Inki at the Circus


Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese and Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ken Harris, Phil Monroe, Lloyd Vaughn, and Ben Washam; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek. A Merrie Melody released on June 21, 1947.

In today’s world of constantly worrying about offending living things, the circus doesn’t stand a chance. Maybe it’s for the best. I mean having an “African Wildman” as a caged exhibit is terrible, malicious and tasteless enough, but you can multiply that by any greater than 1 digit of your choice when said man is clearly a child. Poor Inki! All alone at night in a cage with only a yo-yo for company. He’s stronger than me, that’s for sure. I’d have hung myself with the toy on day one.

But maybe that cage is for his own protection. Large, detailed eyes are watching him. (Pretty scary to someone who has always put off by disembodied eyes.) It’s a dog who is attracted to the kid’s hair bone. And since the dog can slip through the bars easy as a greasy weasel; A greasel; Inki is snatched away and the bone is buried. (When you steal something, it’s always smart to just get rid of it to erase your guilt.) Since Inki is still connected to the bone, he’s just stuck upside down at the mercy of any outside force.

As dog#1 walks away, he realizes that he’d only be called that if there was at least a dog#2. And there’s a passing dog now. #1 rushes back to the spot, only to find a hole. There’s a bit of a back and forth that ends with both dogs having an end of the bone in their jaws, and a glare in their eyes. Before things can escalate into a full on melee, brawl or ultimate, they notice a crate containing a locked safe with ‘Danger’ printed on the side. Seems mankind has finally realized the threat this thing contained within has, but they haven’t yet learned that they have no hope of containing it. The three flee as the contents are breaking free.

There he is. The Minah Bird. The most powerful thing with wings. Proof that while four legs are good, two legs are power incarnate. The baddest of the birds. The devourer of peace. The humans really thought they could showcase this thing as a circus exhibit? While the bird hops off to place the heads of all employee’s first borns in their iceboxes, the dogs can’t help but follow it back to the hole. For using the same gravity as it is, the bird ties the dogs noses together. Inki, who was hiding in a bucket is relieved to be rid of the pests. He tries to shake with the bird that also emerged from the bucket. The bird flicks him away.

Since Inki’s bone is worth risking certain painful death for, #1 chases the kid into the tent and up onto the high wire. Being a side show exhibit and a canine, the two are out of their element and try to get back to safety. But there’s someone else on the wire. Hopping on the wire. Making the wire come more and more undone with every hop. This is why we don’t take our cages for granted, Inki. You could be safe and sound right now. Maybe minus a bone, but the threat of having dozens of your internal ones taken away from you would not exist. #1 makes it back to the platform, but Inki falls onto the trampoline below. As punishment for breathing the same air as him, the bird hops on Inki’s bouncing head to the platform.

This gets Inki’s bone stuck in the platform and when #1 tries to wrench it free, both fall onto the trapeze. #2 returns and tries swinging on another trapeze to nab that bone. (Would’ve been cool for Jones to let these guys appear one last time.) For existing on the same plane of existence as him, the bird gives #2 a 1000 lb. barbel. If #2 had let go of his trapeze, his liver would be painting the stands right now. But he didn’t, and when he lets go of the weight, he is flung back into the other two, and all three end up flying into a bucket of water.

The bird was in there, of course. And he’s finally decided that if these three are going to keep bothering him, he’s just going to take the source of the trouble for himself. The bone really does look fetching on him.

Favorite Part: Inki is hiding from #1 and #1 is hunting Inki. They find each other’s rear ends sticking out from opposite sides of a canvas, and each lights a TNT stick. They both walk away and NEITHER one gets hurt. That’s not how it’s supposed to go!

Personal Rating: 2. I would understand if you felt uncomfortable at the dark skinned human locked up for light skinned human’s enjoyment. And the best part of Inki’s shorts, (the bird) hardly features.

The Gay Anties


Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Chapin, Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy, and Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 15, 1947.

The late 1800’s do look like an idyllic time to live. Media has told me so! It’s a shame that any cartoons at the time were on zoetrope, or I’d definitely give these years a visit. Just long enough for a picnic, anyway. I’ve always wanted to go on one of those. They must’ve been the high point  of fun once. Just look at everyone high-stepping to the park to partake of food amidst the wonder of nature that mankind put a fence around and claimed as city property.

One couple has set up shop on the riverbank. Even though they look like a very healthy happy relationship, she won’t stop being so coy. She gives him the side peek of genuine interest, he responds with a mustache wave to show the feeling is mutual,(wish I wanted a mustache so I could do that) but when he tries to hold her hand, he gets a mousetrap for his trouble. I mean really, you’ll let a guy eat your food but physical contact is too much? These mixed signals are why I prefer animals to most people.

Oh goody! The local ants have heard the picnic’s call and will now take the remainder of the picture’s focus. Who likes food stealing gags? That’s mostly all you’re getting. They take the cake, the hot dogs, even the soda, too. But they’re pretty smart, so they use the goods as simple machines. Donuts make delectable wheels, and make transporting bananas much easier on the thorax. And like the old saying goes: teamwork makes the sandwich. A perfect opportunity to use the ‘hold the onions’ sign gag again. (I kinda wish they would shake things up with a ‘hold everything BUT the onions’ sign gag.)

But for their skills, you have to remember they are ants and as such, tend to be seen as nothing more than insects by humans if they’re even seen at all. The man takes the sandwich without even a thank you, angering the chef ant. But picnics aren’t just all sitting and eating I’m told. There is usually some sort of physical activity to take part in. Humans have choices like croquet, or horseshoes, or maybe even touch football. Ants are smaller than sports equipment, but they have solutions. Flowers make good dresses, corn silk can be used as hair, and olives can augment your nonexistent tats and iss. Put it all together and  you have the human equivalent of a fur suit. It’s not a fetish, it’s their lifestyle.

Some ants don’t dance, but they can sing. Being so small, their voice kind of sounds like the Chipettes with chipmunk voices. Now me, I never found sped up voices annoying like a majority of people. It seems like a majority of ants don’t share my views. They’d rather isolate themselves in areas that have little to no air, and thus, no sound. At least the one in the juice uses a straw to breathe. I hope the one in the jar is pleased with the prison she just made for herself. The singer is shut up the way most are: fruit. (Fruit that shrinks as it travels towards her. A whole banana was launched, but a chunk small enough to just cover her face hits her. What, did a fruit bat eat most of it in the air?)

Meanwhile, the chef ant has just had her third sandwich stolen by the man. (What kind of metabolism allows him to still be hungry after just sitting and ogling?) The chef sets up some karma by placing the woman’s hand in between bread and mustard. And hunger mcgee takes the bait. She slaps him into the water. Now, she could tell he was holding her hand. (Which she had no problems by now as their relationship was several minutes longer by this point.) Logically, she should have felt the handwich being constructed. Is this a very specific kind of foreplay I never needed to know about? Was she just expecting him to nibble around her fingers, and maybe lick the condiment off? (Hmm… that actually does sound pretty hot, to be honest.)

Oh yeah, the ants take what they couldn’t finish back to the nest. Humans may act high and mighty, but our insect overlords are the true rulers of the planet. How many mass extinctions have they survived?

Favorite Part: The ant dancers were actually kinda attractive, but I’m more impressed with their clever get-ups. I never would have though of using corn silk for hair.

Personal Rating: 2. It’s not terribly funny, but it’s cute enough. Too bad it can’t stand on even footing with ant pictures Freleng’s unit had already made and would make later.

Notes to You

“Poor dear.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 20, 1941.

And we bring the month of horror to a close with one more tie-in to the month’s post. What could be more thematically appropriate than a cat at night?

Ah yes, Night. Black as tar dipped in shadows. A time where the absence of light helps you realize how insignificant you really are. How vulnerable. You wouldn’t last three minutes against those who thrive in dark. Might as well sleep so you can manage to avoid the feelings of dread that will consume all empty space available in your mind. Helps that you’re probably exhausted to boot. It is at such a moment we find Porky. The best friend I’ve never personally met due to him being animated and I, not so much.

Murphy’s Law. Always lying in wait. Ready to pounce on the best laid plans of mice, men, salmon, and sea turtles. If you’ve got the gift of life, you’ve got an appointment with this phenomenon. All you have to do is anticipate. It will catch you when you stop. These two forces of nature intersect when an alley cat picks the fence bordering Porky’s domicile as the perfect location to partake in the only kind of wauling he partakes of: caterwauling.

Understandably, Porky is not pleased with the feline crooner. It’s around this time that you will take note (s to you) of that peculiar feeling we call deja vu. We’ve discussed a very similar plot over a decade prior.  So, even though this short was the original, you’re liable to see the more polished, colored reimagining first. It hurts me on a spiritual level to have to put Porky down, but the latter cartoon really does everything here, but better.

There’s a few differences. One that I like is when Porky sets out a dish of milk for the cat while he waits with his gun. It remembers that Porky’s patience isn’t the only thing getting exhausted. The cat (That I am now calling ‘Notes’ for obvious reasons.) is able to down the dairy delight without getting a bullet through the cranium. Of course, since cat’s are the natural world’s a-holes, he wakes Porky for no other reason than that it amuses him.

After lulling Porky back to sleep with a lullaby, and placing him back in his bed, he wastes as little as time as possible in turning on the radio, full blast. He leaves to keep in his spirit contained within his body, but doesn’t let up with the songs. Even entering the domicile again to make sure Porky’s ears catch the noise his larynx pitches. It’s hard to sympathize with Notes once he passes such a threshold. At least Sylvester would spend most of his picture’s running time out of Elmer’s place. Makes it easy to wonder why Elmer couldn’t just try ignoring the sound better, and since both are being jerks in their own unique ways, you don’t feel too bad when both end up dead in the end.

Oh! Don’t worry! Freleng and the Frelettes don’t go so far as to let Porky die. But rather than using a more cartoony version of killing, say, blowing a cat up with dynamite, Porky opts to just shoot the kitty. And don’t let Notes’s singing and hamming up his wound make you think he’s faking. Porky just shot a cat through the chest. Your sympathies probably won’t stay with him after such a stunt, regardless of how much you don’t care for cats. It’s pretty out of character for the guy, too. He doesn’t jump to murder as a solution for those who annoy him unless he was already hunting them.  At least Porky feels guilt for having to resort to such extreme measures, and from what I was taught before leaving religion behind, that should be enough of a punishment.

Murphy’s law, my friends. It returns with seven of Notes’s nine lives to continue the serenade with total immunity to guns now. (4 and 8 have gone to heaven and hell, respectively.) It’s an ending to be proud of as it stays on the singin’ sextuplets for over thirty seconds. (Gotta let them finish the song. Not like they’ve been singing throughout the rest of the picture.) And with that said, I’ve brought things full circle back to Porky-centric ghost stories. Will the cycle repeat the next time we meet? It wouldn’t be fun if I told you. Wait like the mortal you are. You’ll have a happy Halloween to keep you company.

Favorite Part: Porky is so sleepy that his head hits the pillow before he can lie down properly. It’s up to the rest of his body to get itself into slumber position. Cute; like a child insisting they are not tired and being betrayed by the eyes they thought were on their side.

Personal Rating: 2. The remake really was better in all ways. It kept the best jokes, gave the cat role to someone who had been building a screen presence, fixed the ending to be less horrific and more, you know, funny. It’s the superior product. If there wasn’t slight differences, you’d actually do fine to pretend this didn’t exist.

Shop Look & Listen

I’d like to hold a hand like that myself.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Dave Monahan. Animation: Cal Dalton; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 21, 1940.

There was a video game released in 2007 titled “Super Mario Galaxy.” It was a major hit with both critics and consumers and everyone agreed; they wouldn’t mind a sequel. The creators would deliver with “Super Mario Galaxy 2”, but not because of fan outcry. Rather, it was because they themselves had so many ideas for that one project that one game wasn’t enough to hold them all. I tell you this, because I think something similar happened about 70 years earlier.

Earlier in the year 1940, Freleng’s unit released a cartoon titled “Little Blabbermouse.” It wasn’t anywhere near close to being the studio’s best work. It was just one of their gag oriented cartoons using a mischief of mice taking a tour of a department store as an overlay. The title was referring to one particular mouse who’s one defining character trait was not shutting up.  (A good three years before Sniffles took up that role.) They couldn’t have thought this idea was 14K of comedy gold. But hey, all these gags means one less cartoon idea to come up with while they were brainstorming about this rabbit of theirs that seemed to be taking off.

Thus, we have this sequel short. And Blabbermouse even gets his own title card!

*Is my internal fear showing?*

Eww. I don’t like that face. It’s making him look like a child comma molester. And you know, they didn’t need to use that at all. Blabby hardly features in this feature. Gets about four and a half lines total. Hardly befitting the blabber name.

Well, our gags take place in J. T. Gimlet’s department store. A few decent gags are available on the banners outside the building. But the one about the hours confuses me a little. Oh, I get the joke “Sunday 9-6 If we were open Sundays” But why do they bother listing weekdays and Saturdays separately if they’re going to say the same hours? Either switch the times up, or list them as one. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Our host is the same as it was in the previous short. (Which I’ve yet to discuss, because it’s more fun for me to not know what surprises I will discuss each week. I hope this isn’t your first time here. What a horrible post to sell someone on.) If I can steal a name from another short, then I can call him W. C. Fieldmouse. Showing some mercy to those of us who might have seen the other cartoon, they skip the preparation of their trip and take off. (Reusing the same animation they did last time.) Essentially, they travel by a gondola that is big enough to hold a crowd thrice their size.

Fieldmouse shows them the shoe section where we get a joke that I don’t get. (Are there shoes called mules?) Then, an art gallery where we see “Whistler’s Mother” and “The Thinker” doing what their names suggest. Then we see some of the robotic devices for sale, and they demonstrate what they can do. There’s a device that snuffs out cigars for you, and another one that seems like it was built to play poker all by itself. (It couldn’t be comfortable to sit with those robotic arm attachments pressing into your chest.) It can shuffle, cut, deal, cheat and kill cheaters all by itself. Which means you’re obsolete and not needed anymore, so you might as well go home.

B.M. has been annoying W.C. sporadically during this tour, and the larger mouse threatens him with bodily harm, should he speak once more. (I do love the animation of Fieldmouse stress sweating as he struggles to contain his rage. It was worth using in both shorts.)The tour then comes to a machine that can cut lengths of ribbon for your purchasing pleasure, and wrap it up for you as well. Blabber then opens his mouth again, and Fieldmouse prepares to make good on his promise. But instead of getting his hands dirty, he just has the machine wrap the little pest up instead. I hope it was worth it, as Blabbermouse’s father is a policeman. And policemen aren’t scared of anything. They’re brave and strong. We’reluckythey’resobraveandstrongandwillingtoprotectus.Geewhiz,IwishIcouldbeasbraveasstrongasapolicemansomeday.ToobadIhavenointentionofbeingapolicemansomeday.Itdoesn’tlineupwithmypersonalinterests,butIguessI’mgladthattheoptionisalwaysavailable.That’sthegreatthingaboutbeingapoliceman,anyonecandoit.Well,Iguessnoteveryone.Womenbecomepolicewomen,don’tthey?Oraretheystillcaleedpolicemanaswell?Orwhataboutcops?Isthereadifferencebetweenpolicemenandcops?Andwhy….

Favorite Part: The first time Blabbermouse speaks up, Fieldmouse gives him a good smack on the back of the head, while reprimanding him in rhyme no less. History’s first rap battle victory!

Personal Rating: 2. It only escapes one because it had different gags than its predecessor, and therefore, you can justify showing it to your friends if you feel you need to.

Fox Pop

“I’m practically sold already!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones. A Merrie Melody released on September 5, 1942.

A man sits alone in his cabin. Vulnerable and alone. And some sort of wild animal is heading in his direction. A wolf? Nope, too small for a wolf. It’s a fox! And that thing could cause rabies or chicken famines! But the man is lucky this time, for the fox just takes his radio back to the forest and proceeds to hack it to bits. Two crows are stumped to this very un-foxlike behavior. He tells them his tale.

You see, whilst he was scrounging through the trash cans for food, he overheard the radio saying that foxes are what is “in” at the moment. They’re going to be everywhere and every lady will want one around their neck. This pleases the fox very much, as he imagines what a wonderful world it would be if there were foxes walking freely amongst the humans. (I want to live in such a world.) The radio doesn’t go into details about how these foxes will be in such locations, but it probably expected only humans to be listening, and they’d know.

The fox heads to location the radio said the foxes were coming from: Sterling Silver Fox Fur Farm. He gets himself trapped fairly quickly, but the owner turns him away. It’s fairly racist, but they’re only accepting silver foxes like their name says. Red ones are o-w-t, out. The fox that we will call ‘Fawkes’ is thrown into the garbage. (Which ironically, is where the racist man also belongs.)  Amongst the scrap metal, he finds just the answer to his problem. Not a gun, but silver paint. He gives his coat a good coat and badda-bing, badda-boom, Fawkes is welcomed into the farm.

He’s brought to his “room.” (It is darkly hilarious to see Mr. Sterling escorting him by the paw, rather than just carrying him by the scruff. These foxes lives in luxury for their remainder of life.) Just as he gets settled, the next door fox informs him of the jailbreak that is planned for tonight. And Fawkes is either participating with them, or dying early. His choice. He plays along, but being smaller than the others works to his favor, as he is able to lose himself in the rush and backtrack to the “comfort” of his “suite”. Look, he’s even got a tag attached to his “door”. I mean, door.

It’s here that he learns the awful truth: this place wants the skins of foxes! And I do love his childish naivete. “How will they… get it off of me?” The grindstone knows! Fawkes decides that maybe this place isn’t so great after all, and flees. The hounds are sent after him, chasing him through log and pond alike. But what’s this? The miracle of water has reverted his fur back to its original red! He happily shows the dogs that he is not silver and they have no need to chase him. They’re not racist though, they’re speciesist and pound him for daring to be born vulpine.

And that’s Fawkes’s story. Upon hearing all this, the crows join in and help the little guy smash that problem box that started it all. A kind of relationship I’m not used to seeing between these two animals.

“I’ll give you something to crow about!” “Don’t fox with me!”

Favorite Part: The next door cellmate is pretty bass. He makes a key by biting one out of his nail file. In one chomp!

Personal Rating: 3. A hilariously dark premise that thankfully doesn’t end like this:

I never know whether to laugh or grimace.

Mexican Joyride

“Let’sth consider the ‘Good Neighbor’ policy.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by Dave Monahan; Animation by Don Williams, Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, and Herman Cohen; Layouts by Thomas McKimson; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 29, 1947.

Vacation is all Daffy’s ever wanted. He has to get away! I hear Mexico is lovely every time of year. So down he drives. It’s weird to not see him flying or hitchhiking. (You know, like how most birds do.) Upon arrival, it’s time to do what’s first on anyone’s mind after a traveling trip.

The first thing we want to know about! Eating! Mexico is well known for having delicious food. Enchiladas, tamales, tacos, burritos, serapes, huevos, and those little jumpy beans you probably wouldn’t try if you knew what they actually were. I’m getting hungry already! Daffy digs in, wondering why he’s heard people say that this food is spicy. He’s not having any problems. Unless you call a fireplace in the mouth a problem. (You do? I didn’t know that about you.)

Daffy begs for some liquid to soothe his scorched mouth, not yet aware that water will do do absolutely nothing. (Or was it known back then and just not acknowledged?) The bartender is happy to oblige, but grabs the tequila. Judging by the pile of stiffs, he still thinks this will be hilarious the tenth time. (It is. Don’t worry.)

Time for tourist activities. Bullfights sound exciting if you’re a psycho. So Daffy…

He’ll have a great time.

Or I’ve spoken too soon. Much like me, Daffy is constantly disappointed that the bull is failing to hit the evil human that is trying to kill an innocent and cute creature. But unlike me, Daffy’s complains that it’s the bull’s problem. And that’s more than a proud bovine can take. So he stomps into the stands to give the duck what for. Daffy fails to notice that the stands are clearing out until its too late. The bull will show Daffy by… making the duck fight… him. Well, things will probably turn out better for him than these guys:

Daffy tries to nail the pen shut with the bull outside, but the bull is helping. One of these two is going to leave the arena in pieces, and his horns and bulk say it won’t be him. But first, he must take a phone call. It’s Daffy giving a farewell message, and the game is on! When the bull charges Daffy’s cape, we fade-out for no real reason that I can see. Why not just do a quick cut? Then Daffy tries a trick that he knows works on birds: covering the bull’s eyes, so he thinks it’s night. (Another fade. Tricked me into thinking we had cut to a whole new joke.) Works until the bull hits a wall.

Time for a cartoon staple: hiding in one of three hiding places, with your pursuer checking all three. Things are made more fun this time, with Daffy popping up to claim to the bull that he isn’t under the last one to check. The bull thinks otherwise, but thanks to another staple: the vocal switch-around, Daffy has him claiming that his prey ISN’T under the last hat. And he’s willing to bet money on that. Daffy makes a tidy profit with the bull’s life savings. (Living through bull fights pays great.)

Since he can no longer face his friends and is now homeless, destitute and useless, (Daffy’s words not mine!) the duck tells him suicide is really the only viable option left. (No it isn’t. I used to look up to you, duck!) But when the bull misses, Daffy makes the mistake of giving him a tommy-gun. Oh, it’s not a mistake because convincing anyone to off themselves is the worst thing you can do don’t try and debate me, it’s a mistake because the bull comes to his senses and is now extra angry and wielding a tommy-gun.

Time to cut the trip short! Daffy runs back to his hotel for his stuff, loses the bull in the elevator, and drives for home, happy to be safe. We all know who’s riding in the backseat, but he’s staying silent for now. Just giving us a wink, and quietly plotting Daffy’s murder. (Which will get a whole lot worse if the bull finds those seats are made of leather.)

Favorite Part: After Daffy advises suicide. He’s already got a butcher shop set up. When life gives you hamburger, right?

Personal Rating: 3

Malibu Beach Party

“I don’t want’a be covered in sand.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Gil Turner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 14, 1940.

Like many kids, I had the standard ‘dream of being a celebrity’ dream. I was going to be a star of my own direct-to-video movies (I’m that old, yes) I was going to do all my own stunts, and people were going to love me and I’d be on talk shows. Oh, and parents and kids would both adore me because I’d be entertaining AND educational. What changed my mind about such solid and realistic career plans? Well, I don’t fancy the idea of having to socialize with other people in Hollywood. (Why must I entertain the amateurs?)

But thanks to cartoons like this, I can get a glimpse of what kinds of things happen when all the biggest stars of the day get together. Jack Bunny is playing host, and is still stuck with that name despite being all human in this short. He’s in character, seeing as the invitations he sends come with a coupon that will give you a free 25 cent meal in exchange for fifty cents. He’s accompanied with his lady friend Mary, who gets greeted by Spencer Tracy. She’s Miss Livingstone, he presumes, and Kay Kaiser confirms. (Both glad to have escaped from that squeaking Africa.)

Always on the lookout for a way to make money, Jack is selling boats and yachts. While a certain George hangs out with the rest of the rafts. The typical “Gable has big ears joke’ this time is him using them to paddle through the sea, and ‘Garbo has big feet’ one has her using them as water skis. Back on the beach, John Barrymore announces that he is here to bury Caesar. Bad luck for Mr. Romero. (At least now there will be no future arguments about his mustache.)

Bunny has musical accompaniment by “Pill” Harris and his orchestra, and the tunes are enough to get people dancing on the furniture. And we’ve got “Winchester” tending bar. Bunny wouldn’t spring for more than a half-pint of liquor, but it’s a party so he IS willing to splurge on his water bill to fill those glasses. Now for our singing act: Deanna Durbin. Her voice is so lovely that she could even get Ned Sparks to smile. (And he does with great effort!) Mickey Rooney is smitten with her but his difficulties with height means he can’t catch the flower she tosses. Carey Grant has just made a mortal enemy.

Bunny now hypes up the featured attraction: himself! And that means violin playing that many of us are too uncultured to appreciate as the highest art. But with the kind of celebrities we have walking out, I don’t fell like I’m in such bad company. (Even if they have comedically oversized heads.) Winchester too, tries to take his leave, but his boss ain’t having it. At least one person is going to listen to him play, and if he has to sit on Winchester to make it happen, so be it. (I wish I could say this was the first time in history the white man stood over the black.)

Favorite Part: Ned Sparks attitude is so bad that even a literal crab tells him to cork his windpipe. I like the crab’s line delivery.

Personal Rating: 2, if you know your old celebs. Probably a 1 for everyone else. At least “Hollywood Steps Out” had some decent gags that didn’t completely rely on knowledge of the stars.

Knights Must Fall

“You can’t tell a knight from a day without a program.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Manuel Perez, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 16, 1949.

Bugs lives in medieval times, when it wasn’t odd to see a rabbit as a squire, I suppose. But manners still existed, and Bugs doesn’t show a very good example of them, as he sticks what leftover carrot parts he didn’t want to eat into the suit of Sir Pantsalot. (His name really is Pantsalot.) If you want to over analyze things, as humans typically do, that action can be interpreted as Bugs calling Pantsy ‘garbage’. With honor at stake, the knight challenges to bunny to a duel, and he accepts.

The name of the game is jousting. The two combatants will charge each other from the mount of their choosing with their lances. Bugs rides an adorable little donkey that will now be known to you as ‘Jacques.’ They don’t really stand a chance. Either getting knocked apart, or just having the lance whittled down to splinters. And since everyone expects one of the two on the field to die at any time, it’s a fast-running sport and that means it’s halftime. We’re playing the “Rubber Band’s” one-hit wonder. A true blast from the past!

After the festivities, we rejoin the rivals who have moved on to clubs by this point. I think Bugs has tried to win the fair way long enough. Trick time! And a spring is just what he needs to fling Pantsy’s morning star back in his face. (Is that the right term? Even though it has no spikes?) But what really turns the tables is Bugs hiding where the sun don’t shine, so it’s always knight: inside Pantsalot’s armor. And he’s got a needle. After the poking, he gets his adversary to chase him into a manhole cover. (These times are well known for their sewer systems.) Victory!

Is what I’d be saying if Bugs had won yet. For Pantsalot has brought his reserves, and they are going to take the rabbit on all at once. (It’s only fair to fight fire with cheating.) Bugs isn’t going to be cowed like that, and quickly fashions a tank for Jacques to carry and they ride head on into the fray. And somewhere, I’m sure heralds still sing and shout, but there’s a lack of joy in Drop Seat Mannor, for Sir Pantsalot has been knocked out. Him and all his toadies. I like to think Bugs indirectly killed them. That is the point of a joust, after all, right?

And making the best of a bloody situation, Bugs makes a used armor lot out of all the leftover shells. Once more sticking his refuse into what once held a man named Pantsalot. That’s just cold.

Favorite Part: Bugs knocks on Pants’s helmet, saying that the guy knows who he is; he was here last night with Joe. Which leads to three zingers mashed together: the knight’s goofy smile, Bugs saying the guy really should have known better, and the hatch disappearing for a brief moment.

Personal Rating: 3

What’s brewin, Bruin?

“Oh, goody, goody! Uh, a snowman!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese; Animation by Phil Monroe, Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughn, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado; Effects Animation by A. C. Gamer; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 28, 1948.

Having been four years since their last cartoon, we’re given a quick reintroduction to Henry, Ma, and Junyer. The parents are playing a game of gin rummy, and according to the score list, Henry has yet to win. But with Ma’s poker face, that’s no surprise. So challenging her in the first place was Henry’s first mistake. His second was to take advice from his son. Thanks to Junyer’s “tips” Henry loses again. He takes it very well for his standards.

Well, fun time must be put on hold as they really need to get to sleep if they’re going to bypass winter. (They never make the mistake of calling it hibernating. Well done, Chuck!) Each says their prayers and gets into their respective bed. (According to Junyer’s chart on the wall, he’s very good at ‘behinding his ears.’) The problems immediately arise. Ma’s a snorer and Junyer’s cradle creaks. It then falls apart and Junyer’s crying adds to the cacophony. Since he’s a half-decent father deep down, and it will shut the kid up, Henry allows the tyke to share his bed.

That was his third mistake, as Junyer’s bulk flattens Henry, but things get more unpleasant because of a leak in the roof. As the son of the household, it’s Junyer’s job to plug it up. The water finds an out through his ears, so that solution won’t work. Henry jams the hole full of long underwear, which holds a little better, but eventually leads to a bigger problem. (Who in this household wears those?)The window is also open, per Ma’s wishes seeing as how she opens it every time Henry closes it. Even bricks can’t keep her away. (Wives always win.)

When the stuffed moose head on the wall falls on Henry, Junyer and Ma take notice of the strange being in their house, and chase it with a gun and a mallet. After Henry gets revealed, Junyer earns another star on his ‘good boy’ chart by bringing the spanking brush to Henry. But no, this final straw demands more than that. Henry is going to get some sleep, and his family is NOT going to interfere with that. This means tying the two to their beds, (Junyer’s now fixed) muzzling their mouths, (Junyer’s muzzle miscolored) plugging that hole correctly, nailing the window shut and even making sure the clock is silenced. This will be a blissful slumber to savor!

And it’s now spring. Plants are sprouting, animals are calling, and ice is melting. It’s all very beautiful, but very loud. And Henry has suffered too much to have to put up with it! He yells for things to be quiet, and the universe finally cuts him some slack. Time rewinds back to winter so the bear can finally get some rest. (Thankfully, the short ends before time repeats the whole picture.)

Favorite Part: It really is great that Henry got to win at last. Yes, he’s an a-hole who deserves just about every misfortune that befalls him, but he just wanted to enjoy winter the way all creatures should: totally unaware. I’m happy for him.

Personal Rating: 3

Gopher Goofy


Supervision by Norman McCabe; Story by Don Christensen; Animation by I. Ellis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 27, 1942.

You know, I think ‘Bud’ is a great name to bequeath to the human featured in this short. He’s one of those odd types who obsess over their lawn, and therefore is probably using every child that has laid their little toe on it as fertilizer. He’s proud of his work. The grass is perfect, the flowers smell delectable (the way he’s snorting them, they probably smell like rubber cement) the gophers are eating the flow- gophers?

Well, lookie here! Two New York gophers have just arrived to partake of the this guy’s lawn. It’s gotta be healthier then the stuff they’ve been eating. The bigger one with the obstructing hair is named Virgil, and the smaller one doesn’t have a name. But c’mon! We’re all calling him ‘Ross’, just as the animators were surely doing. They are not welcome on Bud’s lawn, and he aims to eradicate them. Too bad he sucks at it. Can’t manage to decapitate them via hoe, or shoot them via gun.

Gassing them actually seems to have some effect, as not only to they get a whiff of it, but it starts messing with their heads and even makes them float out of their tunnels. (Bud? Just because the gas is labeled ‘He’ doesn’t mean you’re allowed to just use it for any random purpose.) Hilariously enough, their stupor is enough to get a drinking crow to kick his habit. They do try to flee from Bud, but crash into a tree and land in his tomatoes. He traps them under his hat, reaches for… oh, I hazard to guess. Could this end up with him mistaking fruit blood for the rodent varitey?

They don’t dwell on that for two long, as the gophers were smart enough to just tunnel away. (Burrowing species. Gotta love them.) So, since it seems like they think their tunnels are their sanctuary, the only logical thing to do is pump it full of another substance. Something more liquidy than a gas. And it should probably be something Bud already has on hand. Water! Of course! The solution was so obvious! Hope the little guys are thirsty!

They’re good thanks, but seeing as how he kind of is their landlord, the two decide they will return all the water they don’t need back to him. They burrow a tunnel leading back to him, pinching the hose until it’s finished. Once they finish and let it go, the resulting spray shoots Bud into the air. He finally snaps and upon landing, burrows himself until he runs into his fountain. We accept him, one of us! Gooble gopher, gopher gobble.

Favorite Part: When Bud says “I’m not really a mean man, folks. Honest.” between his bouts of insane laughter. He sounds like every single person who has tried to justify killing something smaller than himself.

Personal Rating: 3 that just barely passes the 2.