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

Count Me Out

“I’m a professional prize fighter!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Herman Cohen; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 17, 1938.

This is actually a rather important cartoon for the good ole’ WB. You may not notice it right away, so I’ll just tell you. It’s all on the piece of mail Egghead is reading. This was the first appearance of ACME! The greatest “sell anything” company since… well, I suppose it was the first, and nobody else has ever been crazy enough to sell such content. That makes them number one to this day!

Back to business, the ad Egghead is reading promotes some boxing lessons (equipment included, ACME cares about its customers). What really hooks Eggy, is the ad challenging his masculinity. He can be a man or a mouse, and mice don’t box, do they?

Then I guess Egghead doesn’t have to prove anything. But what fun would that be?

He orders the kit and almost immediately gets it. (The delivery man would have been there sooner, but the bridge was out.) Time to get to work! There’s all sorts of nifty gear to make you the champion boxer of the neighborhood! Instructions relayed to you by a Mel Blanc narrator. The most basic rule of boxing is knowing how to punch, so that’s a good starting point. Egghead may not look like he’s got a lot of strength, but he can really hit that punching bag! In fact, it won’t stop swinging when Mel tells him to stop. (Egghead has no choice but to shoot it)

Like any sport, you can’t have offense without defense. (Otherwise, you’d just be getting payed to bully others) Next, will be lessons on dodging. The kit comes with a nice wall of gloves that will try and give you a good socking. Dodge them! Egghead does just that, and the instructions deem him ready! He’s a real boxer now, and real boxers right real matches. (Believe me, I’m tempted to put in joke about real Boxers (the dog breed), but I can’t make such a bad joke if you’re expecting it!)

He must have the right kind of connections, because Egghead is booked to fight the world champion, Biff Stew. (Oddly enough, Egghead is the only person in this short who isn’t an anthropomorphic animal. Then again, I’ve never been entirely sure that he wasn’t a hooded seal.)

(Uncanny.)

The referee is being played by Tex Avery. (Doing that oh, so enjoyable laugh he does. You can’t help but join in.) And the fight begins! Egghead does have some agility on him, and he lands several jabs, but it’s kind of like a grasshopper hitting an ox. No fazing is going to happen. It’s not long before Egghead is getting his rear handed to him. (So dazed is he, he thinks he is Charlie McCarthy at one point and takes a seat on the champ’s lap.)

He can’t just quit. Oh, don’t think he wouldn’t try! Biff is just not going to give him that luxury! They are fighting to the death! Biff might have overdone it on that last punch though, as after stretching the ropes as much as possible, (Egghead comes close enough to kiss! Any desperate people in the audience tonight?) he comes back and knocks Biff off his feet, and onto Eggy’s body. Only one way to get that lummox off, a bite! The galoot flies up, and comes down, the impact dragging the rest of the ring down with him. Could Egghead go down too?

If he was actually there! Turns out Egghead was knocked out by his dodging wall, and dreamed the whole thing up. Dream or not, he’s convinced that a fighter’s life is not for him and he throws everything out. (Except the wall, which gives him one more punch.)

Favorite part: After a grueling exercise, Egghead pants. The record tells him to not have his tongue hanging out, because we’re watching him. (Glad I didn’t have to say it.)

Personal Rating: 3

The Mouse-merized Cat

“Sleep! Sleep!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Don Williams, Richard Bickenbach, and Cal Dalton; Layouts and Background by Richard H. Thomas and Cornett Wood; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization: Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1946.

Remember Babbit and Catstello? Even if Tweety managed to get their fame, the two still managed a couple more pictures as mice. (Thus making them the only Warner Bros. characters to change species.) It’s clearly them and not just some lookalikes, the names are the same, the appearance is familiar, and they are still voiced by Pierce and Blanc, respectively. Still, for whatever reason, they only got two shorts as rodents, with this being the last of them.

Catstello, (which is a rather odd name for a mouse, but not THE worst. That distinction goes to Mortimer.) is excited to see us, the audience, but Babbit has more important matters to attend to. He’s reading a book about hypnotism, and he plans to entrance the chubby mouse, so said mouse will forget any fear of a cat, and get food from the deli in which they reside.

Naturally, the loss of free will is not something that Catstello wants any part in, and refuses to participate. Starting out by simply pretending it worked. He gives himself away when he refuses to mallet his own hand. Babbit refuses to accept that either hypnosis doesn’t work that way, or that his little pal could just be immune. (And why should he accept either one in a cartoon?) Still, Catstello tries to avoid the powers, protecting his eyes, and ducking. It’s no use though, Babbit finally gets him and now its time to test these powers.

It wouldn’t be a Warner Bros. Picture if they didn’t caricature some of the most popular people of the day, so Babbit starts by making his pal be Crosby, Sinatra, Durante, and Rochester. But any Warner character could do those, so the real test is to become a chicken. Sure enough, not only does Catstello cluck, but he even somehow lays and egg. (Or he just took it off a shelf. They are in a deli.)

Okay, how about we see this cat that’s in the title? Catstello is commanded to be a dog, and sent out to get the cat. His barking sends the cat into hiding, but upon seeing its just a mouse, the feline loses any and all fear. He even snaps Catstello out of the trance. The mouse flees in fear back to the hole, but Babbit rehypnotizes him out. In turn, the cat studies some hypnotism of his own and tries sending him back again. (He doesn’t just eat him because fat mice are high in cholesterol)

This goes on, but somehow in between the dueling hypnotists, Catstello is able to get his own will back and holds two mirrors out. Now they’ll see how funny hypnosis can be! With them caught in their own trances, Catstello can get them to do anything. He decides on the cat being a horse, and Babbit being a cowboy. With that done, he sends them out to hunt some varmint, and he is finally rid of them. With the whole place to himself, he does what anyone would do with an empty deli: eat.

Favorite Part: One of the ways Catstello resists the hypnosis. He reads a book entitled: “How to resist hypnotism.”

Personal Rating: 3

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)

Personal Rating: 3