A Horsefly Fleas

“As long as they’re gonna chase me anyway, I might as well get paid for it.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Manny Gould, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1948.

All work done between November 5th and December 10th continues to be lost. And I’m still in the dark about it. And I’m still UPSET about it. Any info on WHY this happened would be lovely. And you know what else? I don’t think I ever want to retype them until I get an actual explanation as to what happened.

It’s the return of A.! You remember A., don’t you? He’s that flea with the catchy song about dinner being around the corner. Yeah, that guy! Seems eating Elmer and Willoughy wasn’t a bright idea after all, as A.’s singing about finding himself a new home. (Now being voice by Mel as opposed to Sara Berner.) But he’s not alone for long. Another animal that normally feasts on mammalian blood is outside, and that’s a horsefly. (An animated horsefly. Which means he’s 80% horse.) Cars have made his “mane” food supply dry up.

Since they’re both in need of living quarters, A. invites his fellow pest to join him in the homestead hunt. The best looking land can be found in the mountains. (A dog.) They fly over and start settling. Chopping “trees” makes a mighty fine cabin, but a shelter won’t be of much use without a food source, so A. begins digging a “well”. (Never called an incision that before.) Of course, the “land” is aware of these activities, and scratches at the discomfort causing “earthquakes.” But that’s only the biggest concern in literal terms.

This “land” is “Indian” flea territory. (Really? The “land” doesn’t look like a jonangi to me.) These fleas look like Miniature Injun Joes, so you know they mean business. A. wasn’t foolish enough to try taking land without guns, and he’s a pretty good marksflea. At least five chibi Joes change up their usual diet and bite the dust. But A.’s shots are a finite amount, and he and his horsefly soon have to do what the title suggests. The chase begins and neither snow nor sleet (flea powder and… more flea powder) slows down either chaser or chasee.

You know, I think these native fleas really do have Joe’s blood in them. They have the stamina to wear down a horse fly just chasing on their feet and skis. A. and D. (Horsefly) are tied to a “tree” and a fire is lit beneath them. The “land” draws the line at this, and heads to the outdoor fountain to extinguish itself. In the panic and confusion, A. and D. escape via stolen canoe. The Joes still pursue them, but the “land” doesn’t care too much. It’s just glad to be his own “land” for once.

But not for long. The circus has just arrived! See, this “land” is actually their winter quarters. So, those little Joe’s aren’t really natives then? Well, they are now as their continued chase of A. leads all of them into the center ring. Just in time for wild west show! The “land” by this point decides to just take things in stride and enjoy the show.

Favorite Part: A. looking over the sign that warns he’s entering “Indian” territory. After doing so he comments that he probably misses out on important details being illiterate and all.

Personal Rating: 2. Light on new gags, D. doesn’t really contribute enough to warrant being part of the title, and it could be viewed as offensive today. But at least I’ve finally discussed A.’s entire filmography.

Banty Raids

“Man, you’re a weirdo chick.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Animation by George Grandpre, Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on June 29, 1963.

Yes I can tie today’s featured cartoon into October once again! What’s Halloween without tricks? A safe and by extension boring Halloween. But it’s not a trick when I tell you this is Foghorn’s final starring role.

It’s like this, man. See, there’s this rooster on this farm, you dig? As the title suggests, he’s a bantam. What it doesn’t tell you is that he’s a beatnik as well, and likes his music loud. This gets him exiled from his place by the head rooster of the place. It doesn’t bother the bantnik too much as One: he’s too laid-back to get invested, and Two: he’s spotted another farm that is full of females. And they appear quite receptive to his musical charms, so he’s made up his mind to enter.

But this place has a head rooster of its own by the name of Foghorn Leghorn. Gonna need to slip by him to get the good times rolling. Using his body’s natural size to his benefit, Bantnik decides to disguise himself as an orphaned child. And Foghorn is all too willing to adopt, because as much fun as he has, he’s secretly also very lonely and wishes he had a junior of sorts to join him in dawg pranking. That’s the first thing he’s going to teach his new son about.

Foggy’s gone all out for the final dog smack around. He doesn’t have to outrun Barnyard  this time. (The dog making his final appearance.)  Foghorn’s attached himself to a rubber band. Once he’s given the dog some smacks, he just needs to leap off the ground, and physics will pull him out of harm’s way. Even better, the force sends his arm flying into a boxing glove he set aside, so now he can be flung right back into B.D.’s mug. Of course, his “child” has no interest in these kind of games, and we find him making out with a dead chicken that was stuffed by a taxidermist who was a big fan of Marty Feldman.

Cracks start to show in Bantnik’s plan. How was he supposed to know Foghorn would break rooster tradition and actually try to raise his kid? Bantnik and his lady friend of the half-hour have to put their dance session on hold and make it seems like the little guy was just napping in the hen house. But the horny kids hate to waste a second, and turn the tunes back up the very instant Foghorn simply LOOKS like he’s leaving. Foghorn is starting to get suspicious, and that mindset only gets stronger as he cuts into the kid’s line for make-outs.

He shows his “son” some pictures to see what sort of thing’s catch his interest. Ladies, naturally, get him going. This proves… that he likes girls, just as Foghorn thought. It’s not entirely clear if Foggy has caught on that he’s been played a fool or not. Maybe he just thinks his kid is full of testosterone. Meanwhile, Barnyard, no doubt scheming the whole time, notices Bantnik’s lust. (He’s ditched the disguise now. He’s too laid-back to worry about it, though.) Barnyard offers to hook him up with the girl of his dreams, and Bantnik sees nothing wrong with believing something too good to be true. (Have a I mentioned he’s laid-back?)

The Dawg sends a little tank towards the barn where Foghorn just happens to be. Seems he’s already forgotten about the son he loved so much. He recognizes the tank as the Dawg’s pawdiwork and ducks its shot. But that was all part of the plan! The shot hits a bovine who ends up bucking Foghorn into some (I think it’s) a hay-baler. (I don’t get why he smiles in there, but I chuckle all the same.) After a ride through, his wings are tied to his sides, and his beak has been tied too. Into a perfect kissable pout. Now we just apply some false eyelashes, a little lipstick, Oh! And we’ve got the perfect hat, wig and dress to bring it all together!

Bantnik likes what he sees! Good thing Barnyard is a licensed priest, since the little bird requests he marry the two of them on the spot. Foghorn tells him point blank that he’s another rooster, but Bantnik is progressive enough to not let that bother him. (And you thought I was just going to say it’s because he’s laid-back!)

Favorite Part: After Bantnik is kicked out of his first home, he says “Man, you’re the sickest.” Right as your brain finishes putting together that he must’ve been sarcastically complimenting his ex-boss, he pulls a gun on his suffering guitar.

Personal Rating: 3 that creeps over to the four’s territory sometimes to make itself feel bigger. Nice way to end Foghorn’s cartoons.

Shop Look & Listen

I’d like to hold a hand like that myself.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Dave Monahan. Animation: Cal Dalton; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 21, 1940.

There was a video game released in 2007 titled “Super Mario Galaxy.” It was a major hit with both critics and consumers and everyone agreed; they wouldn’t mind a sequel. The creators would deliver with “Super Mario Galaxy 2”, but not because of fan outcry. Rather, it was because they themselves had so many ideas for that one project that one game wasn’t enough to hold them all. I tell you this, because I think something similar happened about 70 years earlier.

Earlier in the year 1940, Freleng’s unit released a cartoon titled “Little Blabbermouse.” It wasn’t anywhere near close to being the studio’s best work. It was just one of their gag oriented cartoons using a mischief of mice taking a tour of a department store as an overlay. The title was referring to one particular mouse who’s one defining character trait was not shutting up.  (A good three years before Sniffles took up that role.) They couldn’t have thought this idea was 14K of comedy gold. But hey, all these gags means one less cartoon idea to come up with while they were brainstorming about this rabbit of theirs that seemed to be taking off.

Thus, we have this sequel short. And Blabbermouse even gets his own title card!

*Is my internal fear showing?*

Eww. I don’t like that face. It’s making him look like a child comma molester. And you know, they didn’t need to use that at all. Blabby hardly features in this feature. Gets about four and a half lines total. Hardly befitting the blabber name.

Well, our gags take place in J. T. Gimlet’s department store. A few decent gags are available on the banners outside the building. But the one about the hours confuses me a little. Oh, I get the joke “Sunday 9-6 If we were open Sundays” But why do they bother listing weekdays and Saturdays separately if they’re going to say the same hours? Either switch the times up, or list them as one. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Our host is the same as it was in the previous short. (Which I’ve yet to discuss, because it’s more fun for me to not know what surprises I will discuss each week. I hope this isn’t your first time here. What a horrible post to sell someone on.) If I can steal a name from another short, then I can call him W. C. Fieldmouse. Showing some mercy to those of us who might have seen the other cartoon, they skip the preparation of their trip and take off. (Reusing the same animation they did last time.) Essentially, they travel by a gondola that is big enough to hold a crowd thrice their size.

Fieldmouse shows them the shoe section where we get a joke that I don’t get. (Are there shoes called mules?) Then, an art gallery where we see “Whistler’s Mother” and “The Thinker” doing what their names suggest. Then we see some of the robotic devices for sale, and they demonstrate what they can do. There’s a device that snuffs out cigars for you, and another one that seems like it was built to play poker all by itself. (It couldn’t be comfortable to sit with those robotic arm attachments pressing into your chest.) It can shuffle, cut, deal, cheat and kill cheaters all by itself. Which means you’re obsolete and not needed anymore, so you might as well go home.

B.M. has been annoying W.C. sporadically during this tour, and the larger mouse threatens him with bodily harm, should he speak once more. (I do love the animation of Fieldmouse stress sweating as he struggles to contain his rage. It was worth using in both shorts.)The tour then comes to a machine that can cut lengths of ribbon for your purchasing pleasure, and wrap it up for you as well. Blabber then opens his mouth again, and Fieldmouse prepares to make good on his promise. But instead of getting his hands dirty, he just has the machine wrap the little pest up instead. I hope it was worth it, as Blabbermouse’s father is a policeman. And policemen aren’t scared of anything. They’re brave and strong. We’reluckythey’resobraveandstrongandwillingtoprotectus.Geewhiz,IwishIcouldbeasbraveasstrongasapolicemansomeday.ToobadIhavenointentionofbeingapolicemansomeday.Itdoesn’tlineupwithmypersonalinterests,butIguessI’mgladthattheoptionisalwaysavailable.That’sthegreatthingaboutbeingapoliceman,anyonecandoit.Well,Iguessnoteveryone.Womenbecomepolicewomen,don’tthey?Oraretheystillcaleedpolicemanaswell?Orwhataboutcops?Isthereadifferencebetweenpolicemenandcops?Andwhy….

Favorite Part: The first time Blabbermouse speaks up, Fieldmouse gives him a good smack on the back of the head, while reprimanding him in rhyme no less. History’s first rap battle victory!

Personal Rating: 2. It only escapes one because it had different gags than its predecessor, and therefore, you can justify showing it to your friends if you feel you need to.

Tease for Two

“If you ask me, I’d say he is a very rude duck.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by David Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, Bob Matz, and Manny Perez; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on August 28, 1965.

It’s the mid-sixties, it’s a Daffy cartoon, so he’ll be partaking in his usual feud with Speedy, no doubt? Actually, he’s not the featured rodent at all! Believe it, if you would be so kind, that Daffy is facing off against Mac and Tosh! Which surprises me, no end. What are the Goofy Gophers doing making any appearances after the original studio shut down? Whatever it was, they wouldn’t do it a second time.

I guess it just makes sense to have them here, as Daffy is following a stupidly easy map to gold, and Speedy is too domesticated to live in a hole in the ground. Daffy tells them to beat it, but they refuse to. (Politely, naturally.) They’ve got an honest-to-goodness deed to the property that says they are staying right where they are. Daffy chooses to plunge them out, rubs their heads together, (I don’t get it, but the action delights me for some reason,) and sends them off via can, mockingly repeating the farewell they gave him not a minute earlier with pitch perfect accuracy. (Both gophers are voiced by Mel here. He’s doing great, but Stan was simply wonderful as the other half.)

The two burrow back into their hole and leave a lit TNT stick for Daffy to find. (Mac jumps briefly during the countdown. Giddy, perhaps?) Daffy tries to tow them out via a rope tied to lettuce, but their vegetarian diet is doing wonders for their upper body strength, and they don’t budge; Daffy’s jeep’s frame gets ripped off the wheels. And they have more explosives to spare, leaving a bomb for Daffy to vacuum up. (Of course it’s lit. What uncouth creatures do you take these gophers for?) Daffy puts what he thinks is them in a trash can with a boulder on top, and the explosion sends the can over him, and the boulder on top.

Daffy next tries to flood them out, mistakenly thinking this kind of thing always works. But being more refined than Virgil and Ross, they simply cork the hose. All the water Daffy intended to send their way quickly builds up, and when it can go no larger, bursts, sending Daffy into the stratosphere. He gets hilariously poetic, musing about the silence up here, meets a friendly, passing cosmonaut, and is smart enough to realize that his reentry is going to burn. This whole sequence has raised the rating a number.

While Daffy isn’t looking, the two simply move the land-marker rock Daffy followed here in the opposite direction. Once he notices, he packs up his shovel and tries where he figures he should have been all along. (In typical Daffy function, he doesn’t even consider apologizing.) And to show how polite they really are, the gophers even throw a nugget for him to find. Their place IS loaded with the stuff, remember. Heck! They probably made the map as a way to make new friends and share happiness! (The greedy get the piss taken out of them first.) But since greed is a sin, they won’t be giving him more than the one piece. But they will humor him, and paint many of the plain rocks the same color. Man, these guys are pleasant!

Favorite Part: If not the whole space scene, then it’s after they first show the duck the deed. Giving him the polite version of ‘Get off our property!’: “It’s been so nice meeting you!” “Drop around again, sometime!”

Personal Rating: 3. I’m honestly surprised it took so long for Daffy to get paired up with this pair. The differing personalities scream comedy. Shame we couldn’t have seen it with a higher animation budget.

Get rich quick Porky

“This land is so saturated with oil, that you can literally wring it out with your fingers.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Charles Jones; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on August 28, 1937.

Seen the trailer for the “Tiny Toons” revival yet? You must have if you visit this site. If my eyes aren’t screwing with me, it looks like there may be a protege for ole Gabby Goat! (Why not? Looks like Cool Cat got one. Probably called “Fab Feline”.) They could call the new kid “Chatty Capricorn” or something. (Since most people don’t know the term ‘caprine’.) All this is just my way of saying I’m reviewing Gabby’s final short today.

A businessman named Honest John Gusher (the brother of the guy who invented the fruit snack, no doubt) is preparing a scam. He’s going to fill an empty lot with oil, and pawn it off on the next saps he sees. Sadly, those two are Porky and Gabby. (I like to provide links whenever I indirectly mention a short’s title.) They’re on their way to the bank. Porky has a bag of cash that he is all set to invest despite Gabby trying to convince him to spend it and frivolously at that.

John (who is a… fossa? I think? Or some new species of mammal whose ear can vanish at will.) calls to their attention and offers to sell them the field. Even going so far as to demonstrate that it has indeed got the goods. Now, Porky is a smart pig. He knows that putting money in the bank is a great option, but oil is valuable. And if you saw a field full of the greasy gold that was being offered to you, you’d find it hard to say no to what would surely be a great payoff. He agrees and he and Gabby eagerly grab some tools and dig in.

Porky makes do with a pickax, while Gabby chooses the jackhammer. (The dirt not only changes color, but shape as well! It must be valuable too!) A dog also stops by to do some digging, but only to rebury the bone Porky unearthed. (Wouldn’t he want to chew it a bit before saving it for later? I wouldn’t ask if he entered the scene with the bone.) He has a bit of a hard time what with oil gushing out of every hole he digs. Making matters worse is a gopher that makes his bone disappear like magic. (That rodent’s appearance makes me laugh. He looks like a naked “Arthur” background character.)

John is still around and he decides to turn the oil off. Porky discovers the trick and is man enough to cry. Poor guy. I want to hug him more than usual. Since Porky is unhappy, John offers to buy the deed off of him for a whole dollar! (A-hole.) Since Porky is pretty much broke, he doesn’t really have much of a choice. But Gabby is still digging and his jackhammering has led him underground, and wouldn’t you know it, there is real, actual, honest-to-god, authentic, genuine, made from 100% dead animals, pure, perfect, not compatible with water, fresh from the ground, o-i-l, oil!

The resulting gusher carries victim and perpetrator up into the sky. Porky is obviously happy that he really is going to be a billionaire, but John’s still got a hand on the deed, and he’s not going to let go! Only a goat with a pneumatic drill could pull him away. So, after he’s pulled away and the two friends land on the ground,  Porky happily holds onto the deed! Oh, wait. It’s that dogs bone. Drat. (John probably got pulled underground and is now realizing that he will eventually become the very substance he was using to swindle people.)

But all is not lost as that gopher pops up and shows he/she has the deed. And they’re willing to give it back, as long as they can become partners. (Poor Gabby.) Porky agrees and to this day, you’ll find G. P. Richfield gas stations in every state of the union.

Favorite Part: When we’re shown Gabby is approaching some real, actual, etcetera, etcetera, it is labeled ‘oil’. After cutting back to Porky and back again, it’s labeled ‘same oil’. You know, in case we thought Gabby was heading for some different oil.

Personal Rating: 3

The Queen was in the Parlor

“I’d rather listen to ‘Amos ‘n Andy’.”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Paul Smith. A Merrie Melody released on July 9, 1932.

Today is a day when many a people celebrate a man who is said to have died and come back to life. I’m not one to talk about religion, but I will tie that into today’s featured short, as Goopy Geer did the same thing, just taking roughly sixty years as opposed to three days. This was the last time people would see the guy alive for quite some time yet.

At the only castle in the shot, we decide to see what’s going on. Our king has returned. I call him Sir Pigguy, and so should you. He must be rather beloved as far as kings go, as he gets quite the turnout for his return and they are all singing his praises, and giving adulation. But our king has no time for such meaningless words, as he just wants to know where his wife is. The title is sung to him, and he learns that she doesn’t want to/can’t be seen. Rules don’t apply to kings, so he dismisses the singers and heads to her location.

The parlor is where the clothes mending takes place, as Queen Hippo knits a sock, and Princess Gigi patches up her father’s armor. (Methinks there’s something dishonest with the royal bloodline.) Since our king’s mood has been soured, he demands his jester entertain him. Goopy plays that part and offers to get the royal crooners, “Crosby, Columbo and Vallee”. (A cartoon I’d insert a link to if I’d blogged about it already. Chalk this up to another instance of me whining about how I don’t blog in chronological order.)

The king isn’t amused. Goopy dances for him instead. His little talking stick and hat change color. His left ear vanishes a few times. But darn it, he IS putting his all into things! And a cat fails at catching a mouse. (Something I only bring up to catalog Mickey Clone #248.) While the festivities continue, an ugly knight enters the picture and takes off with the princess. Goopy fights for her, as it’s just jester code. And he manages to hold his own fairly well, even without any proper training.

Still, as an amateur he finds himself flung into an assortment of kitchen wares. The pans, kettles, and graters make decent armor, but not great and he is punched against a pillar, knocking a stuffed ram’s head onto his own. With this new advantage, he is able to knock the opposition right out of his armor. Once the guy gets it back together, he flees. He’ll never recover from such an embarrassing attack.

Favorite Part: Goopy listening in at a keyhole and getting caught. “Are ya listening, HUH?” But I don’t get Goopy’s reply: “Yeah. I bought a windshield.” Maybe it makes sense to those who listen to “Amos ‘n Andy”?

Personal Rating: 2. It’s not such a shame that Goopy disappeared from theaters after this.

A Hound for Trouble

“What are you anyway, a dog hater?”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris, Phil Monroe, Ben Washam, and John Carey; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 28, 1951.

It’s hard to be Charlie Dog. Everybody but me seems to despise him, and he’s just been thrown off a boat. (Not for the first time if the captain is to be believed.) He finds he’s been dumped off in Italy of all places. Beauty of that being that there is still a good number of people who could be potential masters. After all, Italians are humans and humans love dogs. (If you don’t, you’re doing a bang-up job of trying to keep your cover from being blown.)

Mama Mia! None of-a de locals capishe de English! It’s a good thing that love is a universal language. Still, English praise will be easier to catch. Charlie sets his sights on on restaurant named Pasquale’s Palazzia de Spagetini. I think the lone employee we see working there is Pasquale himself. He doesn’t give any indication that he can speak a lick of English, but Charlie has made his choice. I admire him choosing a bowl to be his own. Now for the test: showing how lovable and cuddly he is.

Test failed. Although Pasquale is fairly kind in telling the dog to leave. Even if he said yes though, it would be best if Charlie wasn’t inside as Pasquale is leaving for a fifteen minute break. (Those are the best when they’re twice as long.) Then again, staying outside won’t give Charlie a great opportunity to show the guy what a great choice it would be to have an animal in the kitchen amongst the food and utensils that will be entering people’s mouths.

Charlie is now in the kitchen. (A young Brad Bird takes notes.) And just now entering is a customer ready for a feast. He orders… oh boy, here we go. He orders: na bella piatta del una cacciatore di tetrazzini cu ragu di marinara di la piazza rigotini mozzarella fina without onions. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) And I’m pretty sure that translates to a grilled cheese sandwich without onions. They don’t have that. The man settles for spaghett. Charlie serves it to him via spool, and makes sure he doesn’t eat an inch more than he’s paying for. Time for a bit of wine to wash it all down. The man leaves with whatever lunch he can keep down after seeing Charlie stomp the grapes.

Pasquale returns and is not pleased to find his customers being scared away. But Charlie has a surefire way to stay: he’s a singer! You will believe he can find a home after hearing his rendition of “Atsa matta for you?” Pasquale certainly seems convinced as he gives in and agrees to adopt the poor baby. Now, isn’t that touching? No wonder this is Charlie’s final appearance; he’s about to achieve his dream come true! But wait! That leaning tower located in Pisa is going to fall over and crush their little home! Charlie proves he’s the smarter of the two and tries to away from danger, but Pasquale makes him hold the tower while he goes for help. (Seeing as he’s bilingual and all.)

We end with Pasquale happy in his kitchen, no intent of ever going back and Charlie desperately calling for anyone to help; his pleas falling on deaf ears as they only speak Italian. That’s just cruel, Pasquale. (Mostro malvagio. Spero che tu marcisca all’inferno, lentamente.)

Favorite Part: Charlie not only can repeat the original order flawlessly, but he sticks his tongue out at all of us who doubted he could do it. How can anyone not love this dog?

Personal Rating: 3. But I give it a four for myself.

Leghorn Swoggled

“Kid don’t stop talkin’ so much; he’ll get his tongue sunburned.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Eugene Poddany; Orchestration by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 28, 1951.

A total eclipse? Free of charge? Doesn’t sound like the thing Foghorn would be interested in, but he’s excited. He puts his head through the hole in the fence to see, and Barnyard slams a pumpkin on his head. He retaliates by sticking a boxing glove in a camera, and socking the hound. (And everything freezes for at least one second. Intentional?) The usual tricks and pranks are interrupted by Henery playing cowboy in order to get a chicken today. He lassos Foggy good, but the rooster sends him on his way saying the kid is too small for hunting.

Henery is sad. Even young predators have to eat don’t they? Barnyard lends a sympathetic ear and offers a deal: one bone and he’ll help him get a chicken. (Guy must be starving today. He’s normally ready to get Henery Foghorn for free.) Henery takes the deal, but as a non-vulturis bird he doesn’t know how to find a bone. He asks a familiar looking cat for help. Seeing as how this guy has appeared in at least four different pictures, I guess it’s time for me to give him a name: Fred E. Cat.

Fred knows where bones are located as all cats do, but he’s not talking until he gets a fish. (Typical cat. Always wanting something for the most trivial task.) Now, where would Henery get a fish? He’s not an osprey or eagle! The nearby mouse knows and demands cheese for the info. But unlike the other two, he actually has the decency to tell Henery where that’s located. (Good thing too. It’d be kinda awkward if Henery met a goat who’d say where the stuff is located in exchange for some food.)

I take back what I said. The mouse was clearly trying to get a potential future predator dead, seeing as how the cheese he wants is on a mousetrap. Surprisingly, Foggy stops the little guy from getting seriously hurt by trying to show how to get the goods without the pain. He fails, but Henery gets the cheese regardless. Foghorn doesn’t really care what the kid wants with the dairy, as he’s readying his next prank: building a train set that will deliver a pie to the dawg’s face. (Is it just me? It looks like Foggy should be singing as he lays the tracks. Or is that just the goofiest smile he’s ever worn?)

Weirdly enough, the mouse tells Henery where to get fish as promised, but Henery is still holding onto the cheese. He really strolled up the rodent and said: “Here’s your cheese, give me my end of the bargain! And now it’s still mine until your tip pays off.”? (Think of how many awesome deleted scenes we’ll never get a glimpse of.) Foghorn once more tries to show how it’s done and is dragged into the water. (And somehow got the fish stuck in his crop. He still gives it to Henery.)

Henery does it again! He knows where to dig for a bone, but still has the fish! What a joik! Well, he’s doing the digging right, but his shovel is adorably small. Foghorn comes to dig for him with real tools, but Henery leaves once a single bone is unearthed. Then Henery finally gives the other animals their orders. Foghorn has witnessed it, and asks why he didn’t get a present. Demanding his due, he fails to notice Barnyard about to clobber him with the bone. Once properly knocked out, Henery takes the rooster away on the toy train. Hard work and good deeds pay off in the grand scheme of things.

Favorite Part: When Foghorn is giving fishing tips. The disgusted grimace Henery gives us is just wonderful.

Personal Rating: Foggy has some great lines here, but it feels like two different cartoons got spliced together and the misjoint is felt. It’s lucky to get a 3.

A Star is Hatched

“Goodnight my little pine knot.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Bob McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 2, 1938.

In the little town of Hickville, Emily the hen idolizes the stars and starlets of Hollywood and fantasizes about the time when she too will be on the silver screen. (Ironically enough, this short actually being her second time. She wouldn’t get a third.) So enamored is she that she even talks like Katharine Hepburn. (Unless that is her normal speaking voice. It’s possible. I sound like J.K. Simmons, myself.) She can’t be bothered with the local rooster who comes a courtin’ for her wing in marriage. The high life is always the best life!

What luck! There’s someone at the gas station she lives at who could be a huge help with getting into pictures. A one J. Megga Phone by name, on his way back to Hollywood. (I love how he wears three pairs on sunglasses. I should do the same.) Emily lets him know that she has every intention of being big one day, and he likes what he sees. (She is pretty cute.) He hands her his card telling her to look him up, as home he goes.

Emily rushes to get her bags. (Past Alfred Hick-cock who never moved an inch.) She’s Hollywood bound! And she’s so committed to her dream that she walks the entire 2,000 miles which means Hickville is located in Maryland or West Virginia. (Or maybe her hitchhiking had more success than the montage suggested. Less impressive.) She makes it though, and she gets to see what some of the stars are doing when not on screen. Clark Gable drives a trolley, and W.C. Fields directs traffic, for example. And we see the cement footsteps left behind by Robinson and Garbo. (The former having a gun print; the latter being humongous.)

The picture business, that’s what Emily is here for. And Mr. Colossal wasn’t bluffing, he really is a director. One with at least 15 assistant directors who agree to whatever he says. (Except the 15th one who still has a shred of individuality and personality. Give us one week more, we’ll fix him.) His latest picture is a musical medley to America’s 48 states and if the clapboard is accurate, his name is actually Buzzard Berkelee. (I knew his cool name was too cool to be true.) Odder still, his movie is comprised of humans. Yeah, we already saw plenty, but it was only now that I realized how weird this world is. What does everyone eat?

Emily finds a casting office, but it turns out she’s not the only pullet here. Seems Mr. C gives out business cards to any girl he comes across and the room is already packed. And when the man himself enters, Emily can’t catch his attention; not that he even looks at or acknowledges she exists. Emily is already broken. Embarrassed and upset to find she was just one of many, she decides to forgo any hard work that would get her a position, and heads back home.

She married Alfred and we see how happy their little family looks. But one daughter can’t help but idolize the silver screen, and fantasize about when she too will be a star. Emily ain’t having it and gives her kid such a smack. If she’s not going to be an instant success, then nobody is.

Favorite Part: When Colossal says, “If you ever want to get in pictures, look me up.” and hands Emily his card. Flipping it reveals just that is written on the back. Not only gives a clue that he has so many of those cards, he’s memorized the script, but can be interpreted as him just being too dumb to remember what to say.

Personal Rating: If you’re not familiar with some of the biggest stars of the day, you might find the majority of jokes confusing. It’s a 2 for people like you, and a 3 for the rest of us.

The Lone Stranger and Porky

“Magic mirror on the wall, who needs my help the most of all?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis and Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 7, 1939.

It’s 1865 and with the end of the Civil War, a new problem arises to fill the void. Many settlers are out west settling, but the activity is attracting all sorts of villains, bullies, thieves and probably even the occasional cad. (One of these crooks is known as Cob Blampett. Reminds me of the similar person we have in our universe: Ogd.) But we need not worry, as our narrator brings a hero to our attention. A man whose horse is faster than a speeding roadrunner. The man; more powerful than rattlesnake venom. With a mask to not only keep his identity secret, but his house’s as well, he is: The Lone Stranger! (And no, we never do get to see under that mask.)

He and his horse (named ‘Silver’ because we were so proud of our Lone Ranger parody, we forgot to think up a better name for the equine.) have had a busy day. Just like all the rest. Time for some vittles and shuteye. Even eats with that mask on? I hope he washes it. (Whilst wearing it.) These two are comfortable enough with each other to share a bed. It’s not weird. They’re partners, and everything they own, they share. It helps build camaraderie.

Now for Porky’s addition to the title. He’s got a shipment of gold to deliver, but this has caught the attention of a cad! (I knew they were out here!) He looks pretty tough. He’s got a color-changing mustache and a gun he doesn’t mind using. And a horse to tie it all together. (I think I’ll call his horse “Bullion”. “Bullly” for short.) One of the rarer breeds: a mustache mustang. (They need breeding to avoid extinction.) The cad with no name holds the pig up at gunpoint. (And I do mean “up”.) Porky is scared enough to phase out of the plane of existence for a moment. Where is a stranger when you need one? We’d settle for a social one, even!

Not to worry, the Stranger’s faithful scout, Pronto, has seen the whole thing and lets the hero know of the threat. Hero and horse come to the rescue, splitting up to take on their same species. Maybe that cad’s gun isn’t such a threat after all, as after unloading all the bullets it’s revealed that every one missed the target. Then the narrator mocks him, and is shot for his troubles. (You probably found him annoying anyway.) The cad now has a body count. (Of one, but that’s always just a start.)

The horses hiss and arch their backs as horses do when threatened, but then they actually get a good look at each other. It’s love at first sight! (You didn’t even know that Silver was a mare, did you? Sometimes it rocks to be a zoologist.) The two go off screen for some quality time, and that’s for the best. Not just because I respect their privacy, but the stallion clearly ate Goofy and it is distracting. (Makes him sound like a Pinto pinto.) The Stranger, however, has gotten himself knocked off a cliff. Will he be killed by gravity and sharp rocks? It’s up to us, folks.

You have chosen…”No”. A very good choice. Well, I did catch a few smart asps say “yes” and some idiot who didn’t vote at all. (Turns out he was deaf. Whoops.) With the power of audience participation, our hero ascends the perilous precipice, pounds the pugnacious palooka, and sends him… er, flying into a boulder. The impact turning it into an impenetrable prison. Porky is saved, and it is now time for our heroes to return home. Silver is followed by the litter horses naturally have. The five fillies are spitting images of their mother, and the colt has his father’s mustache. The breed will live on!

Favorite Part: When we first see the villain, we are so scared that we miss our cue. The narrator is on top of his game and asks us to not hiss the villain. Naturally, we have to save face, and begin our role at last. (Heh… sorry. First time jitters.)

Personal Rating: 3 that borders on four territory. Maybe I’d have let it have that higher score if Porky HAD ANY LINES! He doesn’t get any dialogue apart from his outro. (Which might be why it sounds like he’s really putting his all into it.)