” Le ha-ha.”
Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philp DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 11, 1953.
Before we begin, a couple notes.
1. I met the nicest woman at work the other day. She really knew her Looney Tunes. We spent a few fun minutes quoting them. There was only one thing that kept me from asking her out. (It wasn’t because she was married. We could have worked around that) No, it was because she was at least 40 years too old for me. Such a shame.
2. I ask you to raise a glass in honor of Richard Williams. Possibly the greatest animator that will ever grace this planet. His work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is right up there as one of the pinnacles of human creation. He will be missed and never replaced. (And he shouldn’t)
Thank you for your time. Let’s get the 500th post underway.
Back in 1900, when the world still had world fairs, (man, it would be fun to attend one of those. It’s too bad we don’t really have much good as a species to show off, anymore) one was held in France. Even by this time, zoos were nothing new, but a chance to see exotic animals is always a sure way to draw in the crowds. (And my lord, the cages here are horrifying. The giraffe is poking out of the top. The elephant is pressed against the bars! Aushwitz isn’t being topped here, but things are close.)
Such horrible living conditions, its no surprise to me that one of the animals has made their escape. It’s a wildcat, and although that’s not the worst case scenario of animal escape, the crowds go into panic. (Probably smart. Fear, while often an overreaction, does keep us alive) Immediately, a zoo keeper and dog begin the hunt. Poor creature. She means no harm, but a lifetime of imprisonment is hers unless she can find someway to avoid detection. What ho! Could those cans of black and white paint be the answer?
One coating later, the answer is yes. Decked out in the years finest skunk model, she has the hunters fleeing. This is usually the time in Warner Bros. shows that Pepe shows up. Right on cue. He’s quite happy to find not only find a female, but a LARGE female! (Bigger is better!) He makes his move, but seeing as how this time his target is a much more dangerous animal, he gets a bit mauled. (Now, obviously, this is meant to show sadomasochism as a good thing. That’s why Pepe is so into it. Why would we be expected to just think its funny? Cartoons ALWAYS have deeper meanings to them)
The chase begins. You know the classic formula, chasee hides and chaser is already there. Like in a fortune telling booth. The feline is told she is to meet the male of her dreams. (Nightmares are technically dreams) When she flees, she finds this man. (He looks an awful lot like that swami. Could they be… brothers?) There’s a good number more places to hide inside. Wax statues, (the cat hides as Marie Antoinette’s stole, Pepe as Daniel Boone’s cap) a suit of armor, (the cat’s mauls rearrange it into something you’d see in a modern art museum) and a replica of Madame Pompadour’s carriage. (Where Pepe asks himself if this is all worth it. And answers himself that it is worth it.)
The chase continues, but it seems that the cat is starting to wear out. No longer is she fleeing as fast as she once was. Pepe is using this to his advantage, taking his sweet time to catch up. There’s clearly only one option: escape via hot air balloon. She leaps in, cuts the ropes, and says farewell to dwelling on terra firma. Sure, it will quite the adjustment. (She can no longer stalk prey, but the sky is full of birds and water particles, so she won’t want for sustenance) In fact, the only downside I can see is the lack of company. Good thing Pepe also made it aboard. She can maul him all she wants, he’s not going anywhere.
Favorite part: the fortune telling bit. Especially when Pepe calls her existence drab. How come when I tell girls they have the same problem, I get hit?