Little Red Rodent Hood

“What a big, red nose you got!”

 Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1952 Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, Arthur Davis, and Manuel Perez; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1952

It’s time for little Timmy mouse to go to bed. (He may look adorable in his little tobacco sleeping sack, but he’s kind of annoying. Constantly pestering his grandmother to tell him a story.) She is nice enough to comply and as she regales her tale, Timmy envisions it in his head. Once, Red Riding Hood was skipping through a field of flowers, (a pattered carpet) and through a forest of trees. (Chair and table legs) But lurking in that forest, was a big bad wolf. (Sylvester) He heads off for grandmas house. (Which apparently has a human sized bed) Weird how Red/Timmy doesn’t go up the stairs which is the shortcut. I guess he is going to climb through the vents? Sylvester dresses up in a nightgown and throws the three other cats out of the bed. And the one offering cigarettes out from under his pillow. (“I don’t sthmoke!”) Red comes in and enacts the timeless dialogue. Sylvester doesn’t catch him and is forced to give chase. Sliding down the banister, he slips on some butter Red left there and he overshoots his goal, ending up outside. Since he can’t blow the house down, he sticks some T.N.T. into the mail slot. A bulldog was standing right behind it, and is not pleased to find an explosive in his mouth. He forces it into the cat/wolf’s mouth. Dressing in drag, Sylvester claims to be the mouse’s fairy godmother and has come to grant him a wish. (Using a cattle prod-esque wand) The dog sees his ploy and unplugs it before the mouse is tapped. (Why is the magic word “raggmopp?” Is that a reference I’m not getting?) He plugs it back in when Sylvester tries it on himself. He does finally manage to catch the mouse under a glass, who in turn draws a curtain (out of nowhere) so the cat can’t see the tank he’ making. After an explosion, the rodent red riding hood hides in his house with Sylvester waiting outside. Timmy begs his grandma to finish the story. She says that Red used a firecracker to blow up the “wolf.” She even demonstrates. Timmy is sure that blew him up. Sylvester confirms this. (So was Granny the original Red? Did Sylvester really wait outside her house for maybe three years? (Mouse years of course.)

Personal Rating: 3

Holiday for Shoestrings

“Unintelligible squeaking!”

 Direction: I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts and Backgrounds by Paul Julian, Hawley Pratt; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. Released in 1946 Direction: I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese, Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts and Backgrounds by Paul Julian, Hawley Pratt; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. Released in 1946

A fairy tale that everyone seems to know but no one talks about is “The shoemaker and the Elves” Here’s Warner Bros. take on the tale. (Their first one anyway)

Help is wanted at “Jake’s Shoe Repairs.” (These places don’t exist anymore do they?) But no one is coming by and poor old Jake is stuck lying in bed, sick. But wait! Elves seem to be popping out of every possible hiding place. (To “The dance of the sugarplum fairy”) They immediately get to work. One elf nails a sole onto a shoe, but it comes back to hit him and knocks all of the nails out of his mouth and just barely missing another. Other elves are using a waffle iron to make golf shoes. (I think that’s what they are. I know fish, not shoes. I can tell you about soles, but not soles) Another uses a jack to lift up a rejected 4F shoe to a beautiful 1A. All the while, Jake is watching in amazement. A Stan Laurel elf paints some shoe tongues red. (And accidentally paints the tongue of an Oliver Hardy elf.) Then, to Strauss’s “Tales from the Vienna woods,” (which we heard previously in “Corny Concerto”) a bunch of big elves (big for elves anyway) all hammer a nail while taking the occasional break to let a little elf feel like he’s helping with his tiny hammer. They eventually end up flattening him. And two moronic elves try to hit a nail into a shoe, but the one with the hammer hits his partner’s foot and ends up hitting himself in the head. Another tries to button up a boot, (to the “Chinese Dance” from “The Nutrcracker.”) but keeps finding one button left over. (I always hated that kind of thing as a kid) He does it many times and the only difference is that the extra button seems to end up on different sides of the boot. Eventually he gives up and cuts the extra off. Many elves work on an ugly old boot. (To Chopin’s “Minute Waltz”) and transform it into barely a shoe. (At least it looks pretty) And the two elf idiots are still trying to get the nail in with no success. One elf uses a pair of razor blades like skates to cut out some insoles. (Another tale form my childhood: as a kid, I always would take those out if I found any. No idea why) He ends up falling through the (leather?) into the water below. (There was a mop and bucket underneath) And then an Indian looking elf charms a shoelace to lace itself up to The Nutcracker’s Arabian Dance. (And this part was cut when shown on TV. That’s pathetic) Back to the idiot elves, they finally have an idea. The one with the hammer aims for his partner’s foot this time. He ends up finally hitting the nail much to their joy. And to Strauss’s “Voices of Spring” an elf punches out a design in a shoe. (The “Eat at Joe’s sign is a nice touch) And then we get my favorite part from “The Nutcracker,” the Russian dance. (So lively.) A big elf hits a nail into a shoe and a little one hits it back. They go back and forth a bit before the little one hammers the nail’s sharp end down and hits the big one’s head. Some more hit nails to the music while a couple dance in boots. (That’s not really helping guys) Seeing the elves have it all under control, Jake picks up his golf clubs and prepares to leave. (I can’t tell if he was faking it all along or not, but I choose to think he was. It’s funnier that way.) Unfortunately for him, the elves catch sight as he tries to leave. They pick him up and tuck him back into bed, hammering his sheets down so he can’t leave. As they leave, one little elf takes his clubs and hat as payment.

Personal Rating: 3

Don’t expect a new post on the 15th. I’m going on one last trip before summer vacation ends. And my work schedule has changed, so updates will once again be on Tuesdays

Goldimouse and the Three Cats

“I don’t like porridge. I want a mouse!”

 Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O'Loughlin; Film editor: Treg Brown; Boice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1960 Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film editor: Treg Brown; Boice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1960

Once there were three cats. A father, a mother and a spoiled brat. They were going to eat the unknown food known as porridge, but found it’s temperature to not to there liking. They decide to go for a walk while it cools. (I guess the mother’s just out of luck, seeing as hers was too cold) Junior (In a cute looking coonskin cap) complains about his diet and whines for a mouse. Sylvester tells him no as there are no mice around. Speak of the devil, a little blonde rodent named Goldimouse happens upon their meals and eats. Full of whatever porridge is made of, she goes to find a bed to sleep on. Sylvester’s is so hard she bounces off it. The mother’s (this is the only short where Junior has a mother of any kind) is so soft she sinks into it. She finds Junior’s to her liking and falls asleep. (Wasn’t it nice of his parents to give him a mat that says “Spoiled Brat” to put next to his bed so it would be the first thing he sees in the morning?) The cats come home and find empty bowls, and mussed up beds. Junior is delighted to find a mouse on his. (I think she got bigger. Too much porridge?) She wakes up and leaps onto Sylvester in fright. This results in my favorite line Junior has ever said: “Put her on the plate, Pop! Put her on the plate!” Goldi escapes and Junior bawls. To shut him up, Sylvester pokes his head in to grab her but she mallets his skull. Junior wears a bag in shame. Sylvester tries launching an arrow, but launches himself. Junior tells his mom to bring the thing. (a plunger) He tries a blow gun but Goldi blows it back to him. (Did she shrink?) Junior tells his mom to get some band-aids. Sylvester tries to lure her out with TNT stuffed cheese. It might have worked if Junior hadn’t startled him into falling on it. He calls for mother again. (She’s no Ma bear. Even at her most deadpan, Ma was entertaining. This cat just sounds bored) Sylvester builds a hammer like device that will bonk the mouse when she exits her hole. (By this point, Junior is considering just eating the porridge) Of course, Sylvester is the one who gets flattened. While he works on his next scheme, mother and son are reading. (or faking it. Their eyes aren’t open) While he works, they silently head out to a bomb shelter. One explosion later and Sylvester returns. Junior asks if he got his breakfast. Sylvester pours porridge on his spoiled brat’s head. Bon appetie!

Personal Rating: 3

The Bear’s Tale

“Isn’t this where the three bears live?”

 Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by J.B. Hardaway; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1940 Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by J.B. Hardaway; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1940

This short begins by showing us the cast. Papa is played by Papa Bear, Mama is played by Mama Bear, etc. The only exception being that Goldilocks is playing herself. In the beautiful, green, forest, there is a cottage where three bears live. They sit down to their porridge but find it too hot. Papa tries to cool his mouth down with a gulp of water, but drinks from the hot tap. (I just want to point out that I love this guy. He won’t stop cracking jokes and laughing heartily at them. It’s Tex Avery voicing the bear, and he’s loving every moment of it.) Deciding to let it cool, the family goes for a rid on a tandem bike for three. (The little bear being forced to do all the pedaling.) While they’re gone, someone else is waltzing through the beautiful, green, forest. It’s little Goldilocks. (Is that her real name?) She comes to a cottage and enters. Whoops! Wrong story. There’s a wolf in there who lets her know that she’s at the wrong place. He sends her on her way, but figures that she is no different from Little Red Riding Hood, and so he takes a taxi to the Bears place to surprise her. (The bears in question, are still biking. Papa is having a grand time pretending to be a siren. Have I mentioned I love this guy?) Goldilocks gets to the cottage and begins eating. At the same time, Red gets to her location and finds a note from the wolf. Seems he got tired of waiting and went to find food elsewhere. Red phones Goldie, (on her way to the bedroom) and lets her know of the plan. Goldie leaves just as the family returns. They are sad to find their food gone. The wolf sneezes and the trio panics, thinking there is a robber in the premises. Papa tells the two to stay put and he’ll go get the crook. As he climbs the stairs, he laughs once more and tells us he knows full well that there is no robber. He read this story in Reader’s Digest and is prepared to find Goldie. (Okay, it’s official. If I was a gay cartoon bear, I would marry this magnificent creature.) Imagine his surprise when he finds an angry wolf in the bed instead. (Well, you don’t really have to. I’m guessing you already saw the image at the top of the screen.) Scared, he takes his family and they run off into the sunset. Papa, Mama, and the little bear’s bare behind, behind. (Yes, they end on a butt joke. But I’ll forgive it for the spectacular wonder that is Papa. It’s a shame he never got his own series.)

Personal Rating: 4

Don’t expect a post next week. I will be on a trip. I’ll resume the week after next.

Paying the Piper

“And th-th-there’s what’s left of the last rat.”

 Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manny Gould, John Carey, Charles McKimson, and Phil DeLara; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1949 Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manny Gould, John Carey, Charles McKimson, and Phil DeLara; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1949

Today is the Summer Solstice, which means it’s been at least four months since my fight with my good pal, Porky. I went to him recently and asked what it would take to earn his forgiveness. He’s a good guy and he didn’t ask for much: Just a short starring him that he ends with him being the victor being talked about. Done and done! (Or it will be in about one summary later)

The town of Hamelin has been cleared of rats. Good news, right? Not for the cats of the town. (It’s not like they could eat mice or birds or fish or lizards or…) They go to complain to the supreme cat. (Just like their wild cousins the lions, domestic cats have a monarchy as well.) Supreme there looks familiar doesn’t he? He looks an awful lot like the cat who would appear about seven months later in “Swallow the leader.” But since they are calling him “Supreme”, maybe he is just Miles’ brother. Anyway, he vows to help his people. The piper who got rid of the mice is going to get paid. But if for some reason there was still at least one rat in the town, he’d get gypped. Putting on a rat suit he heads out. Said piper is none other than Porky. Playing a rather catchy rendition of “Little brown jug” he was able to successfully drive the rodents away. All except that large one. (Who asks if they were expecting Bugs Bunny.)  The mayor refuses to pay until it’s gone. And so Porky sets off. (In the original story, the mayor refuses to pay the piper anything and so said piper just drives the children out of town. Don’t think Porky isn’t bass enough to do that too. He’s just a nice guy.) Porky loses track of the rodent, instead bumping into some rude cat who says the pig’s sister “smokes cornsilk.” (what?) Porky mentions that he’s wrong. His sister works in a butcher shop and smokes hams. (Make of that what you will.) Finding a labeled rat hole, Porky tries to lure it out. He gets scolded by the cat for bothering a sick baby. (“I’m not long for this world.”) The rat then shows up and whips his tail at the pig. Porky chases again, but loses him once more. He tries luring him out again, and the rat pretends to fall for it. But when Porky notices it’s not following him anymore he runs back and crashes into the cat again. This time he remarks that Porky’s brother “eats jellybeans.” Porky wonders how he knows so much about his family. (That’s just one fact though. He got the other one wrong didn’t he?) When Porky does manage to grab the rat, Supreme jumps out of the suit. Porky has killed it! But supreme has stolen all the cash in town. (Which is Porky’s reward. He’s earned it.) Losing the slippery feline again, Porky figures he might as well bring the rats back. Or rather he plays the very specific record that I left for him to find. (Rat stampede to fool cats on the other side of the fence with) Taking the bait, Supreme rushes out to what’s sure to be a feast. Porky pounds him and gets his money. But not before telling the cat that his sister “drives a pickle wagon.”

Personal Rating: 3

Bewitched Bunny

“She is a witch, and means to eat you for her supper.”

 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. Released in 1954 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. Released in 1954

Chuck Jones really enjoyed the Disney character, Witch Hazel (from the 1952 short “Trick or Treat”) and so he would create his own, and this was her first appearance. (Let’s be honest. His has way more personality)

Bugs is reading the story of Hansel and Gretel. Much to his surprise, he finds he’s part of the story and has just come to the part where the witch invites the kids into her gingerbread house. (It doesn’t look like gingerbread, but let’s be fair: it wouldn’t last long) The kids are your stereotypical German kids, and as such they have thick accents and hefty appetites. They accept her offer for more food and follow her inside. This looks like a job for the masked Avenger! (Iron man?) But since he’s not around, Bugs’ll have to do. Inside, the kids are chowing down and are oblivious to the fact they are sitting in a large pan. Hazel (who is not voice by June Foray in this short, but rather Bea Bennederret) is glancing over the various dishes she can make with the kids. (Urchin Pie is a great delicacy, speaking personally) Bugs arrives dressed as a truant officer and finds the kids. (He also realizes what a weird name Hansel is) He warns them of their impending fate. They waste no time believing him and hightail it out of there. (Personally, I’d stick around. This house is cool! Look at that decor! The window curtains are painted on, and there’s a picture of a boat labeled: witchcraft. Genius!) Bugs takes off his disguise as he accomplished his mission. But it might have been better to wait until he was outside as Hazel decides to have rabbit instead. She mounts her broom (that channels the spirit of Charlie Chaplin) but crashes. Good thing she is a witch. Magic works wonder! And she happens to have several sleeping potions on standby. (Did you know that worm sweat residue is one?) She cooks up a brew and fills up a carrot with it. (She has a jar of nice on the shelf. If she only wasn’t out of sugar and spice. She could make girls from scratch.) Bugs catching a whiff of food cooking comes in and delivers my favorite line he has ever said: “I get to lick the po-ot! I get to lick the po-ot!” Hysterical. Hazel shoos him out while she finishes. She then finishes. Bugs sits down to dine while she prepares a bed for him. (Bet you didn’t know that Rabbits sleep in piles of root vegetables) Upon learning the carrot he ate was poisoned, (no it wasn’t. Drugged maybe, but not poisoned) he falls asleep. Hazel goes to get some relish. (You can’t eat rabbit without relish. It’d be like eating urchin pie without gravy.) And then a handsome prince arrives. (Or at least what many girls consider handsome. I’m not gay so I’m not sure.) He awakes Bugs with a kiss. The rabbit is grateful, but points out he should be looking for Snow White. (The prince for the record also realizes what a weird name Hansel is) Hazel resumes the chase and Bugs appears to be trapped. Finding some magic powder that is to only be used in emergencies, he hurls it at her. She turns into a rabbit doe, and the hallway gets a romantic makeover. Bugs immediately falls head over heels for her. As they walk away, Bugs take note of our obviously skeptical faces. He knows it may be a little creepy, but aren’t all women witches inside? (Please note: The views expressed by Mister Bugs Bunny do not accurately reflect the opinions of the author of this blog. Only some women are truly witches and they are easily identified by cackling at things that are not funny. Like their idiot boyfriends. However one thing we all can agree on is this: Hansel is a weird name. Don’t name your sons Hansel unless you wish to have the whole world mock them.)

Personal Rating: 3

The Windblown Hare

“Ah! There’s the straw house. Just like the book says.”

Directed by Robert Mckimson

Another year and that means another update. From now on, I list the directors.

The three little pigs are reading their story and find out, their dwellings are doomed. They decide to sell the flimsy homes and all live in the brick house. Bugs comes by and decides to buy the hay home. (Despite the fact, he thinks $10.00 is a ripoff) The wolf comes by, also following the book. He blows the house down much to Bug’s annoyance. Learning his lesson he decides to buy a sturdier home. Like one of wood. The pigs laugh that he fell for it again, and leave together. (Also Red and Yellow switched shirts for whatever reason.) When the wolf blows the house down again, Bugs decides it’s payback time. He dons a red riding hood, and tells the wolf to read the story. He does and realizes hes late, runs to Grandma’s house and kicks her out. (Being too busy to eat her. Which she expects) Bugs comes in and mentions how “her” certain features are bigger than normal. Adds proof by abusing the lupine. The wolf realizes he’s not Red (the girl, not the pig) and Bugs refuses to give him the present he brought. Wolfie begs, and Bugs shoves the cake in his face. A brief chase (including the gag where two people on stairs continuosly switch the lights on and off) and the wolf is beaten. Bugs finds out he was trying to bother the pigs and decides it’s “Payback time part 2: The revenge of the Rabbit.” The wolf says he can’t blow down bricks, but Bugs makes him. The pigs laugh as they know its fruitless. The wolf tries and succeeds, to his and the pigs amazement. Correction: Bugs helped. With dynamite.

Personal Rating: 3

Pigs in a Polka

“I’m the smart little pig. I build my house of bricks.”

How about another “Fantasia” parody? Set to Brahms Hungarian Dances, we see the familar tale of the big, bad, wolf, andthethreelittlepigs. The first pig has the most adorable voice. (Thank you Sara Berner) He stretches out a wireframe and piles straw on it. Done. The second pig is less adorable and builds his house of matchsticks. It collapses. (Ever notice that in every variation of this story the pigs are all male?) The third pig is not cute. (sorry Blanc) But he is worthy of the intelligence pigs possess. (No really. Smartest animals: 1. apes 2. cetaceans 3. elephants 4. pigs) He works hard while his (siblings? friends? love interests?) play. Cue dancing wolf. To get closer without them running he dons a gypsy disguise. The pigs follow. They fell for it.

PSYCHE! They take the costume and do the dance themselves. Now the chase is on. They run to the straw house. The wolf sets it on fire. They run to the still demolished (match) stick house. The wolf adds one more and it crumbles. Brick house it is! The wolf tries to blow it down, and is only offered mouthwash for his troubles. He goes to run into the door to knock it down, but the pigs open it up and let him run into the back door. Later the pigs are happy. (Except for the third one. He needs a name. They all do. So in order… Crunchy, Pancake and Mel) The wolf is outside dressed as a homeless woman in a snowstorm. (A talcum powder dispenser hanging over his head.) Crunchy and Pancake ignore Mel’s warnings and let “her” in. Mel finds out that the wolf is has a record in the dress to make it SOUND like he is playing a sad violin song. Flipping it over gets a new song that the wolf dances his disguise off to. The pigs run up the stairs to the somehow appeared 2nd floor. They take the elevator down. The wolf does the same, but instead of another lift. He travels down the shaft (passing by ten stories) and lands hardly. (Mel’s full name is Mel C. Escher) He collapses and we fade to black.

Personal Rating: 4

The Three Little Bops

“I wish my brother, George, was here.”

Now then, once upon a time,

(Just like the short, this post’s in rhyme.)

Their first tale may have ended, but the three pigs aren’t done,

as now they play awesome music for everyone.

At first, everything seemed like it would be all right,

then the wolf came into the club that night.

But he doesn’t want to eat them, he just shakes their hands.

And poof! Nothing to it! He’s a part their band.

But his music just isn’t to the crowds liking,

so the pigs throw him out, as fast as lightning.

The wolf is mad and blows the place down.

(Does everyone build places of straw in this town?)

The pigs next play in a building made of sticks,

but the wolf comes back for more horn tricks.

He’s cast out again, and again destroys the club,

and the pigs are fed up with the hubbub.

They go to play at a place that is wisely built of bricks,

(which, incidentally was built in 1776)

No wolves are allowed in this here joint,

but the wolf sneaks in at a later point.

His disguises hide his body, but his music still is crap,

so he opts to pull out a TNT trap.

He lights the thing, and starts to run, but it blows him up, and well,

he’s gone and gotten himself stuck down in hell.

But to play cool music, you got to get hot,

and that was one thing the wolf was not.

So via the afterlife he gets to play with the pigs until they’re done,

we end (no “That’s all folks!”) with the new and improved Three little Bops plus one.

Personal Rating: 4

Little Red Riding Rabbit

“Hey grandma! That’s an awfully big nose for you… ta have!”

Just like the story, we open with Red going to her grandma’s house. She is an annoying, loud, bobbysoxer, who is obsessed with getting the story right. She is going to give her grandma a rabbit and as to be expected, a wolf makes it there first. (Grandma is not home)

When Red arrives, the wolf kicks her out because all he wants is the rabbit. He chases Bugs through a great gag involving lots of doors. After this, Bugs decides to be helpful and show where he is hiding. Throughout this whole cartoon, Red keeps coming in to say her lines only for the wolf to throw her out again.

In the climax, the wolf is dangling over a pan of hot coals, and just as Bugs is about to make him fall, Red comes in again. Fed up, Bugs switches her with the wolf. Now the two are pals. It looks like a beginning to a beautiful friendship.

Personal Rating: 4