Curtain Razor

“I killed them in Cu-… camonga.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Chapin, Virgil Ross, and Pete Burness; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 21, 1949.

Hope you enjoyed the green rings in the opening because they’re gonna be the iconic orange from here on out!

Today’s role Porky finds himself in is a talent scout at the Goode and Korny talent agency. It really is one of the world’s more entertaining jobs. You get to see the beginning of the greats, total failures embarrass themselves, and best of all: send the worst down a trapdoor. The operatic grasshopper that was singing over the opening titles wasn’t too shabby! Can any other acts top that?

We aren’t off to a promising start. Clara Cluck’s sister, Sara, instead of trying to develop a talent on her own, tries to copy her sibling’s opera shtick, seeing as how said sibling has been retired by now. Here’s a tip Sara: close your eyes when you do that. Makes you look more operatic and less “I’m being goosed by a poltergeist.”. She  stops her performance short upon laying an egg during the performance. Literal or figurative, that’s earned you a trap door ride. (Her egg hatches before it follows her, revealing Tweety’s stepbrother, Tweeter.)

A fox enters the room boasting about what a sensational act he’s got. Porky is willing to see it, but the fox totally cut the line. He’ll have to wait his turn. Next up for real is Cecil Turtle’s nephew, Sessile. He’s this universe’s Mel as he claims to have 1,000 different voices. (Of which, I can make out Bugs, Foghorn, Durante, and Rochester.) Despite his claim, Porky only counted 999. The poor reptile leaves, hoping he’ll remember the last one. (Isn’t it your normal speaking voice? Sessile, get back here! You need to be discovered!)

Next up, a parrot named Bingo, (who you can also see in Arthur Davis’s “Catch as Cats Can”) a chicken named Frankie, and a duck named Al, collectively known as the Three Cavalheiros! They sing just like their namesakes and I think they’re rather swell. Porky thanks them as they leave, but confines to us that that kind of stuff is only going to appeal to the bobbysoxer crowd. (Porky, pal, I can see your socks. Don’t be ashamed of what you like.)

And now a man with two heads enters. Porky is sure this act is going to be awesome, but the man angrily states that he is only the janitor. I figured two heads meant there was two of you. I guess me and Porky are both guilty of facial profiling. That poor guy! He’s just like every tall person who has to tirelessly tell everyone that no, he doesn’t play basketball. When will we learn as a society that we need to ask what other people are into. Oh, and the fox still tries to jump the queue.

After a couple more acts, including a regular old human using the same pigeon act Daffy tried in “Show Biz Bugs“, Porky finally gets tired of the pushy fox, and sends him down the trapdoor. Just in time for a dog to enter. He’s not a dog act. He’s merely the transportation. (Porky? What did we just learn from Double Header‘s son?) The dog’s got a flea circus act! And by that, I mean the fleas build a circus. (And judging by the musical accompaniment, they commissioned the  Rubber Band to join.)

Finally, finally, it’s that foxes turn to perform. This better be nothing we’ve ever seen before, considering how much hype he gave it. The act in question? Ingesting several flammable substances, before swallowing a lit match while dressed as a devil. … Well, I suppose back in 1949, people wouldn’t have yet seen this ending in a different cartoon by Freleng’s unit. I’ll give it to him.

Favorite Part: The scowl Porky gives after Sara’s performance. He’s all “B*tch, don’t you be having no babies on my floors. I just got these carpets cleaned!”

Personal Rating: 3. It’s a shame the aforementioned “S.B.B.” did this sorta idea better, mainly by having established characters with an established rivalry front and center. If you were watching this short before 1957, then it was a 4.

Porky’s Tire Trouble

“D-D-Don’t hurt that d-d-dog!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Norman McCabe; Music by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1939.

Starring Porky Pig! (Look at that doofy smile he gives at the beginning. I love this dope!) And yes, it is vital to remind us, as most of the focus will be taken by Porky’s dog of the picture: Flat Foot Flookey. (Don’t you just love names that are tongue twisters? Cause I don’t.) He’s a strange looking one, as dogs go. It’s like Clampett wanted his unit to get Pluto and Goofy for a cameo in one of his shorts, Disney obviously said “Screw off.” (with that charming smile of his), Clampett managed to get a D.N.A. sample off both of them, but accidentally put the two into the same cloning jar. So why do YOU think the dog is wearing shoes?

Porky is heading off to another workday at Snappy Rubber Co. (The scenery is  jumpy today), with the loyal Flat right behind. (I’d really rather not type his entire name out again.) Porky doesn’t notice until the dog enters the building.  Porky yanks him right back out because his boss has some asinine rule that makes no sense to me: No Dogs Allowed. I mean really, what if Porky needed to hug something warm and I wasn’t around? Are you willing to be there when your employee needs you most, boss?

Okay. Tone it back. I’m letting my fanboying take over again. Rules are still rules and Porky has to tie Foot to a car. (Look at the poor dog’s face! Why would Porky do this to him?) I guess it’s a good idea; his walrus boss is another Billy Bletcher role, so he probably can be a pretty nasty foe. But he does his job competently. He uses a machine to chew up rubber trees, and pour the pulp into the giant, novelty waffle irons that Porky mans. Turning out rather handsome tires. How are they considered trouble? Porky handles them like the champ he is.

Flookey (Wait… Lessee… ‘Flat’… ‘Foot’… Aw crap.) doesn’t heed the sign because he can’t read. He digs into the factory, dragging the car along I might add. I do so hope it was the boss’s. (I kinda want to dub him ‘Bletch’ but I’d rather make less references to “The Feebles” than Disney has. He’s not getting a name.) Porky directs his dog to the exit, but the pup steps into a barrel of rubberizing solution. His body absorbs the properties, essentially making him a superhero. Eat it Krypto and Underdog! Before you both existed there was Plastic Pooch!

With the power of rubber, Plastic Pooch does the most obvious thing: turn his face into caricatures! (His Edna Mae Oliver could use some improvements in the eyes, and his Hugh Herbert’s nose changes color. Or maybe it’s just a change of the light?) He can now take on his nemesis: Porky’s boss! He’s fully aware there’s a dog on the premises now, and he aims to eradicate him. (I can tell Mel is doing the shouting for him. That guy was born shouting.) But the dog is rubber, he’s not glue, Plastic Pooch will defeat you! If you grab a hold of him, he can stretch far enough to bite your rear! If you throw him away, he’ll just bounce back! He’s. Gonna. Rub. You. Out!

The boss learns all too well that he can’t rid himself of the Tuniverse’s newest hero. Plastic Pooch ends up knocking him into Porky’s tire press. And now we’ve just witnessed the supervillain origins of P.P.’s greatest nemesis: Snow Tire! Don’t miss the exciting next issue! Our villain continues to get thwarted, and he sure is tired of that! (Wait… “He’s not getting a name!”… Mm-hm… “Snow Tire!”… … Doh!)

Favorite Part: Porky is so chipper, that he even does a little dance on his way to work. Even more adorable is mild mannered Flat Foot copying him. (Oh yeah, Porky is the only one who knows Plastic Pooch’s secret identity.)

Personal Rating: 3.

Porky’s Pet

“Tickets, tickets.”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Cal Dalton and Sandy Walker; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on July 11, 1936.

*Sigh* I was really hoping some sort of Christmas miracle would bring back my lost work. I promise, that’s the last time it’ll be brought up. Now, let’s discuss the first short to have Porky’s name in the title.

Porky’s just received a telegram from someone named J. Botts. (Jo Botts?) We never see the person, but they’ve got a great offer for my pig pal: A job that’ll pay seventy-five cents a week in New York, so it must be Broadway related. But it’s not just Porky who’s going to be big, so will his titular pet, Lulu. He rushes to her cage to tell her the good news. How cute! She’s a canary, then? She’s an ostrich.

Now, I’ve always loved ostriches. Probably my first favorite animal before I moved on to yaks, then bats, then newts, then goblin sharks, then hermit crabs, then hamsters, before making pigs my final choice. So I know a fair amount about the largest extant birds. For example, I’ve never known one to speak in a strange garbledygork of insane laughter and English mumblings. And her size and appetite mean that she must be a heck of a hassle of a pet. But I see genuine love in her eyes for the Porkster, so I can’t and won’t interfere with the heartwarming bond between them. (Though I COULD give her a good home…)

Well, with the future calling, P. and L. traverse to the train station. Climbing aboard, it appears that Mr. Pig can’t take a trip with a pet in tow. (Dogs are allowed but not ostriches?) Well, Porky just tells Lu to run ahead of the train and he’ll sneak her on. (Why not just ride her? How far is your journey, anyhow?) She may look like a birdbrain, but she understands and the plan works great. Porky was able to pull her into the moving train by her neck. He is our new god.

But now comes the difficult part: keeping her hidden. She’s a big girl, and is quite noticeable. Lucky all the other passengers are willing to stay mum on the subject. Still, she’ll have to stay out of the conductor’s sight. Porky stuffs her under the seat with some difficulty, but she’s a wide-open spaces kind of bird! She doesn’t stay put and decides to put her special ostrich talent to good use. That’s her appetite. She roams around the area eating whatever catches her eye. Toupees, toy planes, musical instruments. She’d probably eat a baby if she came across one.

Crap! The conductor approacheth! In a panic, Porky hides Lulu into the only thing big enough he can get his mitts on: a cello case. (Why did someone bring an empty one along?) This hardly works before Lulu stands up, giving the conductor quite the ride and interesting story to tell later on. When she’s revealed, he doesn’t need to react with surprise or fright. He grabs her without so much as a flinch, and throws her out the window. Porky is next to go, though he gets the more dignified exit via the back door.

The two are still a long way from Broadway, but their ingenuity sees them through. Tying a nearby handcart to a nearby cow gives them a means of transportation that’s even faster than train! Bet the conductor feels embarrassed now!

Favorite Part: A small thing, but I like how the concertina Lulu swallows is labeled as such. So many people think they’re accordions, but here you’ll have no excuse for the mix-up. (Unless you can’t read.) Together, we can help raise awareness.

Personal Rating: 2. I think I preferred Donald Duck interacting with an ostrich. Hortense was way cuter, too.

(And yes, I know female ostriches don’t have black plumage. But since this isn’t “Fantasia” I can use the grayscale to my advantage and blissfully believe that Lulu is just a very dark shade of brown.)

A Horsefly Fleas

“As long as they’re gonna chase me anyway, I might as well get paid for it.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Manny Gould, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1948.

All work done between November 5th and December 10th continues to be lost. And I’m still in the dark about it. And I’m still UPSET about it. Any info on WHY this happened would be lovely. And you know what else? I don’t think I ever want to retype them until I get an actual explanation as to what happened.

It’s the return of A.! You remember A., don’t you? He’s that flea with the catchy song about dinner being around the corner. Yeah, that guy! Seems eating Elmer and Willoughy wasn’t a bright idea after all, as A.’s singing about finding himself a new home. (Now being voice by Mel as opposed to Sara Berner.) But he’s not alone for long. Another animal that normally feasts on mammalian blood is outside, and that’s a horsefly. (An animated horsefly. Which means he’s 80% horse.) Cars have made his “mane” food supply dry up.

Since they’re both in need of living quarters, A. invites his fellow pest to join him in the homestead hunt. The best looking land can be found in the mountains. (A dog.) They fly over and start settling. Chopping “trees” makes a mighty fine cabin, but a shelter won’t be of much use without a food source, so A. begins digging a “well”. (Never called an incision that before.) Of course, the “land” is aware of these activities, and scratches at the discomfort causing “earthquakes.” But that’s only the biggest concern in literal terms.

This “land” is “Indian” flea territory. (Really? The “land” doesn’t look like a jonangi to me.) These fleas look like Miniature Injun Joes, so you know they mean business. A. wasn’t foolish enough to try taking land without guns, and he’s a pretty good marksflea. At least five chibi Joes change up their usual diet and bite the dust. But A.’s shots are a finite amount, and he and his horsefly soon have to do what the title suggests. The chase begins and neither snow nor sleet (flea powder and… more flea powder) slows down either chaser or chasee.

You know, I think these native fleas really do have Joe’s blood in them. They have the stamina to wear down a horse fly just chasing on their feet and skis. A. and D. (Horsefly) are tied to a “tree” and a fire is lit beneath them. The “land” draws the line at this, and heads to the outdoor fountain to extinguish itself. In the panic and confusion, A. and D. escape via stolen canoe. The Joes still pursue them, but the “land” doesn’t care too much. It’s just glad to be his own “land” for once.

But not for long. The circus has just arrived! See, this “land” is actually their winter quarters. So, those little Joe’s aren’t really natives then? Well, they are now as their continued chase of A. leads all of them into the center ring. Just in time for wild west show! The “land” by this point decides to just take things in stride and enjoy the show.

Favorite Part: A. looking over the sign that warns he’s entering “Indian” territory. After doing so he comments that he probably misses out on important details being illiterate and all.

Personal Rating: 2. Light on new gags, D. doesn’t really contribute enough to warrant being part of the title, and it could be viewed as offensive today. But at least I’ve finally discussed A.’s entire filmography.

A Tale of Two Mice

“You’re scared of the cat.”

Directed by Frank Tashlin; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 30, 1945.

It’s the first of the two times Babbit and Catstello were mice, and it turns out that hunting cheese is nearly as dangerous as hunting Tweety. There’s a cat that looks a lot like Babbit used to guarding the stuff, but the current Babbit is certain that his rotund chum can get past him to the dairy. He lays out the plan while his ears change color. Catstello is against it until he hears that the cat will be asleep. That’ll be a cinch! He’s ready now! He’ll show the old model of Babbit!

Change of plans! He wants back in the hole, pronto! But Babbit can’t let that happen, and flings Catsy back out via rubber band. Cats crashes into the cat and barely makes it back to the safety of the hole. Plan two is much more sensible: Catstello will fly over in a wind-up plane. Babbit is so sure that this will work, that he’ll be a jackass if it won’t. (His fur will change color regardless.) You know this is going to end swell when the wings get torn off on the small hole. No flying allowed, but the plane does beat the cat up a little before returning back home. Catstello is happy to remind him of his promise. (Number of times ‘jackass’ is said in “A Tale of Two Mice”: 3.)

The next plan must’ve worked great at first as we see the two in the middle of it. From what I can gather, Babbit hoisted a platform over the cat to the fridge for Catstello to load with cheese. But it was a hefty hunk of the stuff, and Babbit struggles to hold both it and Castello’s portly girth. He can’t hold on much longer and the load plunges down towards the cat, stopping at the last possible moment. I get a kick out of Catstello’s raspy, squeaky, whispery yells for help. And I can believe Babbit could hear them, as he’s been dragged right up to the cat’s maw. Soon as he realizes he’s in the danger zone, he’s out, leaving Catstello to face whatever fate the cat chooses, alone.

Catstello has a half good idea: using the cheese as cover. The cat following and appearing to just be gliding along the ground. (I’ve seen cats do that, sure.) Babbit tries to warn his companion, but is just reminded that this is a stealth operation. When the danger is revealed, Babbit does what I’d expect any best friend to do: start advertising for a new roommate. The cat tries to toss his prize into his mouth, but doing that in front of a fold-out ironing board was second only to doing so in the midst of a firing squad in terms of worst places to toss a prize into his mouth.

Catstello opens it, crushing the cat’s skull, somehow warping inside the iron that was also inside, and crushes the cat’s skull again. With imminent death right behind him, he grabs the cheese and makes it back to safety, with doom on his heels. Once safe, Babbit has the audacity to berate his partner for grabbing Swiss, knowing full well that Babbit hates the stuff. (I can’t blame him for not being able to tell at a glance. All cartoon cheese has holes. Without them, they’d look like tofu.) Having had a very tiring day, Catstello stuffs the stuff down Babbit’s throat.

Favorite Part: Babbit trying to go over his plan, with Catstello loudly saying that he’s not doing it. The face Babbit makes upon realized he’s being ignored, coupled with the threatening smile he flashes are two of the greatest gifts to animated facial features.

Personal Rating: 3. The animation on Catstello alone makes this at least worth one watch by every person on Earth.

Notes to You

“Poor dear.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 20, 1941.

And we bring the month of horror to a close with one more tie-in to the month’s post. What could be more thematically appropriate than a cat at night?

Ah yes, Night. Black as tar dipped in shadows. A time where the absence of light helps you realize how insignificant you really are. How vulnerable. You wouldn’t last three minutes against those who thrive in dark. Might as well sleep so you can manage to avoid the feelings of dread that will consume all empty space available in your mind. Helps that you’re probably exhausted to boot. It is at such a moment we find Porky. The best friend I’ve never personally met due to him being animated and I, not so much.

Murphy’s Law. Always lying in wait. Ready to pounce on the best laid plans of mice, men, salmon, and sea turtles. If you’ve got the gift of life, you’ve got an appointment with this phenomenon. All you have to do is anticipate. It will catch you when you stop. These two forces of nature intersect when an alley cat picks the fence bordering Porky’s domicile as the perfect location to partake in the only kind of wauling he partakes of: caterwauling.

Understandably, Porky is not pleased with the feline crooner. It’s around this time that you will take note (s to you) of that peculiar feeling we call deja vu. We’ve discussed a very similar plot over a decade prior.  So, even though this short was the original, you’re liable to see the more polished, colored reimagining first. It hurts me on a spiritual level to have to put Porky down, but the latter cartoon really does everything here, but better.

There’s a few differences. One that I like is when Porky sets out a dish of milk for the cat while he waits with his gun. It remembers that Porky’s patience isn’t the only thing getting exhausted. The cat (That I am now calling ‘Notes’ for obvious reasons.) is able to down the dairy delight without getting a bullet through the cranium. Of course, since cat’s are the natural world’s a-holes, he wakes Porky for no other reason than that it amuses him.

After lulling Porky back to sleep with a lullaby, and placing him back in his bed, he wastes as little as time as possible in turning on the radio, full blast. He leaves to keep in his spirit contained within his body, but doesn’t let up with the songs. Even entering the domicile again to make sure Porky’s ears catch the noise his larynx pitches. It’s hard to sympathize with Notes once he passes such a threshold. At least Sylvester would spend most of his picture’s running time out of Elmer’s place. Makes it easy to wonder why Elmer couldn’t just try ignoring the sound better, and since both are being jerks in their own unique ways, you don’t feel too bad when both end up dead in the end.

Oh! Don’t worry! Freleng and the Frelettes don’t go so far as to let Porky die. But rather than using a more cartoony version of killing, say, blowing a cat up with dynamite, Porky opts to just shoot the kitty. And don’t let Notes’s singing and hamming up his wound make you think he’s faking. Porky just shot a cat through the chest. Your sympathies probably won’t stay with him after such a stunt, regardless of how much you don’t care for cats. It’s pretty out of character for the guy, too. He doesn’t jump to murder as a solution for those who annoy him unless he was already hunting them.  At least Porky feels guilt for having to resort to such extreme measures, and from what I was taught before leaving religion behind, that should be enough of a punishment.

Murphy’s law, my friends. It returns with seven of Notes’s nine lives to continue the serenade with total immunity to guns now. (4 and 8 have gone to heaven and hell, respectively.) It’s an ending to be proud of as it stays on the singin’ sextuplets for over thirty seconds. (Gotta let them finish the song. Not like they’ve been singing throughout the rest of the picture.) And with that said, I’ve brought things full circle back to Porky-centric ghost stories. Will the cycle repeat the next time we meet? It wouldn’t be fun if I told you. Wait like the mortal you are. You’ll have a happy Halloween to keep you company.

Favorite Part: Porky is so sleepy that his head hits the pillow before he can lie down properly. It’s up to the rest of his body to get itself into slumber position. Cute; like a child insisting they are not tired and being betrayed by the eyes they thought were on their side.

Personal Rating: 2. The remake really was better in all ways. It kept the best jokes, gave the cat role to someone who had been building a screen presence, fixed the ending to be less horrific and more, you know, funny. It’s the superior product. If there wasn’t slight differences, you’d actually do fine to pretend this didn’t exist.

Flying Circus

“DUMMKOPF!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation: 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 September 14, 1968.

WWII is still too recent in everyone’s minds to be making light of without the excuse of it being propaganda. But WWI is a great setting for comedic mishaps. (Although given the release date of this picture, emphasis is on “mishaps”.)

Ace, our creatively named WWI flying ace has just gotten done dog fighting for the day and is glad to be back on terra firma. He gleefully slaps one of his companions on the back before reality hits him: this isn’t his airfield. And that “supposed friend” of his is actually the guy he just shot down: Fritz Von Wienerschintzel. (If the Looney Tunes Wiki is to be believed. And I believe it.) Fritz ain’t too happy to see his nemesis on this side, but it is a great chance to get back at him for the humiliating defeat. He and his troops try to fire on the enemy, but Ace is able to avoid their fire and get his plane up and running once more. He’s outta here!

Fritz isn’t about to let him get away with his actions twice, so he flies after him. (His goggles slip over his eyes for a second, but I don’t think that was intentional.) Once in the air, the two exchange bullets, fly through blimps and then Ace does his secret maneuver: half an aileron roll that gives him an opportunity to clonk Fritz’s head with a wrench. (I kinda feel Mr. Storch isn’t trying hard enough with the role of Ace. He sounds too similar to Cool Cat. At least Fritz sounds like Rimfire with a slight German accent.)

The smack sends Fritz out the bottom of his plane and at the mercy of the tag-team of gravity and the earth. Whether by intent or accident, Ace catches him. Fritz is so grateful, that he covers the pilot’s eyes. This causes them to unintentionally barnstorm and pick up a bovine. A loop evicts the animal, who was savvy enough to have taken what I believe was the only parachute. But this leaves two other bodies plummeting down to the ground, and I doubt it wants to be friends with them.

Ace, always with a plan at the ready, whistles for his plane to come back, and it does. Fritz gives it a try, and surprisingly his plane has remained in the air this whole time. It comes for its pilot, but misses him. Luckily, a blimp below bounces him back and the chase reignites and recycles animation we already saw being used during the title cards. Fritz finally manages to get some revenge, and shoots Ace’s tail off. Without that, Ace falls from his plane. But as he does, he grabs Fritz’s plane and pulls most of its frame off. Get down here, Fritz! You’re grounded, young man!

Well, despite the somewhat painful landing, Fritz is ecstatic about his victory and goes to tell his allies. The short isn’t restarting with a fresh continuity, you’re just suffering from deja view. (Sic.) After giving Ace a hearty back slap, Fritz realizes this isn’t his airfield. And it’s a shame he lost his plane in the landing, as this place looks serious. Live-action footage, and all. (Ace meanwhile, can go back to his second job: stunt-double for Roland of “Roland and Ratfink” fame. Don’t you think they look alike?)

Favorite Part: Fritz throwing a bomb at Ace whilst in the air. Since he’s behind and throwing it in the direction he’s going, it keeps coming back to him. I think the science is accurate. (Oh yeah, he ends up swallowing it and surviving. I know that science is accurate.)

Personal Rating: 2, but it probably is really a 1. I just can’t help but snicker at live-action being used as a punchline. (See “Rabbit Hood” if you want a similar ending paired with an actually funny, well animated cartoon.)

 

Jeepers Creepers

“There’s somebody at the door.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Vive Risto; Story by Ernest Gee; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 23, 1939.

October is that magical time of year where any mystery is believed to have a supernatural conclusion. To wit, mysterious sounds are being heard at an abandoned building and that means we have to get the police involved. ‘Pig’ might be a derogatory term for those in blue, but in this case, the kop is wearing black. He’ll solve this mystery, and he doesn’t need any “Porky Snacks” to boost his confidence.

The old house is really creepy. Lovely atmosphere shots help build the chills. It’s got bats, rattling shutters, wails and shrieks. That last thing can be explained by the radio inside. So someone is living here? Well, I wouldn’t use the L-word. If the tenet’s voice is any indication, I think this is taking place in the alternate print of “Lonesome Ghosts” in which Goofy didn’t make it out among the breathing.

This goofy ghost loves to scare because that’s just what ghosts do even if they don’t intend to. Whilst waiting for people to scare-ify, he likes to relax with a cigar. I’d tell him those are bad for the health, but I don’t think he has one. Besides, he bathes himself to get the stench out. No sense in scaring folks off before they even lay eyes on you. Officer Porky arrives on the scene, and the ghost lures him in. Here’s wishing you a sporting chance buddy, because my Porky worship tells me that he ain’t a scared of no ghosts.

The ghosts plan? He’s going to put some quacking frogs in shoes he’s tied together, to make it looks like they’re walking by themselves. Seems like a waste when you have a real ghost on the premises. (And are the frogs quacking so I can’t make any jokes about the ghost making them “croak”?) Porky doesn’t notice them, so they keep hopping forward because frogs like being crammed into shoes and would never try to hop out of the opening. The ghost opts to bang a serving platter over Porky’s head instead. (Sometimes we have to sacrifice originality for reliability.)

But the frogs come through for ghost boy, as they end up dragging a hat rack into a curtain, and making a decent specter of death in the process. I guess the pedestal I put Porky on must shatter, as he does indeed freak out upon seeing this thing. He wants out. The ghost decides now is the time to reveal himself and Porky is so petrified, he has to rip out the floorboard his feet refuse to move from. He bolts up the stairs, and unknowingly right into the arms of the ghost. Who has the audacity to mock him. (You made your point, dude. No need to be an a-hole.)

Time to leave! Legends say that ghosts won’t follow you out of the house they’re haunting, but those legends were started by lazy ghosts. This one has a work-ethic and is able to overtake Porky’s speeding car. Beware of hitchhiking ghosts! Porky isn’t one to pick up strangers though, and leaves the ghost with his exhaust. Which sadly means we end this fun Halloween treat with a blackface gag. (At least Rochester is a cool guy to reference? ???)

Favorite Part: The awful description the police chief gives for ghosts. “Those white things that go *evil laughter*.” He’s lucky Porky didn’t go arrest Dick Cheney.

Personal Rating: 3

Moby Duck

“I wonder how prehisthtoric man usthed to open cansth.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Animation by Don Williams, Manny Perez, Warren Batchelder, Bob Matz, LaVerne Harding, and Norm McCabe; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editors: Lee Gunther and Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 27, 1965.

No explanation needed! Daffy and Speedy are marooned on a deserted island, and Daffy ain’t pleased. He’s also being extremely racist, citing one of the reasons that Speedy isn’t a good shipwreck buddy is because he can’t speak proper English. As well as not being a decent food source. Daffy needs food and the good lord provides. A box of canned goods washes up nearby. (Wouldn’t that sink? In real life, I mean.)

Speedy is glad that the two of them won’t starve, but Daffy intends for him to. See, Daffy is a very greedy duck and he plans to hoard all the stuff for himself. Speedy trying to use the logic of “I’m a smaller creature and need less” doesn’t even sway the duck’s sympathies. He probably is very well aware of Speedy’s crazy metabolism, too. (Lightning fast AND a mouse? That box would be empty by Thursday.)

Of course, the biggest problem with canned food is that it is canned. Can openers are required to partake of the goodies within. As is wont to happen in  Looney Tunes, a mouse is the one holding the tool. But unlike the more sadistic mice of the past, Speedy is willing to negotiate. Daffy shares food, Speedy shares the tool. Daffy says nuts to that, and sets about trying to get the cans open via rocks, and axes. (This doesn’t work because cans are the strongest containers in the Tune-iverse.)

I really do have to give credit for Daffy’s next attempt: baiting a sailfish into stabbing the can open. (I never would’ve thought of that.) It’s creative, but also kind of foolhardy. Daffy thinks the best way to go about this is to tie the can to his rear. Dangerous enough, but things get worse when the can comes undone. The sailfish is an unstoppable force by this point, and chases Daffy across the island and up a tree. Daffy still gets the point by the end of it. (You like that one? I got it from “The Jungle Cruise.”)

Speedy decides he’s just going to give Daffy the tool. Probably because he knows what a fat load of good it will do for them now: Daffy left the box in the tidal zone, and it’s now surrounded by water and sharks. Daffy breaks down (his feet and bill even paling to show his anguish) while Speedy makes a new friend: Robinson Crusoe. He’s a great guy to have around, because he knows all the best eateries on the island. Thank goodness it’s “Fridays”, because Daffy won’t be following them in there once he gets a look at the menu. He instead takes like himself to water, and swims for the horizon. (Speedy might follow his lead once he sees what is served up when all the ducks leave the island.)

Favorite Part: Daffy gave me a new way to spell ‘nothing’. N-U-E-T-H-Y-O-N. (Usually that joke would just have the speller spell ‘nuthing’.)

Personal Rating: 2

Rabbit’s Feat

“‘Rabbitus idioticus deliceeous’. Er, I believe that- that’s the scientific term.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Animation by Ken Harris and Richard Thompson; Layouts and Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 4, 1960.

A Bugs/Wile E. picture that is light on the fun mechanical gags in order to focus more on the dialogue. Could that be because Michael Maltese was no longer writing for Chuck, having moved on to Hanna Barbera by this point?

That wily ole Wile E. He’s tracking rabbit to get himself something to munch.  He finds Bugs asleep in his crib, sucking his thumb. Let that be an indication of what’s to come. I think Chuck was trying to hearken back to Bugs’s wackier days, but to me, he just comes across as that little kid who thinks he’s the funniest thing on two legs and is in actually annoying and obnoxious, but you’re the adult so you have to pretend that he speaks in fluent comedy gold and you’ve got no choice but to encourage him, even though it would be doing the world a favor to tell him to shut his lips. Doesn’t mean Bugs is painful to listen to or watch, but I’m not finding myself laughing at his antics all that much.

Wile E. sets up a picnic and Bugs comes to join. Proving his intellect once again, Wile E. actually wanted this to happen, as he bundles Bugs in the blanket in order to transport him to the cooking pot. Once there, Chuck has Bugs dust off the old “screaming in agony to unnerve his tormentor” chestnut. Wile E. catches on fairly quick and then catches Bugs lounging outside the containment unit he is supposed to be in. Bugs responds in a way I never would have seen coming, no matter how much weed was injected into my veins: “Daddy! You’re back from Peru!”

Ties back to the kid again, who also thinks random is inherently funny. (Which it can be, but it takes skill to pull off and I’m still not sure how one can describe the proper method.) It is pretty funny, but it comes so far out of left field that I’m want to question, rather than giggle. (But I am smiling at Wile E.’s great poses. They make the picture.) Bugs is able to escape after Wile E. falls into the pot, failing an opportunity to lunge at him since Bugs ducked at the last second. Time to do some plotting.

In a very meta sense, Wile E. starts musing about gags that could feature in this cartoon, but don’t. Bugs slipping in behind him, and giving his two cents. Wile E. ultimately figures he’ll lace him some carrots full of dynamite. Bugs screams, scaring the coyote, and escapes again. Wile E. decides to settle on a gun. Bugs steps right up to him, and flips the gun barrel any way he pleases. Even at Wile E. But those brains, man. Wile E. doesn’t fall for it even when he didn’t see Bugs point it at him. He keeps pointing back to Bugs. Bugs responds by pulling away that little tip that determines which part of the gun is the front. Wile E. takes a gamble, and loses. (Brains and luck are not interchangeable terms.)

Wile E. throws an active grenade down Bugs’s hole, and blocks any possible exit. Bugs screams once more, causing the coyote to fly up and back down, just in time to catch the brunt of the explosion. He identifies himself as a vegetarian now. And reinstates the ‘Mud’ moniker.

Favorite Part: Wile E.’s line: “It is obvious, that is no ordinary rabbit.” Everyone should say this when introducing Bugs to new generations.

Personal Rating: 3. Bugs may be getting on my nerves a tad, but I know he’s just trying to mess with a predator. Still, I’d say this is the weakest of his co-starring with Wile E.