A Star is Hatched

“Goodnight my little pine knot.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Bob McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 2, 1938.

In the little town of Hickville, Emily the hen idolizes the stars and starlets of Hollywood and fantasizes about the time when she too will be on the silver screen. (Ironically enough, this short actually being her second time. She wouldn’t get a third.) So enamored is she that she even talks like Katharine Hepburn. (Unless that is her normal speaking voice. It’s possible. I sound like J.K. Simmons, myself.) She can’t be bothered with the local rooster who comes a courtin’ for her wing in marriage. The high life is always the best life!

What luck! There’s someone at the gas station she lives at who could be a huge help with getting into pictures. A one J. Megga Phone by name, on his way back to Hollywood. (I love how he wears three pairs on sunglasses. I should do the same.) Emily lets him know that she has every intention of being big one day, and he likes what he sees. (She is pretty cute.) He hands her his card telling her to look him up, as home he goes.

Emily rushes to get her bags. (Past Alfred Hick-cock who never moved an inch.) She’s Hollywood bound! And she’s so committed to her dream that she walks the entire 2,000 miles which means Hickville is located in Maryland or West Virginia. (Or maybe her hitchhiking had more success than the montage suggested. Less impressive.) She makes it though, and she gets to see what some of the stars are doing when not on screen. Clark Gable drives a trolley, and W.C. Fields directs traffic, for example. And we see the cement footsteps left behind by Robinson and Garbo. (The former having a gun print; the latter being humongous.)

The picture business, that’s what Emily is here for. And Mr. Colossal wasn’t bluffing, he really is a director. One with at least 15 assistant directors who agree to whatever he says. (Except the 15th one who still has a shred of individuality and personality. Give us one week more, we’ll fix him.) His latest picture is a musical medley to America’s 48 states and if the clapboard is accurate, his name is actually Buzzard Berkelee. (I knew his cool name was too cool to be true.) Odder still, his movie is comprised of humans. Yeah, we already saw plenty, but it was only now that I realized how weird this world is. What does everyone eat?

Emily finds a casting office, but it turns out she’s not the only pullet here. Seems Mr. C gives out business cards to any girl he comes across and the room is already packed. And when the man himself enters, Emily can’t catch his attention; not that he even looks at or acknowledges she exists. Emily is already broken. Embarrassed and upset to find she was just one of many, she decides to forgo any hard work that would get her a position, and heads back home.

She married Alfred and we see how happy their little family looks. But one daughter can’t help but idolize the silver screen, and fantasize about when she too will be a star. Emily ain’t having it and gives her kid such a smack. If she’s not going to be an instant success, then nobody is.

Favorite Part: When Colossal says, “If you ever want to get in pictures, look me up.” and hands Emily his card. Flipping it reveals just that is written on the back. Not only gives a clue that he has so many of those cards, he’s memorized the script, but can be interpreted as him just being too dumb to remember what to say.

Personal Rating: If you’re not familiar with some of the biggest stars of the day, you might find the majority of jokes confusing. It’s a 2 for people like you, and a 3 for the rest of us.

The Lone Stranger and Porky

“Magic mirror on the wall, who needs my help the most of all?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis and Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 7, 1939.

It’s 1865 and with the end of the Civil War, a new problem arises to fill the void. Many settlers are out west settling, but the activity is attracting all sorts of villains, bullies, thieves and probably even the occasional cad. (One of these crooks is known as Cob Blampett. Reminds me of the similar person we have in our universe: Ogd.) But we need not worry, as our narrator brings a hero to our attention. A man whose horse is faster than a speeding roadrunner. The man; more powerful than rattlesnake venom. With a mask to not only keep his identity secret, but his house’s as well, he is: The Lone Stranger! (And no, we never do get to see under that mask.)

He and his horse (named ‘Silver’ because we were so proud of our Lone Ranger parody, we forgot to think up a better name for the equine.) have had a busy day. Just like all the rest. Time for some vittles and shuteye. Even eats with that mask on? I hope he washes it. (Whilst wearing it.) These two are comfortable enough with each other to share a bed. It’s not weird. They’re partners, and everything they own, they share. It helps build camaraderie.

Now for Porky’s addition to the title. He’s got a shipment of gold to deliver, but this has caught the attention of a cad! (I knew they were out here!) He looks pretty tough. He’s got a color-changing mustache and a gun he doesn’t mind using. And a horse to tie it all together. (I think I’ll call his horse “Bullion”. “Bullly” for short.) One of the rarer breeds: a mustache mustang. (They need breeding to avoid extinction.) The cad with no name holds the pig up at gunpoint. (And I do mean “up”.) Porky is scared enough to phase out of the plane of existence for a moment. Where is a stranger when you need one? We’d settle for a social one, even!

Not to worry, the Stranger’s faithful scout, Pronto, has seen the whole thing and lets the hero know of the threat. Hero and horse come to the rescue, splitting up to take on their same species. Maybe that cad’s gun isn’t such a threat after all, as after unloading all the bullets it’s revealed that every one missed the target. Then the narrator mocks him, and is shot for his troubles. (You probably found him annoying anyway.) The cad now has a body count. (Of one, but that’s always just a start.)

The horses hiss and arch their backs as horses do when threatened, but then they actually get a good look at each other. It’s love at first sight! (You didn’t even know that Silver was a mare, did you? Sometimes it rocks to be a zoologist.) The two go off screen for some quality time, and that’s for the best. Not just because I respect their privacy, but the stallion clearly ate Goofy and it is distracting. (Makes him sound like a Pinto pinto.) The Stranger, however, has gotten himself knocked off a cliff. Will he be killed by gravity and sharp rocks? It’s up to us, folks.

You have chosen…”No”. A very good choice. Well, I did catch a few smart asps say “yes” and some idiot who didn’t vote at all. (Turns out he was deaf. Whoops.) With the power of audience participation, our hero ascends the perilous precipice, pounds the pugnacious palooka, and sends him… er, flying into a boulder. The impact turning it into an impenetrable prison. Porky is saved, and it is now time for our heroes to return home. Silver is followed by the litter horses naturally have. The five fillies are spitting images of their mother, and the colt has his father’s mustache. The breed will live on!

Favorite Part: When we first see the villain, we are so scared that we miss our cue. The narrator is on top of his game and asks us to not hiss the villain. Naturally, we have to save face, and begin our role at last. (Heh… sorry. First time jitters.)

Personal Rating: 3 that borders on four territory. Maybe I’d have let it have that higher score if Porky HAD ANY LINES! He doesn’t get any dialogue apart from his outro. (Which might be why it sounds like he’s really putting his all into it.)

Porky and Gabby

“I don’t like campin’ anyway!”

Supervision by Ub Iwerks; Animation by Charles Jones and Robert Clampett; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 15, 1937. (The first of the two cartoons Mr. Iwerks supposedly directed.)

“Gabby? Who’s Gabby? I don’t remember any Gabby. You must’ve made the guy up. It sounds like something you’d do.” Well, when you decide you’re done gabbin about Gabby, you can join us for my introduction to the caprine. With Porky getting some good popularity and Beans abandoned in a well, a new sidekick was apparently needed. Daffy was still barely one short in. No proof that he was coming back at all yet. Instead, Porky got the goat. Gabby Goat.

He’s not he most fleshed out character. He’s your stereotypical hothead. Short temper, almost always sulking. Almost like the W.B. saw a certain sailor duck and thought giving him horns would make him unrecognizable. People don’t really seem to like Gabby; finding him unpleasant. Unlike Donald or Grumpy, he starts off in a sour mood. (Wouldn’t you if you were raised on goat milk? That’s a joke, by the way.) The other guys either start off smiling, (giving us reason to give sympathy when the universe won’t) or prove that his dominant trait isn’t all he has going for him. (Plus, with six others who are always in a good mood, he adds some much needed comic relief.)

Guess what? The Looney Tunes fanboy likes Gabby. I don’t know, I always saw the situation like this: Gabby isn’t the most pleasant guy to be with and he knows it. Porky has the patience of a saint, and Gabby knows it. Maybe he considers Porky his only true friend because he’s the only one willing to look past his billy-goat gruff exterior? Reading too deep, sure. But who hasn’t given more backstory to a character only they themselves seem to like? At least Gabby wasn’t totally forgotten after his brief three appearances. Guess who I saw in in 2018?

Looks a lot like me in winter.

And now I’m finally ready to get to the story.

Porky is going camping with Gabby to celebrate the latter’s debut. The road is currently in use by a van that their car can’t get around. That’s not Porky honking, Gabby’s the one with all the horns. As they pull ahead, Gabby takes the time to yell at the other driver. Luckily, the guy has something for these kind of situations: an arm on the car that can smack problems. He’s good natured and recommends the little guy relax. The little guy reacts the same way Petunia would. (Isn’t that the same voice clip sped up?)

Further along, another problem angers Gabby: the car stops. They’re going to have to push. (And yet, Porky pulls.) The car goes downhill and they chase, but roles reverse once the car gets on a uphill slant, and comes back. Don’t worry they get knocked into the vehicle and proceed to the campgrounds without any more problems. The spot they park in is so beautiful, that even Gabby can’t help but wear a smile. (Not pants though. It’s Porky’s turn to wear them this week.) Porky sets out to set up the tent; asking Gabby to unload the car. Naturally, the goat grumbles.

While Porky works, he is assaulted by an insect. I’m guessing a horsefly. He asks Gabby to get a swatter, but the goat decides a shovel will work just as well. He swats the the collapsed canvas the two are under, giving Porky a different kind of welt then he already has. Gabby missed the target though, and the fly gets him next. (Gabby clearly knows nothing about insects as he thinks it stung him.) He tries to kill it, but only succeeds in smacking the motor out of their car. At least Porky can finish the tent now.

Looking good. He just needs a little extra bit of rope to tie it all down. Gabby grabs a piece, not aware that its part of an outboard motor. The more he pulls the more it gets revved up, until it flies through the air with the greatest of ease, and turns their tent into a slice of Swiss cheese. This thing could easily take a head off, so the two flee in the car. (The motor still jutting out, nice attention to detail.) They don’t escape much when they find themselves behind the same van from earlier. The out of control motor causes the two vehicles to crash.

When the dust clears, Gabby finally has something to laugh about: the van driver got his comeuppance! (Gabby’s laugh sounds a bit like a bleating goat. Appropriate.) Since the van arm survived, Gabby is given another smack. (And even though I like the guy, I do think it’s funny that Porky beams at this.)

Favorite Part: When Porky asks for the swatter, Gabby doesn’t make any snide comments or angry faces, he immediately starts looking. Out of character? Perhaps, but I see it as proof that Gabby really does think of Porky as his only friend. I’m not kiddin’.

Personal Rating: 2. I don’t think many others will be able to enjoy Gabby as much as I do.

Bosko’s Woodland Daze

“Are ya listenin’ to me?”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Paul Smith. A Looney Tune released on March 22, 1933.

When a summer is nearing its end, the smart people sob, and bemoan the fact that the evil of winter will be upon the land once more, and then will migrate to follow the sun’s sweet, sweet kiss. I always figured Bosko was smart, so I have no idea why he’s frolicking and harmonica-ing during what is clearly autumn. Maybe that’s why Bruno is here as well? Make sure the kid’s all right in the head, and take him to the nearest psych ward if need be.

My theory seems to be correct, as Bosko actually tries to hide from the dog. (Lock him up now. I don’t want to see coldlikers on the streets!) The wind blows Bosko’s leaf camouflage away, and Bruno lets him know by pulling a vine in between his legs. Bosko seems to be enjoying it a bit TOO much. (If you’re going to jig after such an activity, can you do it indoors?) Time for a game of hide and seek! Bruno hides first!

He’s easily found, thanks to the woodpecker that rat(a-tat-tat)s him out. So now Bosko will hide while the hound will seek him. (Quit turning your back on the guy! He needs indoctrination!) Bruno is easily distracted by a turtle, so Bosko is free to spread his unhealthy opinions around the globe! But as anyone who has played hide and seek knows, you get exhausted by the second round. Bosko decides to sleep.

Yeah, um, what kind of tree is he under? I don’t think you should be seeing images of ghost gnomes whilst slumbering! This tree makes LSD look an LDS church! The little terrors trap Bosko in a large bubble in order to give him an overeating nightmare! No, that was another guy. They’ll scare him away from smoking! No, no, not that either! Well then, what will they subject him to? Attractive flower sprites? Maybe there is something to this trippy tree after all!

But before Bosko can enjoy the nectar-drenched honeys, he sneezes and pops the bubble. And since spiderweb was never meant to be a safety net, he falls and falls and lands on a piano that is way too large for him to play, never mind the gnomes. But Bosko is a musician who can play just about anything, and puts on a better show than any of you pianists could. Is this why the gnomes captured him? I mean who else could own…

Oh. There’s a giant with a dopey laugh. That explains the grand grand. Bosko tries to make a run for it, but ends up on the table. Now the giant has everything he needs to make a Bosko sandwich. (You’d never have ended up here if you just detested the cold like a decent person. Just saying.) As the giant slathers on the mustard, we fade back to reality. The slathering was just Bruno’s tongue. He found Bosko in the end. Things will be just fine.

Favorite Part: Just how broken and sad Bruno looks when Bosko first hides from him. His face just screams “What did I do wrong? Why would Bosko abandon me? I can change!”

Personal Rating: 3. Entertaining second half, but pretty slow build up.

Bosko the Sheep Herder

“Baaaa!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Max Maxwell. A Looney Tune released on June 14, 1933.

Sheep herding is a very noble profession. Watching happy little lambs, grow and mature. Shearing them bald regularly, and eventually turning them into mutton chops. (Or lamb if you’re that impatient.) Bosko enjoys what he does. He gets to lean back against a tree on a beautiful, peaceful day, and blow his pipe music for the enjoyment of his flock. But if there’s anything better than being the herder, it’s being a lamb.

Lambs are happy creatures. The world is their playground, lunch table, and toilet all rolled up in one. And they’ve got strong, lively legs that allow them to enjoy it to the fullest. Plus, they’re young enough to not have to worry about taxes, the destruction of wetlands, and the inevitable wars that will occur in the future. If they’re really lucky, they’ll end up on a plate by their third month of life. But I digress.

Bosko’s lambs enjoy eating and frolicking. (And proving you can’t spell ‘disappear’ without ‘ear’.) But as much as they like to eat and frolic, they don’t enjoy being forced to frolic because they ate a grasshopper. Don’t worry though. Both of them survive. Bosko may love his sheep, but he is happy to screw over bees, considering they have a history. He takes their hive, evicts them, and as the ultimate humiliation: converts their house into bagpipes. That’s just cold.

Bruno is here too, but if he’s supposed to be a sheepdog, he’s a lousy one. He’s sleeping! Real sheepdogs can tally the sleep and stay awake at the same time. (Poser.) His snoring can make tiny… raccoons I think, pop out of the log he’s in front of. If he was on his A-game, then he could stop the lambs from escaping through the broken fence whose repairs Bosko keeps putting off. They do a good job of demolishing the grass on the other side.

Grazing always makes me hungry, and so it is with Bosko. Time for a sandwich break. Chewing in traditional Bosko style: mouth-open. (Blech.) All this eating attracts more attention: that of a wolf. Wolves love sheep, because stories with a wolf and a sheep, usually end in favor of the lupine. And do note that they didn’t choose the best background for him to leap on to. Looks like he landed on the empty space in front of a bush.

He decides to use the ‘ole “sheep’s clothing disguise.” Even bleating to be all the more convincing. It works, and he walks off with a lamb in his paws. Bosko whistles for Bruno and the two give chase to the cave that the wolf is hiding out in. Bosko gets the lamb out safely, but seeing the wolf exit makes him assume the worst for his canine buddy. Except he needn’t weep, because Bruno killed the wolf and is just wearing his carcass. HOLY- (And somewhere, there is a female wolf and pups who are never going to the last member of their family again.)

Favorite Part: The face the lamb makes when the wolf reveals himself. It’s over the top, and comedic. Just what I expect from a cartoon.

Personal Rating: 2. There’s a lot of fluff.

The Country Mouse

“It looks bad for the challenger!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Don Williams and Jack Carr; Musical Score by Bernard Brown. A Merrie Melody released on July 13, 1935.

Somewhere in the country, is a mouse named Elmer. He’s the local hero amongst his circle of friends, including Beans and Mickey Pig. He may be a mouse, but he’s quite muscular. (And his muzzle sometimes changes from beige to brown.) And he’s got a goal of someday going to the city and becoming a very successful fighter. But right now, his grandma has other plans: chores.

Muscular is probably the mice’s actual last name. Elmer doesn’t chop down trees, he uproots them. Then he slices them into boards as easily as a razor blade through crisco. Granny is not impressed. She’s the type of hard-working, hard-smoking, hard-chewing grandmother, and she doesn’t uproot trees, she punches them down. And when she hears what her grandson is planning to do with this life, she drags him home by the ear. If he can’t stand up against his kin, what chance would he have in the city?

But his mind is made up, and he leaves in the dead of night. He must have pretty good connections, because it looks like he’s been booked into the ring the very next day. (I suppose time could have passed, but I figure Grandma would have tracked him down by then.) This is a pretty important fight too. It’s the “championship of the world!”. And the announcer is a… desman, I think? (Look them up. You might agree with me.) Elmer is going by “The Hickville Threat.” (Which is either the wimpiest name I’ve ever heard, or just the worst.) His opponent is a bulldog that is known as “The Run-some Bulldog.”

The fight begins and Elmer isn’t as outclassed as some other guys I’ve seen. He manages to get in a few good punches. But you can’t beat the champ, because he’s the champ, and Elmer gets himself a good beating. Back at home, Granny worriedly listens to his exploits on the radio. Deciding that she can’t stands no more, she makes like a biker mouse from Mars and bikes all the way to the city.

The crowd is loving the violence. (It’s the spastic monkey in the back and the drunk bonobo in the front that make it for me.) Just as it looks like Elmer has lost, Granny enters the ring. She takes the champ out with one punch, and is declared the winner. Nice crown. Elmer got something out of it too: a couple of black eyes. And I don’t mean what you’re thinking, his sclera is ebony! For running away from home, Granny punishes him in the most humiliating way she can: a spanking in front of a crowd of thousands. At least he’ll be famous now.

Favorite Part: Elmer is recovering in his corner, aided by a pig trying to bring him to. It works, but the pig wasn’t done playing the hero, and punches him back out.

Personal  Rating: 3

Ain’t Nature Grand?

“Go home.”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Norm Blackburn. A Looney Tune released in March, 1931.

Yes, I definitely think so. That’s why I prefer to stay inside and not bother it. Okay, fine. I admit that a little hike every once in a while isn’t so bad, but camping is to me what salt is to a snail. Bosko is not me, so he’s going to go the outdoors in my place. Followed by that little dog who barks after he say’s “That’s all folks!” instead of Bruno, because he had yet to exist. (The little dog doesn’t feature into this picture, but I thought I’d mention it all the same. Everyone deserves to be mentioned.)

Bosko has ventured out today to partake in the sport of kingfishers: fishing. Of course, fishing is illegal at this stretch of water, so Bosko sets up right next to the prohibiting sign. They’ll never think to look for him there! (Besides, Mickey partook in illegal fishing once, and look how many theme parks that mouse owns now!) But, darn it! That Bosko is such a big-hearted fellow; he just can’t bring himself to impale a worm on a fish hook. He grants the annelid its freedom and decides to use the “N” and “O” but the sign instead. (Hey, that fixes the “illegal” problem!) Now guaranteed safety from death by fish, the little fella runs from a bird.

Bosko’s makeshift bait works like a charm! You can’t spell “Fine Food” without letters 14 and 15. And if you think Bosko taking pity on a lower life-form makes him a hypocrite, he only intended to catch the fish to pet it. (It really is cute.) But I’ve seen what happens when Bosko pets animals. At least fish spit is a new type of saliva for his ocular organs to try. It gets away. Bosko instead takes to following a butterfly instead. He’s having a much harder time catching it, which gives it plenty of time to lead him to a secret place. One never seen by talk-ink kid eyes.

This is the waterfall of harmony. The water’s here are so good and pure, that any animal that feels the presence of the spray instantly gets along with what it would normally consider its prey/predator. As evidenced by the bee’s that dance to spider music. (If you were here last week, then you know how they normally act around each other.) Bosko likes music, Bosko likes dancing, and he thinks he’s as grand as nature, so he joins in. The bees are as unfriendly as that fish, and refuse to dance with Bosko, on account of him not being striped. The spider is more forward thinking, and still plays for the dancing kid. But what are those bees planning?

Well, they’ve roped a… dragonfly I think, into their scheme. They’ll use it like a plane, with a flower propeller, (all three of them just forgetting they have functional wings) and grab a rock to drop on Bosko. A rock that grew exponentially from up there to down here! I’m surprised Bosko’s spine didn’t snap like a stale saltine! But the bees aren’t finished. Grabbing a nest of either smaller bees or wasps, and a hollow twig, (Weird.) they craft themselves a handy little gun that can fire winged venom pouches at non-striped folks. (Bees are little sh*ts! Why are we bothering to keep them alive again?)

Bosko runs (Wait, the gun disappears for one shot! It’s not hard to miss!) but the bees aren’t content with just getting him off their land. They fire, and Bosko’s screams of pain sound quite genuine. Makes me want to give the guy a care package. He manages to take refuge in one of nature’s most beautiful and safe sanctuaries: a man-made fountain. (Well, parks count as nature, don’t they?)

Favorite Part: Bosko dancing in a chorus line with four frogs. It’s adorable, and they look like they’re really having a good time together. Oh, that wonderful waterfall!

Personal Rating:2

You’re too Careless with your Kisses

“Ain’t that just like a woman?”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Larry Martin. A Merrie Melody released on September 10, 1932.

Late at night, a tipsy bee heads back home. Since he’s been drinking, he can’t let the wife know that he’s there, and tiptoes into their room. They cut the sneaking crap fast, and his clumsy klutziness wakes the girl up. She is none to pleased to find Rupert (her husband) has been at the spiked honey again. (I’m a calling her Hunny. Objections? I’ve got none.) There’s no time for reprimanding him though. (Her antennae turn black.) As the female, it’s her responsibility to go out and make honey to make dough.

Outside (where her antennae have decided to stay black) she sets to work. She’s definitely got an interesting method of gathering nectar. She separates the lower half of her abdomen, and uses it like a bucket to scoop out the sugary sweetness. Kind of like an enema as thought up by David Lynch. I’m torn (get it?) between laughing my butt off and puking my guts out. And then comes the rain…

Bee’s can’t fly in this kind of weather. In fact, if Mario has taught me anything, the water there should turn her into a human, and those make milk, not honey! (Kind of hard to when you’re limited to one stomach.) So after robbing a store for a skirt and top, (Okay then. Perhaps you’d like to explain her change of wardrobe?) She comes to the first place one could conceivably call shelter. If I knew anything about predators, then I’d wager a spider lives here. A spider lives here and…Hey! I know this guy!

Score that later short another point! (You know, now I’m starting to think that that Terrible Tom character was the cat from “It’s got me again!“)

Spike (who still looks nothing like any spider I’ve ever seen) brings her in. She immediately recognizes the danger she’s in, but tries to escape up his winding stair! You fool! (Oh, and her stripes are back. K.) Her cries and screams reach her husband who seems to be snapping out of his stupor. He’s got no stinger, but he can blow a mean horn to alert the proper authorities. (I like how the cartoon trusts our intelligence enough to not spell out that the bees are riding horseflies.)

Rupert gets there first, and Spike plans to eat him as well. So Rupert just drags a thorny vine through the guy’s crotch! That looks to completely redefine ‘painful’. Imagine how much worse it would be without an exoskeleton. This isn’t going to be a winning fight, so Spike heads for his washtub boat. (Wait, if that’s human sized… I knew it! He’s not a spider! He probably just got spit on by Peter Parker!) The bee’s fight back like planes on a airliner, (One of whom teleports back to her original spot. Coward) but Spike knows how to defend himself, and puts up a good fight.

Time for the best weapon they have! What I presume to be a wasp (and the only insect in this short that has the correct number of limbs) drops a firecracker on the “arachnid”. The explosion not only destroys his tub, but it makes it look a lot like some stocks, and Spike is trapped in them as well. A happy ending for the pollinators. I guess willing to stand up to a predator is enough of a reason for Hunny to forgive her honey. (Come on. You knew I was going to say that.)

Favorite Part: Okay, that way of getting honey was pretty cool and unbelievably creative. I wish I had thought that up.

Personal Rating:2. Doesn’t do anything too creative that you haven’t seen in any other rescue picture. And the soundtrack is rather depressing.

Billboard Frolics

“SEE THEM AND HEAR THEM”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Cal Dalton and Sandy Walker; Music by Bernard Brown. A Merrie Melody released on November 9, 1935.

We must begin today’s post with what happened at to me at Comic Con: I had a great time. Twice as many people asked me for photographs than last time, two people asked me to dance and sing, (one of whom filmed me) and I lost count of how many compliments I got on my costume. (My favorite was the guy who said and I quote: “Hell yeah! Michigan J. Frog!) Apart from that, it’s a real pleasure in life to see the current voice of Bugs Bunny in person. I can die a happy man, death! Any day now!

Now for today’s post: A very popular story to tell in animated features anymore is “What does ‘X’ do when I’m not around.” It’s been going on much longer than just lately. Exhibit A is our short, today. Today, it’s what the characters on billboards do at night. (Which is coincidentally the premise for one of Illumination’s upcoming films. They’re calling it: “Billboard Games.” It will be mediocre but have an impressive box-office return.)

We begin with an advertisement for the musical duo of “Eddie Camphor” and “Rub-em-off”. They sing a merry melody that I feel should be the theme song to a series of theatrical short films someday. Plenty of ads join in the fun. A cute Cuban dances on her travel ad, Mexican tamales sing along, and Russian rye bread do their expected squat dance. The one I don’t get is the smoking toy penguins. Is that a reference? I’ll be very grateful if you educate me.

Since these are living ads, they can do things that our boring reality ones can’t. Namely, they can hop off of their billboard and traipse around the “real” world. That’s what the chick on the “My am I?” billboard does. (Is that one a reference? Is it just a play on Miami?) He has seen a worm and he is eager to be a part of the food chain. But this is one wily worm who doesn’t want to give up eating crops for being eaten and placed in a crop. (Bird humor.)

Now the funny thing about food chains is that they are almost never are two links long. The local alley cat is happy to take his part in nature’s grand design. Even if his prey of choice tastes like acryllic paint and advertising. My-am-I decides to make a retreat. (I love his face. Why hasn’t that been memed? You fools always seem to neglect my best ideas!) Good thing the board members have such a strong union, and begin fighting off the predator. Including sending out the next link in the food chain: a dog.

The cat manages to trap Fido in a pipe, and he continues chasing the chick. The bird finds himself trapped against a dead end. (Which will be literal if a last minute save doesn’t happen.) The little guy is saved by the baking soda ad on the nearby wall. (Ham and Armour brand, of course.) That chick certainly has something to crow about now.

Favorite Part: When chasing the worm, the chick has an adorable angry face. Coupled that with his non-threatening “cheeps” makes me just want to fawn over him, cuddle him, and give him that worm. (Cute things always get precedent.)

Personal Rating: 3

Scalp Trouble

“Let’s scalpitate!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Norman McCabe; Story by Ernest Gee; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 24, 1939.

If you actually visit this humble site on a weekly basis, then you should remember today’s short. Six months ago, (give or take an extra day.) I discussed “Slightly Daffy,” with the promise of not giving a plot synopsis for this original picture. So let’s get to those differences.

  1. The remake skipped the first joke. But it might have been for the best. It’s weird to see an anti-dog sign, then show a dog on guard duty. (Does make S.D.’s beginning more abrupt than S.T.’s, though)
  2. In the original, when our guard asks if we’ve seen any “Indians” a crowd of approximately 24 of them say “no.” Much funnier than the remake’s only three saying “could be.” Makes our lookout look both dumb AND incompetent.
  3. We don’t even get to see a lineup of Daffy’s men in the remake. Not gutbustingly hilarious, but worth a chuckle.
  4. Okay, I do like Porky snoring out a tune in the remake, but I swear Daffy is much louder and excitable in the original. So it still gets the point.
  5. The native’s lookout is a bit less goofy looking originally. Doesn’t have a turkey on his head, a horse to ride, or a phone to alert his people, either. He uses a siren instead. Point to the new.
  6. Okay, so the original is lacking in the horse-riding gags it’s remake provides. But look at those terrifying off-model faces! The natives have beaks now?
  7. The  bugler’s ears don’t match his instrument in the remake. That’s not nearly as fun.
  8. Original gave us a couple of gags the remake doesn’t include. A soldier using the spitting gun gag, and a native using firewater to burn his way in. (By the way, we never see him taken care of.)
  9. Okay, gotta give credit to the new again. The soldier who shoots and tallies his shots says he got to nine, but he only marks six. When he’s knocked out, that’s when it get to the nine. The remake has his marks show up when he says.
  10. I may be wrong, but I think the original guy who say’s today’s quote has bigger eyes. Helping illustrate the Jerry Colona parody. Plus, we only see his shadow advance on Porky. Which helps in raising the tension.
  11. Another point goes to the original, with Porky shooting off most of a fellow’s torso, as opposed to just having four guys hiding behind rocks. Bodily harm is funnier than hiding.

Favorite Part: In the remake, Porky has nothing but a boring war-bonds sign over his bunk. The original has a photo of his uncle, who’s a football. (Which is all kind of messed up. And yes, I had similar opinions during Disney’s “Three Little Pigs”.) It also features a picture of Petunia! Making this the first time people got to see the redesign Clampett had her undergo. Plus, it’s just adorable that Porky thinks of his girl even whilst at war.

Personal Rating: 3. And if you feel uncomfortable watching these kind of pictures, but feel like you must at least one of them, skip the remake. It’s not as good.