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

Rabbitson Crusoe

“♫ Once I had a secret love… ♫”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 28, 1956.

20 years is a long time to survive on your own, but that is exactly what Robinson CaruSam has had to do the past couple decades. He’s been shipwrecked on a tiny couple of islands. The largest portion of which, is where he sleeps, cooks, and keeps a lookout for rescue. The smaller one is where his food source comes from: a lone coconut tree. This is where things get difficult, for patrolling the waters is a hungry shark that lacks pectoral fins going by the name of Dopey Dick. (Which sounds like a villain you’d see in an ad for E.D.)

Maybe his disability has forced the fish to hunt easier prey, maybe a certain crocodile got him hooked on the taste of man flesh. Whatever the reason, the shark has been trying to get his jaws on Sam everyday for twenty years. He gets his chance whenever the man needs to get food off the tree, or grab some supplies from his wrecked ship, seeing as how the only way to get to them is via some small stones. For the past twenty years, Sam has been able to keep alive by making it to land, grabbing a mallet or bat, and beating Dick back into the sea.

Now, Sam has been on an all coconut diet for the past ten years. (Just kidding. It’s been twenty still.) He’s become quite the expert at preparing the fruit a myriad of different ways. But the problem with coconuts is no matter how you prepare them, they still end up tasting like coconut. (That and the milk changes color once it’s in the glass.) I’m impressed Sam was able to last twenty years before cracking. Enter Bugs, also playing a castaway. He’s a meaty prize well worth the trouble, so Sam calls for the rabbit to come over to his island.

Bugs finds himself in a pot, and does he like it? No, he does not. He pours water on the fire, which means Sam is going to have to get to the wrecked ship to get another match. This means another round of Dick dodging. Sam is able to distract him with a bone, get his match, and return to his pot. Where Dick was waiting for him. (Why Sam hasn’t just tried eating the shark by this point…) Bugs has hidden himself on the ship, and Sam attempts at getting there are thwarted by the Dick of the deep. (Why Sam isn’t using his weapons…)

Sam does get Bugs back in the pot once more, but the rabbit spies a tidal wave. Even if Sam did believe him, it wouldn’t make any difference: the entire island is now underwater. Luckily for Bugs, the pot floats. And luckily for Sam, Bugs is willing to save him from death by Dick. Seeing as how Sam isn’t really in a position for negotiating, he agrees to Bugs’s terms. Namely, rowing the two of them to San Francisco.

Favorite Part: Sam saying that dinner will be ready in a few minutes, barring accidents. That’s when Bugs puts out the fire. But watch Sam’s face. As soon as he hears Bugs take something out of the soup, he is horrified. The rabbit wouldn’t…

Personal Rating: 3. It could have been longer, and I’m kinda bummed we didn’t get a short of a shipwrecked sailor and a starving shark. Both wanting the other, but staying safe as long as they don’t leave the land/sea.

The Leghorn Blows at Midnight

“Ask a silly question; get a silly answer.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Rod Scribner, J.C. Melendez, and Emery Hawkins; 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 May 6, 1950.

Foghorn is enjoying a game of solitaire, I think. (I’m not an expert on card games. You can only expect so much of me.) He’s also cheating. Which the universe can’t handle as once he puts down the 3 of diamonds, the seven of spades disappears. And then that 3 vanishes when he puts down the ace of hearts. (Cheaters never win because they literally can’t!) Alas, the rooster should have found a better place to sit as he is well within B.D.’s leash length and is cymbal’d. (After the hound misses at first. Love the smile he wears when he succeeds the second time.)

This doesn’t set Foghorn back for long, as he swipes a pie from the windowsill and smushes it into the dog’s face. Then he plays barber, shaving the pie off and giving the dog a hot towel. (Love the expression of fear he wears when he sees it coming. This dog makes great faces.) The small stuff is not quite good enough, and Dawg sharpens up an axe. (Drama-queen.) Henery shows up and just decides the dog is a chicken. (Huh. Usually he has to be misinformed.) The dog points him toward Foggy. That’s his chicken.

In turn, Foghorn gives a sob story about how afraid he is of going into a dark oven. (Henery [with genuine concern]: “Would you rather be fried on top of the stove?”) Foghorn tells him that chickens ain’t worth a 99-cent value meal. (I’m paraphrasing of course. Those weren’t around at the time.) Now pheasant, that’s a tasty dish. Foghorn is even willing to give the kid a lift to pheasant territory. (They’re cute when they sing together.) Wouldn’t you know it, Henery had been talking to a pheasant earlier and didn’t even know it!

Foggy give the hawk some glass so he can enjoy the pheasant under it. (I want to say that the handle of which changes color, but since it was already transparent, maybe it’s the background behind it changing color?) Henery gets the “pheasant” under the glass, but has to run from the angry “bird.” The leash keeps it away, and Foghorn uses the opportunity to do like he did in “Walky Talky Hawky,” and use the dog’s stasis as an excuse to hurt him in comical ways.

Eventually, Henery calls B.D. a pheasant right to his face. Rather than correct him, he reminds the small bird that he is a CHICKENhawk. You think ANTeater’s ever vary their diet? Stick with what humans named you. Getting the hawk to untie him, B.D. fakes the sounds he usually makes when he is strangled and Foghorn is summoned. The two engage in good old fashioned fisticuffs, while Henery cheers them both on. The winner gets to see tomorrow. The loser joins Henery for dinner. (He still thinks that dog is a pheasant.)

Favorite Part: During Foghorn’s weeping, he tells Henery to feel how gristly his wing is. That’s not an empty request. As the camera zooms in for what is sure to be a heartfelt backstory, the chicken DEMANDS the child feel it. (I didn’t make that sound weird, did I?)

Personal Rating: 3 teetering on four. It’d make a fine introduction to Foghorn’s cartoons.

Captain Hareblower

“I’m taking over your ship!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterizations by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 16, 1954.

The final of the three shorts featuring Yosemite Sam as a pirate. The first one was spectacular. The second one was very funny. This one manages to squeak by with a sea average. I apologize on its behalf.

Pirate Sam, (that’s really what he’s going by today) has his sights set on a ship just begging to be plundered. He’s got quite the reputation it seems, as just announcing his arrival is enough to send everybody on board overboard. Save for Bugs who was hanging out in a crate of carrots. Since he doesn’t know the meaning of this “surrender” word, he can’t very well do it, and decides to fight.

Sam gets cannoned to the face no matter how sneaky, slowly and slyly he sails. And Bugs isn’t above sneaking over to the opposing ship to get an extra shot on his assailant. While he’s loading the cannon, no less. Sam tries this trick out himself, but Murphy’s law is on the rabbits side, so it still doesn’t work. Even sending a keg of TNT with a sail fails, as Bugs has an electric fan to blow it right back.

Sam finally decides to just board the other ship and take it over, but Bugs has already vacated to the crows nest. Sam fails to chop him down, so he chooses his only other option and climbs up. Bugs dives into the water. Sam dives into a rock. Then its time to reuse the best gag from “Buccaneer Bunny.” The one where Bugs tosses matches into the powder room. It’s obviously not as funny here. Not just because we’ve seen it, but Bugs and Sam are on opposite ships. Part of what made the original work so well was Bugs acting like a total smug badass, totally confident that any misfortunes will only befall on Sam.

The new wrinkle they did add is Sam coming over to Bugs’s ship to do the same to his powder room. Bugs doesn’t react at all, causing Sam to flee for the horizon. (I do like how fast he left. That’s a great shot.) Bugs shows us that his powder room only contains the talcum variety, and that variety doesn’t explode. The following explosion makes me me doubt his validity.

Favorite Part: Sam trying to deliver a bomb underwater. (His eyebrows change color as he suits up.) Not only does the fuse stay lit with no explanation, but Sam is swallowed by a dolphacuda and when the explosion happens, all that is left is a skeleton. But the eyes are still in their sockets. (That’s disturbingly hilariously creepy.)

Really Scent

“Spring means nothing to you.”

Directed by Abe Levitow; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Samuel Armstrong; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on June 27, 1959.

Isn’t romance great? I’m really asking seeing as how I’ve never experienced it. But I’m not worried. After all, I’m only 27, so accounting for age and my poor diet, I’ve got about a year and a half left. I mean, Pepe wasn’t one to give up. After 14 years, could his luck finally be on the up and up?

Apart from his Oscar winner, I’d say this is my favorite Pepe short. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Taking place in New Orleans with June Foray as our narrator, we see one Pierre Cat. He and his wife, Fifi, have just welcomed their two daughters to the world. We have Jeanette and Fabrette. (Though nowadays we know her as Penelope.) They’re both perfect in their parents’ eyes; save for one feature. Through the magic of genetics and Murphy’s law, Fabrette is born with a stripe of white fur down her back. Making her look an awful lot like a skunk.

Oh, her parents still love her. The problems arrive once the girls are old enough to start attracting mates. Jeanette has no problem. Fabrette on the other hand sends the males packing once they see what she’s packing. (At least they look at her. She’s doing better than me.) The poor cat mopes, but maybe luck is going to cut her a solid today. For a boat has just docked, and it was carrying none other than Pepe Le Pew. (He’d be every mammal’s dream man if only…)

The two are instantly smitten. (Which probably means Fabrette thinks Pepe is a striped cat.) They embrace, but it’s not long before Fabrette learns exactly why Pepe doesn’t already have scads of women fawning over him. She flees with the skunk following. It takes the envy of her sister’s romance, and the frightening prospect of what others would think of her should she die single, that gets her to try once more. They have a saying in Louisiana: “A true lady does not need to breathe.” Inhaling as much as she can, Fabrette returns to her man.

Pepe is glad to see her again and the two stroll. She lasts about forty full seconds before her lungs can’t take it any more, and she exhales all over the place. (It only sounds gross. I bet you just did it too. Hypocrite.) Even perfume can’t combat Pepe’s aroma, so the cat calls it quits. Pepe, meanwhile, finally decides to learn exactly what ‘pew’ means and why everyone says it when he is nearby. What he learns shocks, saddens, and embarrasses him. But I know Pepe. He’s a swell guy. (Despite what some idiots say.) He’s willing to make an effort  to make a happy relationship. He knows just how to do it too.

He heads for some deodorizing. That’s got to be an embarrassing surgery to reques- oh. He’s just going to expose himself to chloroform. So actually, maybe he isn’t willing to win back his lady? If that’s true, then things will be very awkward in the afterlife soon, as Fabrette is planning on drowning herself. The narrator talks her out of it, telling her that the much smarter solution is to make herself more like her partner. So, she exposes herself to Limburger cheese. (Because… if she stinks herself, she’ll be immune to all odors?)

When all is said and done, it is now the skunk that flees from the cat. I’m sure they’ll work things out.

Favorite Part: Their first hug. It was cute! And if you’re like me, (a hopeless romantic) you’ve been waiting for these two crazy kids to realize they are meant for each other.

Personal Rating: 4. A wonderful change-up to a very formulaic series. Before you tell me how bad it is with how fast the two are progressing. One: they’re animals. Two: they’re toons. Three: the story only had six minutes.

The High and the Flighty

“Ace, ah-say, Ace novelty Company?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Russ Dyson, and Keith Darling; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Carl Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1956.

Foggy’s really going to get that dog today! See, he’s made sure to clearly mark the limits of the dog’s rope, so he can stay out the jaw’s range, but still mess with him. Smacking him with a fence post is just part one. The rest relies on Foghorn’s beach ball. All the while, this fracas is being noticed by Daffy of all characters. He witnesses the rooster stick the ball in the dog’s mouth and popping it, and the dog retaliating with a watermelon to the beak.

All of this is very interesting to the duck. He’s once again in the game of novelty selling, and that chicken looks like he could make good use of his wares. Daffy introduces himself, and offers up a spring-loaded bone for $2.98. Foghorn naturally has the money. Being a rooster pays well. (No benefits, though.) He walks right up to the Barnyard Dawg and offers a bone as a sign of peace. No sooner does the canine put it in his mouth, does Foghorn undo the latch and put some spring in the dog’s step. (I hope Daffy’s clientele are all toons. That looks like it’d be horribly painful to a live-action dog.)

You know, that dog could probably make good use of Daffy’s ware as well. And Daffy isn’t afraid to play both sides in order to make a profit. The dog’s gag is an ear of corn that he deliver to Foghorn as a package. So excited to eat is he, that Foggy doesn’t take note that the cob is connected to some electric wires. All right, why don’t we call it a tie? -And Daffy is once more coercing Foghorn into purchasing another prank. A fake train that he’ll charge B.D.’s house with. The hound dodges, and Foghorn runs onto an actual track. Complete with actual train.

Daffy decides to offer up the big guns. He calls it the “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.” (Complete with instructions, even.) Daffy makes even more money, and Foghorn sets up what is sure to be the ultimate prank. (Bet you thought it involved “Invisible Spray.” Ignoramus.) Just as he’s putting the finishing touches together, Foghorn spies his adversary setting up the exact same prank, from the exact same company. The two put two together and realize they’ve both been played. Time for a real truce.

They purposely make loud threats to the duck, knowing full well he can hear them. Daffy probably would like to make more money off them, but he decides to cut his losses and leave while he still has his spine intact. He doesn’t notice he is walking right into the firing space of “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.”, (Complete with instructions, even.) until he gets the brunt of it. The gag is revealed to be nothing more than rubber band launching a poor schmuck through a pipe, and into a bottle. Despite the simplicity, the customers seem quite content with their purchase.

Favorite Part: It’s not much, but I really like that Foghorn didn’t need to be told he was getting ripped off. Let’s be honest, he’s kind of a meathead. (White meathead, that is.) Yet, he was the first one to figure out what was going on. Proving that he DOES have a brain. Peanut sized, though it is.

Personal Rating: I give it a 2. Daffy doesn’t really add anything that couldn’t be filled with some generic salesman character. But for the common folk, 3.

Hare-way to the Stars

“At long last, my dream come true!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, and Abe Levitow; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip De Guard; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1958.

Aside from “D.D.I.T.241/5C.,” this might be Marvin’s best remembered short. Kinda odd, as I think it might be the weakest one. In terms of comedy, of course.

Bugs has just woken up for the day, and is feeling the effects of a root vegetable hangover. (Radish juice and carrot juice. Never again.) He’s in need of a nice, cool bath and begins the climb out of his hole. Unbeknownst to him, the space race is still relatively new, and one rocket is being launched right over his house. Still groggy, the rabbit doesn’t notice he has climbed aboard, and continues to not notice until he has left the planet.

Getting hit by a passing satellite, Bugs is carried to some sort of place in space. I… really don’t know how else to describe it. It’s red pathways, panes of glass, and not much else. It’s… beautiful. I’m not trying to be funny for once. These really are some great backgrounds, and I’m automatically bumping the short up a grade because of them. Bugs isn’t so taken with his new surroundings, and wonders if the only other sign of life might be able to get him back home.

Said sign, is Marvin of course. And he’s rocking a color slightly different than how most remember him. His helmet and kilt are brown rather than green, and his…skin?…clothes?…the body area is green rather than red. (A color scheme he’d keep for the rest of his golden-age movie career.) Something’s got him in a real good mood, and he takes no notice of Bugs at first. He’s far more interested in what he calls “The Illudium pu thirty-six exlosive space modulator.” (It’s taken 2000 years of work? Either he’s aged great, or it’s been a project spanning generations.)

Bugs finally gets to request a ride back to Earth, but Marvin has a bit of sad news to relay: Earth’s seconds are numbered as he’s just about to blow it up. You see, it really does a number blocking Marvin’s view of Venus, and there’s just no other way around it; the planet has got to go. Bugs isn’t quite done with the place yet, and takes the I.P.36E.S.M. when the martian isn’t looking. Marvin catches on rather quickly, and decides to send out some reserves.

Enter the Instant Martians. (Even if a previous short claims they’re not.) Ten thousand of them, all crammed into one handy little space. Just add some water, and they instantly spring to full size. (A nifty trick that another alien, Jumba Jookiba, would utilize himself one day.)The trio set out to capture Bugs, and one almost immediately catches up to the rabbit via scooter. Bugs plays a game of “do what I’m doing” with the creature, and tricks it into riding off the edge of the red. Since there is definitely gravity in space, the guy (or maybe girl) plummets.

Bugs then runs into the other…three? (Unless one of them is the one he just barely got rid of. It’s a possibility!) They chase Bugs up to some doors, and each party takes turns holding them open for each other. Sadly for them, it was Bugs’s turn to hold open the door that leads into open space, and the definite gravity takes them away. Having witnessed the whole thing, Marvin has no choice but to get some more of the martians. Good thing he has between 9,997-9,996 left. (And if you’re trying to be a smart @$$ and asking “If Marvin is  martian, why doesn’t he look like them?” Remember that iguanas are earthlings just like us, and we don’t look a whole lot alike.)

Bugs finds himself a saucer that he of course knows how to fly, and prepares for his journey home. En route, he smashes into the martian dispenser, taking the glass part with him and leaving behind Marvin’s explosive. And it’s been lit. Marvin is just happy to get his stuff back, and doesn’t take note of that. Seeing as how it was designed to blow up an entire planet, it does a good job destroying Marvin’s digs. (Eugh. I don’t like seeing him without his shoes on. Thank Chuck that never happened again.)

Bugs manages to get back home, but lands in a sewer. And those things are full of water. He flees, as we see the pavement crack, bulging with over 9,000 invasive species. Here’s hoping “War of the World’s” twist holds true!

Favorite Part: How Marvin doesn’t react with glee when he explains what he’s doing. It’s like when you take down a tree that is growing into your foundation, it needs to go, but one can still fell guilty about how many homes you’re destroying. At least he has more empathy than the Vogons ever did.

Personal Rating: 3.

A Mouse Divided

“Let’s face it; I can’t fly any feather.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 31, 1953.

We’ve seen a cat delivered to mice parents before, what if the situations were reversed? All thanks to Stupor Stork, making his first appearance, and not only being inebriated BEFORE any deliveries, but also sounding a bit more helium-ish. As fate is funny, he gives up at the house of Sylvester and his Mrs. She’s just been complaining to him about their lack of offspring. Something that she must have brought up before, seeing as how Sylvester mockingly imitates her as she weeps.

Stupor leaves them with the bundle, and even if Sylvester wasn’t too keen on the idea of having children, he’s still as excited as his wife to hear the news. (I like that.) To their shock, their son is a mouse. (To my shock, there was lot more bundle than what is needed for a mouse pup. But then, how else could anyone be fooled into thinking a kitten is in there?) Mrs. S. is a bit taken aback, but one “Mama” is enough to get her maternal instincts going. Her husband is more on the “He’s so cute, I could eat him up” train of thought. She won’t have it.

Foolishly enough, she even trusts her man with watching the kid while she goes out. As soon as the door shuts, Sylvester gives the baby a pepper powdering, a lettuce diaper, and two slices of bread to rest between. (I guess the safety pin is akin to a toothpick.) Before one bite happens, the infant identifies the predator as “daddy” and that’s all it takes. Sylvester is more taken with the child then I’ve ever seen him with his biological kid. It’s still sweet.

Well, it looks like father and son are going to get along swimmingly. The two decide to take a stroll around the block, and are almost immediately chased home by throngs of other cats. Seeing as how they are a species that is concerned about nobody’s happiness but their own, they have no problem trying to kill a child in front of its parent. They try anyway they can to get in. Disguised as a salesman, claiming to be a babysitter, even trying to break down the door. (You’d think these drama queens have never eaten before.)

Unlike most of his movie career, Sylvester succeeds in driving them all off. (I mean, if he didn’t, then Friz would have infant blood on his resume. I’m not even sure Parker and Stone can make such a claim. And I’m not looking it up.) But even though I’d say the family is happy together and can overcome these obstacles, the higher ups really got on Stupor’s case and he’s back to retrieve the kid. Rather than, pfft, I don’t know, knocking at the door to explain the mistake, he opts to use a baited fishing line.

Considering the kind of day he’s been having, it’s not strange that Sylvester thinks its just another cat trick. He pulls the line himself, and Stupor proves his strength by reeling him in. (As a stork, I’m sure he’s delivered his fair share of whale calves.) Still not clear in the head, he mistakes Sylvester for the mouse, and delivers him to the mouse parents. That’s going to be embarrassing to explain.

Favorite Part: When his wife says that the kid is theirs, Sylvester takes that as an excuse to share the meal. Even going so far as to hold a cleaver above the child.

Personal Rating: 4. It’s adorable. True the ending is a bit mean, but I choose to think that afterwards, the two cats got to keep the kid, and he learned to fight off all his would be predators.

The Hasty Hare

“That wasn’t at all nice!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 7, 1952.

If they’re not coming to invade us, then people from other planets typically drop by just to examine the local life. That usually requires abduction, but it’s such an ugly word. They prefer “relocating.” Marvin is on one of these such missions, but he is only required to bring back a single specimen. (Don’t want to alter either habitat too much.) Interestingly, seeing as Marvin hasn’t received his official name yet, he’s known as “Flying Saucer X-2.” Not the best name there is. (Even if “X” is the coolest letter in the English alphabet.)

But you know, it pairs well with the assistance he has brought along, K-9. Maybe I should give myself a martian name that’s composed of a letter and digit. Let’s see… G-6? Nah, I’m not too religious. W-7? Sounds too British. F-0? Actually, that sounds a bit race-ist. Actually, this is harder than it looks. Maybe I should stop wasting your time with pointless crap. (But I get so much enjoyment at seeing your face furrow.)

Marvin just decides to take the creature that made the first tracks he sees and those tracks were made by Bugs. When Bugs catches sight of the two visitors, he instantly assumes that the two are nothing more than kids looking for Halloween goodies. He gives them bags of candy, (Hey! No fair! I never got such a haul as a kid!) and figures he’ll see no more of them. Marvin proves his power by using his disintegrating pistol to remove most of Bugs’ house. The rabbit finally catches on.

Marvin tells the bunny that all three of them will be returning to Mars, and Bugs demands to know what the martian will do if he refuses to comply. I love this: Marvin doesn’t get angry, I mean, he really is just doing his job, and he might as well convince the beast to come along as non-violently as possible. He merely disintegrates a boulder. Bugs is convinced and is the first one aboard. But he’s always thinking a step ahead, and immediately disembarks to play conductor and ushers his adversaries aboard without him. They make it halfway back home before realizing their error.

When they return to Earth, Bugs explains that the reason he doesn’t want to go is because he’d hate to get involved with mutiny. Another great moment here, with the suspicion and doubt being seeded. Marvin takes no chances, and gives K-9 a good shot. (Strangely enough, this was the last time the dog would appear. He doesn’t even get any lines in this one.) They finally manage to get Bugs by firing a strait-jacket ejecting bazooka at him, which wraps him up snug. Success!

As Marvin pilots his craft, K-9 is left to guard the prisoner. He’d better not try any funny stuff! Oh, nothing of the sort, it’s just that the jacket Bugs has on, it’s really not his size. Too much arm room. Surely the dog could get him a different one? Seems like a reasonable request. He complies, and Bugs slips it on, but ultimately decides it would suit K-9 much more. And just like that Bugs, has captured the capture-er. He manages to do the same to Marvin, by claiming they hit an iceberg, and the jacket is a life preserver.

Now in control, Bugs decides to fly back to Earth. Too bad he doesn’t know how to pilot one of these crafts. Worse yet, the anchor he threw over board has caught on to a crescent moon, which is catching planets, which are grabbing stars and dragging them all along. (And just making up their own laws about gravity. Newton would not be pleased.) As it so happens, an astronomer sits down at the observatory to marvel at the vastness of space. (Something I don’t like doing. I already know I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t need the universe to rub it in.)

The short, red-haired, Friz Frelengesque man (who actually IS named I. Frisby.) takes one look at that mess of a galaxy and announces his retirement. He’s going to take up turkey farming. (A noble profession if I ever heard one!) And that is what led to the first Thanksgiving, and why I say a prayer of thanks to Mr. Freleng every night.

Favorite Part: When Bugs suggests the idea of mutiny. The little thumb motion Marvin does when saying “You mean, he against me?” is so freakin’ bass. It needs to be done in a summer blockbuster.

Personal Rating: 3