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.

Thumb Fun

“WHOA-HO-HO-HOOOOOOO, NELLY!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Bob Wickersham; Layouts by Peter Alvarado; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 1, 1952.

Daffy scoffs at the idea of flying south for the winter. I mean, it’s not like ducks are champion endurance flyers. While the common mallards will waste time AND energy, Daffy will get south the way evolution intended him to: hitchhiking. Nobody is offering rides though, and Daffy is reduced to having to paint a fake canyon in the road. (Nice use of perspective. Really brings to mind the works of the masters.)

One driver stops. His name is Porky Pig. Even though he was only stopping to avoid a potential crash, Daffy takes that as an offer to ride. He even fills the trunk with his excess luggage. (What does he even have in there? He’s not even wearing clothes. And to think people harp on Porky’s lack of pants.) There’s not much room, but Daffy makes do. When Porky takes a peek, suitcases fly everywhere. What a start.

They get going, but find they aren’t the only ones on the road. There’s a driver who wants to pass them. Now, Porky has no reason to give in. He got where he was first, and the other driver is acting like an a-hole with a horn. But this is Porky Pig we’re talking about. Friend to the common man and road jerks alike. He wants to let the guy pass, but Daffy shares my sentiments and continuously steers the car back in front. This goes on for awhile, until the other driver crashes into our stars.

Porky is not happy this has happened, but Daffy isn’t worried. The other car is ridiculously small, so the driver ought to be just as well. Said driver is not only tall, but pissed. It’s not enough that kids find his appearance while driving a vehicle humorous, but now he has to find another comediacally small car. Daffy’s reaction is great: he acts like groveling dog. I guess the big guy finds this endearing, because he lets Daffy live. He gives Porky a punch.

After they get going again, Daffy complains at the lack of speed. Porky is a responsible driver, and refuses to speed. Daffy steps on the gas himself, and that’s when the cop shows up. (It’s the universal law.) Daffy has a plan: he tells the officer that Porky has “something” in the trunk. Knowing all too well what will happen, Porky begs for the man to NOT look in the trunk. This doesn’t help matters, it only makes him look more suspicious. The cop takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Before Daffy can get Porky to flee, they are nabbed.

They’re brought in to Muddville. (Where there is no joy. It’s their slogan.) Not surprisingly, Porky gets off easy. A fine of $2.00. (Sweet!) Daffy is angry to hear it, and goes to fight. This ends up costing Porky an extra fifty. Daffy still feels that’s a victory. Porky has had it, but plays it cool. In fact, he ups and buys Daffy a present. But the fun in giving is seeing the surprise on the giftee’s face. Therefore, Porky refuses to let Daffy have it right away. He stuffs it in the trunk.

Daffy’s greed gets the better of him. He takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Porky takes his chance, and drives away. Daffy is able to take some solace in still having the present. He opens it up to find: a novelty hitchhiking thumb. (Wah-wah.) Come winter, Daffy is still desperately waving his thumb. One of these two things has got to give first: the season, or Daffy’s life.

Favorite Part: The man who pulls over for a hitchhiking Daffy, just to tell him that he never picks his kind up. (It really is a shame that so many dickweeds ruined trolling for the rest of us. It’s actually quite humorous when done right.)

Personal Rating: 4

Daffy’s Inn Trouble

“This will put ‘im outta busineth, but permanently!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and George Grandpre; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 23, 1961.

Daffy isn’t pleased with where his life is. Yeah, that’s nothing new, but really, who wouldn’t be upset if their occupation was nothing more than one who sweeps the floor of an inn? Considering who the boss is, I wouldn’t! Porky is a great guy to work for. Benefits, paid vacations, insurance coverage, and he’ll even give you a present on the odd occasion! Daffy is eager at first, but quickly sours when he sees the new broom Porky is gifting.

That does it! Daffy will start his own inn! With Blackjack! And Hookers! (No, not really. I just like to quote “Futurama.” But he really is building an inn.) Porky is a bit confused that Daffy is doing this, but is still a good guy, and wishes the new competition all the best. Daffy isn’t worried in the slightest. In fact, there’s a gentleman right now! With two locations right across from each other, how could he choose? Daffy will help with that, and brings him to his location. Turns out, this is a robbery, and Daffy loses his cash register.

Business at Porky’s is booming! Which is a bit odd, as Daffy is offering free refreshments. What could Porky possibly have that beats that? Live action dancers! They have actual depth! (Just try to imagine a hottie from the tenth dimension. You’d be attracted in ways you can’t even wrap your brain around.) Daffy can top that! He’ll dress in drag and dance himself! It attracts quite the crowd. (It’s a little known fact that all cowboys are bird furries. Er, featheries? I’m not curious enough to look it up.) When the record starts to skip, his lip-syncing is revealed, and the tomato throwing commences.

Yep, Porky is pretty much unbeatable. Daffy tries to save face by suggesting they be partners. Porky turns him down because he is already quite successful. Daffy decides to just destroy his place. Since Porky’s inn is located at the base of a cliff, Daffy can drop a boulder, and it will look like an accident. However, he chooses the bounciest boulder he could find, and he ends up destroying his own place. R.I.P. Daffy’s Inn. (Trouble) Today-Today.

Well, if Daffy’s out of a place, then the only logical action is to destroy Porky’s business still. Dressed in drag once more, Daffy smuggles a bomb into the place and orders some lunch. (Did he just order Foie gras? Even if he’s not really going to eat it, that seems like something he wouldn’t want to even mention. Especially since Porky has no problem preparing it.) Daffy plants the bomb and bolts, but is upset to find Porky has followed to ask if “she” meant to order no drink. (So, yes, Daffy was trying to kill Porky.)

The bomb goes off, and destroys Porky’s place, but better than that, strikes oil! Porky’s rich! What will he do with the wealth? Not retire, but expand and relocate his building! He’s even willing to hire Daffy back. In fact, with such a large building, Daffy can even have his own office! Of course, it’s a broom closet as he is still the janitor.

Favorite Part: When Porky turns Daffy’s team-up down, Daffy pulls out a gun. We know this won’t work, but before we can theorize how things will backfire, Daffy accidentally shoots himself in the head.

Personal Rating: 3

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

Buddy the Woodsman

“Take it away!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Paul Smith and Don Williams; Music by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on October 20, 1934.

I feel like I should warn you, that clip has clearly been cut. (Heh. Logging joke) It was the only copy of this cartoon I could find. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be dignifying it with a viewing. Tell you what. If someone can get me a full copy, I’ll happily redo this post in case I missed any important details.

Woodsman, nothing. Woodsmen abound! Buddy isn’t the only one, as he has a whole team. (Or rather, he’s part of the team. I’m not quite sure.) So, we’ll start with some sawing gags. (See those two guys? Yeah, the ones who phase off the cel and to the right. I don’t trust them.) Some of Buddy’s teammates include those who saw logs while sawing logs, (sleeping.) another jab at homosexuals, (Really, Buddy? You’re making this kind of joke, again? It wasn’t funny the first time.) and one who cuts a tree with a deli slicer. (Or, forest slicer? Does it need to be in a deli to qualify?)

There’s Buddy. I swear, he’s smiling even more than usual. It makes me want to deck him. (It’s rare for a day to go by where I don’t feel that way towards somebody.) He takes part in some of the jobs, but seeing as how it would be boring to watch him just do one task, he does a little bit of everything. Mowing trunks into toothpicks, cutting another tree with a saw jump-rope,  and kicking a goat. Oh, that has a purpose. He’s going to trick the goat into cutting some boards for him with its horns. (I must say, I had never wanted to see Buddy smack his @$$ before. And I don’t now. I’m not into this!)

RANDOM SHOT OF TWO GUYS CHOPPING A TOTEM POLE!……….Jerks.

You know, working isn’t too bad when you have music. (As a librarian, I’m always grumpy for this reason.) Buddy makes a xylophone out of some logs, and the music is so great, that a totem pole breaks into segments so it/they can all dance. (Was that why we got that shot earlier? I think we’d have still accepted it had we not established it existed) CHOW TIME! As lumberjacks that are okay, sleep all night, and work all day, it only makes sense that they would also possess huge appetites. They all rush for some grub.

Some girl is their server. I want to say this is Cookie, but the hair is wrong. (And it makes her look like a seven-year-old.) I suppose I’ll have to name her something similar. Let’s call her Biscuit. Either there is two of her, or there was another cut scene. She can’t be behind Buddy, then carrying the food simultaneously! The food must be quite delicious, as the aromas attract the attention of a tree bear. (You know, kind of like a black bear, or a brown bear, but not.) It comes to dinner and gets rid of pretty much everyone. (They just fall into the floorboards.)

RANDOM CIRCLE WIPE! I don’t know what we missed, but I can play detective. The bear startles the racially insensitive cook, then we cut to said bear eating something. There’s only one place that cook could possibly be now. (Such violence! Maybe the cut was necessary after all.) Biscuit gets some credit. Upon seeing the ursine she doesn’t scream, or do anything over the top. She tells it to scram. She hides under the table after it licks her. (Good move. The chef would agree if he could)

Buddy? You want to take care of it? Sure, the bear seems friendly enough, but the smart thing really, is to remove him from the premises. You shouldn’t be interacting with wild animals in such a manner. Buddy freakin’ punches the bear! (And that’s why we call him “Bear Puncher.” He earned that title) The bear isn’t too pleased, especially as the punch sends him into a stove, and gets a pipe stuck on his snout. Buddy uses pepper! (I don’t know why they bothered to label it as “hot.” They don’t make any mention of the Scoville heat units, it may possess. They just do the sneezing bit normally associated with pepper.)

Biscuit has a gun! She’s also a pretty good shot! Gets that bear right in his rump, she does. Buddy helps too. He uses a piano stool to raise the bear up, break through the ceiling, and flee back to the safety of the forest. Is a bear scared sh*tless in the woods? You bet!

Favorite Part: The first shot of a tree falling down. Such perspective shots are something you don’t see in cartoons that often. At least not in these days.

Personal Rating: 2

Porky and Daffy

“I’m so crazy, I don’t know this is impossible.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert Cannon and John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on August 6, 1938.

After slapstick, there’s no truer sense of comedy, then the kind you find in the straight man/ funny man duo. Laurel and Hardy. Abbot and Costello. Or maybe my favorite: Daffy and Porky. (Bet you thought I was going to title drop today’s short, didn’t ya?)

They’re living together in this picture, because Daffy is a boxer and Porky is his manager. (So naturally, Porky gets the better mailbox. Helps hold his fan mail. Only 99% is from me.) The paper delivers some decent news. (Wouldn’t that be a nice change? Aren’t cartoons the best?) Looks like there’s a champion boxer who is willing to take on anyone who’s willing to get in the ring with him. This is the break “Porky and Daffy” (Supervision by Robert Clampett) have been waiting for!

Porky rushes to deliver the news to his client, but Daffy is asleep. Quite the heavy sleeper at that. Porky knows what to do! (I love his little idea face. I’ve been copying it ever since I first saw this cartoon back in 2010.) Using only a pan lid and a spoon, Porky wakes his champion fighter up. Let’s skip to the match, shall we? I doubt the training could be half as fun as the fight. Seeing as that’s our next scene, I think Clampett’s team agrees with me. (What’s that white shape in the crowd shot? It’s so conspicuous.)

Who is this champ anyway? That scrawny, skinny, nothing of a rooster? He’s struggling to breathe! Anyone could take this guy. I could take this guy. (To Popeye’s, preferably. The chicken shack, not the sailor man.) Porky puts his pugilistic pal in the ring. This should be a short… uh-oh. Seems the champ was struggling to breath, because his robe was too tight. It had a lot of muscles to cover up. Well, we might as well get started. In this corner: the champ. In the other: Daffy. In the middle: our pelican referee.

Now, this fight might look pretty one sided, but don’t forget: Daffy is a nut. He doesn’t take anything seriously, so he has no fear. (His neck stripe also seems a bit more jaggedy today. Must be mating season.) Okay, I lied. He has plenty of fear and tries to flee. What’s a good manager to do? Talk to your fighter. Use words he can understand. Porky suggests that Daffy get on his bicycle. Being Daffy, he is able to mime one that is fast enough to outpace the terrifying champ. Even run him over. That’s one point! (Boxing uses points, right?)

Wait. Daffy is gone! I may be wrong about the points, but I do know that you can’t leave the ring mid-match. Is Daffy disqualified? Oh, he’s still in the ring. In fact, he’s in something else. The pelican’s bill. This means the poor ref gets some of the punches that were aimed at Daffy. Daffy manages to get away, still avoiding the wrath of the champ. Time to exploit the weakness that every living being, human or toon shares: candy. He offers Daffy a generously sized candy cane. (Daffy: “How’d you know I like lollipops?”)

It’s a trap! A trick! A tricky trap! However you say it, the champ beans Daffy with the confection and this keeps him from escaping once more. He censors his actions, (Awww! Now where will I get my bloodshed fix? Happy Tree Friends hasn’t been entertaining for at least a decade now) and it looks like Daffy’s out for the count. Good thing the ref takes his sweet time counting out the seconds. (I haven’t been this anxious for the count to reach ten, since I last played “Punch Out!!”) Porky begs, pleads, a third synonym for his fighter to reawaken. Oh, look it’s the return of his idea face!

He runs home, as fast as his trotters can carry him. He grabs the secret weapon and hurries back. The count has just passed nine when Porky once more bangs the lid over his duck’s head. Daffy is up and raring to go! The poor champ doesn’t stand a chance now! (As the ref is passed, the speed gets him stuck in his own bill. A joke we would later see shot for shot again in “Porky’s Hotel.” The pelican even looks exactly the same, save for a hat. Must have been his  ex-wife.)

A frantic fight follows, but the champion loses his title. Daffy is our new winner, and by extension, Porky is, since the manager always walks away with accolades. (Just like in that famous movie about boxing, “Mickey.”) I think Daffy must have hit the poor ex-champ a little too hard, because now he is suffering from a nasty case of “Daffy-itis.” (I don’t care if that’s not the correct suffix. It is on my site.)

Favorite Part: The referee asking who wants to fight. Seeing as how he didn’t clarify, he gets no end of thugs wishing to thrash him.

Personal Rating: 4

Porky’s Garden

“That’s a some-a nice garden.”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Sid Sutherland and Elmer Wait; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 11, 1937.

Big prize at the fair! If you’ve got a home-grown product, and it’s big enough, then you could be the lucky recipient of $2,000.00! (And we have to adjust for tax. You’ll still get to keep a buck.) Porky has plans to win with his produce. His Italian neighbor, (who I get to name Carlo because nobody else has in 83 years) also plans to win  with his chickens. There can only be one winner, who do you think will take it?

The two rush home. Porky does something I’ve never seen him do before: use his tail to poke holes in the ground. It looks… unnatural. (Does he ever make use of that appendage again?) His neighbor already has most of his work done, as his chickens have reached the adult stage. It couldn’t hurt to give them a bit more nutrients. Mixing up a mess of vitamins and minerals, he expects the birds to gobble it down. However, even though they have less than 500 taste buds, they still hate the stuff.

Porky has a secret weapon. A substance that can cause living things to grow really big, really fast: hair tonic. It works all right. The plants immediately age from seeds to full grown seed producing plants of their own. Just like that! Porky’s earned his rest. He goes inside. Luckily for him, Carlo didn’t see his growing methods. Unluckily, he does see a bounty of food that his hens could feed upon. Logically, anything that grows that big has got to be good for you. Should promote bone growth, muscle strengthening, and probably more of a sex drive.

The birds dive in. Food gags! (And yes, sometimes, food, gags.) One chicken sucks the juice out of all the tomatoes. Another squeezes peas right out of the pod. A third isn’t interested in salad, and just pries a worm out of an apple. (She knows what happens to chickens that go to fairs.) Porky becomes aware and tries to chase the birds off his property. (I notice one seems to disappear before my eyes. It must be a poultrygeist. I don’t care how many people have made that joke before me.)

(It’s a million, isn’t it?)

Porky, rightfully so, asks his fat neighbor (yes, I went there) to collect his birds. He asks them to come back. They don’t. Clearly, he’s done all he can do. (He’s also not too sad. Contests are more fun if your victory is assured, you know.) Porky mopes. Wait, what could be on the end of this vine? *Gasp* A pumpkin!  Granted, I’ve seen larger, but as long as they aren’t at the fair, Porky could still win! The chickens aren’t satisfied, and try to eat this last gourd too. Good thing Porky played football in high school. He makes it past the chickens, and runs off to the fair because I guess the contest is today. (He’s so excited that he phases to the right for a millisecond.)

Carlo calls the birds back proving that he was screwing with Porky earlier. (That fat b@$$turd! Yes, I went there!) The fair seems really popular this year, they’re even playing “The Merry go round broke down.” (Because it’s a funfair.) Since they are free range, the chickens just walk behind Carlo as he strolls to the contest. They pass a barker who has an interesting product. Reducing pills. His sign promises they will make you thin, but his demonstration is a bit more confusing. He gives one to an elephant, and granted, it shrinks. Into a mouse. Wait.

Okay, I looked at the taxonomic chart my species has created. That doesn’t add up, it’s just Avery having fun. Oops! A bottle has spilled open and the pills are spilling in front of the chickens. They still have room to spare, and gobble the pills. (Except one that fades away. So many goof-ups today!) Porky is just about to win, when Carlo shows up. (His hens look much more large than they did half a second ago.) The judge takes Porky’s prize away. (Yeah, um, the contest was clearly over if you were handing  out the prize, and why such a large bag for one dollar? Is it given in pennies? Jerk.)

Oops! The pills kick in. The birds shrink. Back to pullets, back to chicks, back to eggs! Iris out.

Oh wait, things need to be set right. Porky is on top of things, and reverses the ending a bit to grab what is rightfully his.

Favorite Part: Even though the chickens are supposed to be a team, one refuses to share a watermelon with a chick. The little one sobs, but finds some spinach. Not only does this make him stronger, but actually turns him into a Popeye caricature! Speech style included!

Personal Rating: 3

Buddy’s Showboat

“Hello sweetheart!”

Supervision by Earl Duvall; Animation by Jack King and James Pabian; Music by Bernard Brown. A Looney Tune released on December 9, 1933.

Yippee. Joy. Another Buddy short. And? It just might be the worst one. My verdict is still out, but it’s in the running.

Look at that boat maneuvering. That, combined with Buddy’s obnoxious smile tells me that the guy is high as a cirrus cloud. I mean, you know you’ve got a goofy look on your face when even I want to beat you up. Just a little. Buddy’s the captain, which means his lady must have a pretty important job as well. I mean, a potato peeler? That’s got Nobel Prize written all over it. Rounding out our crew, is that fattish guy we saw in “Buddy’s Beer Garden.” (Or it could be one of his identical sextuplets. Probably the most successful one.)

Actually, I don’t know if he works on the boat or is just some free (wide) loader. I don’t know, do employees normally cut their toenails with knives? Looks uncomfortable to me. Do you ever get tired of the constant racist jokes found in early cartoons? Well, here’s something different to feel uncomfortable about: a gay joke! See the smaller boat next to Buddy’s? You know how we know it’s homosexual? Because it’s a ferry! Ha! That’s… not really all that funny. I usually enjoy puns to some capacity, but that was just weak. I guess giving it wings would have been too obvious?

Okay, Buddy. What’s your plan? Oh, you’re docking to show off your entertainment. A parade full of oddballs and weirdos, playing music, making fools of themselves, and other ways one advertises your showmanship. Seems like the crowds have bought the pitch, as they come by the ferry-load to attend the show. As one would expect, Cookie is our main selling point. But before any of you horny, lonely, nobodies think you might have a chance with her, remember that she is already dating the captain. They even send kisses over the phone! (It’s rather nauseating. One of the few times I’m ecstatic to be single.)

Let’s see this entertainment! The couple doing a song and dance with a chorus line behind them. That’s it? I’m still not sure I’ve gotten my money’s worth. (Also, those other women are either several feet in the distance, or I’ve once again forgotten how short Buddy and Cookie really are. Maybe both? I like it when the answer is both.) Next up, more racist imagery! Chief Saucer-Lip. Yes, really. *Heavy sigh* That’s degrading. Buddy, you degrade people. At least he can do a fairly decent Maurice Chavalier impression. (He might still be able to get a career after the last of his dignity is used up.)

Cookie watches from backstage. Finally, this cartoon gets  a bit sexy! Panty shot! What won’t we do to offend? I hope it’s worth it for when the Haye’s code serves our heads on squeaky clean platters! Blimpy uses this opportunity to nab her. He doesn’t make it too far before the captain catches on. Surprisingly, the big lug doesn’t stand much of a chance. He lands a decent punch, but Buddy flies right back and sends his puncher into the ships power switch, giving him a shock.

Buddy knows he can’t punch worth a dime, so he swings a boat into the man. This sends him into the trained walrus cage, who treats the man as a toy. (Um, everyone knows that a walrus doesn’t have six flippers, right? We all know? Good. I was worried.) With the big guy pretty much defeated, Buddy uses the boat’s crane to lift the villain onto the paddle-wheels. A great many spankings is just what he needed.

Favorite Part: Blimpy tries sending a kiss to Cookie via phone, like Buddy. She sends him back a punch.

Personal Rating: 1

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