Elmer’s Pet Rabbit

“That was weawwy, an awfuwwy good, weg of wamb.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Rudolf Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on Janurary 4, 1941.

The title should tell you all you need to know about the plot of the picture. Still, I feel compelled to ask: Do YOU know who Elmer’s pet rabbit is?

Your stupidity is astounding. Simply astounding.

It’s Bugs of course! But I must concede, that at the time of release, you probably wouldn’t know that. Not only was this only the second appearance of the fully fleshed out Bugs character, but it was the first time his name was given. And he sounds like Jimmy Stewart in this picture. (Wait. Why.) Not to mention the yellow gloves and lack of buck teeth. (I’ll chock this all up to puberty. Toons can have it too. You should have seen how Goofy was affected.)

(No. You shouldn’t)

All this talk and I’ve still yet to start my synopsis. As Elmer strolls down the street, something catches his eye. (And I wasn’t talking about the lingerie on display) It’s a rabbit! Such a cute animal! Quiet, lucky, coprophagic, it’s everything you want in a pet! The store seems to really trying their best to sell the one in the window, so he must be the best rabbit of all, right? (Well, yeah. But not to live with!) Elmer gives in and purchases the “wittle, gway, wabbit.” The bunny is not pleased to be named as such, and verbally makes it known. Could this be a mistake?

Even if it was a rather spur of the moment purchase, Elmer makes a great pen for his new pet. Really! There’s shelter, space to roam, and as many vegetables as one could eat. (Okay, that last one proves ignorance. Maybe why that’s why Bugs continuously protests eating them as he eats them? Starving is simply out of the question.) Still, no matter how nice you make a prison look, it still counts as a prison. Bugs is jealous of Elmer’s house. In fact, why not just go inside? Being a pet technically makes him part of the family. And families share.

Bugs barges in, turns on all the lights he can find, and starts a dance. Elmer is not amused and sends him back outside. If you think Bugs is going to listen, you must have… oh wait. You are the same person who thought Elmer was actually going to adopt someone outside his studio. Sorry.

Whatever you thought, Bugs heads right back in there. He even beats Fudd to the bathroom, insisting he wait his turn. Looks like he plans on being in there awhile, judging by that magazine. Really though, reading on the john is one of the most entertaining ways to spend one’s time. (Lord, do I need a girlfriend.) Elmer busts in and heads to his shower. He pays for the water, he gets first dibs, and he throws Bugs out. Even more crazy, when Bugs marches in again, Elmer throws him out a second time! (Betcha thought Elmer was going to be thrown out, right?)

Landing in the tub, (which has some water in it for the sake of the joke) Bugs decides to fake drowning. The cries for help summon his owner, who pulls the bunny out of the bathtub. Bugs is amazed and humbled. Despite all the problems he’s been causing, Elmer still cared enough to rescue the animal he paid 98 cents for. (Is there no greater love?) Bugs feels he deserves a kick in the rear for his behavior, and tells Elmer to do it. Takes some persuading, but Elmer gives in and delivers a very light kick. Quote Bugs: “Of course, you know this means war.” (Making this the first time he said that.)

Enough play, Bugs goes into the bedroom and takes over the bed. Elmer has had enough and goes in there. We don’t actually get to see what goes down, but I bet it’s cool. There’s lightning, and stars, and explosions showing that you can only cross a Fudd so many times! He chases the rabbit back outside where he is supposed to sleep, and heads back to what’s left of his bed. Need I mention who is waiting there for him?

*sigh* You’re really bad at this.

Favorite part: When Elmer first asks how Bugs likes his new home. “Frankly, old man, I don’t like it. It stinks.” It’s the “old man” that gets me. It really shouldn’t be as funny as I’m finding it.

Inki and the Minah Bird

“ROAR!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Animation by Robert Cannon, Shamus Culhane; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released o November 13, 1943.

That title is no typo from me. For whatever reason, the bird is labeled as a “Minah.” (Unless that is his actual name. Minah the Mynah. I’ve heard of worse names.) Whatever the reason, this continues the trend of shorts being nothing more than the characters’ names even though it wasn’t their debut.

It’s a beautiful day in the jungle. Even the annelid snake is frolicking. (And it takes a lot to get that guy to show any joy. It’s hard being the only one of your species.) Oop. Spoke too soon. Such a beautiful day means one should take advantage of it, and hunt some game. That’s Inki’s plan, and he just barely misses the earthworm squamate by that much. (It really would have made a cute trophy.) Sure, he could try and hunt literally any other animal in the jungle, but a certain something in the distance sends them all packing. Whatever it is, it shakes the very ground it walks on. None who tangle with it ever survive. When you hear the accompanying music, if you’re smart, you’ll run in whatever direction is opposite of the commotion, and you won’t look back once. You’ll only pray that you aren’t the unfortunate soul who is unlucky enough to suffer the creature’s wrath. It is simply known as: The Mynah Bird. (goosebumps.)

Inki initially takes cover too, but either he isn’t aware of this bird’s otherworldly power, or he really just wants to be the guy who stuffed it. (Or he’s suicidal. It’s not ideal, but it’s a possibility.) He’s got a color changing spear, so why not take a “stab at it?” (I won’t apologize. That pun was worth your time.) He takes his trusty weapon in hand, and heaves towards the bush the bird hopped into. Success? The spear hit something. Might as well see what was hooked. Ah. It appears to be a lion. (Which means if this is Africa, that explains the terror the bird caused. Invasive species are ruthless.)

The big cat doesn’t seem too injured by the weapon, but he is understandably peeved. Inki runs home to get a peacemaker. The steak in the fridge will do nicely. (Why so shocked? People who live in huts can still have modern amenities. Stop being so judgmental.) The lion is happy to eat, but the bird was in his mouth and takes it for himself. The lion is so upset that not only does his hair change color with stress, but his eyes disappear. The bird has gone too far! So the lion gives chase. The bird would probably kill it, but he just ate, so he just hops into some hay. And it shrinks away into nothing before the lion’s eyes!

Things really aren’t going his way. When he beats on a tree in anguish, Inki falls into his paws. (It was still a decent hiding place.) The original chase resumes, but eventually, the lion sees the hay reappearing. The bird is back, and the cat shall have its vengeance! (Warner felines are great at achieving that, right?) Still not giving a d*mn, the bird just hops into a hole. The lion tries to catch him as he comes out, but finds Inki instead. (That was an ever better hiding place! This bird just screw everyone over.) The trio all pull the dust cloud running fake out, (Impressive. Usually, only one of them tries that at a time.) then the bird finally takes the lion and makes him disappear. Inki is saved. He’s a good kid, and offers to shake hand…wing…limbs with the bird.

Rookie mistake! That bird hates being touched, and he brings the lion back. A tussle breaks out, with Inki being the first to run for it. The bird meanwhile, ends up stealing the lion’s teeth for himself. (Now the whole planet is doomed. The only way this bird could any more powerful, is with internet access!)

Favorite part: it was a dang good short all around, but I give props to the lion crying after his steak is eaten. Normally, crying in media annoys me, but it sounds great here. Kudos!

The Mouse on 57th Street

“Oh boy! Da diamond!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble and Owen Fitzgerald; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 25, 1961.

With the holidays around, my thoughts turn to all the tasty treats that occur this time of year. (I’m not big on this “loving your fellow man”, stuff. They’re annoying) I’m particularly fond of sweets. So, if I was on the “57th” street that the title mentions, my eyes would float right past the diamond on display at “Spiffany’s.” Sure, the Sunflame diamond is the largest uncut diamond in the world, but I’m no geologist. It’s just a rock to me. That bakery looks interesting, though.

What a display! The world’s largest uncut rum cake! (I don’t even care for the flavor of rum, but it sure beats that rock.) The mouse featured in the title seems to think so. (Poor guy. He’s just another mouse without a name. We’ll call him: “Al.” (Kaholic) He tries some of that cake, and love it so much, he eats a tunnel right through! Even though, most of the liquor should have cooked out, there still seems to be enough to get the little guy soused. (Of course, being so little, what small amount was there would probably do the trick.) He staggers home.

After ingesting that much rum, all anyone wants to do is just lounge around and wait for the hangover to dissipate. (You’d think with my constant griping about the world, I’d drink too, but the threat of a hangover scares me. I’m not one for pain. That and I dislike the taste.) Too bad for Al, he lives next to a construction site, and all that machinery seems all the louder when it is several times his size. Head throbbing, he tries to get a drink. Just then, one of the workers notices that rock, and comments on the size of that “ice.” Ice? Why, that’d be just the thing to fix Al up! His size makes it easy for him to “borrow” the stuff.

Yet, everyone seems to get really excited over the loss of their rock. Just go find another one. Is it really that hard? (Well, seeing as it is a diamond and not talc, yes.) Naturally, since it is NOT ice, it’s not helping. Al goes back for that drink, and is spotted by two cops. Big, dumb, Muldoon, and the smaller, smarter, (no name), Earl. They chase the rodent all over, but he always manages to barely escape. (His rock appears to fluctuate in size. Maybe it really IS ice?) While being chased through the subway, he manages to escape out and run over a manhole, just as Earl jumps out via it to avoid a train. The rock comes off of Al and lads on Earl. Since Muldoon is the dumb one, he begins hitting his partner over the head with his billy club.

Al, meanwhile has gotten over the hangover. Well, since that’s settled, how about some more rum cake? (They even refilled the part he already ate.) Ah, how sweet life can be!

Favorite part: Both cops have the exits of a pipe guarded. When Earl shines his flashlight, Muldoon shoots thinking it is the perpetrator. Earl’s response: “Why do you hate me, Muldoon?”

Lumber Jack-Rabbit

“I keep smelling carrots.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, Richard Thompson, Abe Levitow, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip Deguard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 13, 1954*.

It’s Warner Bros. first cartoon to be produced in 3-d! (And the only one from the golden age!) And why do it? Honestly, because everyone was. Donald Duck with Chip and Dale. Popeye. Woody Woodpecker. Even Casper! Sadly, they did very little to take advantage of the fad. All it amounts to is the shield smacking us in the face at the beginning. (Careful! You’re liable to knock loose my fillings!) Even without the gimmick, it’s kinda your basic Bugs short. Not their best.

The title references the fact that Paul Bunyan is in this picture. (Ironic, that the only cartoon of Bugs’ to win an Oscar beat out an adaptation of Paul’s story.) Some people may not believe in ole’ P.B. (which is weird since he can’t really hide that well) but Bugs had first hand proof as he actually wandered into Paul’s country once. (Yes, Paul has his own country and everything there is set to his scale. I guess he had to come from somewhere.)

Bugs isn’t initially aware as he’s singing “Jimmy Crack Corn.” (Yes, I know that all of us who are old enough to know that song, are aware of it’s unfortunate origins, but screw it, it’s a catchy song!) Bugs takes a nap against a giant carrot, and flips out once he realizes what it is. He immediately starts mining. (And just dumping away all the part’s he is digging out. Such a waste. If I was mining through a candy bar, I’d eat the “dirt”) Trouble is on the horizon. (Literally, given the size) Paul is heading out to do more lumberjacking off somewhere. (Go ahead and giggle. I know you want to.) He leaves his dog behind to guard things.

Said dog looks an awful lot like Frisky, but he takes things more seriously. (Also, the tag clearly reads “Smidgen” Kind of a mean name. Was “Speck” too cruel?) Dog plucks Bugs away from his work, and tries to rid the vegetables from the rabbit. When Bugs uses a feather to his advantage, the dog’s sneeze sends Bugs into the house and inside a large moose call. When the dog blows Bugs out. (No laughing this time, it’ll be forced) he unwittingly summons a moose. Poor creature flees once he sees who made that call. (Why even have a call if it only attracts normal moose?)

Bugs winds up in an apple eventually, and Smidgen eats it, thinking he’s won. Shouldn’t have picked his teeth, or he might have succeeded. Time to make peace! Bugs scratches the beast, and that’s all it takes! (Dogs are so wonderful. Always willing to forgive.) Now in the hound’s good graces, things actually seem worse as the pup won’t stop following Bugs. (Plus, you could drown in that tongue.) Bugs is able to solve the dilemma by pointing out something even better: a redwood tree. (Which is probably only slightly bigger than the animal, but dogs will be dogs.)

Favorite part: When Bugs is first taken away from his new mine by the dog, he let’s loose this gem of a line: “I’ll be scared later! Right now I’m too mad!” That’s just awesome.

*Correction: it was originally released on September 26, 1953. The release date up there was when it was released in regular format. Thanks to SJC for pointing it out!

Wild Over You

” Le ha-ha.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philp DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 11, 1953.

Before we begin, a couple notes.

1. I met the nicest woman at work the other day. She really knew her Looney Tunes. We spent a few fun minutes quoting them. There was only one thing that kept me from asking her out. (It wasn’t because she was married. We could have worked around that) No, it was because she was at least 40 years too old for me. Such a shame.

2. I ask you to raise a glass in honor of Richard Williams. Possibly the greatest animator that will ever grace this planet. His work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” is right up there as one of the pinnacles of human creation. He will be missed and never replaced. (And he shouldn’t)

Thank you for your time. Let’s get the 500th post underway.

Back in 1900, when the world still had world fairs, (man, it would be fun to attend one of those. It’s too bad we don’t really have much good as a species to show off, anymore) one was held in France. Even by this time, zoos were nothing new, but a chance to see exotic animals is always a sure way to draw in the crowds. (And my lord, the cages here are horrifying. The giraffe is poking out of the top. The elephant is pressed against the bars! Aushwitz isn’t being topped here, but things are close.)

Such horrible living conditions, its no surprise to me that one of the animals has made their escape. It’s a wildcat, and although that’s not the worst case scenario of animal escape, the crowds go into panic. (Probably smart. Fear, while often an overreaction, does keep us alive) Immediately, a zoo keeper and dog begin the hunt. Poor creature. She means no harm, but a lifetime of imprisonment is hers unless she can find someway to avoid detection. What ho! Could those cans of black and white paint be the answer?

One coating later, the answer is yes. Decked out in the years finest skunk model, she has the hunters fleeing. This is usually the time in Warner Bros. shows that Pepe shows up. Right on cue. He’s quite happy to find not only find a female, but a LARGE female! (Bigger is better!) He makes his move, but seeing as how this time his target is a much more dangerous animal, he gets a bit mauled. (Now, obviously, this is meant to show sadomasochism as a good thing. That’s why Pepe is so into it. Why would we be expected to just think its funny? Cartoons ALWAYS have deeper meanings to them)

The chase begins. You know the classic formula, chasee hides and chaser is already there. Like in a fortune telling booth. The feline is told she is to meet the male of her dreams. (Nightmares are technically dreams) When she flees, she finds this man. (He looks an awful lot like that swami. Could they be… brothers?) There’s a good number more places to hide inside. Wax statues, (the cat hides as Marie Antoinette’s stole, Pepe as Daniel Boone’s cap) a suit of armor, (the cat’s mauls rearrange it into something you’d see in a modern art museum) and a replica of Madame Pompadour’s carriage. (Where Pepe asks himself if this is all worth it. And answers himself that it is worth it.)

The chase continues, but it seems that the cat is starting to wear out. No longer is she fleeing as fast as she once was. Pepe is using this to his advantage, taking his sweet time to catch up. There’s clearly only one option: escape via hot air balloon. She leaps in, cuts the ropes, and says farewell to dwelling on terra firma. Sure, it will quite the adjustment. (She can no longer stalk prey, but the sky is full of birds and water particles, so she won’t want for sustenance) In fact, the only downside I can see is the lack of company. Good thing Pepe also made it aboard. She can maul him all she wants, he’s not going anywhere.

Favorite part: The fortune telling bit. Especially when Pepe calls her existence drab. How come when I tell girls they have the same problem, I get hit?

Mouse Warming

“Dear Cat (Pal)…”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 8, 1952.

I won’t lie; this cartoon is cute. Luckily, it’s balanced out quite nicely by some good comedy to keep you from losing your foot to diabetes.

Moving day is an exciting time in any young person’s life. Mice included. Mr. and Mrs. mouse have just moved into the neighborhood with their young daughter. (Who, for lack of a better name, I’ll call Alice.)

Shut up, it wasn’t my idea. (Although, it’s possible that this could be an origin story)

Moving into a new home, not only gives you new surroundings and the chance to make new friends, but also, new potential boyfriends! What luck! Here comes one now! He even has his own car. (The humans of the house don’t seem to mind sharing toys. In fact, they never feature in this picture.) Boy mouse, (who might have a name, but I couldn’t tell since he never speaks) is smitten by the cutie he sees in the window. Sure, they’re judging strictly by appearances, but maybe it’s pup love. (Mouse joke, there.)

Boy mouse intends to go right over and say hi. (Which will be hard, due to him being mute) He’s a bit shy though, so he pretends to be in need of sugar. (He appears to live alone, which makes him hitting on the teenager kinda creepy. But then, mice live by different standards than I.) He doesn’t make it too far before being intercepted by Claude. He manages to escape, but now there is a cat blocking the way to eternal happiness. (Something cats do that I’ve always been aware of.)

Claude begins to take note of how odd the male is acting, and sees why. It’s not only adorable, but it’s fodder for a very dastardly idea. Claude decides to write a love note to the boy. Setting up a fake rendezvous in the kitchen. The little mouse takes the bait, and arrives to find his dream girl waiting. (Actually a puppet. To be fair, she makes a cute puppet too.) Upon seeing the cat attached, he takes the girl and escapes. (He finds out off screen that she was fake, good thing as I don’t think I could stand to watch his teeny-weeny heart break. Or worse, living out some fantasies that a puppet can’t object to.)

Plan A obviously didn’t work. Claude tries another letter, but he’s not dumb enough to expect his target to fall for it a second time. No, this time he sends a letter to Alice’s father. Or rather, a threat that says the boy is coming over to steal their home. Father readies his human sized gun. (When protecting your family, you want to make sure the enemy stays dead.) To further mess things up, Claude puts up a sign asking for a boarder. The boy mouse falls for it again, (Love truly clouds judgements. I’m pretty sure the parents wouldn’t rent a room to someone who clearly just wants their daughter.) He flees for his life again. (Accidentally making a quick detour into Claude’s mouth. In turn, the cat gets the bullet)

The young mouse seems to have caught on to this chicanery, and he writes his own note to Claude. Rather than messing with one’s romantic feelings. (something only cats would be low enough to try) the mouse instead makes it from the dog outside who wishes to befriend the cat. In fact, why not he come over for a game of Canasta? Claude is all for it. In fact, he not only brings the table, but the refreshments. (Swell guy, that Claude.) The dog is confused, but still beats him up. And the lovebirds? They finally hooked up and went on a date to the coolest place around: the fridge. Aren’t they sweet? (I guess they straitened things out with the father already)

Favorite part: Definitely Claude’s first letter. Where he not only says that the girl is 16…months, (Which would make her middle-aged as a mouse) but according to her friends she’s “not unattractive.”

Hare-Breadth Hurry

“Actually, I can’t run this fast.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Backgrounds by William Butler; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg. Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on June 8, 1963.

Wile E. is going through one of his many chases. The “beep-beep” indicates he’s chasing his usual prey, the Roadrunner. Odd. I figured that with Bugs appearing in the opening credits, and that pun-ish name, this short would contain, you know, a rabbit. Actually, it does! Wile E. IS chasing Bugs. You see, our usual roadrunner sprained a giblet. (I don’t want to know how that happened, but I’m sure the end result contains pain we mortals can’t begin to imagine.) So, Bugs is filling in for the bird.  I really love this premise. It’s technically a crossover! Wouldn’t be cool if more were made in this style? Like Sylvester hunting Tweety and Speedy? Or Taz trying to catch Hippety Hopper? Or Beaky trying to eat Foghorn? (So, all my ideas are chase related.) Also of note, this was the last time Bugs and Wile E. starred together. Also, since this is “technically” a Roadrunner picture, Wile E. does not talk like he normally does as Bugs’ co-star.

That roadrunner is a little too fast for Bugs to match speed with naturally, so he takes vitamins to meet the requirements. They work great! As Bugs runs, the road can’t handle his speed and morphs accordingly. The good times can’t last forever, and Bugs soon runs out of speed. He solves this dilemma by drawing out a square in the road. When his pursuer steps on it, it becomes a pitfall. (And since they weren’t on a cliff, it can only lead to hell)

The advantage of chasing a rabbit over a bird, is you can bait a fish hook with a carrot. (Ever tried putting seed on a hook? It’s not worth the effort) The disadvantage to trying to catch a rabbit with a baited hook, is that you run the risk of attracting a large fish. (Environments don’t matter.) Also, since Bugs talks, he can explain when he is giving the predator more of fair shot. Or so he claims. Those pills certainly work wonders, as Bugs adds a bunch of pipe to Wile E’s gun in to time at all. (Don’t let your curiosity follow said pipe. It will only lead to a bullet in the face.)

All too soon, our final gag is upon us. Bugs has spread glue on the road, but Wile E. is going too fast to stop. His momentum carries the upper half of his body forward, and it’s a good thing too, as there’s a phone ringing up ahead. And it’s for him. Bugs hands him the device, just in time, as now the momentum has launched the coyote backwards. (Ripping the chunk of ground he is glued to up as well) He is flung off a cliff and hits the opposing side. He’d fall if he didn’t have a phone to hold on to. If only he’d paid his bills! Then Bugs wouldn’t have had to cut the service. Society is so cruel.

Favorite part: Wile E. drops an anvil towards a target that Bugs is standing on. Thanks to his speed pills, Bugs runs up behind him and holds the target over his head. The magic anvil heads to its destined mate, and the conk sends Wile E. over the edge. Bugs drops the anvil after him, but believe it or not, the anvil misses! (Wile E. is then run over by a van.)

Punch Trunk

“I did see an elephant in my birdbath.”

 

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 19, 1953.

Welcome. New year. Yadda-yadda. From this time on, I’ll be listing my favorite part of each short. We’re getting into the territory of cartoons I’ve seen few times or not at all.

At the harbor, a ship has just come in. (I like that it’s called the “S. S. Michael Maltese.” You have no choice but to remember the name now.) But there is something stirring in the bananas. Normally, it’s a rat or a wandering spider, but for once, it’s an elephant. He’s a full grown bull, but he’s only five inches tall! He’s adorable! Evidently though, people don’t seem to agree as the bulk of this short’s jokes are seeing how everyone freaks out at the sight. Doing what introduced species do, he heads off to explore his new home. (Seeing as how there is only one of him, he probably won’t do TOO much damage.)

A man spots the petite pachyderm in his birdbath and calls the police. The elephant meanwhile is acting like an elephant at a crowded watering hole, and hogs it all. (How’d he even get up there?) The police in turn sent some people from the psych ward to take the man away. A different man walks out of the optometrist with a new pair of glasses. Seeing the little guy, he heads back in to give a punch. (No trunk)

Nights are sure to be unpleasant, so it’s not surprising to hear the elephant makes his way into a penthouse. (Okay, how did he get up there? Did a falcon pick him up and drop him?) A little girl discovers him and christens him Teeny. (Which is a cute name. I’m declaring it canon.) Due to her childhood innocence, she is not afraid of him and even tries to fill his tummy. (Elephants eat cake, right? It’s like 45% of their diet.) Because of the fainting mother though, Teeny continues being a drifter.

A really good joke is next. A drunk stumbles out of a bar and sees the animal. (And a great detail is how the background is drawn warped and surreal. Like we are seeing the way he is.) Seeing the animal doesn’t make him scream, faint, or lose his sh*t in any way. Instead, he just scolds the beast for being late. (Also musing about how he isn’t pink this time. Genius.)

Even his own kind freaks out at the sight of him. Finding a circus, he joins a parade of elephants. (Okay, maybe not his own kind as that would make these Asian elephants, but they look just like him, only bigger. Seems ole Chuck doesn’t know as much about elephants as moi. On another note, Teeny is just as cute dangling off the ground.) Even those who are trained to handle fears aren’t immune, as a psychiatrist (or psychologist. I’m pretty sure they’re interchangeable) switches places with his patient upon seeing the cutie.

People all over the city now have claimed to see the beast. So, is it really there? Scientists say no. In fact, one goes on TV to explain why it isn’t real. He doesn’t go into the fact that an elephant could not survive being so small. (Freezing to death I mean. Not being eaten by a cat) Instead, he just blames our troubled times. (Considering my parents weren’t even born as of his saying this, I’ll have to ask Grandpa if the times were really that bad.) Not very happy to be told he doesn’t exist, Teeny takes the microphone away. (If this short has taught me anything, it’s that if science could make a teacup elephant that could survive at such a size, I would get one.)

Favorite part: It’s not especially funny, but it IS sweet. A woman is doing her laundry and Teeny comes over and HELPS! He hands her the clothespins! So precious! Keep up the good work, sweetie!

Martian through Georgia

“MONSTER!”

Directed by Chuck Jones and Abe Levitow; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by Carl Kohler and Chuck Jones; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Dilm Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc, Ed Prentise; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on December 29, 1962.

Way, way out in space there is a planet. Even though it is yellow, I think we call it Mars. I mean, the indigenous lifeforms are called “Martians.” (I guess the universe is big enough for two Mars’s) They are really interesting. Like humans, they come in two genders: male and female. The males seem to be quite comfortable in their birthday suits, while the females are clad in purple jumpsuits. (Or they just have a purple coloration that covers their entire bodies, save for their faces.) They are a happy race. Well, except for one. And we’ll call that one: Al.

Poor Al. He is depressed. And he is depressed because he is bored. Both activities that martians typically partake in (levitating and though projection) bore him. (How can you be bored when you have constant access to pig pictures? And do martian pigs really resemble our Earth ones?) His depression must be really bad, because a woman tries flirting with him and he doesn’t give a crap. (And given by her heartbroken reaction, I think she was really into him.)

Al goes to a doctor. No martian speaks in this short, (which makes sense if you think about it. If you had thought projection abilities, what use would talking be?) so they communicate via their antenna. The doc thinks that traveling would be a good way to relieve his boredom and though Al doesn’t really think it will help, (I mean, he is still sulking as he leaves) he leaves. As he travels, he comes across a new planet. One full of simple, ignorant, life forms. (I’m stumped. What planet could that be?) Looking at this sad excuse of civilization, he finds a new purpose within him. He will shares his gifts with them! Finally feeling something close to joy, he heads down.

Things don’t seem to be off to a great start. Many people run away in fear, and those that don’t take him away for parking in a “no parking zone.” They send him to his new house, (a prison cell) but he has no time to stay. He must continue his mission! So he easily leaves. This gets everyone in a panic, and soon everyone knows of a monster that is on the loose. (The letters seem to be coming off that newspaper) Everyone except Al. When he does hear about it, he decides this is a good place to start helping these folks, and he soon finds the creature that everyone must be afraid of. I mean, it’s eaten a guy! (I think they are called “eggskahvayters”) He uses his atom re-arranger that he always had on him, and turns the beast into a cow/dragon/ cat. (Don’t worry, it’s friendly)

Satisfied, he begins to look for more wrongs to right, when a youth speaks to him. The child seems friendly enough, but he drops a bombshell: Al is the monster that everyone has been afraid of. According to the kid’s comic book, monsters are easily identified by their lack of noses. (That’s it, huh? So… birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, mand\y mammals and every invertebrate are a kind of monster? The people of this planet are self-entitled pricks!) Al can make his antenna look like a nose, but it doesn’t change anyone’s opinion. (I think that kid is also a monster. His hands temporarily turn green) Even more miserable than before, he finds no other option. Suicide is the only answer. I mean, what else can one do when no one loves you?

Wait! Someone clearly did love him! (Although, after that cruel rejection of his, would she really still want him? Actually, the martians seem like quite the nice species. But I bet if they were both like the people on this planet, she wouldn’t give him another chance.) Realizing that as long as someone loves you, life is indeed worth living, he heads home. Seems the trip really did help him. (And that goes for non-romantic love too. No more suicide! You’re just hurting others.)

Now Hear This

“QUIET!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Direction: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn, and Chuck Jones; Animation by Ben Washam, and Bob Bransford; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Sound Effects Created by Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on April 27, 1963.

Oh boy. This is a hard cartoon to describe. It’s kind of like if UPA directed “The Beatles Yellow Submarine.” And that just describes the style. Strange as it may be, it is an artistic masterpiece! And it was rightfully nominated for an academy award. (The last Looney Tune to get such an honor!) What could have beaten it? Another abstract short made by Mel Brooks? I suppose that makes sense, much as I hate to admit it. It’s also where we get the first use of the abstract opening that was used during the sixties. (A shame it is now remembered as part of the weaker shorts.)

So the plot. Unfortunately, the twist is spoiled as soon as it starts. (That’s pretty much my only gripe.) So we’ll just pretend like we never saw anything. An old British gentleman strolls along. Ironically, he is hard of hearing and carries around an ear trumpet. Clearly, it has gotten much use. The poor thing is battered and beaten. So we aren’t surprised to see him trade it for the red, shiny, pristine and perfect one he finds on the ground.

He gives it a test run. And not a moment too soon! Sounds like there is an automobile approaching! Or rather, it was some sort of animal. (As an animal expert, I’m saddened to find I can’t identify it. It resembles an insect, but has a telescoping neck and shoes for feet. It defies all nature.) Well, that was odd. But it seems to be working now, as the man delights in listening to a songbird. But the insanity is just getting started. Part of which is caused by some little man dressed all in pink, and lacks facial features. (Save for a nose)

I’m not sure if he is real or not, but in this short, I’m not sure if anything is real. Even our main character is started to get nervous, judging by the sounds his heart is making. And then? The scariest thing I’ve ever seen in animation. That is no exaggeration. In total darkness, the man is watched by several sets of angry eyes. That’s it. And that horrifying image is awesome. (Part of why it’s scary is that it’s a perfect metaphor for how I view the world. All alone. The only ones who look at us, silently judge.)

Why doesn’t the man just get rid of the thing causing all this trouble? He can’t! The little pink man won’t allow it! And the trumpet begins entangling the old man in music. Eventually leading up to a “Gigantic Explosion!” Happily, the old man is still alive. (If a bit bandaged.) Better yet, his old horn is still in the trash can. Tattered it may be, it still works fine, and the gentleman once more can hear the the lovely sounds the world has to produce. And the owner of the red horn? Satan. (Wish they hadn’t showed him at the beginning) At least that explains the creepy as hell imagery. He happily puts his horn back on his head, and leaves.

This short is something else. A treat for the ears as much as the eyes. (Just like the best cartoons) I think it’s one of the studio’s best, and think it belongs right up there with “Porky’s Preview” as one of the “100 best.”