Dr. Jerkyl’s Hide

“LET ME OUT OF ‘ERE!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 8, 1954.

Hey, it’s Spike and Chester! Haven’t spoke about either of them since 2014. Oh, wait. I won’t be mentioning Spike after all. His name is Alf now. Because it’s a more appropriate name for a cockney dog, don’t you know? Oh, yes. The two have some nice thick accents this time around. Makes sense. This short’s source material does take place in London.

“Alf” and Chester, (making their final appearances) are out having a jolly stroll. At least, that’s what “Alf” wants and Chester believes. See, Chester looks up to “Alf” as some sort of hero. He’s bigger, meaner, and has people clothes. The kind of dog we’d all like to be. But “Alf” is also a bit of a bully. Smacking the little guy around, demanding he leave, and turning down his suggestions of fun. Chester then plays his trump card. Maybe “Alf” would like to beat up a cat?

That’s the ticket. “Alf” is always up for a good feline thrashing, and the two give chase to Sylvester. Poor cat takes refuge in a building that belongs to a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jerkyl. (And I’m sure at least one of you was planning to tell me I made a typo in the title.) Breathless, due to all the exercise, Sylvester is more than happy to take a swig of what he believes to be soda. (Honestly, can YOU name another liquid with carbonation? Because I can’t. Please help.) But that wasn’t pop.

This stuff, whatever this stuff is, is designed to turn the drinker into a much meaner, much tougher, much scarier version of thyself. So Sylvester grows a couple feet, his eyeteeth grow out, and he gets a murderous look in his eyes. It is then that “Alf” comes in for a pummel. He leaves, white as a ghost. (I like how his shirt changed color, but his hat didn’t.) That stuff only lasts so long though, and Sylvester is back to his normal self when Chester takes a peek at this “scary monster.”

Well, that don’t make any sense to the spaniel. I mean, the cat is actually quite small. Chester could pound him, himself. And logic dictates that if a small dog could do it, a big dog could do it, but easier. Chester drags “Alf” back in, just as they witness their prey escape into another room. Yeah, he looks timid, terrified, and totally weak. “Alf” regains his confidence, and follows after him. (Chester doesn’t follow, for the sake of the joke.)

“Alf” corners the cat in a box, where we see the formula kicks in sporadically. Now powered up again, Sylvester gleefully plots out how we will carve the dog. “Alf” returns to Chester, but falls to pieces. (Probably a good contender for the most violent massacre in all Looney Tunes, and there’s not one drop of blood.) The power wears off again before Sylvester can take on Chester, and the dog proves good of his claim to beat the cat. Now more convinced than ever, he traps “Alf” in the building for his own good.

Sylvester takes this time to flee. (I really can’t tell if he is aware of his transformation or not. Maybe if I read the original “Jeckyll” story, I’d know.) “Alf” sees this and also sees an opportunity to seize. He uses the beakers around him to simulate a fight that he is winning. But one of the beakers he throws was full of more formula, and the stuff lands on a housefly. (And I guess it drinks it. Unless the stuff can be taken topically.) It does its thing, and the fly’s size increases, as does its temper.

Now, the insect is only roughly the size of a hummingbird, but insects ARE immensely strong for their size, and it has no trouble roughing “Alf” up and throwing him out. “Alf” begs for Chester’s protection before the two witness the fly slamming the door in their faces. A big fly, yes, but a fly nonetheless. And thus, the last amount of respect Chester might have had for the big dog is dead. As such, the roles reverse: Chester wears the hat in this relationship now, and he slaps the now hero-worshippy “Alf” around.

Kind of a shame these two had such short careers, but seeing as how this is very similar to their earlier work, there probably just wasn’t enough material to make multiple cartoons.

Favorite Part: How Chester gets “Alf” back into the building: marching him in at gunpoint.

Personal Rating:3

The Lion’s Busy

“Now, let’s quit stalling, Mr. Lion.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1950.

Today is a special day. A day that should be celebrated by everyone who was ever born. After all, if you ever HAVE been born, then you already owe a lot to this one person. This day is known as “Leo the lion’s tenth birthday.” Now, Leo, he’s just the greatest guy. One of those rare Irish lions. And being part of the noble Panthera genus, he’s got strength, speed, and 18 retractable claws that are willing to back up his claims of glory. Thus, all the animals have gathered. (Is it me, or is one of them Bugs?)

It wouldn’t be much of a birthday without gifts, (It’s the only thing that makes them tolerable, really.) and Leo gets one given to him by the buzzard. Oddly enough, the card mentions that he’s been waiting for this day for all of Leo’s ten years. Now, why would he do a thing like that? More importantly, what’s the gift? A book! (The best gift of all!) Leo didn’t even want a book, but he’s a good guy and the book is about lions, which just so happens to be Leo’s favorite animal! He reads. (And no. I don’t have any idea why one of the guests is a raccoon. I mean, a porcupine I could understand.)

The first page Leo opens to contains a very interesting fact about the lifespan of a lion. Namely, in the world of cartoons, they can expect to live to be ten years old. Wait… Uh, yeah. Leo is indeed ten years old. And that’s just what the buzzard wanted to hear. Beaky Buzzard. Making his first appearance without his creator, Bob Clampett, and now being voice by Mel after the untimely death of his original V.A., Kent Rogers. And has he gotten quite the personality overhall. A little like if Droopy became blood hungry.

Leo claims that he is fine. A picture of health. Why, he can even jig as well as he did as a cub. Beaky tosses a banana peel in his way, and the lion goes over a cliff. He’s upset that Beaky can’t be patient enough to wait for him to actually die. It is a little insensitive, but come on. It’s been ten years! Beaky probably won’t even last another two, and dead lion meat is right up there with Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas goose, and Arbor Day nuthatch as delicious dinners.

Leo fights back, but Beaky escapes up a tree. (Wings. Delicious and practical.) Leo needs that bird dead if he ever wants peace of mind, so he climbs up after him. Beaky oils the tree, and the lion goes down. He tries again with some pitons, but Beaky keeps out of reach by constantly adding more to the tree. Soon, Leo has reached the top. There’s no easy way down, unless you’re Beaky, because then you’d have wings. But he wants that lion down, and begins chopping away.

After the crash, Leo comes to, and finds Beaky roasting his tail as if it were made of sausages. He declares that Beaky is never, and I repeat, never going to get him. And to make sure of that, Leo boards a moon-bound rocket that is in the jungle. (Why the surprise? Where else would he find a rocket? Savannah are wildfires waiting to happen.) He makes it to the moon. (The poor Earth is gray in mourning its loss of Leo.) Oh, by the way, Beaky has been waiting for him. (If he can take on a freaking dragon, I don’t see why this would be any struggle.) Leo ducks into a cave, barricades the door, and wouldn’t you know it, Beaky can’t get in. Now, there’s just the matter of waiting.

And waiting. See, nobody can wait like a buzzard, and it only takes about 330 days for 11 months to go by. (Good thing lions eat rocks. Lions eat rocks, right? Right.) And Beaky is still waiting. So Leo is still waiting. And the years go by. Seven years of wasting what time he had in a moon cave. Now, Leo is a much older, much grayer, and much wiser lion. He has realized that he can’t hide from his problems, and gives Beaky permission to eat. Unfortunately, Beaky isn’t immune to the passage of time either, and he too is much older. So much so, that the only thing he can manage to eat anymore is marshmallows.

Favorite Part: Beaky playing shoe salesman. Having Leo try on one of those little paper things cartoon roast turkeys always wear on their tibiotarsus. Dark meat and dark humor.

Personal Rating: 3. A fun and interesting change to Beaky’s character. Too bad he’d only get one more cartoon after this one.

Thumb Fun

“WHOA-HO-HO-HOOOOOOO, NELLY!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Bob Wickersham; Layouts by Peter Alvarado; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 1, 1952.

Daffy scoffs at the idea of flying south for the winter. I mean, it’s not like ducks are champion endurance flyers. While the common mallards will waste time AND energy, Daffy will get south the way evolution intended him to: hitchhiking. Nobody is offering rides though, and Daffy is reduced to having to paint a fake canyon in the road. (Nice use of perspective. Really brings to mind the works of the masters.)

One driver stops. His name is Porky Pig. Even though he was only stopping to avoid a potential crash, Daffy takes that as an offer to ride. He even fills the trunk with his excess luggage. (What does he even have in there? He’s not even wearing clothes. And to think people harp on Porky’s lack of pants.) There’s not much room, but Daffy makes do. When Porky takes a peek, suitcases fly everywhere. What a start.

They get going, but find they aren’t the only ones on the road. There’s a driver who wants to pass them. Now, Porky has no reason to give in. He got where he was first, and the other driver is acting like an a-hole with a horn. But this is Porky Pig we’re talking about. Friend to the common man and road jerks alike. He wants to let the guy pass, but Daffy shares my sentiments and continuously steers the car back in front. This goes on for awhile, until the other driver crashes into our stars.

Porky is not happy this has happened, but Daffy isn’t worried. The other car is ridiculously small, so the driver ought to be just as well. Said driver is not only tall, but pissed. It’s not enough that kids find his appearance while driving a vehicle humorous, but now he has to find another comediacally small car. Daffy’s reaction is great: he acts like groveling dog. I guess the big guy finds this endearing, because he lets Daffy live. He gives Porky a punch.

After they get going again, Daffy complains at the lack of speed. Porky is a responsible driver, and refuses to speed. Daffy steps on the gas himself, and that’s when the cop shows up. (It’s the universal law.) Daffy has a plan: he tells the officer that Porky has “something” in the trunk. Knowing all too well what will happen, Porky begs for the man to NOT look in the trunk. This doesn’t help matters, it only makes him look more suspicious. The cop takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Before Daffy can get Porky to flee, they are nabbed.

They’re brought in to Muddville. (Where there is no joy. It’s their slogan.) Not surprisingly, Porky gets off easy. A fine of $2.00. (Sweet!) Daffy is angry to hear it, and goes to fight. This ends up costing Porky an extra fifty. Daffy still feels that’s a victory. Porky has had it, but plays it cool. In fact, he ups and buys Daffy a present. But the fun in giving is seeing the surprise on the giftee’s face. Therefore, Porky refuses to let Daffy have it right away. He stuffs it in the trunk.

Daffy’s greed gets the better of him. He takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Porky takes his chance, and drives away. Daffy is able to take some solace in still having the present. He opens it up to find: a novelty hitchhiking thumb. (Wah-wah.) Come winter, Daffy is still desperately waving his thumb. One of these two things has got to give first: the season, or Daffy’s life.

Favorite Part: The man who pulls over for a hitchhiking Daffy, just to tell him that he never picks his kind up. (It really is a shame that so many dickweeds ruined trolling for the rest of us. It’s actually quite humorous when done right.)

Personal Rating: 4

Past Perfumance

“Holy smoke!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Phil DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on May 21, 1955.

The year is 1913. The place is Super Magnifique Productions. It’s a movie studio that as the name suggests, is in France. So, Pepe should be around shortly. But what reason would he have to be here? I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a movie in production. With animals. Lots of animals! I’m not quite sure what sort of plot they have planned, but seeing as it is French, plot probably isn’t their biggest concern. (Maybe they’re just going to adapt some of Saint-Saens’ work. He’d still be alive)

Things are going smoothly enough, but the man in charge of casting the animals, (who is voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan. I almost didn’t recognize him. So talented!) has at least one problem: the movie needs a deodorized skunk. He doesn’t have that. He doesn’t even have a skunk period. What to do? Well, I’ve heard that if want a cow in your movie, your best bet is to paint spots on a horse because cows don’t resemble themselves on camera. So, logically, painting a cat should produce a similar result for those in need of skunks.

While the cat is getting prettied up, Pepe shows up looking for autographs. (I’m not entirely sure if people are hearing and understanding his speaking) As a skunk, he scares most everyone off. The director, his oui-men, the animals, and the casting director once he returns. Pepe is quite happy to take the cat off his hands, because she looks like a skunk and therefore, must be a skunk. Appearances are never deceiving. Penelope isn’t one for dating co-stars, and tries to flee. Plenty of movie sets to hide out in. Too bad Pepe finds her on each one.

She hides on the balcony, made famous in “Julio and Romette.” He calls to her in the words of the immortal bard himself. She hides in a film canister on a set of “The Two Musketeers.” (Maybe there was supposed to be three, but Pepe ruins the shot before such an amount can get on screen.) He finds here there too. He even finds her in a screening room. The characters in the silent movie that is playing, can smell him too. (So, they broke their fourth wall, but not THE fourth wall. They broke the eighth wall, then? If they did acknowledge us, the audience, would that be breaking the fourth wall squared?)

No matter where she runs, Pepe is there. In appropriate costume too. (He looks good in that Tarzan getup. Almost turns me on.) Soon, Penelope has run out of ways to run. Pepe has her trapped on a cliff set. She’d rather jump than be with him, so if that is what must be done, it’s the action she’ll take. Pepe rushes to look, and finds she landed in some water. Which means… the paint washes off! Pepe sees the paint washing off! For once, he realizes that he wasn’t in pursuit of a skunk! What will he do with that knowledge?

Well, I guess he’s desperate. His answer is to paint over his stripe and continue the chase. That should solve everything. Pepe should write a book about how to score.

Favorite Part: Shaking up the formula and letting Pepe know he was mistaken. A nice swerve to throw at us. When your cartoons are the basic chase plot, it helps to keep them from growing stale.

Personal Rating:3

Bonanza Bunny

“This gon’ be fun, you bet!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Tom Ray, George Granpre, 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 Merrie Melody released on September 5, 1959.

You’ve no doubt heard of the Klondike Gold Rush. That time when a good number of folks headed up to Alaska for the sake of a “get rich easy scheme.” (Humans. Always looking for an alternative to the hard way.) Such commotions, its no wonder boom towns are springing up. Such as Dawson City. It will be our setting for today’s picture. It’s a tough looking place. It’s got at least three saloons!

It was in saloon number three, the Malibu Saloon, where our story takes place. Everybody is minding their own business, when a stranger walked in. Well, a stranger to everyone but us. We know him as Bugs Bunny. He’s got little caps on both of his ears! That’s precious! He came round these parts because he heard talk of karats. Sadly for him, all he managed to find was a bunch of rocks. Sorta yellow in color. Odd. And yet, everyone seems interested. Still, Bugs plans to keep them as souvenirs. He’ll only part with the one the bartender is using as payment.

Enter our villain. A French-Canadian Yosemite Sam named, Blaque Jacque Shellaque. (And if you think that’s a rather low blow on my part, he eventually was revealed to be Sam’s cousin on “The Looney Tunes Show.”) I guess McKimson wanted his own character to take Bugs in a saloon setting. Still, he was clearly also inspired by Nasty Canasta, revealing himself nearly shot for shot the same as in “Drip-along Daffy.” He wants Bugs’ bag but is willing to gamble for it.

It will be settled via a game of 21. Bugs is willing to stop at one card, much to Blaque’s amusement. He seems pretty happy with the two cards he drew, both tens. As you’d expect, Bugs wins because he happened to draw the 21 of hearts. (The card box threatens to fade out of existence, but gives up because hardly anyone is noticing.) Jaque isn’t happy to lose and refuses to accept his defeat. Besides, those guns of his say he doesn’t have to take this sort of abuse. Bugs isn’t scared. In fact, he claims another guy in the next room, who is much more tougher. (A gag you may recall him using in “Hare Trigger.”) Said “man” is Bugs, and though he might wield a pop gun, it’s enough to get the job done.

Bugs is able to get rid of Shellaque, by handing him a bag of gunpowder instead. So happy is the canuck, that he fails to notice Bugs making an incision on the bag. Nor does he notice the trail of the stuff following him as he takes his ill gotten gains off to the distance. So, naturally, he also doesn’t notice that Bugs lit the trail. The explosion truly rivals the Aurora Borealis. Bugs can now happily enjoy his rocks. And I’m not just being coy. This whole time, they really were just rocks Bugs painted, . (Hey. A guy’s gotta pay for his drinks, somehow.)

Favorite Part: During our tour of the town, we see the “Rigor Mortis Saloon.” (Come in and get stiff? Seems a bit too personal for my taste.) In case that place isn’t for us, a sign also directs us to the “Band-Ade Saloon.” (Come in & get plastered? That’s more like it!) Two bad puns in the span of one minute. We are spoiled.

Personal Rating: 2 (Too many reused gags. If you haven’t seen as many cartoons as me, you might think this picture is worth a 3)

Touché and Go

“Personally, I prefer girls.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, and Abe Levitow; Layouts by Maurice Noble. Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on October 12, 1957.

Being the guy who paints a stripe down the middle of the road isn’t the best job to have. Then again, any job can be pleasant if you are allowed to sing. It really is a beautiful day. The sky is blue, the sun shines, and dogs chase cats. In particular, one cat we like to call Penelope is in the middle of one such chase. Being the smaller of the two creatures, she is able to slip under the painting device with only a stripe down her back. The dog crashes into the man, and he angrily kicks the dog repeatedly. Finally free of trouble, the cat goes down to the beach. (A cat heading towards a large mass of sand? I guess she almost got the sh*t scared out of her.)

So, where’s Pepe? We all know he’s coming. The French title, his name in the credits, the painted cat. Nearly all the ingredients are here. Pepe is on a boat. When the sailor sees exactly what is on the rope he is pulling, he runs off in fright, leading Pepe to land in the water. Good thing he can see out of his tail, as he is aware of the female on the beach, and rushes to her side. She doesn’t like that. In fact, she tries to escape. Pepe pretends he doesn’t want her for all of about 24 seconds before he chases her down once more.

You wouldn’t want to hang out on this beach. The sand leads straight to a cliff. (Which in turn leads to the water. A literal high dive.) Pepe was too caught up in his chase to notice the lack of land, and he falls over the side. If Penelope plays her cards right, she could potentially be rid of him early for this picture. So where does she hide? At the base of the cliff. (It’s not her brains Pepe admires.) He finds her, looking quite pale, so he rushes off to get her a glass of water. She’s gone by the time he gets back, so he just empties it on the rocks. Never touches the stuff. (Pepe is not a carbon based life form. Confirmed.)

Seems Penelope is desperate enough to hide underwater. She has the foresight to hook up an oxygen tank, but Pepe has no need for such things. As a skunk, he can hold his breath for a long time. (That raises questions. Is he aware of his odor? Is he proud of it? I suppose it is a better weapon than most, as people will flee, even if you miss.) The lack of air may not be a problem for him, but the ocean is full of predators. Including the dreaded Saber-toothed Tiger shark. A beast I always thought only lived in Ralph Phillips imagination. Is Pepe also part of Ralph’s fantasies? Could I be as well?

Ever the gentleman Pepe sticks his love in a clam. (Aww! Even if he rushes into relationships, he really is a sweet guy.)The shark chows down, but regrets his action almost immediately. Considering how powerful his sense of smell is, I’m not surprised to see the poor fish opt to take his chances on land. In the commotion, Pepe loses Penelope and he heads back toward shore looking for her. That was just what she wanted, and she heads in the opposite direction. Seems she’ll have to rapidly evolve into a saltwater catfish if she hopes to survive.

Fine. She could also head for the nearest island. (Why won’t anybody ever give my science fiction a chance?) She comes ashore, and yes, Pepe is already waiting for her. The locals call this place heart island. That doesn’t mean any romance is going to entail, the place is just shaped like the card suit. (It’s the world’s most over hyped honeymoon location.)

Favorite Part: The fact that the shark doesn’t fear Pepe at first. And why would it? Has any shark ever in the history of Earth, ever encountered a skunk? It’s a subtle touch, but it’s there.

Personal Rating: 3

Robot Rabbit

“I’ve got a pest I want contwolled.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, Manuel Perez, and Ken Champin; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 12, 1953.

(I like the off-kilter theme song. It sure sounds like something robot themed.)

Farming is hard enough work as it is. You’ve got to wake up too early, work constantly, and even then a lot of your production is up to pure chance. If you grow terrible crops, you will get no profit. Growing delicious ones just attracts pests. So we find farmer Elmer, irate about the rabbit eating all of his crispy, mouth-watering, glowing, orange carrots. (It’s funny how often we perceive Bugs as the protagonist.)

Elmer is not giving up. He gives the ACME pest control company a ring, and learns about their newest means of dealing with pests. It’s all robotic. You’ve got your basic, build-able robot body, and all the instructions it requires is a picture. Just stick one in the slot, and it will remove the problem itself. (Barring a few mistakes. God shouldn’t have given donkey’s long ears if he didn’t want them mistaken for lagomorphs.)

The robot does catch sight of Bugs and manages to give him a pretty decent punch to boot. He even excavates Bugs out of his hole. (And the animators forgot to animate Bugs’ mouth while he speaks here. Oops.) Could this thing actually be the one who can put a stop to Bug’s mischief? (Chelonians notwithstanding, of course) You might think so, but like many an early model of robot, this one can’t abide water. It’s too bad that Bugs leads him for a merry chase through the sprinkler. Stuck with rust, the bot must wait for Elmer to give him some oil before he can continue the chase.

Drag time! Using a bucket, and an old pot-belly stove, Bugs makes a rather fetching fembot. Pesty sure thinks so! He even offers “her” a box of nuts. In turn, Bugs throws a literal wrench into things, thus sending the robot to pieces. (I’ve never seen a guy take a break-up so hard. Because I don’t have any friends.) Once he pulls himself together, the robot chases Bugs onto a construction site. Surprisingly, BOTH of them avoid getting smashed into pieces. At least at first.

For you see, back at home, Elmer wonders how things are going. If Bugs returning a bucket of scrap metal is any indication, A.I. was no match for the real deal. (Mother Nature: 1, Father Tech:0)

Favorite Part: Bugs fakes his death on Elmer yet again. Unlike every other time, Elmer is ecstatic, and even shares a dance with Bugs before catching on. (Always good to shake up the formula.)

Personal Rating: 3

 

Dog Tales

“Now, here’s a Newfoundland. With his grandfather, an Oldfoundland.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Grandpre, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas. Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterizations by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on July 26, 1958.

I’ve said it several times before, dogs are amazing animals that deserve all the adulation they get and more. (Lots more.) And I’ll continue to say that. (With the loss of a Grandfather in my imminent future, my dog is likely the only thing that will keep me going.) With that said, I can’t really fault McKimson for releasing a gag-centric short full of reused and obvious canine jokes, but as late as 1958? Was there any demand?

Not only are the jokes pretty tired, but we aren’t even given a lot of original dogs to carry the gags. This does lead to a fun game of “Which Looney Tune did I hear that one in?” (Not now, not ever with a home edition.) Not only that, but the animators even sneak in half the cast from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp!” Lady, Jock, Peg, Boris, Pedro, Bull, and Dachsie all appear to illustrate a small sampling of the various “flavors” the wonderful animals can come in. (All with a slight paint job, so Disney’s lawyers don’t get too upset.)

Those gags? They’re the kind of ones you’d see in a Kindergarten level joke book. The Chihuahua shivers because he really IS cold. The French Poodle is a canine Casanova. (Mel uses his Speedy and Pepe voices for them, respectively.) A Pinscher pinches Private Doberman. (A “Sergeant Bilko” reference? That’ll hold up great in reruns!) Heck, Charlie Dog makes a cameo even! (Sadly, doing a near word for word repeat of his “50% various breeds” bit from “Often an Orphan.”)

I won’t lie, I do get a sick sense of pleasure seeing a boy drop a cat into a dog show. (Leading to ANOTHER cameo. This time of the large mass of hounds who chased Bugs in “Foxy by Proxy.”) And before any of you say it, that child looks NOTHING like me. (I don’t wear hats.) So, how should we end a mediocre short full of mediocre table scraps that even your loyal dog would feel insulted to be offered? Another obvious joke! How about the one about the dog who travels across the entire United States, not to reunite with his family (that live several time zones away for what reason, I’m not sure, exactly) but to get a bone buried under a tree? (It’s a classic.)

Favorite Part: The narrator unable to tell if the dog on screen is a “setter pointing,” or a “Pointer sitting.” Ultimately showing a “Pointsettia” instead. (I honestly can’t say I’ve heard that one before.)

Personal Rating: 2 (I’d give it a one if humanity didn’t love dogs so much. So I think every Homo sapiens on the planet will agree with my rating.)

Stork Naked

“I’LL GIVE THAT STORK A RECEPTION HE WON’T FORGET!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Virgil Ross, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 26, 1955.

A sober stork in a Warner Brothers Picture? It’s unthinkable! And yet, that’s how this one starts out. The stork may have a clear head, but that’ll soon be fixed. He doesn’t have just one bundle to deliver. The first one offers him a toast to the baby. As does the second. And the third. There we go. That’s more like the stork we know. He needs a name that I will claim as canonical. From now until the end, he is Tipsy the stork.

Just one more delivery to go. It’s an egg, so it must be headed for some birds. That is correct, specifically, a couple of ducks. Daffy and his wife, Daphne. (Which is a perfect name for her. It’s what I call the wife Daffy has every time he’s married.) Daphne knows he’s coming, as she is already knitting a sweater. (It’s a little known fact that all ducks get one piece of clothing. Hence Daphne’s bow, and her husband’s slippers) Once Daffy catches on that the sweater isn’t intended for him, he realizes that the stork is on the way again. (Again? So, Daphne has had more than one miscarriage? That’s hard. No wonder she spends the rest of the short off camera, grieving.)

It’s never stated why Daffy is so adverse to being a parent, but it’s pretty obvious. Kids are whiny, greedy, egotists who think they can get away with everything. (I would know. I was one, once.) So, Daffy really has no other option than to kill the stork. (Or at least just chase him away.) He’s got quite the impressive armory at the ready, but Tipsy just walks right past him and heads for the chimney. Daffy’s trap-oline works wonders and sends the bird right back up. Too bad Daffy misses his chance to hit him on the return.

Chimney didn’t work, so Tipsy heads for the front door. (Drunks always try and start with the chimney. Why do you think Santa has a red nose?) Daffy has another trap planned: a trap door that leads to an alligator basement. Tipsy walks around the pit, and when Daffy tries shoving him back out, he falls down himself. (He does manage to get away, but at the cost of a good chunk of his plumage.) When Tipsy tries a window entrance, he accidentally enters one of Daffy’s cannons and is fired back into the sky. (Little note, but I like how pleased he is to see the egg is okay. It’s not his kid, but he still wants it to be safe.)

I don’t know how long the egg must be in Daffy’s possession for it to count, but the cartoon is still going, so I guess things are in his favor. Still, Tipsy hasn’t given up either, so Daffy starts chasing him down with an axe. (I never thought about it before, but being a stork must suck. On a different note, someone should make a cartoon about a stork trying to deliver a baby to a teenager, while they, in turn, try to keep it hidden from their parents. I’m sure it would be a hit at a film festival.) When the stork creeps onto a telephone wire to evade the psycho, Daffy chops the wire his adversary is standing on. (It makes his pole fall, and he lands back in the reptiles company.)

Finally, the egg starts to hatch, so Tipsy gets it to deliver itself. It manages to get inside Daffy’s house, and hatches just as Daffy gets his wings on it. Why, it’s not a duckling after all! It’s a stork chick. And if the hat is any indication, it really IS Tipsy’s child. Daffy is delighted as he flies the chick back to where it belongs. Not only because he’s ducked out of responsibility once again, but the stork is finally going to see what it’s like on the receiving end.

Favorite Part: It’s another little thing, but when the egg starts to hatch, look at the legs. They actually foreshadow the twist, by not drawing webbed feet. They took the time to be consistent. I’m so proud!

Personal Rating: 3

Fool Coverage

“What are you doing? Jusht looking for an accident?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen, and Rod Scribner; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Carlos Manriquez; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. Musical Directions: Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1952.

That awful virus! It’s responsible for cancelling comicon this year! I hope its proud of itself. But I suppose you’d rather hear me blog about my chosen subject. Fine.

Daffy plays an employee of the Hot Food Casualty Underwriter’s Insurance Company. He has just knocked on Porky’s door to try and sell him a policy. At first mention, this sounds like some kind of miracle. With Daffy’s company, you stand to acquire a million bucks for even a black eye. Of course, there are some stipulations. Conveniently, Daffy only reads what they are after he has placed some earmuffs on Porky. Doesn’t matter though. Porky is quite the careful individual, and refuses to buy on account of him never suffering any unfortunate accidents.

Daffy isn’t one to be deterred. He aims to prove to Porky that he NEEDS insurance. He’ll just follow Porky around as he does some chores. And if nothing dangerous occurs, Daffy will be right there to make things worse. Although, is his help really needed? Porky starts off by looking for his screwdriver in his oven with a lit match. Since the great Bob loves Porky, he is spared, but Daffy gets explosion-ed when demonstrating a flashlight is a safer method.

Maybe a trap is required after all. It’s rather clever too. Daffy just saws a hole in the floor, covers it up, then rigs the rocking chair so Porky will fall through. Only problem, Porky doesn’t feel like rocking, and only agrees to do so to humor the salesduck. With his heart not really in it, he doesn’t rock enough to fall. (Although, in my eyes, Porky always rocks enough) Daffy shows him some real rocking, and falls for his own trap.

Just as he’s about to booby trap the bathtub, (With lard. Which has horrifying implications. I hope Daffy didn’t find that in Porky’s house. Though, considering what I’ve seen Porky do, it wouldn’t surprise me. Just horrify.) Daffy sees Porky headed to the basement. Perfect! Porky could fall down the stairs! After Daffy does just that, Porky is need of another candle. Daffy fixes up a stick of TNT to look like one. His weakness to landing himself in Porky’s good graces, gets him holding the explosive just as it goes off.

He lands outside, dazed. Good news, though! Porky is ready to buy! Not because he needs it, per se, but all of Daffy’s mishaps are proof enough that the premises are dangerous. One signature later, and Porky gleefully announces that the million dollar policy is a sweet payoff. Of course, Daffy also gleefully tells of all the stipulations: the black eye must be received by elephants, within the house, between 3:55 P.M. and 4:00 P.M., on July 4th, during a hailstorm. (I hate policies like that.)

Porky is disgruntled, but the great Bob comes to his aid once more. (In a painful way, but he works in mysterious methods) One by one, all of the Daffy’s stipulations are met, and Porky ends up with the most beautiful shiner I ever saw! (It’s worth a million bucks.) Daffy tries to weasel out of it, by adding a baby zebra to the list. The great Bob provides.

Favorite Part: I got a chuckle of Porky announcing he left his screwdriver in the oven. I should start storing mine in the same place.

Personal Rating: 3