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.

Africa Squeaks

“Now we’re looney-tuney!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Dave Hoffman; Animation by John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 27, 1940.

Africa is a place I’d like to visit someday. (But not if I have to share a plane with other human beings. Guess I better start walking.) In the meantime, I think I’ll remember the tales Porky told me after HE went to that particular continent.

He was accompanied by a legion of politically incorrect guides as they traipsed through the various dark stages of Africa. (This time, Porky stops in the darkest part. He knows what he’ll find if he keeps going…) What he actually finds is none other than Spencer Tracy who is quite the method actor, as he came all the way out here to mistake Porky for Dr. Livingston. But he’s not the only one mistaken around here. Tell me Bob, why are you insulting every ostrich on the planet with one of those ‘hiding their head underground’ jokes? I’m not mad. I’m disappointed AND mad!

And then we see some lions who must think they’re hyenas with all the bones they’re devouring. (I pity their stomach lining.) And, wouldn’t you know it, the world’s first Aipom! (Okay, Bob. You and me? We are cool again.) At night, we get a joke that is funny because it’s true. Porky can’t sleep due to the “silence” of the jungle. And Tracy is still looking for the doctor. He’s gotten way off course, as he’s now looking in kangaroo pouches. (He covers good amounts of ground.)

The next day, one of the native’s lets Porky know of the strange white man that is in their village. The narrator can’t believe someone of that complexion would willingly want to stay here! I mean, it’s not like there’s any other humans around here. (Actually, with how they’re drawn, I’m not entirely sure the native’s are human. That’s the kind of hurtful caricatures you just have to expect in this era.) This must be the man Tracy is looking for, and Porky helps the two lost souls reunite at last. Dr. Livingston, we presume?

Not quite. It’s actually Cake Icer! (A brilliant pun on radio personality Kay Kyser.) He’s here to turn up the musical charms and the whole jungle gets jumping! This is great! Who knew Africa was lovely not just for its scenic vistas, but also auditory parties? I could get to like hanging around here, but sadly our time is up. As we leave, the whole continent waves goodbye. (Did you know Madagascar was a hand?)

Favorite Part: After some baby deer shoot down a… condor? (Bo-ob! We need to have another ta-alk!) They laugh in the same way the bird was when he thought they were his dinner. Cute.

Personal Rating: 2 (Lot of hurtful images here, and nothing really noteworthy to offset them.)

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.

Hoppy Daze

“No mouse is no match for no cat.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on February 11, 1961.

Age happens to the best of us. (The worst of us too. It don’t discriminate.) Sadly, this leaves one with the inevitable fact that there will be one day where you just will simply not be able to do the things you enjoy. Even basic things like getting sustenance. Such is the fate of a cat I’ve decided to call Moe. He just can’t catch mice like he used to. (Also, he stole Spike’s clothes.)

Spying an equally hungry Sylvester gives Moe an idea, offer to train him as a “champeen” mouser. Sylvester likes the idea and agrees to that, and the fact that he’ll get 20% of the mice. This… seems kind of out of character for him. Sure, he’s gullible, but I’d think his ego would be big enough to think he already was a “champeen.” If anything, I’d think he’d be more likely to just try and prove that the little cat’s tutoring would be useless. (Also, I can’t help but think this would’ve been a perfect opportunity to bring Dodsworth back.)

Sylvester enters a warehouse, and begins chasing a non-anthro mouse. (Which looks scary and out of place here.) It runs into a crate, and Sylvester opens ‘er up, failing to notice the label saying there’s a baby kangaroo inside. Look at that, a giant mouse. Kicks him out, too. Moe doesn’t believe the giant mouse story, and reminds Sylvester that they’re small creatures. Filled with resolve, Sylvester enters again. He is thrown out. Again.

After entering the third time, Sylvester finds Hippety is copying the cat. Without hesitating, Sylvester realizes that he can use this fact to his advantage, and a game of follow the leader commences. Once Hippety is back in his crate, Sylvester slips some TNT in with the marsupial. Hippety sends it back, along with the other five that was in with him. (What the? If he needs to be put down, can’t you find a more humane way?)

Time for an actual tip. (Brought to you by Moe, the cat whose hands change color briefly.) He tells Sylvester to keep his left up. Sounds like a good idea, so Sylvester tries it. (And he tries talking without moving his lips. He gets about six words in before he cracks.) Since Hippety is out of the crate again, he can bounce away from the pugnacious putty-tat. Sylvester tries the bouncing trick himself with some old bed springs. Then, well this happens:

He tricks Syvlester into jumping off the top of a pile of crates. He lands on a barrel of gunpowder. The springs get stuck, and Sylvester in launched up to the ceiling. The springs pull the barrel up, and launch Sylvester out of the warehouse, and into a nearby incinerator smokestack. Seeing the launch, Moe follows and the resulting explosion sends Sylvester’s left right into Moe’s mug. He’s mighty impressed with his pupil. (Oh, by the way, could you tell that Moe talked like Jimmy Durante? No? Then allow Hippety to end with another impression.)

Favorite part: The little clap Hippety gives is adorable. He really thinks Sylvester is here to play with him.

Personal Rating: 2. For the out of character, and missed opportunity.

Tin Pan Alley Cats

“GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

Supervision by Bob Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation: Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 17, 1943.

Yessir. This here’s another induction into the “Censored 11” hall of infame. Yet, it got to join “Coal White” on the top 100 Looney Tunes list. And I think it deserves its place. Unfortunately hurtful caricatures and all.

Cats Waller (who isn’t named in the short, but anyone who has even the most remote idea of Fats Waller is going to refer to him as such) is all set to have a good time tonight. His choice of venue is the Kit Kat Klub. Oh geeze. Oh wow. That’s just plain mean. This cartoon is already robbing people of dignity, (or cats as the case may be) but why remind them of that? Despite the fact that it should raise some sort of flag, (and while I’d want it to be red, I’ve got a bad feeling it’d be white.) Cats is still making a beeline thataway.

Next door is the Uncle Tomcat Mission. It’s where you’re likely to find preachers who waste their time trying to keep other cats out. I mean really. Why would you set your base of operations RIGHT NEXT to the place that is just going to tempt people? At least do it from across the street. They try to warn Cats of the danger within. Namely, wine, women, and song. That’s too vague. Wine is everywhere in the bible. (I think. I never really could get past all that begatting.) Not all women are sluts; one could be the positive influence Cats needs. And music is inherently one of the most pure things mankind has ever taken part in. No sell, Cats chooses hell.

That preachy preacher. This place looks great! (Despite how racist it is portrayed. And the humans within. So who is the dominant species in this short?) Cats heads straight for the piano and joins in a sweet jam session. Music. What ever could cause anyone to think this could lead to eternal damnation? The trumpet player at the klub makes Cats a promise: he is going to use his music to send the little guy out of this world. Clearly, we are talking figuratively, so Cats is all for it. Do your thing!

And Cats floats, and floats, and floats, until… he really is out of this world. It may look a little bit disturbing what with the statures shaped like musical instruments with severed hands still attached, but I never forget my ideal home. He’s in Wackyland! That lucky so-and-so! It may not be referred to as such, but it’s definitely the same place. With new features even. Example 1: Cats is welcomed to his new home by a disembodied pair of lips.

Looking ahead, we can see all the residents we’ve come to know and love. That guy who plays music from his flower, the one who smokes a cigar, cigarette, and pipe all at once, that rabbit who swings by his ears. (My mom fears him. I’m fearing that saxophone with a mouth and eye in the background.) But you know what else? This is our first time getting to see Wackyland in glorious technicolor! Sure, all the residents have black accented voices that I can’t be sure are real at all, but what’s more amazing is how much here would get reused in “Dough for the Do-do“. (That giant watermelon slice doesn’t seem so P.C. anymore.)

Cats tries exploring, but the residents are just a bit too out of this world for him. And those… trees, I think? That he’s hiding behind? Those are also scarring me for life. And I’m loving every moment of it! (Who would have thought a cello with feet could give me a heart attack?) Oh, and it might interest you to know that this is also the debut of Wackyland’s pride and joy: The Rubber Band. (Love those guys. They’re cute and they’re talented musicians. You don’t see that often these days.)

And Wackyland is even getting into the wartime spirit. Making us all feel better about ourselves by having Axis leaders rub their buttocks together. Yet, Cats is unhappy and wants to escape back to where he came from. There’s an elevator, but Cats was suddenly lying down to match Porky’s pose from years earlier, and he misses his chance. (It’s not the dodo this time, sadly. Just some black guy who looks like a duck with those inaccurate lips, and bird-like neck.)

The breaking point comes when Cats is forced to see Stalin kicking Hitler in the derriere. He begs, pleads, demands that he be brought back. (Something you’d never hear me saying.) Wish granted. I don’t know how, but the trumpeter is able to get him back to Earth. (Maybe it was a Moonside situation and it was all in Cat’s head?) Scared straight, Cats heads next door to help spread the spiritual word. Judging by their shocked expressions, this is the first time their preaching has ever reached someone.

Favorite Part: You kidding? We got to return to Wackyland! And they were kind enough to change it enough so that it wasn’t a total rerun. Sure, it’s become a bit more mean spirited this time around. But that creepy imagery was impressively creative! Isn’t amazing how putting limbs on random objects automatically makes them lovecraftian?

Personal Rating: 3. I’d like to give it a four, but it just can’t compete with its older brother, and the offensive imagery is sure to offend a good number of people no matter how long it ages. The soundtrack is awesome though.

Circus Today

“It’s different from anything you’ve seen before, folks!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 22, 1940.

I’ve had a pretty tiring week. I need a short to blog about that won’t require much effort on my part. (It usually takes SO much out of me.) Let’s see… “Joe Glow the Firefly?” Nah. “Freddy the Freshman?” Nope. “Corn on the Cop?” Mmmmm… What do you mean the title of this post means I’ve already made my selection? What if I’ve changed my mind?

Time for some more of those Avery spot gags his unit did so well. Just… not here. I’m sorry, but this might just be the weakest one of these cartoons he directed. (At W.B. at least.) Weak jokes, references common folk won’t get, and a setting that tends to make people uncomfortable these days.

Welcome to Jingling Bros. circus! Where you’re sure to have a good time, even if our performers don’t. Why not remember your trip with a genuine helium balloon? Not only are they powerful enough to lift a man into the air, but they change color constantly! What do we put in these things! (We won’t tell. It might talk you out of a purchase.)

We’ve got plenty of sideshow acts as well. Gamer the glutton will eat anything you put in front of him; so what if it makes him all jangly inside? Hot Foot Hogan can walk across burning coals. Sure it causes him great pain, but he can do it! (Pay no attention to his disappearing act.) And Captain Clampett can be launched from a cannon, go on a round-world trip, and have the postage to prove it! (Any relation to A.C. Gamer, Rich Hogan and Bob Clampett will be lost on the casual viewer.)

What kind of circus would be complete without exotic animals being housed in cramped, unsanitary cages? There’s a repeat of the person feeding the animal when they really shouldn’t joke that was seen previously in both “A Day at the Zoo”, and “Cross Country Detours”. At least the punchline differs slightly with the monkey being a narc. There’s also a large gorilla being referred to as an assassin of the jungle, terrifying brute, and all around vicious beast. It might have been a punchline to see it be so gentle back then, but nowadays it’s like “no, crap.”

Inside the tent is where the REAL action is. The Flying Cadenzas are quite the amazing acrobats. Flying really is the perfect word to describe them. “Successful” and “Full set” are not. Then there’s Dixie Dare. A rather hot honey who attempts to grab a handkerchief off the ground with her teeth whilst horse riding. Maybe on the return trip, she can attempt to grab her teeth. Another performer, Madame Trixie, prefers to dance with her horse. He leads. (Is she supposed to look like Freddie Bartholomew?)

Elephants. A majestic animal that has been forced into this humiliating line of work ever since circuses took off. The trick is have a trainer who acts like one of their own. Hence, Ignatz Ignatzavich as part of their parade, a tail in his mouth. Still, the creatures have large developed brains, and just can’t bring to complete a trick that requires them to put all their bulk on his fragile, soft head. Instead, watch our performer who will do one of those death dives from an ungodly height, to a bucket of water. And I do mean “death”, quite literally. You’ve haven’t truly experienced our circus until you’ve heard our band play “Taps”.

Favorite Part: Lion tamer Clyde Binder (who you’re probably not recognizing as a nod to studio executive Henry Binder) has just put his head in a lion’s mouth and lived to show it. Seeing how much applause this gets, has the lion putting his head into the human’s mouth. (His envy is cute.)

Personal Rating: 2. I could see people laughing and enjoying this. But if you’re no stranger to Avery’s works, I can’t imagine you’ll think this is anywhere near his best.

Goopy Geer

“Oh, goofy, goofy, Goopy!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on April 16, 1932.

You enjoyed “Lady Play Your Mandolin,” didn’t you?

What do you mean ‘it was light on story’? What more were you expecting? Leave this classroom. Everyone else is allowed to mock you on your way out.

For those of us who don’t mistake short films for novels, I’m happy to say that there is a lot of reused animation for this picture. (I’m happy to say that because I took my Zoloft.) It leads me to believe that this short is taking place in the same cantina as L.P.Y.M. was. And if you are listening to the crowd correctly, you’ll find that they are demanding Goopy Geer. He’s been the entertainment ever since Foxy got called out for ripping off a rodents style and took his girlfriend with him. Don’t worry. The three are friends.

Only close friends skip

Goopy must be a pretty talented pianuh player. Even Mickey Clone 277 wants to see him perform. You know, Goopy doesn’t do any sort of practicing. That’s how you know he’s talented. You could say he plays by ear. (They make that joke, and when the G-dog appeared on Tiny Toons, he’d make it again. It’s his favorite.) He’s also quite friendly with the clientele. He’s more than happy to accompany a trio of kittens as they sup on soup.

Never mind. Those are not any felines I’m aware of. They share a digestive tract! The first places a cracker in his mouth, the second chews, and the third swallows. It defies nature! Oh wait. I forgot that cartoons do that on a minute-ly basis, as opposed to a daily one. Another diner is a bull who is eating the world’s toughest pasta. I’ve never seen anyone need to chew spaghetti so much. (Unless it’s just a reference to how bulls normally eat?)

No meal for me, thanks. I’ve seen what goes on in that kitchen. They’ve got a naked chicken swimming in broth to make soup. I can’t believe its got its cloaca clenched tight all the time! And now that I’ve more than likely ruined the rest of your week with that image, let’s get our singer on stage! I’m guessing that it’s the character that I once named “Gigi,” so there’s no need for another one of my awesomely picked names this week. Shame, as Warner Bros. pays me a nickel for every unnamed character of theirs I christen.*

Her signing is also enjoyed by the crowd. Just look at Clone  441 applaud! (He never misses a show you know.) With singing and piano-ing combined, everyone (and a couple coat racks as well) get their groove on. Even Foxy’s horse stops by to get tanked once again. He nearly has the exact same hallucination as last time, but now he sees himself as Gandhi at the end. (Wouldn’t that be reason to cheer? If what Charlie Brown’s been telling me is true, girls are naturally attracted to zero hair. Explains my lack of love life.)

Well, as the saying goes, alcoholic horses and pianos don’t mix, and the equines explosive expectorations soon reduce Goopy’s piano to shambles. A crime punishable by limit to three cartoons max. Nice knowing you, Goop.

Favorite Part: Gigi arriving on stage with a bad pun for Mr. Geer. His reaction is quite humorous. Quite indeed.

Personal Rating: 2. It could’ve done better if a good chunk of it hadn’t been seen already.

*This is a lie. I have never even been approached. I didn’t think I needed to tell you this, but I’ve been surprised at how seriously people take me before.

Slightly Daffy

“Greetings, gate!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Hasty Hare

“That wasn’t at all nice!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 7, 1952.

If they’re not coming to invade us, then people from other planets typically drop by just to examine the local life. That usually requires abduction, but it’s such an ugly word. They prefer “relocating.” Marvin is on one of these such missions, but he is only required to bring back a single specimen. (Don’t want to alter either habitat too much.) Interestingly, seeing as Marvin hasn’t received his official name yet, he’s known as “Flying Saucer X-2.” Not the best name there is. (Even if “X” is the coolest letter in the English alphabet.)

But you know, it pairs well with the assistance he has brought along, K-9. Maybe I should give myself a martian name that’s composed of a letter and digit. Let’s see… G-6? Nah, I’m not too religious. W-7? Sounds too British. F-0? Actually, that sounds a bit race-ist. Actually, this is harder than it looks. Maybe I should stop wasting your time with pointless crap. (But I get so much enjoyment at seeing your face furrow.)

Marvin just decides to take the creature that made the first tracks he sees and those tracks were made by Bugs. When Bugs catches sight of the two visitors, he instantly assumes that the two are nothing more than kids looking for Halloween goodies. He gives them bags of candy, (Hey! No fair! I never got such a haul as a kid!) and figures he’ll see no more of them. Marvin proves his power by using his disintegrating pistol to remove most of Bugs’ house. The rabbit finally catches on.

Marvin tells the bunny that all three of them will be returning to Mars, and Bugs demands to know what the martian will do if he refuses to comply. I love this: Marvin doesn’t get angry, I mean, he really is just doing his job, and he might as well convince the beast to come along as non-violently as possible. He merely disintegrates a boulder. Bugs is convinced and is the first one aboard. But he’s always thinking a step ahead, and immediately disembarks to play conductor and ushers his adversaries aboard without him. They make it halfway back home before realizing their error.

When they return to Earth, Bugs explains that the reason he doesn’t want to go is because he’d hate to get involved with mutiny. Another great moment here, with the suspicion and doubt being seeded. Marvin takes no chances, and gives K-9 a good shot. (Strangely enough, this was the last time the dog would appear. He doesn’t even get any lines in this one.) They finally manage to get Bugs by firing a strait-jacket ejecting bazooka at him, which wraps him up snug. Success!

As Marvin pilots his craft, K-9 is left to guard the prisoner. He’d better not try any funny stuff! Oh, nothing of the sort, it’s just that the jacket Bugs has on, it’s really not his size. Too much arm room. Surely the dog could get him a different one? Seems like a reasonable request. He complies, and Bugs slips it on, but ultimately decides it would suit K-9 much more. And just like that Bugs, has captured the capture-er. He manages to do the same to Marvin, by claiming they hit an iceberg, and the jacket is a life preserver.

Now in control, Bugs decides to fly back to Earth. Too bad he doesn’t know how to pilot one of these crafts. Worse yet, the anchor he threw over board has caught on to a crescent moon, which is catching planets, which are grabbing stars and dragging them all along. (And just making up their own laws about gravity. Newton would not be pleased.) As it so happens, an astronomer sits down at the observatory to marvel at the vastness of space. (Something I don’t like doing. I already know I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t need the universe to rub it in.)

The short, red-haired, Friz Frelengesque man (who actually IS named I. Frisby.) takes one look at that mess of a galaxy and announces his retirement. He’s going to take up turkey farming. (A noble profession if I ever heard one!) And that is what led to the first Thanksgiving, and why I say a prayer of thanks to Mr. Freleng every night.

Favorite Part: When Bugs suggests the idea of mutiny. The little thumb motion Marvin does when saying “You mean, he against me?” is so freakin’ bass. It needs to be done in a summer blockbuster.

Personal Rating: 3