Hop, Skip and a Chump

“Expectoration’s essential, you know.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Cal Dalton. A Merrie Melody released on January 3, 1942.

This short’s off to a bumpy start, as the camera decides to follow a grasshopper. Try not to get motion sickness until he decides to stand still. He looks only slightly more like an Orthopteran than Jimminy did, what with the antennae. Hopalong Casserole’s his name, and just like his title suggests, he’d make a tasty dish. Two birds have been trying to catch him for years, he says. They better be modeled after a great comedy duo for me to believe they can’t catch one grasshopper.

Two little blackbirds, watching what they will. One’s not named “Jack” the other’s not “Jill”. They don’t actually have given names, but that’s what I’m here for. From now on, the pudgy one can be Bolivar, and his buddy can be Dan. Bolivar gives Dan instructions. Take a club, and hit the insect when he comes by. Let’s skip to the good stuff… and Bolivar is bonked. Classic. Not learning from this, Bolivar next sends Dan out with a sack to secure their supper. (Hopalong is definitely comprised of two servings.) He brings back a bee. Since they’re not bee-eaters, they duck into the nearby pond.

The main problem with catching Hopalong is that they can’t keep up with him. Their wings are just for show. Bolivar has a great idea: bed springs! With these on, he can match the pace of his prey! And he does, but he’s on Hopalong’s left side. There’s a great many low-hanging branches on that side. Worse yet, the two nearly go over a cliff. Instead, only one does. Just kidding! Two indeed go over once Dan asks which way his partner went. Which I know to this day doesn’t mean it’s serious, but screw you, the two are married. (Not sure which one is the better half.)

Hopalong decides to hide in a discarded clock. Does it only count as a cuckoo clock if there’s a cuckoo? Either way, this odd clock won’t chime on the hour every hour. It’s gotta be one of the fours. Or 4:00/16:00 if you insist on that confusing military time. (I don’t. I insist you don’t.) Bolivar totally botches his chance, so he has to roll the hands to the next hour they’ll chime: eleven. (No wonder this clock was thrown away.) He doesn’t mess up this time, he just forgot that grasshoppers with hammers tend to use them.

The cartoon’s ending, but Hopalong manages to leap through the iris-out. Shaken, but safe, he boasts once more about how he always escapes. Since the fourth wall will not protect him, Bolivar is able to snatch him back behind the black for more.

Favorite Part: Bolivar and Dan are hiding in a piano, but Hopalong plays the key to deafen/pound the two with mallets. There’s a nice touch in that he plays “The Storm”, the piece Oliver Owl once took credit for performing. Things are just done in reverse this time with the performer using it to mess with the inner animals.

Fresh Fish

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Sid Sutherland; Music by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 4, 1939.

Well, the mice were a cute experiment, but let’s discuss more about what Avery really made a name for himself with: his blackout gag shorts. However, I’ll admit this isn’t one of his best ones. Simply because it’s full of fish puns. The same fish puns you’ve been hearing since you were in the womb. (Except maybe the one where a fish has five dollar bills for fins. It’s too old.) The fish comments made in Animal Crossing are fresher material! But maybe I’ve just heard them one time too many. You might not have. Yet.

We’re going on a glass bottomed boat ride and we’re all gonna like it! It is the best way to view the wonders of the water world, the scariest things to ever exist on Earth, the guys and gals with the gills, let’s hear it for the ichthyoids! While we enjoy the sights and tolerate the puns, the very one and the same Professor Mackerel Fishface will be manning a diving bell in search of a species that has yet to be captured by man, (and really, how else can we prove we’re the higher beings?) the Whimwam whistling shark. (Cephalosillyum wisling)

Under the sea, under the sea, there are sardines which aren’t a real species, listen to me! Really though; ‘sardine’ is a catch all term for small fish you can stick in a can. So while I understand the joke of the fish swimming in a packed together school, I can’t help but wonder if they’re actually anchovies or really herring. Then we get the expected “crab sounds like Ned Sparks” joke, a hermit crab that is very happy to be one, and a taxi crab. (Okay. That pun isn’t overdone. Yet.) And the animators try their darnedest to make a Katherine Hepburnesque sea star sexy. (Which is a very specific fetish, but to the one person into echinoderms, your life’s journey has concluded.)

Now, here’s a joke you’ve known about for about as long as ever: the electric eel that displays a neon sign. And the only reason I’m not bothering to mention that it shouldn’t be in saltwater is because the narrator himself calls it a visitor. I’m considering that a win. And then there’s the appearance of this thing:

A horrifying monstrosity of a being that must be living in constant agony. No doubt only wanting to see Mr. Ripley so it’s deformity can bring some goodness to the world. But our narrator wants nothing to do with it, and shoos it away. It will be known as a running joke. (Repeatus humorous).

There’s an octopus that has a mouth where its siphon should be and probably vice versa failing to catch a sun perch which means one of these animals is the very wrong habitat. (I’m guessing it’s the one with the spine.) And get this: a seahorse race. You get it? Cause land horses race so it’s a joke to suggest their aquatic (distant) cousins would do the same. I just wish someone would make a joke about how boring that would be. Slowest fish in the world folks. Oh yeah, I guess our monstrosity was female since it laid eggs at the narrator’s suggestion. I’m not sure how she did and I’m happy about that.

Want more fish puns? We’re swimming with them! (Nobody said I couldn’t get in on the act.) A “tiger” shark! A “hammer” head shark. A “shovelnose” shark! (Wait. That last one isn’t a shark.) At least the first two subvert our expectations with additional jokes; the tiger meows and the hammer is hitting himself. Okay, yeah. That’s funny. I need a gif of that. But wait… cartilaginous fish? Does that mean… Yes! That whistle! That’s the shark the professor was looking for! Good thing he came prepared with a net! He hauls the creature aboard his diving bell and is hoisted back aboard.

Too bad containing yourself in an enclosed space with a animal that can eat you means one of you has to die. Ah well. Sacrifices have to be made in the name of science. Let’s name an aquarium after Mr. Fishface to calm his wife down.

Favorite Part: A school of fish (sarcastic *ha*) is being taught how to get bait off hooks without, you know, getting drug to your demise. The teacher makes the mistake of showing what not to do, and the fry all cheer when they learn this means school is over for the day. (Funny because it’s true.)

Personal Rating: 2. It still looks wonderfully visually, but fish and fish puns both stink after three days.

Finally, I ask you to join me in raising a toast to “Coyote Vs Acme” a film I was really looking forward to viewing, but tragically died before it was even born. I try to adore Warner Bros. but its actions like this that make me think I should faun over different studios. It’s just one of those harsh lessons that never sinks in for me: just because you love something, doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to love you back.

A Sunbonnet Blue

“Oh, George! You’re so cuute!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Sid Sutherland and Virgil Ross; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on August 21, 1937.

Let’s finish off Avery’s mice trilogy. This time, our short will take place in the “Snobby hatte Shoppe”. A mouse who plagiarized Porky’s blazer and tie checks to make sure there are no people or cats. Nope! Not in this picture! He calls for the rest of the gang to come out of hiding. Well, he tries to. I couldn’t find any prints of this cartoon without his line getting awkwardly cut o-

These mice aren’t here to nibble the hats, or even just to futz about with the things for their own amusement. These mice are performers! They’ve got a little song and dance number to the title song. But I can’t imagine the audience is paying them much thought. Oh, ours for sure, but also their animated one. While they sing, something far more surreal happens with a straw hat and bonnet. They get married! (Good thing there was a priest’s hat nearby.) And these things reproduce like aphids! In the three seconds the camera pans back to the mice, the hats have produced about 13 offspring. (Mrs. Bonnet? Why are you washing so many diapers? Do hats even have urinary tracts?)

Next on the docket is the three Ratz brothers. (It’s kinda weird that their introductory text is just flashed on the bottom of the screen. But then, I guess the mice already would know who they are.) These guys are the highlight of the picture and the reason I’m not rating it a two. They’re having such a fun time hamming it up, singing hat related songs, making faces, acting crazy. Basically being cartoon characters figuratively and literally. It’s a crying shame that they aren’t going to help out during the climax.

Our two mammalian romantic leads have been eyed this whole time by a rat who either has the plague or is Rat Fink’s grandfather. Using Judge Doom’s hat as cover, he is able to steal the doe. George notices immediately and rallies the troops. (I think he identified the villain as “Roughhouse Ratchet”. Which is a pretty awesome name for someone born looking evil.) They march into battle, all wearing the appropriate hats. Hats that are at human scale. They may not be able to see, who they’re looking for, but darn it, they look so cool! I’m sure George will understand.

With sufficient numbers gathered, some of the rodents… float in midair? What happened? Was this the only background available? Did the animator’s just not get to see what their cels were going to overlay? Whatever it is, it’s actually pretty unintentionally funny. Still, this oversight is an oversight, so I couldn’t let it be ignored. I mean really, you think the guy who mentions things like George’s ear being miscolored for a frame would miss a chance like that?

Seems not being able to see anything other than your feet really came back to bite these little pipsqueaks as George is the one who does all the rescuing. He flings a flattened top hat at the villain, scooping him up and loosening his grip on the girl. When the hat pops up again, Roughhouse is flung into a knight’s helmet that George locks up. Now he can ask his lady a question he’s probably been holding in all night. Happily, she agrees.

So the two non-hat romantic leads are also getting wed. Good thing we have a living priest ha-. another rodent in the priest hat. That works too. He pronounces the two buck and doe and a wedding present is presented to the two: live-action baby clothes. (Hint hint, you two. You evolved the ability to replenish your numbers to ludicrous degree for a reason.)

Favorite Part: When George panics, he let out some Daffy “Woo-hoos.” It’s funny to hear them coming out of a mouse for a change.

Personal Rating: 3, for those glory that was those Ritz Bros. I’m sorry, Ratz Bros.

Doggone Cats*

“That’s a nice doggy.”

Directed by Arthur Davis; Story by Lloyd Turner and Bill Scott; Animation by Basil Davidovich, J.C. Melendez, Don Williams, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Don Smith; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard. A Merrie Melody released on October 25, 1947. (*It was reissued as “Dog Gone Cats” I didn’t misread the title.)

Wellington Dog delights in what any dog would: cat beating. His targets of choice are an orange one I named Stan, and a black one Chuck Jones named Sylvester. And he seems a little out of character as we know him; he’s more dope than oaf. This isn’t even the only time he was portrayed this way, as Davis’s unit would do it again in “Catch as Cats Can”. (That’s now two weeks in a row I’ve mentioned that short. That means I’ll discuss it someday.) I don’t know why he is portrayed this way, but I can’t help but wonder if Freleng said something along the lines of “My cat’s a clown, not a dolt.”, and that’s how Davis made Heathcliff.

Welly’s fun is interrupted by a call from his human. (And yes, that bit of him wearing a trashcan lid on his head and turning quote unquote Chinese had to be cut on some prints.) He is to deliver a package to Uncle Louie, because mailmen got sick of being chased by dogs and decided they could do the job themselves. She also threatens bodily harm on the dog if something happens to his cargo. This is good news to his prey, as now he has a weakness they can employ. They start immediately with glove slaps and eggs to the face. And Wellington can’t do more than growl at the pests, lest he let go of the package. (Wait, was Stan able to see that ghostly image of the woman Wellington imagined? That’s scary.)

Sylvester gets the package hooked on his fishing pole and reels it in, Wellington desperately hanging on by his teeth. This leads to him getting his head stuck in a gap of a fence. Stan is utilizing a crane to lift the end of the board that isn’t nailed down and wasn’t there when Sylvester was fishing, while Sylvester cuts the rope holding it up. (Ouch. A delicious ouch.) Wellington gets the parcel back from them, but loses it again when Sylvester leads him in a dance into Stan’s pin. Sylvester takes it and runs.

Hey! Error! Wait a minute! The next shot has Stan carrying the package. When did they switch? I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder. Actually, I don’t. It’s actually quite trivial and easily ignored in the grand scheme of things. Stan hurls it onto some train tracks, (Leading to a fun little skid on Wellington’s part where his body and head spin independently from each other.) imitates a train with Sylvester to scare Wellington into ducking for safety, and leaving him to get run over by the real deal.

Then, to really mess with the dog, they wrap an iron weight up the same way, and hurl it from a bridge. Wellington and his rental boat sink trying to catch it. (And the repairs are coming out of his pocket, too.) But they lose it again, because Sylvester hits Stan with a mallet instead of Welly. (Which would have happened even if he was in his smarter form. Let’s not fool ourselves.) With the brains of the outfit out for the moment, the dog retrieves the goods once more.

Stan blows on a phony cigarette of pepper to make Wellington sneeze, sending the package right into the line of Sylvester’s steamroller. It may cost every bone in his body, but Wellington manages to keep the package safe, and finally get it delivered to Uncle Louie. He seems a bit too young to be the lady’s uncle. Is he Wellington’s uncle? I guess that means Wellington enjoys beating his cousins up because the cats not only belong to Louie, but the package contained their dinner. Does the woman just have a side business of making homemade cat food? Was it a mail mix-up? Did the cats know what it was? And what was my favorite part?

Favorite Part: The “shh” Wellington tells the cats when his lady is calling him. You may see it as a psychopath telling his victims to stay silent or die, but I see it more like a child not wanting the other kids tattling on him.

Personal Rating: 3

Ain’t we got Fun

“3rd shelf: Things ‘n stuff.”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Animation by Charles Jones and Robert Clampett; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 17, 1937.

Let’s return to that strange time when Avery tried to make cute little mice cartoons. (Although, chronologically, this was the first of the three.)

It’s snowing. Isn’t it awful? I like the plan of Old man Numbles: sit in a comfortable chair in front of a beautiful fire. Only thing wrong with that? His cat beat him to the best seat in the house. Easy fix. He smacks it with his newspaper until it returns to the floor where it belongs. This guy isn’t just smart, he’s great with animals. I nominate him as my third grandfather.

As cats do, the cat falls asleep. Ever hear the saying, ‘When the cat’s asleep, the mice will creep?’ It’s playing out right now. Sentry mouse sends the word via paper airplane. Using a model that experience has told me doesn’t fly at all. Side-tangent, but if you’ve thrown the perfect paper airplane, you’ll spend the rest of your life cursing your inability to duplicate it. With the word spread, it’s creeping time. (It’s a hauntingly hypnotic creep. It’s also another great image to screen-cap for memes. When you become the trendiest person on the internet, the right thing to do will be to send me half of the money you made with this great tip.)

Cat’s out like an old fad. Feast time! While the food gags commence, the mice are smart enough to set another one on guard duty. If the cat appears, he’s to whistle. Just a suggestion, but you might want to take those crackers he’s standing in front of with you. I know mice, and I know crackers. Mice will nibble on edible things. Crackers can not be whistled through. When you put the two together, it equals trouble for your soiree.

And the giggles roust the cat. Um, you’re looking the wrong way, moron. The pantry was located to your right. His eyes have changed color, too. Maybe because if you squint as much as Numbles does, he kinda looked like Beans at first? Guard mouse can’t whistle to save his friends lives, but his ear can flash. Good thing a different mouse sees the feline and everybody flees back to the mouse hole in time. With the cat separated by wall, the stragglers hand him the food they pilfered from the pantry. Oh, Numbles! You might want to take a look at this!

The geezer ain’t happy.  Despite the cat’s insistence, he is deemed guilty and doomed to freeze outside. Strangely enough, seeing my two least favorite things together is actually making me laugh. Now the mice can really creep! In fact, things are so good that they sing our title song, with a few modified lyrics. And I think one of the singers is a doe. I mean, she’s(?) wearing a dress, but the singer’s all sound masculine. An oversight? Or an Avery joke? Guard mouse even got himself a metal whistle, so his snacking won’t be a hindrance anymore.

With less caution, the resulting noise manages to wake Numbles. The mice don’t fear him, so they pelt him with food. (I’m sure they won’t mind nibbling it off of him afterwards.) Remembering why he got a cat in the first place, he begs for it to come back inside, apologizing for the mix-up. Cat’s hearing none of it. The man can fix his own mess. It’s the mice’s taunting that convinces it to chase them back to the hole once more. Maybe now they’ll stay put. The cat claims the chair once more, andNumbles, realizing he owes him one, takes the rug instead.

Favorite Part: After smacking the cat away from his chair, Numbles throws a book at it for no real reason. Maybe you have to dislike cats like I do to get it.

Personal Rating: 3. Putting my personal view aside, I don’t think there’s too much cat abuse here for cat lovers to hate it. C’mon, he wins in the end!

Compressed Hare

“You are game, aren’t you?”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, and Tom Ray; Assistant Layout: Corny Cole; (Great name.) Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard and William Butler; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on July 29, 1961.

Wile E.’s latest scheme has him leaving a phone in front of Bugs’s hole and giving him a call. Wile E. states that he is the new neighbor, and could really use a cup of carrots for a stew he’s making. Ever the agreeable sort, Bugs complies. Of course, upon knocking on the door, Wile E. grabs him and ties him up. Ever the unflappable sort, Bugs doesn’t worry at all. He goes as far as to hold down the rope so Wile E. can tie a bow, and uses his ears to flavor the broth.

Still, his kindness has its limits, and he has to decline a stay for lunch. Wile E. isn’t letting him go, so Bugs hops in place and gets one of Wile E.’s wine bottles to pop its cork into his eye. (Genius that he is, I’m guessing Wile E. is an expert winemaker.) Wile E. ducks the next one, but who do you think taught Basil of Baker St. everything he knows? Bugs knew the cork would bounce around the kitchen, setting off a chain reaction that would ultimately cause Wile E’s fold-out bed to fall on him. Done with hopping corks, Bugs hops home.

Wile E. tries to vacuum up his prey, but gets a decoy made out of bombs, instead. Keeping in character, he’s not even mad. He’s admires Bugs’s chutzpah. Still, dinner plans must be kept, and the cunning canine next pours quick drying cement into the hole. Bugs molded it into a pillar, and sticks it back in Wile E.’s path. Both of them making puns about the situation. (These guys. These are the guys I want to be like when I mature.) Time for our finishing gag. And it’s a great one!

Wile E. gets his paws on a ten-billion volt magnet, several dynamos, and an iron carrot. If he can get Bugs to eat that, then the multiverse’s most powerful magnet will reel him in like a dead pike. Bugs just pretends to eat the carrot because he’s not a neanderthal this time. Wile E. falls for it, because even the biggest geniuses can be fooled. He turns on the device and starts attracting the carrot, and Bug’s mailbox, iron, pans, etc.

Then the gag grows to Tex Avery levels! Horseshoes, barbed wire, cars, Eiffel towers… If it’s metal, it’s migrating. And in true Avery fashion, the gag can still go farther. Satellites and rockets are also pulled in. All that metal, and rocket fluid. Something’s going to give! Bugs admires the fireworks that the camera doesn’t show us. (*humph*) You know, Russia may have beat us to putting dogs in orbit, but as Bugs points out, who put the first coyote up there? That’s right: U.S. (Hope you enjoyed hearing Wile E. speak. Barring a failed television pilot, he wouldn’t talk again for decades.)

Favorite Part: As perfect as the ending was, my favorite part is the look Bugs gives up when he sees Wile E.’s mailbox labeling him as a genius. Bugs is NOT amused. Even goes so far as to mock him. (“Are you in, genius?”)

Personal Rating: 4. This was a whole point better than the last team-up of these two. So glad to hear Bugs act like the full-grown bunny he is.

The Gay Anties

“OW!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Chapin, Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy, and Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 15, 1947.

The late 1800’s do look like an idyllic time to live. Media has told me so! It’s a shame that any cartoons at the time were on zoetrope, otherwise I’d definitely give these years a visit. Just long enough for a picnic, anyway. I’ve always wanted to go on one of those. They must’ve been the high point  of fun once. Just look at everyone high-stepping to the park to partake of food amidst the wonder of nature that mankind put a fence around and claimed as city property.

One couple has set up shop on the riverbank. Even though they look like a very healthy happy relationship, she won’t stop being so coy. She gives him the side peek of genuine interest, he responds with a mustache wave to show the feeling is mutual, (wish I wanted a mustache so I could do that) but when he tries to hold her hand, he gets a mousetrap for his trouble. I mean really, you’ll let a guy eat your food but physical contact is too much? These mixed signals are why I prefer animals to most people.

Oh goody! The local ants have heard the picnic’s call and will now take the remainder of the picture’s focus. Who likes food stealing gags? That’s mostly all you’re getting. They take the cake, the hot dogs, even the soda, too. But they’re pretty smart, so they use the goods as simple machines. Donuts make delectable wheels, and make transporting bananas much easier on the thorax. And like the old saying goes: teamwork makes the sandwich. A perfect opportunity to use the ‘hold the onions’ sign gag again. (I kinda wish they would shake things up with a ‘hold everything BUT the onions’ sign gag.)

But for their skills, you have to remember they are ants and as such, tend to be seen as nothing more than insects by humans if they’re even seen at all. The man takes the sandwich without even a thank you, angering the chef ant. But picnics aren’t just all sitting and eating I’m told. There is usually some sort of physical activity to take part in. Humans have choices like croquet, or horseshoes, or maybe even touch football. Ants are smaller than sports equipment, but they have solutions. Flowers make good dresses, corn silk can be used as hair, and olives can augment your nonexistent tats and iss. Put it all together and the you have the human equivalent of a fur suit. It’s not a fetish, it’s their lifestyle.

Some ants don’t dance, but they can sing. Being so small, their voice kind of sounds like the Chipettes with chipmunk voices. Now me, I never found sped up voices annoying like a majority of people. It seems like a majority of ants don’t share my views. They’d rather isolate themselves in areas that have little to no air, and thus, no sound. At least the one in the juice uses a straw to breathe. I hope the one in the jar is pleased with the prison she just made for herself. The singer is shut up the way most are: fruit. (Fruit that shrinks as it travels towards her. A whole banana was launched, but a chunk small enough to just cover her face hits her. What, did a fruit bat eat most of it in the air?)

Meanwhile, the chef ant has just had her third sandwich stolen by the man. (What kind of metabolism allows him to still be hungry after just sitting and ogling?) The chef sets up some karma by placing the woman’s hand in between bread and mustard. And hunger mcgee takes the bait. She slaps him into the water. Now, she could tell he was holding her hand. (Which she had no problems by now as their relationship was several minutes longer by this point.) Logically, she should have felt the handwich being constructed.  Was she expecting a very specific kind of foreplay I never needed to know about? Did she just think he was going to nibble around her fingers, and maybe lick the condiment off? (Hmm… that actually does sound pretty hot, to be honest.)

Oh yeah, the ants take what they couldn’t finish back to the nest. Humans may act high and mighty, but our insect overlords are the true rulers of the planet. How many mass extinctions have they survived?

Favorite Part: The ant dancers were actually kinda attractive, but I’m more impressed with their clever get-ups. I never would have though of using corn silk for hair.

Personal Rating: 2. It’s not terribly funny, but it’s cute enough. Too bad it can’t stand on ever footing with ant pictures Freleng’s unit had already made and would make later.

Banty Raids

“Man, you’re a weirdo chick.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Animation by George Grandpre, Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on June 29, 1963.

Yes I can tie today’s featured cartoon into October once again! What’s Halloween without tricks? A safe and by extension boring Halloween. But it’s not a trick when I tell you this is Foghorn’s final starring role.

It’s like this, man. See, there’s this rooster on this farm, you dig? As the title suggests, he’s a bantam. What it doesn’t tell you is that he’s a beatnik as well, and likes his music loud. This gets him exiled from his place by the head rooster of the place. It doesn’t bother the bantnik too much as One: he’s too laid-back to get invested, and Two: he’s spotted another farm that is full of females. And they appear quite receptive to his musical charms, so he’s made up his mind to enter.

But this place has a head rooster of its own by the name of Foghorn Leghorn. Gonna need to slip by him to get the good times rolling. Using his body’s natural size to his benefit, Bantnik decides to disguise himself as an orphaned child. And Foghorn is all too willing to adopt, because as much fun as he has, he’s secretly also very lonely and wishes he had a junior of sorts to join him in dawg pranking. That’s the first thing he’s going to teach his new son about.

Foggy’s gone all out for the final dog smack around. He doesn’t have to outrun Barnyard  this time. (The dog making his final appearance.)  Foghorn’s attached himself to a rubber band. Once he’s given the dog some smacks, he just needs to leap off the ground, and physics will pull him out of harm’s way. Even better, the force sends his arm flying into a boxing glove he set aside, so now he can be flung right back into B.D.’s mug. Of course, his “child” has no interest in these kind of games, and we find him making out with a dead chicken that was stuffed by a taxidermist who was a big fan of Marty Feldman.

Cracks start to show in Bantnik’s plan. How was he supposed to know Foghorn would break rooster tradition and actually try to raise his kid? Bantnik and his lady friend of the half-hour have to put their dance session on hold and make it seems like the little guy was just napping in the hen house. But the horny kids hate to waste a second, and turn the tunes back up the very instant Foghorn simply LOOKS like he’s leaving. Foghorn is starting to get suspicious, and that mindset only gets stronger as he cuts into the kid’s line for make-outs.

He shows his “son” some pictures to see what sort of thing’s catch his interest. Ladies, naturally, get him going. This proves… that he likes girls, just as Foghorn thought. It’s not entirely clear if Foggy has caught on that he’s been played a fool or not. Maybe he just thinks his kid is full of testosterone. Meanwhile, Barnyard, no doubt scheming the whole time, notices Bantnik’s lust. (He’s ditched the disguise now. He’s too laid-back to worry about it, though.) Barnyard offers to hook him up with the girl of his dreams, and Bantnik sees nothing wrong with believing something too good to be true. (Have a I mentioned he’s laid-back?)

The Dawg sends a little tank towards the barn where Foghorn just happens to be. Seems he’s already forgotten about the son he loved so much. He recognizes the tank as the Dawg’s pawdiwork and ducks its shot. But that was all part of the plan! The shot hits a bovine who ends up bucking Foghorn into some (I think it’s) a hay-baler. (I don’t get why he smiles in there, but I chuckle all the same.) After a ride through, his wings are tied to his sides, and his beak has been tied too. Into a perfect kissable pout. Now we just apply some false eyelashes, a little lipstick, Oh! And we’ve got the perfect hat, wig and dress to bring it all together!

Bantnik likes what he sees! Good thing Barnyard is a licensed priest, since the little bird requests he marry the two of them on the spot. Foghorn tells him point blank that he’s another rooster, but Bantnik is progressive enough to not let that bother him. (And you thought I was just going to say it’s because he’s laid-back!)

Favorite Part: After Bantnik is kicked out of his first home, he says “Man, you’re the sickest.” Right as your brain finishes putting together that he must’ve been sarcastically complimenting his ex-boss, he pulls a gun on his suffering guitar.

Personal Rating: 3 that creeps over to the four’s territory sometimes to make itself feel bigger. Nice way to end Foghorn’s cartoons.

Hare Trimmed

“I can see you through the key hole!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, Virgil Ross, and Arthur Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 20, 1953.

We started this fun themed month with a ghost story, then moved on to real life horror, and now I’ll continue this trend with a cartoon featuring costumes. Maybe next week I’ll discuss “The Cookie Carnival.” Wouldn’t that be a shake-up?

Sam takes note of the local news. Namely, there’s a widow that’s inherited 50 million big ones. And he can’t help but feel that anyone having just lost a loved one should immediately replace what’s missing. You know, he’s single. A suspicious Bugs can’t help but see what the little guy is up to, and finds Sam in the next scene with flowers and candy. He’s got marriage on his mind. Bugs might just need to intervene.

Said widow is Granny (that newspaper photo didn’t do her justice), who has so much cash, she literally sets some aside to burn. (Whoever her husband was, his death clearly didn’t affect her too much. In fact, how do we know this isn’t the first time she’s gotten in such a rewarding situation? I’m worried about you, Sam.) She answers her door to find Sam trying to woo her, and she lets him chase her. But she must put their fun on a brief hiatus as there’s yet another knock.

It’s Bugs dressed as the marquee of Queensberry… rouge, I think. Putting on his best Pepe Le Pew impression, he also gets to chase the flirty Granny around. Sam isn’t pleased and slaps Bugs with his glove. Bugs (and his disappearing/reappearing hat) returns the favor but he bothers to put a brick in his, first. Time for pistols at ten paces. Bugs, ever ten paces ahead, counts out as many steps between nine and ten as he needs to get Sam to walk out into the path of an incoming bus.

When Sam comes banging at the door again, it is answered by Bugs in Granny garb. And Sam refers  to “her” as “Emma.” Could this be Granny’s real name? If it isn’t, what is it with Sam and girls named Emma? Sam gets to chase again, but “Emma” ends things quickly with a piano to the face. It’s then that the real Emma (?) finds him and sets him in a chair while she fixes him some coffee. The other one reaches him first and does the ole ‘giving lumps when asking for lumps’ bit.

When Gremma returns, Sam kicks the coffee out of her hands sending her running for the gun that I’m guessing she’s already used before SOME WAY. Sam realizes that he may have just kicked away the easy life, and follows begging for forgiveness. He gets Bugs (still in disguise) to forgive him and he then suggests they elope, much to Sam’s glee. When they’re walking down the aisle, Bugs’s dress gets caught on a snag and tears off revealing his hairy legs. Leading to a great line from the priest: “Do you, Sam, take this woman… woman?”

That comment gets Sam to look over his bride once more and instantly get cold feet. He flees the wedding, leaving Bugs crying crocodile tears. (Who are all those people they invited anyway? I don’t recognize anybody but me.)

Favorite Part: The animation of Sam and later Bugs chasing Granny. I can’t explain it, but it slays me. And I wish I had an opportunity to chase someone like that without warranting a call for help.

Personal Rating: 4. Granny is probably at her best here. Fun to see her having so much fun.

Shop Look & Listen

I’d like to hold a hand like that myself.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Dave Monahan. Animation: Cal Dalton; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 21, 1940.

There was a video game released in 2007 titled “Super Mario Galaxy.” It was a major hit with both critics and consumers and everyone agreed; they wouldn’t mind a sequel. The creators would deliver with “Super Mario Galaxy 2”, but not because of fan outcry. Rather, it was because they themselves had so many ideas for that one project that one game wasn’t enough to hold them all. I tell you this, because I think something similar happened about 70 years earlier.

Earlier in the year 1940, Freleng’s unit released a cartoon titled “Little Blabbermouse.” It wasn’t anywhere near close to being the studio’s best work. It was just one of their gag oriented cartoons using a mischief of mice taking a tour of a department store as an overlay. The title was referring to one particular mouse who’s one defining character trait was not shutting up.  (A good three years before Sniffles took up that role.) They couldn’t have thought this idea was 14K of comedy gold. But hey, all these gags means one less cartoon idea to come up with while they were brainstorming about this rabbit of theirs that seemed to be taking off.

Thus, we have this sequel short. And Blabbermouse even gets his own title card!

*Is my internal fear showing?*

Eww. I don’t like that face. It’s making him look like a child comma molester. And you know, they didn’t need to use that at all. Blabby hardly features in this feature. Gets about four and a half lines total. Hardly befitting the blabber name.

Well, our gags take place in J. T. Gimlet’s department store. A few decent gags are available on the banners outside the building. But the one about the hours confuses me a little. Oh, I get the joke “Sunday 9-6 If we were open Sundays” But why do they bother listing weekdays and Saturdays separately if they’re going to say the same hours? Either switch the times up, or list them as one. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Our host is the same as it was in the previous short. (Which I’ve yet to discuss, because it’s more fun for me to not know what surprises I will discuss each week. I hope this isn’t your first time here. What a horrible post to sell someone on.) If I can steal a name from another short, then I can call him W. C. Fieldmouse. Showing some mercy to those of us who might have seen the other cartoon, they skip the preparation of their trip and take off. (Reusing the same animation they did last time.) Essentially, they travel by a gondola that is big enough to hold a crowd thrice their size.

Fieldmouse shows them the shoe section where we get a joke that I don’t get. (Are there shoes called mules?) Then, an art gallery where we see “Whistler’s Mother” and “The Thinker” doing what their names suggest. Then we see some of the robotic devices for sale, and they demonstrate what they can do. There’s a device that snuffs out cigars for you, and another one that seems like it was built to play poker all by itself. (It couldn’t be comfortable to sit with those robotic arm attachments pressing into your chest.) It can shuffle, cut, deal, cheat and kill cheaters all by itself. Which means you’re obsolete and not needed anymore, so you might as well go home.

B.M. has been annoying W.C. sporadically during this tour, and the larger mouse threatens him with bodily harm, should he speak once more. (I do love the animation of Fieldmouse stress sweating as he struggles to contain his rage. It was worth using in both shorts.)The tour then comes to a machine that can cut lengths of ribbon for your purchasing pleasure, and wrap it up for you as well. Blabber then opens his mouth again, and Fieldmouse prepares to make good on his promise. But instead of getting his hands dirty, he just has the machine wrap the little pest up instead. I hope it was worth it, as Blabbermouse’s father is a policeman. And policemen aren’t scared of anything. They’re brave and strong. We’reluckythey’resobraveandstrongandwillingtoprotectus.Geewhiz,IwishIcouldbeasbraveasstrongasapolicemansomeday.ToobadIhavenointentionofbeingapolicemansomeday.Itdoesn’tlineupwithmypersonalinterests,butIguessI’mgladthattheoptionisalwaysavailable.That’sthegreatthingaboutbeingapoliceman,anyonecandoit.Well,Iguessnoteveryone.Womenbecomepolicewomen,don’tthey?Oraretheystillcaleedpolicemanaswell?Orwhataboutcops?Isthereadifferencebetweenpolicemenandcops?Andwhy….

Favorite Part: The first time Blabbermouse speaks up, Fieldmouse gives him a good smack on the back of the head, while reprimanding him in rhyme no less. History’s first rap battle victory!

Personal Rating: 2. It only escapes one because it had different gags than its predecessor, and therefore, you can justify showing it to your friends if you feel you need to.