Tree for Two

“I gotta job to do!”

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 Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 4, 1952.

Best be on the look out ladies and gents, the newspapers say that a panther is on the loose. I’m not a newspaper and I say that a leopard is on the loose. Panther is a term that people who can’t be bothered to read up on big cats use. Regardless of what you call it, this is a potentially dangerous animal that is roaming the streets and you’d be smart to use caution out of doors. The poor thing is lost, confused and scared and when animals feel that: they maul.

Enter Spike and Chester. (The latter making his debut here.) Chester is the hero-worshipper type and his hero is Spike. He suggests many typical dog activities and each suggestion gets him a negative answer and smack across the face. Chester saves his best suggestion for last: beating up on a cat. (I love how he still braces himself for another smack. Don’t let yourself be a hero-worshipper. Even the decent people will get sick of you.) Finally, something that piques Spike’s interest. Chester leads him to where a cat is located.

Their cat of choice is Sylvester. He was just minding his own business, singing and enjoying life. (He’s good at it too! If “Back Alley Oproar” didn’t convince you of his singing prowess, watch it again. It’s a wonderful short.) And that gets him hounded by hounds. He takes refuge in an alley with the two right outside. Spike keeps Chester out while he partakes in all the fun. Once inside he pulls on his prey’s tail. Only not really. That is a leopard tail, and Sylvester is hiding in a trash can. (Confused, but not stupid enough to point out there’s a mix-up.) That tail isn’t coming undone, so Spike follows it. He leaves quite shaken up. (On the bright side, it doesn’t look like he was harmed too physically.)

Chester takes a peek to see this “big” cat, but only sees Sylvester checking if the coast is clear. Chester offers to take care of the cat, but Spike’s pride ain’t having it. He goes back in to really give it to ‘im. The same thing happens, but Spike definitely took a beating this time. Chester still can’t accept this. (It constantly causes his whiskers to disappear in shock.) Chester shows that even a little dog like himself can pound the puss and fling him back to whence he came, so surely a bigger, stronger, (prick-ier) dog can do it. Spike’s resolve is restored.

Spike enters the alley again, and without a hiding place, Sylvester can’t do much more but claw blindly at the air. Amused, Spike lets him give his best shot. With both of them having their eyes obscured, neither one sees the leopard clawing the mutt to bits for daring to pick on his distant relative. Spike is horrified, and flees. Sylvester can’t believe what he’s seeing, but he seems to be seeing it. There must be more power in his paw than he ever imagined. Now feeling strong as a leopard, he comes after the two dogs himself. They’re going to get the claw and leave him alone from now on!

Chester isn’t convinced and once more beats and flings. (Stan Freberg, you are knocking it out of the park with this performance. Really wish you got to star alongside Mel more often.) So in the end, Chester is considered the tough one and he gets to bully and smack the hero-worshipping Spike, the leopard was eventually found and returned to the zoo which was given a good amount of fund to renovate the place and make it so the animals were happy in captivity, and though Sylvester got beaten up, he was known in all the cat circles as the one who turned the feared Spike into a groveling kiss-ass.

Favorite Part: The smile on Chester’s face when Spike tells him he can go get himself killed. It’s the same look we’ve all had when someone allowed us to do something dangerous, and we were about to prove them wrong. (Though not everyone of us came out like Chester…)

Personal Rating: 3. But even if it’s successor got the same score, this one is better. I find the ending makes a lot more sense with everyone still unclear about what really went down. Makes Chester’s promotion make more sense.

 

Leghorn Swoggled

“Kid don’t stop talkin’ so much; he’ll get his tongue sunburned.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Eugene Poddany; Orchestration by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 28, 1951.

A total eclipse? Free of charge? Doesn’t sound like the thing Foghorn would be interested in, but he’s excited. He puts his head through the hole in the fence to see, and Barnyard slams a pumpkin on his head. He retaliates by sticking a boxing glove in a camera, and socking the hound. (And everything freezes for at least one second. Intentional?) The usual tricks and pranks are interrupted by Henery playing cowboy in order to get a chicken today. He lassos Foggy good, but the rooster sends him on his way saying the kid is too small for hunting.

Henery is sad. Even young predators have to eat don’t they? Barnyard lends a sympathetic ear and offers a deal: one bone and he’ll help him get a chicken. (Guy must be starving today. He’s normally ready to get Henery Foghorn for free.) Henery takes the deal, but as a non-vulturis bird he doesn’t know how to find a bone. He asks a familiar looking cat for help. Seeing as how this guy has appeared in at least four different pictures, I guess it’s time for me to give him a name: Fred E. Cat.

Fred knows where bones are located as all cats do, but he’s not talking until he gets a fish. (Typical cat. Always wanting something for the most trivial task.) Now, where would Henery get a fish? He’s not an osprey or eagle! The nearby mouse knows and demands cheese for the info. But unlike the other two, he actually has the decency to tell Henery where that’s located. (Good thing too. It’d be kinda awkward if Henery met a goat who’d say where the stuff is located in exchange for some food.)

I take back what I said. The mouse was clearly trying to get a potential future predator dead, seeing as how the cheese he wants is on a mousetrap. Surprisingly, Foggy stops the little guy from getting seriously hurt by trying to show how to get the goods without the pain. He fails, but Henery gets the cheese regardless. Foghorn doesn’t really care what the kid wants with the dairy, as he’s readying his next prank: building a train set that will deliver a pie to the dawg’s face. (Is it just me? It looks like Foggy should be singing as he lays the tracks. Or is that just the goofiest smile he’s ever worn?)

Weirdly enough, the mouse tells Henery where to get fish as promised, but Henery is still holding onto the cheese. He really strolled up the rodent and said: “Here’s your cheese, give me my end of the bargain! And now it’s still mine until your tip pays off.”? (Think of how many awesome deleted scenes we’ll never get a glimpse of.) Foghorn once more tries to show how it’s done and is dragged into the water. (And somehow got the fish stuck in his crop. He still gives it to Henery.)

Henery does it again! He knows where to dig for a bone, but still has the fish! What a joik! Well, he’s doing the digging right, but his shovel is adorably small. Foghorn comes to dig for him with real tools, but Henery leaves once a single bone is unearthed. Then Henery finally gives the other animals their orders. Foghorn has witnessed it, and asks why he didn’t get a present. Demanding his due, he fails to notice Barnyard about to clobber him with the bone. Once properly knocked out, Henery takes the rooster away on the toy train. Hard work and good deeds pay off in the grand scheme of things.

Favorite Part: When Foghorn is giving fishing tips. The disgusted grimace Henery gives us is just wonderful.

Personal Rating: Foggy has some great lines here, but it feels like two different cartoons got spliced together and the misjoint is felt. It’s lucky to get a 3.

Hare-less Wolf

“Heywhat’salltheexcitement?”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Art Davis and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Boris Gorelick; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc (Uncredited: June Foray); Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 1, 1958.

Charles M. Wolf enjoys his life. Most wolves have to worry about hunting versus starving. Getting shot at by humans. Pounded by sheepdogs. Not Charles. He can sit on his tail and watch all the television he wants. Well, that’s the dream, anyway. The woman of the cave isn’t about to let lazy wolves lie, and tells him to go catch a rabbit for supper, as there’s no other food in the cave. (They’ve already eaten all the bats and olms.) Frightened, Charles takes his gun and his leave.

Bugs asks the wolf what he’s doing. And… Charles has no idea. Seems constant television is actually detrimental to to the brain, and like all lessons in life, Charles has learned it too late. Bugs is able to take a guess that since he has a gun, he must be hunting and Charles remembers that he is! … But what was he hunting? (Wonder if Charles is related to this guy. Wonder why Friz likes forgetful lupines so much.) He muses over a few choices, before Bugs guesses the correct one. Rabbit? That’s the ticket. And give Charles his due. Once he remembers, he takes shots at Bugs. Too bad he misses.

While chasing the prey, Bugs stops and asks what he’s chasing. Now that’s a good question! And while Charles has good answers, none of them are right. Bugs answers for him again, then trips him. Safe in his hole, Bugs flat out hands Charles a grenade, complete with instructions. He follows them, but does each step as he goes. I love how worried he grows as he reads that he has had ten seconds to throw the explosive, and they’re about spent. (Although, I timed him. He clearly had 24.)

Then there’s a gag that seems out of place. Charles just following a lit fuse to an explosive. Shouldn’t he have forgotten what he’s chasing again, and Bugs would tell him it was that? And he’d be all, “That doesn’t sound right.” But Bugs would tell him it’s what he was chasing, and the poor guy would follow the trap. He doesn’t even say something like “What’s this?” It just seems out of character. He’s forgetful sure, but I don’t think anyone’s attention span could be deterred that easil-I’m bored of typing today. I’m taking off early.

Fine. But I get next week off!

Bugs constructs a phony door on a piece of wood dangling off a cliff. And reminds Charles that he’s going to break it down, should it remain closed. (See? That’s how Charles should get started on asinine tasks.) He breaks it down, and falls down, too. Angered, he runs all the way back up to Bugs. Bugs asks him what he wants. Charles doesn’t know. It’s one of those questions we’ve all got to ask ourselves, and now is his time.

Come nightfall, he’s still at it. Working his way through every species of the animal kingdom. There’s only a couple million. He’ll be done in a few weeks. (Unless he starts thinking of all the extinct ones. Then he’s doomed to die out here.)

Favorite Part: After Bugs asks Charles what he is doing the second time, the smug smile he has on his face. It says “I’m a prick, but I do have fun.”

Personal Rating: 1? No, that’s not right. 2? No, not a two. 87,000,000,000? Nah. That can’t be right. …

Oh yeah! A 3! Yeah!

… Now what was I rating again?

Feather Bluster

“… I prefer, I say, I prefers to dish it out.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Tom Ray, George Grandpre, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bill Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn and Carl Stalling.

I knew it! I frigging knew it! Foghorn and the Dawg were really friends deep down! See? They’re they are, clearly in their 70’s (in respective dog and chicken years) and playing a friendly game of checkers. The horseplay of yesteryear is carried on through the younger generation, as Foggy’s grandson paddles the Barnyard’s grandson, runs to the limit of his rope, and tells him to shaddup. Wait… that puppy looks famil- OH MY BOB! THIS! He’s the answer to the question I asked nine years ago! I finally figured it out!*

Foghorn can’t believe how today’s youth behaves, but B.D. reminds him that they used to get up to the same kind of pranks. Flashback time! Wait, is this another clip show short? COCKDOG IT! At least we’ve got a fairly interesting framing device to tie it all together. And yes, I understand why these kind of shorts were necessary in a pre-Bugs Bunny Show era. But they really don’t give me too much to talk about that I wouldn’t rather say later or earlier.

They reminisce about “Henhouse Henery,” and the time Foghorn painted a fence and carved a bat. Next, they remember that time that was high and flighty. When Daffy sold Foghorn a trick bone? Well, these two remember it differently. In their version, Foghorn just got the bone in the mail. Why would you want to scrub your mind of Daffy Duck? He hadn’t yet embarrassed himself chasing Speedy yet. And then a pipe trap from “All Fowled Up”. But this is just small stuff, as Foghorn remembers what he considers his coup de grace. Another memory from “Henhouse Henery” that ended with Barnyard having a green tongue.

Unfortunately, since the window was open this whole time, the kids heard it all. (How old is chibi-Foghorn exactly? He’s got adult plumage and a comb.) Seems you can’t beat the old classics, but you can reinvent them. Foghorn the third starts a game of doctor to get Barnyard Dawg the third to open his mouth. Thus giving him access to his canvas. (Where are their biological parents, anyway? KFC and Petco?)

Favorite Part: Foghorn didn’t need any encouraging from Barnyard to start scolding his grandson for teasing the puppy. Shows how much he’s matured since 1946.

Personal Rating: 2. I’m sorry, but the only clip show I’ve seen that ever had a chance of being more than just a lazy cop out wouldn’t happen until “Phineas and Ferb” took a crack at it 55 years later.

*Actually, I figured this out about four months after I wrote that post. I decided to never say so because I know how people like to act. We feel a need to inform and correct anyone/anything that can be found online to make ourselves feel a little less insecure about our own mistakes. Who am I to try and spoil that for you?

Hare Brush

“Brudder, you got yourself a preposition.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Art Davis and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 7, 1955.

Observe the E.J. building. HQ of Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire. (I hear he has a mansion AND a yacht.) He owns plenty of businesses too, so he’s done very well for himself. But owning all this takes a lot of pressure, and sooner or later, something’s gotta crack. Sadly, it was Elmer’s brain. Now, he thinks he’s a rabbit! He hops on all fours, eats carrots, and even makes the same noises rabbits make: Ehwhatsupdoc. This has his board members worried, and they decide he needs professional help.

They send him to the Fruit Cake Sanitorium. (It’s the best they can do with the lousy pay Elmer’s been giving them lately.) Now, I don’t know anywhere near close enough to be considered a psychiatrist, but is indulging in the patient’s delusions really how you want to start? Look at the guy. He’s even dressed like a rabbit now. (And if you know anything about what rabbit’s eat, you should be very concerned right about… now.) It’s then when Elmer notices another rabbit outside the window. He easily lures his fellow lagomorph inside with the promise of bushels of carrots.

Said rabbit is Bugs who is fooled into thinking Elmer J. Fudd the millionaire is one of his own. Since the window is now open, E.J.F. the M. bolts. (Probably to check on his mansion and his yacht.) Bugs finds the place comfortable enough. Comfy bed, plenty of carrots, a rabbit could really learn to love it here. Now the doctor enters. Getting a look at Bugs has him claiming this as the most severe case yet. (So tell me, “doc” whose name is on that M.D. in your office? And why do your pants keep changing color?) He assures “Mr. Fudd” that while there is nothing wrong with being a rabbit, being a millionaire is even better. (You’ll get a mansion and a yacht!)

Thanks to modern medicine and verbal conditioning, Bugs leaves the place as Elmer J. Fudd, Millionaire. He owns a… yeah I’m sick of that too. I apologize. It’s Wednesday, and that is the day when Mr. Fudd goes hunting. Bugsmer is all for it, and in the woods he finds the perfect target: Fudds Bunny. Let the chase begin! Bugsmer thinks he’s got the rabbit cornered in a cave, but it’s really a bear. Running for his life, Fudds tells him to play dead. Always works. Too well, for the bear decides to dig him a grave. And since they’re atop a cliff, down the hunter goes.

When hunter finally finds hunted, victory is most definitely assured. That’s when a man taps Bugsmer’s shoulder asking if he is Elmer J. and you know the rest. The hunter affirms that he is, and the man reveals himself to be here to take him away. Seems even millionaires aren’t immune to the certainties of life, and Mr. Fudd has a good number of back taxes to his name. Bugsmer is dragged away, leaving Fudds to his freedom in the forest. Which leads us to the biggest question: was this Elmer’s plan from the beginning? (Smart AND rich. You don’t see that combo much anymore.)

Favorite Part: When Elmer first sees Bugs outside and get his attention. Bugs asks if Elmer is trying to get his attention and when Elmer confirms, Bugs gives him the (hare) brush off. That’s probably the most human thing he’s ever done!

Personal Rating: 4. Wow, has Freleng and his unit improved since last time! Far more interesting story, plenty of time for Blanc and Bryan to imitate each other’s characters, a brilliant way to shake up the standard plot; you’d find it hard to believe that Friz ever disliked Elmer.

Corn Plastered

“Nice instrument, Junior.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, 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 March 3, 1951.

You watch this, and you can’t help but wonder: did McKimson want to create a new series of cartoons here? One starring an oreny old farmer Al Falfa wannabe and the illegitimate cousin of Heckle and Jeckle? Calling it the Crow and the Coot? Can’t really tell anymore, but we’re here and we can see this short, so let’s watch shall we? Maybe there IS potential here.

A crow (that I’m calling Cornfed) has a habit of eating the cornfields dry. He clearly hasthe brains crows possess, as he isn’t fooled at all by a scarecrow. He has a propeller beanie and a dickie as a wardrobe. The hat makes sense. As he has arms instead of wings, he needs something to fly with. The dickie… *shrug* a pun on dickey bird? What’s really interesting is his voice. He’s not voice by Mel! If IMDB is to be believed, the crow is voiced by a one Pat Patrick. To me, he sounds like Francis X. Bushlad. Could there be a connection?

As is typical of these kind of cartoons, the farmer (Who I’m calling Pop and thinking might be a relation to the Martin brothers,) has no chance in killing the corvid. Even when he has the bird cornered in a tree stump, he still manages to miss. I do love Cornfed’s reply: “You missed me. You didn’t exactly miss me either, but I wasn’t exactly standing where you shot.” (I’ll have to remember that one for if I ever play “Godeneye” again.) Since he missed, Pop chases him with an axe and begins chopping the tree Cornfed is hiding in. In a nice subversion of expectations, the tree doesn’t immediately fall on Pop, but threatens to crush his car. And succeeds despite his best efforts.

Pop comes home. There, he and Cornfed have a very intellectual and philosophical discussion about the refrigerator: whether or not the light stays on. Cornfed is a believer, Pop is not. The crow tells him there IS a way that they can find out, and Pop is willing to do that. He shuts himself in the fridge, and is soon begging to be let out. Cornfed does no such thing, but don’t worry, Pop gets himself out. (And is pleased that he proved his theory correct. This is how scientists are born.)

Maybe booby trapping some corn will wor- it won’t work. Pop tucks some TNT into a cob, but Cornfed sticks it back in his pocket. And making a pre-PVZ cob cannon fares even worse. (And keeps Pop’s mouth from moving.)The crow pulls on the cob, yes, but he pulls hard enough that the cannon is redirected at Pop when it is fired. And I do love his face. Looking at it, you can immediately read his thoughts: “Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I win? Is it even worth living anymore?” That last question gets answered after he lands in a boat, and angrily throws the cannonball down, making a hole.

He could swim, but he stubbornly chooses to drown. Stating that wherever he is going, there won’t be crows there. (Please don’t be heaven! I couldn’t face paradise without one of my favorite birds!) Dark enough, but the envelope gets pushed further. I guess Cornfed loves pestering him THAT much, for he quips that there soon will be, and plunges himself into the water too. HOLY-!

Maybe it’s good that any potential series stopped here.

Favorite Part: The bold and bass way Cornfed enters the house. Doesn’t knock or nuthin’, just struts in like he owns the place. Crows are so awesome.

Personal Rating: 3. Good effort. Some new twists on old gags, willing to let another person voice your characters, (I think I like Pat’s performance) and great facial expressions. (Still confused about that dickie, though.)

Stooge for a Mouse

“…You like cats, how come?”

Directed by I. Freleng; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Emery Hawkins, Ken Chapin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 21, 1950.

It’s so nice to see Sylvester happy. Even better? He’s happy with a dog! A dog! His natural enemy! It doesn’t matter what he does, any dog sees him and he gets mauled. Mike is much more understanding than those neander-canines. He’s even happy to let his pal use him as a pillow. But there are still responsibilities to uphold, and Sylvester’s main one at the moment is keeping his eye on a mouse.

Whoever owns this house loves leaving unwrapped cheese on the table. Naturally, the visible scent is going to attract a mouse. But Sylvester is on the job, and while not fully catching him, does send him running back to his hole. Seems like this isn’t the first failure for the rodent, so he’s going to have to resort to chicanery if he wants that rotting milk-wad.

He cuts a hole in the ceiling and lowers a phone receiver. Taking the other end, he starts putting doubts in Mike’s head about enjoying the company of cats. They only like other life-forms for their warmth, and will kill you once you outlive usefulness. (I mean, I don’t think he’s wrong…)  To make things worse, he plants a knife in Sylvester’s paws and has the dog look. He’s not pleased and banishes his chum to the other side of the room. Let’s call the mouse D.J.! (Short for dick jerk)

Mike sleeps once more, and Sylvester decides it’d be okay to at least share the rug. Mike can have some personal space, sure. But once the two are asleep once again, the mouse ups the ante. Wielding a mallet, he gives Mike a whallop and plants the weapon on Sylvester’s person once more, fleeing before his trick is discovered. Again, Mike is pissed to think what he once considered a good friend is now causing him bodily harm.

D.J.’s tricks get worse, and Mike decides the only option is to put the cat in shackles and throw him out of the room. Even though this should help prove Sylvester’s innocence, Mike still blames him when the mouse saws a hole around him, and gives Sylvester the saw. (Really, Mike? You don’t see ANYTHING suspicious about this? You KNOW there’s a mouse in the house.) He gives Sylvester a pounding leaving the cat dazed. But the mouse has one more scheme to try: it involves a boxing glove and horseshoes.

Figure it out yet? D.J. is going to use a magnet to drag a horseshoe-filled-gloved-Sylvester into Mike’s mug. That’s it. Mike retaliates and punches the (still oblivious) cat right back again. And the mouse pulls him right back once more. This goes on for a while, and when it’s all said and done, the house is a wreck and the two pets have been knocked senseless. D.J. goes to get his cheese, but thank goodness for small mercies. You see, you can’t turn a magnet off and it pulls on something else metal. The lighting fixture which comes undone and knocks D.J. unconscious. Hopefully when everyone comes to, they’ll know who’s really to blame: the moron who lets good food sit and spoil.

Favorite Part: Mike being a very supportive friend when Sylvester admits the mouse got away. He still thinks his pal did a good job scaring the pest, and that’s what really matters. What a good dog!

Personal Rating: Before we get to that, here’s a bonus Toon for you to watch:

Now, even thought this cartoon doesn’t look or sound as good as what we’ve already discussed today, I find it the better picture. First off, the dog and cat’s friendship is so cloyingly, saccharine-sweet, that you kinda want to see them change tune. (Doesn’t help that the cat sounds like Meowth with his balls caught in a vice.) Second, Herman actually makes BOTH of them think the other is turning traitor, so you don’t pity them too much. And most importantly, they catch wise to his scheme so things will most probably work out.

TL;DR: I’d give this today’s short a 2, but if you’re not as sentimental as me, you’d probably say it deserves a 3. ( Herman’s short DEFINITELY earns a 2.)

Bushy Hare

“I’m scared of the dark!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 11, 1950.

Bugs is a park dweller today. Most of the time, it’s a very peaceful place to live. No guns, no predators, no playing in the fountain… but today is different as Bugs is being watched by a very creepy Italiano who was never taught the meaning of “personal space.” (Kids, if you ever see this guy handing out balloons, run. Run and scream!) He would like it very much if Bugs would hold onto the balloons he sells whilst he ties his shoe. Bugs is happy to oblige, but being much lighter than the man allows the balloons to take him away from the reassuring grip of gravity. Once Bugs realizes this, he’s too high to let go. (No giggling.)

These are some quality helium balloons! Bugs has traveled from L.A. to Hawaii and still they persist. (Well worth the 25 cents. Just keep them away from the ocean, please.) If world geography has taught me anything, then Australia should be the next noteworthy location Bugs will fly over. And there it is! (No Zealand, though.) Bugs isn’t the only one up here; a stork is also heading down under to deliver a kangaroo joey. Looking nothing like how a newborn one of them should look. Shall we compare?

Cutest jellybean ever!
Bean’s growing like a stalk.

That darn stork union. When they’re not drunk off their tail-feathers, they show up six months late. After both Bugs and the bird enter the same cloud, there’s a bit of a mix-up. Bugs is now the one being delivered, while the joey is having the best birthday ever. (Nine balloons with super helium? I always knew my parents hated me.)

Delivery time! Mama roo is instantly smitten with her “child”. So big and strong from day one! All the other marsupials in her bridge club would sell one of their uterus’s to be so lucky. Bugs wants no part in this. (And he’s got to be seriously concerned that McKimson keeps making this happen to him.) But Bugs’s biggest weakness calls him back: the tears of a female. He agrees to being her child, and she happily pouches him up for baby’s first ride.

Australia is no stranger to dangerous animals, and the deadliest one of all has the two in his sights: man. An aborigine who is either hungry or a sportsman, follows the two with the best weapon ever: a boomerang. If he misses, it will just return to him. But a direct hit is gonna hurt. Bugs learns this fact the hard way. He gets in a shouting match with the man, (dubbing him “Nature Boy”) and I can’t make out what they’re actually saying, but Bugs must have called the guy some really good words, as it really rages him up.

He thinks he has Bugs in a hole at the mercy of his spear, and Bugs does the ole “You killed me and I’m dying” bit. Unlike Elmer though, he has no remorse and happily continues to stab. (I do love hearing Bugs say “Just go away and let me die in pieces.” Why don’t I hear kids quoting this line? You are shameful parents.) Perhaps the lack of sympathy from N.B. is why Bugs angrily kicks him in the hole himself. And tickling him? That’s cold, man. Natechy tries to shoot something poisonous with a blowgun too, but Bugs beats him to the draw and blows it down his throat. (Not as cold, for some reason.)

It’s Kanga who finally gets the best of the the aborigine and boots him off a cliff and out of their fur. Even better news? Those balloons have finally started to lose their power, and her biological baby drifts down to her glee filled arms. The two are happy to give Bugs a lift back to the U.S.A. and attaching an outboard motor to her tail makes for a nifty little boat. (As for me, I don’t think I’d be comfortable sitting in her pouch that long. I’ll just stay here.)

Favorite Part: I’m a sucker for displays of motherly love, so I adore seeing the kangaroo not taking guff from Nature Boy. Soon as she sees her adoptive son is in danger, she shows why you don’t piss off an animal that has feet large enough to function as water-skis.

Personal Rating: 3

Wild and Woolly Hare

“You been eatin’ onions.”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on August 1, 1959.

Today’s short takes place in one of those sepia-town tones. The buildings are sepia. The ground is sepia. The sky is sepia, and yes, I’m sepia too. (Probably should get that looked at.) But the big news is that Yosemite Sam is coming to town. And he’s actually going by that name in this short. Most folks in the Fat Chance saloon want nothing to do with the guy, and flee. Only Injun Joe is willing to take a shot at taking a shot. (No, it’s not that one.)

Sam’s on his way! (And they only show his shadow, as if we don’t know what he looks like. Maybe you could get away with such a gag in 1948 at the latest, but anyone intentionally watching this short knows what to expect.) Joe asks a man to hold his beer while he attends to their guest. A guy who has hair growing on his eyeballs. (Probably should get that checked out.) We don’t see the outcome, but we hear gunfire and Harry Ayes decides to have the free beer that was so graciously donated to his cause.

Sam enters the place, boasting about his power and giving anyone crazy enough to try it, a chance to challenge him. Enter Bugs, in full cowboy getup. (It’s surreal for me to see Bugs wearing pants. Dresses suit him much more.) He’s not taking Sam seriously, and proves his own abilities with a gunshot that ricochets around the town before parting Sam’s hair down the middle. Oh, it. Is. ON! Always one for trying new things, Sam agrees to give the gentlemanly duel routine a go. Bugs trails him, so even when Sam jumps the countdown, he misses the target right in front of him. (I like Bugs’s little nose kiss. It’s funny.)

While bullet exchanging commences, Sam comes to the realization that the train he is planning to rob is passing by. He’ll be back later, but Bugs won’t as the rabbit plans to save the train. He gets on board and Sam decides to tackle him head on. Finding his own locomotive ahead, he starts her up and tells Bugs he better sto-op! Bugs isn’t one to ruin a good game of chicken on the railroad, and both turn up the speed. Intense stuff!

Sam is quickly losing his cool, Bugs isn’t. Give Sam some credit though, he never even attempts jumping. He braces for impact. (So. Bass.) Bugs doesn’t crash as his train can extend over the smaller one. Sam finds himself going off an unfinished rail into the drink below. True to his word, Bugs saved the train. Our hero!

Favorite Part: Sam challenges Bugs to shoot holes in an airborne can. Bugs tosses the can up, aims, aims, aims, and fires when his gun points at Sam’s face. (He misses the can too.)

Personal Rating: 3

Tweet and Sour

“You did sthee a pussthycat!”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc (June Foray); Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 24, 1956.

Granny is heading out for the time being, but she assures Tweety that he will be safe as she is locking the door. But she makes the foolish mistake of sticking the key under the welcome mat, the very place cats like Sylvester tend to hide. As she drives away she waves what could potentially be her final goodbye to her bird, but she snaps out of it and gets the canary out of the cat’s mouth.

Time for a threat. Either Tweety is unharmed by the time she gets back from… wherever it is she is going, or Sylvester is sold to a violin string factory. (That isn’t what catgut is, lady! Leave the feline alone!) Her threat flies straight through those ears, as he is all set to try again once she’s gone. Only after Tweety reminds him of the very real threat does he reluctantly decide to behave himself. But Sylvester isn’t the only cat in town…

Hey! I recognize that orange cat! It’s the one-eyed fellow from “Puddy Tat Twouble“! I’ve heard people say this guy is Sam, but since he doesn’t talk and can’t tell them they are mistaken, his name is Lee. And he helps himself to the bird, despite Sylvester telling him that his life is on the line. Why should Lee care about something that doesn’t affect him? That’s the American lifestyle! Sylvester does his best to get Tweety away from this interloper, and vice versa.

Tweety, in turn is trying to keep away from the both of them. He hides under a hen that lives in a hen house. (Naturally.) The hen is a little spooked when she feels something slip under her, but she seems to get over it quickly as when Sylvester makes a grab, she has a huge smile. (Ew.) Once she sees the claws that were groping her, she runs to tell the resident rooster, Not Foghorn the leghorn. He prepares to wallop the intruder, when Lee comes back and chases Sylvester off. His paw ends up flat as a pancake.

Sylvester gets Tweety back in the house, who comments on how kind the putty-tat is. Sylvester isn’t pleased to hear his reputation referred to in such a kindly manner and points out this is all to keep his body alive. (Don’t you have nine lives, son?) Not like Granny is going to forget this threat after this one time. Lee is planning to come down via chimney, so Sylvester sends up some dynamite via balloon. Lee lets it pass, and slips back down. It’s at that moment that the balloon realizes it has no helium and it drifts back down. Lee flees.

Sylvester notices Granny has returned from… wherever it is she was, and rushes Tweety back to the cage. She comes in just at that moment where the cage door is still open and his paw is still touching the bird. Knowing she wouldn’t believe him anyway, (I’m not even sure the two can communicate) he falls into a violin box on his own. Umm… Tweety? This is where you speak up and defend your hero… Tweety?

Favorite Part: When Granny waves to Tweety in Sylvester’s grasp, Sylvester waves back. It’s funnily cute. Like a pig with a pail on his head, or an elephant taking someone’s lunch.

Personal Rating: 3