Weasel Stop

“Help! Mountain lion! Bobcat! Coyote!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Ted Pierce; Animation by Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, and Russ Dyson; Layouts and Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 11, 1956.

Quiet days are boring. They are in desperate need of a weasel to liven things up. I’m fresh out of weasels at the moment. Would a stoat do? Fine, fine. Don’t give me that eye roll look. McKimson’s crew are on the ball with their weasel character that my “Looney Tunes 300-piece Fantasy puzzle identifies as “Willy”. Not the worst name, but kinda makes him sound like a mascot for a pizzeria. He shouldn’t be anything to worry about because the local chicken farm has a barnyard dog on duty. The only problem? That’s not Barnyard Dawg.

What the crap? What happened? Where’s my beloved basset? Who does this poser think he is? Granted, there’s nothing wrong with giving the formula a little variety, but Barnyard Dawg is an established character by this point! You think audiences would have liked Chuck’s boys making another rabbit/duck season picture without Elmer? Even if it was good, it’d always be remembered as the freak short of the quadrillogy. I just want to know if there’s a reason, since Farmyard Doug never came back.

Well, dogs is dogs, and roosters are their natural pranksters. Doesn’t help that Foghorn is a little irritated to find the guy supposed to be protecting them from certain death is sawing logs. Whittling, that is. Doug loves his whittling. Foghorn blows the weasel alarm in his face, then sends him on a wild goose chase. Weasel chase, that is. Doug crashes into a fence that Foghorn painted a hole on, and the bird claims the whole thing to have been naught but a nightmare. Sure hope it was worth crying wolf. Weasel, that is. (I’m stopping now. I promise.)

And Willy tries to carry Foggy away. Despite the screaming, Doug can’t be bothered to get up. Maybe he doesn’t believe its really happening, maybe he’s glad it is. Foghorn manages to get free when he is dragged into a low-hanging branch. Now aware of what happened, he’s not worried. Despite Willy still trying to gnaw on him. Foghorn points out the little guy is after a good eating chicken, and that’s all the permission Willy needs. He goes after another one, but Doug wasn’t just whittling wood to waste it. He made a croquet mallet and ball, and sends Willy away.

Foghorn decides to help the weasel get even with the dog. And once the only thing keeping them safe is dead? Don’t bother with the details. Live for the moment! The plan is to send Willy floating via balloon, and drop a lit fire craker on Doug. (Hey, Foggy? The balloon string is going through your beak. Okay. You fixed it.) Doug isn’t caught unawares. He whittles his latest masterpiece: a single toothpick. Attaching that to a paper airplane pops Willy’s balloon and dreams. The mustelid lands on another board Doug was probably planning to carve into a clothespin, flinging the rock it was setting under up. Doug lights his explosive for him, Willy’s snout changes color, and gravity and the rock send weasel back to rooster for the explosive finish.

The two then sneak about in haystack disguise, carrying miscellaneous weapons. Before they can really do anything with them, Doug uses his new greatest work, a wooden hand, to turn on the hay baler. (Foghorn, buddy, now that the hay is gone, I can see your foot going through your cannon. Stop that.) After the ride, the two are stripped of their respective coats. So what’s plan C? Oh, wait. The cartoon is ending here. Okay.

Favorite Part: I like the way Willy says “Yeah.” It’s his only dialogue, but it displays more character than Doug has.

Personal Rating: 2. The team-up doesn’t start until the picture is 2/3 done, the ending gag was pretty weak, and Doug reacts too calmly to things. I think that’s why I prefer our usual Dawg. He really feels like a living, breathing, rooster-pounding animal.

Sheep Ahoy

“Hello, Sam.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson and Abe Levitow; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Phil DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 11, 1954.

Ralph is getting an early start today. Fred Sheepdog hasn’t even clocked out and Ralph’s already slinking down to the still living mutton chops. But Sam’s on his way. (This being their second picture, Fred still calls Sam ‘Ralph’.) Ever on top of things, Sam allows the sheep to continue living by knocking a stone onto Ralph’s head. Two can play that game! But why just repeat what the other guy already did? Ralph drops a boulder towards Sam, but it gets caught by one of those trees who decided growing in dirt was too easy and made it’s dwelling a cliff face, (*phew*! Lot of words.) and tosses it back.

In between fade-outs, one of the sheep has decided to graze on Sam’s ledge. Ralph merely has to pole vault over the dog, but even that is met with difficulties. Sam grabs the pole before Ralph could let go, and brings him down for another punch. (His paw gets darker in doing so. Maybe he’s wearing brass knuckles?) Ralph next tries a smoke bomb. But he doesn’t try using it to blind everyone else because then he wouldn’t be able to see his targets either. He just uses it as cover for himself because smokescreens have paws a good 58% of the time, and he can still see out of it. (Really, how is this supposed to be useful?) Sam tosses an explosive into the smoke, turning it black and obscuring Ralph’s vision for sure, leaving him to walk off a cliff.

A fake rock disguise seems to work perfectly as Sam treats him as he would any other rock: something to sledgehammer. (I love Ralph’s trembling as he sees this approaching. It’s gonna hurt.) The little pieces head back to regroup for a new tactic. He/they eventually devise a pedal-powered submarine to sneak upon drinking sheep. But… if his legs are poking out, doesn’t that mean water is leaking in? How does he breathe? (He should really listen to the background music. Every Chuck Jones fan knows it means certain doom is ahead.) Seeing the detour sign that Sam is holding gets Ralph to head over the nearby falls. Pedal all you want, pal. Water always wins.

Simple usually works best, so Ralph decides to just use a plank to fling Sam away. I don’t know what physics would usually dictate would happen, but Sam is flung up rather than away. He pounds Ralph. The whistle blows saving Ralph as the night shifts are returning. Fred once more takes Sam’s place whilst George Wolf fills in for Ralph. He’s just as bad with names as Fred is, as he calls Ralph “Sam”. (So at least the names are present and counted for.) You know, I bet Ralph planned that last stunt knowing George would pay the punishment. That’ll teach him for not bothering to learn his name!

I kinda want to see a short based on Fred and George now. Do you think they’re friends on the side as well? (I’m purposefully not making a “Harry Potter” reference, but I guess you can if you want.)

Favorite Part: One of the selling points on the fake rock is “Be popular.” That is blatantly false advertising and they know it, but it works because I’ve bought twenty.

Personal Rating: 3

I Gopher you

“I think we should proceed together.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on January 30, 1954.

Mac and Tosh, living under farmland, are set to harvest THEIR vegetables. (I love that.) But before they can even take a pea, “vandals” grab everything. The gophers are polite but firm, and decide after their eyes are done merging together that they must find who’s responsible. Poking up topside, they see many Ajax trucks carting the produce off to driver’s know where. The rodents follow in hot pursuit.

This leads them to the Ajax canning factory. Acme just never got into the food biz. (Their food would probably just blow up anyway.) The two are actually fairly enamored with this place. The machines just dispense out food into containers. Handy, and somewhat dandy. Mac has to try that out, and hops onto the tomato juice belt. He fills his belly without the tedious chore of chewing, and gets bottle capped for his troubles.

Tosh pries it off and they continue to search for their dinner. The lip sync is bad. Tosh speaks before his mouth starts moving, and Mac gets his one word line in before the first mouth is finished. (I call it Dingophers Pictures.) Tosh climbs aboard the next belt in order to toss some whole tomatoes down to his partner, but isn’t fast enough to do it more than once before he is canned. Mac finds the storage room where they are stored, but only knows Tosh is in one of them. Better get started…

When he does locate the other, they agree to be more careful as they search. Although Mac is the one we follow into the next shot, he becomes Tosh. And you know what? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that was intentional. The crew knew the two were impossible to discern, so they probably meant to mess with us. In which case, it’s brilliant. I wish I had proof. Tac or Mosh or whichever one it is falls into a barrel of pickle brine. Even though it shouldn’t work that way, he ends up pickled as much as the cucumbers. Time to stumble!

Rated P.G. for pickled gopher ends up in the dehydration machine. He comes out as a dinner for six that only requires water to eat. Gopher 2 provides the stuff, and he finds the one that is definitely Mac now once again. Even better, they realize they can easily carry the food back home this way. Back at the ranch, they prepare to eat a meal. (Lip sync is off again.) Tosh goes to get the liquid, but doesn’t account for how much force it will spray with. Within seconds, mountains of produce erupt from the earth. What a healthy apocalypse!

Favorite Part: Mac asking why Tosh got himself stuck in the last can he checked. Tosh tells him it WAS the first, and he shouldn’t have done it in reverse.

Personal Rating: 3 (If I used decimal points though, I’d probably give it a 2.5 for the poor dubbing. I hope it was just a mistake on the copy I viewed.)

China Jones

“Me, dragon lady.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Tom Ray, George Grandpre, Ted Bonnicksen, and Warren Batchelder; 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 February 14, 1959.

Daffy is Irish, but they call him China Jones. A nod to the series “China Smith” but not a very clever name. How about China Schmidt? Or China Smithers? Or… I don’t know, China Shmith? Actually, that one wouldn’t work as Daffy is actually lisp free in this cartoon. As he finishes the meal he was eating, he cracks into his Chinese fortune “cakes”. There’s no fortune in it, and that really is the worst feeling in the world. They’re not called advice cookies! I mean, “cakes”.

It actually isn’t advice either. It’s a plea! A plea for help! Someone is being held prisoner in a bakery with a reward of 150 pounds. (Do tell. They must have been in there decades to think that joke is still clever.) But as the parody suggests, Daffy is a detective and should probably solve this case. All he needs is a hot tip, and those tend to be supplied at Limey  Louie’s tavern. But as he prepares to depart, he is approached by another famous detective, Charlie Chan, er, Chung. (See? This one makes sense.) And no squinty eyes/Fu Manchu mustache can hide my beloved Porky from my fanboy/stalker eyes. Man, do I want to wallpaper my room in his autograph.

Chung is here on some matter of money. He’s not really elaborating for the sake of a punchline, but a good detective like Jones can figure it out. The most obvious reason is the most likely. Chung is just trying to get himself a piece of the pound pie. Jones brushes him off so he can get to Louie’s. Now, Louie and Jones have a bit of a history. Jones is kinda, sorta the person who sent Louie to prison. And unbeknownst to Jones, Louie is already released and has set this whole prisoner thing up to get some delicious cold revenge. Donning a disguise, he awaits the P.I.

Louie introduces his self to Jones as the Mrs. and gives a sob demonstration of how the cops treated her husband, on Jones. But once that thrashing is over, “she” is willing to give Jones the tip he needs. Pick a card, any card, specifically the card being subtly pushed onto you. These are bad leads that just lead Jones to a couple of painful mishaps, but it doesn’t seem like he’s catching on until after the second attempt. Fun’s gonna have to be cut short Louie, go on and reveal yourself.

Revealing his true identity, and revealing the hoax, Louie is ready for a Peking duck dinner. Jones bravely runs into the backroom. He trips a trapdoor that leaves him dangling over a pit of Chinese alligators. Louie does Tweety’s “piddy” shtick, to feed his pets. (It is a pretty funny change up with the thick cockney accent.) Jones barely manages to escape this familiar situation, when Chung reappears. Can he help out? Well, I wouldn’t doubt Porky is capable, but he never said he was a detective at all. He’s a laundry man. And that money matter he wanted to discuss? Jones’s bill.

In the end, Louie gets away with assault and Jones is forced to work off his tab. Shouting for help, in mock Chinese, about his ironic punishment of being trapped in a Chinese laundromat. (This ending was cut during the 90’s. Probably a good call for impressionable minds. I mean, I definitely used mock Chinese myself as a kid. I really didn’t need more encouragement.)

Favorite Part: Jones, trying to “duck” out on his bill, quotes Confucius. Chung quotes right back, calmly pulling out a club as he does so. Bass. There’s no other word for him.

Personal Rating: I’m giving it a 1. It’s loaded with stereotyping that can not; should not be considered funny in today’s day and today’s age. If it doesn’t bother you as much, I believe you can consider it a 2.

Hare Trimmed

“I can see you through the key hole!”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8j11gb

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Arthur Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 20, 1953.

We started this fun themed month with a ghost story, then moved on to real life horror, and now I’ll continue this trend with a cartoon featuring costumes. Maybe next week I’ll discuss “The Cookie Carnival.” Wouldn’t that be a shake-up?

Sam takes note of the local news. Namely, there’s a widow that’s inherited 50 million big ones. And he can’t help but feel that anyone having just lost a loved one should immediately replace what’s missing. You know, he’s single. A suspicious Bugs can’t help but see what the little guy is up to, and finds Sam in the next scene with flowers and candy. He’s got marriage on his mind. Bugs might just need to intervene.

Said widow is Granny (that newspaper photo didn’t do her justice), who has so much cash, she literally sets some aside to burn. (Whoever her husband was, his death clearly didn’t affect her too much. In fact, how do we know this isn’t the first time she’s gotten in such a rewarding situation? I’m worried about you, Sam.) She answers her door to find Sam trying to woo her, and she lets him chase her. But she must put their fun on a brief hiatus as there’s yet another knock.

It’s Bugs dressed as the marquee of Queensberry… rouge, I think. Putting on his best Pepe Le Pew impression, he also gets to chase the flirty Granny around. Sam isn’t pleased and slaps Bugs with his glove. Bugs (and his disappearing/reappearing hat) returns the favor but he bothers to put a brick in his, first. Time for pistols at ten paces. Bugs, ever ten paces ahead, counts out as many steps between nine and ten as he needs to get Sam to walk out into the path of an incoming bus.

When Sam comes banging at the door again, it is answered by Bugs in Granny garb. And Sam refers  to “her” as “Emma.” Could this be Granny’s real name? If it isn’t, what is it with Sam and girls named Emma? Sam gets to chase again, but “Emma” ends things quickly with a piano to the face. It’s then that the real Emma (?) finds him and sets him in a chair while she fixes him some coffee. The other one reaches him first and does the ole ‘giving lumps when asking for lumps’ bit.

When Gremma returns, Sam kicks the coffee out of her hands sending her running for the gun that I’m guessing she’s already used before SOME WAY. Sam realizes that he may have just kicked away the easy life, and follows begging for forgiveness. He gets Bugs (still in disguise) to forgive him and he then suggests they elope, much to Sam’s glee. When they’re walking down the aisle, Bugs’s dress gets caught on a snag and tears off revealing his hairy legs. Leading to a great line from the priest: “Do you, Sam, take this woman… woman?”

That comment gets Sam to look over his bride once more and instantly get cold feet. He flees the wedding, leaving Bugs crying crocodile tears. (Who are all those people they invited anyway? I don’t recognize anybody but me.)

Favorite Part: The animation of Sam and later Bugs chasing Granny. I can’t explain it, but it slays me. And I wish I had an opportunity to chase someone like that without warranting a call for help.

Personal Rating: 4. Granny is probably at her best here. Fun to see her having so much fun.

His Bitter Half

“Cute like a sth-tomach pump!”

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8mb3g4

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 20, 1950.

While reading the want ads, (and having an errant ripple overlay his body) Daffy spots the kind of notification wild dreams are mad of: a single woman who is financially stable wants a man to tie it all together. Daffy is single AND  a male! Time for a quick courtship we don’t get to see, a wedding and honeymoon that is suggested, and the brand new happy couple arrives to their humble home. Here, Daffy tries to live the good life. A life of racing forms, lounge chairs, pipes and fezzes. The Mrs. has other ideas.

See, she is much larger and imposing than Daffy, and all that muscle says that he is the one going to be in charge of the housework. (The reason she has money is because she never bothered to hire a maid.) She just has to prove to Daffy that her threats to “slap his mouth clean off his face” aren’t hyperbole. And Daffy scrubs, and sweeps, and launders his life away. (Who’s the one wearing all those socks?) But once he’s got all those tasks accomplished, he meets the the part of the household the ad failed to mention: the step-duckling.

Little Wentworth is one one of those obnoxious kids who thinks fun can’t be had without noise. You know, the kind that nature intended to be eaten. He wants to play “Indians” but Daffy refuses. It’s just not P.C. The wives feet convince him to give it a go, and he spends the next shot on the run from Wentworth’s cleaver. (And if you’re too busy laughing, you might miss Martha’s Jedi powers at work. Those bonbons just leap into her wings!) Daffy’s next assignment: well, there’s a carnival at the park, and Wentworth would really like to attend. Daffy says no, but money talks…

I don’t know what kind of games they were playing, but they kicked tailfeather! Balloons, canes, kewpie dolls and… boxes of popcorn I think. But he drops it all in fright at the sight of Wentworth holding a rifle. Sure, it’s a shooting gallery, but it’s a shooting gallery in the days of your grandparents. Those are probably real lead pellets they’re firing. Daffy aims (rifle pun!) to show the kid how it’s done. But Wentworth is either upset he’s not the one firing the weapon, or I dunno, maybe he just doesn’t like Daffy, so he slingshots the carny every time Daffy takes a shot. The carny threatens bodily harm should Daffy keep hitting him.

Daffy figures out the ruse, and only PRETENDS to shoot. Wentworth doesn’t though, and despite Daffy gleefully smiling at the carny, exactly what you think would happen, happens. Next time, fill the fair folk in on the details of your scheme. Beaten and dazed, Wentworth has to bring Daffy home, where Martha just assumes her new hubby has been hitting the sauce. Wentworth knows that good children don’t correct their parents, so he doesn’t.

The next day, Daffy is roped into helping Wenty light fireworks for the fourth. He gets caught in an explosion and knows who’s to blame: that stick of TNT that has webbed feet! He grabs one that is the same size, and gives it a good spanking before seeing the one he wanted run past. After another explosion, he finds a new task at hand: take Wentworth to the zoo. Daffy’s had it, and refuses, even though his soon to be ex-wife is threatening to yank every feather off his body. Daffy still take his leave, and I’d say he won in the end. He clearly got away with some feathers still intact.

Favorite Part: The little smiling glance Wentworth shoots at us while Daffy is refusing to play *throat clear* “Indians”. He’s known his mother longer than Daffy has, and he knows what she’s capable of.

Personal Rating: 3. Ordinarily, I’d give it a four, but Freleng must’ve really loved this plot line, as he’d use it again in the future. And it was a marked improvement. See you then!

Boston Quackie

“Come on out before I let daylight through ya!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Grandpre, Ted Bonnickson, Keith Darling, and Russ Dyson; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Majors; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 22, 1957.

The titular “Boston Quackie” is one of those detective types who is a “friend to those who need no friends” and an “enemy to those who have no enemies.” It’s the second time of three that McKimson would have Daffy play detective, but while the first short was pretty timeless by not parodying anything specifically, this one’s title alone will probably send a few later generations to the Google search bar. (Assuming the younger generations are willing to give these old films a chance and realize that they hold up beyond remarkably well. I’m doing what I can.)

At the moment, Quackie is having a Parisian vacation with his girlfriend, Mary, and a dog that can’t keep his mouth from disappearing. (He’s just the chaperone.) But work will have to come before pleasure as Quackie’s boss, Inspector Faraway, shows up. Don’t know why Mary isn’t pleased to see him show up. He’s the kind of boss I’d invite to go on trips with me. (Of course I still need a girlfriend. Why do you ask?) Quackie’s got a job to do: deliver a package to the consulate in West Slobovia. (And do say “Hi” to Judd Fudd if you see him. Heard he was looking for lepus in those parts.)

Sounds so simple that even a duckling could do it. But spies will be hunting that parcel and- actually, one’s got it already. Time to give chase! Target: male with green hat. I’ve already got a police sketch drawn up.

Careful! I hear he’s a merry man!

Quackie follows the thief to the train station, and onto the most threatening locomotive this side of “Cuphead”. If the shrieking whistle doesn’t make your pants wet themselves, the endless eyes watching from the compartments will make it so. But that’s why Quackie is a detective, and I’m an amateur animation historian. He gets on board. (Watch out for that blue guy! I bet he’s a ghoul.)

There’s the thief! He’s just ducked into one of the cabins. Quackie drills a hole and points his gun. Give up the case or make out with the bullets! Your choice! And yet, despite those very reasonable choices, he chooses to pun the gun inside and shoot Quackie! Cheater! Oh wait. We got the wrong guy. This one is clearly wearing a top hat. And it’s not green.  A customary tip of the hat and this guy is one his w-GREEN!  I saw green on that head! Get him, Quackie! Be a hero!

Well, we can’t be quite sure who this mysterious man is, but he is willing to have Quackie join him for a drink. Rookie error! Reveal that hat, Quackie! And… he’s got a number of any hat BUT green under that top one. Well played, Barty Clubbin. Drink time! And I wanna break character to say how on top of things Daffy is during this scene. Shoots the guy poisoning his tea without looking and dumping the deadly drink into the nearest spittoon. (Even makes Barty flinch.) Still, he manages to subdue the detective with the ‘how many lumps do you want’ gag.

Now we’re sure this is our man! Chase time! It’s brief, but Quackie is outfoxed, stuffed in a mail sack, and left hanging on the nearest mail hook. Barty could get away right here, but he didn’t see the railway crossing, and is knocked off himself. Just in time for Farway and Mary to arrive, the latter knocking the thief out for good with her anvil-laden purse. Time to get that package where it belongs. Upon delivery, Quackie is aghast to find that he has just participated in an instant coffee run. But the consulate reveals it’s better than that: it’s a jar of instant woman! (Err… was that water he added?) He needed an escort, and Quackie delivered. The duck figures their could be a market for this stuff, but I’m not sure humanity is ready for it. I still remember the instant hole fiasco.

Favorite Part: When Quackie is checking the compartments, he finds a man about to be stabbed. It’s also said victim who pulls the privacy shade down.

Personal Rating: 3. I’ve never really heard of “Boston Blackie” before today, but I managed to make it through without scratching my head.

Pappy’s Puppy

“It’s a boy.”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 17, 1955.

When a stork and an animal hospital visit each other very, very much, a baby will soon be born. (A baby ‘what’ all depends on you, the parent.) Butch J. is a bulldog, and so is his soon to be offspring. The blessed moment occurs, and the result is the same answer as this arithmetic formula: Q+T. Pappy takes his puppy home and provides the most important lessons a child can know. The kind you won’t learn in obedience schools. You know, looking tough and killing cats.

Kid is a quick learner. But there’s another kind of learning that he must teach himself: the kind you won’t learn in father’s school. You know, playing. Builds strong muscles, and teaches you survival skills. (I’ve achieved similar feats from playing “Mario 3” my whole life.) During his play, the little tyke (believe me, I’m tempted to make a “Tom and Jerry” reference) runs into his first real cat: Sylvester. Little fella is scared, but remembers his training and comes back to maim, as all good puppies should.

Since he’s small, his attacks are annoying at best. He can gnaw Sylvester’s fur off, but the short is taking place in summer. It’s actually pretty positive, if somewhat embarrassing. Sylvester knows how to deal with puppy pests: stick them under a can. Next time, maybe he’ll remember to only do this when dad isn’t looking, or he’ll replace his son with you. (Oh, don’t think your size will save you. He’ll make you fit.) Sylvester is either going to have to learn to deal with the tiny terror, or get rid of him sneakily.

But first, how about a game of fetch? The teeny dumpling can cease his endless barking for a quick round. He’s a natural! So, Sylvester ups the challenge. He throws the stick into traffic and a-dog-able runs after. (Hmm… you’re right, that is too forced. Guess we’ll just have to call him “Tick”.) You may think Tick is doomed, but funny thing about humans, some of them still possess humanity. And you better be d*mn sure that any human carrying that would rather crash than hit a sweet, teeny puppy.

He’s all right. But dad has had more cheerful days. But it’s nothing a little game of “fetch” couldn’t cure. Won’t you play, Sylvester? Toobadyoudon’thaveachoice! As expected, a cat isn’t worth slowing down for, and the poor schmuck is barely able to dodge death. He gets back okay, forgetting that the majority of street accidents actually occur on the sidewalk. (Darn those scooters.) But the death idea wasn’t that bad. So, give it another go. I’m sure Butch will eventually leave the premises to go share his happy news with Mrs. Butch. (Where is she, anyway?)

Ultimately, Sylvester rigs a bone up to a gun. When the kid pulls on the string… BLAMMO! Except, Mrs. Butch is worth putting off, and father knows best about what to put in front of guns: not puppies. Sylvester is forced to take the shots while Tick pulls repeatedly on the bone. It’s then that a knock on the gate catches the putty tat’s ears. It’s Stupor Stork! Clearly just starting his route for the day, as he’s still sober. Someone must’ve remembered that dogs have litters, so he’s here to deliver the rest of Butch’s nonuplets. Welcome to living hell, Sylvester!

However, Sylvester still has a gun, and while Butch will flay him if any of his nine angels become angels, Stupor is fair game. Cat chases bird, and dogs chase cat. Just like nature intended.

Favorite Part: The look of absolute glee on Tick’s face when his father is demonstrating cat killing techniques. It’s the same look that says “That looks like fun!” and “I’ve found my purpose!”

Personal Rating: 3, unless you’re like me and think Tick is precious and bumps it up to a four. I’d understand if you don’t feel the same way. He sounds like a wheezing chew toy.

People are Bunny

“Have a handful o’ blanks.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Grandpre; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on December 19, 1959.

Those born in 2010 C.E. and beyond might just never be able to understand the joy of actually watching T.V. None of this streaming crap; I’m talking about turning on the tube, flipping through the channels to find something, and either getting elated at your lucky find, or having to turn things off and read a book or play with your dog instead. As usual, we’ve sacrificed experience for ease, and while I can’t say Netflix doesn’t have a good many perks, it just isn’t the same.

But imagine how people like me must have felt in the fifties, when television was ruining the enjoyable trips to the motion pictures that used to be an occasional treat on par with visiting amusement parks and zoos. All of this tirade, just so I can point out that our short opens with Daffy watching television. Good thing his home has an island to keep the set functioning. The current show is “The Sportsman’s Hour” which is hosting a contest: be the first one to bring back a rabbit and win $1,000.00. That’s not too shabby. Say, doesn’t Daffy know a rabbit?

Daffy isn’t stupid enough to just outright tell Bugs to go with him to the studio, so he tries to sell the idea by offering him his extra ticket to said location. Bugs isn’t stupid enough to follow Daffy, instead claiming to be too busy for any fun today. Daffy makes him change his mind by taking a gun off the wall, and marching him to the studio. (Why does Bugs have two of those?) Upon reaching the place, Daffy sees exactly what kind of prizes this station can afford to give away. How’d that guy get the key to Fort Knox? And what’s his address? I’m suddenly in the mood to make a new best friend for one month!

Too bad Daffy is already busy trying to win a prize, or he could probably try for another. Wait, why give the benefit of doubt with that duck’s greed? He marches Bugs into a phone booth for safekeeping, and rushes to get himself a grab of the goodies. (Good thing nobody else was watching “The Sportsman’s Hour” or he’d probably get beaten to the punch.) While Bugs is winning call-in sweepstakes in the booth, Daffy has managed to become the contestant on “People are Phony”. (Not ‘Bunny’?) With a title like that, you’ll have enough material to reach “Sesame Street” levels of seasons.

The host, Art Lamplighter, (heh) tells us what Daffy is doing: going out into the world and helping an elderly women cross the street in 20 minutes. She isn’t Granny, but seeing as how this is a post-1950 world, you’d be forgiven for just assuming any elderly woman in the Looneverse was Granny. She also doesn’t want help crossing the street and beats Daffy the whole way. On the return trip, Daffy is run over, so Art declares him lost. (You know, when I was a contestant on this show, I helped an old lady cross a street and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.)

Daffy goes back to collect Bugs, who is still counting his winnings. He lures Daffy into the booth by saying the guy who gave him the dough might call back, and then imitating a ringing phone. (Woah! I didn’t know Bugs could make his arm disappear!) Daffy takes the bait, and the TNT receiver Bugs left for him. Bugs is now loose in the studio, and can disguise himself as an usher to send Daffy into the wrong rooms, or as a director on “Costume Show.” (Wow. That has ‘second season’ written all over it.) He gets Daffy in and in costume too: a rabbit costume.

Following stage instructions, Daffy walks out on the set of “The Sportsman’s Hour” with Bugs dressed as in Elmer attire. (I know Bugs is slightly taller than Daffy, but did the duck shrink in that suit?)Bugs wins another prize. Daffy reveals that he is actually a duck, and that suits the host just fine as the shortest rabbit season on record has just ended, and the shortest duck season has just begun. Fire away!

Favorite Part: Daffy inviting Bugs on the outing and the exasperated “Oh, boy!” and eye roll Bugs lets out. He knows him too well.

Personal Rating: 3

Dog Collared

“Suh-Suh-Sunday driver!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Charles McKimson; Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, and J.C. Melendez; 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 December 2, 1951.

Here we are. Porky’s final solo work. Of course, it makes me sad, but I can’t deny that his best work was as the second fiddle. And it does give him more of a personality than ‘everyman’. Too bad that Bugs has now taken that role, leaving Porky to usually play the butt of the joke nowadays. (Wasn’t that Sylvester’s job?)

Porky learns it is “Be kind to animals” week. (Which is what I call the first 52 weeks of every year.) Deciding it’s a swell idea, he sets out to praise any beast he may come across in this picture. (I like how the cat he praises thinks he’s insane for being nice to a cat.) This almost immediately proves to not be the best idea, as he instantly earns the affections of a very large, very cute dog. He instantly falls for his new favorite pig, and returns the love x-fold.

Porky changes tune and starts insulting the dog. The poor dear cries and Porky rightfully feels awful. He can easily take back his words, but the dog’s love is part of the package. Porky throws a plank to distract the beast, before making a break for his car. The dog pops out of the back seat and gives Porky the hugs and kisses that he probably receives from random women who fawn over him on a daily basis. But since Porky can’t see during this, they crash.

Porky next tries to lose the beast by taking many different public transport systems, disguising himself as he gets off each one. Brilliant! I’m sure the people he’s stealing clothes from are totally on board for this! (And his Hiawatha outfit is cute.) When he reaches his place in his semi-racially insensitive Chines outfit, he finds the dog copying him. (I’m not too comfortable with the hound pulling his eyes into squints. Good thing he doesn’t know any better, eh animators?)

Luckily, a pig’s home is his castle, and those were built to keep others out. Porky is safe, if a little disturbed that the puppy is still watching him from the outside. Even appearing on his T.V.! Because, get this, he’s actually a lost dog with a reward of $5,000.00! (Porky: “A thousand b-be-b-be-bucks?” T.V.: “No, five thousand b-be-b-be-bucks!”) Of course, once Porky gets outside, the beast is nowhere in sight. (But he does find one of Pluto’s quint-pup-lets. Neat!) The dog he is looking for is doing what I just figure anyone would do upon being rejected by Porky: ending it all.

Don’t worry! Once he sees Porky calling for him, he backs out of what is a always a very, very, bad idea and un-jumps off the bridge. Things are really starting to turn around for everyone, as Porky happily leads the dog back to his original home. But once they’re at the door, the dog slips around the corner and leaves a toy dog for Porky to return instead. (I can’t blame him.) When a butler answers the door, he is decent enough to let Porky keep his dignity and doesn’t point out the phony, just instead saying it’s not the dog they’re looking for, as theirs’ could talk.

Porky can’t believe a dog could ever talk like a pig, and admits that if it were true, he’d keep the creature himself. The dog reveals the truth, and is over the moon and stars to find that he is now officially Porky’s pooch. Would that I could be so lucky. (Oh, and I was calling the dog “Taco” the whole time. I just wasn’t letting you know so as not to spoil the surprise.)

Favorite Part: Porky driving in his car, signaling a right turn.

And turning to the left! Completely missing the pile-up he’s just caused.

Personal Rating: I’ll give it a 3, but a 4 for dog lovers. (Which pretty much means it’s a four.)