What Makes Daffy Duck?

“Keep up the good work!”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by William Scott and Lloyd Turner; Animation by Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, Don Williams and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 14, 1948.

During one particular duck season, Daffy has two hunters interested in him: nature and mankind. On the former: we have a fox. No name. Until now. (Frank it is.) The other side is represented by its usual “champion,” Elmer. Both want him real bad, and neither is willing to let the other have even a feather. Daffy knows the best way to settle things: a race. First one to the lone pine in the distance is the winner.

The two make ready, but Frank is one of those sly foxes, and never actually runs. With Elmer gone, the fox takes his dinner in the opposite direction. Daffy makes things more difficult by calling out to Elmer, and pouring oil on the hill Frank is ascending. The fox runs from Elmer’s gun and ends up smacking into a tree. Elmer takes aim at Daffy. In turn, the duck gives his sob story about always being hunted, and the paranoia getting so bad that he is happy when he’s finally killed. Elmer lets his guard down for a minute, and Daffy uses this opportunity to mallet the hunter’s head and escape.

Elmer may be the type to get outfoxed by a fox, but he has a bit of a brain as well. He disguises himself as a female duck, and is able to lure Daffy closer, because Daffy is desperate for any female form. (Seriously though, that is the ugliest duck disguise I ever saw. Even the ugly duckling wouldn’t want anything to do with her.) Daffy also catches on to the disguise rather fast, but plays along. (Even offering to get “her” a chance with the W.B. I can’t explain the scary look in his eyes, though.)

While offering to show the lady some of his sketches, Daffy blows a duck call to wake Frank up, who is still at the foot of the tree he crashed into earlier. (Nice touch.) Coming to, he sees the “lady duck” and tries to make off with her. Neither predator is too thrilled to see the other again, but since Elmer has the gun, he has the advantage. (But Frank has some height on him! Either he or Elmer is not the correct size for someone of their species.) And since Daffy lassoes Elmer, (because he can, I guess) Frank takes the duck away.

He makes some impressive distance between him and Elmer, but the hunter is right behind him anyway. Daffy tells the fox to fight for his dinner, and the vulpine finally grows a pair and stands up to the gun. While the two fight, a dog game warden appears. (That’s not odd, don’t worry.) He puts up some signs signalling that duck season has ended, and fox season begins. And just like that, Frank is fearful once more. Elmer takes after him, and the warden reveals to us that he was Daffy. (See? Perfectly logical.)

Favortie Part: When Elmer has Frank at gunpoint and tells him to put his hands up, we learn that Frank’s human-esque hands were really gloves hiding paws! Not I’m wondering if there’s another reason Bugs, Mickey, Sonic and magicians wear those…

Personal rating: 3

Hare Splitter

“Let’s pitch some woo.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 25, 1948.

I get that I should’ve talked about this short a week ago, as it would have been seasonally appropriate. But I’m not one for Valentine’s day. And no, it isn’t because I’m an angsty loner. (Smart asp.) I am of the belief that if you truly love someone, you don’t need a calendar to designate a day for proving it. And if you think I’m covering for myself because of my angst, screw you. I tried.

Now then, spring is a season that’s just right for making babies. But a good many life forms need a partner to do that. Bugs Bunny is one of those life forms. He has his sights on a fetching young doe named Daisy Lou. Daisy for short. She’s rather pretty as far as rabbits go. (More so than Lola, anyway.) I’m guessing that at least one furry was born from seeing her, and it it is you, then there is no shame in that. Unless you make it weird, in which case, shaaaaaaaame.

A pretty thing like Daisy surely wouldn’t have just one suitor. Enter the rival of this picture: Casbah. Bugs certainly takes note, mostly because the other rabbit’s bouquet is bigger. (Bugs was aiming for simple yet sweet.) Still, fighting for mates is something a guy just has to do if he doesn’t want to die alone, so Bugs ups his game to candy. (Scientifically proven to be a better gift than flowers.) Casbah goes bigger. Bugs switches to jewelry. (Economically proven to be more valuable than candy.) Casbah goes bigger. So it goes with the two trying to outdo the other, until Bugs cuts the crap and holds an anvil for Casbah’s head.

Bugs heads for Daisy’s house, without any sort of gift. You may think that will lower his chances, but let’s really compare our two bachelors.

Bugs Bunny: D.O.B.: 7/27/1940. Pros: Hollywood star, future Oscar winner, uture Walk of Famer on the future Walk of Fame. Cons: Well, he might wear your clothes once in a while, but not for any weird purposes!

Casbah Lepus: D.O.B.: 9/25/1948. Pros: Gives expensive gifts. Cons: Is named “Casbah”.

I like Bugs’s odds.

Wouldn’t you know it, Daisy is out shopping at the moment. This gives Bugs the perfect opportunity to raid his girlfriend’s laundry, dress as her, and mess around with other guys. Nope. Not a weird purpose to be found. Casbah isn’t really the brightest guy, (Nor the strongest, nor the luckiest, nor the best smelling…) so he falls for the get-up. He’s also not much of a gentleman, as he keeps trying to touch “Daisy” who isn’t comfortable with that sort of thing. “She” makes her feelings known with a mousetrap, and exploding carrots.

In the next scene, (Bugs is wearing shoes now. ???) Casbah at least tries asking for a kiss. “Daisy” will allow it if he closes his eyes first. Casbah kisses a plunger. Bugs uses the brief bit of time to set up a bomb for Romeo to kiss, but it just turns the big guy on more. (Witness the mating calls of the cartoon rabbit. Note the clucking and barking. That’s how you know he is serious.) Sadly, “Daisy” is not interested, and Casbah is left sulking on “her” front porch.

Bugs shows up, this time as Cupid’s protege, Daniel. He says that his arrow will make Casbah irresistible, when its really just an excuse for Bugs to shoot an arrow into Casbah’s butt. (If only Casbah had gone to school long enough to study Roman mythology. Then he’d known that those arrows make you fall in love. Not the others.) He catches on to Bugs’s real identify, because Bugs wasn’t wearing a dress. He rolls up his sleeve/fur to punch which I only bring up because it’s rolled down in the next shot.

The chase leads into the house, and Bugs sees Daisy returning. He bolts. Casbah sees her and assumes that it’s just Bugs trying to trick him again. He attacks her with a vase, and wouldn’t you know it, she doesn’t like it that much. Casbah flees from the house, probably becoming a homosexual in the process. With no rival, Bugs is free to do his wooing. But he brought the explosive carrots inside with him, and Daisy is partial to root vegetables. When they kiss, they are both impressed by the other’s power. They make a cute couple!

Favorite Part: I liked the ending. I can see some people thinking what Bugs did was wrong, but he was just looking out for his love. It takes a true romantic to keep others out of toxic relationships.

Personal Rating: 3

The Cagey Canary

“Mama’s poor, little, frightened bird.”

Supervision by Tex Avery and Bob Clampett; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Robert McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 22, 1941.

Today, Warner Bros. is no stranger to being well known for cartoons about a cat chasing a canary. But before it was Tweety and Sylvester it was unnamed cat and cagey canary. (Which are terrible names, so we’ll call them Petey and Lester) And it wasn’t Freleng’s unit taking charge. It was started by Avery, he left for MGM, and then finished by Clampett. What a guy.

Petey the cat is hungry (or just plain bloodthirsty) and makes no effort to hide his attempted killing of Lester the canary. Luckily for him, the mistress of the house catches the cat in the act and rescues her beloved bird. She tells him that all he needs to do is whistle for her should the cat try and get him again, and she’ll throw the feline out into the rain where he belongs. Petey is not fond of this idea, so he’s going to behave. And by behave, I mean: try again as soon as the lights are out.

Lester is good at feigning sleep, and just when Petey is about to grab him, he whistles. Petey dashes back to his rug and feigns some sleep of his own. He figures he might as well just take the whole cage, but the bird slips out and the cat doesn’t notice until after he’s thanked him for holding the door open for him. So if we review the facts, we see that: Lester isn’t going to fall asleep, and if he wants the woman, all he has to do is whistle.

Petey creeps away with a smug grin, and like the saying goes: “curiosity nearly got the canary killed.” Lester is now stuck in a jar, and Petey’s paw is the lid. No sound is coming out of that jar, and Lester doesn’t have a pin to poke with. Petey would win right here and now, but there IS one fly in the ointment: a fly. And he has made himself comfortable on Petey’s nose. Those tickly little legs, that high pitched whine of the wings, and the all in one disease zoo it’s packing are enough to get Petey to swat at it. Lester whistles once more and the cat zooms back to his rug.

The cat’s next plan involves crackers. Birds love them, and even better: can’t whistle with a beak full. Lester doesn’t know this, and takes the bait. Petey gets closer than ever before, but Lester finally swallows his snack and whistles again. Petey has no choice but to return him to his cage. Now the bird starts to get cocky. Taunting the cat with faces, and slapstick and rushing back to the safety of his cage each time. The one time he returns with his eyes closed is when Petey beats him to the cage. The bird barely escapes. (No whistle this time.)

Petey hasn’t had any trouble with the woman yet, (she just never wakes once to the whistling. Probably just said she would to give the animals peace of mind/paranoia.) but he isn’t about to take any chances. He places some earmuffs on her, and they work great! He even whistles himself, then poofs away and she still doesn’t wake up. (I like that. It’s funnier than showing him zoom off in a blur. But I can’t say it was intentional.) This will surely turn the tide. He returns to the battle with no fear.

Lester whistles, but the woman didn’t come earlier, I doubt she’d come now. Even if she wasn’t muffed up. The bird flees, and turns on every sound making device he can, which makes no difference. But he is able to find out what’s wrong and waves the empty earmuffs in front of the cat. Realizing he’s lost, the cat rushes outside himself. But the old woman is awake now, and I guess is angry at all the noise the canary made. (Why would she even suspect him?) The canary joins the cat outside. Before the short ends, the bird asks us if we’re interested in adopting homeless pets.

Favorite Part: Lester gets Petey to whistle himself at one point, by holding up a sexy picture. Funny enough on its own, but what’s even better is the fly having a similar reaction when he sees it. (Who knew both species found humans attractive?)

Personal Rating: I give it a 4 thanks to some great facial reactions. If they don’t make you smile, you can call this one a 3.

Of Fox and Hounds

“Well, thanks a lot George! Thanks a lot!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by “Draft No. 1312”; Animation by “Draft No. 6102”; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 7, 1940.

Mornings are so peaceful. So serene. So nice to sleep right through. And if you’re not allowed to do that, you try to ruin it for everyone. And so, the fox hunters blowing their ungodly horns and bringing their hounds along for a round of “kill the animal for sport.” One hound, is a bit slow. And I do mean both ways. His name is Willoughby and he is making his screen debut here. He’s packing quite a bit of meat here, (making him look an awful lot like a St. Bernard) and his coat has more white than his later years. (Huh. Usually it’s the other way round.)

Willoughby takes off after the rest, and he has some pretty decent luck, as he almost immediately finds a fox. But he doesn’t know that, and asks the fellow, (named George) if he’s seen a fox. George, (who is to Bugs what Foxy was to Mickey: a ripoff desperately wants some love.) gives him directions. Just past a stump up ahead, and on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby takes off, jumps the fence and falls off a cliff. At the bottom, he realizes that the chap he was talking to was actually the fox of which he seeks.

He heads back in a murderous fury, but finds another hound. It’s George in disguise, but he doesn’t know that and asks the fellow if he’s seen a fox. George, (not even bothering to disguise his name) gives him directions. He just has to pass a stump up ahead, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby heads off, leaps over the fence, and falls off a cliff again. He doesn’t catch on this time. (I do love his little resigned sigh. Sometimes that says it all.)

He returns to George to tell him the directions were faulty, and the little dog decides to go with him this time. But while squeezing through a log, his costume comes off and Willoughby catches on again. (The costume loses a leg for a brief second, and this scares the dog so badly, that his ears turns white.) He chases the vulpine, waking a bear in the process, and barricades off the hole George is hiding in with a boulder. He happily tells the bear what he’s done, before realizing it’s a bear and climbs a tree. (A good safety tip. You can learn a lot from cartoons.)

George is able to move the boulder, and sees the ursine and the treed canine. Some might say it’s a conscience thing, but I think George just can’t resist the opportunity he has here, and gives the bear a hot foot. ( A great reaction I’m not spoiling if you choose to read this synopsis before the watching the short.) Willoughby tries to act cool, but faints in relief. NEXT MORNING! Those cruel hunters are at it again, and Willoughby is once more the last one out. But this time he has George with him, as the two live together now.

Still, a hound has to do what he was bred to do, and he asks George for directions towards the nearest fox. (Preferably one that he isn’t on a first name basis with.) George tells him to head for a stump, turn past it, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughy heads out, leaps the fence and there is no crash. The dog is learning, and this time he left some mattresses to cushion his landing.

Favorite Part: The little chuckle George gives when pranking the bear. He kinda sounds like a marmoset.

Personal Rating: 3. Sad really. I saw this one all the time back in the day on Cartoon Network, and was looking forward to seeing again for the first time in twenty-one years. I remembered it being a lot funnier, George. A lot!

Porky’s Baseball Broadcast

“What a ball game!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Animation by Cal Dalton; Story by J.B. Hardaway; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 6, 1940.

Six years before Freleng would have Bugs face off against the Gas-house Gorillas, he tried his hand at a baseball cartoon of a different sort. Bugs was still a few weeks from making his official debut, so Porky was to be the one taking the title. But he’s not really an athlete. (Though he looks FABULOUS in his basketball outfits.) He’s much more comfortable playing the announcer.

It’s a big deal. Today just so happens to be the World Series! Tickets are selling like hotcakes, (being crafted like them too.) and the scalpers are having a grand time with all the headcount. And this game looks to be way more fun than anything the real world can offer. One team has a literal giant on their side, and the other, a literal double header. You’d have to be the world’s biggest waste to miss this! So the portly guy that I decided is named Lou had better find his seat posthaste!

Let’s begin! The umpire is blind and has a guide dog, (which is odd because he is clearly a dog himself.) and the catcher is a turtle wearing his shell backwards for safety. Yep, I’ve already gotten my proof that this is way more exciting. And the action! Why, in the first inning we see a dachshund use his body length to ensure at least two of his feet are safe on a base at any one time. He manages to get all the way around the bases, despite hitting a single. *Insert quote at the top of the page here*! And Lou is still trying to find his seat. Poor waste.

Seeing as how we only have a little over seven minutes total for the game, a montage of what we’ve already seen has to be employed to get us to the end and still feel like a story.  So here we are, the bottom of the ninth, the Giants are behind, but they can secure victory if they get this hit right. Lucky for Lou, he has finally found his seat and only after sitting does he find there’s a pillar in his way. And if Porky’s broadcast is any indication, he just missed a spectacular comeback that has netted the Giants a victory! *Insert quote at the the op of the page here*, indeed!

Lou paid good money for this seat. And so he stubbornly sits and tries to pretend he’s enjoying himself. Hours later, after the sun goes down, he finally quits lying to himself and begins tearing apart the stadium in a rage. Really though, the rest of his life isn’t going to be as grand slash epic as that game was, so I feel for him. The waste.

Favorite Part: The reveal of the pillar. It’s handled well. Enough of Lou’s seat is visible that we don’t immediately notice it’s crummy, and Lou is currently blocking other people’s views with his girth, so our eyes are currently pointed elsewhere. But watch it again with your new knowledge, and you can see that no seats behind the crappy one have people in them. They misdirect us most enjoyably!

Personal Rating: 3. The weakest gags you’ve seen in “Baseball Bugs” can all be traced here, and their humor potential is divided in half.

 

Slightly Daffy

“Greetings, gate!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Micahel Maltese; Animation by Virgil Ross; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 17, 1944.

In Wackyland2 tradition, I must talk about the colored remake before its source material. Sadly, this is pretty much the same cartoon as “Scalp Trouble.” Only the gags aren’t nearly as funny. Whatever. This time, I’ll talk plot, and whenever I talk about the original, (Which yes, I already should have done if I’m talking about this one.) I’ll discuss gag differances.

Out at some outpost in what is no doubt the American west, General Daffy Duck isn’t pleased to see that most of his troops still snooze. (How/why did they make this guy the general? It seems more like a role for the later Daffy.) Making use of his knife, and the bugler’s buttocks, General Daffy rousts most everyone awake. But one soldier continues to sleep, because he’s the wisest of the lot. This soldier is Porky Pig.

Ahhhhh. Wonderful, blissful sleep. Proof that life is best experienced unconscious. The polite thing to do would be to let a sleeping pig lie. I mean, what could be more important? But then, General Daffy has his name for a reason, and the reason is that he’s the leader, so he’s got to be the bad guy. But Porky is a champion at the R.E.M. cycle, and can’t be woken. Worn out by his efforts, General Daffy decides to join him in his rest.

That was his mistake, as the bed wasn’t designed for two bodies, and it crashes to the floor. Porky is awake now, and follows his general outside. What are they doing out here anyway? Just keeping the natives at bay? I think that’s who they’re up against. They keep saying “Indians” but they don’t look Asian at all. But they are willing to fight. (What, do they think this land belongs to them, or something?) And an entire army descends on the fort.

These guys could be tough! They have guns and horses! Except one who can’t be trusted with such a weapon, as whenever he fires his bow, he shoots his horse. But apart from him? I don’t know how they could be beat! Porky (being the most competent soldier there is) is the first to take note and tries to warn the sleeping troops. Too late! To quote Heather O’Rourke, “They’re here!” and they’re capable! Very soon, Porky is the only thing keeping them from just pouring in!

The pig needs more bullets! General Daffy (who was in his hat for some daffy reason) rushes to comply, but trips on his way back and swallows every shell. Deadly? Yes! That’s just what we need now! With his new superpower, General Daffy has become a super weapon! Porky wields him well, and it’s not too long after that the opposition is on the retreat. (Even better, I counted zero casualties.)

When all is said and done, General Daffy is just glad that it’s over. But he trips again, and lets a fresh round of bullets fly! A pretty normal day for this place.

Favortie Part: When Porky trips over General Daffy’s scabbard, he ends up with the duck in an embrace. Obviously, General Daffy does the “didn’t know you cared” bit, but Porky isn’t embarrassed, angry, or temporarily attracted. Instead, he’s got a big smile on his face. It’s adorable! Who says that an army can’t be a family?

Personal Rating: 2. If it was its own picture, it could have done better.

The Timid Toreador

“Who’s afraid of hot?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett and Norman McCabe; Animation by I. Ellis; Story by Melvin Miller; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 21, 1940.

Today is Bullfight day. The day when everyone who wants to, can go watch a bull fight a man. Doesn’t sound like much of a contes- oh, the man gets a sword? That poor bull! But Porky has no time for such inhumane tomfoolery. He is a firm believer in the old adage of work coming before pleasure. To H-E-L-hockey stick with those who say otherwise! (*Glares at the dictionary.*)

Porky’s job is tamale merchant. And it looks to me like business is slow. I mean, why advertise your product as “hot” when the air temperature is already high enough to get a pig to sweat? (Don’t tell me that Toon pigs can do that. I have  a degree in Cartoozoology.) But I don’t know whether the “hot” equates to its temperature or spice. But it must be one of the two, as a rooster sneaks one, eats it wrapper and all, and is instantly ready for my dinner table. (Love Porky’s annoyed look. “Don’t d-d-expire near my ware-ware-merchandise.”)

As for that fight, we have our matador, Punchy Pancho, versus our bull, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull. (Which is pretty near the top of my list of best names ever. Still can’t overtake “Schmidlap” though.) S.M.B. is not one to B.S. around, and P.P. is quick to realize that the bull probably isn’t going to be the one leaving the arena as hamburger meat. And if the announcer is any indication, this has happened plenty before. Note how he doesn’t even watch the match. I think he memorized a script, and recites it every time. Switching out names as needed.

It’s a crappy arena anyway, as Porky is able to waltz right inside with no problems. Slapsie isn’t one to discriminate. He’s willing to kill anyone who enters his ring. (Not the one in his nose. Don’t make this weird.) Porky does his best to fight back, but he’s just not cut out for cutting out bull hearts and so he tries to just take his wares and run. Slapsie blocks the way, but then he catches scent of a delicious waft. Something around here smells tasty! Like a good meaty filling wrapped in a corn flour wrap! Tamales! A whole box of them!

They may be hot and/or spicy, but Slapsie doesn’t fear such threats. He downs the entire box. Well… tries to anyway. If my count is correct, he only got seven out of thirteen. Still worth a passing grade. And judging my what animals have happily devoured those today, I’m deducing that they aren’t chicken or beef tamales. Which leaves… Oh no! Porky! Did… did you just…

DID YOU JUST LET A BULL CONSUME VEAL? Ohhh, poor Slapsie Jr.

Oh, and the heat and/or spice does its magic and sends the bull running in pain. (Demolishing a good chunk of the audience too, I will add.) Hats off to Porky! He’s our new champion! This calls for an Oliver Hardy impression! (Something we already know Porky is quite good at.)

Favorite Part: A picador who laughs at the bull. Not only does he sound an awful lot like a laughing fish that I find hysterical, but the angry bovine ends up smashing the man and horse into one being. Hey! Now you can be in that “Fantasia” sequel Disney is planning! Shouldn’t be too much longer of a wait…

Personal Rating: 3

Porky’s Last Stand

“Don’t get me sore!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis; Story by Warren Foster; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 6, 1940.

That’s the name of the lunch wagon Porky runs. Daffy works there too, but he’s got those rings around his eyes again. When he loses those, then we can talk about privileges. In the meantime, it’s opening time. Time to cook food, and wash dishes. Because there are customers, and they are hungry. One of these types is placing his order to Daffy. He wants “a good hamburger, and he wants it bad!” I know how to make those!

The secret is to step ON the ingredients.

Of course, to make a good hamburger that’s bad, you kinda, sorta, need some ground beef. And Daffy’s stock has been gobbled up by mice.

Porky, meanwhile, has a customer of his own to take care of. This one wants coffee and eggs. The first part of that order is no problem. And the second part should be easy too. Porky grabs a couple of eggs, (Tiny, aren’t they? Was there a quail under that chicken?) and sets to frying. But since we clearly saw a rooster at the beginning of this picture, it’s not too surprising to find that one of the eggs was fertile.

What a way to begin one’s life! Not only do his feet hurt, but he clips behind the frying egg! Whoops. Better get rid of that thing before Leon sees it. Next shot: no egg! And you don’t need to worry about the chick either. He heads back to his mother, and the “Do Not Disturb” sign he puts up should keep similar mishaps from happening. Now, how is Daffy doing with that g.h.t.b. order?

Well, there is certainly no more beef in the wagon. but there is a calf outside! Veal makes tasty burgers, right? (I’m legitimately asking. I’m curious enough to ask, but not enough to look it up myself.) Well, natural selection dictates that the customer is always right. Daffy picks up a mallet and follows the young ungulate (or “youngulate.” Feel free to spread that around.) Back to the barn. Fade to… I don’t know, half a second later, and Daffy tries pulling out his future sandwich. (So, did he actually try using that mallet at all?)

Seems like a bit of a mix-up occurred, as Daffy has grabbed a full grown bull. (Unless that fade was actually suggesting two years, and Daffy was just waiting to get the most of his meat. A brilliant theory! I’m a genius.) I also like how Daffy uses the old “It’ll hurt me more than you line.” Because, I think he really means it. Business is business, and sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to for our employers’/customers’ benefit. (Like how I want to punch certain people, but instead pretend to be interested in what they say.)

The bull gives chase, but Daffy makes it back to the wagon, shutting the door as well. (Well built, too. I was sure that bull would have torn through it like damp tissue.) His frantic ramblings lead Porky to believe there’s a salesman of some sort at the door. (Great shot of the bull charging towards him.) Porky slams it just in time, so the bull has no choice but to get a running start and ram with all he’s got. The cart is quite sturdy too, as it barely moves as the bull tears right through it. Like… some sort of… wet… Kleenex?

Porky has to run, now that he’s outside his sanctuary with an angry porterhouse on his tail. Daffy manages to get its attention with a cape, and the bovine changes course.  Daffy bolts at the last moment, Porky (who got behind the cape somehow) digs. (And breaks his neck if you look closely enough.) And the bull ends up crashing into the wagon. It finally goes down. (I guess that was the last stand’s last stand.)

Not to worry though, the chickens all survived. And they decide to celebrate by becoming a carousel. A wagon wheel as the base, the hens as the mounts, and the chicks as riders. The bull’s nose ring plays the part of the ring you try to grab. (Do those still exist? I’ve only ever seen them in cartoons.) Maybe the bull is still alive after all. I mean, only a living animal could regenerate rings at such a rate.

Favorite Part: Daffy coming to the rescue. Porky didn’t even call for any assistance. So that means Daffy truly cares!

Personal Rating: 3 Well done action, medium rare jokes.

The Early Worm gets the Bird

“Who’s-a scared?”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 13, 1940.

A short that starts with a cotton field? That can only mean one thing… Yep. Blackbirds. So of course they look like stereotypical black people. At least they don’t do much insulting. (If you can take the opinion of an uneducated white guy.) Birds can automatically escape the “big lips” treatment, and there’s no Stepin Fetchit homages.

A mother bird puts her chicks to bed. Two sleep, but the third one, Willie, decides to so some reading. His book is entitled, “The Early Bird Gets The Worm.” (It’s probably about ibexes.) He likes what he reads, but his nestmates really couldn’t care less. His mom isn’t too thrilled either. That book is way out of his age range, but that’s not the only reason she doesn’t want him learning.

Seems like the food chain doesn’t end at them. In fact, while birds hunt worms, they in turn are hunted by foxes. Large creatures with teeth. I think they look something like this:

(Note the lack of empathy.)

The threat of death by vulpine is enough to keep the other two chicks in bed, but Willie will not be deterred. He sets his alarm clock early, so he can be an early bird, and catch an early worm. (Then he’ll have plenty of time left over to write that novel he’s been yammering about. Talking won’t make it happen!)

Come morn, Willie slips on his clothes and sneaks out. He’s not the only living thing up at such an ungodly hour. Something is stirring. The cartoon seems to think it’s a worm, but it has legs, antennae and pants. But I guess a worm it must be. I’ll call him Mickey. He finds the book Willie’s mother tossed away the night before, and figures he might as well see what this “early bird” looks like. (I do hope you’re careful Mickey. You’re kinda freakin’ adorable.)

Predator and prey meet, and prey tries to hide. He is briefly able to lose his pursuer by pretending to be a bee in a flower. This scares Willie off, even leaving a bit of a ghostly image behind. (I can’t tell if that was intentional.) Mickey reveals that it was him hiding, which means Willie is willing to ignore anymore buzzing and leap into another flower that holds a REAL bee.

Enter the fox. Willie just assumes that this new creature is also hunting the “worm.” The fox goes along with it, but as Willie talks, he realizes that his new friend has all the features his mom told him foxes have. (Except green eyes. Those are not green eyes, and I know green eyes. I’ve been attracted to them.) The fox prepares a bird sandwich, which leaves Mickey with a choice: let his hunter fall prey to nature’s gran plan, or save the squirt, possibly ending his own life in the process.

Mickey chooses option Bee. He gives the insect’s flower a good shake, then gives his rear end the same thing. Angry bee on the loose! Mickey leads him right to the fox, and the fox gets stung. He’s not allergic to bee stings, so he doesn’t die, but his bottle of catsup does break on his head, and he is led to believe that he is bleeding. (Which probably would be more believable if it wasn’t HIS catsup.) Still, he falls for it and runs off to seek medical assistance.

Willie goes back home, his mother none the wiser to what he’s been up to. She comes to wake her children up and asks what they would like for breakfast. The first two nestlings request worms, of course. But the other two would prefer something a little less familiar. Luckily, we end before Mickey is no doubt torn to pieces by hungry avians.

Favorite Part: When the fox first appears, he introduces himself with two signs. One says, “The Villain.” The other, “As if you didn’t know.”

Personal Rating: 2

Ain’t that Ducky

“Thsome hunter.

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 19, 1945.

Daffy’s bubble bath is interrupted by sobbing. A duckling is very upset about something, and since he is carrying a bag with him, it wouldn’t be odd to assume that it is what is making the little guy bawl as much as he is. Daffy tries to be friendly, but this little guy wants no sympathy. He angrily yells for Daffy to keep away from him and his mystery parcel. Now I can understand not wanting to be bothered, but this kid is a little sh*t. I say we punt him into next month.

Well, my prayers are half answered: here comes a hunter that looks an awful lot like actor Victor Moore. In fact, he sounds an awful lot like his namesake. In fact, he actually IS voiced by that man. And boy does he grate my last nerve. (Such a whiny tone. Is he always like that?) Daffy tries to get the sobby one to come with him, but even that is more contact than the little prick wants, so Daffy hides himself and lets the duckling face whatever fate he gets. (Immature it may be, I’m calling the character, Dick.)

Vic is set to shoot Dick, but the bird’s tears and shouts manage to discourage him. And if a man won’t shoot something that nobody in the world will miss, then he’s no danger to anything else. Daffy emerges from his hiding bush, and tells the hunter to leave. However, since Daffy fits into Victor’s roasting pan, he is the new target. Daffy runs, with Victor in hot pursuit. Since his gun has so much recoil, Daffy is able to put some distance between the two.

Daffy hides in a barrel, but Dick also happens to be in there and is willing to sell Daffy out. So the chase continues with hunter and huntee on opposite sides of fence. (Daffy building more once they reach the end.) And there’s Dick again. Victor tries asking for the kid’s bag, but he doesn’t have any better luck than Daffy has. The two team up, and manage to get the freaking thing. Dick steals it back almost instantly, so I guess the truce is over. Victor chases Daffy again.

Daffy sets up a wooden decoy, which Victor runs right over. (Unintentionally.) He feels bad over supposedly killing the creature he was trying to kill. (It’s a trope I’ve always wondered about in cartoons like this.) Daffy doesn’t help matter much when he comes out in little boy disguise and starts crying over his father. (Now that I think about it, didn’t we all come from some wood? And now I’m done thinking about it.)

Victor is ready to pay for such a mistake, and even offers to raise Daffy as his own. It’s then that Dick returns and rips Daffy’s disguise off. Victor is upset, but not as much as Daffy is. He’s had it up to here with the pest, and tries to get his satchel once and for all. The duckling defends himself with a mallet, and sends Daffy down a cliff. Victor too. Daffy can’t believe Victor got the same treatment. But Victor DID get the bag, and the two eagerly open it up.

It’s contents do their magic, and Daffy and Victor come down with their own cases of depression. What could that bag contain? A piece of paper. And on that piece of paper? “The End.” (Considering Dick doesn’t appear in any other cartoons, I can see why he wouldn’t want his bag opened.)

Favorite Part: Daffy’s barrel isn’t there when he needs it. He complains about the lack of barrel, since the script clearly states there is supposed to be a barrel. It gets painted it once he threatens to tell J.L. Warner. Sure, it’s random, but it’s amusing. A good precursor to “Duck Amuck.”

Personal Rating: 2. Daffy’s co-stars bring this down a notch for me. If they don’t bother you, then it can probably manage a 3.