Dr. Jerkyl’s Hide

“LET ME OUT OF ‘ERE!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur 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 Looney Tune released on May 8, 1954.

Hey, it’s Spike and Chester! Haven’t spoke about either of them since 2014. Oh, wait. I won’t be mentioning Spike after all. His name is Alf now. Because it’s a more appropriate name for a cockney dog, don’t you know? Oh, yes. The two have some nice thick accents this time around. Makes sense. This short’s source material does take place in London.

“Alf” and Chester, (making their final appearances) are out having a jolly stroll. At least, that’s what “Alf” wants and Chester believes. See, Chester looks up to “Alf” as some sort of hero. He’s bigger, meaner, and has people clothes. The kind of dog we’d all like to be. But “Alf” is also a bit of a bully. Smacking the little guy around, demanding he leave, and turning down his suggestions of fun. Chester then plays his trump card. Maybe “Alf” would like to beat up a cat?

That’s the ticket. “Alf” is always up for a good feline thrashing, and the two give chase to Sylvester. Poor cat takes refuge in a building that belongs to a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jerkyl. (And I’m sure at least one of you was planning to tell me I made a typo in the title.) Breathless, due to all the exercise, Sylvester is more than happy to take a swig of what he believes to be soda. (Honestly, can YOU name another liquid with carbonation? Because I can’t. Please help.) But that wasn’t pop.

This stuff, whatever this stuff is, is designed to turn the drinker into a much meaner, much tougher, much scarier version of thyself. So Sylvester grows a couple feet, his eyeteeth grow out, and he gets a murderous look in his eyes. It is then that “Alf” comes in for a pummel. He leaves, white as a ghost. (I like how his shirt changed color, but his hat didn’t.) That stuff only lasts so long though, and Sylvester is back to his normal self when Chester takes a peek at this “scary monster.”

Well, that don’t make any sense to the spaniel. I mean, the cat is actually quite small. Chester could pound him, himself. And logic dictates that if a small dog could do it, a big dog could do it, but easier. Chester drags “Alf” back in, just as they witness their prey escape into another room. Yeah, he looks timid, terrified, and totally weak. “Alf” regains his confidence, and follows after him. (Chester doesn’t follow, for the sake of the joke.)

“Alf” corners the cat in a box, where we see the formula kicks in sporadically. Now powered up again, Sylvester gleefully plots out how we will carve the dog. “Alf” returns to Chester, but falls to pieces. (Probably a good contender for the most violent massacre in all Looney Tunes, and there’s not one drop of blood.) The power wears off again before Sylvester can take on Chester, and the dog proves good of his claim to beat the cat. Now more convinced than ever, he traps “Alf” in the building for his own good.

Sylvester takes this time to flee. (I really can’t tell if he is aware of his transformation or not. Maybe if I read the original “Jeckyll” story, I’d know.) “Alf” sees this and also sees an opportunity to seize. He uses the beakers around him to simulate a fight that he is winning. But one of the beakers he throws was full of more formula, and the stuff lands on a housefly. (And I guess it drinks it. Unless the stuff can be taken topically.) It does its thing, and the fly’s size increases, as does its temper.

Now, the insect is only roughly the size of a hummingbird, but insects ARE immensely strong for their size, and it has no trouble roughing “Alf” up and throwing him out. “Alf” begs for Chester’s protection before the two witness the fly slamming the door in their faces. A big fly, yes, but a fly nonetheless. And thus, the last amount of respect Chester might have had for the big dog is dead. As such, the roles reverse: Chester wears the hat in this relationship now, and he slaps the now hero-worshippy “Alf” around.

Kind of a shame these two had such short careers, but seeing as how this is very similar to their earlier work, there probably just wasn’t enough material to make multiple cartoons.

Favorite Part: How Chester gets “Alf” back into the building: marching him in at gunpoint.

Personal Rating:3

The Cat Came Back

“WHAT THE F-!!!!”

Directed by Cordell Barker; Produced by Richard Condie, Cordell Barker; Written by Cordell Barker; Based on: The Cat Came Back by Harry S. Miller; Starring: Richard Condie. A cartoon released on June 22, 1988.

Boy, oh boy! What a treat we have here! A cartoon well worthy of its spot on the 50 greatest cartoons. It’s got catchy music, great jokes, fun animation, and… isn’t… even a Warner Bros. cartoon. Oops. Let me try it again.

“And she kicked me right here! Right where I sit down!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Robert McKimson and Ben Clopton. A Merrie Melody released on February 8, 1936. (The last cartoon to be produced in Cinecolor.)

There we go. That’s what we’re used to. And look at the… um, cuties? Look, you should really be aware of my feelings toward cats by now. The only way I could find them cute is roasted to a golden brown, with some of those paper things at the end of its legs, and a garnish on top. But I’ll digress for now. The kittens are having a wonderful time while mother cat watches. And just across the way from the basement they live in is a family of mice.

Things are a little less joyous in the mouse house. Mother mouse is busy lecturing her pups about the evil kats. (sic.) Mere hyperbole and mouse propaganda, right? Hardly! For at this very moment, Mrs. Meow is teaching her kittens how to attack and probably kill mice. Which ordinarily wouldn’t seem too strange, but all the animals are on a similar scale of size. Instead of predator and prey, it just looks like a gang war.

At least Mrs. Squeak doesn’t stop at just talking, she also has the brains to train her children on dodging paws. (She has whiskers now?) But one little mouse can’t help but take a peek outside the hole and see what the world is really like. A kitten cross the way has similar aspirations. At last, the two star-crossed lovers can finally meet! I kid. Actually, they look ready for a rumble. Guess their mothers really did get through to them.

It’s then that Mrs. Squeak catches sight of what’s going on. She tells the kitten to leave her kid alone, and we learn that she was set to become the fourth Chippette before  she became a mother. (Oh? Would you like to explain her sudden change of voice then?) The little cat tries to follow because… it either wants to eat them, or it has learned that the mouse isn’t so different from its kind after all? Its reason doesn’t matter, because the mouse matriarch throws the cat right back out.

The little cat tells its mother what happened, and she goes to give the neighbor a piece of her mind. Squeak ain’t having any of it, and gives her eyes a good poking. She’s won this round, so Mrs. Meow has no choice but to drag her offspring home. Later, as the kitten mopes around, the mouse invites it to come have some fun together. (I guess it got over its hatred too.) The two do some dancing, before the cat falls into an open sewer. (What a typical cat.)

Meow heard those screams (That didn’t occur during the actual falling part.) and runs right over. We skip the tired cliche of her thinking the mouse was behind it all, as the mouse decides to jump in after its new pal. Also becoming alert is Squeak who makes an actual effort to rescue her kid. It doesn’t work, but I give points for effort. The mouse isn’t able to catch up to the cat because of the strong current. (Why is there a cuckoo clock, guitar and chair down here? These animals are just as bad as humans.)

The cat comes to a whirlpool, and is close to death. Time for the mouse to save the day! While holding on to a plank of wood up above, it lowers its tail to be grabbed on. (So, maybe its not a food related animosity. Maybe the cats just hate being constantly shown up.) The whirlpool is strong and twists the mouse like taffy, turning it into a makeshift helicopter. The two fly out. They are safe!

They return home and the two families decide to bury the hatchet and be friends. But wouldn’t you know it, Mrs. Meow just can’t get over that eye poke from earlier and she starts pounding Mrs. Squeak. (Cats also can’t forgive.) Being impressionable youths, the children forego their friendly ways and go back to how things were before.

Favorite Part: Mrs. Squeak training her kids to dart through active mousetraps. The cherry on top is her smile. “Yes, Billy. I want you to enter this contraption that can snap your neck. It’s for your own good.” You can’t prove there’s no risk.

Personal Rating: 2 If you only want to watch the first cartoon up there, I understand.

Devil’s Feud Cake

“You’ve got a date with that unmentionable place!”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Friz Freleng and Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Art Leonardi, and Lee Halpern; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin and Irv Wyner; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on February 9, 1963.

You can smell the Deja-vu with this one. At least, if this isn’t your first, twelfth, or three-hundred, fifteenth Warner Bros. cartoon. But if you are at 316 or higher, then there’s a good chance you’ll recognize previous works that have been crammed together here.

Our story starts with 1952’s “Hare Lift.” (A short I’ve yet to talk about at this writing.) It’s old footage, new lines. That’s all you need to make a brand new cartoon. (I’m not trying to sound bitter. I just naturally am.) It plays out similarly to the original, with a bank-robbing Sam mistaking Bugs for a pilot, and forcing him to fly a plane. Only this time, when things look dour and Sam opts to bail, his parachute does not work. (And you can see the immediate drop in animation quality. It makes me want to cry.)

As everyone knows, when you fall out of a flying plane with no parachute, you die. And as some people know, if you sinned as much as Sam did, you ain’t going to paradise in any sense of the word. Sam finds himself in Hell, and in the presence of Satan. Sam isn’t pleased with his predicament, but as Cuphead players know, the devil is willing to make deals. And he’s got one that he thinks Sam could pull off, judging by his records.

It’s like this, see: Satan wants Bugs. Because… Satan just wants everyone and anyone down there? Is Bugs just going to hell anyway, but he just doesn’t die? I can believe that…

Yeah, it makes perfect sense.

That’s the deal, then. Sam kills Bugs, Bugs goes to hell, Sam I guess reincarnates and gets another chance at the pearly gates. Sam goes back to Earth and sees a theater marquee. Looks like Bugs is performing in “Ben Hare.” (A title I’m honestly surprised they never used yet.) Sam gets himself some Roman attire of his own, and goes to deliver on his deal.

Turns out that Bugs is performing for quite the lavish theater. They can afford live lions. Which means we get reused animation from “Roman Leigon-Hare.” You’d expect Sam to meet his end with the lions like the last time, but they instead just continue to chase him outside. (Not sure how we got here. We were clearly in a theater, not an amphitheater.) He comes to a cliff. Seeing as how he’s going to die regardless, Sam chooses to off himself, rather than give the cats the satisfaction.

He’s back in front of Lucifer. The goat-man is beginning to re-think his decision to use Sam, but the human-man begs for another chance. Satan is easily convinced, and Sam goes back again. No explanation, he’s just in “Sahara Hare“. Oh, wait, there IS an explanation: Bugs is in this desert. (No explanation for that. You’re getting greedy.) Things play out similar again, with speedy camels and Bugs taking refuge in an outpost. The difference here is it just takes one cannon shot to off Sam once again.

Back in hell, Satan is actually willing to give Sam ANOTHER chance. (He’s the worst prince of darkness ever!) Sam though, has reached his limit. He decides that the devil can do his own dirty work, and happily adapts to his new “living” quarters. (I guess Freleng really loved this concept, seeing as how the plot would get reused in “The Looney, Looney, Looney, Bugs Bunny Movie.”)

Favorite Part: They reused the escalator/moving sidewalk from “Satan’s Waitn’.” Nice callback.

Personal Rating: 1. I’m sorry, but the sum of its parts are not greater than or equal to the originals. Watch them, not this.

The Lion’s Busy

“Now, let’s quit stalling, Mr. Lion.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1950.

Today is a special day. A day that should be celebrated by everyone who was ever born. After all, if you ever HAVE been born, then you already owe a lot to this one person. This day is known as “Leo the lion’s tenth birthday.” Now, Leo, he’s just the greatest guy. One of those rare Irish lions. And being part of the noble Panthera genus, he’s got strength, speed, and 18 retractable claws that are willing to back up his claims of glory. Thus, all the animals have gathered. (Is it me, or is one of them Bugs?)

It wouldn’t be much of a birthday without gifts, (It’s the only thing that makes them tolerable, really.) and Leo gets one given to him by the buzzard. Oddly enough, the card mentions that he’s been waiting for this day for all of Leo’s ten years. Now, why would he do a thing like that? More importantly, what’s the gift? A book! (The best gift of all!) Leo didn’t even want a book, but he’s a good guy and the book is about lions, which just so happens to be Leo’s favorite animal! He reads. (And no. I don’t have any idea why one of the guests is a raccoon. I mean, a porcupine I could understand.)

The first page Leo opens to contains a very interesting fact about the lifespan of a lion. Namely, in the world of cartoons, they can expect to live to be ten years old. Wait… Uh, yeah. Leo is indeed ten years old. And that’s just what the buzzard wanted to hear. Beaky Buzzard. Making his first appearance without his creator, Bob Clampett, and now being voice by Mel after the untimely death of his original V.A., Kent Rogers. And has he gotten quite the personality overhall. A little like if Droopy became blood hungry.

Leo claims that he is fine. A picture of health. Why, he can even jig as well as he did as a cub. Beaky tosses a banana peel in his way, and the lion goes over a cliff. He’s upset that Beaky can’t be patient enough to wait for him to actually die. It is a little insensitive, but come on. It’s been ten years! Beaky probably won’t even last another two, and dead lion meat is right up there with Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas goose, and Arbor Day nuthatch as delicious dinners.

Leo fights back, but Beaky escapes up a tree. (Wings. Delicious and practical.) Leo needs that bird dead if he ever wants peace of mind, so he climbs up after him. Beaky oils the tree, and the lion goes down. He tries again with some pitons, but Beaky keeps out of reach by constantly adding more to the tree. Soon, Leo has reached the top. There’s no easy way down, unless you’re Beaky, because then you’d have wings. But he wants that lion down, and begins chopping away.

After the crash, Leo comes to, and finds Beaky roasting his tail as if it were made of sausages. He declares that Beaky is never, and I repeat, never going to get him. And to make sure of that, Leo boards a moon-bound rocket that is in the jungle. (Why the surprise? Where else would he find a rocket? Savannah are wildfires waiting to happen.) He makes it to the moon. (The poor Earth is gray in mourning its loss of Leo.) Oh, by the way, Beaky has been waiting for him. (If he can take on a freaking dragon, I don’t see why this would be any struggle.) Leo ducks into a cave, barricades the door, and wouldn’t you know it, Beaky can’t get in. Now, there’s just the matter of waiting.

And waiting. See, nobody can wait like a buzzard, and it only takes about 330 days for 11 months to go by. (Good thing lions eat rocks. Lions eat rocks, right? Right.) And Beaky is still waiting. So Leo is still waiting. And the years go by. Seven years of wasting what time he had in a moon cave. Now, Leo is a much older, much grayer, and much wiser lion. He has realized that he can’t hide from his problems, and gives Beaky permission to eat. Unfortunately, Beaky isn’t immune to the passage of time either, and he too is much older. So much so, that the only thing he can manage to eat anymore is marshmallows.

Favorite Part: Beaky playing shoe salesman. Having Leo try on one of those little paper things cartoon roast turkeys always wear on their tibiotarsus. Dark meat and dark humor.

Personal Rating: 3. A fun and interesting change to Beaky’s character. Too bad he’d only get one more cartoon after this one.

Ain’t that Ducky

“Thsome hunter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those Beautiful Dames

“One, two, three, go!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Paul Smith and Charles Jones; Musical Score by Bernard Brown. A Merrie Melody released on November 10, 1934.

On a cold, miserable night, (Yes, I know that’s a redundant statement.) a poor, little orphan girl walks through the snow. You can tell she’s an orphan, for she has all the typical orphan traits: a tattered shawl over her shoulders, a glum expression, and only one of her pant legs remains attached. (Okay, it could just be a low stocking. How would I know anything about women’s clothes? I’m a twenty-six year old virgin!)

Jessica, (for that is the name I’ve chosen to give her) would really like to play with some toys in the toy shoppe she peeks into. But even thought the light in the shoppe suggests they are open, she trudges along. (Maybe they operate by the strict “You play with it, you buy it” rule.) I really do feel sorry for the little one. She’s pretty cute. If I could adopt her, I would. (I’d regret it soon afterwards as I’m not fond of kids. But I’d find her the nicest orphanage to dump her off at.)

She makes it back to either her home, or just where she is going to be spending the night. If it isn’t already her home, then she could definitely do better. The only food available is mice skeletons, and the fire is thinner still. Shelter is shelter, though. She drifts off to an uneasy sleep. And then… uh-oh. I think the hypothermia is making her hallucinate. Toys don’t just follow you home from the shoppe. This cartoon sure got dark.

Since Jessica is still “asleep”, the toys use this opportunity to pretty the place up a bit. A little paint, a little wallpaper, and by the stroke of midnight, you’ll have comfortable furniture, electric lights, and a fireplace. Time to wake the waif. They even gave her a crown! Isn’t that…heavenly? The toys aren’t just interior decorators, though. They’re the entertainment. By which I mean, they’ve got a floor show planned. (The black toys only get to supply music and food. If this short wasn’t from the 30’s you might think that I just made a racist joke.)

A couple of concertina clowns do a dance, (must have missed that toy growing up. I’m not complaining though Legos and Gumby rock!) and a steam shovel can’t resist getting first dibs on the cake. But that’s okay, as there’s a whole banquet of desserts for human and toy alike. Too bad the hosts booby-trapped Jessica’s with a jack-in-the-box. (Considering they gave her a crown that constantly disappears throughout the picture, I really should have seen that coming.)

Favorite Part: The steam shovel. They could have just had another toy operating it to steal cake, but they decided to let the truck help itself. Much more imaginative.

Personal Rating: 2. It’s a generic cute plot. Doesn’t offer much to more sophisticated minds.

Wise Quackers

“I sthink he looksth better that way.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Unmentionables

“Dis is fun, Rocky!”

Directed by Friz Freleng;(The last one from him at WB) Story by John Dunn; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Art Leonardi, and Lee Halpern; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc, Ralph James; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on September 7, 1963.

You like television spoofs, right? You like “The Untouchables,” right? Then this is the picture for you! (And if you aren’t afraid of violence, then you won’t have a problem.) It’s the 20’s. (Looks at the calendar.) The roaring 20’s! A much better time to be living. I mean, the market surely wouldn’t crash, cartoons weren’t going to get any better than “Felix the Cat”, and people weren’t wearing masks. Truly, you couldn’t find a better place to live than the 48 states of America.

Okay, sure. There were still problems, even in the past. Namely, gangsters. They’re all eager to control the underworld, and aren’t afraid to kill each other to do so. (Witness the poor guy who tries calling the cops. His head and body will miss each other.) Things are bad, and when things are bad, you get someone to fix things for you. Enter agent “Elegant Mess” who is so different from Eliot Ness that even a tube worm could tell the two apart. Biggest clue: Mess is a rabbit.

This leads me to believe that Mess’s real name is Bugs. Bugs Bunny. (It’s a good name. Who knows what kind of fame he could achieve with a name like that?) He’s off to find crooks and bring them to justice. He enters a taxi and he finds them. Er, they find him? Someone finds someone, and when you find someone, you should make your feelings about them perfectly clear. In this case, Mess is given a new pair of shoes. Cement ones.

Rocky and Mugsy (who are making their final golden age appearance) drop the rabbit into lake Michigan. They don’t feel the need to stick around and watch, but if they did, they’d see the rabbit escaping. He had a pipe on him for breathing purposes, and he is strong enough to hop out onto the shore. As for the crooks, they’re celebrating Rocky’s birthday. (I got him a razor. He’s got a noticeable 5 o’clock shadow) Everyone is here. A nastier gang of miscreants you’d never see because they wouldn’t let you live. Just look at these case files.

Name: Jack “Legs” Rhinestone

Favorite baby animals: Calves

Favorite Cooking instrument: Wok

Name: Baby Face Half-Nelson

Favorite Sea Creature: Urchins

Favorite Potato Style: Tots

Name: Pizza-Puss Lasanga

Favorite Toy: Dominoes

Favorite Historical Figure: Caesar

Name: Pistol Nose Pringle

Favorite Game: Chutes and Ladders

Favorite Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Name: “Teeth” Malloy

Favorite Looney Tune Character: K-9

Favorite Mode of Transport: Chopper

Bad enough individually, but together, they could only be bested by the best.

Everyone wants to show Rocky how much they respect him, so they got him one of those cakes that has a woman in it. Considering the time period, are you surprised that a flapper comes out? Wait, I recognize that “lady.” It’s Mess! Rocky is fooled and tries to hit on the woman, but she is too focused on her dancing to notice. (She kicks him a bit too. Just for good measure, you understand.) Rocky fires his guns in frustration, and Mess decides to flee. Rocky meanwhile, finds that firing your weapons so recklessly isn’t a good way to keep living henchmen. (At least Mugsy survived.)

The two chase after the rabbit, who leads them into some dark building. They fumble around in the dark a bit, before Mess turns on the lights. It’s a cereal factory that they’re in. Actually, it’s a cereal making machine they’re in. Once Mess starts the machine, the two find themselves boxed up quite nicely. Mess has won! He takes the two away, and they receive a good 20 years of hard labor. Mess, who handcuffed himself to the two is forced to stick around. He’s lost the keys.

Favorite Part: It’s not just one part. I like how they weren’t afraid to kill people in this cartoon. (Which usually portray characters as experiencing way worse and living) They’re portraying dangerous gangsters after all. They refrain from bloodshed, but it still is ballsy to me.

Personal Rating: 4

He was her Man

“Johnny! Where are you?”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Paul Smith and Cal Dalton; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 2, 1937.

Oh, boy. You thought the Censored Eleven were bad? They kind of are. This… this is worse. This was uncomfortable to watch. Hardly any humor, but plenty of… of… heck, I’ll start from the beginning.

In a world of anthropomorphic mice and birds, we find Frankie. Her name is never mentioned in the picture, but she is in a relationship with a guy named Johnny, and she does take a gun on him, so it’s appropriate. Right now though, she is trying to sell apples in the middle of winter. You know, the season of misery. Business isn’t going too well. I mean, one prick just eats it out of her hand without a cent. I’d love to defend her honor.

It’s not just being chivalrous, she’s adorable. Sure, it wouldn’t work out between us, but she really deserves better. She finally sells one, and heads back to her living quarters. She is blindly in love with Johnny Mouse. He’s… well, I’m sorry to break out the foul language, but he’s an asshole. He not only forces her to freeze outside, peddling her wares, he also does nothing to help, takes away every cent she makes, and forces her to do the cooking. And yet, she is still hopelessly obsessed with him.

Seeing as how I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, I can’t pretend I know how awful it is. I do know, that nobody deserves such an awful life, and I wish Frankie knew that. She almost gets an out, too. Johnny sees another mouse doe across the street, and falls for her on the spot. Keeping with his dick cancer ways, he leaves without telling Frankie. (I guess they weren’t married. He’s just a cock ulcer she can’t bare to part with.) Oh, wait. He did leave a note. A very brief, short note that doesn’t tell her anything.

For all she knows, he could have been kidnapped. Or killed. (Not like he doesn’t deserve it.) Still, she’s unhappy. She shouldn’t be. This is her chance to live her own life, but she wants the anus cyst. The poor thing. An unspecified amount of time passes, and Frankie now makes her living singing in a saloon, singing the title song. (The mice who are partaking of the free lunch don’t move until there’s a good shot of them on screen. Just so you know.)

Frankie is still upset. When you know who walks in? That taint scab of a mouse, Johnny. Still with his new doe. And Frankie? She’s excited to see him! What kind of Stockholm syndrome did Johnny employ? This is painful to see! Oh, but it gets better. As Frankie begs him to take her back, he…he…he smacks her right in the face! Sure, her body reacts like a cartoon would, but it isn’t funny. No matter what kind of music they play.

Frankie tries to fight back, but Johnny is relentless. He punches her! Multiple times! He grabs her neck and shakes her around! He feels no remorse either! This…this… this is f*cked up! Frankie happens to find a gun, and well, I can’t say I blame her, but she shoots the rectum tumor. And she immediately feels bad. I mean, it’s a good thing she isn’t happy to have killed someone, but she needs to get away from this guy. He’s vile, he’s awful, he’s…getting up?

Yeah, turns out the bullets just barely grazed him, so he’s still alive. At least Frankie is still angry enough to break a bottle over his head. So, how should we end such an unpleasant cartoon? Have the two switch roles. Johnny sells the apples, while Frankie lounges around. Giving her “lover” another bottle whack whenever he looks at anyone else. She really decided to stay with him. I’m going to have to believe it’s sorely to keep others safe from this fecal pus sack. I think I’ve made my point.

Favorite Part: Well, I guess there was one part that wasn’t too bad. When Frankie climbs the stairs to Johnny’s place, she seems to pass by a Porky cameo. It wasn’t really worth repeating twice more, but at least it keeps the Johnny time limited.

Personal Rating: 1. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this. Go watch UPA’s “Rooty Toot Toot,” instead. It’s a much better retelling of the tragedy of Johnny and Frankie.

Porky’s Bear Facts

“Were you havin’ dinner?”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 29, 1941.

Apart from “Porky in Wackyland,” this might just be the Porky cartoon I’ve seen the most. Because it’s so good, right? No. Because it was always put on VHS tape compilations, due to its public domain status. I’ve seen it on at least five different tapes, and they were all the ugly recolored version. Not a good way to start off my Porky fanboy ways.

Porky is quite the responsible farmer. The weather is nice, so what does he do? Work of course! Plowing his fields, and storing his canned goods. His work ethic spreads to his livestock as well. His chickens lay piles of eggs, and his dog stores his bones. What a hard life. Isn’t there an easier way? Perhaps we should take a peek at the farm across the way there.

This is where our titular bear lives. He’s a lazy, worthless, good-for-nothing sack of sand. So, the most fitting name for him is Landon. (If you got offended by reading that, then you clearly aren’t the guy I’m insulting. I don’t think he can read.) Landon prefers to spend every moment sitting in a chair, singing about how great it is to procrastinate. (I can’t say he doesn’t make it look tempting.) His bad influence spreads, though. His dog can hardly bark at cats, his chickens play mahjong, and his cow reads books. Even the mouse has a hammock.

Still, there is a problem with such a lackadaisical life. Sure, it’s great now, but it’s almost never great later. And time passes. From the lovely, gentle warm days of August, to the one of the worst times to live, January. (I’m aware what month I’m writing in, thank you.) It’s cold, it’s freezing, it’s a miserable time to live through, and the only way you could possibly want to do so is with a full belly. Here’s where Landon’s habits have come back to bite him. He’s got nothing to eat!

All he and his dog can do is imagine the glorious meal they COULD be eating. (You know, was slaughtering his animals not considered work?) Then, there’s a ray of hope. A dog’s nose is phenomenal. Probably only second to sharks and bears. (Awkward.) It catches that telltale whiff. That marvelous scent! THE MOST BASIC, PRIMAL INSTINCT THAT ALL LIVING THINGS ARE AWARE OF! There’s food in the house! To the cans! They search and search, and there efforts are not in vain. They’ve found a bean! And they couldn’t be happier!

Time to eat! Actually, Landon stops his dog from going to town. Not because he’s greedily hoarding their salvation. Quite the opposite in fact. He insists that they say grace and give thanks for finding a means of staving off the grumbling bellies. Very spiritual, but not very practical, for as soon as they have their eyes shut, the mouse from earlier takes it for himself. Landon misses his chance to catch the rodent, and breaks into sobs. Then laughter. Then sobs. (I usually can’t stand the laughing to crying gag. I guess it goes by fast enough to not annoy me.)

The dog decides to get some lines in this picture and points out his master’s decline of sanity. Heck, he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised, if the bear suddenly decided to eat him. Hmm, that IS an idea! Landon is all for it, advancing on his loyal pet with utensils in hand. (His eyes are either closed or gone, but they come back) The poor creature begs for his life, pleading to be spared. (Mel is comedic when his characters get worked up. That man could SHOUT.) Their march takes them all across the way, to Porky’s place. (Who finally shows up again.)

Passing by his window, they spot a lovely feast. Clearly too much for just Porky and his dog to eat. (I’m available.) Landon spares his dog, and they both go to his door to beg. I’ll give the bear credit. He doesn’t invite himself in. He tries to play it innocent, but he can’t even get to the sob story before Porky slams the door on them. Rightfully so! If they aren’t going to take life seriously, then I don’t see why they’d give death much thought. But then, Porky sees his “Love Thy Neighbor” sign, and his conscience begins to prickle. (Be strong, man! I’m sure God wants those bums to suffer! It’s because he loves them!)

Porky gives in, and lets the two inside. They gorge. Later, the bear is plump and happy. (And I won’t lie, as a kid, I thought he ATE Porky. I mean, he pats his stomach whilst saying the pig’s name.) Landon promises to have learnt his lesson, and vows to be a different bear next winter. But wait! Birdsong! Could it be…? Yes! Spring! (Which isn’t much of an upgrade, but it isn’t winter.) Old habits die hard and Landon returns to his porch, to continue wasting time. It’s lucky for him that bears eat grass.

Favorite Part: I like the fact Landon demands they give thanks. Even if it’s just one bean, he’s grateful all the same. It’s a good lesson.

Personal Rating: 3