Porky’s Baseball Broadcast

“What a ball game!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Animation by Cal Dalton; Story by J.B. Hardaway; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 6, 1940.

Six years before Freleng would have Bugs face off against the Gas-house Gorillas, he tried his hand at a baseball cartoon of a different sort. Bugs was still a few weeks from making his official debut, so Porky was to be the one taking the title. But he’s not really an athlete. (Though he looks FABULOUS in his basketball outfits.) He’s much more comfortable playing the announcer.

It’s a big deal. Today just so happens to be the World Series! Tickets are selling like hotcakes, (being crafted like them too.) and the scalpers are having a grand time with all the headcount. And this game looks to be way more fun than anything the real world can offer. One team has a literal giant on their side, and the other, a literal double header. You’d have to be the world’s biggest waste to miss this! So the portly guy that I decided is named Lou had better find his seat posthaste!

Let’s begin! The umpire is blind and has a guide dog, (which is odd because he is clearly a dog himself.) and the catcher is a turtle wearing his shell backwards for safety. Yep, I’ve already gotten my proof that this is way more exciting. And the action! Why, in the first inning we see a dachshund use his body length to ensure at least two of his feet are safe on a base at any one time. He manages to get all the way around the bases, despite hitting a single. *Insert quote at the top of the page here*! And Lou is still trying to find his seat. Poor waste.

Seeing as how we only have a little over seven minutes total for the game, a montage of what we’ve already seen has to be employed to get us to the end and still feel like a story.  So here we are, the bottom of the ninth, the Giants are behind, but they can secure victory if they get this hit right. Lucky for Lou, he has finally found his seat and only after sitting does he find there’s a pillar in his way. And if Porky’s broadcast is any indication, he just missed a spectacular comeback that has netted the Giants a victory! *Insert quote at the the op of the page here*, indeed!

Lou paid good money for this seat. And so he stubbornly sits and tries to pretend he’s enjoying himself. Hours later, after the sun goes down, he finally quits lying to himself and begins tearing apart the stadium in a rage. Really though, the rest of his life isn’t going to be as grand slash epic as that game was, so I feel for him. The waste.

Favorite Part: The reveal of the pillar. It’s handled well. Enough of Lou’s seat is visible that we don’t immediately notice it’s crummy, and Lou is currently blocking other people’s views with his girth, so our eyes are currently pointed elsewhere. But watch it again with your new knowledge, and you can see that no seats behind the crappy one have people in them. They misdirect us most enjoyably!

Personal Rating: 3. The weakest gags you’ve seen in “Baseball Bugs” can all be traced here, and their humor potential is divided in half.

 

The Hasty Hare

“That wasn’t at all nice!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ben Washam; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 7, 1952.

If they’re not coming to invade us, then people from other planets typically drop by just to examine the local life. That usually requires abduction, but it’s such an ugly word. They prefer “relocating.” Marvin is on one of these such missions, but he is only required to bring back a single specimen. (Don’t want to alter either habitat too much.) Interestingly, seeing as Marvin hasn’t received his official name yet, he’s known as “Flying Saucer X-2.” Not the best name there is. (Even if “X” is the coolest letter in the English alphabet.)

But you know, it pairs well with the assistance he has brought along, K-9. Maybe I should give myself a martian name that’s composed of a letter and digit. Let’s see… J-6? Nah, I’m not too religious. W-7? Sounds too British. F-0? Actually, that sounds a bit race-ist. Actually, this is harder than it looks. Maybe I should stop wasting your time with pointless crap. (But I get so much enjoyment at seeing your face furrow.)

Marvin just decides to take the creature that made the first tracks he sees and those tracks were made by Bugs. When Bugs catches sight of the two visitors, he instantly assumes that the two are nothing more than kids looking for Halloween goodies. He gives them bags of candy, (Hey! No fair! I never got such a haul as a kid!) and figures he’ll see no more of them. Marvin proves his power by using his disintegrating pistol to remove most of Bugs’ house. The rabbit finally catches on.

Marvin tells the bunny that all three of them will be returning to Mars, and Bugs demands to know what the martian will do if he refuses to comply. I love this: Marvin doesn’t get angry, I mean, he really is just doing his job, and he might as well convince the beast to come along as non-violently as possible. He merely disintegrates a boulder. Bugs is convinced and is the first one aboard. But he’s always thinking a step ahead, and immediately disembarks to play conductor and ushers his adversaries aboard without him. They make it halfway back home before realizing their error.

When they return to Earth, Bugs explains that the reason he doesn’t want to go is because he’d hate to get involved with mutiny. Another great moment here, with the suspicion and doubt being seeded. Marvin takes no chances, and gives K-9 a good shot. (Strangely enough, this was the last time the dog would appear. He doesn’t even get any lines in this one.) They finally manage to get Bugs by firing a strait-jacket ejecting bazooka at him, which wraps him up snug. Success!

As Marvin pilots his craft, K-9 is left to guard the prisoner. He’d better not try any funny stuff! Oh, nothing of the sort, it’s just that the jacket Bugs has on, it’s really not his size. Too much arm room. Surely the dog could get him a different one? Seems like a reasonable request. He complies, and Bugs slips it on, but ultimately decides it would suit K-9 much more. And just like that Bugs, has captured the capture-er. He manages to do the same to Marvin, by claiming they hit an iceberg, and the jacket is a life preserver.

Now in control, Bugs decides to fly back to Earth. Too bad he doesn’t know how to pilot one of these crafts. Worse yet, the anchor he threw over board has caught on to a crescent moon, which is catching planets, which are grabbing stars and dragging them all along. (And just making up their own laws about gravity. Newton would not be pleased.) As it so happens, an astronomer sits down at the observatory to marvel at the vastness of space. (Something I don’t like doing. I already know I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I don’t need the universe to rub it in.)

The short, red-haired, Friz Frelengesque man (who actually IS named I. Frisby.) takes one look at that mess of a galaxy and announces his retirement. He’s going to take up turkey farming. (A noble profession if I ever heard one!) And that is what led to the first Thanksgiving, and why I say a prayer of thanks to Mr. Freleng every night.

Favorite Part: When Bugs suggests the idea of mutiny. The little thumb motion Marvin does when saying “You mean, he against me?” is so freakin’ bass. It needs to be done in a summer blockbuster.

Personal Rating: 3

Goin’ to Heaven on a Mule

“You’ll pay for this!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Bob McKimson; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on May 19, 1934.

Oh, boy. Today’s short takes place on a cotton plantation. Of course, that means everyone working is black. Well, at least they all look happy enough. Maybe we can just pretend that the harvesters are actually the ones who own the land for a change? No? Okay, if that’s what you really want. Our starting gags are relatively tame, basically just based on the fact that they are using fairly advanced techniques to harvest the cotton.

One person would rather sleep than work. (My kind of guy!) What would be a good name for this fellow? Nick? If you say so. When he’s not sleeping, Nick has quite the thirst for whatever is in his jug. (Hey for all you know, it could be sarsaparilla.) Nope. Guess it’s of the “booze” family, as an angel and a devil arrive to try and convince Nick to either stay sober, or drink up, respectively.

Now of course, OF COURSE, the angel is white and the devil is black. Chalk it up to our two-tone universe, but it still feels wrong to me. The angel actually goes ahead and wrestles with the evil side, which seeing as how that falls under the “violence” family, pretty much means the devil wins by default. Bottoms up! And man, that must have been some strong stuff, as the entire world around Nick starts to wobble, and fade, and next thing you know, Nick’s dead. (What was in that stuff?)

But you know, he’s actually in good spirits about it. He didn’t even have to die alone, seeing as how his trip to the heaven is delivered by his faithful mule, Rick. (Is it noble to die to give your friend a lift? Or is it too clingy?) They get to heaven which is called “pair ‘o dice”, (Of course it is.) and wouldn’t you know it! The only souls here are black! Now either this means that every race gets their own individual heaven, or I dunno, maybe cartoons don’t reflect reality?

Heaven looks a lot like what many parts of Earth looked like back in the 30’s, but people have wings, and that gives their streets one more dimension to travel along. They’ve even got entertainment clubs with singing, dancing, and all the watermelon you can eat. (Because of course they would!) But Nick sees something outside the place that he really likes: a gin orchard! But I’m not sure that’s a great idea; the signs also say  that this stuff is forbidden fruit. But it’s heaven! Surely you should be allowed anything your heart desires, right?

Well, while I ponder that, Nick helps himself and is caught in the act. God, or one of his valued employees, catches the rouge saint in the act and has him escorted away. (Nick is far too tipsy to care.) He is flung into an elevator shaft that is one way only, and Nick’s destination is Hades. (What no racist name for the other place? I’d offer one, but then you’d probably hate me, and I hate that.) Nick falls, and then wakes up from what was now revealed to have been nothing more than an alcohol induced hallucination. (If only there was technicolor, then he could have had the vision with pink elephants.)

Nick decides then and there, that he is done with the hard stuff and throws his jug away. Half a second later, he dives after it, and keeps it and his habit from breaking.

Favorite Part: A peddler tries to get into heaven, but is denied. Not terribly funny, but I do think we can agree that annoying salesmen are definitely NOT a part of paradise. Oh, sorry. “Pair ‘o dice.”

Personal Rating: 1. Not too funny, not creative enough to look past its depictions. Not like another cartoon I know.

The Slick Chick

“Why that little monster of yorn, makes Dennis the Menace look like an angel!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonicksen, Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Keith Darling; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc and Julie Bennett; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on July 21, 1962.

A hen is looking for somebody to babysit her son while she goes to a hen party. (Her words.) Her name is probably Widowhen, seeing as how the two guys who address her, refer to her as “Widahen” and “Widerhen.” I’ve at least narrowed it down to those three. But Mr. Cackle, the elderly rooster on the farm, refuses to take part in babysitting. Junior there, gives chickens a bad name. (Worse than McNuggets?)

Having heard those remarks, Foghorn steps in to defend the kid. (I’m pretty sure Mel is just using his Tweety voice for this character, they just didn’t speed it up.) In Foggy’s words, there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” To prove it, HE will take over the sitting while W-hen is gone. Barely out of sight, and Junior pokes his sitter with a pin. Foghorn is ready to strangle, but he can’t let the cackling Cackle have the last cackle. Chalking it up to simple boyhood pranks, Foghorn takes his charge to find him some fun.

Good thing Foghorn has a box of toys for the little scamp. He can play, and Foghorn can nap. (The best way to babysit. Only neglectful types talk on the phone while they’re in charge.)

Admit it. You’ve always hated her too.

Junior is upset to find this box intended to entertain little children only contains things to entertain little children. He decides to take a peek in the barn because “There’s always something exciting in a barn.” (Man, if I had couple hundred dollars for every time I saw that on a T-shirt.) To his delight, he finds a cement mixer and uses it to rig up a little trap. Then, playing phony phireman, he wakes Foghorn up with a phake emergency that sends him running right into the mix.

Once free of the concrete prison, Foggy threatens to tell the kid’s mother. Junior has blackmail of his own though, and he threatens to tell his mom about Foghorn’s crippling horse race addiction. Foghorn denies such things, but he can’t resist once the kid starts imitating one. The rooster angrily tells the kid to go play in the freeway. Which I only bring up so I had an excuse to make this:

Yes, well, anyway…

Junior finds a balloon to play with. It’s the weather variety, so he attaches it to Foghorn’s hammock and cuts it loose, lifting the big bird into the stratosphere. Naturally, Foggy wants down. The boy shoots him down, and provides him with a landing pad as well. It’s the land mine variety, so Foghorn blows up. And yet, he still claims there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” Mostly because this boy is the “worst.”

Favorite Part: The fact that Junior was upset with the toy selection, when one of said toys was a gun. I don’t care if it was still a toy, he could have modified it!

Personal Rating: 3

Hippydrome Tiger

“Get off my chariot.”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Tony Benedict; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Layouts by Jamie R. Diaz. Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 30, 1968.

Time once again for “Hunting Tigers” with your host, Colonel Rimfire.  Today, he will be hunting with his best friend that is making her second and final appearance, Ella the robot elephant. Yes, a mechanical, pink pachyderm is the man’s preferred mode of transportation. People only tend to laugh once, as one bullet is enough to silence them.

But wouldn’t you know it? Cool Cat isn’t around! He was kind enough to leave a note that says he’s going to Paris. Not knowing where the colonel is now, I can’t say how much of a trip he has to make, but make it he does and learns about the tiger’s whereabouts. C.C. has entered the Grand Prix because tigers are allowed to do that. And hunters are allowed to hunt them regardless of their race. (They were rather progressive like that.)

The race starts, and I hope you weren’t betting on any of the human racers. They’ve disappeared, and haven’t been seen since. (Though, I swear I caught sight of one at the mall.) Since Ella has wheels, Rimfire isn’t too far behind his prey. A little oil slick sends him into the drink, but since Ella has a trunk, it can be used as a periscope and they can find their way out. (Ugh. I don’t like how the thing looks now. Put the trunk down. PLEASE.)

Ella may have wheels and a trunk, but her steering leaves a good deal to be desired. When Cool Cat makes a 90 degree turn, the pursuers keep on going straight towards and over a cliff. But somehow, the track continues below, and Cool Cat was driving fast enough for the two to land on top of his vehicle. Naturally, the tiger tries to make a break for it, but ole Rimmy has a tight grip on the cat. He ends up getting pulled out of the car. Ella, being the sole occupant, is considered the winner once she crosses the finish.

With Cool Cat pinned up against a tree, Rimfire feels assured of victory. But the sporting thing is to offer the feline a final request, and Cool requests a light. Seems fair enough, but when the colonel’s back is turned, we see that the object to be lighted is a rocket that aims to blast the hunter away. It does too. C.C. heads to finish the race, but sees the elephant android receiving his victory parade. With nothing else to do and the short coming to a close, he allows the hunter to chase him once more.

Favorite Part: After Rimfire emerges from the lake, he fires a torpedo Cool Cat. The tiger freakin’ GRABS THE TORPEDO and throws it right back. Thus proving his cooliocity to you.

Personal Rating: 2

A Scent of the Matterhorn

“Le grunt.”

Directeur et Story: M. Charl Jones; Animateurs: M. Tomme Ray, M. Cannes Harris, M. Dicque Thompson, M. Robaire Bransford; Lai-out: M. Maurice Nobelle; Le Ground Bacque, M. Philipe De Guard; Effex Specialitie: M. Harre Amour; Film Editeur: Docteur Treg Brown; Voix Characterization: M. Mel Blanc; Musique: M. Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 24, 1961.

While the road is in the middle of getting a fresh line painted through it, the machine responsible for doing so gets loose and rolls away, downhill as gravity intended. It paints what it passes, leaving a nice white line over countryside and livestock. And over a cat who is fleeing from a dog. The machine lands on the canine leaving the cat to escape with a pelt that one typically sees on skunks. Oh, the possibilities are expected.

If the title isn’t lying to us, then most of our short will be taking place on the Matterhorn. They’re known to speak French there, so the cast checks out. Shouldn’t Pepe be making some sort of appearance about now? There he is. Enjoying a stroll, and happily greeting the wildlife he meets along the way. (I love how his new frog friend reacts. Walks off with a look usually seen on Death Row inmates, lets loose a single scream, and has his eyes change color.)

Pepe spots Penelope and lets loose some pretty awesome pick-up lines. “Everyone should have a hobby. Mine is making love.” and “You may call me ‘Streetcar’ because of my desire for you.” If I thought I was worth dating, I’d totally use those. Yet Penelope just isn’t interested. Has she heard those before? Or is she just a little disturbed that one of Pepe’s feet disappeared when he grabbed her? Women are a mystery indeed.

Chase time! Penelope’s only got one option here, and it is called “up.” So that is where she goes. Pepe has no problem following her because he is muscular, and thinks her preparing to jump off a cliff is a sign of willing to commit suicide rather than be without him, because she is cute. Pepe is also quite savvy to how these kind of chases work out, as when she does jump he calmly notes that she will be back. And since the ground below was sloped like a bowl, she slides back up into his paws. (Pepe: “I told you so.”)

Well, now that Penelope has gone up, a new escape option called “down” is available. But this option is particularly slippery, and she ends up sliding into an ice cave. (Only some of the reflections of her move. Which makes me wonder: how many girls has Pepe already chased in here?) Penelope is now trapped, and seeing all the reflections really brightens Pepe’s day. Eet eez ow you say, a jackpot, no?

Favorite Part: The fact that was Penelope was painted, the dog wasn’t immediately scared away. The first time I saw this, I really expected him to, despite having seen her get painted with his own eyes. Good ole Chuck. Not insulting my intelligence.

Personal Rating: 3

The Timid Toreador

“Who’s afraid of hot?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett and Norman McCabe; Animation by I. Ellis; Story by Melvin Miller; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 21, 1940.

Today is Bullfight day. The day when everyone who wants to, can go watch a bull fight a man. Doesn’t sound like much of a contes- oh, the man gets a sword? That poor bull! But Porky has no time for such inhumane tomfoolery. He is a firm believer in the old adage of work coming before pleasure. To H-E-L-hockey stick with those who say otherwise! (*Glares at the dictionary.*)

Porky’s job is tamale merchant. And it looks to me like business is slow. I mean, why advertise your product as “hot” when the air temperature is already high enough to get a pig to sweat? (Don’t tell me that Toon pigs can do that. I have  a degree in Cartoozoology.) But I don’t know whether the “hot” equates to its temperature or spice. But it must be one of the two, as a rooster sneaks one, eats it wrapper and all, and is instantly ready for my dinner table. (Love Porky’s annoyed look. “Don’t d-d-expire near my ware-ware-merchandise.”)

As for that fight, we have our matador, Punchy Pancho, versus our bull, Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull. (Which is pretty near the top of my list of best names ever. Still can’t overtake “Schmidlap” though.) S.M.B. is not one to B.S. around, and P.P. is quick to realize that the bull probably isn’t going to be the one leaving the arena as hamburger meat. And if the announcer is any indication, this has happened plenty before. Note how he doesn’t even watch the match. I think he memorized a script, and recites it every time. Switching out names as needed.

It’s a crappy arena anyway, as Porky is able to waltz right inside with no problems. Slapsie isn’t one to discriminate. He’s willing to kill anyone who enters his ring. (Not the one in his nose. Don’t make this weird.) Porky does his best to fight back, but he’s just not cut out for cutting out bull hearts and so he tries to just take his wares and run. Slapsie blocks the way, but then he catches scent of a delicious waft. Something around here smells tasty! Like a good meaty filling wrapped in a corn flour wrap! Tamales! A whole box of them!

They may be hot and/or spicy, but Slapsie doesn’t fear such threats. He downs the entire box. Well… tries to anyway. If my count is correct, he only got seven out of thirteen. Still worth a passing grade. And judging my what animals have happily devoured those today, I’m deducing that they aren’t chicken or beef tamales. Which leaves… Oh no! Porky! Did… did you just…

DID YOU JUST LET A BULL CONSUME VEAL? Ohhh, poor Slapsie Jr.

Oh, and the heat and/or spice does its magic and sends the bull running in pain. (Demolishing a good chunk of the audience too, I will add.) Hats off to Porky! He’s our new champion! This calls for an Oliver Hardy impression! (Something we already know Porky is quite good at.)

Favorite Part: A picador who laughs at the bull. Not only does he sound an awful lot like a laughing fish that I find hysterical, but the angry bovine ends up smashing the man and horse into one being. Hey! Now you can be in that “Fantasia” sequel Disney is planning! Shouldn’t be too much longer of a wait…

Personal Rating: 3

The Cat’s Bah

“We can spend the rest of our lives makking lo-ove!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Ben Washam, Abe Levitow, Richard Thompson, and Lloyd Vaughan; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 20, 1954.

Pepe is in a good mood today, for we are here to interview him about the love of his life. (Well, I am anyway. You’re kinda useless. Feel free to watch.) Pepe is also quite the gracious host. Offering me a glass of champagne, and calling me “Golden Girl.” (Would that I could be that attractive.) Now that we are all quite comfortable, he begins his tale.

It began a while ago. Pepe was living in what I assume to be Algeria. Even better, living right next to his namesake, Pepe Le Moko. His main goal is to find his soulmate, but he’ll settle for any attractive female. And wouldn’t you know it? An American tourist has just arrived, and like most tourists, brought her pet cat along for the trip. Said cat is Penelope, yes, but it’s not just me calling her that today! It really is her name! She doesn’t have to join the club of Jones’ characters who were given names years later!

What did you say, earthling?
*snarls*
No one will talk about you when you’re gone.

I hate it when my idols want to kill me.

Today is also paint the ship day, (which is every September 19.) and Penelope gets a good coating of white down her back. Her owner takes no notice of the new look, but Pepe does. (Love his face.) He decides to liberate the lady and that’s a good marriage proposal around here. She’d be crazy not to love him now. Even better? Pepe doesn’t appear to have any stench in this picture. No odor lines appear, no humans freak out at the sight of him. Heck, he managed to get an in-person interview!

Which, if this is indeed the story of how Pepe met his love, its odd to see the first female he’s encountered run away from him. I thought love always happens at first sight to both parties. Oh well, Pepe can chase. He finds it a turn on. Penelope chooses a rather ingenious hiding place: one empty jar among many. I mean, okay, its rather obvious to hide in one, but the odds of being found on the fist try?

Pepe finds her on the first try, and the chase continues all around the casbah. (Bah!) He finds her on the second hump of a camel who is really enjoying his cud today. Hey! Did you know that camels with two humps, known as Bactrian camels, aren’t native to this part of the world? Because I don’t think Chuck and his team did. Actually, no, I think they did. I think they just figured audiences back then would be too thick to know it. At least the camel doesn’t mind. (“If you’re a camel, you soon learn to put up with anything.”)

Pepe is everywhere, pretending to be anything and anyone. From a snake, to Rick Blaine. (Gets a quick case of Yellow Ear, though.) But even though she was shy, it seems that she eventually overcame that trait, as now she and Pepe are truly inseparable. Ball n’ chains will have that effect on people. She furiously files away, and I feel like I should leave the two alone. I don’t like to get involved in marital disputes. Interview over!

Favorite Part: Before the interview, Pepe asks us to let him slip into something more comfortable. There’s nothing to stop us from viewing him anyway, but he takes it well. “Intimate, no?”

Personal Rating: I’d love to give this a 4, but that ending combined with the fact that you can’t argue that Pepe’s actions are only not wanted because of his smell? I’ve a feeling that it will wad up the panties of sensitive types. I have to give it a 3.

Mouse-placed Kitten

“Happy birthday, Junior.”

Directed by Robert McKimson. Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Granpre; 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 January 24, 1959.

As a man drives his car, he throws out something in a sack. Judging by the sounds coming from within, I’d wager that it’s a kitten. And it’s a wonder that it survives to the bottom of the hill, as it looks like that trip hurts. The small creature comes to a halt at the home of two mice, Clyde and Matilda. Matilda is instantly smitten. A child is something she’s always wanted. So what if he’s on the big side? Just more of him to love, right?

Clyde isn’t taken right away. As he points out, this baby is a cat. One of him and his wife’s natural predators. In other words, the kitten is absolutely, positively, not going to be their child. Which is story-talk for “the very next scene contradicts that statement.” Looks like the kitten is a member of the family after all. But he can only stay so long before contrasting diets make things difficult. The kitten just doesn’t like cheese.

Matilda concedes that her husband is right. (Something most husbands can only dream about.) Junior would be better off being raised by humans. I mean, he’s well past weaned. Clyde takes him to be left on a different doorstop, telling him about how much better his life is going to be. None of that “We never really loved you.” B.S. Quite the contrary, as it seems Clyde has grown to love the kid, and tearfully bids him farewell. Since they didn’t leave Junior at MY house, the kitten is subsequently adopted by the lady therein. (So what if his nose disappears for a second.)

A year goes by. The mice are still alive, and figure that the day the kid is left on your doorstop is as good as any other day to call their birthday. Time for visit. Junior has grown up by this point. And it looks like he’s matured into quite the mouser, as when Julie (the name I’ve decided to give his owner) catches sight of the rodents, he jumps right into action. He grabs the mice, gives them a good sniff… and instantly recognizes them as his parents. It’s really a sweet scene. (Yes, I’m being sincere.)

Julie isn’t happy to find the cat not evicting them. And oddly enough, once Junior puts them in his mouth, she tells him to take them outside. (Your pet too good to eat mice? Or is there a strict “No blood on the linoleum” rule in effect?) Matilda figures that with the reception they’ve gotten from 50% of the household, it’s best that they leave already. Junior won’t hear of it. And I like that. One shouldn’t have to be ashamed of their folks. (Although, I think the other way around is totally fair.)

He invites the two to partake in some snacks. He grabs the most exotic cheeses from the fridge, when Julie catches him in the act. Birthday or not, she’s not going to allow him to touch the food she buys. Clyde is not one to be deterred. He wants that cheese. (I like this guy.) He uses a jug of cider as a boost, but accidentally falls inside it. It’s the hard stuff, and Clyde is thoroughly plastered.

Junior now has to keep his dad safe from the various dangers of the house. (Namely Julie.) The more his mistress catches him messing with various things, the more cross she gets. Culminating with her deciding to kick him out should he bother her one more time. Lucky thing, Clyde’s back to normal by now, and the two decide it’s time for them to go. Junior still feels no ill will towards them, and earnestly hopes for them to visit again.

Back at their place, Matilda is overjoyed to find another kit has been abandoned at their door. (That sounded a lot more sweet in my head.) But it’s not a feline this time. It’s a skunk. Interesting that NOW is when Clyde decides to clothespin up his nasal passage. I mean, skunks only spray when scared, whereas a cat has an unpleasant stench that will follow him beyond death. (THAT sounded a lot more cruel in my head.)

Favorite Part: When Junior sees his parents again in months. Mainly because, when I first saw this short back in the day, I really thought he was going to have forgotten them, and the rest of the picture was going to either be the two trying to escape, or trying to remind him of who they were. It was a heartfelt swerve.

Personal Rating: 4. It’s a sweet story. And I love how Junior knows he’s adopted, and it doesn’t diminish his love at all. Sometimes, your real parents are the ones who don’t throw you out of a moving vehicle.

Buddy’s Bug Hunt

“You’ll get yours today!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Smith; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on June 22, 1935.

Despite what the title says, we see Buddy chasing a butterfly. Which may be an insect, but is not a true bug. But fine. For today I’ll do like the common man do, and use “bug” as a catch all term for insects. (Makes me feel dirty.) Anyway, Buddy really wants this butterfly. I don’t know, maybe he’ll get a golden net if he catches it.

Rookie mistake on the butterfly’s part! In its attempt to escape, it flew right into the very place the bravest arthropods hesitate to enter: Buddy’s Bug Hun- House. Buddy gets his prize and adds it to his already extensive collection. (Buddy also sounds like a little kid in this short. A fact that makes his action’s a bit more innocent.) Along came a spider, that Buddy does spy, he grabs hold of the arachnid, it’s going to die.

Wait…. arachnids aren’t bugs either! They’re not even insects! Cheat number two for you, Buddy m’lad. But yeah, he has every intention of killing this animal. How else would a “bug” collector collect? ( Considering this spider has six legs, it’s clearly some undiscovered species. Or maybe it’s a beetle using mimicry to avoid predators?) Buddy glues the poor thing down to keep it still, and readies the ether. Yes, he has ether.

And he’s not too careful with the stuff, ether. It starts affecting Buddy, making him woozy, and dizzy and apt to getting knocked out. And down he goes. During this time, the spider has managed to get itself free and sees the threat is no more. In fact, the threat looks like it could be at its prisoner’s mercy. No time wasted, the spider sets about freeing the other animals Buddy has imprisoned. Including a…frog. Strike three! That’s not even an invertebrate!

Buddy learns how Gulliver felt, when he wakes up to find himself ensnared in a spider’s web. They could just eat him, he’d probably be enough of a feast for seven generations of spiders, but spiders don’t kill for revenge. They’re going to put Buddy on trial first. Just got to bring him down to their size. They force feed him some reducing pills, and Buddy the terror has become Buddy the peanut. (What really makes this terrifying is the glee on the animal’s faces. No malicious smiles here; it’s pure cheer.)

And so Buddy is put on trial for his animal cruelty. Previous offenses include: ripping off a grasshopper’s leg, killing a butterfly’s parents, and making a widow out of…I guess another spider? She has even less legs than the others and has antennae to boot! But what else could they use for a black widow joke? Scarlett Johansson wouldn’t even be a sperm for another forty-nine years.

Buddy’s found guilty and is sentenced to what passes as the electric chair at this scale: a cigarette lighter. (Ironically, this is exactly how the majority of people who know about Buddy, wanted to see him go.) But it was all a dream of course, and the pain on Buddy’s backside is due to sunlight shining through a magnifying glass. Naturally, Buddy sets everyone free. Just in time, as the clubhouse collapses. (Which is the second most wanted way of Buddy’s demise.)

Favorite Part: How the judge reacts to the butterfly’s testimony. His “Ooh, is that so?” Just sounds so sarcastic. “Really? That’s really the extent of your misery? That other guy lost a freakin’ leg! It’s never going to grow back! And you have no parents? You, a butterfly, an animal whose parents never even witness their eggs hatch, blames this monster for your lack of a mom and dad? Well, I guess we have to give him the chair now!” (That’s all subtext, you understand.)

Personal Rating: If you’re like me and love the kind of stories where someone gets put in the place of some animal they’re harming in some way, then I think it’s 3 worthy. Otherwise, it’s stuck at 2.