Hiss and Make Up

“I don’t want to hear one peep out of you!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Story by Michael Maltese; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 11, 1943.

As an animal expert, I know that certain animals can’t be kept together and still live a happy life. Like a mongoose and a king cobra. Or an anteater and a termite. Or a turkey and an octopus. Or the most common: a dog and a cat. They’re just not meant to be together unless the feline is an ingredient. Don’t believe me? The animal expert? Maybe this picture will convince you?

Our prototype Granny has three pets. Roscoe the dog, Wellington the cat, and Tweetee the canary. Two of these three are incompatible, and therefore fight like dats and cogs. The old woman can’t stand it and finally tears into the two. Not only do they fight constantly, but they have their other quirks that add frustration to an otherwise happy home. Wellington doesn’t catch enough mice, and Roscoe tends to track mud indoors. She delivers an ultimatum: one more disturbance out of either of them, and they’ll end up outside, suffering in Satan’s splooge: snow.

The two try to behave, oh yes. But have you ever tried to fight your basic instincts? I mean, would you last if you had to stop eating bacon? Or watching “The Mandolorian?” It’d be like asking me to stop watching “Fantasia.” It’s against the ancient laws of nature that have been in effect since life first came into being. In short, the two are having trouble. Roscoe gets Wellington’s tail to be rocking chair’ed, and Wellington smacks Roscoe while trying to get a fly. Still, it’s not enough to get the granny’s attention, and the two are still allowed to stay inside. The old lady heads to bed, leaving the pets to adhere to the honor system.

The two keep the tricks coming. Using the two’s  insecurities against one another, which includes fake mice and real mud. Still, they both manage to keep their owner from finding out, and are still inside. It’s time to finish this. The old woman would never forgive the cat if he were to attack the canary who enjoys the pair’s arguments about as much as the lady does. (You just have to learn to find the enjoyment in these situations. Once I did that, I found my siblings to be endless sources of entertainment.) So, by gluing some feathers to the cat’s maw, and hiding the bird, Roscoe’s victory is nearly assured.

As to be expected, the woman delivers a beat down to the cat. (I’m sad, I don’t get to see the cat abuse. That’s why I watch cartoons. To see the things I can’t in reality.) It doesn’t last long, as Tweetee reveals himself. (You’d think he’d be all for getting rid of a dangerous predator.) The old lady is happy to see her bird alive, but the cat is not pleased with what the dog just pulled. Time for the old “mad dog” routine, courtesy of some shaving cream. Why does a (most likely) unmarried lady have that? Actually… I don’t want to know.

Stop typing your theories!

Roscoe gets his turn at a beating. This doesn’t set well with him, so he heads toward the sleeping cat. (Many back and forth shots here. I’m not fond of those, but at least it’s over faster than when Monty Python did it.) Another fight ensues, but the bird is reaching his breaking point. In fact, even after the other two successfully dodge the blame, they immediately find the canary ruining the place, whilst making their usual calls. In turn, they try and kill the bird off. Not the best position to be caught in. Speaking of…

The old woman has had enough and the two are banished to the outdoors. Roscoe has the right attitude and looks miserable, but why is Wellington smiling? I’ve always said that cats were unintelligent, but I always though it was just a petty jab made to hide my own weaknesses. Well, he managed to do one last thing before they were thrown out: opening his lips reveals Tweetee trapped behind his teeth.

Favorite Part: When proto-Granny is coming downstairs while Roscoe is trying to remove his framing. Unable to clean up the mess in time, he initiates a blackout to keep Granny upstairs.

Personal Rating: 3

The Goofy Gophers

“Commando tactics.”

Directed by Arthur Davis*; Animation by Don Williams, Manny Gould, J.C. Melendez, and Cal Dalton. A Looney Tune released on January 25, 1947.

*It was started by Clampett, but the man left the studio, leaving his animation unit to fend for themselves. When they were handed off to Mr. Davis, they finished the short under his supervision.

What’s this? A short named after its title characters, that also happens to be their debut? That doesn’t happen! Not here! And yet, here we are. Who would have thought?

It is indeed the first appearance by Mac and Tosh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I must set the scene. Picture a vegetable garden. A lovely, pristine vegetable garden, full to bursting with mouth watering goodies. Crisp, crunchy carrots. Leafy, green spinach. Plump, dirt-covered potatoes. It’s enough to make you hunger for a Sizzler.

With such a bounty of edible treasures, you can expect thieves. Whoever owns this place has thought of that, and has a watchdog on standby. He’s a thespian. (The dogs in these cartoons usually are.) He also would like to sleep, but he hears munching in the fields. Yep. Gophers. Goofy Gophers. They’re gray and white, their eyes tend to melt into their fur, and Blanc and Freberg seem to no be entirely sure which one of the two they’re voicing. Humble beginnings, indeed.

The dog, (who will also get a name. So we’ll call him…) Ian, tries to get close to them disguised as a tomato plant. They aren’t easily fooled, and smash him with a pumpkin and a shovel, before diving back into their hiding places. Safely underground, they continue their produce pilfering. Ian lies in wait as the scarecrow, and gets dragged under too. He is returned almost immediately, as they aren’t quite privy to dog food.

As the rodents continue to munch, Ian’s paw walks over to them disguised as a rather fetching gophette. Proof that Mac and Tosh aren’t gay! (Unless they’re bi, but really, who cares? Only losers spend time considering animated characters sexualities.) The two each get a dance with the “girl.” Ever the polite ones, they don’t get jealous of the other and happily trade off between rounds.

I don’t think they were ever fooled, as they rip the puppet off to reveal what was hiding underneath. Such rude behavior, to play with their emotions like that. That deserves a mousetrap. Okay, Ian has taken about all he can. Time to blow those two to kingdom come! Disguising the explosive as a carrot is a great way to avoid suspicion. Ever the clever pair, they halt the kaboom, and supply their own with a paper bag. It’s enough to fool the dog, who feels he has finally succeeded in his task. Time for a well earned nap.

Well, if Mac and Tosh want to eat without him breathing down their pelts, they’ll simply have to get rid of him. Since he’s a heavy sleeper, it’s not too hard to load him into a rocket launcher and send him off to the moon. (It’s the always the most polite who are the most savage.) Well, now the place is all theirs, right? Not if Bugs has any say in it. Now, they’ve met their match. (His voice sounds a little too high pitched. What is in those veggies?)

Favorite Part: The gophers wearing bonnets made out of the food they’re stealing. Referring to each other as “Carmen” and “Amber” is the carrot icing on the carrot cake.

Rating: 4

Hop, Look and Listen

“I never thought just being a pussthycat could get stho complicated.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Manny Gould, and I. Ellis; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. A Looney Tune released on April 17, 1948.

At the zoo, most of the animals are sleeping. The only one who isn’t is the kangaroo joey. Seeing as how all children think sleep is boring, he hops out of his mother’s pouch, out of the cage they share, out of the zoo they live in, and begins looking around. If you haven’t guessed yet, this kangaroo is Hippety. Making his film debut.

His exploration leads him to Sylvester’s house. The cat is doing some fishing. Er, I think you can call it that if you aren’t going after fish. His method is baiting hooks with cheese, and throwing it into a mouse-hole. He manages to get a bite, and he reels it in, but the poor little thing is just that: little. Not worthy of being of meal. He is spared today, but Sylvester still laments the lack of larger mice.

Hippety enters and gets himself in walls. (I’m honestly surprised that he can fit back there.) He gives Sylvester’s line a tug, and the cat ends up pulling out the marsupial, meeting him for the first time. He measures his catch. Yep. That’s what we in the business like to call a “bigg’un.” He runs from the house, screaming. In the yard, he blabbers to the bulldog about what he has just witnessed. The pooch isn’t pleased to hear this, and sends the cat back in to face what he fears.

Sylvester tries catching the joey in a bag. He manages to cover Hippety, but still ends up going for a wild ride. He is thrown out again. The dog, believes he is doing what is best for the cat, and sends him back in. (At least arming him with an axe as well.) Sylvester still fails, but starts thinking. If this really is a mouse, (which is definitely is. I mean, mice are well known for being at least three feet tall.) then that means, as a cat, he should be able to win. Time for a montage!

It’s brief, but it’s a montage. Sylvester does some exercises to get himself in fighting shape. Maybe he didn’t train enough. Maybe cats just can’t stand up to the awesome power of Osphranter rufus. Whatever the reason, he is thrown out once more. Looks like Hippety’s fun will end though, as his mother has come to claim him. Just then, the dog enters to take on the mouse himself. He freaks out upon seeing a “mouse” that is even larger than Sylvester saw, with two heads to boot!

He packs his things, takes Sylvester with him, and leaves. As he puts it, when you see mice that size, it’s time to get on the water wagon. (Which they literally do. Beats walking.)

Favorite Part: The final time Hippety throws Sylvester out. The background artists actually took the time to be consistent, and draw the windows from the previous throw-outs, still broken. That’s pride in your craft, it is.

Personal Rating: 3

Daffy Dilly

“Sthufferin’ sthuccotash, what am I waiting for!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, and Phil Monroe; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 21, 1948.

It sucks to be a novelty salesman. Despite having all manner of wondrous ways to chase away doldrums, nobody bats an eye at your wares. They never do. They never will. Yet, Daffy continues to try and peddle the wares he was given to peddle. Squirting flowers, joke books, rib ticklers, and chicken inspector pins. (Hey. Those are guaranteed to attract the ladies. Not like rubber chickens. I’m speaking from experience.)

It’s getting so the only way one can make an honest living is to save a millionaire’s life. But what are the odds- it’s then that Daffy hears a very interesting new bulletin. Seems there is a very rich type, a millio-somehting or other, who isn’t doing so well these days. Like every rich person ever born, ever going to be born, he is joyless. In fact, he hasn’t laughed in fifty years. He’d give a million bucks for just one laugh. (Wow. What are the odds?) Daffy has heard all he needs, so he sets off for this J.P. Cubish’s mansion.

Daffy makes it to the premises, but that was the easy part. He’s now gotta get past… the butler. Actually, that might not be too hard, as after a sampling of Daffy’s merchandise, he admits the duck permission to see his master. Or not. The door he has Daffy enter leads right back outside. Daffy tries alternate entrance methods. (A grappling hook. A rope swing. The ole chimney entrance.) Each ones fails. (Catches the butler’s teeth. The butler cuts it. The ole fake chimney gag.)

He may be a tough nut to crack, but every butler has a weakness. This one’s is alcohol. Upon finding what appears to be a package of champagne on the steps, he sneakily plans to chug it all. He doesn’t notice that the bottle was Daffy until the duck is already in the house. A chase ensues, and when it looks like Daffy is caught, he changes tactics. Playing like Bogart, he begins asking some pretty good questions. Why would the butler try and get rid of someone who wants to save his master’s life?

Maybe the butler is just get flustered because of the angry duck accusing him of devious, dastardly doings, but really, why? I think Daffy is on to something. If Cubish never recovers- Heck, if nobody even makes an attempt to cheer him up, why wouldn’t he leave all his money to his manservant? Maybe the butler has done all this before? There’s nobody else trying to make money off of the millionaire in this picture. Maybe they already met their match? With no other competition, it’s just a matter of waiting until the butler will be well off enough to hide out in Cancun for the rest of his days. (Besides, he doesn’t have an answer for where he was on April 16. That’s not a random date. That’s my birthday. You’re always forgetting my birthday.)

The mind games work, and Daffy even offers the butler a head start on his fleeing. Once he’s gone, Daffy enters J.P.’s room. Yep, the old guy don’t look too well. Looks like Daffy will have to use every joke, gag, and novelty in his repertoire if he wants to make this guy laugh. However, as I’m sure we all feel, the simplest things are the funniest, and that may be why J.P. laughs when Daffy trips into the dessert tray. No, laughing is putting it mildly. He chortles. He chuckles. He guffaws. He bellows. He giggles. He. Is! CURED!

In fact, it seems like he enjoys laughter so much, that he has Daffy stand still and be pelted with pastries all day long. I hope Daffy is well paid for sacrificing his dignity like that. Sometimes, the smile of the elderly isn’t reward enough.

Favorite Part: Daffy’s arrival at the mansion. After asking to be let in, the butler responds with a deadpan: “Begone.” (Note to self. Start saying that in the exact same way.)

Personal Rating: 3

Dog Tired

“He’s killing me!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 25, 1942.

I’ll only say this one more time: The brown dog is going to be named “Charles” and the white one will be “Joe.” Next time, I’ll just drop the names I’ve given without any reminder. Remember this well!

The last short of their careers and where are the curious puppies two? Digging a hole of course. All of a sudden, a motorcycle appears out of nowhere and scares them away from their work. I can relate. Motorcycles are on my list of things I can’t stand, but for some reason, I seem to be the only person who does. (If you’re really curious, here’s an abridged version of that list: youtubers bringing their boyfriends/girlfriends into their videos, youtubers letting their cats in their videos, and Squirrel Girl.)

They flee into the nearest place: the local zoo. A strange zoo, where only half the animals are in any sort of enclosure. Sure, it sounds like half the animals have it good, but it’s just going to spell trouble for everyone, guests and exhibits alike. Charles enters by leaping the wall, and lands in a kangaroo’s pouch. Mr. Jones does what might be his first joke with fake Latin and labels the marsupial as “Leapadopterus Rex” (Which almost translates to butterfly/moth king, but not quite.)

Joe, meanwhile got in by squeezing under the front gate. The first animals he comes across are a pair of lovebirds. They begin to get on my nerves, with the male endlessly babbling on about how much he loves his mate. It makes one want to vomit out your duodenum while simultaneously rolling your eyes. But then, the male turns it all around by insulting the dog, and demanding the two get some privacy. (Finally! Someone who recognizes that certain things should only happen between only two! Birds are smarter than humans, confirmed.) Joe meekly leaves, in the process, he trips up a stork who is trying to balance on one leg. (That will be one of our running gags for the evening.)

Charles, meanwhile, is going for a rather bumpy ride. When the kangaroo stops for a flower break, he makes a break of his own. Unfortunately for him, he continues to hop, right into a pipe, doling out some rather amusing pain. Oh, I don’t mean I find dog abuse funny! But the local hyena does. (He laughs to hide his insecurities.) Back to Joe. He sees a bone that is just to his liking. It’s in a lion’s cage, but his moment comes when Charles comes into the big cat’s view. It roars and sends the canine straight up a tree, much to the hyena’s continued delight.

Charles barks at the giggling feliform, but this alerts him to the tree’s other occupant: a monkey. He just stares. That’s all he does. The situation is awkward enough, that Charles tries to leave of his own accord. He lands on the back of a passing porcupine, and slides right back up. The monkey continues to stare. (I always wondered what my spirit monkey looked like. A lifetime quest: completed.) Joe, meanwhile has indeed gotten the lion’s bone and heads off to bury his ill gotten gains. He buries it atop of the creature who was already using the hole: an… ostrich…

Okay. Tirade time. Let’s get this said: OSTRICHES DON’T DO THIS! You might be saying, “Of course they don’t. It’s animation.” Yes, but the fact that it is depicted at all means people believe there’s some modicum of truth there! It’s insulting to these majestic birds! Sure, they aren’t the smartest animals on the planet, but no creature is dumb enough to think that hiding your head is enough to keep you safe. Ostriches are fast, powerful, and possess excellent eyesight! If there’s a blackface of the animal kingdom, then this is it. I’m sorry I had to be the one to label it as such.

The ostrich runs off with the bone, but trips and it lands on a turtle’s back. Joe leaps upon the reptile and the resulting wrestling match has the dog with the shell, and the turtle with the bone. (Naturally, the hyena is beside himself with laughter.) As Charles is still up the tree, the monkey finally gets rid of him by shouting. (A howler monkey is my spirit monkey? The quest shall continue, methinks. That doesn’t correlate to me at all.) Charles dives back into the kangaroo’s pouch. Now, BACK to Joe, (I’m starting to get dizzy) he tackles the turtle, causing the bone to end up in the hippopotamus’s enclosure. (What luck. It’s asleep.)

Joe rushes in, but accidentally ends up going through the hippo’s yawning mouth. Judging by all the splashes, it sounds very wet inside the big animal. (As it should be. If humans are 60% water, I don’t see why a much larger animal would be any less if not equal.) Joe escapes, and likewise, Charles once more exits the marsupial. His leap has him landing in a pelican’s bill. (That hyena can’t recall a time he’s had more fun.) I think it’s time to tie everything all up.

Joe builds up some speed, and runs back to the bone. The hippo yawns again, and the little dog ends up launching off the inclined mouth and crashing past other animals he’s inconvenienced today, like the aforementioned lion and stork. (And you wonder why zoo animals dislike pets so much) His rolling continues and he ends up dislodging his companion from the pelican, and I guess they continue to roll all around the zoo’s perimeter, as they end up back in the kangaroo pouch. Somehow, the hyena is in there as well, still laughing away.

Favorite Part: That monkey. His silent, unwavering stare. It’s so awkward, you can’t help but laugh. (Unless you’re the hyena. For some reason, the monkey’s subtle humor just doesn’t reach that guy.)

Personal Rating: 3

Greetings Bait

“Don’t be so reluctant, Dragon!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 15, 1943.

Fishing. A nice way to sleep and use the lack of fish biting as an excuse. Unless of course, you’re one of a rare few who actually LIKES wrenching a cold, slippery, wide-eyed, innocent animal from its natural habitat and either eating it, or mounting it on a wall. (Or the even rarer one’s who catch and release. They’re my favorite.) Our mystery fisherman of the picture is probably the “eating” type, as he sends his line down with a serving platter.

He has some bait as well. Believe it or else, this worm has a bit of a history. This short actually marks his second appearance! (Out of two.) He previously debuted two years earlier in “The Wacky Worm.” Which is why we’re going to call him “Wack” from now on. It makes me wonder why Freleng didn’t try to develop any more pictures with this worm, seeing as how this one here is an Oscar nominee.

Wack has a mustache, so in Warner Bros. fashion, he talks like Jerry Colona. Upon reaching the bottom of the water, he makes himself a sandwich. By which I mean, he makes “himself” a sandwich. He’s one of those animals who’s happy to be a part of a fishing team. Like these two were:

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Wack is suicidal. As soon as a fish tries to partake of his wacky flesh, the worm darts away, and gives the line a tug to reel in the goods. Switching out the small (but not literally) fry for a bigger catch on the way up. One fish, is that enough? Not for out mystery, fish-tory, man. Down Wack goes for part two. Fish is fish, so he has no qualms about trying to lure in one of the “lesser” varieties. This guy clearly has more mercury inside of him than a shark; if his mannerisms are any indication. He’s not even smart enough to try and take the bait. He’s gotta be fooled into thinking taking the hook is a circus act. (Seriously. Don’t put that guy in your mouth.)

As is befitting his “Wacky” name, out worm is willing to dress as a mermaid to get the fish’s attention. It works, but it isn’t his boss pulling the line up, but a crab instead. Wack almost loses the latest catch in the crab’s digestive tract, before correcting himself. The crustacean isn’t too pleased to be cheated out of a free meal, and chases the little guy. (I figured this was all taking place in freshwater, but the appearance of seahorses says otherwise. I can admit I made a mistake.)

Wack accuses the crab of only being tough due to it’s exoskeleton. (It does make up for his lack of a spine.) Good thing, that as an arthropod, he can shed it to prove the mouthy annelid wrong. Wack turns to us and admits that the following fight isn’t going to be pretty. In fact, the camera is going to return to the surface while he takes on his clawed foe. (Not cool. I had bets to pool!) After our thrashing  subsides, the loser is reeled in. Seems pride really does come before a fall, as Wack is the loser. (And our fisherman is revealed at last! Who else would make use of Colona-worm, than the human Jerry, himself?)

Favorite part: Probably what got this short it’s chance at Oscar-dom. (Oh well. Donald earned it this year) When Wack is being chased, each of the crab’s eye-stalks view him around different corners of a chest. We actually get to see what each eye sees! Wack running away from one, and closer to the other! It’s art!

Personal Rating: 3, as a whole, but the eye segment earns a four on its own.

The Pest that came to Dinner

“I thought there was a ch-chair, there.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by George Hill; Animation by John Carey, Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, and Don Williams; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 11, 1948.

Before we begin, I’d just like to say that I’ve been viewing the new Looney Tunes that have been airing on HBO Max. They’re okay, but are they as good as the classics? Well, they say there are no stupid questions, but that one alone disproves it. Of course not, but they are entertaining. I’ll give them a post of their own; about a decade or so from now. I’ve got a lot of other shorts, movies, and the occasional T.V. series already planned before then.

Relaxation time! My favorite kind of time, and probably Porky’s too. But, there’s a problem: all of his best furniture disappears before his buttocks can make contact. Seems like as bad as we have it in this year, things still sucked back then. Only instead of virus outbreaks, they were stuck with the termite variety. Luckily, Porky only has to deal with one. Unluckily, that one is Pierre. The biggest, hungriest termite on the face of the Earth. And because he is a termite, he is also dressed up like an adorable lumberjack. Because he’s Canadian. Because he’s named Pierre. (And if you want to go full circle: “Pierre” sounds like “pear”, pears are sweet, sweet things are what you want to eat, eating is what a termite does.)

Pierre is also an “artiste” as the Canuck’s say, as not only does he eat the wood, but he makes it into fanciful designs as he does. Of course, Porky TRIES to kill him, but Pierre can eat his way out of any problem. (Shame that all of Porky’s weapons are made of Pierre’s favorite food.) Time to call on the professional: an exterminator by the name of I. M. A. Sureshot. (Oh boy. Another game of initial deciding. Let’s go with Ignatius McAloysius. Sureshot for short.) He’s a dog who wares less clothing than Porky (who rocks a sexy robe in this picture) and has a permanent grin on his face. (He’s either a termite in disguise, or a shark.)

He comes over to help my pig pal. He’s not actually going to do any exterminating, but he does at least provide the tools. Among their attempts: Porky tries to vacuum up Pierre. (The termite eats the handrail Porky is standing on) The two try to flood Pierre out of the wall. (He brings the hose into the room with them, flooding that) and the cartoon classic:  TNT. (Not only does Sureshot not stick around for this one, but he loses his voice for a bit. His mouth moves, but nothing comes out. What is this? Dingo Pictures?)

After the explosion, Porky shows up at Sureshot’s place. He is fed up with the guy’s help, and he and Pierre are teaming up to teach him a lesson. (Before I forget to mention, I like Pierre’s mustache. It’s probably his antennae.) They eat the dog’s desk. But how will they live together in peace? Easy. Porky opens up his own furniture store, filled with Pierre’s artistic talents. (Turning your problem into a solution. That’s quite the grown-up way of handling things. I’m proud of you, Porky.)

Favorite Part: Sureshot gives Porky some poison that is guaranteed to send the target to “Termite Heaven©.” It really works, as when Pierre redirects the spray to Porky, he gives said afterlife a visit. (24/7 wood buffets!)

Personal Rating: 3

The Eager Beaver

“Ge-Ge-Ge-Geronimi-mi-Geronim-Ge-Ge-a-Ge-Ge-Geronim-a-Ge-Ge-Ge-Geronimo.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce. A Merrie Melody released on July 13, 1946.

Another one of nature’s most impressive creatures, IS the beaver. To think, these rodents aren’t just smart enough to make a home for themselves out in water, so their predators have less of a chance to feast on them, but even go so far as to dam flowing waters to make the still bodies of H2O they need. Even using the materials as their food source to boot! It’s fantastic! And furthermore, it’s unbelieva-

(Wait for it)

So, as I was saying, beavers deserve a cartoon of their own.

You know what? These guys deserve two!

Beavers are always busy, right? As long as the camera isn’t on them. Then they leap into action doing what they do best: chopping down trees. (An interesting method they use, is setting one another on ice blocks, to make their teeth chatter. Then they can be used like chainsaws.) Then, they remove the fallen wood of any parts that might get in the way. Excess bark, twigs, that sort of thing. So they just use a corkscrew to get the smooth, creamy, centers out. Then they are ready to be part of the dam.

Out title promised one who is especially eager, and here he comes now. He’s easily identifiable by the ski cap on his head, and lack of voice in his mouth. He wants to join in on the work, but finds it a bit too crowded. (The beavers have also upgraded to axes for the rest of the picture. Technology is so cool.) He opts to chop at the tree that no beavers are working on. (Probably because it’s a telephone pole. An easy mistake.) Guess he has no choice but to get in the fray.

He joins in, but makes himself a nuisance. The beaver he is bothering sends him off to chop down a tree quite a distance away from everyone. On top of a mountain that no beaver has ever dared climb before, due to lack of water and un-lack of eagles. But Eag is so eager, that he knows no fear and rushes to do his duty. But this tree has seen it all, and is more than a match for a puny axe. Even dynamite does nothing more than blow away the surrounding dirt. (Gee, if only he could chew it down. But that wouldn’t be much of a climax.)

(Ble.)

The other lodge members are still working, when a bird comes bearing dire news: there’s a flood approaching! If these guys don’t have a dam ready, the forest will be underwater! It might sound nice at first, but even a beaver can’t swim for all eternity, they’ve got to move fast! Maybe Eag could save the day? He’s finally figured out how to get the tree down: chewing! Good thing he had termite on paw. Thanks to the insect, the tree comes down. Right in the flood’s path. He may not be built for running, but he’s so eager, that he not only outraces the flood, but gets the tree in place just in time! He’s saved the day! He’s everyone’s hero! Just goes to show, just leave it to Eager Beaver.

Favorite Part: When Eager first tries chopping down a tree, a dog begs him to spare it. (Moderately funny.) Because he has a bone buried there. (Nice misdirection!)

Personal Rating: 3. (This cartoon is full of that nice “smear animation” that Chuck used so well in “The Dover Boys.” It still looks rather amazing.)

Angel Puss

“Four bits is four bits.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Lou Lilly; Animation by Ken Harris; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 3, 1944.

Poor Li’l Sambo! It’s not enough that he is portrayed as some sort of fish lipped person, (as was what white’s thought many a black looked like at the time) and having an annoying Stepin Fetchit-esqe voice, (as whites thought blacks possessed) but he’s been asked to partake in a most terrible job: namely, Cat Drowning. He doesn’t really want to do it, but he IS getting paid, and naturally, if he doesn’t go through with it, he’ll have to return the money. (We never see the woman who hired him to do her own dirty work, but if she hates cats, she’s my kind of lady.)

The cat, for some reason, isn’t too keen on dying, and slips out of the sack. (Replacing his weight with some bricks.) Even though Sambo tries to talk himself out of it, for some reason, the cat pretends to be his conscience, and tells him to do the deed. (But why, though? You have an escape means! Use it you imbecile!) But no, then he wouldn’t be able to screw with the boy, so Sambo goes against his own common sense, and throws the phony sack into the water.

Time for that aforementioned “screwing with.” The cat paints himself white, and adorns himself with phony wings. The perfect striking point? The cemetery, naturally. Just as Sambo passes by, the cat appears and takes his time in building up some great atmosphere. No fooling! He knows he’s scaring the living crap out of the kid (or he could be a teenager) and he does it quite well. It’s probably the best part of the short!

Before  Sambo can run home, the feline beats him there, and moves his gate in front of the place next door. Of course, Sambo enters. He tries to make a retreat, but seeing as how this is one of the censored eleven, the cat is able to easily lure him back with some shaking dice. (It’s probably the worst part of the short.) The chase goes on, but the two aren’t paying enough attention, and run off a balcony, and into the water below. Water doesn’t remove paint, does it?

It does, and the cat is unaware. (Wait, I forgot I’m supposed to name him! Is Peter okay? Too bad! It’s what I’m going with.) This results in another pretty darn good scene where Peter is trying desperately to frighten Sambo again, unaware that he’s been revealed. He doesn’t sound scared, but more frustrated with his failure to horrify. Which makes sense, he doesn’t yet know he’s been exposed. Sambo is pissed. This cat has been playing him for a fool, so he’ll pay with his life. Good thing there’s a gun on the wall. Blammo!

Whoops. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Because the cat comes back, the very next second. Yes, the cat comes back. You thought he was a goner? Nah, the cat comes back. He’s not one to stay away. Sambo thought he had it bad earlier, but now there’s not just one ghost here to screw with him for the rest of his life. The other eight are going to join in the fun too!

Favorite Part: Like I said, the Peter’s initial reveal of himself is handled perfectly! Like the best ghost stories, he doesn’t just pop out and shout “Boo!” right away. He hides, letting his eerie harp music be all of him that is revealed at first, THEN he shows up. He really knows what he’s doing!

Personal Rating: 2 (Maybe if this wasn’t so offensive today, it could reach a three)

Porky’s Pastry Pirates

“G-Get out and stay out!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Dave Monahan; Animation by Gerald Chiniquy. A Looney Tune released on January 17, 1942.

No doubt you’ve heard, but there’s an epidemic going around. COVID-19 they call it. Me personally, I don’t think it’s worth raising such a fuss over, but the whole world is going crazy! Use some common sense! Don’t worry about what COULD happen and practice basic hygiene. Seems like I need to use Porky as an example, again.

In this picture, Porky runs a bakery. (The title’s even spelled out in icing. That’s cute.) Naturally, where there is a scent of sugar in the air, there’s going to be flies. Rather, just one fly. You see, Porky knows that flies are pretty  unsanitary creatures. (Much as it pains me to say) He can’t afford to let any in, lest they transmit some pathogen to his mouthwatering goodies. If he has to, he’s got a swatter and he WILL use it. The poor insect can’t do much more then watch sadly from outside the window.

Enter another possible pastry pirate. (The title promised us as least two) It’s a bee that sounds like James Cagney. (Henceforth, he shall be known as Jimmy.) Jimmy the bee is going to show the little fly how to get some sweets. He heads inside. He’s clearly some sort of super bee, as just one tap of his stinger causes the doorknob to fall away from the door. Porky is as of yet, unaware because he is busy adding the cherries on top to his cupcakes. He does take notice once the bee swipes one.

Porky is all set to swat, but falters when he realizes the insect in his shop is not a fly, but a bee! You might think that Porky would still swat this creature, but as I’m sure many can attest, it takes a lot of nerve to swat a bee. Not just because they are rapidly becoming endangered, but more so the knowledge that, should you miss, the animal is going to get angry and probably use that venom injecting stinger on you. I don’t fault Porky at all for hiding. Besides, can he help it if he makes delicacies so delectable that all animals want to taste?

Jimmy seems to have a particular fondness for cheesecake. And seeing as how there are no factories named after such a dessert yet, he’s eating his way through Porky’s. As true gourmet chef’s know, you can’t just make the same things day after week after month, etc. You need to improvise! Experiment. Try something new. Why else would he be selling a Limburger cheesecake? Jimmy is not amused. (Thieves should always have their thefts be perfect. It’s just uncouth, otherwise) He slams some eclair cream in Porky’s face. Porky in turn finally decides to fight back, but Jimmy’s super powers are still quite potent. Stinging the swatter somehow delivers an electric shock. (You don’t f*ck with Jimmy.)

That’s the demonstration. Obviously, the fly isn’t going to be able to do that, but Jimmy has an idea. Giving the harmless insect a striped shirt and a nail, he is able to pass him off as a bee. This should keep him safe from Porky’s murderous rampage. He wishes the fly luck and they part ways. The fly (who I’ve not bothered to name since he appears so little compared to Jimmy) dives into some icing and begins the kind of feasting I can only dream about. (I wish my food was big enough for me to climb on top of.)

Porky is not fooled. (Because he has I, a zoologist, as his best friend.) Despite the fly’s threats, he has to flee the swatter. Porky throws him out. (Learn to bathe!) Later Jimmy comes back for another snack. He briefly wonders about “that jerk fly”, but shrugs it off. (I really like that line. Adds to his character. He wasn’t helping to be nice, his actions were based on pity.) Getting inside, he suddenly notices the shadow of the swatter on him. Before he can act, he gets his “just desserts.” Porky isn’t the one doing the swatting, it’s the fly.

Favorite Part: When Jimmy notices Porky was trying to reach the swatter at one point, Porky sheepishly smiles and hands the angry apoid a cherry. Jimmy swats it away and storms off. He still comes back to eat it, though.

Personal Rating: 3