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.

Wise Quackers

“I sthink he looksth better that way.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez, Pete Burness, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 1, 1949.

If the gray skies, red foliage and migrating ducks are any indication: Autumn is here. Dafffy does his best to keep up with the rest of the flock, but ultimately goes down. He calls out for help, and surprisingly enough, he gets an answer! Wait… I know that voice! That’s Elmer J. Fudd! And he’s not confused; he knows exactly what he’s doing. He gets Daffy down on the ground, and aims his gun.

Daffy isn’t too keen on the whole dying idea, and offers up an alternative: slavery! Elmer spares his life, and Daffy waits on him, wing and foot. (And seeing as how Daffy IS black, he’s not above a quick reference to “Uncle Tom.”) Elmer as it turns out, is totally on board with the idea. (As every single human being secretly thinks. Don’t deny it)  The deal is made, and the two head back to the homestead.

Elmer is about to give himself a shave, when Daffy interrupts. Seeing as how he’s the slave, he’s the one who gets to remove Elmer’s hair. (Seeing as how he’s a bird, Daffy is probably fascinated by the stuff.) He starts with a hot towel. So hot, that he ends up steaming Elmer’s face off. He puts it back where it belongs, just upside down. (Elmer frowns, but since his face is still the wrong way, he’s technically smiling. I can’t say I blame him. If I had unlimited wishes, number 5 would be to have my face upside down.)

Now for the actual shaving. It looks like Daffy knows what he’s doing, but it isn’t long before he’s asking for various surgical tools. (Elmer just has plasma in his bathroom does he?) Elmer has come to realize that slavery is, and always has been, a mistake. So he decides to kill Daffy. (Letting him go? That’s an odd suggestion.) Daffy is able to get another pass by making Elmer a meal. But he has to give the ole “it might be poisonous” shtick a try, and eats every bite. (I hope that was chicken.)

Killing time again! Daffy saves himself this time, by offering to chop wood for Elmer. The tree he chose falls on Elmer’s neighbor’s domicile. Seems he doesn’t mind though, as he just asks to borrow Elmer’s hammer, friendly like. (He just wanted to hammer Elmer’s head, but it was still a kind way of asking.) Daffy uses this time to escape, so Elmer sics his dogs on the duck’s trail. They might not look like the most focused ones you could send on this job, but they’re organized. They stop and make plans and everything.

After a botched first effort, (lousy tree) they succeed in bringing Daffy back! (That’s…wow. I never should ever doubt a dog. These are, after all the same animals who were smart enough to come up with the idea of adopting humans as pets.) Daffy’s way out of this one? Play up his blackness once more, and beg Elmer not to whip him. (The DVD that this short can be found on is available at the library I work at. In the children’s section. I laugh every time a child checks it out. Even though I support that choice. Better than “Paw Patrol.”)

The second part of his plan? Daffy returns as Lincoln and angrily tells Elmer off. (Silly slave owners, whips are for cream!) Guess that’s all that was needed, as Daffy leaves. (Huh. Kind of a weak ending)

Favorite Part: When playing surgeon, Daffy keeps asking for more and more ridiculous requests. When Elmer gets fed up and points a gun at him, Daffy simply reminds him that that wasn’t what he asked for. (I thought it was funny!)

Personal Rating: The great gags get this cartoon a 4 from me, but if you can’t see past the racially insensitive bits, then it’d probably be a 3.

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

“Some folks think I’s kinda dumb, but I know someday my prince will come.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 16, 1943.

This is, no question, the most famous of the Censored Eleven. If being listed on the “100 greatest Looney Tunes” isn’t reason enough, then how about actually managing to secure a place as one of the “50 greatest cartoons.” (As chosen back in the 90’s, so people were well aware of how offensive this cartoon was, and still is.) And yet, there are some good reasons as to why it earned such a spot. Allow me to explain.

We start with a mother and child. They aren’t going to feature much in our feature. They set up the story, and briefly appear at the end, and that’s it. (Luckily, they’re in silhouette. We already have enough racist drawings.) The child wants to hear the story of “So White and the seven dwarfs.” So the mother tells just that.

The story starts with a queen. She’s a mean one. Know how I know? She’s hoarding wartime luxuries! Sugar, coffee, tires, and scrap metal! That’s stuff our armies could use! How dare she! Seems like all these treasures aren’t enough to satiate her, so she heads over to her magic mirror. (Now that I think about it, where did the queen find that mirror in every variation of this story? Did Rumplestilskin just have a yard sale?)

The queen asks for a prince, and the mirror… er, supplies I think. A prince does indeed show up. His name is Prince Chawmin’, and maybe he just came this way because of the other woman who is around these parts. Despite the cartoon’s title, her name is So White. (Even though her hair IS coal black, but who would want to be named after their follicles?)

(Right, Edward?)

And as for So… I’ll just say it: she is hot. I mean that. She gets my vote for the most attractive animated character I’ve seen. Jessica Rabbit can’t compare. Red Hot Riding Hood has nothing on her. Samus Aran doesn’t cut it. Give me this black beauty any day. Chawmin’ shares my opinion, and the two start dancing, angering the queen. (Who makes one of the scariest faces I’ve ever seen. That’s a little hyperbolic, but it does give me the jibblies.)

Queenie ain’t pleased to see her prince dancing with her… actually, it doesn’t say if she’s related to So. She could just be a very attractive maid. Still, this is enough cause for murder, so the queen calls up Murder Inc. to get rid of So. They’re very adept and arrive immediately. (Good rates too. Anybody can be out of your life for only a dollar! Midgets are half off! Japanese are free. Bad taste, but I’m sorry, that joke got a small chuckle out of me. At least Murder Inc. have wartime priorities.)

Well, maybe they aren’t as adept as I thought. Being alone with So in their vehicle ends up with her getting safely dropped in the forest, and their faces covered in lipstick. (Can’t say I blame them in the slightest. Shame So’s more of a loose woman than I hoped.) Out on her own, and savvy to her source material, So looks for the seven dwarfs. She finds them rather quickly. Most of them look very similar to each other. We’ll call them Dock, Hoppy, Brash, Sweep, and Snazzy. The other two look like Stepin Fetchit, (Because we have to make that reference whenever possible. The joke is timeless!) and chibi-Dopey. (He’s cute. I’ll call him Cheeb.)

They’re happy to take So in, but since there is a World War in progress, she can’t play housekeeper at their place. Instead, she’ll be the cook at their camp. Now, the queen is well aware that So is still alive. (I guess Muder Inc. couldn’t keep their insensitively large lips shut.) Time for the apple. Poison and all. (I’d have just let her eat it as is. It’d given her worms.) Disguised as a peddler, the queen hands So the apple, claiming it’s candy coated. So gleefully swallows it whole. (Which also would just kill her. The poison is just a fail safe.)

Cheeb sees the downed hottie, (complete with core? She didn’t even chew. Where did it come from? The queen just wanted a snack?) He rallies the troops, and they chase the old girl down. They fire Cheeb in a shell towards her, and he knocks her out with a hammer. Almost all well and good, there’s just the matter of So. They need Chawmin’. His kiss will wake her. He shows up, makes what is possibly the first reference to “Citizen Kane” in media, (I’m too lazy to see if my claim there is true) and kisses So.

Something’s wrong here! He kisses and kisses, but she don’t wake up. Seeing his chance, Cheeb kisses her himself, and that does the trick. But why? Sorry, military secret. (The cutie ended up with the hottie. I guess I ship it.)

Favorite Part: The whole cartoon is in rhyme. (Barring a few exceptions.) It makes the whole thing feel like an upbeat jazz number!

Personal Rating: I won’t beat about the bush. This cartoon is full of ugly caricatures, hurtful stereotypes, and outdated jokes. But, if you can remember that and understand that it’s not funny, there is some pretty awesome stuff left over. A fantastic jazzy soundtrack, some pretty sweet voice acting, (done by some honest to goodness African Americans. And Mel. Because Mel is the voice god) and is overall a pretty awesome parody of Disney’s classic film. I give it a 4. Just remember that even if something is offensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s garbage.

He was her Man

“Johnny! Where are you?”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Paul Smith and Cal Dalton; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 2, 1937.

Oh, boy. You thought the Censored Eleven were bad? They kind of are. This… this is worse. This was uncomfortable to watch. Hardly any humor, but plenty of… of… heck, I’ll start from the beginning.

In a world of anthropomorphic mice and birds, we find Frankie. Her name is never mentioned in the picture, but she is in a relationship with a guy named Johnny, and she does take a gun on him, so it’s appropriate. Right now though, she is trying to sell apples in the middle of winter. You know, the season of misery. Business isn’t going too well. I mean, one prick just eats it out of her hand without a cent. I’d love to defend her honor.

It’s not just being chivalrous, she’s adorable. Sure, it wouldn’t work out between us, but she really deserves better. She finally sells one, and heads back to her living quarters. She is blindly in love with Johnny Mouse. He’s… well, I’m sorry to break out the foul language, but he’s an asshole. He not only forces her to freeze outside, peddling her wares, he also does nothing to help, takes away every cent she makes, and forces her to do the cooking. And yet, she is still hopelessly obsessed with him.

Seeing as how I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, I can’t pretend I know how awful it is. I do know, that nobody deserves such an awful life, and I wish Frankie knew that. She almost gets an out, too. Johnny sees another mouse doe across the street, and falls for her on the spot. Keeping with his dick cancer ways, he leaves without telling Frankie. (I guess they weren’t married. He’s just a cock ulcer she can’t bare to part with.) Oh, wait. He did leave a note. A very brief, short note that doesn’t tell her anything.

For all she knows, he could have been kidnapped. Or killed. (Not like he doesn’t deserve it.) Still, she’s unhappy. She shouldn’t be. This is her chance to live her own life, but she wants the anus cyst. The poor thing. An unspecified amount of time passes, and Frankie now makes her living singing in a saloon, singing the title song. (The mice who are partaking of the free lunch don’t move until there’s a good shot of them on screen. Just so you know.)

Frankie is still upset. When you know who walks in? That taint scab of a mouse, Johnny. Still with his new doe. And Frankie? She’s excited to see him! What kind of Stockholm syndrome did Johnny employ? This is painful to see! Oh, but it gets better. As Frankie begs him to take her back, he…he…he smacks her right in the face! Sure, her body reacts like a cartoon would, but it isn’t funny. No matter what kind of music they play.

Frankie tries to fight back, but Johnny is relentless. He punches her! Multiple times! He grabs her neck and shakes her around! He feels no remorse either! This…this… this is f*cked up! Frankie happens to find a gun, and well, I can’t say I blame her, but she shoots the rectum tumor. And she immediately feels bad. I mean, it’s a good thing she isn’t happy to have killed someone, but she needs to get away from this guy. He’s vile, he’s awful, he’s…getting up?

Yeah, turns out the bullets just barely grazed him, so he’s still alive. At least Frankie is still angry enough to break a bottle over his head. So, how should we end such an unpleasant cartoon? Have the two switch roles. Johnny sells the apples, while Frankie lounges around. Giving her “lover” another bottle whack whenever he looks at anyone else. She really decided to stay with him. I’m going to have to believe it’s sorely to keep others safe from this fecal pus sack. I think I’ve made my point.

Favorite Part: Well, I guess there was one part that wasn’t too bad. When Frankie climbs the stairs to Johnny’s place, she seems to pass by a Porky cameo. It wasn’t really worth repeating twice more, but at least it keeps the Johnny time limited.

Personal Rating: 1. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this. Go watch UPA’s “Rooty Toot Toot,” instead. It’s a much better retelling of the tragedy of Johnny and Frankie.

Porky’s Garden

“That’s a some-a nice garden.”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Sid Sutherland and Elmer Wait; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 11, 1937.

Big prize at the fair! If you’ve got a home-grown product, and it’s big enough, then you could be the lucky recipient of $2,000.00! (And we have to adjust for tax. You’ll still get to keep a buck.) Porky has plans to win with his produce. His Italian neighbor, (who I get to name Carlo because nobody else has in 83 years) also plans to win  with his chickens. There can only be one winner, who do you think will take it?

The two rush home. Porky does something I’ve never seen him do before: use his tail to poke holes in the ground. It looks… unnatural. (Does he ever make use of that appendage again?) His neighbor already has most of his work done, as his chickens have reached the adult stage. It couldn’t hurt to give them a bit more nutrients. Mixing up a mess of vitamins and minerals, he expects the birds to gobble it down. However, even though they have less than 500 taste buds, they still hate the stuff.

Porky has a secret weapon. A substance that can cause living things to grow really big, really fast: hair tonic. It works all right. The plants immediately age from seeds to full grown seed producing plants of their own. Just like that! Porky’s earned his rest. He goes inside. Luckily for him, Carlo didn’t see his growing methods. Unluckily, he does see a bounty of food that his hens could feed upon. Logically, anything that grows that big has got to be good for you. Should promote bone growth, muscle strengthening, and probably more of a sex drive.

The birds dive in. Food gags! (And yes, sometimes, food, gags.) One chicken sucks the juice out of all the tomatoes. Another squeezes peas right out of the pod. A third isn’t interested in salad, and just pries a worm out of an apple. (She knows what happens to chickens that go to fairs.) Porky becomes aware and tries to chase the birds off his property. (I notice one seems to disappear before my eyes. It must be a poultrygeist. I don’t care how many people have made that joke before me.)

(It’s a million, isn’t it?)

Porky, rightfully so, asks his fat neighbor (yes, I went there) to collect his birds. He asks them to come back. They don’t. Clearly, he’s done all he can do. (He’s also not too sad. Contests are more fun if your victory is assured, you know.) Porky mopes. Wait, what could be on the end of this vine? *Gasp* A pumpkin!  Granted, I’ve seen larger, but as long as they aren’t at the fair, Porky could still win! The chickens aren’t satisfied, and try to eat this last gourd too. Good thing Porky played football in high school. He makes it past the chickens, and runs off to the fair because I guess the contest is today. (He’s so excited that he phases to the right for a millisecond.)

Carlo calls the birds back proving that he was screwing with Porky earlier. (That fat b@$$turd! Yes, I went there!) The fair seems really popular this year, they’re even playing “The Merry go round broke down.” (Because it’s a funfair.) Since they are free range, the chickens just walk behind Carlo as he strolls to the contest. They pass a barker who has an interesting product. Reducing pills. His sign promises they will make you thin, but his demonstration is a bit more confusing. He gives one to an elephant, and granted, it shrinks. Into a mouse. Wait.

Okay, I looked at the taxonomic chart my species has created. That doesn’t add up, it’s just Avery having fun. Oops! A bottle has spilled open and the pills are spilling in front of the chickens. They still have room to spare, and gobble the pills. (Except one that fades away. So many goof-ups today!) Porky is just about to win, when Carlo shows up. (His hens look much more large than they did half a second ago.) The judge takes Porky’s prize away. (Yeah, um, the contest was clearly over if you were handing  out the prize, and why such a large bag for one dollar? Is it given in pennies? Jerk.)

Oops! The pills kick in. The birds shrink. Back to pullets, back to chicks, back to eggs! Iris out.

Oh wait, things need to be set right. Porky is on top of things, and reverses the ending a bit to grab what is rightfully his.

Favorite Part: Even though the chickens are supposed to be a team, one refuses to share a watermelon with a chick. The little one sobs, but finds some spinach. Not only does this make him stronger, but actually turns him into a Popeye caricature! Speech style included!

Personal Rating: 3

Buddy’s Showboat

“Hello sweetheart!”

Supervision by Earl Duvall; Animation by Jack King and James Pabian; Music by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on December 9, 1933.

Yippee. Joy. Another Buddy short. And? It just might be the worst one. My verdict is still out, but it’s in the running.

Look at that boat maneuvering. That, combined with Buddy’s obnoxious smile tells me that the guy is high as a cirrus cloud. I mean, you know you’ve got a goofy look on your face when even I want to beat you up. Just a little. Buddy’s the captain, which means his lady must have a pretty important job as well. I mean, a potato peeler? That’s got Nobel Prize written all over it. Rounding out our crew, is that fattish guy we saw in “Buddy’s Beer Garden.” (Or it could be one of his identical sextuplets. Probably the most successful one.)

Actually, I don’t know if he works on the boat or is just some free (wide) loader. I don’t know, do employees normally cut their toenails with knives? Looks uncomfortable to me. Do you ever get tired of the constant racist jokes found in early cartoons? Well, here’s something different to feel uncomfortable about: a gay joke! See the smaller boat next to Buddy’s? You know how we know it’s homosexual? Because it’s a ferry! Ha! That’s… not really all that funny. I usually enjoy puns to some capacity, but that was just weak. I guess giving it wings would have been too obvious?

Okay, Buddy. What’s your plan? Oh, you’re docking to show off your entertainment. A parade full of oddballs and weirdos, playing music, making fools of themselves, and other ways one advertises your showmanship. Seems like the crowds have bought the pitch, as they come by the ferry-load to attend the show. As one would expect, Cookie is our main selling point. But before any of you horny, lonely, nobodies think you might have a chance with her, remember that she is already dating the captain. They even send kisses over the phone! (It’s rather nauseating. One of the few times I’m ecstatic to be single.)

Let’s see this entertainment! The couple doing a song and dance with a chorus line behind them. That’s it? I’m still not sure I’ve gotten my money’s worth. (Also, those other women are either several feet in the distance, or I’ve once again forgotten how short Buddy and Cookie really are. Maybe both? I like it when the answer is both.) Next up, more racist imagery! Chief Saucer-Lip. Yes, really. *Heavy sigh* That’s degrading. Buddy, you degrade people. At least he can do a fairly decent Maurice Chavalier impression. (He might still be able to get a career after the last of his dignity is used up.)

Cookie watches from backstage. Finally, this cartoon gets  a bit sexy! Panty shot! What won’t we do to offend? I hope it’s worth it for when the Haye’s code serves our heads on squeaky clean platters! Blimpy uses this opportunity to nab her. He doesn’t make it too far before the captain catches on. Surprisingly, the big lug doesn’t stand much of a chance. He lands a decent punch, but Buddy flies right back and sends his puncher into the ships power switch, giving him a shock.

Buddy knows he can’t punch worth a dime, so he swings a boat into the man. This sends him into the trained walrus cage, who treats the man as a toy. (Um, everyone knows that a walrus doesn’t have six flippers, right? We all know? Good. I was worried.) With the big guy pretty much defeated, Buddy uses the boat’s crane to lift the villain onto the paddle-wheels. A great many spankings is just what he needed.

Favorite Part: Blimpy tries sending a kiss to Cookie via phone, like Buddy. She sends him back a punch.

Personal Rating: 1

Bars and Stripes Forever

“Why don’t somebody do something? Do something! Say, that’s a good idea! Maybe I can do something. Sure!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 8, 1939.

Welcome to Alcarazz prison! Thought there was no such thing as a “bad” dog? Well, I still say there isn’t, but this short is full of canines who are incarcerated for some reason or another. (Maybe this is just a pound, and this is all seen from a pup’s point of view?)

We don’t have any named characters, or at least, not yet. Our large thug of the picture shall now go by: Julius. Which naturally leaves the small comic relief as: Ben. Don’t be fooled. Ben may look innocent enough, with his tiny frame, oversized clothes and squeak of a voice. But he’s in here for a reason. He snapped Dinky Doodle’s neck! (Mostly because he was the only person small enough.) These two have a bit of a running gag: Julius does something to rile up the guard, and Ben takes the punishment, all the time, every time.

We’ve also got a warden who doesn’t factor much into the picture, but he is a caricature of Hugh Herbert. So, he has that going for him. I like him. (He’s silly.) He seems really into his job. Happily waking up the inmates, and believing their blatant lies about who dug the holes in their cells. (Mice, my tail. Rats, maybe. Groundhogs? Possibly. Capybaras? By all means!… I’m rambling again, aren’t I?) There’s even a joke about one prisoner begging not to be taken to a chair, despite being told it’ll be over very soon. (Turns out, it was a barber chair. But admit it, you didn’t know that right away.)

Still, nice as it may be inside, a prison is a prison. Julius wants out. (His crime was a lot less impressive. He just shot Scrappy in the arm.)

(Admit it. You’d do the same)

He plans a riot for 2 ‘o clock. Good thing the dogs are allowed at least two guns per person in here. They let loose at the allotted hour, and Julius uses it as a cover to make a break for it. He’s almost immediately caught. What else can he do, but sing? It actually does work! I mean, the guards don’t put up much of an effort to stop him, and they get locked up to boot, but Julius is able to wish the warden farewell to his face. (Note to self: a song can get me out of work. Acapulco, here I come!)

Scratch those plans. It works for less than a minute before Warden Paws realizes the severity of the situation. His boys set off to bring the rascal back, and they manage to do it too! All too soon, Julius is back in the can, but now with much more security to keep him inside. Still bitter, he clubs the passing guard over the head. Ben is cleaning outside the cell, and he knows that he’s going to get the punishment yet again. If that’s the way it must be, he does it his way, and punishes himself. (With behavior like that, he’ll make parole in no time!)

Favorite Part: Warden Paws. He could make Death Row jolly! (And he probably does!)

Personal Rating: 3

Greetings Bait

“Don’t be so reluctant, Dragon!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ant Pasted

“You wascuwls!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, Manuel Perez, and Ken Champin; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 9, 1953.

Elmer is all excited for an Independence day picnic. What separates those from their boring everyday counterparts, is the fireworks, naturally. Elmer is just a big kid/arsonist at heart. Even if it’s light out, he gets started lighting the explosives and  flinging them away. One lands near an ant, who despite having antennae, sniffs at the device much like a dog. (Because making animals do things they don’t do is instant comedy.) Poor thing is caught in the blast. (It’s a pretty big ant too! Must be of the “bulldog” variety. Oh! I just got the sniffing!)

I wouldn’t find any fault in Elmer if he just laughed it off with a “whoops” but he actually takes delight in tormenting these innocent animals. (Picnickers are just savage) In fact, he tosses all that he can at the insects, destroying their hills. Not pleased, an ant declares war on Elmer in plain English. (They have chipmunk voices.  I don’t care what anyone says, It’s a gag that never stops being funny.) The war is officiated by presid-ant Harry Truman, and the drafting begins. (Sending the chosen ones to a literal boot camp.)

Elmer is sleeping now. (Probably saving his energy and remaining fireworks for tonight.) This gives the ants the perfect opportunity to sneak over and steal some of his fireworks to use against him. They send him a warning shot to wake him up. Based on the animals that he has faced before, I don’t find it odd, that Elmer doesn’t find it odd, that he is surrounded by literal army ants. He is willing to go to war, and suits up. (With saucepan.) The ants might be strong, but they can’t really heave, so they use mousetraps and “kazookas” to launch their attack. (Not so funny when you’re on the receiving end, huh, Elmer?)

Despite the fact that this is Elmer we’re talking about, he is actually able to put up a decent fight. He sticks his fireworks in the hills, and down the periscopes looking at him. But the ants aren’t only not killed, but they have plenty of numbers. I mean, for every one of Elmer, there’s a million of them. So, he better stock up on troops/supplies. The ants are pretty smart, too. When Elmer tries launching a firework via pipe, the ants rubber band it back into his stomach. Elmer tries to put it out with the water cooler he brought along, (and to think we all laughed at him) but it just causes him to end up inside it. (Which not only makes us all laugh at him, but reminds us of the time this exact thing happened to Sylvester.)

The ants really mean business, and call out the “Royal Flying Ants.” (An obvious nod to the “Royal Air Force” but I like to think that Freleng and his team knew that the royal ants really are the ones who can fly. It’s also another returning gag.) The navy too! Elmer is just a one man army, and knows enough to flee when he is clearly fighting a losing battle. (Nope! I couldn’t type that with a straight face!) Still, he takes what’s left of his supply, and bolts. Unbeknownst to him, many of his fireworks are leaking gunpowder, and the ants light his trail. This leads to a rather spectacular explosion, as the insects celebrate their “Indepen-ants day.”

Favorite Part: I’m sorry, did you miss the fact that Ant Harry Truman is in this picture? He’s one of the most hilariously terrifying, and terrifyingly hilarious creatures I’ve ever seen!

Personal Rating: 3

Mice Follies

“Morton, you are a mental case!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Granpre, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Tom Ray; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on August 20, 1960.

Happy national Pig day! As per tradition, we here at Wackyland2.com want to offer you a free update to all future posts to give you a reason to keep coming back. That means, from now on, each short will have a rating to help you understand how much you should be viewing art of this caliber. This will apply to all previous posts as well. (At least eventually.) Sad to say though, this will probably be the last yearly update. Unless someone can suggest any good ideas. I’ll be putting the rating rules in the “Welcome page.”

Here’s another short focused on America’s favorite animated family!

No, no. Before that.

No! Before that!

There you go!

They may have only had a total of three cartoons, but their must have been at least one person counting the days between shorts, right? (Regardless, this was their last appearance.)

It’s late. Much too late for anybody’s husbands to be out. Whoops. Seems like the Ralph Kramden mouse, Ralph Crumden, has been out at his lodge meeting for three hours more than he promised his wife. The Ed Norton mouse, Ned Morton is in the same boat. To add to their problems, they are being followed home by a cat that Ned provoked. Seems like their dead meat either way. I might have never been married, but I know that the wrath of a woman is just as dangerous (if not more so) than an attack by a dangerous animal.

Once home, the cat beats them inside and disguises itself as their apartment. The two don’t notice right away. Good thing Ned had a match on him, so they could get a look around. After the cat spits them out, the two make head to their real home. Slipping in through the grate, the cat beats them to the punch. Ralph goes in first to confront his angry spouse, but gets irate himself at the fur coat “she” appears to have purchased. (It really is a waste of money. Why buy what you were already born with?) He tears it off her, and angrily shows his pal. “She” pummels him. (Actually, I don’t know if the quotes are necessary. Maybe the cat IS female.)

Well, maybe Ned can reason with his wife. Nope. The fury is too much for him to handle as well. I guess the women folk are just not going to listen to their spouse’s side of the story so late at night. The males decide to go sleep in the park tonight, and let the two calm down. (I like how the cat’s cries sound like “Rrrralph.” Not only because it makes it understandable for him to confuse it with his wife, but that’s also what I want to do when I hear a cat’s cries.) Wait a minute! Here I am going off on another anti-cat tirade when there’s a genuine problem here! Didn’t those two just leave a predator alone in their domicile with their wives?

Nope. Crisis averted. Alice and Trixie were also out of the house. They went to the movies. They also are worried about their spouses are going to react, but reason that since they got to go to their activity, the girls should get a pass. (I’ve mentioned before how attractive Alice is, and it seems Trixie is no different. If you gals can’t patch things out with the men, I’d be happy to console you. Don’t let my being a good 3,000 times your size deter you in any way.)

Well, the girls manage to avoid death, but they too mistake the cat for angry spouses. Was domestic abuse not such a problem in the sixties? Because the women also decide to just leave the “men” to their fuming and go sleep in the park. They find a bench. (Which is mouse sized. That’s so cute!) Unbeknownst to the two, their husbands are sleeping on the opposite side. (Meanwhile, the human occupants of their house heard a scratching noise from a trapped animal in the walls. Not bothering to investigate, they just pumped it full of gas.)

Favorite part: Just the fact that Morton bothers the cat in the first place. As far as I can tell, he’s not even drunk. He just did it for fun! (A real mouse after my heart.)

Personal Rating: 3