Hare-way to the Stars

“At long last, my dream come true!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, and Abe Levitow; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip De Guard; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1958.

Aside from “D.D.I.T.241/5C.,” this might be Marvin’s best remembered short. Kinda odd, as I think it might be the weakest one. In terms of comedy, of course.

Bugs has just woken up for the day, and is feeling the effects of a root vegetable hangover. (Radish juice and carrot juice. Never again.) He’s in need of a nice, cool bath and begins the climb out of his hole. Unbeknownst to him, the space race is still relatively new, and one rocket is being launched right over his house. Still groggy, the rabbit doesn’t notice he has climbed aboard, and continues to not notice until he has left the planet.

Getting hit by a passing satellite, Bugs is carried to some sort of place in space. I… really don’t know how else to describe it. It’s red pathways, panes of glass, and not much else. It’s… beautiful. I’m not trying to be funny for once. These really are some great backgrounds, and I’m automatically bumping the short up a grade because of them. Bugs isn’t so taken with his new surroundings, and wonders if the only other sign of life might be able to get him back home.

Said sign, is Marvin of course. And he’s rocking a color slightly different than how most remember him. His helmet and kilt are brown rather than green, and his…skin?…clothes?…the body area is green rather than red. (A color scheme he’d keep for the rest of his golden-age movie career.) Something’s got him in a real good mood, and he takes no notice of Bugs at first. He’s far more interested in what he calls “The Illudium pu thirty-six exlosive space modulator.” (It’s taken 2000 years of work? Either he’s aged great, or it’s been a project spanning generations.)

Bugs finally gets to request a ride back to Earth, but Marvin has a bit of sad news to relay: Earth’s seconds are numbered as he’s just about to blow it up. You see, it really does a number blocking Marvin’s view of Venus, and there’s just no other way around it; the planet has got to go. Bugs isn’t quite done with the place yet, and takes the I.P.36E.S.M. when the martian isn’t looking. Marvin catches on rather quickly, and decides to send out some reserves.

Enter the Instant Martians. (Even if a previous short claims they’re not.) Ten thousand of them, all crammed into one handy little space. Just add some water, and they instantly spring to full size. (A nifty trick that another alien, Jumba Jookiba, would utilize himself one day.)The trio set out to capture Bugs, and one almost immediately catches up to the rabbit via scooter. Bugs plays a game of “do what I’m doing” with the creature, and tricks it into riding off the edge of the red. Since there is definitely gravity in space, the guy (or maybe girl) plummets.

Bugs then runs into the other…three? (Unless one of them is the one he just barely got rid of. It’s a possibility!) They chase Bugs up to some doors, and each party takes turns holding them open for each other. Sadly for them, it was Bugs’s turn to hold open the door that leads into open space, and the definite gravity takes them away. Having witnessed the whole thing, Marvin has no choice but to get some more of the martians. Good thing he has between 9,997-9,996 left. (And if you’re trying to be a smart @$$ and asking “If Marvin is  martian, why doesn’t he look like them?” Remember that iguanas are earthlings just like us, and we don’t look a whole lot alike.)

Bugs finds himself a saucer that he of course knows how to fly, and prepares for his journey home. En route, he smashes into the martian dispenser, taking the glass part with him and leaving behind Marvin’s explosive. And it’s been lit. Marvin is just happy to get his stuff back, and doesn’t take note of that. Seeing as how it was designed to blow up an entire planet, it does a good job destroying Marvin’s digs. (Eugh. I don’t like seeing him without his shoes on. Thank Chuck that never happened again.)

Bugs manages to get back home, but lands in a sewer. And those things are full of water. He flees, as we see the pavement crack, bulging with over 9,000 invasive species. Here’s hoping “War of the World’s” twist holds true!

Favorite Part: How Marvin doesn’t react with glee when he explains what he’s doing. It’s like when you take down a tree that is growing into your foundation, it needs to go, but one can still fell guilty about how many homes you’re destroying. At least he has more empathy than the Vogons ever did.

Personal Rating: 3.

High Note

” ‘THE BLUE ADNUBE’ “

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard and William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on December 3, 1960.

MUSIC NOTES ARE PEOPLE!

I know you don’t want to believe me, but it is true. Chuck Jones said so! See, when one writes sheet music, they are really just playing god. Deciding who will live where, and ultimately creating beautiful music/ear cancer. The notes take their job very seriously, they do. They set up the score themselves, including folding out the treble clefs, the score, and the other things that have names.

The notes themselves have the most important job. Not for the faint of heart, you understand. See, what they have to do, is take their place on top of the score, and hang upside down to make what appears to our eyes as this:

Hello, note!

Once everyone is in place, and everything is ready, the conductor note takes to their podium and begins the show. “The Blue Danube” is a classic piece that has can be heard in series ranging from “Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants.” (And beyond, but they were the first two examples that entered my head.) The notes have performed this piece so many times, why would they ever expect anything could go wrong?

Things go wrong sixteen notes in. The seventeenth note is missing, and that is quite the anomaly as he’s never been late before. Oh, he’s around all right. He’s been  in the sheets next over. The booze related ones. (“Little Brown Jug” IS a catchy tune.) This doesn’t really make him “high” as the title suggests, but there isn’t as many puns one could make. I suppose there could be “Hey Mary, wanna do marijuana?”, or “I’m in pain without cocaine in my brain.” Or the always classic “P.C.P. and L.S.D. (Tell me what they mean to me.)” But those are all terrible ideas that I just made up, so we’ll have to stick with a drunk note. For now.

Highrum (as I affectionately call him) can be identified as an alcoholic by the classic symptoms: tipsy staggering, hiccuping loudly, and a red nose. (Although, since he lacks one of those, his whole head is a lovely vermilion.) He stumbles back to his workspace, but now that his head isn’t very clear, he starts interacting with the other notes. Why, a whole note looks a lot like an egg. That’s because it is. This is how notes reproduce. But hatching it too early, could really throw the tempo off. And it’s rather rude of him to get the quarter rests worked up, seeing as how they are essentially dogs.

The conductor note is constantly many steps behind their quarry, even though High is constantly evading them unintentionally. Seems the conductor will have to act like a drunk note to catch one. So, when High takes one of their eighth note steeds out for a run, the conductor does the same. They are even willing to sacrifice one of their trebles, using it as makeshift lasso with which to catch the interloper. Hope it was worth it. Those things are a b*tch to tangle. (But in all seriousness here, I LOVE the backgrounds in this short.)

Keeping High pinned in his place, the conductor can finally get on with the music. Things go wrong sixteen notes in. Not only did High escape, but the rest of the notes got sick of waiting, and went to try out the liquor lyrics for themselves.

Favorite Part: When High is playing with the rest dog. Not only is it cute, but the object he grabs for it to fetch was just barely established as a baby note. That is so dark. I love it.

Personal Rating: If you’re a kid, you’d probably go no higher than a 3. (And I’m flattered/impressed you’re here, but you’re way too young for my jokes.) For the rest of us, 4. (The rest of us.) Those who really know music will especially enjoy it.

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

Mad as a Mars Hare*

“This joint makes Siberia look like Miami Beach.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, and Tom Ray; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1963.

We are not alone in space. Someone is watching us. Observing us. His name is Marvin. And for once in his life, he’s not waging any kind of war on Earth and its inhabitants. No, he’s a scientist in this picture. (His final one, too.) And Earth has a good many species to look at. From the mighty, majestic mammals, to the small and oft-forgotten insects. Marvin has a particular interest in those. His favorite is the one called “man.”

Even more exciting though, is what appears to be some sort of fledgling species leaving Earth for the first time. It’s coming right toward Marvin too! After the crash, he decides that he must exterminate whatever is landing on his planet. It really is the only way to deal with invasive species. Might as well nip it in the bud, and have as little suffering as martianly possible.

We on Earth call this species a “rocket ship.” It’s hypothesized that they could take invasive species to new planets and give them new worlds to colonize, pillage, and maim. The downside being that we haven’t had much of a way to test it, and we sure as heck aren’t going to test it on our own kind. That’s why we send those like “Astro-rabbit” Bugs Bunny to do our dirty work. Now rabbits, they’re expendable.

Bugs wants no part in this and refuses to leave his ship. Mission control was prepared for this, and have prepared a fool-proof plan to get Bugs’ attention, and get him off the ship: a carrot. Bugs takes note, and his leave. (And his front teeth seem to be missing the line normally there to separate the two. Kinda makes them look like a large vampiric tongue.) Tricked again. Carrots lured him into Cape Canaveral in the first place, and worse,  he can’t even enjoy the one he’s just obtained. It’s aluminum.

Marvin shows up with a disintegration gun in hand. Bugs hardly bats an eye, and just takes the gun away. But it goes off anyhow, and Marvin isn’t even half the martian he used to be. This calls for a quick trip to the re-integrator, and a more powerful weapon: the time-space gun. With it, Marvin will be able to project Bugs forward in time where he’ll be a harmless, useful slave. So…what does that entail? Is it just supposed to age Bugs up? We’ve seen him that way. I don’t think he’d be complacent. Is it supposed to morph him into a higher stare of being? One that doesn’t believe in violence, and instead wishes to help those around it?

I ask these questions, because of what happens next. Marvin shoots Bugs all right, but he had the gun set in reverse, and Bugs has now become some frightening combination of rabbit and neanderthal. He’s not younger, and while yes, I would count him as a more primitive species, I’d be more inclined to think he’d end up like this:

Maybe it just wasn’t built for Earth species.

Regardless of what I think, this new form works well in the rabbit’s favor, as he is able to snap the gun with his bare paws, and squish Marvin into his own helmet. Even better, his jaws have become powerful enough to munch on the metal carrot. Sure, he’s still stuck up here for the time being, but as soon as he DOES find a way back home, Elmer (who Bugs name drops despite the studio having retired him by this point) is going to be in for quite the surprise. All in all, things worked out quite nicely.

Favorite Part: Getting some introspection on Bugs and his love of carrots. He wonders why it is that he loves them so much. They’re dry and lacking figurative meat. Like life’s hardest questions, he can’t come up with an answer on the spot. (Personally, befitting his Grouchoesque tendencies, I always saw it as the carrot equivalent of a cigar. Dependencies are hard to give up.)

Personal Rating: 3, but that’s only for the common folk who expect and want mindless cartoon action. I think the more intellectual types can classify it with the 4’s.

*This definitely gets my vote for best pun title.

Beanstalk Bunny

“I smeww the bwood of an Engwish wabbit!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Abe Levitow, and Keith Darling. Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 12, 1955.

This is the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Only Jack isn’t a human, or mouse, or sailor, or dragon, or squirrel, or puddy-tat. He’s a duck. And unlike most every Jack ever in this story, he admits to himself that trading a full-grown cow for three beans was a pretty lousy idea. He throws them away, and they land in a rabbit hole. Which is underground, and when you place beans underground, they grow into a beanstalk. But in a story like this, it’s a beanstalk that is capable of climbing.

Jack is also privy enough to know that if he climbs the plant, he’ll find himself with a good amount of golden goods to gather. Climb he does, but the lad bumps his head on a bed that grew with the stalk. Bugs’s bed, actually. Jack wants all gold for himself, and throws Bugs off the other side. Angry, Bugs decides to join the story as well.

Because of the head start, Jack naturally gets up first. Which means he also has the privilege of seeing who would reside at such heights. Someone quite accustomed to them. A giant named Elmer Foot. Jack runs back with the giant close behind and Bugs coming towards them both. Bugs also keeps Jack from fleeing, with the promise of settling things. By which I mean he points out that the giant hunts Jack in this story, not a rabbit. And by the way, the duck is Jack. (Revenge is awesome.)

Elmer decides to just take the both of them for his flour needs. (I’ve wondered, would that work? More importantly, how would it taste?) He puts the two under glass while he looks for some tools that will grind. They easily get out via glass cutter, but the lead-up is so great that I’ll save the description for my “Favorite Part.” Elmer sees they’ve escaped, and gives chase. You’d think being so small in comparison, they’d have no problem hiding, but Bugs gives his location away when he sneezes in a snuff box. (Jack gives his away, when saying “Gesundheit.”)

The two dash into Elmer’s ears for safety. (And the animator’s remembered that there wouldn’t be much light in a body. Well done!) Elmer decides to smoke the two out, by corking up his ears, and lighting a cigarette. (Probably the first time in history a cigarette has been the correct answer.) Knowing that it would work, the two poke out of the cigarette to blow out the matches. This leads to them getting found once more. (Jack: “He’s Jack.”)

They dive into the giant’s clothes and give him a bit of a tickle, using the time to escape once more. With the giant in pursuit, Bugs proves that the simplest solution is always the best one, and sticks his foot out. Elmer trips and lands hard. He won’t be coming to for some time and Bugs suggests they flee while they can. Jack won’t have any of it. He’s going to stay and get some gold like he originally intended. Bugs leaves on his own, but stops short when he realizes that the carrots up here are also giant.

Six and a half of those carrots later, (however long that takes exactly, I’m not sure.) Bugs wonders what happened to Jack. In the castle, we see exactly what. The giant stuck him in a pocket watch, to use him as the hands. Harsh, but considering the other option, fair.

Favorite Part: When they’re under the glass. Jack is frantic, and begs for Bugs to get them out. Bugs doesn’t react, which leads to Jack turning angry. Still no response. Giving up, he adopts Bugs’s pose, at which point Bugs finally coughs up the goods. And all done with no dialogue!

Personal Rating: 4. Plenty of good gags, and Jack is lovably despicable. Is it as flawless as the hunting trilogy? If you had to ask that, you’re no longer welcome on this post. But it’s enjoyable all the same. Shame it’s not as well remembered.

A Scent of the Matterhorn

“Le grunt.”

Directeur et Story: M. Charl Jones; Animateurs: M. Tomme Ray, M. Cannes Harris, M. Dicque Thompson, M. Robaire Bransford; Lai-out: M. Maurice Nobelle; Le Ground Bacque, M. Philipe De Guard; Effex Specialitie: M. Harre Amour; Film Editeur: Docteur Treg Brown; Voix Characterization: M. Mel Blanc; Musique: M. Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 24, 1961.

While the road is in the middle of getting a fresh line painted through it, the machine responsible for doing so gets loose and rolls away, downhill as gravity intended. It paints what it passes, leaving a nice white line over countryside and livestock. And over a cat who is fleeing from a dog. The machine lands on the canine leaving the cat to escape with a pelt that one typically sees on skunks. Oh, the possibilities are expected.

If the title isn’t lying to us, then most of our short will be taking place on the Matterhorn. They’re known to speak French there, so the cast checks out. Shouldn’t Pepe be making some sort of appearance about now? There he is. Enjoying a stroll, and happily greeting the wildlife he meets along the way. (I love how his new frog friend reacts. Walks off with a look usually seen on Death Row inmates, lets loose a single scream, and has his eyes change color.)

Pepe spots Penelope and lets loose some pretty awesome pick-up lines. “Everyone should have a hobby. Mine is making love.” and “You may call me ‘Streetcar’ because of my desire for you.” If I thought I was worth dating, I’d totally use those. Yet Penelope just isn’t interested. Has she heard those before? Or is she just a little disturbed that one of Pepe’s feet disappeared when he grabbed her? Women are a mystery indeed.

Chase time! Penelope’s only got one option here, and it is called “up.” So that is where she goes. Pepe has no problem following her because he is muscular, and thinks her preparing to jump off a cliff is a sign of willing to commit suicide rather than be without him, because she is cute. Pepe is also quite savvy to how these kind of chases work out, as when she does jump he calmly notes that she will be back. And since the ground below was sloped like a bowl, she slides back up into his paws. (Pepe: “I told you so.”)

Well, now that Penelope has gone up, a new escape option called “down” is available. But this option is particularly slippery, and she ends up sliding into an ice cave. (Only some of the reflections of her move. Which makes me wonder: how many girls has Pepe already chased in here?) Penelope is now trapped, and seeing all the reflections really brightens Pepe’s day. Eet eez ow you say, a jackpot, no?

Favorite Part: The fact that was Penelope was painted, the dog wasn’t immediately scared away. The first time I saw this, I really expected him to, despite having seen her get painted with his own eyes. Good ole Chuck. Not insulting my intelligence.

Personal Rating: 3

The Cat’s Bah

“We can spend the rest of our lives makking lo-ove!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, Abe Levitow, Richard Thompson, and Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 20, 1954.

Pepe is in a good mood today, for we are here to interview him about the love of his life. (Well, I am anyway. You’re kinda useless. Feel free to watch.) Pepe is also quite the gracious host. Offering me a glass of champagne, and calling me “Golden Girl.” (Would that I could be that attractive.) Now that we are all quite comfortable, he begins his tale.

It began a while ago. Pepe was living in what I assume to be Algeria. Even better, living right next to his namesake, Pepe Le Moko. His main goal is to find his soulmate, but he’ll settle for any attractive female. And wouldn’t you know it? An American tourist has just arrived, and like most tourists, brought her pet cat along for the trip. Said cat is Penelope, yes, but it’s not just me calling her that today! It really is her name! She doesn’t have to join the club of Jones’ characters who were given names years later!

What did you say, earthling?
*snarls*
No one will talk about you when you’re gone.

I hate it when my idols want to kill me.

Today is also paint the ship day, (which is every September 19.) and Penelope gets a good coating of white down her back. Her owner takes no notice of the new look, but Pepe does. (Love his face.) He decides to liberate the lady and that’s a good marriage proposal around here. She’d be crazy not to love him now. Even better? Pepe doesn’t appear to have any stench in this picture. No odor lines appear, no humans freak out at the sight of him. Heck, he managed to get an in-person interview!

Which, if this is indeed the story of how Pepe met his love, its odd to see the first female he’s encountered run away from him. I thought love always happens at first sight to both parties. Oh well, Pepe can chase. He finds it a turn on. Penelope chooses a rather ingenious hiding place: one empty jar among many. I mean, okay, its rather obvious to hide in one, but the odds of being found on the fist try?

Pepe finds her on the first try, and the chase continues all around the casbah. (Bah!) He finds her on the second hump of a camel who is really enjoying his cud today. Hey! Did you know that camels with two humps, known as Bactrian camels, aren’t native to this part of the world? Because I don’t think Chuck and his team did. Actually, no, I think they did. I think they just figured audiences back then would be too thick to know it. At least the camel doesn’t mind. (“If you’re a camel, you soon learn to put up with anything.”)

Pepe is everywhere, pretending to be anything and anyone. From a snake, to Rick Blaine. (Gets a quick case of Yellow Ear, though.) But even though she was shy, it seems that she eventually overcame that trait, as now she and Pepe are truly inseparable. Ball n’ chains will have that effect on people. She furiously files away, and I feel like I should leave the two alone. I don’t like to get involved in marital disputes. Interview over!

Favorite Part: Before the interview, Pepe asks us to let him slip into something more comfortable. There’s nothing to stop us from viewing him anyway, but he takes it well. “Intimate, no?”

Personal Rating: I’d love to give this a 4, but that ending combined with the fact that you can’t argue that Pepe’s actions are only not wanted because of his smell? I’ve a feeling that it will wad up the panties of sensitive types. I have to give it a 3.

Who Scent You?

“Wait a just minute!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Keith Darling; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 23, 1960.

Before I begin with that:

I have seen the face of God.

And now for today’s regularly featured proram.

Summer is that magical time of year where weather is nice, so people take advantage of the blissful warmth by traveling. Penelope may be a pussycat, but she has yearns to see the world via cruise ship. (Cats love the ocean. Every time I’ve ever thrown one in, I never saw it leave.) The guy who takes the tickets is French, so he greets people in the traditional french way: guys get it on the cheek, girls get it on the lips.

Since Penelope is a pussycat, and doesn’t have a ticket, she is not allowed on board. She is left behind with the transparent luggage. (Sure, it sounds cool now, but it gets embarrassing once you realize people can see all the condoms and tanning oil you have in there.) Still, a cruise is one of those once in a lifetime things for most, and she won’t be deterred. All she has to do is slip under the fence. Sure, it’s got a bit of wet, white paint on it, but it’s a pretty small obstacle all things considered.

Success. Using her amazing claws, she grabs a hold of a rope and goes along for the ride. But wouldn’t you know it, France is the homeland of Pepe Le Pew! He waves the ship off, but notices something dangling from a rope. It’s black, and white, and female all over. Sounds like a skunk to him. And he’s not about to let a little water and his lack of swimming get in the way. As for his object of desire, she clambers onto the deck.

Now, you and I know that Penelope is a pussycat, but with that white paint on her back, she looks an awful lot like a skunk. So much so, that every human on the boat would rather abandon ship than face it head on. (The sharks love it when this happens.) As for Penelope she has found herself in the arms of one very smitten skunk. A wet one, so the stench must be worse than usual. She bolts, but Pepe takes his time before pursuit. He’s got to dry off first. (Shame. I think his hair looks good that way.)

A trip to the salon is just the ticket. (Pepe looks kinda cute all fluffed up. Why is that not a plush toy?) Once back to his normal self, he resumes his chase. The ole “chaser is always where chasee” is hiding routine. It’s pretty basic stuff, even for this formula. Looks like Penelope has changed her mind about her cruise today, so she opts for the lifeboat. Once safely onboard, she watches the troublesome ocean liner head for over the horizon. This is the moment when Pepe reveals that they’re all in the same boat. It’s a little story I’m calling: “Life of cry.”

Favorite Part: The ad for the ship Penelope reads at the beginning. It’s the “Fun?” that makes me chuckle.

Rating: 2. It starts with some good jokes, but things get kinda boring once the two animals make it on to the ship. Perhaps the formula was finally getting stale.

I think I’ll take the next week off. No real reason, I just need to take a look at myself. Reexamine my life. Ask if I’m happy. I don’t plan on quitting yet. If I was, I’d tell whoever actually reads this. Expect me on the 18th. I’ll tell you what I thought of the latest “Space Jam.”

Hopalong Casualty

“*gasp pant pant*”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on October 8, 1960.

The Roadrunner is so fast, that it only makes sense that his credits would be fast too. They appear before the title even! And how is Wile E.’s never ending chase going today? Actually, I’d say better than ever, seeing as how he manages to actually wrap his paws around the bird’s neck. A tussle ensues, and when the roadrunner shaped dust clears, the coyote finds nothing is left. His prey beeps behind him, and sends him flying up the nearby telephone pole.

Luckily for the coyote, he didn’t receive an electrical shock, so he begins climbing back down. The Roadrunner comes back to beep him again, and both predator and the pole get spooked enough to jump into the air. Sure, they both come back down, but the pole lodges Wile E. underneath the ground. A bunch of gags follow that don’t merit description. I mean, I swear you’ve seen them all before. The truck mistaken for a roadrunner, pulling a rock on himself, a detonator going off too soon. I mean why waste my time- d*mn it.

The other gags are as follows: trying to get the bird to use a detour that leads into a gift wrapping machine. Another beep gets Wile E. inside it himself. (Wraps him up with a cute little bow, too) Then, a fishing pole with dynamite at the end. When he casts, he gets his… well, I guess I could call it bait (it’s certainly not a lure) stuck in a cactus. He pulls hard, the plant pulls harder, and he is reeled in himself. Now tangled in the line, he can only fruitlessly attempt to blow out the fuse. (Doesn’t work)

Earthquake pills! A pill that causes the body to experience the same sensations one would feel during an earthquake! (You’d be surprised at how much of  a market there is for those.) Wile E. labels a pile as some of that unbelievably tasty free birdseed and waits. The Roadrunner gulps the pile down and heads off. Hey. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Have they expired? Wile E. is a canine of science, and tests that theory by ingesting a pill himself.

No reaction. Well, maybe one pill is just too small a dose? He downs the bottle. No reaction. Guess they were duds. But wait! There’s a bit more writing on the bottle! Seems the pills aren’t effective on roadrunners. Then… that must mean… they work like any ordinary pill and take a bit of time to kick in. Oh boy. These things work like a charm after all! Wile E. shakes, rattles, and bounces across the desert landscape, destroying many natural constructions that took rain and wind millions of years to make.

Miraculously, he makes it out of the pill’s cycle with nary a scratch on him. So relieved is he, that he doesn’t notice his trip had him ending up at the top of the cliff. Since he doesn’t notice that, he walks off said cliff. Can’t win them all.

Favorite Part: His reaction when he catches sight of the bottle’s fine print. He notices it the moment it leaves his grasp, and dives to catch it. What a performance! Haven’t we all been in a similar predicament? So relatable.

Personal Rating: 3

The Curious Puppy

“Fun! Exciting! Baffling!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Robert Givens; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 30, 1939.

We regret to inform you that the local amusement park is closed for the season. Those of you who live in a world of pre-covid Disney resorts, might scoff at such practices, but as someone who lives in an area that gets snow, (If you call that living. I don’t.) I can assure you such ways are real. But Joe is our titular curious puppy, and he can’t resist making a quick visit.

The thing that immediately catches his interest is a cat shaped sign. Like a good little, curious puppy, he immediately sets to barking. It might not be a real cat, but its good that he starts with a harmless version. As he barks, he accidentally pulls the master switch. The very switch that turns the whole park on. (Really should have hid that better. It’s why this park is now a strip mall.) Is there no security? Yeah, we spared no expanse. We got a boxer.

Enter Charles. He’s a little grumpy because he’s been left in an empty park with no food, only enchiladas. (I joke, but I find those are rarely worth eating) They may have been friends in past shorts, (or at least, co-stars) but Charles has a job to do, so Joe has got to go. The chase begins.  First stop: the house of mirrors. A perfect opportunity to do the routine Groucho made famous in “Duck Soup.”

Charles creeps ever so slowly, making sure the only other dog he sees is his reflection. Joe appears at the one point where there is no mirror. Although, Charles has his real reflection for a split second. I swear! (Well, I censor myself.) The mirror gag starts, with Charles trying to catch his “reflection” not copying him. (I love the ridiculous happy face he wears. That should be a meme somehow) Joe does eventually screw up, revealing himself and running again.

The puppy hides in a photo booth, using a photo board as camouflage. Charles isn’t fooled, and lunges. The resulting force sends Joe out a window and into a popcorn machine. He’s pretty cool with this, and helps himself to a snack. Charles finds him again, and turns the thing on to get himself a bag of “pup-corn.” He gets the mutt, and carries him off. (To eat? Maybe just to get rid of him, but maybe to eat.) But a flimsy paper bag, weakened by grease no less, was not meant to carry an at least 15 pound animal. It breaks, and Joe leaves.

He probably could have gotten away this time, but he has to stop at bark at the cat toy prizes on show. (More practice! Good boy!) Charles gives chase again, leading them into a… fake mountain? I guess its just a way to give shade to those who wait in line for the pool slide. (I’m pretty clever.) The dogs take a quick dip, before Joe escapes. Charles follows to what is the perfect hiding place: an entire stall of toy puppies, all of which look identical to the little trespasser.

Charles pounces! Good thing he isn’t finding the real one. Just look at the heads fly! When I said Joe escaped, I meant it. He’s outside the park now. Charles sobs. (Even if the puppy is out, he’s probably out himself. Of a job. I counted at least forty toys destroyed. That’s about $20.00 US dollars more than Charles makes in a year.)

Favorite Part: The pup-corn bit. It was cute! The way Joe gets scooped, salted, and buttered. (Luckily it doesn’t burn him.) And packed up neatly in a sack! I wish the parks I attended sold such joys.

Personal Rating: 3