Ups ‘N Downs

“On your marks!”

Supervision by Rollin Hamilton and Paul Smith. Music by Frank Marsales. A Looney Tune released in April, 1931.

If you know me, (and I doubt you do, as nobody talks to me) then you’ll also know that I’m not fond of those ugly color remakes of old cartoons. There is nothing wrong with black and white. I think it adds character! Anyway, the reason that I have included one of these atrocious retreads, is because the ending got tweaked! I figure for the sake of being thorough, I have to give you the option to watch it if you choose to. (I’d rather you didn’t. If you choose to, please be honest. It feels wrong to be disappointed because of a lie.)

A whole paragraph and still yet to get into a plot summary. It’s race day! I can’t say for sure if such things attract the kinds of crowds this short suggests, because I’ve never attended one. (It takes away time I could be spending watching more cartoons. You can see the bind I’m in.) As is typical of extremely early Looney Tunes, Bosko is also there. He’s a hot dog vendor. (It’s not the only time he took this career up.) Despite the name, (or maybe because of it) a dog comes to partake of his wares. Sadly, the sausage he bites has blackface. (“Race” day! Not “Racist” day!) The good news is that the two recognize each other as long-lost family members and they skip off together. (I’m sure the next week at most will be the best of times.)

Back to those crowds. The… cow on skates on the railroad track (I just had to type that. *sigh* “You love cartoons. You love cartoons!”) is carrying excited patrons over. (Including a couple more Mickey clones. Numbers 86 and 602 to be precise.) Some of whom are so excited to see some horse v horse action that they are sneaking in. (More clones? I guess these are numbers: 655, 710, 522, 327, 716, 349, 579, 601, 32 and 700. In case you’re wondering, there were 782 total clones of Mickey Mouse made before Disney finally put a stop to it. The majority of them inbred with each other and this indirectly led to the birth of the Minions. I never saw their movie, but I’m sure they told you the exact same origin story.) Back to business!

Bosko is also a participant in the race. The competition looks tough. These jockeys are the to horse racing, what soccer moms are to parenting. How can a simple purveyor of processed meat snacks ever hope to stand a chance competing with those guys? Cheating of course! Bosko has a mechanical horse which he hopes can help him stand a chance. But it still won’t be easy. (Especially if the large bully-type you always see in these type of stories has any say. Wouldn’t it be an interesting twist if there was a sports story where the opponents were good sports who wished the best of luck to their opponents? It’d send a good message to the children.)

After a bit of a shaky start, Bosko manages to make his way through the ranks (even passing clone # 766) to second place. Thanks to support from his biggest fan. (You see, it’s funny because said fan is a hippo.) If Bosko is going to cheat, (and it’s not like he’s hiding it) then so will the first place bully. Spitting at his competition doesn’t do much more than switch their positions. (I didn’t know Bosko could carry his mount. Those rubbery arms are much stronger than they appear.) So he moves up to an actual grenade! Here is where the cartoon splits into different endings, depending on whether or not you are watching in color. Choose your own ending!

If you are a purist and are watching the original, go to pg. 23. (You sound like my kind of guy/gal!)

If you are a traitor to my beliefs, and chose to watch the color crap, turn to pg. 46. (You make me sad.)

If you prefer to live the rest of your life living in suspense, and don’t want to choose, you might as well close the book and go outside. (What are you even doing on my website?)

Pg. 23 The grenade does blow up and turn Bosko’s horse to pieces, but they reform upon hitting the ground. Using the horse’s extendable neck, Bosko wins the race.

*Where are they now: After winning the race, Bosko finally proposed to Honey. The two moved to Alberta, Canada, and went on to father Bosko Jr., Musky Joe, and the child formerly known as Hannibal. The horse went into retirement and spent the rest of it’s days at a penny arcade. It would spring into action one more time. The bully character fell into obscurity and tried to pass himself off as Peg-leg Pete. Nobody fell for it.

Pg. 34 You wake up to find your whole life has been a dream. Nothing is how you remember it, and the person you thought would love you forever is just a roast ham. (And it’s starting to smell) I’d recommend trying for a better ending, but the rest of the story was also part of said dream, so I guess you are pretty much stuck. Why not look around here? Lovely place.

*Where are they now: You lost the game (or book as it were) and didn’t know what to do with yourself. If you had a genie, you might have some sort of starting point, but you don’t and the best you can hope for is working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life. As for the race, the winner was Jackie the jaunty, jockey with jaundice and her horse, Johnny. They later appeared on a box of Wheaties.

Pg. 46 I can’t believe you actually wanted to watch that color crap. I thought we were friends! Ugggggghhhhh! What happens here, is the grenade DOES destroy Bosko’s horse, but the explosion catapults him forward [looking at physics equations] not sure how that works, and knocks bully guy off his horse. Bosko rides it to victory.

*Where are they now: Bosko may have won the race, but the horse was another participants. So it was decided to be a draw. Bosko then began selling out and endorsing all sorts of terrible products, sacrificing his relationship with Honey. When he lost all his money due to various lawsuits, he had no one to turn to and started drinking. His depression hit a high point when his offer to cameo in “Who famed Roger Rabbit” was declined. The Bully actually lived quite comfortably and wrote the best selling book “Horse racing to victory: How you too can make it big on the racetrack!” It has been at the top of the New York Time’s best seller list for 88 years now. The robo-horse died. Nobody came to mourn him.

Favorite Part: The Bully heaving a grenade at Bosko. He went from 0 to whatever the max was, pretty fast.

*I hope I don’t have to tell you I made this up.

The Village Smithy

“Get out of the scene now!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Cecil Surry and Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 5, 1936.

Still relatively early in Avery’s career, and yet this short is comic gold! This guy really knew what he was doing! (If only all directors did the same.)

What can be said about a village smithy? Well, as the poem dictates, he is a mighty man. A strong man. And kind of a dope. I like him. He is kinda like that doofy uncle we all have. The short wastes no time in getting the jokes started. From everything falling into the scene, to awesome fourth wall jokes that don’t let up through the picture.

The smith has an apprentice/assistant, my all around favorite guy, Porky. He’s a bit clumsy, but eager to be of assistance. All we need to get the story underway is a horse. (A camel from one of their foreign legion pictures shows up. Is that a reference to “Little Beau Porky”? Very Clever, Tex!) Time to get to work! Smith measures the horse’s hooves and instructs Porky of the size. Porky gets the right size, but wrong material and begins hammering a rubber horseshoe. (It’s always good to have some around a blacksmith.) He ends up hitting his head when the hammer bounces off the shoe. (In accordance with the law of the Tooniverse, he stops once he has a helmet on.)

Let’s get this thing on the horse. Or the smith, that works too. It certainly puts a spring in his step! (I’m not sorry. The short didn’t make that joke, so it was up to me.) He rips it off, but has a hard time getting rid of it. Every throw just brings it back to his head. His solution is simple: shoot the freaking thing. It works, but Porky is banned from getting more. Instead, he is told to heat a new one up at the forge. Prepare yourself, the last bit of the cartoon is one wild and funny gag!

Porky trips with the searing horseshoe, and drops it on the poor creature. As it runs in pain, it hits the smith and drags him along. Their destination: all over the countryside! They destroy a great many of the surrounding landmarks. Demolishing a general store, a bank, and nearly running over a digger in the road. Horses have a goodly amount of stamina, so unless something can stop it, it’s probably going to keep on going. Luckily for the smith, a fence acts like a rubber band and sends them back, all the way home. (Reversing the footage they already had. Brilliant, Avery! One can only imagine what your future projects will contain!) Back at the beginning, the smith is shaken, but apart from some color changing eyebrows, he’s fine. He would like to know how this all happened, though. As Porky explains, he accidentally repeats his screw-up, and the whole thing starts over again!

Favorite part: Well, obviously, the ending gag is the best part, but it is the little touches that really brings it together. As they run, the smith pauses the action to comment on the situation. (A common Avery gag.) Even better, when they reverse everything, he speaks backwards. That clever Avery! Death should have given him a pass.

At Your Service Madame

“Can’t you ever try and behave yourself like the others?”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Don Williams and Cal Dalton; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on August 29, 1936.

You know, my grandparents once bought me a DVD set that was said to contain all of Porky’s cartoons. Looking at the cover, I could tell it wasn’t a licensed product. But hey, a gift is a gift and I DID want to see every Porky cartoon. Sadly, it was shoddily made. First off, it was clear that whoever made this, did so by just filming Cartoon Network. Therefore, some of the cartoons had jokes edited out, and ugly recolorings of black and white shorts. The idiot even left snippets of the episodes of Toonheads that were airing certain cartoons. Second, he didn’t include “Dime to Retire” (I only was able to notice this, because it was one I saw as a kid and was looking forward to seeing again) Lastly, (and the reason I’m bringing this story up at all) two of the cartoons didn’t star Porky at all. Instead, it was Piggy Hamhock.

Moral: Don’t lie to a Looney Tune fanatic. You’ll get caught.

Now then, on this day every year, we salute all mothers for what they do for us. However, sometimes, even they need a little help. Such is the case of Mrs. Hamhock, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Our story begins on a tranquil morning. The Hamhock matriarch calls her children to breakfast. One of whom, is Piggy. (This is before his more well known short, “Pigs is pigs.”) He pretty much behaves the same way we last saw him, but he wears pajamas this time around. (Ironically, his mom doesn’t wear anything under her apron. And that makes me uncomfortable)

Enter our villain of the short. Why, it’s W.C. Squeals! Making his first appearance as well! He’s a bum here, that gets his news by reading street newspapers. What a headline that captures his interest! Mrs. Hamhock is a widow with a fortune. (R.I.P. Mr. Hamhock, Piggy Sr.) Well, when you you live on the streets, and are a bachelor yourself (and your nostrils light up, and your snout changes color) wooing a lonely (rich) lady is the gentlemanly thing to do. Good thing he’s right outside their house.

The Mrs. (who, if my logic is correct, (and it always is) is named Fluffy) is happy to let some random person she doesn’t know, but knows who she is, into her house. She maybe well versed in manners, but it was her husband who had all the common sense. Squeals admires her home. To his credit, he doesn’t try to marry her on the spot or anything. Instead, his plan is to distract her while he robs the safe. Asking for a little piano music, he serenades her with the title song, using the noise to drown out his safe opening.

Piggy may be a piggy, but he isn’t one to let his mother be swindled. Squeals keeps pushing the kid away, so he has to get some help from his siblings. They are quite the team, and manage to not only rough Squeals up a bit, but eject all the money from his pockets as well. She is quite grateful and gives them all kisses. (Although she never thanks Piggy. This is why he had to steal her pies later on) Having been caught, Squeals has no other option but to be on his way. He acts rather calm though. Much like Nixon did, he leaves with dignity.

The Hamhocks themselves were planned to have a series of cartoons. Each of the children were going to have one where they showed an example of one  of the deadly sins. Only the gluttony one made it. With how deliciously (hee hee) creepy it was, I’m saddened to know there could have been more.

Favorite part*: When one of the piglet’s pajamas comes undone, another one helps put it back into place. Helps enforce the fact that they are family, and will jump in to help each other when needed.

*(An honorable mention goes to Piggy pretending to brush his teeth by wetting his toothbrush. A tactic I used to pull as well)

Bosko at the Beach

“Is there a lifeguard in the audience?”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton; Music by Frank Marsales. A Looney Tune released on July 23, 1932.

What does a character like Bosko do at the seaside? The occupation many black and white toons tried their hands at: hot dog vendor. (Like all toon food, the wieners are still alive. I’m sorry, but I don’t fancy the idea of chewing on something that wiggles. Jiggling is fine) These must be some dang, fine sausages as the local wildlife beach themselves just to get a taste. No, wait. The octopus and seahorses were only coming ashore to pretend to be a carousel. They are then ridden by some clams. (I wish I could say the self sacrifice was worth it to make those mollusks smile, but they ditch their shells to ride! They will all die! At least the gulls will have a good time.)

And where would a hot dog purveyor be without an actual dog? Much like Mickey had Pluto, Bosko has Bruno. And wouldn’t you know it? He makes the five appearance rule! Let’s do a quick learn about him, shall we?

Bruno

If possible, Bruno had less personality than Honey, because he was only a dog. He didn’t even speak.

That was fun.

This beach doesn’t seem like MY ideal lounge spot. Bruno steps on a nail! It’s hard to enjoy ones self with lockjaw, but I suppose with the right attitude, anything is possible. Bosko is kind enough to remove it from his dog, but doesn’t bother disposing it correctly. He just tosses it on the ground. (I’m sure it will find a nice home. Little children love to run around without shoes!)

Honey is also at the beach. She’s accompanied by some cat-like creature named Wilber. He appeared in a few cartoons, but I don’t think five. Either way, I can’t find a picture of him. Nobody cares about Wilber. Perhaps that is why Honey is happy to let him play in the ocean, unsupervised. Honey has better things to do, once she sees that her boyfriend is there, she changes out of her swimwear and gets on her usual attire. (I don’t she she is wearing the bra she took in the changing booth. I guess she just enjoys stealing other women’s lingerie. The little minx!)

Bosko enjoys the idea of sharing a picnic with her, but Bruno is not one to be ignored. He wants to play, and darn it! Bosko is a great person to play fetch with. He throws the stick to try and be rid of the friendly dog, but said dog brings back increasingly large pieces of wood. The last one upends their picnic once dropped on it.

Wilber, meanwhile, has been having fun in the sea, but the waves finally get a hold of him, and begin dragging him away. (If you are caught in the current, you belong to the sea now. That is my rule. That is also why you don’t hear from my son anymore.) Since Bosko is the only guy in this short, it is up to him to be the hero. (Once he jumps in the water, a bathing suit magically appears. Or the anchovies undressed him. I like my first answer) The waves are fierce, and Bosko struggles to rescue the child. This is why you never send a Bosko to do a dog’s work. Using a log and a fan, (which is clearly not plugged in. And that means Bruno must turn it manually.) He makes a boat and saves the two castaways.

Favorite part: Bosko announces his wares with a cry of “Hot dogs!” It’s also the same thing when he sees his girlfriends silhouette.

Beau Bosko

“Snap out of it!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Norm Blackburn. A Looney Tune released on July 1, 1933.

Today, we find Bosko in a Foreign Legion outpost. The troops are pretty close as at least two of them share the same bed. However, it is time to wake up and get to doing whatever it is these guys do. That includes Bosko, who is heavily sleeping. In fact, his uniform wakes up before him. It’s up to his clothes to wake the sleep-ink kid, who once he does awaken takes his place amongst the troops. (Considering the guy in front of him has a sink in his backpack, it seems that Bosko can afford to sleep late every day.)

The general approaches. I don’t know why he singles Bosko out, but it appears that he is the best person to apprehend the picture’s villain, Ali Oop. So, he gets his camel and heads out. His search leads him to a town. To his delight, his girlfriend is also there. (I can’t quite make out what he’s saying. My best guess is it’s “Oh, boy!”, or “Oh, baby!” but it sounds like “Oh, boobies!” But that can’t be. Honey is flatter than a sheet of paper at the bottom of an ocean on a planet bigger than Jupiter!)

Before Bosko can do more than kiss her, Ali and his troops show up. Bosko and Honey take refuge in a building, and luckily for them, someone just left a gun hanging around. Just begging to unleash its majestic killing power on those down below. Good thing Bosko is trained to use such a device. Firing at the men below, he manages to take care of most of them. Not by actually going through with any bloodshed, but more knocking coconuts and pots into the thugs. Even Ali ends up dazed on a cart. Seizing his chance, Bosko seizes some spears and throws them towards Oop. He’s still not aiming to kill, though. The projectiles make a cage around the criminal. Having trapped the scoundrel, the two lovers cart him away.

Favorite part: When the troops are told to wake up, they respond by singing “Good morning to you.” The little smart alecs.

Page Miss Glory

“Call for Miss Glory!”

Supervised by Tex Avery; Words and music by Warren & Dubin; Modern Art Conceived and Designed by Leodora Congdon. 3/C. A Merrie Melody released on March 7,  1936.

Another one of the 100 greatest. The oldest one in fact.

Hicksville is a pretty slow, country town. It’s the kind of place where one can’t open their mouth without a yawn jumping out. So, the slightest event will really catch the populace’s attention. In this case, a celebrity is coming to town. Her name is Miss Glory, and since this is such a big occasion, the entire town is pitching in to make the place worthy. She will be staying at the only hotel in the place, where the staff is also prettying up for her.

The bellhop is a young man named Abner. He is excited to be a part of everything and practices bellhop manners. Everything is ready, now all we need is the guest of honor. If the clock is to be believed, several days have passed without her showing. (Pft. Celebrities.) As the time passes, Abner sleeps and dreams. In his dreams, not only is he less ugly, (Getting some clothes that actually fit, a haircut, losing his ugly buck teeth) but the hotel becomes an art-deco place of beauty. And Miss Glory is here in Abner’s dreams too.

Being a bellhop, he is asked to page the titular woman. While we are treated to the title song, we do get some gags thrown in as well. After Abner stands on a guest’s train, it tears off of her. She rolls with it and does a fan dance. (If only she was 50 years younger, it would be okay to be turned on by this) Another highlight is the patron getting served a mountain of food, but only eating a bite of an olive.

Abner is not having much luck finding the woman, and things only get more complicated as the hotel announces that Glory is at the hotel. This attracts the attention of every single man in the place, who storms in her direction. Clogging the elevators, Abner is unable to follow and perform his duties. He does eventually get in one, but the operator heads out on his lunch break. Abner decides to send himself up, but due to coming from a world where hotels are not more than one story high, he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and sends the elevator up and down at a high speed. Eventually popping out of the building, and landing him in front of a streetcar.

But that bell isn’t just part of a dream! It’s his boss! Miss Glory has finally arrived! (She must be a big deal. If the crowd is any indication, Clampett, Avery, Jones, and Melvin Millar have all shown up to catch a glimpse of her.) Abner prepares to do what he was meant to do, but the question remains: Is Glory as hot as he dreamed? Not unless you’re a pedophile. Miss is an appropriate title, as the woman in question is at max, six years old.

How do I Know its Sunday

“No Samples”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Frank Tipper and Don Williams; Music by Bernard Brown. A Merrie Melody released on June 9, 1934.

Do you really want to know the answer? Well, I know that over a year ago, I decided to update on Sundays. The calendar I looked at said it was said day, and ever since then, I’ve updated every seven days. And since Sunday happens once every seven of those days, as long as it stays in the same spot, I will continue to update on this day. And that’s how know its Sunday.

And since the day is Sunday, everyone in town is off to church. Leaving their stores empty and abandoned. Perfect for the merchandise to have a little fun of their own. Like sardines singing with a severed pig’s head. (Delightful.) The meat aren’t the only products singing our title song. The produce does too. A potato has tears streaming out of her many eyes, due to the onion she is talking to. (Her mother said this would happen.) Oysters and lobsters uses their shells and claws respectively as castanets, and even some of our real world mascots join in. Like Mr. Peanut and the Morton’s salt girl.

Seeing as how couples are acting in that sickly sweet couple way, one Inuit boy jumps off of his bottle of club soda, (Get it? He kills seals!) and goes to ask his sweetheart to join him. His lady of choice is a cookie girl. (I hope they don’t plan to spend the rest of their lives together. He’ll end up in the trash and she’ll end up in a toilet. For that matter, can a printed mascot actually mate with a baked good?)

What conflict will befall these innocent marketing gimmicks? Diptera! That’s right, flies! (The idiot who owns this store thought it would be a good idea to leave a window open. Fresh air is full of many unsanitary things.) Being flies, they are interested in the many sugary treats that abound in this store. (One of which has a rib cage in it. That would be fun to watch someone find.) Seeing as his girl is a baked good herself, the flies carry her off to feast on her. They may not be seals, but it won’t stop Soda Pete from going all Whacking Day on their abdomens.

He does manage to rescue her fairly quickly, but the flies get them and all their friends trapped and begin assaulting them with toothpicks and lit matches. (The flies don’t care if they have to burn their prey to ash. Everything tastes like vomit to them, anyway.) The products put out the fires, because, as a store, it sells things like water. And they retaliate with syrup and popcorn. The majority of flies are now a candy concoction themselves, and land amongst other popcorn balls. (Someone is definitely going to be surprised.) The other flies COULD get away, but their pride won’t let them. They make one last attack on the Inuit, but he traps them in a bottle.

 

Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence

“How about some lovin’?”

Supervision by Earl Duvall; Animation by Jack King and Don Williams; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on December 16, 1933.

Everything is asleep at night. The clock, the dentures, the man. (Slow down cartoon! My suspension of disbelief can only go so far!) Now really, the world couldn’t function if there wasn’t SOMETHING nocturnal, so it is quite a relief to see some cats up and about.

A female, (you can tell she is female because of her bow.) heads out of the house at the request of a male. (You can tell he is male because of his Y chromosome.) They make a cute couple. (I could too, but no lady wants to give me the time at midnight.) During a gag where the cats walk in the moonlight and are x-rayed, it is strange to see a cartoon actually remembering that the nose and ears don’t contain bones. Plus one point for zoological accuracy!

Plenty of other cats are in the alley, and they make some music with various junk. Nothing more romantic than “Home on the Range.” (Oh good. I have a copy of that movie.) Now, while they two may seem happy to be together, like all females of all species, she will never truly be happy with any man, and will always be on the look out to trade up. Who could be a better match than generic Tom? How about the scruffy one eyed cat drinking liquid Kat-nip? (From the same company that manufactures liquid Viagra. It’s an odd company.)

Once one eyed Scruff asks her to dance, it’s all over for generic Tom. But he’s not going to just let his ex ruin his life like that! So he throws a brick at Scruff. (Attack a lady? Perish the thought! To this day we seem squeamish to inflict physical harm on the female form. I like to think we’ve gotten a little better at offering slapstick to all genders.) Scruff gives chase and only now does someone become aware of the noise, and sends a rolling pin their way. We get a very nice shot of the two rolling over telephone wires, whilst hanging onto the handles with their tails. (This is exactly what I look for in animation!)

Soon the chase leads into a doghouse, and the angry occupant chases both of the felines. He’s pretty tame as far as dogs should be with cats, he doesn’t even kill them. (But I suppose hitting them in the face is worth a “you tried.”) And as for that lady cat? She already upgraded again. (Her new boyfriend has a hat!) And since cats have the fastest gestation periods of all mammals, they already have had several kittens together.

(Okay, I admit it. Women aren’t the only ones who are constantly looking for someone better. Men do too. But probably not all men. I’m sure if I had a girlfriend, I’d be loyal. Interested, ladies?)

I Like Mountain Music

“Rooty-toot-toot.”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Larry Martin; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on June 13, 1933.

Another short that is putting words in my mouth! So, do I like mountain music? Sure. Especially if it’s Splash Mountain music. (Say what you will about the film, but “Song of the South” had some kick butt songs. Well worthy of the Oscar.)

While not the first “things coming to life while people are away” picture, it is the first one taking place in magazines. (A theme that would be re-explored in “Speaking of the Weather.”) For whatever reason, the magazines decided to wait until 5 in the morning to start partying. (Guess they wanted to make sure the coast was clear.) A cowboy shoots his way out of a western thriller, and has his posse play our titular song as he dances. All the other magazines clap.

An ice skater gets off of her dance magazine to skate on a mirror. And has talcum used as snow, making this the first time that gag was ever used in a cartoon. (Possibly. I wouldn’t be surprised if cro-magnons did the same thing when they were dying of heat stroke. The gag is that old.) Other magazines add their own music to the party. Babies shake rattles, and racist stereotypes clap their oversized lips. (Think you got your stereotypes mixed up here, guys. It’s Tribal Africans that have lips that would make a whale swoon. Their magazine says Asia. Asians have eyes thinner than a needles, and teeth on loan from radioactive beavers. Oh wait, no one has ever had that in the history of the world, and we should all be ashamed for ever thinking displaying that was okay. No censoring. We need to LEARN!)

Is there any actual mountain music in this? No, but there is yodeling. One young lady is nice enough to humor the yodeler as the title theme is sung once more. We’re running out of time, but let’s try and have a conflict too. Three criminals come out of some crime stories and head towards the cash register. (They are being followed by two detectives, but they don’t actually contribute anything to the story. They disappear before the climax even begins.) The crooks pour some lighter fluid into a seltzer bottle, and after igniting it, they have a handy blowtorch to get in the money. But when they are spied by Edward Robinson, they try to run for it, with the rest of the print people fighting against them. Firing gumballs and pins at them. (It’s nice to see Mussolini even lending a hand.)

The boss tries to hide in a screenplay magazine, but finds its inhabitant is a giant ape named Ping Pong! (Actually, he really isn’t all that giant. Especially if we remember he is a printed ad. But he is rather large next to the thief.) Said thief tries to hide in a empty glass, but the ape delights in pouring razzberry soda on him. (Don’t expect fruity goodness. It tastes like spit.) And the character bidding us farewell? He didn’t appear in this short. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say he’s from “The Shanty where Santy Claus lives.”

I Love a Parade

“Open! Open!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Tom McKimson; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on August 6, 1932.

Don’t we all love parades? To be honest, I never really did. They were always too loud. Way too many sirens blaring, and music assaulting my tender eardrums. All I ever wanted to see was the horses. (I love horses.) Even the candy they sometimes threw didn’t placate me. (Couldn’t enjoy it. Everyone turned into barbarians and were willing to kill for tootsie rolls that were getting crushed under wheels and coated in horse crap.) However, if this short is any indication, parades are only fun to watch at circuses.

I spoke too soon. That clown on the title card is terrifying! I feel him eating my soul. Good thing he doesn’t actually appear in the short. (And if he does, I’ve successfully suppressed that memory. And it will stay that way.) The crowd of transparent ghost animals loves the fun times that are going on here. Or maybe, they just get a kick out of seeing Mickey Mouse clone #219 being part of it. He is holding a drum that a lion is beating. A little too hard, as he breaks a hole in it. He solves his musical problem the way Toons in the thirties did: by hurting another animal. In this case: shoving the drum inside of a dog.

We also have another one of those confusing type jokes: even though we just saw a lion being treated as an equal member of the parade, the next one is locked in a cage. (Until the driver of the vehicle said cage is one enters a pipe. Upon exiting, they’ve switched.) With all this fun and more that I’m not mentioning so you actually have a reason to watch the film, who could possibly not enjoy a parade? Answer: the street cleaner following the elephants. (Subtle toilet humor. My favorite kind!)

What kind of sideshow attractions does this circus have? A rubber man who can become a tire! (He can also strum his nose, but that’s not as impressive. I saw Bosko do that in his first cartoon.) Some Siamese pig twins. (Conjoined will never sound as cool) They do the classic gag of one head smoking, and the other exhaling. A tattooed man with several tattoos. (Which is commonplace nowadays. For both genders. Shame, too. Women are far less sexy when they have ink under their skin) Speaking of women, one (who I guess is the show’s fat lady. Also rather commonplace today. For both genders, again.) is tickled by a child’s noisemaker. He hides just as she turns to see the tattoo guy making a groping motion to make his art move. (Bad timing.) We even have a skinny guy! Ghandi?  (It’s not that offensive. If you starved yourself, you’d be in the circus too.)

Another classic gag is the fat hippo lady. We have one here who is riding on a horse. (Who has a rattlesnake rattle on its hind quarters) The two switch places. We also see a mouse on a bike on an elephant. (Clearly, this is Mickey Mouse clone #76.) Speaking of other studio’s characters being in this show, I think that tightrope walker is Oswald’s girlfriend, Ortensia. And the short ends with not much of an ending gag. After a lion (also in a cage. How did that first one get such great treatment?) and his tamer put their heads in each other’s mouths. He has a flea problem, and solves it by removing his teeth and scratching himself with them. (Do I love a parade? Not really, but I do think this short is much more enjoyable to watch.)