Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

“Fasten you seat belts! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”

Written by Duane Poole, Tom Swale; Directed by Milton Gray, Marsh Lamore, Bob Shellhorn, Mike Svayko, Karen Peterson (supervising); Starring the voices of Ross Bagdasarian, Jeff Bergman, Townsend Coleman, Wayne Collins, Jim Cummings, Jody Dedio, Paul Fusco, Danny Goldman, Georgi Irene, Janice Karman, Aaron Lohr, Jason Marsden, Don Messick, Lorenzo Music, Laurie O’Brien, Lindsay Parker, George C. Scott, Russi Taylor, and Frank Welker. Theme music composed by Richard Kosinski, Sam Winans, Paul Buckmaster, Bill Reichenbach, Bob Mann, Guy Moon, and Alan Menken. A TV special aired on April 21, 1990.

How dare I discuss this when so many others with notoriety have before me? Well, unlike them, I actually LIKE this. Unironically even. Since the plot is relatively well known, I’ll keep that part to a minimum and just give my overall opinion on it.

Many find this special disappointing. With its title, you’d think it’s some kind of action-packed thrill ride with the greatest heroes animation has to offer. I can see why most would feel let down, but I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t born when this special aired. In fact, I wasn’t aware of the thing until 2007. I happened to catch a glimpse of it during a cartoon music video, and wondered what it was. My best guess was that it was some promotional ad for a TV network. I mean, why else would all these toons owned by different companies all be here?

Luckily, someone in the comments also was clueless and asked what the source was. Now with title in hand, I looked it up. So I knew it was an anti-drug thing the whole time.  While I agree that it would have been so much cooler as that aforementioned thrill ride, I think this is still a work of genius. Aren’t kids much more likely to listen to cartoons? And we’ve got a good mix of characters. Let’s run through them.

The Smurfs: never really saw them. (Especially not those horrific life action films. Don’t people know that cartoons are drawn because they look horrifying in realistic styles?) Considering how profitable they had been around the time, I think they were a good choice.

Alf: Can’t say this was a smart choice. You really wanted Alf as part of your anti drug squad? His live action series had just barely ended, and I’m guessing his popularity was ending. If this had come out a few years earlier, I’d have less problems. But it’s hard for me to hate a guy who munchs cats. And yes, I do get a kick out of him threatening to eat…

Garfield: I love this guy! Have ever since I was a kid. Garfield and Friends was something I watched every morning before school. He deserves to be here.

The Chipmunks: I was also rather fond of these guys as a child. Mostly because of “The Chipmunk Adventure” (I rented that movie every time I visited the local video rental place. Those were good times.) Not as big a fan as I once was, but I’m glad they’re here.

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger: Pooh is my favorite Disney character. I’m pleased as punch to find him in this. Tigger is also great. Another two solid picks.

Baby Kermit, Piggy, and Gonzo: I’m also quite the Muppets fan. Sadly, their adult counterparts wouldn’t fit in, being live action and all. I’ll settle for this version of them. At least it allows Kermit the frog to share the screen with Garfield and Pooh.

Slimer: I’m not really a Ghostbusters fan. Granted, I’ve yet to see the animated series they’re borrowing from. I have seen the movie. It’s not bad, but I don’t find it funny or really all that entertaining. But the franchise was still doing great at the time, it’d be idiotic to NOT include anyone from it.

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck: The reason we are discussing this. With a title like “Cartoon ALL-STARS” you darn well better have at least one Looney Tune. Two is better than that. They had to pick the two most popular,  and they did. (Wile E is also mentioned. Too bad he didn’t show his face)

Michelangelo: Also not much of a TMNT fan. I’d like to watch the 80’s series. Someday. Again, being the profitable series it was, they made a good choice of picking a turtle. They chose the kids favorite too.

Huey, Dewey, and Louie: It would have been cooler if Mickey, Donald and Goofy had been chosen, like they were originally intended to be, but these three are a good second choice. I like Ducktales.

So, that’s the lot. (Despite the fact Smurfette appears on the VHS cover) Overall, I like the selection. However, the special is definitely not perfect. The toons seem to keep changing size without explanation, and the majority of the characters feel very underutilized. Slimer disappears after everybody leaves the house. (At least he got one line) And Daffy doesn’t show up until the final few minutes. Also, most of them don’t contribute much to the problem at hand. It’s a good thing they all join in the song. (Most of them anyway. As stated, Slimer is gone by this point and most of the smurfs are too. He was probably eating them. And Alf steals Bugs’ line. Prick)

It doesn’t flow too naturally, either. The “human” characters disappear and warp around the world as needed. I guess it simulates how one feels on drugs? (“How’d I get back to my room? My weed must’ve given me super powers.”) Everything just seems to end too fast. It’s a shame they only got a half hour to tell their story. This would’ve been much more informative at twice the length.

Despite these complaints, there are some good parts to be had. Our villain isn’t terrible. He may just be a cloud of smoke named Smoke (despite no name being given during the run time) but he’s evil enough to suit his purpose. Does a good job of not giving a crap about anyone or caring. Just like real drugs! Also, this is the first time Bugs and Daffy aren’t being voiced by the voice god, Mel. Jeff Bergman is a good replacement. (Not a great one. There is no such person aside from Noel. Even then, he wouldn’t  be perfect. No offense Mr. Blanc.)

All in all, this wasn’t the best it could be, but I think it came out fairly decent. I’m sure it was hard enough just getting everyone to agree to let their characters join in the fun. (It’s odd that the parents can’t get along as well as the children. Bugs and Mickey visit each other every Christmas and birthday.) If they had been given more time, I’m sure this could have been remembered more fondly. Anti-drug message and all.

Favorite part: I’m tempted to choose the few scenes showing our main character has a Looney Tunes poster in his room, but unfortunately, it’s too blurry to make out. ( I think it contains Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Taz and Porky) If only I could SEE IT! Instead, my pick goes to the song. It’s catchy and brings everyone together. (Just what every crossover gourmand wants.)

Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special

“Beware! Beware!”

Producer: Hal Geer; Directed by David Detiege, Abe Levitow and Maurice Noble; Story by Cliff Roberts; Music by Harper McKay. A TV special aired on CBS on October 26, 1978.

Halloween is such a fun time of year. You can be as macabre as you want and nobody bats an eye. Having any excuse to eat nothing but chocolate is also a bonus. And unlike other holidays, this one doesn’t have any deeper meaning anymore, and is used solely as a fun excuse. And naturally, there are plenty of cartoon treats on the side.

This special consist of clips from other “spooky” themed Looney Tunes and edited together with some new footage. (Sort of like Frankenstein’s monster.) Even if you aren’t the expert on these shorts, like I am, it’s not hard to tell where edits were made. Voices sounding different and animation not syncing up properly.

We start with a bit of “A-haunting we will go.” Right after Daffy’s nephew warns of the real witch, and his uncle drags him out to prove him wrong, we cut to a snippet of “Broom Stick Bunny.” Hazel still invites Bugs in, but doesn’t explain why she is giving him a tea designed to un-uglify someone. Even more confusing, after Bugs reveals himself to be a rabbit, she still wants him to drink, as she sees “that witch” as a threat. (You’ve lost me. Can a rabbit be a witch? And if the two are combined, will that spell the end of all witches?)

Bugs refuses to drink her tea, saying that he only will drink the kind his doctor makes. So, now we jump to a “Hyde and Hare” clip. While Bugs is chased by Hyde, his screams wake up a sleeping Sylvester, and we next jump to an abridged “Hyde and go Tweet.” After that, Bugs has somehow managed to escape Hyde and samples his formula. Now properly scary, he leaves to try and frighten Hazel. She is immune, turns him back to normal, and that makes him fall asleep. Next up: “A witch’s tangled hare.”

After all that, we finally catch up to Daffy arriving at her place, with most of that short being played. It cuts right after Daffy leaves. (Here’s an omission I never noticed before: when Speedy tries to make Daffy drink, the table is gone. But there is still a chunk of Speedy’s clothes missing that is table shaped.)

After all this, Bugs is still not impressed with Hazel’s attempts at being scary. She decides to show him, by frightening the cat that is accompanying Porky who is coming to stay at her house, since she put up a vacancy sign. (She now lives amongst some other buildings? Magic works fast!) So now, we get a mishmash of “Claws for alarm” and “Scaredy Cat” playing. And despite Hazel saying SHE is going to be the one scaring the cat, he runs off when Porky orders him to get out. (Not to mention, was she doing anything? Were all those mice under her control?)

I guess Bugs is convinced, as he offers to team up with her to frighten people, and proposes a toast. Upon drinking she turns into Count Bloodcount and “Transylvania 6-5000” plays. To be fair, they put in some new dialogue here, with Bugs wondering where the witch went, and Hazel speaking instead of the vampire. (But they don’t explain why Bugs is dressed as an umpire suddenly. Unless you’ve seen the original, you’re going to be confused.)

Once back to her self, she chases Bugs as she has had enough of him. (I do love the face he makes as he runs away from her.) This leads to our last clip from “Bewitched Bunny.” This time, once Hazel is transformed, Bugs doesn’t make a sexist remark, and just notes that no one wants to be alone on Halloween. The two then go to share Hazel’s brew.

This special is kind of a mess. The cartoons don’t always flow together neatly, and will probably confuse anyone over the age of five. I’m sure little kids will love it through and through, but that doesn’t include me. Here’s wishing any of you REAL people who read this, a happy Halloween. (Seriously though people. Stop leaving your spam on my website. You’re just wasting your time.)

Daffy Duck’s Easter Egg-citement

“You ain’t laid a good egg in months.”

Executive Producer: Hal Geer; Produced by DePatie-Freleng; Sequence Directors: Tony Benedict, Gerry Chinquy, Art Davis and David Detiege. A TV special released on April 1, 1980.

Happy Easter! My favorite holiday! And what does Easter make one think of? Eggs, Chocolate and animals returning from migrations. You didn’t say rabbits, did you? We’re discussing Daffy’s special today. We’ll get to Bugs’ another time. What does Daffy have over Bugs? Original content! Three new shorts that had been yet to be shown to the world.

Our title screen looks pretty good to me, but Daffy is not satisfied. Besides the Easter egg, there isn’t much of the spectrum being used here. (Personally, brown is my favorite Easter color) We never see the animator here. (So if you want to think it’s Bugs, go ahead.) Daffy wants to be part of an Easter parade. All he needs is an outfit. After getting painted into a scuba suit, he gets a dapper tux. He is then stampeded by hens. Foghorn shows up and sends Daffy away with a script, saying that he’ll show up in scene 49. Time for the first short!

The Yolks on You

First on our plate, a cartoon about eggs. How do you think Easter eggs are made? I’m sure you believe the old myth about dyeing them yourself. (What really happens, the vinegar causes you to pass out and you just THINK you did all the work.) They come from hens of course. Foghorn is the boss, and assigns each of the hens in his care a color to lay. Prissy is also there. She is actually able to lay eggs in this one, but they come out shaped like… I don’t know. Some kind of teeth? Her anxiety only gets worse, as she is assigned the hardest color you can make an egg: Turquoise! (Unless you are an American Robin. Those showoffs! They figured out the secret ages ago, and continue to lay that color just to spite other birds.) Prissy tries her best, but the egg comes out gold. (The short never specifies that it is solid gold, or just colored that way, but it seems to go through more abuse than an egg should, so I guess it’s real.) Not wanting to be found with this mistake, she throws it away. It rolls down the hill. At the bottom, Sylvester is picking through the trash. Tough as things are, he at least has a friend: Daffy. (Scene 49 came quick!) Daffy is not quite the friend you want sharing your food though. He helps himself to Sylvester’s fish skeletons. Daffy is first to spot the egg, and tries to keep it to himself. Sylvester isn’t fooled and they chase for it. Daffy eventually gets in a taxi, but can’t relax due to his paranoia. (Read: Sylvester tapping on the window repeatedly.) The cat gets the egg back again, and Daffy tickles him to release it. This isn’t getting them anywhere. Daffy has an idea to keep it hidden so other’s won’t find it. Paint it white, and stick it in a hen house. No one would suspect it’s valuable. And no one does. A truck takes all the eggs away thinking they’re all food. The duo chase after it. Later that night, they’re still looking through all the eggs. Cracking each one, hoping to eventually find their treasure.

During the intermission, Daffy complains to the artist again. He demands an Easter basket. The artist complies. Daffy also wants a chicken on it. He gets a chick outfit painted on him. Not finding it funny, he refuses to move. A lever is painted under him, and a rock launches him into the sky. While he’s gone, the ground is replaced with water. And with a torpedo headed for him, Daffy has no choice but to use the basket as a boat.

The Chocolate Chase

Daffy has a new job. He is to guard a chocolate factory. (Said owner is a pig in a sombrero. I’d give him a name, but he disappears after telling Daffy to keep kids out.) A nearby village of mice, is hoping to get some chocolate rabbits for their kids. They are poor, but they gather all the money they can to buy some from Daffy. He takes it all, declares it not enough and sends them away. Geez! That’s evil! (And possibly racist, seeing as they are all Mexican.) Seeing as they are all Mexican, it seems quite obvious that Speedy would be related to one of the villagers. It just so happens that Speedy is related to one of the villagers, and agrees to help out. He gets one easily, and hands it to a grateful child. (Those rabbits are tiny! I get that they are mice, but does the factory really make such small chocolate molds? On another note,) I really do like that the kids thank Speedy. He is really making their Easter special. (Don’t try and tell me that Easter is more about the religious aspects. In a poor village, the chocolate is the only thing making it different than a normal Sunday.) Daffy has pretty good reflexes, as he is able to get Speedy in a net. (Doesn’t slow him down though. And Daffy is yanked through a fence’s knothole.) And a motorcycle isn’t any help. (Not only is Speedy faster, Daffy crashes and flies into a telephone pole.) Daffy tries to corner the mouse by chasing him into the factory. He chases him onto the machinery and winds up falling into the molten chocolate. Now encased in the confection, he can’t stop the mice from taking what is rightfully theirs. They even bring Daffy’s frozen body to their fiesta. Daffy manages to break his head free, but he isn’t mad. Chocolate has magical calming powers, and his attitude has adjusted. He’s just happy to be there.

Another intermission! What does Daffy want this time? Flowers! Cue the paintbrush. Now a “Daffy-dil,” (Which looks like a daisy with Daffy’s head. Or rather, Daisy Duck!) Daffy figures things couldn’t get worse. Then a giant bee is added. (And if you’ve played “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” you know why this is bad. That bee isn’t going to eat Daffy, that’s a different kind of hunger in his eyes.)

Daffy Flies North

Well, that’s a boring title. But it is what he is doing. But he’s not enjoying himself. He decides to forgo on the whole instinct thing, and find another way to get north. Heading down to the ground he makes a three point landing! (If the pitchfork only had more prongs, he could have set a new world record.) Could hitchhiking work? Kind of. The car in question is full of hunters and hounds. How about sneaking onto a chair that is being towed by a car? Again, it kinda works. Daffy still ends up in a lake. But there is still hope! A horse! He could ride it! But it’s not willing. (A horse can drink, but you can’t lead him away from water. Or something like that.) Daffy can’t really get on the horse, and besides he really does need a saddle. He does get one on the equine, and ties it (and himself) on so they can’t be ejected. It works at first, but since he can’t hold on, he slides under the animal and repeatedly hits his head on the ground. And I guess the horse would rather die than be used as a mount, as he heads into a lake. (Daffy is forced to carry the beast out. And I guess it was really cold as he is blue upon exiting. I suppose it could be due to lack of oxygen, but that is a little too dark. Either way doesn’t explain why the horse looks no worse for the wear) His next try lands him on a bull. (Sadly not THE bull from Bully for Bugs That would have been such a cool cameo! Daffy is chased onto an airplane. He kicks back, happy to have found an easy alternative to flying, which was flying. Except, it was headed back to South America. Right back to winter. (Since I don’t live in the southern hemisphere, I guess I can’t fathom it being cold. Even in winter, won’t it be at least seventy degrees?)

Well, that’s all for the new shorts. Daffy tries to get even with the paintbrush by shaving its bristles, but it shaves him instead. He is then painted inside an Easter egg. The brush is nice enough to paint a door on it. (Despite the fact it painted a sign to not open until next Easter.) Daffy tries to escape, but seeing the brush outside, he decides its better to just wait. (Being a bird, living in an egg is probably very soothing.)

Daffy-The Commando

Teh bin fertig mit der feleton, herr von limberger?

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Champin; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1943.

A Nazi general by the name of Von Vulture is not in the best of moods. He has just been told that he is through should he let one more commando get through. He doesn’t have much to back him up either. Just a small, constantly goosestepping,constantly heil-ing, silent bird named Schultz who Von constantly smacks on the head. Hearing a plane, they rush outside with a spotlight and spot a commando. Daffy the commando to be precise. And he immediately makes his mark by making shadow puppets in the light. (His chorus line gets much approval from Schultz.) Upon his landing, Von runs back to the safety of the bunker. Daffy knocks on his door and asks for the time, so he can set his time bomb correctly. (It’s a going away gift for the vulture) Von hands it to his little pal and he is blown into the sky. When he lands, Daffy pops out of his helmet and gives Von a smack on the head this time. Chasing Daffy, (and confusing a skunk with Hitler. An easy mistake) He finds him in a phone booth. And no matter how much he knocks, Daffy isn’t letting him in until he’s done. When Daffy is done, Von makes a phone call before remembering his mission. Daffy takes off in a plane, but is surrounded. He dives down, and the Nazi’s fire upon each other. But Daffy’s plane is taken down by Von. With nowhere else to hide, Daffy ducks into a cannon. Von fires him and wouldn’t you know it, it blasts Daffy all the way to Hitler. (Rotoscoped, of course) He gives the fuhrer a much deserved smack on the head.

A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur’s Court (A.K.A. Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court)

Never again do I take directions from Ray Bradbury.

Produced, Directed, and “Plagerized” by Chuck Jones; Music by Dean Elliot. A TV special released in 1978.

Bugs is on his way to Georgia for a peanut festival. But somehow, he has burrowed his way into medieval England. (Which he mistakes for Pittsburgh, due to all the smoke.) Said smoke is coming from a dragon which is being chased by Elmer as a knight. Finding the tracks leading to Bugs, he concludes that the dragon is a shapeshifter. He takes Bugs as a prisoner. They ride: to Camelot! But there aren’t any jovial singing knights here. Just the king and his knights. The king in fact looks a lot like Daffy. And Merlin looks an awful lot like Yosemite Sam. (Also, I think he stole Yen Sid’s hat and dyed it black.) Elmer offers up his catch to the king. Merlin suggests they kill the “dragon.” Not really caring about any of this, the king permits it. Bugs is set to be roasted, when he realizes that this all seems like some kind of Mark Twain story. He asks the varlet, (played by my pal Porky, who for some reason is having an even more difficult time speaking than usual) what day it is and finds that its the day that a solar eclipse happened. He demands to be set free, or he’ll blot out the sun. And boy is it ever an eclipse. One can even see the stars. The king is horrified and offers half his kingdom to the rabbit to undo his work. Bugs complies. Once gone, the king thanks Bugs and offers him something even better than half of his kingdom. A whole 32nd of it! Bugs declines and only asks that he be given a dragon. The king complies, Merlin is angry, and Fudd is convinced this was all a trick. So what did Bugs want with a dragon? He decided to open up his own armory, and uses the dragon’s flame to create steam, which in turn he uses to make electricity. Turns out Bugs was way ahead of all those types who needed to know how to train their dragons. They act just like any other animal. Feed them, and they’ll spend most of their time sleeping. (Yes, he alludes them to cats, but that sounds like pretty much every animal ever to me.) Being a rabbit, he specializes in armor for animals. Foxes, (why not?) Deer, (which he says can be outfitted for moose and elk as well. I should hope so. Since those ARE deer. Also antelope.) Tweety birds, (pratical) Mice, (it even has a little “S” on the chest. Wonder what that stands for) Cats, (to not play favorites, and besides it offers protection from dogs) Flies, (which Porky does point out is going to hamper the animal’s flying skills. Which will leave it as nothing more than a walk.) Roosters, (to prevent people from chopping off their heads. Everyone loves eating rooster meat) Rattlesnakes, (which don’t need armor, but hate being left out) and Porcupines. (Because it’s not like they have quills or anything. Also, he struggles to say it, while Porky has absolutely no problems) But his practice is put on hold, as Elmer finds his dragon and attacks. When Bugs goes to confront him, Elmer assumes Bugs is just in his rabbit form again and challenges him to a duel. Bugs and Porky versus Elmer and Merlin. And the king is loving every minute of it. They start off jousting. Bug’s lance is so long that he pole vaults over Elmer and chases Merlin into a moat. Charging again, he uses a magnet to remove Fudd’s armor, and he ends up chasing Merlin into the moat. Elmer fires an arrow, but Bug redirects it and it chases Elmer and Merlin into the moat. Then the two use a catapult, but Bugs launches the rock back with a spring and the two end up in the moat once more. (And Bugs calls Merlin out on using a cannon, seeing as gunpowder is yet to be invented.) As he leaves for a coffee break, he finds what he believes to be a carrot peeler. It’s really Excalibur and Bugs is recognized as the true king. Porky bows. Elmer and Merlin also bow to the true cartoon king. And the current king even willingly hands over his crown. (A duck as king really is ridiculous.) And so Bugs just adapts to living in a different century. All hail King Art-Hare! (The pun IS mightier than the sword!) 

My Favorite Duck

G-Gosh, what a c-cr-c-screwy duck.

 Supervison by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; (in fact, this was the first of Jones' shorts that he wrote) Animation by Rudolph Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1942
Supervison by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; (in fact, this was the first of Jones’ shorts that he wrote) Animation by Rudolph Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1942

Porky is off on a camping trip. Singing “Moonlight Bay” in a canoe he soon finds himself in a duet with “My Favorite Duck.” Porky decides to set up camp a good distance away from the lake, but Daffy is not one to stay away. He constantly gets in Porky’s way as the pig tries to drive a tent stake into the ground. And there’s nothing Porky can do but take it, as duck season is closed at the moment. (You’re not even allowed to molest a duck? That’s unfair.) Porky eventually gets his camp set up: underwater. He decides he’d rather be on dry land. While making some lunch, (and unintentionally singing “Blues in the night” which Daffy was singing earlier) he has his egg switched with an eagle egg. (Courtesy of Daffy) He has a pan swung in his face by the mother who takes her eaglet back. (And definitely has a male voice, but the baby says “mother” so maybe he’s just confused?) Next on the list of camping activities is fishing. Fishing, by nature, is boring. So, I’m not surprised to see Porky asleep. Daffy turns his canoe upside down and drags the fishing line into the sky. Porky, felling a tug, jumps out of the water and swims through the air. Before gravity kicks in. He finds Daffy stealing his food, and chases him into a tree. He decides to smoke him out. Daffy recommends rubbing some sticks (of dynamite) together as an alternative to matches. Porky prefers to do it the easy way. It’s the promise of his Indian suit that gets him to comply. Luckily, he is unhurt by the explosion, but it did catapult him and all his supplies into the sky. He comes down, but his stuff doesn’t. (It’s probably still up there to this day) If only he had a gun. Daffy gives him one, but reminds him it won’t do any good. He pulls out a sign to prove his point, but the universe has had enough of him and the sign declares duck season open. (Love Daffy’s face here.)

 Beautiful.
Beautiful.

 Porky follows him relentlessly, and the chase leads to a large tree. They go around and around until…the film breaks. (What? Son of a…) Daffy comes out apologizing, but don’t freak out, (What? Me? I would never!) he’ll tell us how it ends. So apparently, Porky gets him cornered, but Daffy fights back with punches until Porky is groveling for mercy. (I’m not buying it) Porky hits Daffy over the head with the gun. 

My Little Duckaroo

I’ve got you now, Canasta.

 Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, Abe Levitow, Richard Thompson and Lloyd Vaughn; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Phillip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Directon by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released in 1954.
Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, Abe Levitow, Richard Thompson and Lloyd Vaughn; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Phillip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Directon by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released in 1954.

It’s a followup to “Drip-along Daffy.” And sadly, it’s not as good as its predecessor. Daffy is once again cast as the hero. (Known this time as the Masked Avenger) Porky is there too and still relegated to the role of comic relief. Daffy spots a wanted poster for Nasty Canasta. (Looking different than he did in his first appearance and how he would look in “Barbary Coast Bunny.” Guy just can’t find a style he likes.) Daffy decides to fix his little red wagon, but not because it is the right thing to do. It’s all about the money. Luckily, Canasta’s hideout is clearly labeled, so Daffy has no problem finding it. The problems start when he comes in and introduces himself to the thug. Canasta can’t be bothered to react to Daffy at all. (Not even to his nice mask. I agree with Daffy. It is stylish) He has no luck with his alter egos either, The Frisco Kid and Superguy. Eventually though, Canasta does challenge Daffy to a game of cards. After the classic “cutting the cards joke” Daffy deals. He gives Canasta one card and keeps the other 51 for himself. He has a royal straight flush full house with four aces. Canasta has a three of clubs and his gun in Daffy’s mouth. It’s clear who the winner is. Daffy then suggests arm wrestling. (I’m not surprised he lost. Canasta is the kind of guy who makes a cigarette by putting all the ingredients into his mouth and spitting out the final product.) Porky suggests that Daffy just arrest Canasta. And I’m happy to report that Daffy doesn’t do the old “glad I thought of it gag.” That’s not my favorite gag. He slaps some handcuffs on Canasta and tries to drag him away. Canasta breaks free. Daffy finally snaps and challenges the outlaw to fight. Porky has the utmost confidence in him. (Um, Porky old pal? You did see Canasta’s Crusher impression, didn’t you?) Porky calmly waits for the fight to subside outside, (while his shirt changes color briefly) as he assures us that Daffy is going to fix Canasta’s little red wagon. Daffy comes out the loser. And to add insult to injury, Canasta literally made him fix his little red wagon. (That’s harsh. We watched a subpar sequel to a great Daffy short for such a weak punchline?)

No post next week. I’ll be out of town. But we’ll be back the week after, so stay tooned.

Birth of a Notion

I have no duck, Leopold.

 Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster. A Looney Tune released in 1947.
Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster. A Looney Tune released in 1947.

During the Autumn, ducks tend to fly south to warmer temperatures. Daffy is not like most ducks, and instead has a plan to get himself a warm home for Winter. It all hinges on the bone he’s holding. He leaves it on a house’s porch and calls for the dog that lives there. (I suppose he’s been scouting to find a home with a dog. It’s needed for his plan) The dog prepares to feast on that bone, but Daffy stops him. He claims that the bone is poison and that he saved his life by keeping him from eating it. Leopold, (for that is the dog’s name) is grateful and tells Daffy that in return, he’ll get him anything he can. Daffy requests sharing the house. Leopold doesn’t think his master would like him doing that, but eventually gives in. His master is a familiar face: it’s that scientist that looks like Peter Lorre. (Who from this day forward, shall be known as Pete Lorry) He is working on some sort of experiment that is requiring something he does not have: a duck’s wishbone. Leopold, meanwhile, sticks Daffy in the closet promising to bring him food and water. If Daffy wasn’t Daffy, his plan would have definitely worked, but he’s not one to stay there and naturally leaves. Just in time to overhear Pete tell his dog about his duck loss. Daffy isn’t scared as one usually would be in this situation, but is instead angry. He tries to goad Leopold to join in on the Pete-killing, but the dog is loyal to his master and won’t partake. Daffy throws stuff at Pete’s head and succeeds in hitting him once with a bat, just as Leopold grabs it. Pete is very calm (while breaking the bat into many pieces) and tells Leopold that he will do horrible things to him, should he get hurt. Daffy is not through, and heads into this bedroom with a knife. He takes a stab at taking a stab, but Pete happens to sleep with a shield and is unharmed. But he is now very much aware that there is a duck on the premises. A chase ensures with trapdoors, a door that leads to a countryside speeding by, and arms coming out of the walls. (Intermixed with a shot of Leopold complaining about his “role” in the short. Best joke of the cartoon, right there.) After having many sharp objects thrown at him, Daffy goes for the obvious solution and just leaves. (Who knew it was that easy?) To Leopold’s horror, Pete begins wondering if a dog’s wishbone would work in whatever he’s working on. (Maybe he just wants a wish?) Why is Leopold scared when dogs don’t have wishbones, you ask? Well, clearly Pete won’t figure that out until he’s dug through Leopold’s neck. That’s how mad scientists work. Daffy meanwhile is preparing to try the bone scheme at a different house, but another bird has beaten him to the punch and kicks Daffy away into the sky. Well, it’s easier than flying yourself, so Daffy kicks back and enjoys the ride. (Leopold joining him with fan powered flight)

 

Don’t expect a post next week. While I can’t promise that I won’t have time to write one, I also can’t claim to have the time to do it. So for just once in your life, don’t expect the unexpected.

To Duck…. Or not to Duck

No rough stuff!

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1943.

Daffy is having a grand time flying as only he would up in the clouds, when he is nearly shot. This leaves an impact shaped like him in the cloud, much to his amusement. He screws around with this for a bit, but he is eventually hit and he goes down. After berating the dog who is retrieving him about not being gentle, (whose name is Laramore. A name I’ve never heard outside of this short) he is brought back to the one who shot him: Elmer. Elmer is pretty polite about things. He apologizes for killing Daffy at least. But he defends his actions as sport. Daffy quits faking (Oh come on. Were you really buying it?) and rightfully complains about what a bad example of sport it is. Elmer is armed to the teeth, and Daffy doesn’t have anything but a bullet-proof vest. (“How did that get there?”) He demands that Elmer and him fight in a real sport: boxing. There’s already a ring set up even. (Ducks love boxing you know. How else would there be a full house there already? Clearly, they just sit there constantly waiting for a fight. ) I love the referee at this match. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he’s voice by Tex Avery due to all the laughing he does when he is supposed to introduce Elmer. (“You can have him!”) He finally does get Elmer’s name out, and he is promptly booed by the audience. (To be fair, Laramore cheers for him but the ducks pelt him with projectiles.) When introducing Daffy however, he not only gives him a hug, but addresses him as “Daffy, (Good to his mother) Duck.” Daffy is promptly applauded by the audience. (To be fair, Laramore boos him, but the ducks pelt him with projectiles.) The ref. (who I’m calling Tubbs) begins listing all the moves that are not allowed. He even demonstrates them on Elmer. Daffy wants to be absolutely clear on things, so he repeats all of them on Elmer just so he knows they’re illegal. When the fight is ready to begin, the two are ordered to shake hands. Daffy tells Elmer to pick a hand, and Elmer picks the wrong hand. (There was nothing in it.) Daffy is willing to let him try again, and there is something in the other: a mallet that clobbers Elmer. Tubbs starts the match, but Elmer is already out and Daffy is declared the winner! (Definitely more fair. Daffy is looking out for all the animals that are unfairly killed) Elmer is a good loser. He doesn’t complain, but he does point out that he thought they weren’t supposed to use certain moves. The moves in question being, the ones he is now using on Daffy and Tubbs.

Cartoon Network Groovies

What’s all that racket?

You know what made Cartoon Network so much fun to watch, back in the day? Well, yes, having cartoons that I wanted to watch was nice, but they went out of their way to make the commercials a joy as well. It’s a network where the cartoons are in charge, so naturally, the cartoons would be working there. During a commercial break, we could see the toons working at their jobs, and interacting with each other. But my favorite thing they did was the groovies. Short music videos about the cartoons we loved and if we didn’t already love them, then these videos might encourage us to take another look. They were brilliant. Each one was different. (Even the ones that were based on the same series. “Dexter’s Laboratory”, and “The Powerpuff Girls”, each had more than one for their series. (Not that I mind. I love those shows.) Even a few shows you wouldn’t think would be popular enough to get one, got one. Like JabberJaw and Betty Boop. (I didn’t even know her shorts ever aired on that channel) Although there were some weird ones. There’s one based on “Ed, Edd and Eddy” where Sarah gives the titular boys a drink that shrinks them for her amusement. It’s a great song, but is that really related to the show? I never really watched it. Plus one based on “Courage the Cowardly Dog” that takes place somewhere not in Nowhere, Kansas, Eustace and Muriel look much younger, and they are having a party. This show, I did watch. And Eustace doesn’t seem like the type to allow that many people into his house without giving him something. But of course, the reason I’m talking about them here is because there were some based on “Looney Tunes”. And they get looked at more in-dept.

L’Amour A Un Odeur: A remix featuring Pepe Le Pew and his various shorts. It’s my least favorite just because it feels the most rushed to me. The music is that classic faux French they put in all his shorts.

Wascally Wemix: As you’d expect, this is Elmer’s song. A bunch of his lines remixed. Bugs and Daffy feature prominently too. The music kinda dying near the end, keeps it from being higher on my favorites.

Pork Jam: AW YEAH! My pal Porky gets a remix, and it’s awesome. His lines mix with the music, never fail to put a smile on my face. It was my favorite as a kid. So, what could possibly top Porky?

Mars Forever: My favorite out of all the groovies. A recruitment video Marvin made to build up his troops. Best music in my opinion. Contains bits from all his shorts, plus “Rocket-Bye Baby.” A masterpiece if ever there was one.

 

In memory of my good friend, Abby the Dog. 2006-2017. While there are no shortage of great dogs, there was only one of you.