Quackodile Tears

“An egg is an egg!”

Directed by Art Davis; (his last one for the studio) Story by John Dunn and Carl Kohler; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Lee Halpern, and Art Leonardi; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on March 31, 1962.

A duck that I’m going to assume is Daphne (voiced by Ms. Foray rather than Mel) sits on her egg, but it’s time for her husband to take a turn. The husband is a duck that I don’t have to assume is Daffy, because I recognize Daffy when I see him. And it’s a good thing I do, as he is missing his neck stripe in this picture. (Gotta have the neck stripe.) Daffy does not want to sit on the egg as he finds it a threat to his masculinity. His wife’s foot helps change his mind, and he sits, albeit begrudgingly.

While he tries to make his nest a bit more comfortable, his egg rolls away and ends up amongst a clutch of crocodile eggs. His should be easy to tell apart, as its shell is harder than the others, but he’s not entirely sure, and just takes one at random. Not very stealthily though, as Mama Croc saw his theft. She’s not like most mother crocs, as she relies on her husband, George to deal with him. As for her name, we’ll call her Carol. Why? Because that was the name of a grandmother of mine who died the morning of the day I wrote this. She was an ornery, fierce woman who was still almost always smiling and loved her children. It fits perfectly.

George takes the egg back and prepares to sit on his clutch himself. (It won’t warm them, but it should deter any other egg thieves.) Daffy takes it back, and sits on a his nest with a smug smile. That’s because he’s sitting on a lit firecracker that he knows the reptile will take. Which he does, but almost immediately puts it back under Daffy. After Daffy extinguishes his rump roast and takes the egg back again, George just flat out chomps him. No swallowing as Daffy still had the egg in his hand.

Daffy ain’t having it. He threatens the egg at gunpoint, and George has no choice but to let him go with such tactics. (Any good parent would.) Any good parent would also try to take the kid away from the maniac who points a gun in their unborn faces. And so a game of back and forth ensues. Daffy and George both try to keep the egg in their arms, and the other constantly takes it away. Gags happen.

Daffy paints an active grenade to look like the egg, but that’s the time Daphne catches him off the nest, and forces him to sit on the explosive. After that, the blessed event occurs: the hatching of the egg! Now, I’m no expert on babies, but I am a zoologist. That child of theirs isn’t the same species, genus, family, order, or class as its parents. It’s clearly a crocodilian. But why should being adopted make any difference? It doesn’t. And Daphne loves her child regardless. Sure, he may be a figurative ugly duckling, but that just means he’ll be a swan someday. (Which still isn’t a duck, but at least is in the same family.)

As for George, he also doesn’t look too happy with what happened. He and Carol ended up with a literal and figurative ugly duckling. (And three other babies who survived. A dark but accurate portrayal of what happens to the majority of crocodile hatchlings.)

Favorite Part: Daphne telling Daffy to sit on the egg, or have his face slapped off. A threat not to be taken lightly, as she demonstrates by relieving Daffy of his beak AND eyes. A clever take on the old classic.

Personal Rating: 3 that is very close to 4. A fine final film for Mr. Davis to direct for the W.B.

Ain’t that Ducky

“Thsome hunter.

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 19, 1945.

Daffy’s bubble bath is interrupted by sobbing. A duckling is very upset about something, and since he is carrying a bag with him, it wouldn’t be odd to assume that it is what is making the little guy bawl as much as he is. Daffy tries to be friendly, but this little guy wants no sympathy. He angrily yells for Daffy to keep away from him and his mystery parcel. Now I can understand not wanting to be bothered, but this kid is a little sh*t. I say we punt him into next month.

Well, my prayers are half answered: here comes a hunter that looks an awful lot like actor Victor Moore. In fact, he sounds an awful lot like his namesake. In fact, he actually IS voiced by that man. And boy does he grate my last nerve. (Such a whiny tone. Is he always like that?) Daffy tries to get the sobby one to come with him, but even that is more contact than the little prick wants, so Daffy hides himself and lets the duckling face whatever fate he gets. (Immature it may be, I’m calling the character, Dick.)

Vic is set to shoot Dick, but the bird’s tears and shouts manage to discourage him. And if a man won’t shoot something that nobody in the world will miss, then he’s no danger to anything else. Daffy emerges from his hiding bush, and tells the hunter to leave. However, since Daffy fits into Victor’s roasting pan, he is the new target. Daffy runs, with Victor in hot pursuit. Since his gun has so much recoil, Daffy is able to put some distance between the two.

Daffy hides in a barrel, but Dick also happens to be in there and is willing to sell Daffy out. So the chase continues with hunter and huntee on opposite sides of fence. (Daffy building more once they reach the end.) And there’s Dick again. Victor tries asking for the kid’s bag, but he doesn’t have any better luck than Daffy has. The two team up, and manage to get the freaking thing. Dick steals it back almost instantly, so I guess the truce is over. Victor chases Daffy again.

Daffy sets up a wooden decoy, which Victor runs right over. (Unintentionally.) He feels bad over supposedly killing the creature he was trying to kill. (It’s a trope I’ve always wondered about in cartoons like this.) Daffy doesn’t help matter much when he comes out in little boy disguise and starts crying over his father. (Now that I think about it, didn’t we all come from some wood? And now I’m done thinking about it.)

Victor is ready to pay for such a mistake, and even offers to raise Daffy as his own. It’s then that Dick returns and rips Daffy’s disguise off. Victor is upset, but not as much as Daffy is. He’s had it up to here with the pest, and tries to get his satchel once and for all. The duckling defends himself with a mallet, and sends Daffy down a cliff. Victor too. Daffy can’t believe Victor got the same treatment. But Victor DID get the bag, and the two eagerly open it up.

It’s contents do their magic, and Daffy and Victor come down with their own cases of depression. What could that bag contain? A piece of paper. And on that piece of paper? “The End.” (Considering Dick doesn’t appear in any other cartoons, I can see why he wouldn’t want his bag opened.)

Favorite Part: Daffy’s barrel isn’t there when he needs it. He complains about the lack of barrel, since the script clearly states there is supposed to be a barrel. It gets painted it once he threatens to tell J.L. Warner. Sure, it’s random, but it’s amusing. A good precursor to “Duck Amuck.”

Personal Rating: 2. Daffy’s co-stars bring this down a notch for me. If they don’t bother you, then it can probably manage a 3.

Wise Quackers

“I sthink he looksth better that way.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez, Pete Burness, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 1, 1949.

If the gray skies, red foliage and migrating ducks are any indication: Autumn is here. Dafffy does his best to keep up with the rest of the flock, but ultimately goes down. He calls out for help, and surprisingly enough, he gets an answer! Wait… I know that voice! That’s Elmer J. Fudd! And he’s not confused; he knows exactly what he’s doing. He gets Daffy down on the ground, and aims his gun.

Daffy isn’t too keen on the whole dying idea, and offers up an alternative: slavery! Elmer spares his life, and Daffy waits on him, wing and foot. (And seeing as how Daffy IS black, he’s not above a quick reference to “Uncle Tom.”) Elmer as it turns out, is totally on board with the idea. (As every single human being secretly thinks. Don’t deny it)  The deal is made, and the two head back to the homestead.

Elmer is about to give himself a shave, when Daffy interrupts. Seeing as how he’s the slave, he’s the one who gets to remove Elmer’s hair. (Seeing as how he’s a bird, Daffy is probably fascinated by the stuff.) He starts with a hot towel. So hot, that he ends up steaming Elmer’s face off. He puts it back where it belongs, just upside down. (Elmer frowns, but since his face is still the wrong way, he’s technically smiling. I can’t say I blame him. If I had unlimited wishes, number 5 would be to have my face upside down.)

Now for the actual shaving. It looks like Daffy knows what he’s doing, but it isn’t long before he’s asking for various surgical tools. (Elmer just has plasma in his bathroom does he?) Elmer has come to realize that slavery is, and always has been, a mistake. So he decides to kill Daffy. (Letting him go? That’s an odd suggestion.) Daffy is able to get another pass by making Elmer a meal. But he has to give the ole “it might be poisonous” shtick a try, and eats every bite. (I hope that was chicken.)

Killing time again! Daffy saves himself this time, by offering to chop wood for Elmer. The tree he chose falls on Elmer’s neighbor’s domicile. Seems he doesn’t mind though, as he just asks to borrow Elmer’s hammer, friendly like. (He just wanted to hammer Elmer’s head, but it was still a kind way of asking.) Daffy uses this time to escape, so Elmer sics his dogs on the duck’s trail. They might not look like the most focused ones you could send on this job, but they’re organized. They stop and make plans and everything.

After a botched first effort, (lousy tree) they succeed in bringing Daffy back! (That’s…wow. I never should ever doubt a dog. These are, after all the same animals who were smart enough to come up with the idea of adopting humans as pets.) Daffy’s way out of this one? Play up his blackness once more, and beg Elmer not to whip him. (The DVD that this short can be found on is available at the library I work at. In the children’s section. I laugh every time a child checks it out. Even though I support that choice. Better than “Paw Patrol.”)

The second part of his plan? Daffy returns as Lincoln and angrily tells Elmer off. (Silly slave owners, whips are for cream!) Guess that’s all that was needed, as Daffy leaves. (Huh. Kind of a weak ending)

Favorite Part: When playing surgeon, Daffy keeps asking for more and more ridiculous requests. When Elmer gets fed up and points a gun at him, Daffy simply reminds him that that wasn’t what he asked for. (I thought it was funny!)

Personal Rating: The great gags get this cartoon a 4 from me, but if you can’t see past the racially insensitive bits, then it’d probably be a 3.

Skyscraper Caper

“What an easy job this is going to be. I think.”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams and Ralph Penn; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voices: Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released o March 9, 1968.

Daffy has a bad case of sleepwalking. Bad enough to have him walking out of his house. It’s a good thing that Speedy catches sight of this, but his warnings aren’t enough to wake Daffy, and the duck walks into a lake. (Speedy’s house seems disproportioned. Daffy comes up to its roof, but Speedy seems to be half as tall as that. I don’t know. It seems off, but there’s plenty more to complain about.)

Speedy offers a solution: Daffy gives him 5 pesos, and Speedy will watch over him. Waking him in case he sleep walks again. And, believe it or not, Daffy not only agrees to that, but happily so! He’s not convinced that’s too much? He’s okay letting Speedy in his house? This is not the Daffy I know and love. He’s…he’s gone. He’s changed for the worse, just like everything I’ve ever loved. (Fine. I’ll tone it back a bit.)

Staying up all hours is a tiring job, so Speedy rigs up a rope around Daffy’s bed. If Daffy walks into it, it will ring a bell that will wake them both. Speedy will then take the credit. He even has the nerve to ask Daffy for another payment for his services. Unbelievably, Daffy pays up. (Even calling it worth paying for? Daffy, come back to me, pal!) It’s not a perfect plan. Once Daffy exits his bed the other way, he completely bypasses the rope.

Daffy walks out of his already open door, and heads into town. (It’s clearly midday now. How late do those two sleep?) And now, halfway through the picture, Daffy makes his way to a skyscraper. It’s still under construction, but this is one of the oldest known cartoon ideas. Someone will blindly stumble around the place, but always be saved at the last minute. It’s worked with Popeye, it’s worked with Mickey, it’s worked with Bugs. So, it should work here!

And they immediately botch it up. Daffy walks onto a girder, walks to the edge, and…just stands there. BOR-ING! You took the fun out of this gag, why exactly? Now Speedy wakes up and notices the duck is gone. He rushes outside, (not taking the bell for no reason) and sees Daffy still WAITING on the edge of his beam. Speedy is fast enough to make it there, and keep Daffy from falling more.

There’s an ice cream man there. He doesn’t look happy. (But I suppose he is selling at a construction site. There can’t be much business.) His bell wakes Daffy up, and he falls off the building. He grabs on to the side, and saves himself from death. Speedy lowers down a NOOSE that Daffy is supposed to use to get back up, by sticking his head in it, and pulling the other end to get himself up. (Why are these two’s personalities switched?)

Daffy manages to get back up, but a jackhammer sends him back down. He grabs a clock hand, and, for no other reason than to get some more pain out of him, the hour hand begins turning at a rapid rate, hitting Daffy multiple times and causing him to let go. He bounces around the area, thanks to awnings, and telephone wires, before landing in Speedy’s wagon, knocking him out. Speedy returns him to his bed, and Daffy is convinced the whole thing is a dream. (I wish I could think the same.)

Favorite Part: Speedy telling the sleeping Daffy to wake up. Once he’s in the water, Speedy remarks that he is awake now. (Yes, that was the highlight.)

Personal Rating: 1. The characters were out character, the jokes weren’t funny, and the animation was as poor as it usually was at this time.

Thumb Fun

“WHOA-HO-HO-HOOOOOOO, NELLY!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Bob Wickersham; Layouts by Peter Alvarado; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 1, 1952.

Daffy scoffs at the idea of flying south for the winter. I mean, it’s not like ducks are champion endurance flyers. While the common mallards will waste time AND energy, Daffy will get south the way evolution intended him to: hitchhiking. Nobody is offering rides though, and Daffy is reduced to having to paint a fake canyon in the road. (Nice use of perspective. Really brings to mind the works of the masters.)

One driver stops. His name is Porky Pig. Even though he was only stopping to avoid a potential crash, Daffy takes that as an offer to ride. He even fills the trunk with his excess luggage. (What does he even have in there? He’s not even wearing clothes. And to think people harp on Porky’s lack of pants.) There’s not much room, but Daffy makes do. When Porky takes a peek, suitcases fly everywhere. What a start.

They get going, but find they aren’t the only ones on the road. There’s a driver who wants to pass them. Now, Porky has no reason to give in. He got where he was first, and the other driver is acting like an a-hole with a horn. But this is Porky Pig we’re talking about. Friend to the common man and road jerks alike. He wants to let the guy pass, but Daffy shares my sentiments and continuously steers the car back in front. This goes on for awhile, until the other driver crashes into our stars.

Porky is not happy this has happened, but Daffy isn’t worried. The other car is ridiculously small, so the driver ought to be just as well. Said driver is not only tall, but pissed. It’s not enough that kids find his appearance while driving a vehicle humorous, but now he has to find another comediacally small car. Daffy’s reaction is great: he acts like groveling dog. I guess the big guy finds this endearing, because he lets Daffy live. He gives Porky a punch.

After they get going again, Daffy complains at the lack of speed. Porky is a responsible driver, and refuses to speed. Daffy steps on the gas himself, and that’s when the cop shows up. (It’s the universal law.) Daffy has a plan: he tells the officer that Porky has “something” in the trunk. Knowing all too well what will happen, Porky begs for the man to NOT look in the trunk. This doesn’t help matters, it only makes him look more suspicious. The cop takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Before Daffy can get Porky to flee, they are nabbed.

They’re brought in to Muddville. (Where there is no joy. It’s their slogan.) Not surprisingly, Porky gets off easy. A fine of $2.00. (Sweet!) Daffy is angry to hear it, and goes to fight. This ends up costing Porky an extra fifty. Daffy still feels that’s a victory. Porky has had it, but plays it cool. In fact, he ups and buys Daffy a present. But the fun in giving is seeing the surprise on the giftee’s face. Therefore, Porky refuses to let Daffy have it right away. He stuffs it in the trunk.

Daffy’s greed gets the better of him. He takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Porky takes his chance, and drives away. Daffy is able to take some solace in still having the present. He opens it up to find: a novelty hitchhiking thumb. (Wah-wah.) Come winter, Daffy is still desperately waving his thumb. One of these two things has got to give first: the season, or Daffy’s life.

Favorite Part: The man who pulls over for a hitchhiking Daffy, just to tell him that he never picks his kind up. (It really is a shame that so many dickweeds ruined trolling for the rest of us. It’s actually quite humorous when done right.)

Personal Rating: 4

Daffy’s Inn Trouble

“This will put ‘im outta busineth, but permanently!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and George Grandpre; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 23, 1961.

Daffy isn’t pleased with where his life is. Yeah, that’s nothing new, but really, who wouldn’t be upset if their occupation was nothing more than one who sweeps the floor of an inn? Considering who the boss is, I wouldn’t! Porky is a great guy to work for. Benefits, paid vacations, insurance coverage, and he’ll even give you a present on the odd occasion! Daffy is eager at first, but quickly sours when he sees the new broom Porky is gifting.

That does it! Daffy will start his own inn! With Blackjack! And Hookers! (No, not really. I just like to quote “Futurama.” But he really is building an inn.) Porky is a bit confused that Daffy is doing this, but is still a good guy, and wishes the new competition all the best. Daffy isn’t worried in the slightest. In fact, there’s a gentleman right now! With two locations right across from each other, how could he choose? Daffy will help with that, and brings him to his location. Turns out, this is a robbery, and Daffy loses his cash register.

Business at Porky’s is booming! Which is a bit odd, as Daffy is offering free refreshments. What could Porky possibly have that beats that? Live action dancers! They have actual depth! (Just try to imagine a hottie from the tenth dimension. You’d be attracted in ways you can’t even wrap your brain around.) Daffy can top that! He’ll dress in drag and dance himself! It attracts quite the crowd. (It’s a little known fact that all cowboys are bird furries. Er, featheries? I’m not curious enough to look it up.) When the record starts to skip, his lip-syncing is revealed, and the tomato throwing commences.

Yep, Porky is pretty much unbeatable. Daffy tries to save face by suggesting they be partners. Porky turns him down because he is already quite successful. Daffy decides to just destroy his place. Since Porky’s inn is located at the base of a cliff, Daffy can drop a boulder, and it will look like an accident. However, he chooses the bounciest boulder he could find, and he ends up destroying his own place. R.I.P. Daffy’s Inn. (Trouble) Today-Today.

Well, if Daffy’s out of a place, then the only logical action is to destroy Porky’s business still. Dressed in drag once more, Daffy smuggles a bomb into the place and orders some lunch. (Did he just order Foie gras? Even if he’s not really going to eat it, that seems like something he wouldn’t want to even mention. Especially since Porky has no problem preparing it.) Daffy plants the bomb and bolts, but is upset to find Porky has followed to ask if “she” meant to order no drink. (So, yes, Daffy was trying to kill Porky.)

The bomb goes off, and destroys Porky’s place, but better than that, strikes oil! Porky’s rich! What will he do with the wealth? Not retire, but expand and relocate his building! He’s even willing to hire Daffy back. In fact, with such a large building, Daffy can even have his own office! Of course, it’s a broom closet as he is still the janitor.

Favorite Part: When Porky turns Daffy’s team-up down, Daffy pulls out a gun. We know this won’t work, but before we can theorize how things will backfire, Daffy accidentally shoots himself in the head.

Personal Rating: 3

Porky and Daffy

“I’m so crazy, I don’t know this is impossible.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert Cannon and John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on August 6, 1938.

After slapstick, there’s no truer sense of comedy, then the kind you find in the straight man/ funny man duo. Laurel and Hardy. Abbot and Costello. Or maybe my favorite: Daffy and Porky. (Bet you thought I was going to title drop today’s short, didn’t ya?)

They’re living together in this picture, because Daffy is a boxer and Porky is his manager. (So naturally, Porky gets the better mailbox. Helps hold his fan mail. Only 99% is from me.) The paper delivers some decent news. (Wouldn’t that be a nice change? Aren’t cartoons the best?) Looks like there’s a champion boxer who is willing to take on anyone who’s willing to get in the ring with him. This is the break “Porky and Daffy” (Supervision by Robert Clampett) have been waiting for!

Porky rushes to deliver the news to his client, but Daffy is asleep. Quite the heavy sleeper at that. Porky knows what to do! (I love his little idea face. I’ve been copying it ever since I first saw this cartoon back in 2010.) Using only a pan lid and a spoon, Porky wakes his champion fighter up. Let’s skip to the match, shall we? I doubt the training could be half as fun as the fight. Seeing as that’s our next scene, I think Clampett’s team agrees with me. (What’s that white shape in the crowd shot? It’s so conspicuous.)

Who is this champ anyway? That scrawny, skinny, nothing of a rooster? He’s struggling to breathe! Anyone could take this guy. I could take this guy. (To Popeye’s, preferably. The chicken shack, not the sailor man.) Porky puts his pugilistic pal in the ring. This should be a short… uh-oh. Seems the champ was struggling to breath, because his robe was too tight. It had a lot of muscles to cover up. Well, we might as well get started. In this corner: the champ. In the other: Daffy. In the middle: our pelican referee.

Now, this fight might look pretty one sided, but don’t forget: Daffy is a nut. He doesn’t take anything seriously, so he has no fear. (His neck stripe also seems a bit more jaggedy today. Must be mating season.) Okay, I lied. He has plenty of fear and tries to flee. What’s a good manager to do? Talk to your fighter. Use words he can understand. Porky suggests that Daffy get on his bicycle. Being Daffy, he is able to mime one that is fast enough to outpace the terrifying champ. Even run him over. That’s one point! (Boxing uses points, right?)

Wait. Daffy is gone! I may be wrong about the points, but I do know that you can’t leave the ring mid-match. Is Daffy disqualified? Oh, he’s still in the ring. In fact, he’s in something else. The pelican’s bill. This means the poor ref gets some of the punches that were aimed at Daffy. Daffy manages to get away, still avoiding the wrath of the champ. Time to exploit the weakness that every living being, human or toon shares: candy. He offers Daffy a generously sized candy cane. (Daffy: “How’d you know I like lollipops?”)

It’s a trap! A trick! A tricky trap! However you say it, the champ beans Daffy with the confection and this keeps him from escaping once more. He censors his actions, (Awww! Now where will I get my bloodshed fix? Happy Tree Friends hasn’t been entertaining for at least a decade now) and it looks like Daffy’s out for the count. Good thing the ref takes his sweet time counting out the seconds. (I haven’t been this anxious for the count to reach ten, since I last played “Punch Out!!”) Porky begs, pleads, a third synonym for his fighter to reawaken. Oh, look it’s the return of his idea face!

He runs home, as fast as his trotters can carry him. He grabs the secret weapon and hurries back. The count has just passed nine when Porky once more bangs the lid over his duck’s head. Daffy is up and raring to go! The poor champ doesn’t stand a chance now! (As the ref is passed, the speed gets him stuck in his own bill. A joke we would later see shot for shot again in “Porky’s Hotel.” The pelican even looks exactly the same, save for a hat. Must have been his  ex-wife.)

A frantic fight follows, but the champion loses his title. Daffy is our new winner, and by extension, Porky is, since the manager always walks away with accolades. (Just like in that famous movie about boxing, “Mickey.”) I think Daffy must have hit the poor ex-champ a little too hard, because now he is suffering from a nasty case of “Daffy-itis.” (I don’t care if that’s not the correct suffix. It is on my site.)

Favorite Part: The referee asking who wants to fight. Seeing as how he didn’t clarify, he gets no end of thugs wishing to thrash him.

Personal Rating: 4

Daffy Dilly

“Sthufferin’ sthuccotash, what am I waiting for!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, and Phil Monroe; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on October 21, 1948.

It sucks to be a novelty salesman. Despite having all manner of wondrous ways to chase away doldrums, nobody bats an eye at your wares. They never do. They never will. Yet, Daffy continues to try and peddle the wares he was given to peddle. Squirting flowers, joke books, rib ticklers, and chicken inspector pins. (Hey. Those are guaranteed to attract the ladies. Not like rubber chickens. I’m speaking from experience.)

It’s getting so the only way one can make an honest living is to save a millionaire’s life. But what are the odds- it’s then that Daffy hears a very interesting new bulletin. Seems there is a very rich type, a millio-somehting or other, who isn’t doing so well these days. Like every rich person ever born, ever going to be born, he is joyless. In fact, he hasn’t laughed in fifty years. He’d give a million bucks for just one laugh. (Wow. What are the odds?) Daffy has heard all he needs, so he sets off for this J.P. Cubish’s mansion.

Daffy makes it to the premises, but that was the easy part. He’s now gotta get past… the butler. Actually, that might not be too hard, as after a sampling of Daffy’s merchandise, he admits the duck permission to see his master. Or not. The door he has Daffy enter leads right back outside. Daffy tries alternate entrance methods. (A grappling hook. A rope swing. The ole chimney entrance.) Each ones fails. (Catches the butler’s teeth. The butler cuts it. The ole fake chimney gag.)

He may be a tough nut to crack, but every butler has a weakness. This one’s is alcohol. Upon finding what appears to be a package of champagne on the steps, he sneakily plans to chug it all. He doesn’t notice that the bottle was Daffy until the duck is already in the house. A chase ensues, and when it looks like Daffy is caught, he changes tactics. Playing like Bogart, he begins asking some pretty good questions. Why would the butler try and get rid of someone who wants to save his master’s life?

Maybe the butler is just get flustered because of the angry duck accusing him of devious, dastardly doings, but really, why? I think Daffy is on to something. If Cubish never recovers- Heck, if nobody even makes an attempt to cheer him up, why wouldn’t he leave all his money to his manservant? Maybe the butler has done all this before? There’s nobody else trying to make money off of the millionaire in this picture. Maybe they already met their match? With no other competition, it’s just a matter of waiting until the butler will be well off enough to hide out in Cancun for the rest of his days. (Besides, he doesn’t have an answer for where he was on April 16. That’s not a random date. That’s my birthday. You’re always forgetting my birthday.)

The mind games work, and Daffy even offers the butler a head start on his fleeing. Once he’s gone, Daffy enters J.P.’s room. Yep, the old guy don’t look too well. Looks like Daffy will have to use every joke, gag, and novelty in his repertoire if he wants to make this guy laugh. However, as I’m sure we all feel, the simplest things are the funniest, and that may be why J.P. laughs when Daffy trips into the dessert tray. No, laughing is putting it mildly. He chortles. He chuckles. He guffaws. He bellows. He giggles. He. Is! CURED!

In fact, it seems like he enjoys laughter so much, that he has Daffy stand still and be pelted with pastries all day long. I hope Daffy is well paid for sacrificing his dignity like that. Sometimes, the smile of the elderly isn’t reward enough.

Favorite Part: Daffy’s arrival at the mansion. After asking to be let in, the butler responds with a deadpan: “Begone.” (Note to self. Start saying that in the exact same way.)

Personal Rating: 3

Stork Naked

“I’LL GIVE THAT STORK A RECEPTION HE WON’T FORGET!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Virgil Ross, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 26, 1955.

A sober stork in a Warner Brothers Picture? It’s unthinkable! And yet, that’s how this one starts out. The stork may have a clear head, but that’ll soon be fixed. He doesn’t have just one bundle to deliver. The first one offers him a toast to the baby. As does the second. And the third. There we go. That’s more like the stork we know. He needs a name that I will claim as canonical. From now until the end, he is Tipsy the stork.

Just one more delivery to go. It’s an egg, so it must be headed for some birds. That is correct, specifically, a couple of ducks. Daffy and his wife, Daphne. (Which is a perfect name for her. It’s what I call the wife Daffy has every time he’s married.) Daphne knows he’s coming, as she is already knitting a sweater. (It’s a little known fact that all ducks get one piece of clothing. Hence Daphne’s bow, and her husband’s slippers) Once Daffy catches on that the sweater isn’t intended for him, he realizes that the stork is on the way again. (Again? So, Daphne has had more than one miscarriage? That’s hard. No wonder she spends the rest of the short off camera, grieving.)

It’s never stated why Daffy is so adverse to being a parent, but it’s pretty obvious. Kids are whiny, greedy, egotists who think they can get away with everything. (I would know. I was one, once.) So, Daffy really has no other option than to kill the stork. (Or at least just chase him away.) He’s got quite the impressive armory at the ready, but Tipsy just walks right past him and heads for the chimney. Daffy’s trap-oline works wonders and sends the bird right back up. Too bad Daffy misses his chance to hit him on the return.

Chimney didn’t work, so Tipsy heads for the front door. (Drunks always try and start with the chimney. Why do you think Santa has a red nose?) Daffy has another trap planned: a trap door that leads to an alligator basement. Tipsy walks around the pit, and when Daffy tries shoving him back out, he falls down himself. (He does manage to get away, but at the cost of a good chunk of his plumage.) When Tipsy tries a window entrance, he accidentally enters one of Daffy’s cannons and is fired back into the sky. (Little note, but I like how pleased he is to see the egg is okay. It’s not his kid, but he still wants it to be safe.)

I don’t know how long the egg must be in Daffy’s possession for it to count, but the cartoon is still going, so I guess things are in his favor. Still, Tipsy hasn’t given up either, so Daffy starts chasing him down with an axe. (I never thought about it before, but being a stork must suck. On a different note, someone should make a cartoon about a stork trying to deliver a baby to a teenager, while they, in turn, try to keep it hidden from their parents. I’m sure it would be a hit at a film festival.) When the stork creeps onto a telephone wire to evade the psycho, Daffy chops the wire his adversary is standing on. (It makes his pole fall, and he lands back in the reptiles company.)

Finally, the egg starts to hatch, so Tipsy gets it to deliver itself. It manages to get inside Daffy’s house, and hatches just as Daffy gets his wings on it. Why, it’s not a duckling after all! It’s a stork chick. And if the hat is any indication, it really IS Tipsy’s child. Daffy is delighted as he flies the chick back to where it belongs. Not only because he’s ducked out of responsibility once again, but the stork is finally going to see what it’s like on the receiving end.

Favorite Part: It’s another little thing, but when the egg starts to hatch, look at the legs. They actually foreshadow the twist, by not drawing webbed feet. They took the time to be consistent. I’m so proud!

Personal Rating: 3

Fool Coverage

“What are you doing? Jusht looking for an accident?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen, and Rod Scribner; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Carlos Manriquez; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. Musical Directions: Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1952.

That awful virus! It’s responsible for cancelling comicon this year! I hope its proud of itself. But I suppose you’d rather hear me blog about my chosen subject. Fine.

Daffy plays an employee of the Hot Food Casualty Underwriter’s Insurance Company. He has just knocked on Porky’s door to try and sell him a policy. At first mention, this sounds like some kind of miracle. With Daffy’s company, you stand to acquire a million bucks for even a black eye. Of course, there are some stipulations. Conveniently, Daffy only reads what they are after he has placed some earmuffs on Porky. Doesn’t matter though. Porky is quite the careful individual, and refuses to buy on account of him never suffering any unfortunate accidents.

Daffy isn’t one to be deterred. He aims to prove to Porky that he NEEDS insurance. He’ll just follow Porky around as he does some chores. And if nothing dangerous occurs, Daffy will be right there to make things worse. Although, is his help really needed? Porky starts off by looking for his screwdriver in his oven with a lit match. Since the great Bob loves Porky, he is spared, but Daffy gets explosion-ed when demonstrating a flashlight is a safer method.

Maybe a trap is required after all. It’s rather clever too. Daffy just saws a hole in the floor, covers it up, then rigs the rocking chair so Porky will fall through. Only problem, Porky doesn’t feel like rocking, and only agrees to do so to humor the salesduck. With his heart not really in it, he doesn’t rock enough to fall. (Although, in my eyes, Porky always rocks enough) Daffy shows him some real rocking, and falls for his own trap.

Just as he’s about to booby trap the bathtub, (With lard. Which has horrifying implications. I hope Daffy didn’t find that in Porky’s house. Though, considering what I’ve seen Porky do, it wouldn’t surprise me. Just horrify.) Daffy sees Porky headed to the basement. Perfect! Porky could fall down the stairs! After Daffy does just that, Porky is need of another candle. Daffy fixes up a stick of TNT to look like one. His weakness to landing himself in Porky’s good graces, gets him holding the explosive just as it goes off.

He lands outside, dazed. Good news, though! Porky is ready to buy! Not because he needs it, per se, but all of Daffy’s mishaps are proof enough that the premises are dangerous. One signature later, and Porky gleefully announces that the million dollar policy is a sweet payoff. Of course, Daffy also gleefully tells of all the stipulations: the black eye must be received by elephants, within the house, between 3:55 P.M. and 4:00 P.M., on July 4th, during a hailstorm. (I hate policies like that.)

Porky is disgruntled, but the great Bob comes to his aid once more. (In a painful way, but he works in mysterious methods) One by one, all of the Daffy’s stipulations are met, and Porky ends up with the most beautiful shiner I ever saw! (It’s worth a million bucks.) Daffy tries to weasel out of it, by adding a baby zebra to the list. The great Bob provides.

Favorite Part: I got a chuckle of Porky announcing he left his screwdriver in the oven. I should start storing mine in the same place.

Personal Rating: 3