replace the furniture the water is going to ruin. I suppose if I had as much money as him, I’d do random dumb crap too.) Today’s game is a moose. (Which seems rather redundant, seeing as he already has a deer head on his wall. And last I checked, moose are deer!) The moose is question looks a lot like he escaped from a Disney cartoon, as he is a midget if ever a moose was one. (There isn’t really anything in the story that requires him being so small, but this way he matches Moe in height.)

Our American hero tries to lure his prey out with a moose call, but his prey has a call of his own that calls out to Native American, oil-drenched, bachelors. (You’d be surprised at how many of those things get sold on a yearly basis.) Moe follows it up a tree, whereupon the moose saws it down with his antlers. And just because he is an animal, that doesn’t mean that he is going to stay in the forest room. There is a whole mansion to tear through! (But the majority of the rest of the short takes place back in said room. Why not take advantage of it?)

Jarvis helps out as best as he can, but all of Moe’s weapons come back to hurt him. He dutifully returns them as a good butler should and gets to keep any injuries he gets for his troubles. Ultimately though, he decides that he has had enough, and resigns. Moe doesn’t care much. With as much money as he has, he can easily buy another Jarvis. (Or at least pay someone to change their name to Jarvis.) He chases his prey outside and shoots one last arrow. Somehow, it hits Jarvis’s plane and sends it to the ground. Now that he is no longer employed by the man, Jarvis has every right to spank him. So he does.

Good thing the premise is plenty… original I guess. Otherwise, this would have been a fairly basic chase cartoon.