Hocus Pocus Pow Wow

“The president of the railroad will hear about this!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on January 13, 1968.

Merlin (the magic mouse, not that wizard guy) and Second Banana are on their way to Pow wow city to perform. Shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Then the conductor asks for some tickets. Merlin tries to oblige, but the only thing his hat chooses to produce is flowers. (You know, I don’t think they actually HAVE any tickets.) The conductor doesn’t put up with the shenanigans for long before kicking the two off the train. Seems like walking is their best bet. But first, why not kick back and relax with one of Merlin’s patented magic hat dinners? Featuring great choices such as: Beef Wellington, Pumpkin soup, and the featured attraction: turkey for two.

Eating all alone in the middle of a desert? Hungry eyes are going to be able to find you easily. It’s not vultures that are eyeing the dead animal on which the mice munch, but a Native American. The credits have credited him as Lo, the poor Indian. (He’s clearly not Indian, and I can’t say that he’s poor, but one CAN greet him with “How, Lo.” It’s not very PC, but in 1968, what Caucasian would care?)

If he really is poor, that might be why he wants Merlin’s hat so much. Or maybe the thought of a never ending food vessel would entice anyone. Regardless, Lo takes the hat and tries getting some food. He actually is able to bring some animals out, but doesn’t manage to take any bites before they flee. Merlin takes the hat back and runs. Lo, in turn, tries firing some arrows at the two, but only manages to hit himself.

Merlin tries a couple tricks to help himself and sidekick escape. Conjuring up a railroad crossing with an actual train attached, wearing a disguise, (Lo isn’t fooled. He can tell mouse feet from human.) and taking the man’s tomahawk and making it disappear. (He can bring it back. But one should really know better than to say “Give it to me!” in  a cartoon. Lo brought that pain on himself) Still, he is insistent that Merlin relinquish the hat. Merlin agrees, but figures they should smoke a peace pipe first. Said pipe is a firecracker, and Merlin is able to escape at last.

Making it to their destination, the mice are all set to perform at the local theatre. So, what are the locals like? Actually, they are all Native American, and I don’t think they are taking too kindly to all the racial stereotyping this cartoon contained. Maybe they just really liked Lo? Whatever the reason, they chase the mice out of town. (Drat. I was really looking forward to the show)

Favorite Part: How Merlin greets the audience. “Greetings ladies and gentlemen! Or whatever the case may be.” It’s always a good idea to put the theatre-goers in their place.

Brother Brat

“The situation is supernatural!”

Direction by Frank Tashlin; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Art Davis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 15, 1944.

By this point in history, the U.S. has been part of World War II for a while now. All the men are off fighting, so it’s up to the women to make the weapons we need. Being just as capable (if not more so) then males, the women of the country have a solution for nearly every problem. The big one at the moment that still needs some answering: who will watch my child while I work?

Such a conundrum is a problem of some large woman. She answers it pretty quickly: the one guy who children adore and as such, didn’t go to the war: Porky! (Of course, she kinda guilts him into it. Saying this is the only way the planes are going to keep being produced.) Still, being the swell guy he is, Porky isn’t all that upset and prepares to be the best sitter he can be. Should be a cinch since she lent him a child psychology book. First step is easy: ask the kid his name. (Why not? Babies are people too.)

I take it back. This probably isn’t going to go too well, since the first time we see the kid he is playing solitaire. Well, he’s got to have a name at any rate. Fittingly, it’s Butch. (He also mocks Porky’s manner of speech. Keep it up, ugly, and I’ll murder you in your sleep. Don’t tempt me, how do you think George Carlin died?) Butch also hands Porky an anvil, and the pig ends up in the basement. So far so bad, what’s the book’s next suggestion?

Give the kid a cat? Oddly specific, but unless you’re me, it might be able to melt his heart’s rough exterior. (And immature it may be, I can’t help snickering when Porky tells the kid to play with a pussy.) I guess Porky already had a pet? I hope he didn’t go buy one just for this kid. (He’s so generous! It gets me right here.) Hey, maybe Butch isn’t so bad a kid after all, he’s playing jump rope with the cat! (Ah, the fun I had when I did that as a child. It’s probably why I had to see a psychiatrist.)

Butch also reads Esquire Jr. (Plenty of (literal) babes in there) He also does not want to be told that he is too young for this. When Porky makes this mistake, the kid bites a finger and holds on tight. The book is being no help, so Porky has to shake the little terror off. Seems that was the tipping point, as he declares war and chases my amigo with a cleaver. (You know how parents tend to defend their kid’s actions? I wonder how she’d talk her way out of this one) We won’t get any answers to that, but she at least does come to the rescue and ask why he didn’t use the book. Obviously, he did, but she shows that he was using it wrong. She meant it to be used for spanking. (No pity for Butch. He’s earned this)

Favorite part: Butch wolf whistling at his magazine. (Because a baby being horny is funny.)

Mutiny on the Bunny

“He’s not long for this world.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Arhthur Davis; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 11, 1950.

What a great start to this cartoon! A man escapes from a ship known as the “Sad Sack”

Aren’t you clever? Smarta$$.

It’s his line that lets you know you’re in for a good time. “I was a human being once.” One of the best things said by man or toon on screen. (I’ve used it before. Sadly, instead of laughing, people ask what I mean. I hope whoever lives on my home planet rescues me someday.) Said man was the prisoner of Shanghai (Yosemite) Sam. A man who likes to have a one-person crew to do everything on the ship that he feels is beneath him. With the guy gone, looks like Sam will need a new one.

What luck! Bugs Bunny is hanging around this place. (I’m calling it the “Whaztup Dock” Applaud now.) Sam, acting like a barker, offers a free cruise around the world. Seems legit. Bugs accepts and happily boards the ship. As he waves farewell to the crowds. (Read: one mouse) Sam strikes, and a dazed Bugs ends up rowing the ship (the sails are just for show) with a ball and chain on his leg.

He complains. The best joke in the picture happens right afterwards. Words do it no justice, so I’ll let you watch for yourself.

You seen it? It was a gut-buster, right?

As the crew, Bugs is ordered to swab the deck. He does the classic “Oh no I’m not” bit, and, surprisingly, loses. (It always helps to shake up the formula a bit. Well done, everyone!) He gets his revenge by writing unflattering comments about his captain on the deck. Angered, Sam takes the mop himself to remove the graffiti. Bugs enjoys his short break before Sam wises up and points a gun in his face.

Bugs claims the ship is sinking, and since Sam is the captain, he has to go down with the ship. As captain, Sam makes Bugs captain. Under the new command, Bugs still refuses to let Sam escape. Women and children first, you know. (Why is that the rule? Is it just common courtesy? Or are men not worth saving? *thinks about the various guys I’ve met in life* Yeah, it’s a good rule.) Sam has to sacrifice his dignity, and dress in a wig to get out alive. Bugs also insists he take a baby along with him. (It’s an anchor, but Sam doesn’t realize that until he is in the water.)

Once back on board, he steals what Bugs claims is a treasure map. Sam follows the clues to the promised riches. (Keep your eyes open and you might see one of Sam’s disappear for a millisecond. I love these tiny errors.) He finds the spot and digs. On a wooden ship. In the middle of the ocean. Which is going to cause it to sink. Which it d-

He fixes the hole, and shoves off once more. Bugs is clearly not worth the trouble, so Sam is going to cannon him to death. He takes aim, but Bugs moves. The ship gets another hole that Sam has to fix. So the solution is simple: aim UP this time. It works in theory, but gravity ruins things and the ship goes down for the third time. Sam fixes it again, but Bugs attaches a rope to the vessel. This strips most of the wood, and it sinks again. Sam calls it quits. In turn, Bugs gets the cruise he wanted via a rowboat. Sam is the one doing the rowing this time. I bet they’ll end up great pals.

Favorite part: The joke I wouldn’t spoil is tempting, but I think I love that one fellow’s quote much more. It could be used in several literary classics.

Mouse Warming

“Dear Cat (Pal)…”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling; Orchestrations by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on September 8, 1952.

I won’t lie; this cartoon is cute. Luckily, it’s balanced out quite nicely by some good comedy to keep you from losing your foot to diabetes.

Moving day is an exciting time in any young person’s life. Mice included. Mr. and Mrs. mouse have just moved into the neighborhood with their young daughter. (Who, for lack of a better name, I’ll call Alice.)

Shut up, it wasn’t my idea. (Although, it’s possible that this could be an origin story)

Moving into a new home, not only gives you new surroundings and the chance to make new friends, but also, new potential boyfriends! What luck! Here comes one now! He even has his own car. (The humans of the house don’t seem to mind sharing toys. In fact, they never feature in this picture.) Boy mouse, (who might have a name, but I couldn’t tell since he never speaks) is smitten by the cutie he sees in the window. Sure, they’re judging strictly by appearances, but maybe it’s pup love. (Mouse joke, there.)

Boy mouse intends to go right over and say hi. (Which will be hard, due to him being mute) He’s a bit shy though, so he pretends to be in need of sugar. (He appears to live alone, which makes him hitting on the teenager kinda creepy. But then, mice live by different standards than I.) He doesn’t make it too far before being intercepted by Claude. He manages to escape, but now there is a cat blocking the way to eternal happiness. (Something cats do that I’ve always been aware of.)

Claude begins to take note of how odd the male is acting, and sees why. It’s not only adorable, but it’s fodder for a very dastardly idea. Claude decides to write a love note to the boy. Setting up a fake rendezvous in the kitchen. The little mouse takes the bait, and arrives to find his dream girl waiting. (Actually a puppet. To be fair, she makes a cute puppet too.) Upon seeing the cat attached, he takes the girl and escapes. (He finds out off screen that she was fake, good thing as I don’t think I could stand to watch his teeny-weeny heart break. Or worse, living out some fantasies that a puppet can’t object to.)

Plan A obviously didn’t work. Claude tries another letter, but he’s not dumb enough to expect his target to fall for it a second time. No, this time he sends a letter to Alice’s father. Or rather, a threat that says the boy is coming over to steal their home. Father readies his human sized gun. (When protecting your family, you want to make sure the enemy stays dead.) To further mess things up, Claude puts up a sign asking for a boarder. The boy mouse falls for it again, (Love truly clouds judgements. I’m pretty sure the parents wouldn’t rent a room to someone who clearly just wants their daughter.) He flees for his life again. (Accidentally making a quick detour into Claude’s mouth. In turn, the cat gets the bullet)

The young mouse seems to have caught on to this chicanery, and he writes his own note to Claude. Rather than messing with one’s romantic feelings. (something only cats would be low enough to try) the mouse instead makes it from the dog outside who wishes to befriend the cat. In fact, why not he come over for a game of Canasta? Claude is all for it. In fact, he not only brings the table, but the refreshments. (Swell guy, that Claude.) The dog is confused, but still beats him up. And the lovebirds? They finally hooked up and went on a date to the coolest place around: the fridge. Aren’t they sweet? (I guess they straitened things out with the father already)

Favorite part: Definitely Claude’s first letter. Where he not only says that the girl is 16…months, (Which would make her middle-aged as a mouse) but according to her friends she’s “not unattractive.”

Fish and Slips

“I hope you know what you’re doing, father.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Granpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 10, 1962.

Breaking news! A record sized fish has just been caught! (By Treg Brown, no less.) I can’t quite make out what the newscaster is saying. Sounds like “Shark-nosed tralfaz,” which sounds more like a name for a dog to me. Not only that, but the fish look like marlins to me. (But what do I know about fish? Oh yeah! Plenty!)

Sylvester and son saw that broadcast, and Junior is mighty impressed. Seeing as how the only other fisher”man” he knows is his dad, he doesn’t have a lot of options. Sylvester is not pleased to hear this, and takes his son to prove that he does know how to fish. Not from a pier. That’s too hard. Why, humans are kind enough to build buildings fulls of sea life, just begging to be eaten. We call them aquariums. And since the place is closed, cats get in free!

Sylvester’s biggest problem (and where all of the jokes stem from) is his inability to check the sign telling what is in which tank. Using his tail as a line is all well and good, but not when sticking it in a piranha tank. Let’s step away from freshwater and move to the salty stuff. Much more flavor! (That’s not a joke. You’ll learn lots from me. And not just about cartoons.)

This tank is much bigger, so Sylvester can dive in. He catches a good number of groupers, but they’d be a rather boring specimen all on their own. This tank also contains a shovelnose. (Which looks nothing like how they normally do for the sake of the joke) Curiosity is a trait cats tend to have, so Sylvester takes a peek at its hole. It also tends to kill them, as a hammerhead pound him in and he is buried. Junior has to fish him out.

Could Junior do better? It’s possible. He managed to catch a small fish off screen. (I wouldn’t call it a small fry. It looks too old for that. Just “a little fish” humor.) It’s not enough to fill Sylvester’s belly, but it could probably make decent bait. The sperm whale seems to think so. (Wow. Cartoons sure are terrific! My universe has never had such a large creature in captivity!) Junior laments the fact that his father has become a meal. (He also calls it a fish. Something I was sure science had disproved by the 60’s.)

Sylvester uses the classic escape: a fire. (Why was there a raft in there? What sick sense of humor does this place have? “Don’t worry ma’am. Sure, we tricked your kid into being eaten, but there’s a raft in there. If he’s done any scouting at all, he’ll come out fine. Oh. He’s four?”) Sylvester gets out, but the dolphins have gotten bored with no humans around that they can warn of impending doom. They play catch with him. (WITH him.)

One last tank. Sylvester will go in via diving suit, and Junior will pump air to him. Things don’t get off to a great start, as this tank contains such amazements as an electric eel. (So, we’re back in freshwater?) a… lobster? (Well, it could be a very large crayfish. I’m sure there wouldn’t be any more contradic-) and an octopus. (Darn it, McKimson! Unless the mollusk is suicidal, you messed up.) Things get even worse for the feline, when Junior takes a break from pumping to observe an inchworm. Realizing his mistake, he pumps harder, and all that air makes Sylvester’s suit inflate. He winds up landing in a tank of dogfish. (Junior doesn’t bother trying to save him this time. He’d rather make another smart remark.)

Favorite part: A quote from Junior that all children have said at least once in their life: “I don’t think I’ll ever understand grownups.” I know I still don’t, and I’m 24.

Saps in Chaps

“Go west, young man!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Sgt. Dave Monahan; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on April 11, 1942.

What a time it was expanding the west! There was so much untapped land just waiting to be claimed. (I’m pretty sure there weren’t already PLENTY of people living there, otherwise I’d feel guilty for living where I do.) Things were plenty different back then. Not only were the states in more irregular shapes, but every president on Mt. Rushmore was still a baby.

Not everybody had the luxury of crossing via covered wagon. A few had to make do with crawling desperately through the desert. It was dangerous too! Hungry vultures kept their eyes peeled for any living being that couldn’t cope with the heat. Luckily for the guy we’re following, he comes across a fill-up station that is happy to supply him with water. (His thirst may be quenched, but he is still stuck crawling the rest of the way.)

Towns seemed to grow like fungi, and the people who populated them all walked with a dumb cowboy gait. Even the horses. Even the mice! (When they aren’t being hunted by lasso twirling cats, that is.) At a nearby saloon, you could not only escape the midday heat, but converse with other people. You had to watch out though. Villain types came in rather frequently, and you were pretty much dead unless you were the hero type. (The one who can laugh off gun shots. I wish I could be so bass)

Entertainment? Sure, rodeos exist. Where the men show off how tough they are by riding animals that DO NOT want to be mounted. One of which in particular throws everyone out of its pen. Still, as tough as he is, he can’t cope with an audience, and quietly slinks away to get his much needed privacy. Oh! I nearly forgot! Mail was delivered via pony express in those days, but that doesn’t mean everyone was suited for the job. What to do if you just can’t mount the horse? Simple. Let HIM ride YOU. (It’s good for the back)

Favorite part: During the rodeo, one horse is told that he can’t throw off his rider. He bluntly grabs the man and throws him down. (Sticking his tongue out at the narrator)

Ups ‘N Downs

“On your marks!”

Supervision by Rollin Hamilton and Paul Smith. Music by Frank Marsales. A Looney Tune released in April, 1931.

If you know me, (and I doubt you do, as nobody talks to me) then you’ll also know that I’m not fond of those ugly color remakes of old cartoons. There is nothing wrong with black and white. I think it adds character! Anyway, the reason that I have included one of these atrocious retreads, is because the ending got tweaked! I figure for the sake of being thorough, I have to give you the option to watch it if you choose to. (I’d rather you didn’t. If you choose to, please be honest. It feels wrong to be disappointed because of a lie.)

A whole paragraph and still yet to get into a plot summary. It’s race day! I can’t say for sure if such things attract the kinds of crowds this short suggests, because I’ve never attended one. (It takes away time I could be spending watching more cartoons. You can see the bind I’m in.) As is typical of extremely early Looney Tunes, Bosko is also there. He’s a hot dog vendor. (It’s not the only time he took this career up.) Despite the name, (or maybe because of it) a dog comes to partake of his wares. Sadly, the sausage he bites has blackface. (“Race” day! Not “Racist” day!) The good news is that the two recognize each other as long-lost family members and they skip off together. (I’m sure the next week at most will be the best of times.)

Back to those crowds. The… cow on skates on the railroad track (I just had to type that. *sigh* “You love cartoons. You love cartoons!”) is carrying excited patrons over. (Including a couple more Mickey clones. Numbers 86 and 602 to be precise.) Some of whom are so excited to see some horse v horse action that they are sneaking in. (More clones? I guess these are numbers: 655, 710, 522, 327, 716, 349, 579, 601, 32 and 700. In case you’re wondering, there were 782 total clones of Mickey Mouse made before Disney finally put a stop to it. The majority of them inbred with each other and this indirectly led to the birth of the Minions. I never saw their movie, but I’m sure they told you the exact same origin story.) Back to business!

Bosko is also a participant in the race. The competition looks tough. These jockeys are the to horse racing, what soccer moms are to parenting. How can a simple purveyor of processed meat snacks ever hope to stand a chance competing with those guys? Cheating of course! Bosko has a mechanical horse which he hopes can help him stand a chance. But it still won’t be easy. (Especially if the large bully-type you always see in these type of stories has any say. Wouldn’t it be an interesting twist if there was a sports story where the opponents were good sports who wished the best of luck to their opponents? It’d send a good message to the children.)

After a bit of a shaky start, Bosko manages to make his way through the ranks (even passing clone # 766) to second place. Thanks to support from his biggest fan. (You see, it’s funny because said fan is a hippo.) If Bosko is going to cheat, (and it’s not like he’s hiding it) then so will the first place bully. Spitting at his competition doesn’t do much more than switch their positions. (I didn’t know Bosko could carry his mount. Those rubbery arms are much stronger than they appear.) So he moves up to an actual grenade! Here is where the cartoon splits into different endings, depending on whether or not you are watching in color. Choose your own ending!

If you are a purist and are watching the original, go to pg. 23. (You sound like my kind of guy/gal!)

If you are a traitor to my beliefs, and chose to watch the color crap, turn to pg. 46. (You make me sad.)

If you prefer to live the rest of your life living in suspense, and don’t want to choose, you might as well close the book and go outside. (What are you even doing on my website?)

Pg. 23 The grenade does blow up and turn Bosko’s horse to pieces, but they reform upon hitting the ground. Using the horse’s extendable neck, Bosko wins the race.

*Where are they now: After winning the race, Bosko finally proposed to Honey. The two moved to Alberta, Canada, and went on to father Bosko Jr., Musky Joe, and the child formerly known as Hannibal. The horse went into retirement and spent the rest of it’s days at a penny arcade. It would spring into action one more time. The bully character fell into obscurity and tried to pass himself off as Peg-leg Pete. Nobody fell for it.

Pg. 34 You wake up to find your whole life has been a dream. Nothing is how you remember it, and the person you thought would love you forever is just a roast ham. (And it’s starting to smell) I’d recommend trying for a better ending, but the rest of the story was also part of said dream, so I guess you are pretty much stuck. Why not look around here? Lovely place.

*Where are they now: You lost the game (or book as it were) and didn’t know what to do with yourself. If you had a genie, you might have some sort of starting point, but you don’t and the best you can hope for is working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life. As for the race, the winner was Jackie the jaunty, jockey with jaundice and her horse, Johnny. They later appeared on a box of Wheaties.

Pg. 46 I can’t believe you actually wanted to watch that color crap. I thought we were friends! Ugggggghhhhh! What happens here, is the grenade DOES destroy Bosko’s horse, but the explosion catapults him forward [looking at physics equations] not sure how that works, and knocks bully guy off his horse. Bosko rides it to victory.

*Where are they now: Bosko may have won the race, but the horse was another participants. So it was decided to be a draw. Bosko then began selling out and endorsing all sorts of terrible products, sacrificing his relationship with Honey. When he lost all his money due to various lawsuits, he had no one to turn to and started drinking. His depression hit a high point when his offer to cameo in “Who famed Roger Rabbit” was declined. The Bully actually lived quite comfortably and wrote the best selling book “Horse racing to victory: How you too can make it big on the racetrack!” It has been at the top of the New York Time’s best seller list for 88 years now. The robo-horse died. Nobody came to mourn him.

Favorite Part: The Bully heaving a grenade at Bosko. He went from 0 to whatever the max was, pretty fast.

*I hope I don’t have to tell you I made this up.

Porky’s Hired Hand

“Yuh can depend on me!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Dave Monahan; Animation by Richard Bickenbach; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 30, 1940.

Porky’s farm has seen better days. Lately, a fox has been stealing a good number of hens, and Porky has had enough of the robbery. Good thing that the Cornstalk Employment Agency has sent him some assistance. Gregory Grunt. He looks like Goofy got hit by a severe case of swine flu. And if I’m allowed to judge by appearances, (which I totally am) he doesn’t really look like the best man for any job. I’m guessing the agency was just sick of him and wanted to make the guy somebody else’s problem. Porky’s a better man than I’ll ever be, and gives the lunkhead a chance.

Despite the very clear instructions of “do not fall asleep”, Gregory does just that. Enter the fox. He’s got some clothing, so it’s not like he’s just a wild animal trying to find an easier solution, he’s just some random a-hole who would rather steal than work. (And he dies if he crosses my path. Nobody messes with my pal) With the guard asleep, the fox helps himself to the choicest morsels. He’s even willing to take babies! (Dipsh*t! If you don’t leave anything to repopulate your theft, you won’t be able to return next year. And then where will you be?) He’s all ready to leave, but someone bars his path: Gregory?

Well, it appears I have to eat my words! (Good thing I write so tastefully) Looks like Greg was just pretending to sleep in case the fox was stupid enough to come back. (Thieves should really never hit the same joint twice.) Of course, the other possibility is that the fox just woke him up. (So that means I can upchuck my eaten words) Told to put the birds back, the fox laments that the two of them can’t be partners. I mean, clearly Gregory is a master businessman who could help make a chicken monopoly. Yeah, Gregory is all for it, but what about Porky?

And there’s a random fade out to what seems like half a second later, but the fox knows Gregory’s name by now, so I have no clue what we missed. Either way, he convinces Greg that Porky would WANT him to succeed and stealing from him is a good start. (That’s what I did while working at my local zoo. Strangely, no one wanted to come see penguins in my backyard, and now I’m out of goldfish) Give the fox some credit, he’s even willing to let Gregory’s name go first in their company’s name. (That explains why I haven’t given the fox a name. According to himself, his name IS Fox. I guess his last name is Mc Loud. I mean, he DID wake Mr. Grunt)

Telling his new partner to grab some feed, Fox makes an exit. It was a scam all along! (You know, going into business might still be a good idea. Just some chicken for thought) In his rush to escape, Fox didn’t look where he was going. It wasn’t the exit he left through, but the incubator! He fears for his life as he is no doubt going to roast! (The birds he has don’t seem to mind. They’re not even moving…oops. That’s going to set Porky back a bit) Being a nice enough, dumb guy, Gregory tries to help his partner get out. Unfortunately, his head isn’t hard enough to break the door down.

Still, his banging does alert Porky to all this, and he brings his gun down to investigate. Maybe Gregory IS a little smart, because he refrains from explaining his “business partner” is trapped, and refers to him as a fox once more. Giving him the gun, Porky instructs him to shoot as soon as the door is open. He does, but they didn’t get the fox. Seems he was aiming a bit too high. Being in the incubator so long, Fox has shrunk. (His tail didn’t though. And I’m sure it would fetch a decent price. Heh heh heh!)

Favorite part: Fox is describing the things that Gregory will obtain from this partnership. Including a secretary to sit on his lap.

The Village Smithy

“Get out of the scene now!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Cecil Surry and Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 5, 1936.

Still relatively early in Avery’s career, and yet this short is comic gold! This guy really knew what he was doing! (If only all directors did the same.)

What can be said about a village smithy? Well, as the poem dictates, he is a mighty man. A strong man. And kind of a dope. I like him. He is kinda like that doofy uncle we all have. The short wastes no time in getting the jokes started. From everything falling into the scene, to awesome fourth wall jokes that don’t let up through the picture.

The smith has an apprentice/assistant, my all around favorite guy, Porky. He’s a bit clumsy, but eager to be of assistance. All we need to get the story underway is a horse. (A camel from one of their foreign legion pictures shows up. Is that a reference to “Little Beau Porky”? Very Clever, Tex!) Time to get to work! Smith measures the horse’s hooves and instructs Porky of the size. Porky gets the right size, but wrong material and begins hammering a rubber horseshoe. (It’s always good to have some around a blacksmith.) He ends up hitting his head when the hammer bounces off the shoe. (In accordance with the law of the Tooniverse, he stops once he has a helmet on.)

Let’s get this thing on the horse. Or the smith, that works too. It certainly puts a spring in his step! (I’m not sorry. The short didn’t make that joke, so it was up to me.) He rips it off, but has a hard time getting rid of it. Every throw just brings it back to his head. His solution is simple: shoot the freaking thing. It works, but Porky is banned from getting more. Instead, he is told to heat a new one up at the forge. Prepare yourself, the last bit of the cartoon is one wild and funny gag!

Porky trips with the searing horseshoe, and drops it on the poor creature. As it runs in pain, it hits the smith and drags him along. Their destination: all over the countryside! They destroy a great many of the surrounding landmarks. Demolishing a general store, a bank, and nearly running over a digger in the road. Horses have a goodly amount of stamina, so unless something can stop it, it’s probably going to keep on going. Luckily for the smith, a fence acts like a rubber band and sends them back, all the way home. (Reversing the footage they already had. Brilliant, Avery! One can only imagine what your future projects will contain!) Back at the beginning, the smith is shaken, but apart from some color changing eyebrows, he’s fine. He would like to know how this all happened, though. As Porky explains, he accidentally repeats his screw-up, and the whole thing starts over again!

Favorite part: Well, obviously, the ending gag is the best part, but it is the little touches that really brings it together. As they run, the smith pauses the action to comment on the situation. (A common Avery gag.) Even better, when they reverse everything, he speaks backwards. That clever Avery! Death should have given him a pass.

Hare-Breadth Hurry

“Actually, I can’t run this fast.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Backgrounds by William Butler; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg. Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on June 8, 1963.

Wile E. is going through one of his many chases. The “beep-beep” indicates he’s chasing his usual prey, the Roadrunner. Odd. I figured that with Bugs appearing in the opening credits, and that pun-ish name, this short would contain, you know, a rabbit. Actually, it does! Wile E. IS chasing Bugs. You see, our usual roadrunner sprained a giblet. (I don’t want to know how that happened, but I’m sure the end result contains pain we mortals can’t begin to imagine.) So, Bugs is filling in for the bird.  I really love this premise. It’s technically a crossover! Wouldn’t be cool if more were made in this style? Like Sylvester hunting Tweety and Speedy? Or Taz trying to catch Hippety Hopper? Or Beaky trying to eat Foghorn? (So, all my ideas are chase related.) Also of note, this was the last time Bugs and Wile E. starred together. Also, since this is “technically” a Roadrunner picture, Wile E. does not talk like he normally does as Bugs’ co-star.

That roadrunner is a little too fast for Bugs to match speed with naturally, so he takes vitamins to meet the requirements. They work great! As Bugs runs, the road can’t handle his speed and morphs accordingly. The good times can’t last forever, and Bugs soon runs out of speed. He solves this dilemma by drawing out a square in the road. When his pursuer steps on it, it becomes a pitfall. (And since they weren’t on a cliff, it can only lead to hell)

The advantage of chasing a rabbit over a bird, is you can bait a fish hook with a carrot. (Ever tried putting seed on a hook? It’s not worth the effort) The disadvantage to trying to catch a rabbit with a baited hook, is that you run the risk of attracting a large fish. (Environments don’t matter.) Also, since Bugs talks, he can explain when he is giving the predator more of fair shot. Or so he claims. Those pills certainly work wonders, as Bugs adds a bunch of pipe to Wile E’s gun in to time at all. (Don’t let your curiosity follow said pipe. It will only lead to a bullet in the face.)

All too soon, our final gag is upon us. Bugs has spread glue on the road, but Wile E. is going too fast to stop. His momentum carries the upper half of his body forward, and it’s a good thing too, as there’s a phone ringing up ahead. And it’s for him. Bugs hands him the device, just in time, as now the momentum has launched the coyote backwards. (Ripping the chunk of ground he is glued to up as well) He is flung off a cliff and hits the opposing side. He’d fall if he didn’t have a phone to hold on to. If only he’d paid his bills! Then Bugs wouldn’t have had to cut the service. Society is so cruel.

Favorite part: Wile E. drops an anvil towards a target that Bugs is standing on. Thanks to his speed pills, Bugs runs up behind him and holds the target over his head. The magic anvil heads to its destined mate, and the conk sends Wile E. over the edge. Bugs drops the anvil after him, but believe it or not, the anvil misses! (Wile E. is then run over by a van.)