Bosko in Person

“Gee Bosko, you’re swell!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Bob McKimson. A Looney Tune released on April 10, 1933.

I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I wanted a child. So, I just up and got one. But knowing that he was going to hang around here and occasionally join in the posts, I decided to stick part of my mind in him so he could talk on the same intellectual level as us grownups. Here he is! Introduce yourself. (And use a different font so it is less confusing)

Hᴇʟʟᴏ. Mʏ ɴᴀᴍᴇ ɪs ʙᴏʏ. ᴍʏ ꜰᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ʙᴇ ʙᴏᴛʜᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢɪᴠᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇᴀʟ ɴᴀᴍᴇ, ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ʜᴇ sᴇᴇs ᴍᴇ ᴀs ɴᴏᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ᴀ ᴘᴇᴛ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴄᴀɴ ᴏᴄᴄᴀsɪᴏɴᴀʟʟʏ ᴀssɪsᴛ ɪɴ ʜɪs ᴡᴏʀᴋ.

Children spread the worst lies! Heh heh. (Keep it up and you’ll not be eating tonight.)

Yᴏᴜ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ꜰᴇᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ ᴀɴʏᴡᴀʏ. ᴀɴᴅ ᴄʜɪʟᴅ ᴀʙᴜsᴇ ɪs ɴᴏᴛ ᴀ ᴠᴇʀʏ ʜɪɢʜ ꜰᴏʀᴍ ᴏꜰ ᴄᴏᴍᴇᴅʏ.

Okay, if you’re such a know-it-all on the art of humor, why don’t you write today’s post? In the meantime, I’ll keep making up names for toons that have done.

Wᴇʟʟ, ɪ ɢᴜᴇss ɪ’ᴍ ɪɴ ᴄʜᴀʀɢᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴀʏ. Mɪɢʜᴛ ᴀs ᴡᴇʟʟ ɢᴇᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴡᴏʀᴋ. Iꜰ ɪ ᴅᴏ ᴀ ɢᴏᴏᴅ ᴊᴏʙ, ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴍᴀʏʙᴇ ᴍʏ ꜰᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ᴡɪʟʟ sʜᴀʀᴇ ʜɪs ᴄᴀᴛ ʙᴀᴄᴏɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍᴇ.

Tʜɪs ᴘᴀʀᴛɪᴄᴜʟᴀʀ sʜᴏʀᴛ ᴅᴏᴇsɴ’ᴛ ʙᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ɪᴛsᴇʟꜰ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀɴʏᴛʜɪɴɢ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴘʟᴏᴛ. Iᴛ’s ᴊᴜsᴛ Bᴏsᴋᴏ ᴅᴏɪɴɢ ʜɪs ᴍᴜsɪᴄᴀʟ sʜᴛɪᴄᴋ.

(Don’t forget to mention that his nose seems to shrink while he is playing the piano.)

Wʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏɪɴɢ ʜᴇʀᴇ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ? I ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ I ᴡᴀs ᴏɴ ᴍʏ ᴏᴡɴ.

I just need to be sure that you follow the major rules. #1. Point out inconsistencies. #2. Name characters. and most importantly #3. Give facts about animals whenever you can.

Iɴ ᴄᴀsᴇ ʏᴏᴜ’ᴠᴇ ꜰᴏʀɢᴏᴛᴛᴇɴ, I ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴘᴀʀᴛ ᴏꜰ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴍɪɴᴅ. Tʜᴇ ᴏɴʟʏ ʀᴇᴀʟ ᴅɪꜰꜰᴇʀᴇɴᴄᴇ ʙᴇᴛᴡᴇᴇɴ ᴜs ɪs ᴏᴜʀ ꜰᴏɴᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰᴀᴄᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ꜰᴇʟᴛ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜʀ “ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡs” ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴜsᴇ ᴀɴᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ᴄʜᴀʀᴀᴄᴛᴇʀ.

Speaking of character, stop breaking it!

Tʜᴇɴ ʟᴇᴀᴠᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴀʟᴏɴᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴊᴏʙ.

Fine. But if you get more popular than me, I’m going to bury you in a fire ant hill while you’re coated in honey.

Uɢʜ. I ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʟᴇᴀᴠᴇ. Nᴏᴡ, ʟᴇᴛ’s ᴄᴏɴᴛɪɴᴜᴇ.

Bᴇsɪᴅᴇs ʜɪs ᴘɪᴀɴᴏ ᴘʀᴏᴡᴇss, Bᴏsᴋᴏ ᴀʟsᴏ sʜᴏᴡs ᴏꜰꜰ ʜɪs ᴅᴀɴᴄɪɴɢ sᴋɪʟʟs. Hᴏɴᴇʏ ᴀʟsᴏ ᴊᴏɪɴs ʜɪᴍ ɪɴ ᴀ ᴅᴜᴇᴛ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ʜᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇʏ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴇᴀᴄʜ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ. Sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ɴᴏᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ.

And if you keep acting like this, you never will know.

I GET IT!

Hᴇʀᴇ’s sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ Bᴏsᴋᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴘʀᴏʙᴀʙʟʏ ᴅɪᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ. Aᴘᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛʟʏ, ᴀᴛ ʟᴇᴀsᴛ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏꜰ ʜɪs ɢʟᴏᴠᴇs ɪs ᴀʟɪᴠᴇ. Hᴇ sᴇɴᴅs ɪᴛ ʀᴏʟʟɪɴɢ ᴀᴄʀᴏss ᴛʜᴇ ᴘɪᴀɴᴏ ᴋᴇʏs ʙᴇꜰᴏʀᴇ sᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ ɪᴛ ᴏɴ ʜɪs ᴋɴᴇᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇɴᴄᴏᴜʀᴀɢɪɴɢ ɪᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴇʀꜰʀᴏᴍ.

Wᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ɪᴛ ʙᴇ ɴɪᴄᴇ ᴛᴏ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴋɪɴᴅ ᴏꜰ ᴇɴᴄᴏᴜʀᴀɢᴍᴇɴᴛ?

? I ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ꜰᴏʀ sᴜʀᴇ ʜᴇ’ᴅ ʙᴇ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴛᴏ sᴍᴀᴄᴋ ᴍᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʀᴇᴍᴀʀᴋ. Cʟᴇᴀʀʟʏ, ɪ’ᴠᴇ ʟᴏsᴛ ᴍʏ ᴇᴅɢᴇ.

Hɪs ɢʟᴏᴠᴇ, (Oʜ ᴡᴀɪᴛ, ɪ’ᴍ sᴜᴘᴘᴏsᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢɪᴠᴇ ɪᴛ ᴀ ɴᴀᴍᴇ. ᴀʜʜʜʜʜʜʜ, ᴡᴏᴡ. Tʜɪs ɪs ʜᴀʀᴅᴇʀ ᴛʜᴀɴ ɪᴛ ʟᴏᴏᴋs. Mᴀʏʙᴇ ɪ’ᴍ ɴᴏᴛ ᴀs ᴛᴀʟᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴀs I ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ.)

Hᴇʏ, ᴅᴀᴅ? Wʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ɴᴀᴍᴇ ᴀ ɢʟᴏᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴄᴏᴍᴇs ᴛᴏ ʟɪꜰᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇᴄɪᴛᴇs “Mᴀʀʏ ʜᴀᴅ ᴀ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ʟᴀᴍʙ”?

Edison.

Wᴏᴡ. ᴊᴜsᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ? ɪᴍ ʜᴜᴍʙʟᴇᴅ.

Eᴅɪsᴏɴ ɪs ʜᴇsɪᴛᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴇʀꜰᴏʀᴍ, ʙᴜᴛ ʜᴇ ᴇᴠᴇɴᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ ᴄᴏᴍᴇs ᴛʜʀᴏᴜɢʜ. Hɪs ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇ sᴏᴜɴᴅs ᴊᴜsᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ ᴠɪᴏʟɪɴ. Iꜰ I ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʜɪᴍ ᴀs ᴀ ᴘᴇᴛ, I ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ.

Hᴇ ʜᴏᴘs ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴏɴᴛᴏ Bᴏsᴋᴏ’s (ᴡʜɪᴛᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴀ ʙʀɪᴇꜰ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅ) ʜᴀɴᴅ, ᴀɴᴅ Bᴏsᴋᴏ ɴᴇxᴛ ᴛʀɪᴇs ᴛᴏ ᴘᴜʟʟ ᴏꜰꜰ sᴏᴍᴇ ᴅᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴍᴏᴠᴇs. Iᴛ ᴅᴏᴇsɴ’ᴛ ʟᴏᴏᴋ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀʀᴅ, ʙᴜᴛ ʜᴇ ᴋᴇᴇᴘs ꜰᴀʟʟɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ʜɪs ʀᴇᴀʀ ᴇɴᴅ. Hᴏɴᴇʏ ᴄᴏᴍᴇs ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ʜᴇʀ sʜᴀʀᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ sʜᴏᴡs ᴏꜰꜰ ʜᴇʀ Tᴇss Gᴀʀᴅᴇʟʟᴀ ᴀɴᴅ Gʀᴇᴛᴀ Gᴀʀʙᴏ ɪᴍᴘʀᴇssɪᴏɴs. Bᴏsᴋᴏ sʜᴏᴡs ᴏꜰꜰ ʜɪs ᴛᴏᴏ. Dᴏɪɴɢ ʜɪs Cʜᴇᴠᴀʟɪᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ Dᴜʀᴀɴᴛᴇ ɪᴍᴘʀᴇssɪᴏɴs. Tᴏ ᴇɴᴅ ᴛʜɪɴɢs ᴏꜰꜰ, Bᴏsᴋᴏ ɢᴏᴇs ᴀʟʟ ᴏᴜᴛ. Pʟᴀʏɪɴɢ ᴀs ᴍᴀɴʏ ɪɴsᴛʀᴜᴍᴇɴᴛs ᴀs ʜᴇ ᴄᴀɴ, ᴡʜɪʟᴇ Hᴏɴᴇʏ ᴅᴏᴇs sᴏᴍᴇ ᴋɪɴᴅ ᴏꜰ sᴛʀᴏʙᴇ ᴅᴀɴᴄᴇ. Bᴏsᴋᴏ ᴛʀɪᴇs ʜɪs ɪᴍᴘᴏssɪʙʟᴇ ᴅᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴍᴏᴠᴇ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ, ʙᴜᴛ ᴛʜɪs ᴛɪᴍᴇ, ʜᴇ ꜰᴀʟʟs ᴏꜰꜰ ᴛʜᴇ sᴛᴀɢᴇ.

Tʜᴇʀᴇ. Nᴏᴡ, ʟᴇᴛ’s sᴇᴇ ɪꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀɴ ɪs sᴀᴛɪsꜰɪᴇᴅ.

I must admit, you’ve done a great job.

Dᴀᴅ? Yᴏᴜ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ʜᴇʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇ?

Nope, but seeing as how we share a mind, I knew that if you were really my son, you’d type what I wanted to see. I’m proud of you.

Dᴏᴇs ᴛʜɪs ᴍᴇᴀɴ I ᴄᴀɴ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇᴀʟ ɴᴀᴍᴇ?

Nope. Have some cat bacon. It’s much tastier than the pork kind.

Wᴇʟʟ, I ɢᴜᴇss ɪ’ᴠᴇ ʟᴇᴀʀɴᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜɪs ʙʟᴏɢ ɪsɴ’ᴛ ᴀs ᴇᴀsʏ ᴀs ɪᴛ ᴍᴀʏ sᴇᴇᴍ. Aᴛ ʟᴇᴀsᴛ I ɢᴏᴛ ꜰᴇᴅ.

Hope you enjoyed hearing from him. I’ll be doing the rest of the posts, but you’ll definitely see him again sometimes.

Personal Rating: 2

Ride Him, Bosko!

“Howdy Bosko!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Norm Blackburn. Musical Score by Frank Marsales. A Looney Tune released on January 16, 1933.

At night in a desert, Bosko rides a horse and does what he does best: sing. His ultimate destination is Red Gulch. (“Where men are men, nine times out of ten.”) It really is a place for only the most hardened of man types. A pig walks by a saloon without coming in to buy anything. He is smashed over the head with a liquor bottle. A dachshund does the same thing out of the arms range. The majority of his body is shot off. Real tough place. So, naturally, Bosko will fit right in.

I joke, but it seems that Bosko really is one of the gang. (Even if they greet him with several bullets through his hat) With the regular piano guy out for the time being, Bosko fills in and plays “She’ll be comin’ round the mountain.” and everyone has a great time. But Bosko doesn’t have a partner. Where could she be? She’s comin.’ (Not round the mountain, but comin’ nonetheless) Honey (who else would it have been? Roxy? Fluffy? ?oppih gnikalt sdrawckab ehT) rides along in a stagecoach that doesn’t appear to have any axles attached to its wheels. That doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but I found it amusing. (If this is the first post you read, you’ll grow accustomed to me going off on many tangents.)

As it makes its way to town, it is being watched by bandits. (Who ride rabid horses, if the foaming mouths are anything to go by.) Since the driver of the coach isn’t going to pull over to be robbed, they give chase. In the process, the driver is thrown off, leaving Honey trapped in a runaway vehicle with gun toting characters and horses that can transmit deadly incurable diseases with their teeth. Also the mortgage is due, and she is about to miscarriage Bosko’s child. (Well, not those last two)

The driver makes it back to town and alerts our hero of whats going on. Wait! I’ve got this! Let me say it! “Ride Her, Bosko!” (D*mn) He gets going and heads to her rescue. And then, probably the most meta of jokes happens in the history of Looney Tunes: the screen pulls back to show Harman, Ising and Freleng looking over their work. Unfortunately, they don’t have any ideas on how to end the picture, so they just head home, leaving a confused Bosko behind.

Personal Rating: 3, but that brilliant ending does tempt me to give it a 4

We’re in the Money

“♪We’ve got a lot of what it takes to get along!♪”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Larry Martin; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on August, 26 1933.

It’s night, it’s late, and it’s time to close up the department store. With all humans now vacated from the premises, the merchandise can come to life. Well, they could do that during the day too, but it’d be really awkward. (Either asking to be bought and being refused, or certain products not being aware of their purpose until its too late. I’ll leave it at that, use YOUR imagination for once)

They toys start up some music. You’d think it would be hard to play instruments several sizes larger than you are, but they make it work. Although some of the instruments require more than one of them to play, and in the case of the trombone, they have to use a bike pump to blow the air into it. Hope you enjoy the title tune, they’re playing nothing but for the majority of the short.

The toys aren’t the only ones having fun. Many of the clothes and mannequins also dance to the beat. (As best as they can, seeing as how none of them have complete bodies. By human standards. They aren’t missing any of their parts, despite the lack of limbs. I don’t know where I’m going with this tangent, but it’s nowhere relevant.) Even the coins in the cash registers join in. They have every right to, as in their own words: “They are the money.” One doll plays dress-up and shows her best Mae West impression.

One mannequin actually has a full humanoid body, so he can dance with the best the human race has to offer. (Maybe even top them, as his feet can also function as wheels.) Standing in front of mirrors, he now is part of a quartet to sing the title song. And his talent isn’t limited to dance. He plays every piano in the store. But he gets a little too carried away and crashes into a shelf and getting caught in a avalanche of hat boxes.

(And what if you come to this store but you aren’t “In the money?” Clearly, they mount your severed head as a reminder to those who try to be frugal. Why else are Laurel and Hardy’s heads there?)

Personal Rating: 2

You don’t know what you’re doin’

“O.K. baby!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Norm Blackburn; Music by Gus Arnheim’s Brunswick Recording Orchestra. A Merrie Melody released on October 21, 1931.

With Foxy gone, we needed somebody to take the Merrie reigns. A character named Piggy was given a shot for two shorts, but afterwards Merrie Melodies weren’t stuck with just one character anymore. Piggy himself doesn’t have much of a personality to set him apart from other toons of the time. He stole a pair of Mickey’s pants, but that’s about the most interesting thing we know about him. (Please note: this Piggy is not related to the Piggy Hamhock who would appear later in the decade for a couple of shorts. Warner Bros. just had a thing for piggies.)

One night, hundreds of thousands of a crowd are heading for a night at a vaudeville theater. Piggy included. But first, he needs to pick up his girlfriend, Fluffy. (A great name. If their is one thing pigs are known for, it’s their thick fleecy coats.) They head to the show and listen to some of the music. But Piggy is a bit of a musical snob, and accuses the musicians of the title of the short. He figures he could do better, and takes the stage. I’m not a musician, so I can’t say for sure, but I think he sounds pretty good. I guess I’m in the minority, as the crowd isn’t too happy with him. Especially a trio of drunks.

Even though it’s clear they’ve been drinking, and their senses dulled, they think he kind of sucks. They sing the title theme, with Piggy arguing that they are just jealous, and the drunks continue to claim he has no talent. (Fluffy has just disappeared by this point, a shame that no one besides me is willing to defend her boyfriend) Eventually, the lead drunk (A name? How about… Tyler? Tipsy Tyler.) falls onto the stage. He breathes some booze breath at Piggy, and the stuff is potent enough to get him sauced as well.

Now, that he is a slave to the alcohol, Piggy takes the drunk’s drink and runs. With the wino in hot pursuit, Piggy pours some of the drink in a car, and tries to make a getaway. (Seeing as how he came to the theater in a scooter, he is clearly stealing now) For a creative touch, we see how the world looks through their eyes: the world is in waves. The road rises and falls, and it makes for a real wild ride. A clock dances, and a sewer grate becomes a monster. Piggy loses the car, and he and the drunk end up in  a pickup truck. Not wanting to carry them, the vehicle dumps the blissful drunks in a dump. (I think Piggy is going to be a little late picking Fluffy up)

What a fun short! Catchy music, trippy visuals, and fun gags! And so early in the Looney Tunes run! This proves they had what it took to make it in Hollywood. And look how it all turned out in the end. Possibly the most well known characters in animation history!

Personal Rating: 4

Bosko’s Picture Show

“Howdy, howdy, howdy folks!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Max Maxwell. A Looney Tune released on September 18, 1933.

Bosko is such a musical fellow, it only makes sense that he’d have a job supplying music for entire audiences. And in the era where silent movies were still in the public’s memory, (and a few were still around) we find him playing the organ for such a venue. And he invites us to sing along! So join in the fun! “We’re in the money!” is what we’ll sing.

Please tell me you sang. We love music around here. After such a fun opening number, we sadly have to tone it down a bit and see a news reel. A peace conference is in effect. Look at the pummeling! (Things must be getting better.) People still flock to California’s beaches despite the snow, and a boxer plans a comeback, even though he needs at least one arm to hold his walking stick.

We see footage from a dog race. (Which in itself is taken from “Bosko’s Dog Race”) with the Marx brothers playing a role as dogcatchers. (Odd. But at least they allowed Zeppo to join in the fun this time) And after being told that a famous screen lover is on a European vacation, we get a really weird joke about Hitler chasing Durante with an ax. (…wha?…) Back to the fun things! How about a Haurel and Lardy short? I think Haurel is the fat one, because it would be too obvious if he was Lardy. Today, they are going to steal a pie off a windowsill. But they get to arguing who will eat it, and Lardy smashes it in his friends face. In turn, he is smacked on the head. (And I don’t think his collar has a shirt attached to it, but that’s just me.)

Time for the feature film. A TNT picture called “He Done Her Dirt. (And How!)” Starring Bosko’s girl, Honey! And I just realized that I never gave her a proper post, so let’s do that now.

Honey was Bosko’s girlfriend. She was born to be a love interest and that is all she ever was.

What? What do you mean that doesn’t count? It’s my website! She fits my “five appearances rule” but she doesn’t have enough character to warrant description. She was made to be a love interest and that’s all she ever was. (part 2) She was just Bosko with a dress, high heels, eyelashes, and a bow. (Neither of them was known for wearing shirts.) But if you really need more Honey in your life, here’s a shot of her when she appeared on “Tiny Toons”

As you might have guessed, the “black person” angle wasn’t going to go over so well in the nineties, so he and Bosko were redesigned as generic dog creatures. (And they had the audacity to claim she was Warner Bros. “first female star.” There was no such thing. Sexist it may be, but people tend to freak out if a female receives slapstick.) Let’s return to our regular post, shall we?

Honey is riding a bike. (And the Marx’s are there again. They heard me say “generic dog creature” and needed to check it out for themselves.) The villain of the piece is called Dirty Dalton. Hey, wansn’t that also the name of a Hanna-Barberra character?

I already knew it was. You didn’t need to add that, me.

As I was saying, Bosko is not too keen to see the villain. I know what it sounds like, but I swear he says “The dirty fox.” (Whats this in the gutter? Why, it’s your mind! You should really keep it out of there) Bosko is loyal to his soulmate and is going to save her, whether it’s reality or not. He jumps through the screen to rescue her. Normally, that would result in him entering the movie, but real world rules are applied this time, and he just tears a hole in it. At least, that seemed to work.

Personal Rating: 2

One More Time

“Oh, bologna!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Paul Smith; with Abe Lyman and His Brunswick Recording Orchestra. A Merrie Melody released on October 3, 1931.

Well, seems Walt wasn’t too fond of characters looking an awful lot like his own Mickey. Because of this, Foxy would only appear this “one more time.” Well, until he would appear decades later on Tiny Toons. By then people were extra careful to make him look different from a mouse. With pointier ears and snout. (But at least he wasn’t as blatant a rip off as Milton Mouse.)

(Disney may have killed him off rather quickly, but he’ll live forever in my nightmares)

For his last appearance, Foxy is a cop. And he patrols some pretty nasty streets. He is nearly killed several times. Either by being hit by car or just flat out being shot at. But he’s not unarmed. He has a gun that fires a mouse with a hammer at assailants. But even the non-criminal citizens are causing some trouble. Another hippo (this one speaks mostly in “wahs”) is having some road rage with another Mickey clone. (They are popping up everywhere today) Eventually, she accidentally runs over Foxy and he gives chase.

When she pulls over, she begs and pleads to not be given a ticket. Foxy doesn’t really buy her story, but he does forego on the ticket. (Instead, he just shoves her head in a trash can.) Roxy is making one more appearance too and her dog happily greets the scared vulpine. (Being several years before Disney would prove that a fox and a hound could get along, you can understand Foxy’s terror) The three take a break to enjoy some impromptu music.

Another hippo, meanwhile, has just been robbed. The cops give chase, with Foxy leading the pack. The criminal may seem pretty small, but after entering a pipe, he is not only larger, but accompanied by three other crooks. A grenade is hurled that takes care of the other officers. (I think it kills them. It at least knocked the flesh off their legs.) They also fox-nap Roxy which just gives Foxy even more reason to give chase. He takes a robot horse from a penny arcade and gets her back. With the criminals now chasing him, he tricks them into running into a prison. But he hasn’t completely won. The driver managed to escape and shoots Foxy in the butt. (What a way to make your final appearance!)

Personal Rating: 3

The Booze Hangs High

“Get back!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Paul Smith. A Looney Tune released in December, 1930.

Like all the best cartoons of the time, this one opens with a close up of a cow’s behind. (And you think I joke about that happening more than once. It’s how the Mickey’s first short “Plane Crazy” was introduced. Fitting, considering Harman and Ising came from Disney)

Bosko dances with the cow, and it seems like they might be best of friends. But when the cow’s pants fall… hide falls… when its underwear is shown, Bosko can’t help but laugh. The cow leaves in a huff. (Believe me, I’m tempted to write “hoof.”) A nearby horse found the scene funny and it seems as if Bosko will have a friend to play with after all. And I do mean “play with.” Bosko pulls the horse’s tail taught and uses it as a stringed instrument. (And despite the fact that the horse is pulling a wagon that Bosko is sitting on, the harness disappears. (Don’t worry. It comes back)

While Bosko continues to entertain himself and us, (playing air banjo with a pitchfork) a family of ducks are out for a merry stroll. I only bring this up because its another example of toilet humor being subtle in Looney Tunes. A duckling crosses its legs, so we can tell it’s uncomfortable. Its mother pulls a flap of its down down, like a pair of pants, so we can tell the problem is related to its hind quarters. And it walks off screen, so we can guess that whatever the problem is, it’s personal and we don’t need any direct mention of it. A million and more times better than how the feature length films did it. (No, I’m not ever letting that go.)

Back on topic, three pigs are hungry. Judging by their relative sizes, and the fact the biggest one has a deep voice, I’ll guess they’re father and sons. Bosko empties a trash can for them to eat. The piglets find a bottle of booze in the stuff. (Look at that! The title character finally showed up!) Are the piglets just curious about their find? Or are they excited? Considering prohibition was still in effect at the time, I choose the latter.

All three of the swine take a swig and the drink works its magic. They fling the bottle away, and it hits Bosko and he gets affected too. He goes to join the swine song. As they croon, the biggest pig accidentally coughs up  a corn cob. He puts it back where it belongs though. (That’s not a belly button. It’s a door knob.) Apparently regurgitating food is censor worthy as that scene was cut from TV airings. Quite stupid as the short ends after that. (And Bosko’s nose turns white)

Not the best of Bosko’s shorts, but still enjoyable. You can’t go wrong with drunk animals.

Personal Rating: 2

Smile, Darn Ya, Smile

“Boil, darn ya, boil!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Max Maxwell; Music by Abe Lyman and His Californians.  A Merrie Melody released on September 5, 1931. (This is the earliest short we know the air date of)

Yes, this is the same song the toons sing in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and what better character to have star in a short that’s title theme was used in a Disney movie, than a guy who looks like he ran away from Ub Iwerk’s sketchbook? Remember Foxy? I’ve mentioned him before. He still looks an awful lot like a mouse. But he’s acting like a lucky rabbit. Here, he is running a trolley. (And he’s sure to have some troubles)

His first customer is a hippo. The perfect choice for making fat jokes. (sdarwkcab secnetnes reh fo lla syas ehs kniht I ,oslA) Foxy takes a pin out of her hat and stabs her. Rather extreme, but she does shrink. (Not due to a large loss of blood, but all the air she had in her.) Even though she is now compact enough to take a ride, she is cross with the fox for some reason. He couldn’t care less. He has rounds to make. And besides then he’d have to share his alone time with his girlfriend, Roxy. (Who’s not even waiting at any station. But when you date the conductor, you get special privileges.)

Life is just so grand, that they start singing the title song. (Early Merrie Melodies were like that. The title just referred to a song that would be sung) Even the ads printed on the trolley’s side join in. But the fun is short lived. As cartoon law dictates, “If you shall find yourself on tracks, then you shall find a cow blocking your way. And chances are, she’ll be really ugly.” (Look, Foxy has a cute hat now!) Even the hoboes that live under the bridge laugh at his misfortune. (When your Lyme disease keeps you from sleeping soundly, you have to find humor wherever you can.) Foxy’s trolley takes a running start, and jumps under the cow. (That’s not a typo. That’s funny.)

Now without his hat, Foxy should have no problems showing his girl a good time. But he wasn’t watching where he was going, and he is knocked out when the trolley enters a tunnel. (To quote Spyro 2: “Trouble with the trolley, eh?”) He tries to tie it down with a rope, but it just drags him back to it. Despite Roxy pleading for him to stop, it apparently has no brakes! And worse yet, the tracks lead to a cliff! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Then Foxy wakes up. It was all a dream. (One of the earlier times this cliche was used, so I’ll forgive it.) And why was that catchy song in his dream? His radio was playing it. Not amused, Foxy kills it with a bedpost.

Personal Rating: 3

Congo Jazz

“Hello.”

Animation by Max Maxwell and Paul Smith; Music by Frank Marsales. A Looney Tune released in October, 1930.

Only his second short and Bosko decides that he is capable of hunting. (Because he is just a bos like that) Killing is a lot more difficult than one may think, though. And Bosko certainly doesn’t look like he has the nerve. He can’t take more than two and a half steps without screaming. But he has good reason to be scared. Despite the title suggesting he is in Africa, there is a tiger behind him. And Bosko does look quite delicious. When Bosko does notice the cat (and his color changing claws) he tries to run. Tigers apparently run faster on two legs, as it chases him down.

Like most early cartoon characters, Bosko’s main ability is being able to generate music from whatever he may have on hand. In this case, it is an actual musical instrument. (Heck if I know what it is. It’s no animal.) As is well known, music soothes the savage beast, and Bosko is able to save himself. Even playing a quick round of patty-cake with the feline. But, it is still a wild and potentially dangerous animal, so he has no other choice but to kick it off a cliff. Hunting clearly is not his strong point. So he seems to settle for just admiring the wonders of nature. And there are a pair of adorable monkeys that warm his heart playing leapfrog nearby. (They look like new-world monkeys. I thought he was in the part of India called the Congo for some reason.)

Bosko gets closer. One of the simians sees him and bolts, but the other one ends up in Bosko’s hands. In reality, Bosko would probably suffer many nasty bites, but this monkey is a bit more tame. But he still doesn’t like Bosko petting him, so he spits in his eye. Angered, Bosko spanks the monkey. (Literally. I hope nobody thought that I was being figurative.) That wasn’t the smartest choice though, there is an angry gorilla behind him. (So, he IS in Africa?) He doesn’t appreciate Bosko disciplining his… well, not kids. But I guess they are still closely related. Or it could be that Bosko is catching wild animals. Regardless of the reason, he looks pissed. Bosko offers him some chewing gum. Despite being one of the most disgusting things one can play with, Bosko and the ape do just that. Making music again. (It really helps soothe angry animals)

Heck, the music is so good, that lots of animals come to listen and join in. (One of which is a kangaroo. In Afrindiamerica. Is Bosko just in a zoo? Did he just release all the animals to play with them?) Even the plants can’t help but join in. One tree in particular does a sexy dance. (You can tell its female, because male trees don’t have breasts. Plants have the same rules as animals, right?) “Her” dance is a bit too wild though, and one of her fruits snaps free. (Even if fruit are meant to do that, it still looked painful) The coconut hits Bosko on the head, to the amusement of some hyenas. Luckily, Bosko is a good sport, and he laughs along with them.

Personal Rating: 3

Bosko the Doughboy

“I’ll get you!”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Max Maxwell. A Looney Tune released in 1931.

Heh, no one even uses the term “doughboy” anymore. Regardless, after the title is blown up, we see a war at hand. Not quite on time to be part of WWI, and still too early to be part of WWII. It’s just a nondescript battle with no clear answers. Even we in the audience aren’t safe, as we get shot in the face! A cannon goes through rigor mortis after being shot, and a bird has to take a long clear look at his gaping wound that cuts right through him, before realizing he’s dead. And where’s our main character? In his foxhole eating beans. (Close your mouth when you chew, Bosko. We don’t need to see that. Sometimes, it’s good that animation was not yet in color) His lunch is also shot and he has to make do with stealing cheese from a mousetrap. But he’s not going to let that get him down, he has a woman waiting for him after all! He happily kisses his picture of Honey, before that is shot too. A horse on his side tries to cheer him up with some harmonica playing. While they dance, a dog is in agony because of a flea (I think. It might be a tick) attacking him. Bosko solves this problem by getting the dog’s helmet riddled with bullet holes. This leaves a nice and jagged scratching device. (That would tear through a human’s skin. Isn’t being a toon wonderful?) Then, a fresh wave of firing comes down upon them. Bosko is attacked by a bomb dropping pelican. He fights back by sticking a bomb in the dog’s mouth, pulling on his hindquarters whilst he hangs from a tree, and firing at the bird and its mouse pilot. (The victory is short lived as the dog’s body is torn apart by the enemies fire, leaving him much shorter than before.) Bosko charges forward, ducking into another hole with a hippo to avoid the shots. (Which are primarily coming from some birds in their nest.) The hippo tries to fight back, but a cannon launches a ball down his throat. Bosko sets up a surrender flag made of some long underwear, but the cannon fires anyway. Upon noticing it now has a cannonball inside it, the underwear runs to the cannon and returns it. Thus, destroying the thing. With his path now cleared, Bosko runs over to help his ally. He’s no doctor, but he knows how to save the brave hippo’s life: just unzip him and pull the ball out. They laugh, but the cannonball explodes. (They don’t do that right? I’m no expert.) This sadly leaves Bosko in blackface.

Personal Rating: 3