Tin Pan Alley Cats

“GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

Supervision by Bob Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation: Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 17, 1943.

Yessir. This here’s another induction into the “Censored 11” hall of infame. Yet, it got to join “Coal White” on the top 100 Looney Tunes list. And I think it deserves its place. Unfortunately hurtful caricatures and all.

Cats Waller (who isn’t named in the short, but anyone who has even the most remote idea of Fats Waller is going to refer to him as such) is all set to have a good time tonight. His choice of venue is the Kit Kat Klub. Oh geeze. Oh wow. That’s just plain mean. This cartoon is already robbing people of dignity, (or cats as the case may be) but why remind them of that? Despite the fact that it should raise some sort of flag, (and while I’d want it to be red, I’ve got a bad feeling it’d be white.) Cats is still making a beeline thataway.

Next door is the Uncle Tomcat Mission. It’s where you’re likely to find preachers who waste their time trying to keep other cats out. I mean really. Why would you set your base of operations RIGHT NEXT to the place that is just going to tempt people? At least do it from across the street. They try to warn Cats of the danger within. Namely, wine, women, and song. That’s too vague. Wine is everywhere in the bible. (I think. I never really could get past all that begatting.) Not all women are sluts; one could be the positive influence Cats needs. And music is inherently one of the most pure things mankind has ever taken part in. No sell, Cats chooses hell.

That preachy preacher. This place looks great! (Despite how racist it is portrayed. And the humans within. So who is the dominant species in this short?) Cats heads straight for the piano and joins in a sweet jam session. Music. What ever could cause anyone to think this could lead to eternal damnation? The trumpet player at the klub makes Cats a promise: he is going to use his music to send the little guy out of this world. Clearly, we are talking figuratively, so Cats is all for it. Do your thing!

And Cats floats, and floats, and floats, until… he really is out of this world. It may look a little bit disturbing what with the statures shaped like musical instruments with severed hands still attached, but I never forget my ideal home. He’s in Wackyland! That lucky so-and-so! It may not be referred to as such, but it’s definitely the same place. With new features even. Example 1: Cats is welcomed to his new home by a disembodied pair of lips.

Looking ahead, we can see all the residents we’ve come to know and love. That guy who plays music from his flower, the one who smokes a cigar, cigarette, and pipe all at once, that rabbit who swings by his ears. (My mom fears him. I’m fearing that saxophone with a mouth and eye in the background.) But you know what else? This is our first time getting to see Wackyland in glorious technicolor! Sure, all the residents have black accented voices that I can’t be sure are real at all, but what’s more amazing is how much here would get reused in “Dough for the Do-do“. (That giant watermelon slice doesn’t seem so P.C. anymore.)

Cats tries exploring, but the residents are just a bit too out of this world for him. And those… trees, I think? That he’s hiding behind? Those are also scarring me for life. And I’m loving every moment of it! (Who would have thought a cello with feet could give me a heart attack?) Oh, and it might interest you to know that this is also the debut of Wackyland’s pride and joy: The Rubber Band. (Love those guys. They’re cute and their talented musicians. You don’t see that often these days.)

And Wackyland is even getting into the wartime spirit. Making us all feel better about ourselves by having Axis leaders rub their buttocks together. Yet, Cats is unhappy and wants to escape back to where he came from. There’s an elevator, but Cats was suddenly lying down to match Porky’s pose from years earlier, and he misses his chance. (It’s not the dodo this time, sadly. Just some black guy who looks like a duck with those inaccurate lips, and bird-like neck.)

The breaking point comes when Cats is forced to see Stalin kicking Hitler in the derriere. He begs, pleads, demands that he be brought back. (Something you’d never hear me saying.) Wish granted. I don’t know how, but the trumpeter is able to get him back to Earth. (Maybe it was a Moonside situation and it was all in Cat’s head?) Scared straight, Cats heads next door to help spread the spiritual word. Judging by their shocked expressions, this is the first time their preaching has ever reached someone.

Favorite Part: You kidding? We got to return to Wackyland! And they were kind enough to change it enough so that it wasn’t a total rerun. Sure, it’s become a bit more mean spirited this time around. But that creepy imagery was impressively creative! Isn’t amazing how putting limbs on random objects automatically makes them lovecraftian?

Personal Rating: 3. I’d like to give it a four, but it just can’t compete with its older brother, and the offensive imagery is sure to offend a good number of people no matter how long it ages. The soundtrack is awesome though.

A Mouse Divided

“Let’s face it; I can’t fly any feather.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 31, 1953.

We’ve seen a cat delivered to mice parents before, what if the situations were reversed? All thanks to Stupor Stork, making his first appearance, and not only being inebriated BEFORE any deliveries, but also sounding a bit more helium-ish. As fate is funny, he gives up at the house of Sylvester and his Mrs. She’s just been complaining to him about their lack of offspring. Something that she must have brought up before, seeing as how Sylvester mockingly imitates her as she weeps.

Stupor leaves them with the bundle, and even if Sylvester wasn’t too keen on the idea of having children, he’s still as excited as his wife to hear the news. (I like that.) To their shock, their son is a mouse. (To my shock, there was lot more bundle than what is needed for a mouse pup. But then, how else could anyone be fooled into thinking a kitten is in there?) Mrs. S. is a bit taken aback, but one “Mama” is enough to get her maternal instincts going. Her husband is more on the “He’s so cute, I could eat him up” train of thought. She won’t have it.

Foolishly enough, she even trusts her man with watching the kid while she goes out. As soon as the door shuts, Sylvester gives the baby a pepper powdering, a lettuce diaper, and two slices of bread to rest between. (I guess the safety pin is akin to a toothpick.) Before one bite happens, the infant identifies the predator as “daddy” and that’s all it takes. Sylvester is more taken with the child then I’ve ever seen him with his biological kid. It’s still sweet.

Well, it looks like father and son are going to get along swimmingly. The two decide to take a stroll around the block, and are almost immediately chased home by throngs of other cats. Seeing as how they are a species that is concerned about nobody’s happiness but their own, they have no problem trying to kill a child in front of its parent. They try anyway they can to get in. Disguised as a salesman, claiming to be a babysitter, even trying to break down the door. (You’d think these drama queens have never eaten before.)

Unlike most of his movie career, Sylvester succeeds in driving them all off. (I mean, if he didn’t, then Friz would have infant blood on his resume. I’m not even sure Parker and Stone can make such a claim. And I’m not looking it up.) But even though I’d say the family is happy together and can overcome these obstacles, the higher ups really got on Stupor’s case and he’s back to retrieve the kid. Rather than, pfft, I don’t know, knocking at the door to explain the mistake, he opts to use a baited fishing line.

Considering the kind of day he’s been having, it’s not strange that Sylvester thinks its just another cat trick. He pulls the line himself, and Stupor proves his strength by reeling him in. (As a stork, I’m sure he’s delivered his fair share of whale calves.) Still not clear in the head, he mistakes Sylvester for the mouse, and delivers him to the mouse parents. That’s going to be embarrassing to explain.

Favorite Part: When his wife says that the kid is theirs, Sylvester takes that as an excuse to share the meal. Even going so far as to hold a cleaver above the child.

Personal Rating: 4. It’s adorable. True the ending is a bit mean, but I choose to think that afterwards, the two cats got to keep the kid, and he learned to fight off all his would be predators.

Goopy Geer

“Oh, goofy, goofy, Goopy!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on April 16, 1932.

You enjoyed “Lady Play Your Mandolin,” didn’t you?

What do you mean ‘it was light on story’? What more were you expecting? Leave this classroom. Everyone else is allowed to mock you on your way out.

For those of us who don’t mistake short films for novels, I’m happy to say that there is a lot of reused animation for this picture. (I’m happy to say that because I took my Zoloft.) It leads me to believe that this short is taking place in the same cantina as L.P.Y.M. was. And if you are listening to the crowd correctly, you’ll find that they are demanding Goopy Geer. He’s been the entertainment ever since Foxy got called out for ripping off a rodents style and took his girlfriend with him. Don’t worry. The three are friends.

Only close friends skip

Goopy must be a pretty talented pianuh player. Even Mickey Clone 277 wants to see him perform. You know, Goopy doesn’t do any sort of practicing. That’s how you know he’s talented. You could say he plays by ear. (They make that joke, and when the G-dog appeared on Tiny Toons, he’d make it again. It’s his favorite.) He’s also quite friendly with the clientele. He’s more than happy to accompany a trio of kittens as they sup on soup.

Never mind. Those are not any felines I’m aware of. They share a digestive tract! The first places a cracker in his mouth, the second chews, and the third swallows. It defies nature! Oh wait. I forgot that cartoons do that on a minute-ly basis, as opposed to a daily one. Another diner is a bull who is eating the world’s toughest pasta. I’ve never seen anyone need to chew spaghetti so much. (Unless it’s just a reference to how bulls normally eat?)

No meal for me, thanks. I’ve seen what goes on in that kitchen. They’ve got a naked chicken swimming in broth to make soup. I can’t believe its got its cloaca clenched tight all the time! And now that I’ve more than likely ruined the rest of your week with that image, let’s get our singer on stage! I’m guessing that it’s the character that I once named “Gigi,” so there’s no need for another one of my awesomely picked names this week. Shame, as Warner Bros. pays me a nickel for every unnamed character of theirs I christen.*

Her signing is also enjoyed by the crowd. Just look at Clone  441 applaud! (He never misses a show you know.) With singing and piano-ing combined, everyone (and a couple coat racks as well) get their groove on. Even Foxy’s horse stops by to get tanked once again. He nearly has the exact same hallucination as last time, but now he sees himself as Gandhi at the end. (Wouldn’t that be reason to cheer? If what Charlie Brown’s been telling me is true, girls are naturally attracted to zero hair. Explains my lack of love life.)

Well, as the saying goes, alcoholic horses and pianos don’t mix, and the equines explosive expectorations soon reduce Goopy’s piano to shambles. A crime punishable by limit to three cartoons max. Nice knowing you, Goop.

Favorite Part: Gigi arriving on stage with a bad pun for Mr. Geer. His reaction is quite humorous. Quite indeed.

Personal Rating: 2. It could’ve done better if a good chunk of it hadn’t been seen already.

*This is a lie. I have never even been approached. I didn’t think I needed to tell you this, but I’ve been surprised at how seriously people take me before.

Of Fox and Hounds

“Well, thanks a lot George! Thanks a lot!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by “Draft No. 1312”; Animation by “Draft No. 6102”; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 7, 1940.

Mornings are so peaceful. So serene. So nice to sleep right through. And if you’re not allowed to do that, you try to ruin it for everyone. And so, the fox hunters blowing their ungodly horns and bringing their hounds along for a round of “kill the animal for sport.” One hound, is a bit slow. And I do mean both ways. His name is Willoughby and he is making his screen debut here. He’s packing quite a bit of meat here, (making him look an awful lot like a St. Bernard) and his coat has more white than his later years. (Huh. Usually it’s the other way round.)

Willoughby takes off after the rest, and he has some pretty decent luck, as he almost immediately finds a fox. But he doesn’t know that, and asks the fellow, (named George) if he’s seen a fox. George, (who is to Bugs what Foxy was to Mickey: a ripoff desperately wants some love.) gives him directions. Just past a stump up ahead, and on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby takes off, jumps the fence and falls off a cliff. At the bottom, he realizes that the chap he was talking to was actually the fox of which he seeks.

He heads back in a murderous fury, but finds another hound. It’s George in disguise, but he doesn’t know that and asks the fellow if he’s seen a fox. George, (not even bothering to disguise his name) gives him directions. He just has to pass a stump up ahead, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby heads off, leaps over the fence, and falls off a cliff again. He doesn’t catch on this time. (I do love his little resigned sigh. Sometimes that says it all.)

He returns to George to tell him the directions were faulty, and the little dog decides to go with him this time. But while squeezing through a log, his costume comes off and Willoughby catches on again. (The costume loses a leg for a brief second, and this scares the dog so badly, that his ears turns white.) He chases the vulpine, waking a bear in the process, and barricades off the hole George is hiding in with a boulder. He happily tells the bear what he’s done, before realizing it’s a bear and climbs a tree. (A good safety tip. You can learn a lot from cartoons.)

George is able to move the boulder, and sees the ursine and the treed canine. Some might say it’s a conscience thing, but I think George just can’t resist the opportunity he has here, and gives the bear a hot foot. ( A great reaction I’m not spoiling if you choose to read this synopsis before the watching the short.) Willoughby tries to act cool, but faints in relief. NEXT MORNING! Those cruel hunters are at it again, and Willoughby is once more the last one out. But this time he has George with him, as the two live together now.

Still, a hound has to do what he was bred to do, and he asks George for directions towards the nearest fox. (Preferably one that he isn’t on a first name basis with.) George tells him to head for a stump, turn past it, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughy heads out, leaps the fence and there is no crash. The dog is learning, and this time he left some mattresses to cushion his landing.

Favorite Part: The little chuckle George gives when pranking the bear. He kinda sounds like a marmoset.

Personal Rating: 3. Sad really. I saw this one all the time back in the day on Cartoon Network, and was looking forward to seeing again for the first time in twenty-one years. I remembered it being a lot funnier, George. A lot!

Egghead Rides Again

“I’m a rootin’, tootin’, shootin’, snootin’, high falutin’, tootin’, shootin’, rootin’, tootin’, cowboy, fella!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Paul Smith and Irvin Spence; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 17, 1937.

For once, talking about these shorts out of order has worked in my favor. You’ve heard me talk about Egghead before, but back in 1937, audiences hadn’t. So, I’m pretty sure there were a number of people who saw this title, and figured they had missed the first one. But they hadn’t. This was Eggy’s first appearance. (And since Daffy had only had one appearance so far, and barely at that, Mel uses the duck’s voice.)

Egghead lives in the city, but really yearns to be a cowboy. His room is coated in western merchandise, he rides his pogo stick like a steed, and he yells as loud as he can. This displeases the landlord, Mr. Dadburn. So much in fact, that he evicts Egghead right there and then. And since he’s a wannabe cowboy and not a cowboy, he doesn’t have a horse to just aimlessly ride. He needs a job.

The want ad he spies has just the answer he’s looking for. They’s looking for help at the Bar None Ranch in Wahoo, Wyoming. (I’ve been to Wyoming. And I swear it didn’t look as desolate and dry as they’re depicting. Looks more like Utah’s Bryce Canyon to me. Any Wyomingians who can confirm your state looks like this cartoon?) Cow puncher sounds a bit more barbaric than cowboy, but it’s a tomayto, tuhmahto thing. Egghead mails his resume.

And the best thing you can have on a resume is experience, and since that’s something the body supplies, Egghead sends himself. He may be short, bald, have a big nose, and short, but he wants this job so much, that his voice briefly hits puberty. The buckaroos are willing to give him a shot, and let him take a shot. See, cowboys can shoot a cigarette out of someone’s mouth while they stand x feet away. Eggheads can fire a gun, but only at the near cost of the target’s life. Good thing he had his hiding hat on.

Branding is another skill that is vital to know. The terrified little calf they have for practice sessions wants no part in this, so the authentic cowboys are willing to hold it down for the noob. (Is anyone still saying that term? I can’t help it if I’m fourteen years late. My mind never matured past 2010.) Egghead, being a toon, brands every hide butt the calf’s.

The guy in charge makes the little guy a deal, if he can catch the calf that has taken the opportunity to start escaping, then Egghead can have the job. Such a deal! Egghead mounts a pony and sets off. (Looks like all those years of pogoing has paid off.) The calf is quite the tricky one. It takes the rest of the picture for Egghead to make any progress. He does manage to get it back to the pen, but the calf hogties him. Destroying his dignity, and earning jeers from the ranch hands.

But the bossman is willing to keep his word. Egghead got the calf back, so he gets the job. His position is known as the “Sanitation Engineer.” Talk about starting at the bottom! (I’m sorry. I promise to not make anymore jokes of that caliber for at least seven days.)

Favorite Part: The cowboys hear the mail arriving, and decide to ride to its drop-off point. A whole two feet away.

Personal Rating:3

Porky’s Hare Hunt

“I’m just a trifle pixilated!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway; Story by Howard Baldwin; Animation by Voleny White; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on April 30, 1938.

A herd of rabbits are enjoying themselves. Not in a carrot patch, but a corn field. Points for variety! I guess they’re quite content to stay there, because gunshots don’t deter their munching at all. It takes Proto-Bugs’ (making his debut,) warnings to get them to flee. And along comes Porky. I’m guessing that was his corn they were devouring. He’s got a gun ready to roll, and begins his hunt. A “Hare Hunt” if you will.

Even though P.B. ran off to the left, he’s right behind Porky when the pig enters the scene. Said pig is accompanied by his hunting dog, Zero. (Who would go hang out with Jack Skellington upon his death. Porky is immortal.) The hare distracts the dog with a decoy and makes Porky’s gun sneeze with pepper. The resulting bang demolishes Proto-Bugs’s hiding tree, so the hare has to use another trick to stay alive. Thus, the hare remover in his paw.

Chugging the bottle makes the lagomorph invisible and intangible, seeing as how Porky’s hand goes right through where the hare is standing. (Hare remover bottles don’t just float on their own, you know.) He reappears out of a hat, and plays bullfighter when Zero charges at him. This dog lacks depth perception, and completely misses the hare every time. When P.B. plays magician and makes the mutt disappear, it’s almost a mercy act. (He brings him back almost immediately, don’t fret.)

Another thing Proto-Bugs can do? He can fly. By spinning his ears in an impossible full circle, he is capable of flight. (Humans could do this too, in theory. But we’re committed to finding the easier way.) Porky figures that since the pest flew away, he and Zero are rid of him. Wishful thinking, and Proto-Bugs lets them know it. (Laughing like Disney’s Max Hare. It’s an homage! Not plagiarism!) So, they continue the chase. Porky manages to get the drop on his prey, and P.B. gives his sob story. Seems he’s mate material, as he has photo evidence of himself with a jill and many offspring. Porky couldn’t possibly shoot him now.

Wishful thinking! (And Porky let’s him know it.) He tries to fire, but his gun won’t comply. Maybe it’s jammed, maybe it’s marmaladed, maybe it’s just out of bullets. Whatever the case, Proto-Bugs destroys the weapon that is no longer a threat and flies off again. Without a more contemporary weapon, Porky has to make do with a rock. I love the little pose he has upon throwing. That sort of “C’mon. Make it. Make it.” pose people get when they throw things. I also love P.B.’s frustrated face he makes upon getting hit. That sort of “Are you f*cking kidding me?” face humans make when they lose at Mario Party.

The hare lands, but is still able to walk any possible injuries off. (After some fake death throes. Modern Bugs had to learn it from someone.) Porky has had enough, and when he chases his target to a hole, he tosses in some dynamite. So sure is he that this will work, that he doesn’t notice the explosive is thrown right back out at him. Luckily for Porky, he gets the best case scenario, and is simply laid up in bed with a broken leg.

He’s even got a visitor. Proto-Bugs? With flowers and everything! That’s so sweet! But before you think he’s too friendly, he proves how malicious he really is, by yanking on the rope holding Porky’s foot up, undoing any healing that might have taken place. (Might be a bit too dark an ending for some.)

Favorite Part: The hare asks if Porky even has a hunting license. When Porky proves he does, the hare rips it in half. “You haven’t got one now!”

Personal Rating: 3. It’s not bad, but anything it does, “Porky’s Duck Hunt” did better. That, and I could see some getting annoyed by Proto-Bugs.

Naughty but Mice

“Sleep tight, ole pal.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 30, 1939.

If you’re from the future, you might know this but: 2020 A.D. was one of the low points in the history of years. I wouldn’t expect anyone to forget, but humanity’s stupidity never ceases to amaze. Perhaps in the future, it will be offensive to mention, and people will try and censor any cartoons that have the characters wearing face masks. The babies. Well, so you don’t forget, here’s one last film to end said year with. About illness, no less.

Chuck’s fifth film, and the debut of Sniffles. (Who apparently was never voiced by Bernice Hansen as I’ve previously stated. Blast that lack of on screen names! Instead, it seems to have been by one Margaret Hill, who also supplied the voice for Andy Panda, and a couple of Toms.) He’s earned that name, seeing as he has  a cold. He has an idea of how to go about getting a cure, and that’s by visiting the local drug store for a cold remedy. (That’s all it takes? And here I thought that the common cold couldn’t be cured. Sniffles made me look like more of a moron than I usually do.) The sign says the place is closed, but normal rules don’t apply to Sniffles. He slips in through the mail slot.

So many choices, and only about six and a half minutes to select.  Sniffles opts for the first one he comes across. It must be the best. It has “XLNT” written on the side. (Xiphosurans Love Nude Tabloids) It has another label on it that Sniffles either doesn’t see or doesn’t dignify: 125% alcohol. (Forget how impossible it is, alcohol kills viruses.) Dangerous enough, but Sniffles proceeds to take a human sized dose. (Does being dead count as being cured? I mean, the virus will go with you.)

That puts some fire in the belly! Sniffles cools himself down with a drink from a random glass. It works, so I guess it was some form of dairy. Now, the drunken stupor. But before things get too crazy, Sniffles runs into a friendly face. A living, electric razor. (Not too crazy.) Since the mouse is plastered, this could possibly be a hallucination, but I doubt it. Too much evidence contradicts that later. The razor (should we call it Buzzy? We should call it Buzzy.) has sympathy for Sniffles, who has something to share too: his cold.

What a worthless remedy. If it can’t immediately solve a problem, why even bother with it? Either way, whatever pathogen that can give a mouse cold-like symptoms, can also infect Buzzy. (So, humans don’t have a chance.) Sniffles is a good guy, and goes to get more tonic for his new friend to take. The machine must have some sort of digestive tract, as he can take the tonic, and get just as drunk as his mouse pal. His stupor barely lasts before he passes out. Sniffles treats him as one of the deceased. (Since he’s drunk, it’s cute.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               There’s a cat in the store, and he or she finally shows up, taking note of the still drunk Sniffles. Before it can nab him, Sniffles falls into a claw game. That has no ceiling? (Someone could easily reach in there and take many goodies. Not me, though. I’m an angel.) Cats always carry change, so the feline decides to take a chance, and win dinner. (It’s a pretty sweet machine. Prizes range from perfume to a camera. And all for only five cents! (Which I guess would now be 92 cents as I type this. Still…)

After only three tries, the cat wins the desired prize. (Those games aren’t rigged, but only select few are allowed to win. The gods make sure of that.) Buzzy comes to, and notices what fate is to befall the heroic soul who healed him! After infecting him. (Still a hero in my book.) Attacking as only a razor can, Buzzy shaves the cat of nearly all its fur. The cat flees, meaning Sniffles will live until tomorrow, barring his illness getting worse. As he thanks his savior, he sneezes again. The force sending him back into the machine.

Favorite Part: Buzzy’s manner of speech. He only talks in the sounds a razor can make, and yet, I have no trouble understanding him. It must be heard to be believed.

Personal Rating: 3

The Goofy Gophers

“Commando tactics.”

Directed by Arthur Davis*; Animation by Don Williams, Manny Gould, J.C. Melendez, and Cal Dalton. A Looney Tune released on January 25, 1947.

*It was started by Clampett, but the man left the studio, leaving his animation unit to fend for themselves. When they were handed off to Mr. Davis, they finished the short under his supervision.

What’s this? A short named after its title characters, that also happens to be their debut? That doesn’t happen! Not here! And yet, here we are. Who would have thought?

It is indeed the first appearance by Mac and Tosh, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, I must set the scene. Picture a vegetable garden. A lovely, pristine vegetable garden, full to bursting with mouth watering goodies. Crisp, crunchy carrots. Leafy, green spinach. Plump, dirt-covered potatoes. It’s enough to make you hunger for a Sizzler.

With such a bounty of edible treasures, you can expect thieves. Whoever owns this place has thought of that, and has a watchdog on standby. He’s a thespian. (The dogs in these cartoons usually are.) He also would like to sleep, but he hears munching in the fields. Yep. Gophers. Goofy Gophers. They’re gray and white, their eyes tend to melt into their fur, and Blanc and Freberg seem to no be entirely sure which one of the two they’re voicing. Humble beginnings, indeed.

The dog, (who will also get a name. So we’ll call him…) Ian, tries to get close to them disguised as a tomato plant. They aren’t easily fooled, and smash him with a pumpkin and a shovel, before diving back into their hiding places. Safely underground, they continue their produce pilfering. Ian lies in wait as the scarecrow, and gets dragged under too. He is returned almost immediately, as they aren’t quite privy to dog food.

As the rodents continue to munch, Ian’s paw walks over to them disguised as a rather fetching gophette. Proof that Mac and Tosh aren’t gay! (Unless they’re bi, but really, who cares? Only losers spend time considering animated characters sexualities.) The two each get a dance with the “girl.” Ever the polite ones, they don’t get jealous of the other and happily trade off between rounds.

I don’t think they were ever fooled, as they rip the puppet off to reveal what was hiding underneath. Such rude behavior, to play with their emotions like that. That deserves a mousetrap. Okay, Ian has taken about all he can. Time to blow those two to kingdom come! Disguising the explosive as a carrot is a great way to avoid suspicion. Ever the clever pair, they halt the kaboom, and supply their own with a paper bag. It’s enough to fool the dog, who feels he has finally succeeded in his task. Time for a well earned nap.

Well, if Mac and Tosh want to eat without him breathing down their pelts, they’ll simply have to get rid of him. Since he’s a heavy sleeper, it’s not too hard to load him into a rocket launcher and send him off to the moon. (It’s the always the most polite who are the most savage.) Well, now the place is all theirs, right? Not if Bugs has any say in it. Now, they’ve met their match. (His voice sounds a little too high pitched. What is in those veggies?)

Favorite Part: The gophers wearing bonnets made out of the food they’re stealing. Referring to each other as “Carmen” and “Amber” is the carrot icing on the carrot cake.

Rating: 4

Hop, Look and Listen

“I never thought just being a pussthycat could get stho complicated.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Manny Gould, and I. Ellis; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. A Looney Tune released on April 17, 1948.

At the zoo, most of the animals are sleeping. The only one who isn’t is the kangaroo joey. Seeing as how all children think sleep is boring, he hops out of his mother’s pouch, out of the cage they share, out of the zoo they live in, and begins looking around. If you haven’t guessed yet, this kangaroo is Hippety. Making his film debut.

His exploration leads him to Sylvester’s house. The cat is doing some fishing. Er, I think you can call it that if you aren’t going after fish. His method is baiting hooks with cheese, and throwing it into a mouse-hole. He manages to get a bite, and he reels it in, but the poor little thing is just that: little. Not worthy of being of meal. He is spared today, but Sylvester still laments the lack of larger mice.

Hippety enters and gets himself in walls. (I’m honestly surprised that he can fit back there.) He gives Sylvester’s line a tug, and the cat ends up pulling out the marsupial, meeting him for the first time. He measures his catch. Yep. That’s what we in the business like to call a “bigg’un.” He runs from the house, screaming. In the yard, he blabbers to the bulldog about what he has just witnessed. The pooch isn’t pleased to hear this, and sends the cat back in to face what he fears.

Sylvester tries catching the joey in a bag. He manages to cover Hippety, but still ends up going for a wild ride. He is thrown out again. The dog, believes he is doing what is best for the cat, and sends him back in. (At least arming him with an axe as well.) Sylvester still fails, but starts thinking. If this really is a mouse, (which is definitely is. I mean, mice are well known for being at least three feet tall.) then that means, as a cat, he should be able to win. Time for a montage!

It’s brief, but it’s a montage. Sylvester does some exercises to get himself in fighting shape. Maybe he didn’t train enough. Maybe cats just can’t stand up to the awesome power of Osphranter rufus. Whatever the reason, he is thrown out once more. Looks like Hippety’s fun will end though, as his mother has come to claim him. Just then, the dog enters to take on the mouse himself. He freaks out upon seeing a “mouse” that is even larger than Sylvester saw, with two heads to boot!

He packs his things, takes Sylvester with him, and leaves. As he puts it, when you see mice that size, it’s time to get on the water wagon. (Which they literally do. Beats walking.)

Favorite Part: The final time Hippety throws Sylvester out. The background artists actually took the time to be consistent, and draw the windows from the previous throw-outs, still broken. That’s pride in your craft, it is.

Personal Rating: 3

Bonanza Bunny

“This gon’ be fun, you bet!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Tom Ray, George Granpre, Ted Bonnicksen, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on September 5, 1959.

You’ve no doubt heard of the Klondike Gold Rush. That time when a good number of folks headed up to Alaska for the sake of a “get rich easy scheme.” (Humans. Always looking for an alternative to the hard way.) Such commotions, its no wonder boom towns are springing up. Such as Dawson City. It will be our setting for today’s picture. It’s a tough looking place. It’s got at least three saloons!

It was in saloon number three, the Malibu Saloon, where our story takes place. Everybody is minding their own business, when a stranger walked in. Well, a stranger to everyone but us. We know him as Bugs Bunny. He’s got little caps on both of his ears! That’s precious! He came round these parts because he heard talk of karats. Sadly for him, all he managed to find was a bunch of rocks. Sorta yellow in color. Odd. And yet, everyone seems interested. Still, Bugs plans to keep them as souvenirs. He’ll only part with the one the bartender is using as payment.

Enter our villain. A French-Canadian Yosemite Sam named, Blaque Jacque Shellaque. (And if you think that’s a rather low blow on my part, he eventually was revealed to be Sam’s cousin on “The Looney Tunes Show.”) I guess McKimson wanted his own character to take Bugs in a saloon setting. Still, he was clearly also inspired by Nasty Canasta, revealing himself nearly shot for shot the same as in “Drip-along Daffy.” He wants Bugs’ bag but is willing to gamble for it.

It will be settled via a game of 21. Bugs is willing to stop at one card, much to Blaque’s amusement. He seems pretty happy with the two cards he drew, both tens. As you’d expect, Bugs wins because he happened to draw the 21 of hearts. (The card box threatens to fade out of existence, but gives up because hardly anyone is noticing.) Jaque isn’t happy to lose and refuses to accept his defeat. Besides, those guns of his say he doesn’t have to take this sort of abuse. Bugs isn’t scared. In fact, he claims another guy in the next room, who is much more tougher. (A gag you may recall him using in “Hare Trigger.”) Said “man” is Bugs, and though he might wield a pop gun, it’s enough to get the job done.

Bugs is able to get rid of Shellaque, by handing him a bag of gunpowder instead. So happy is the canuck, that he fails to notice Bugs making an incision on the bag. Nor does he notice the trail of the stuff following him as he takes his ill gotten gains off to the distance. So, naturally, he also doesn’t notice that Bugs lit the trail. The explosion truly rivals the Aurora Borealis. Bugs can now happily enjoy his rocks. And I’m not just being coy. This whole time, they really were just rocks Bugs painted, . (Hey. A guy’s gotta pay for his drinks, somehow.)

Favorite Part: During our tour of the town, we see the “Rigor Mortis Saloon.” (Come in and get stiff? Seems a bit too personal for my taste.) In case that place isn’t for us, a sign also directs us to the “Band-Ade Saloon.” (Come in & get plastered? That’s more like it!) Two bad puns in the span of one minute. We are spoiled.

Personal Rating: 2 (Too many reused gags. If you haven’t seen as many cartoons as me, you might think this picture is worth a 3)