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.