Land of the Midnight Fun

“Many of the passengers made the entire trip by rail.”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Charles McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 23, 1939.

Before we begin, I must insist you watch this if you haven’t done so already:

Now that you’re properly hyped, (and if you aren’t, then you aren’t living properly. Try again.) we can move on to today’s feature.

Time for a ocean voyage up north. As a cold loather, I can’t fathom why anyone would want to subject themselves to such an excursion, but I might as well follow and see if we can scrounge up a few good jokes. Considering Avery thought bringing back the “fairy boat” joke was a good idea, I’m apprehensive. (And I don’t buy the narrator’s claim of this being “educational.” That penguin on the title card already disproves that theory.)

Actually, maybe Tex is already proving me wrong. For when we take a peek under the Atlantic waters, we see an abundance of sea life, that is drawn fairly realistically! A battery of barracuda, a pair of swordfish, a float of tuna! Oh, and a can of salmon. There’s even life above the waves; witness the castaway on a raft. The boat tries throwing him a line, but he throws it back. Seeing as how he has a woman on board, he’s fine thanks. (That situation actually sounds like a decent basis for a novel. DIBS!)

When the ship arrives at Nome, (parallel parking, no less) we get to see some “Eskimo humor.” The caricatures are a bit outdated, and the lifestyle seems to be composed of outdated stereotypes, but don’t worry. None of them are gutbustingly hilarious, so you don’t have to feel guilty. There’s one native sitting in cramped igloo, a woman putting lipstick on her nose, (yeah, okay. She’s kind of cute.) and a telephone pole for the dogsleds.

So, if that’s what the humans are doing, what are the animals up to? Chicken’s lay eggs encased in ice, a timber wolf constantly yelling his namesake, and a…. penguin.

There’s a penguin in Alaska.

The clearly American Alaska.

Come on, Fred! You’re insulting my zoology cred! And to go even further, you state that the birds live entirely on fish! No, I don’t care if science hadn’t dis-proven these claims in the 30’s. By that logic, I should be okay with every racist caricature that gets shown on the screen. Happily for me, the last fish on the penguin’s menu turns the tables and eats it. Thus leading me to believe that it was just an invasive species that got nipped in the bud. Thank goodness.

Before the tour ends, we take a peek at the nearby night club. There’s no hurry, as the nights are a good six months up here. We get some nice rotoscoped skating, courtesy of one of the natives. But the tour has to end sometime, so we head back down to New York. (Wait, did we really sail over the Arctic circle to get here? Eat it, Nautilus!) However, due to heavy fogs, the boat somehow ends up on top of the Trylon. (We’re kings of the world!)

Favorite Part: that wolf. Not only is he being voice by Avery, doing that infectious laugh I know and love so well, but he even takes the time to comment on how silly the gag is. (Darn it, Tex. I can’t stay mad at you.)

Personal Rating: 3

 

 

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs

“Some folks think I’s kinda dumb, but I know someday my prince will come.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 16, 1943.

This is, no question, the most famous of the Censored Eleven. If being listed on the “100 greatest Looney Tunes” isn’t reason enough, then how about actually managing to secure a place as one of the “50 greatest cartoons.” (As chosen back in the 90’s, so people were well aware of how offensive this cartoon was, and still is.) And yet, there are some good reasons as to why it earned such a spot. Allow me to explain.

We start with a mother and child. They aren’t going to feature much in our feature. They set up the story, and briefly appear at the end, and that’s it. (Luckily, they’re in silhouette. We already have enough racist drawings.) The child wants to hear the story of “So White and the seven dwarfs.” So the mother tells just that.

The story starts with a queen. She’s a mean one. Know how I know? She’s hoarding wartime luxuries! Sugar, coffee, tires, and scrap metal! That’s stuff our armies could use! How dare she! Seems like all these treasures aren’t enough to satiate her, so she heads over to her magic mirror. (Now that I think about it, where did the queen find that mirror in every variation of this story? Did Rumplestilskin just have a yard sale?)

The queen asks for a prince, and the mirror… er, supplies I think. A prince does indeed show up. His name is Prince Chawmin’, and maybe he just came this way because of the other woman who is around these parts. Despite the cartoon’s title, her name is So White. (Even though her hair IS coal black, but who would want to be named after their follicles?)

(Right, Edward?)

And as for So… I’ll just say it: she is hot. I mean that. She gets my vote for the most attractive animated character I’ve seen. Jessica Rabbit can’t compare. Red Hot Riding Hood has nothing on her. Samus Aran doesn’t cut it. Give me this black beauty any day. Chawmin’ shares my opinion, and the two start dancing, angering the queen. (Who makes one of the scariest faces I’ve ever seen. That’s a little hyperbolic, but it does give me the jibblies.)

Queenie ain’t pleased to see her prince dancing with her… actually, it doesn’t say if she’s related to So. She could just be a very attractive maid. Still, this is enough cause for murder, so the queen calls up Murder Inc. to get rid of So. They’re very adept and arrive immediately. (Good rates too. Anybody can be out of your life for only a dollar! Midgets are half off! Japanese are free. Bad taste, but I’m sorry, that joke got a small chuckle out of me. At least Murder Inc. have wartime priorities.)

Well, maybe they aren’t as adept as I thought. Being alone with So in their vehicle ends up with her getting safely dropped in the forest, and their faces covered in lipstick. (Can’t say I blame them in the slightest. Shame So’s more of a loose woman than I hoped.) Out on her own, and savvy to her source material, So looks for the seven dwarfs. She finds them rather quickly. Most of them look very similar to each other. We’ll call them Dock, Hoppy, Brash, Sweep, and Snazzy. The other two look like Stepin Fetchit, (Because we have to make that reference whenever possible. The joke is timeless!) and chibi-Dopey. (He’s cute. I’ll call him Cheeb.)

They’re happy to take So in, but since there is a World War in progress, she can’t play housekeeper at their place. Instead, she’ll be the cook at their camp. Now, the queen is well aware that So is still alive. (I guess Muder Inc. couldn’t keep their insensitively large lips shut.) Time for the apple. Poison and all. (I’d have just let her eat it as is. It’d given her worms.) Disguised as a peddler, the queen hands So the apple, claiming it’s candy coated. So gleefully swallows it whole. (Which also would just kill her. The poison is just a fail safe.)

Cheeb sees the downed hottie, (complete with core? She didn’t even chew. Where did it come from? The queen just wanted a snack?) He rallies the troops, and they chase the old girl down. They fire Cheeb in a shell towards her, and he knocks her out with a hammer. Almost all well and good, there’s just the matter of So. They need Chawmin’. His kiss will wake her. He shows up, makes what is possibly the first reference to “Citizen Kane” in media, (I’m too lazy to see if my claim there is true) and kisses So.

Something’s wrong here! He kisses and kisses, but she don’t wake up. Seeing his chance, Cheeb kisses her himself, and that does the trick. But why? Sorry, military secret. (The cutie ended up with the hottie. I guess I ship it.)

Favorite Part: The whole cartoon is in rhyme. (Barring a few exceptions.) It makes the whole thing feel like an upbeat jazz number!

Personal Rating: I won’t beat about the bush. This cartoon is full of ugly caricatures, hurtful stereotypes, and outdated jokes. But, if you can remember that and understand that it’s not funny, there is some pretty awesome stuff left over. A fantastic jazzy soundtrack, some pretty sweet voice acting, (done by some honest to goodness African Americans. And Mel. Because Mel is the voice god) and is overall a pretty awesome parody of Disney’s classic film. I give it a 4. Just remember that even if something is offensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s garbage.

Pettin’ in the Park

“Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! Stroke!”

Supervision by Bernard Brown; Animation by Jack King and Bob Clampett; Music by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on January 27, 1934.

The park is THE place to be if you want to show your love for another being. The birds are certainly aware of this. Everywhere you go they’re either cuddling, kissing, or pecking out hearts in trees. (Well, just the woodpeckers.) It’s not just the birds, though. A cop is currently trying to put the moves on a nursemaid. (She’s plenty hot, but also clearly voiced by a man. Kind of a turnoff.)

I guess there’s chemistry, (Although I’m betting they just met today.) because the lady doesn’t slap the cop when he steals a kiss. Hypocritical as birds are, they immediately start scolding the two. (In song form no less.) It doesn’t work. (I do love the lady’s charge asking to leave. That’s what I’d do.) But there’s another in the park today. It’s a…. penguin.

There’s a penguin in the park.

The clearly American park.

You know what, I decided that I don’t care. Okay, sure. There’s a penguin. It’s chasing a butterfly. The insect lands on the woman’s rear. Now, lepidopterans are quite light as far as animals go, so she takes no notice of it. But a sphenisforme giving you a peck on the cheek is hard to ignore. She feels it and naturally assumes her new “boyfriend” is to blame. (Why must second base be so taboo?) She leaves him, and takes the baby home.

Until she sees the next guy in her path. This man has a car, is single, and isn’t turned off when the lady just abandons the infant to join him. (We never do see that kid again. I like to think he grew up to be a responsible parent.) Envious, and not above trying to abuse his power, the cop tries to break them up. The man isn’t above assaulting an officer, and punches the policeman before driving off. (Assault, abusing power, and abandoning children. All three should go to jail.)

Oops! Looks like there’s another cartoon taking place! You thought all those birds were just there to provide side gags, didn’t you? Now, they’re the focus. (If the sign at the beginning said “Bird Park” instead of “City Park” this would make more sense.) They’re also holding a water carnival. This means there will be both a diving and swimming contest. (*Looking at the penguin* The events are rigged.)

Time for the fist contest. We’ve got a parrot doing commentary. (Good luck trying to make out what he says. His words are drowned out by the soundtrack.) The swan and duck family does quite well. The stork dives into trash. (Might have been more clever as a pigeon or gull. Especially if they were happy about their landing) The ostrich lands in mud. (So… who won?)

Time for the swimming race! (The lake in question is filthy. I see at least three tires and a hubcap.) The pelican seems like he’s doing quite well, but smart birds don’t bet on them to win swimming races. The penguin and the parrot (Who I guess are on a team?) join in, using a tub as a boat, and a bike pump as a motor. Not only does this give them tremendous speed, but also throws the fish into the air. (Much to the pelican’s delight.)

The two get stuck in some mud. The parrot flies off, while the penguin fruitlessly tries to pump. This ends up covering some geese in mud and garbage. Angry, they chase the penguin, but he manages to lose them in a turnstile. This not only makes them lose their feathers, but it ties their necks in knots too. Ouch.

Favorite Part: When the cop marches over to break up his “ex” and her lover, the penguin imitates him. (It’s cute.)

Personal Rating: I’d like to give it a 2, but the two plots really felt disconnected. I’m afraid it earns a 1.

Skyscraper Caper

“What an easy job this is going to be. I think.”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams and Ralph Penn; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voices: Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released o March 9, 1968.

Daffy has a bad case of sleepwalking. Bad enough to have him walking out of his house. It’s a good thing that Speedy catches sight of this, but his warnings aren’t enough to wake Daffy, and the duck walks into a lake. (Speedy’s house seems disproportioned. Daffy comes up to its roof, but Speedy seems to be half as tall as that. I don’t know. It seems off, but there’s plenty more to complain about.)

Speedy offers a solution: Daffy gives him 5 pesos, and Speedy will watch over him. Waking him in case he sleep walks again. And, believe it or not, Daffy not only agrees to that, but happily so! He’s not convinced that’s too much? He’s okay letting Speedy in his house? This is not the Daffy I know and love. He’s…he’s gone. He’s changed for the worse, just like everything I’ve ever loved. (Fine. I’ll tone it back a bit.)

Staying up all hours is a tiring job, so Speedy rigs up a rope around Daffy’s bed. If Daffy walks into it, it will ring a bell that will wake them both. Speedy will then take the credit. He even has the nerve to ask Daffy for another payment for his services. Unbelievably, Daffy pays up. (Even calling it worth paying for? Daffy, come back to me, pal!) It’s not a perfect plan. Once Daffy exits his bed the other way, he completely bypasses the rope.

Daffy walks out of his already open door, and heads into town. (It’s clearly midday now. How late do those two sleep?) And now, halfway through the picture, Daffy makes his way to a skyscraper. It’s still under construction, but this is one of the oldest known cartoon ideas. Someone will blindly stumble around the place, but always be saved at the last minute. It’s worked with Popeye, it’s worked with Mickey, it’s worked with Bugs. So, it should work here!

And they immediately botch it up. Daffy walks onto a girder, walks to the edge, and…just stands there. BOR-ING! You took the fun out of this gag, why exactly? Now Speedy wakes up and notices the duck is gone. He rushes outside, (not taking the bell for no reason) and sees Daffy still WAITING on the edge of his beam. Speedy is fast enough to make it there, and keep Daffy from falling more.

There’s an ice cream man there. He doesn’t look happy. (But I suppose he is selling at a construction site. There can’t be much business.) His bell wakes Daffy up, and he falls off the building. He grabs on to the side, and saves himself from death. Speedy lowers down a NOOSE that Daffy is supposed to use to get back up, by sticking his head in it, and pulling the other end to get himself up. (Why are these two’s personalities switched?)

Daffy manages to get back up, but a jackhammer sends him back down. He grabs a clock hand, and, for no other reason than to get some more pain out of him, the hour hand begins turning at a rapid rate, hitting Daffy multiple times and causing him to let go. He bounces around the area, thanks to awnings, and telephone wires, before landing in Speedy’s wagon, knocking him out. Speedy returns him to his bed, and Daffy is convinced the whole thing is a dream. (I wish I could think the same.)

Favorite Part: Speedy telling the sleeping Daffy to wake up. Once he’s in the water, Speedy remarks that he is awake now. (Yes, that was the highlight.)

Personal Rating: 1. The characters were out character, the jokes weren’t funny, and the animation was as poor as it usually was at this time.

Big Game Haunt

“No use hiding! You can’t escape!”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Cal Howard; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Layouts by Bob Givens; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Merrie Melody released on February 10, 1968.

On a nice day, such as the one shown in this picture, one should really be out hunting tigers. I mean, it’s not like they’re an endangered species, and we’ve already wiped out three of their subspecies. They’re just large cats in stripes. Really, Colonel Rimfire is totally in the right for chasing after Cool Cat. Yet, the tiger doesn’t want to be hunted for some unknown selfish reason. What’s his problem?

C.C. decides to take refuge in some derelict house he finds. Somehow, Rimfire missed that, and heads towards the house just to ask if anyone saw the tiger. Despite the rustic appearance the building has, Rimfire knocks. Cool Cat is on the other end and does the old “does your target have the same features I have, sorry, I haven’t seen him” bit. (He also slams the door on his hunter) Angry, Rimfire chases after him.

Knowing that the tiger is nearby, Rimfire purposefully says aloud that he is giving up. Cool Cat does indeed poke his head out of his hiding place, but manages to escape again. Rimfire gives chase, and despite being less than three feet away, still can’t manage to shoot his prey. The two of them run past an old trunk, and awaken the one who sleeps inside it.

The credits list this guy as “Spooky” but… that nose, that physique, that manner of speech. I think this guy is the ghost of Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore. (There was only so many times he could reprimand Humphrey, before the big guy realized he was a bear.) Despite his name, he’s a friendly ghost. He just wants to be pals with the two trespassers on his property. But the two aren’t so keen, just seeing a ghost is enough to frighten them.

Spooky is actually quite aware they’re afraid of him, as he indicates this has happened before. Still, he decides to return the hat and gun that Rimfire dropped in his attempt to get away. From where Cool Cat hides, all he can see is that someone is wearing that hat, and carrying that gun. It must be the Colonel. Cool Cat tries to team up with the Colonel, only to find himself facing the real one in front of him. The two flee again.

Rimfire tries barricading a door, but since Spooky is a ghost, he can go through walls. (And he can bring the Colonel’s belongings through too. That’s actually pretty scary.) Cool Cat, who was hiding in the curtains, gets scared when Rimfire tries to share his hiding place. The tiger runs, with the sheet still on him, making him look like a ghost. This spooks Spooky, who flees himself. He phases through a brick wall, that C.C. crashes into. (Why is that even in here?)

Rimfire decides to use this time to escape, running the same way the other two did. Despite the fact he clearly saw that Cool Cat was the one under the curtains, he gets scared by that and runs the other way. (Must be getting senile in his old age) Cool Cat follows, and Spooky does likewise. (Because, Cool Cat isn’t wearing the curtains anymore?) When he realizes he is still being followed, he runs and ends up jostling Rimfire out of the phonograph he was in. (I thought he was escaping. Why is he still here?)

Finally, Rimfire runs out the front door. (It really shouldn’t have been that hard.) Cool Cat follows suit, still pursued by Spooky. Ultimately, Cool Cat runs out of energy, and sits down. Spooky joins him, commenting that they had a great race. Cool Cat, still not happy to see the dead, admits that they’ll resume as soon as he catches his breath.

Favorite Part: The fact that Cool Cat was willing to try and save his adversary. Man, this guy really IS cool.

Personal Rating: 2

The Curious Puppy

“Fun! Exciting! Baffling!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Robert Givens; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 30, 1939.

We regret to inform you that the local amusement park is closed for the season. Those of you who live in a world of pre-covid Disney resorts, might scoff at such practices, but as someone who lives in an area that gets snow, (If you call that living. I don’t.) I can assure you such ways are real. But Joe is our titular curious puppy, and he can’t resist making a quick visit.

The thing that immediately catches his interest is a cat shaped sign. Like a good little, curious puppy, he immediately sets to barking. It might not be a real cat, but its good that he starts with a harmless version. As he barks, he accidentally pulls the master switch. The very switch that turns the whole park on. (Really should have hid that better. It’s why this park is now a strip mall.) Is there no security? Yeah, we spared no expanse. We got a boxer.

Enter Charles. He’s a little grumpy because he’s been left in an empty park with no food, only enchiladas. (I joke, but I find those are rarely worth eating) They may have been friends in past shorts, (or at least, co-stars) but Charles has a job to do, so Joe has got to go. The chase begins.  First stop: the house of mirrors. A perfect opportunity to do the routine Groucho made famous in “Duck Soup.”

Charles creeps ever so slowly, making sure the only other dog he sees is his reflection. Joe appears at the one point where there is no mirror. Although, Charles has his real reflection for a split second. I swear! (Well, I censor myself.) The mirror gag starts, with Charles trying to catch his “reflection” not copying him. (I love the ridiculous happy face he wears. That should be a meme somehow) Joe does eventually screw up, revealing himself and running again.

The puppy hides in a photo booth, using a photo board as camouflage. Charles isn’t fooled, and lunges. The resulting force sends Joe out a window and into a popcorn machine. He’s pretty cool with this, and helps himself to a snack. Charles finds him again, and turns the thing on to get himself a bag of “pup-corn.” He gets the mutt, and carries him off. (To eat? Maybe just to get rid of him, but maybe to eat.) But a flimsy paper bag, weakened by grease no less, was not meant to carry an at least 15 pound animal. It breaks, and Joe leaves.

He probably could have gotten away this time, but he has to stop at bark at the cat toy prizes on show. (More practice! Good boy!) Charles gives chase again, leading them into a… fake mountain? I guess its just a way to give shade to those who wait in line for the pool slide. (I’m pretty clever.) The dogs take a quick dip, before Joe escapes. Charles follows to what is the perfect hiding place: an entire stall of toy puppies, all of which look identical to the little trespasser.

Charles pounces! Good thing he isn’t finding the real one. Just look at the heads fly! When I said Joe escaped, I meant it. He’s outside the park now. Charles sobs. (Even if the puppy is out, he’s probably out himself. Of a job. I counted at least forty toys destroyed. That’s about $20.00 US dollars more than Charles makes in a year.)

Favorite Part: The pup-corn bit. It was cute! The way Joe gets scooped, salted, and buttered. (Luckily it doesn’t burn him.) And packed up neatly in a sack! I wish the parks I attended sold such joys.

Personal Rating: 3

Moonlight for Two

“Stand back, villain!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Larry Martin. A Merrie Melody released on June 11, 1932.

You ever heard of Goopy Geer? There’s no shame if you haven’t. He’s one of the WB’s most minor of minor characters. He’s your basic run-of-the-mill anthro-dog. He sings, he dances, he plays musical instruments. He was another attempt to make a recurring character for Merrie Melodies. And I know what you are thinking now: that name and species? It’s another blatant Disney ripoff! Yet, Goopy came first. He predates the dippy dog by a couple of weeks. And, yet, (again) one went on to have his own movie in the 90’s, while the other got a cameo on Tiny Toons. (There are no losers, but some won more than others.)

Late at night, in some Ozarks-ish area, a girl dog heads out with her boyfriend/ormaybehusbandbrotherorjustdancepartner for some dancing fun. Even the birds sing in excitement. (Probably on the other side of the globe. It’s clearly day where they are.) The guy is Goopy and the gal is just Goopy’s gal. (So, it is once more up to me to supply a name. Gigi sounds appropriate) They sing our title song, jump onto a cart, (not sure if that was intentional) and they crash. They end up going to the dance in a wheelbarrow.

Random transition to the dance! We’re just there, man. It kind of feels like we got a different carton shoved in here. Everyone is having such a wonderful time! Look at those asses wiggle! No, really. They have long ears, and are clearly equines. (And yes, their posteriors are moving too.) Goopy and Gigi are ready to cut a rug. Bust a move. Shimmy a shake. Even the stove gets in on the action. (The animators clearly wanted to make him the star. He’s so much more lively.)

You want some conflict? We’ve got a surplus of generic Ozark villains on standby. Have an a-hole Amos on the house! He doesn’t do much more than make a kiss face at Gigi, but that’s enough for Goopy to fight him off. He’s not too good at it, though. The stove ends up chasing the rogue away with his burning embers. (Coming next month: Pot Billy Stove in, “Some like it not!”)

Favorite Part: Two dachshunds dance. One chugs some firewater, and burns most of his flesh away. His partner doesn’t mind how vertically challenged he has become, and continues to dance with him without hesitation. That’s adorable.

Personal Rating: 2

The Unmentionables

“Dis is fun, Rocky!”

Directed by Friz Freleng;(The last one from him at WB) Story by John Dunn; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Art Leonardi, and Lee Halpern; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc, Ralph James; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on September 7, 1963.

You like television spoofs, right? You like “The Untouchables,” right? Then this is the picture for you! (And if you aren’t afraid of violence, then you won’t have a problem.) It’s the 20’s. (Looks at the calendar.) The roaring 20’s! A much better time to be living. I mean, the market surely wouldn’t crash, cartoons weren’t going to get any better than “Felix the Cat”, and people weren’t wearing masks. Truly, you couldn’t find a better place to live than the 48 states of America.

Okay, sure. There were still problems, even in the past. Namely, gangsters. They’re all eager to control the underworld, and aren’t afraid to kill each other to do so. (Witness the poor guy who tries calling the cops. His head and body will miss each other.) Things are bad, and when things are bad, you get someone to fix things for you. Enter agent “Elegant Mess” who is so different from Eliot Ness that even a tube worm could tell the two apart. Biggest clue: Mess is a rabbit.

This leads me to believe that Mess’s real name is Bugs. Bugs Bunny. (It’s a good name. Who knows what kind of fame he could achieve with a name like that?) He’s off to find crooks and bring them to justice. He enters a taxi and he finds them. Er, they find him? Someone finds someone, and when you find someone, you should make your feelings about them perfectly clear. In this case, Mess is given a new pair of shoes. Cement ones.

Rocky and Mugsy (who are making their final golden age appearance) drop the rabbit into lake Michigan. They don’t feel the need to stick around and watch, but if they did, they’d see the rabbit escaping. He had a pipe on him for breathing purposes, and he is strong enough to hop out onto the shore. As for the crooks, they’re celebrating Rocky’s birthday. (I got him a razor. He’s got a noticeable 5 o’clock shadow) Everyone is here. A nastier gang of miscreants you’d never see because they wouldn’t let you live. Just look at these case files.

Name: Jack “Legs” Rhinestone

Favorite baby animals: Calves

Favorite Cooking instrument: Wok

Name: Baby Face Half-Nelson

Favorite Sea Creature: Urchins

Favorite Potato Style: Tots

Name: Pizza-Puss Lasanga

Favorite Toy: Dominoes

Favorite Historical Figure: Caesar

Name: Pistol Nose Pringle

Favorite Game: Chutes and Ladders

Favorite Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Name: “Teeth” Malloy

Favorite Looney Tune Character: K-9

Favorite Mode of Transport: Chopper

Bad enough individually, but together, they could only be bested by the best.

Everyone wants to show Rocky how much they respect him, so they got him one of those cakes that has a woman in it. Considering the time period, are you surprised that a flapper comes out? Wait, I recognize that “lady.” It’s Mess! Rocky is fooled and tries to hit on the woman, but she is too focused on her dancing to notice. (She kicks him a bit too. Just for good measure, you understand.) Rocky fires his guns in frustration, and Mess decides to flee. Rocky meanwhile, finds that firing your weapons so recklessly isn’t a good way to keep living henchmen. (At least Mugsy survived.)

The two chase after the rabbit, who leads them into some dark building. They fumble around in the dark a bit, before Mess turns on the lights. It’s a cereal factory that they’re in. Actually, it’s a cereal making machine they’re in. Once Mess starts the machine, the two find themselves boxed up quite nicely. Mess has won! He takes the two away, and they receive a good 20 years of hard labor. Mess, who handcuffed himself to the two is forced to stick around. He’s lost the keys.

Favorite Part: It’s not just one part. I like how they weren’t afraid to kill people in this cartoon. (Which usually portray characters as experiencing way worse and living) They’re portraying dangerous gangsters after all. They refrain from bloodshed, but it still is ballsy to me.

Personal Rating: 4

He was her Man

“Johnny! Where are you?”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Paul Smith and Cal Dalton; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 2, 1937.

Oh, boy. You thought the Censored Eleven were bad? They kind of are. This… this is worse. This was uncomfortable to watch. Hardly any humor, but plenty of… of… heck, I’ll start from the beginning.

In a world of anthropomorphic mice and birds, we find Frankie. Her name is never mentioned in the picture, but she is in a relationship with a guy named Johnny, and she does take a gun on him, so it’s appropriate. Right now though, she is trying to sell apples in the middle of winter. You know, the season of misery. Business isn’t going too well. I mean, one prick just eats it out of her hand without a cent. I’d love to defend her honor.

It’s not just being chivalrous, she’s adorable. Sure, it wouldn’t work out between us, but she really deserves better. She finally sells one, and heads back to her living quarters. She is blindly in love with Johnny Mouse. He’s… well, I’m sorry to break out the foul language, but he’s an asshole. He not only forces her to freeze outside, peddling her wares, he also does nothing to help, takes away every cent she makes, and forces her to do the cooking. And yet, she is still hopelessly obsessed with him.

Seeing as how I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, I can’t pretend I know how awful it is. I do know, that nobody deserves such an awful life, and I wish Frankie knew that. She almost gets an out, too. Johnny sees another mouse doe across the street, and falls for her on the spot. Keeping with his dick cancer ways, he leaves without telling Frankie. (I guess they weren’t married. He’s just a cock ulcer she can’t bare to part with.) Oh, wait. He did leave a note. A very brief, short note that doesn’t tell her anything.

For all she knows, he could have been kidnapped. Or killed. (Not like he doesn’t deserve it.) Still, she’s unhappy. She shouldn’t be. This is her chance to live her own life, but she wants the anus cyst. The poor thing. An unspecified amount of time passes, and Frankie now makes her living singing in a saloon, singing the title song. (The mice who are partaking of the free lunch don’t move until there’s a good shot of them on screen. Just so you know.)

Frankie is still upset. When you know who walks in? That taint scab of a mouse, Johnny. Still with his new doe. And Frankie? She’s excited to see him! What kind of Stockholm syndrome did Johnny employ? This is painful to see! Oh, but it gets better. As Frankie begs him to take her back, he…he…he smacks her right in the face! Sure, her body reacts like a cartoon would, but it isn’t funny. No matter what kind of music they play.

Frankie tries to fight back, but Johnny is relentless. He punches her! Multiple times! He grabs her neck and shakes her around! He feels no remorse either! This…this… this is f*cked up! Frankie happens to find a gun, and well, I can’t say I blame her, but she shoots the rectum tumor. And she immediately feels bad. I mean, it’s a good thing she isn’t happy to have killed someone, but she needs to get away from this guy. He’s vile, he’s awful, he’s…getting up?

Yeah, turns out the bullets just barely grazed him, so he’s still alive. At least Frankie is still angry enough to break a bottle over his head. So, how should we end such an unpleasant cartoon? Have the two switch roles. Johnny sells the apples, while Frankie lounges around. Giving her “lover” another bottle whack whenever he looks at anyone else. She really decided to stay with him. I’m going to have to believe it’s sorely to keep others safe from this fecal pus sack. I think I’ve made my point.

Favorite Part: Well, I guess there was one part that wasn’t too bad. When Frankie climbs the stairs to Johnny’s place, she seems to pass by a Porky cameo. It wasn’t really worth repeating twice more, but at least it keeps the Johnny time limited.

Personal Rating: 1. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this. Go watch UPA’s “Rooty Toot Toot,” instead. It’s a much better retelling of the tragedy of Johnny and Frankie.

Naughty but Mice

“Sleep tight, ole pal.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Phil Monroe; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on May 30, 1939.

If you’re from the future, you might know this but: 2020 A.D. was one of the low points in the history of years. I wouldn’t expect anyone to forget, but humanity’s stupidity never ceases to amaze. Perhaps in the future, it will be offensive to mention, and people will try and censor any cartoons that have the characters wearing face masks. The babies. Well, so you don’t forget, here’s one last film to end said year with. About illness, no less.

Chuck’s fifth film, and the debut of Sniffles. (Who apparently was never voiced by Bernice Hansen as I’ve previously stated. Blast that lack of on screen names! Instead, it seems to have been by one Margaret Hill, who also supplied the voice for Andy Panda, and a couple of Toms.) He’s earned that name, seeing as he has  a cold. He has an idea of how to go about getting a cure, and that’s by visiting the local drug store for a cold remedy. (That’s all it takes? And here I thought that the common cold couldn’t be cured. Sniffles made me look like more of a moron than I usually do.) The sign says the place is closed, but normal rules don’t apply to Sniffles. He slips in through the mail slot.

So many choices, and only about six and a half minutes to select.  Sniffles opts for the first one he comes across. It must be the best. It has “XLNT” written on the side. (Xiphosurans Love Nude Tabloids) It has another label on it that Sniffles either doesn’t see or doesn’t dignify: 125% alcohol. (Forget how impossible it is, alcohol kills viruses.) Dangerous enough, but Sniffles proceeds to take a human sized dose. (Does being dead count as being cured? I mean, the virus will go with you.)

That puts some fire in the belly! Sniffles cools himself down with a drink from a random glass. It works, so I guess it was some form of dairy. Now, the drunken stupor. But before things get too crazy, Sniffles runs into a friendly face. A living, electric razor. (Not too crazy.) Since the mouse is plastered, this could possibly be a hallucination, but I doubt it. Too much evidence contradicts that later. The razor (should we call it Buzzy? We should call it Buzzy.) has sympathy for Sniffles, who has something to share too: his cold.

What a worthless remedy. If it can’t immediately solve a problem, why even bother with it? Either way, whatever pathogen that can give a mouse cold-like symptoms, can also infect Buzzy. (So, humans don’t have a chance.) Sniffles is a good guy, and goes to get more tonic for his new friend to take. The machine must have some sort of digestive tract, as he can take the tonic, and get just as drunk as his mouse pal. His stupor barely lasts before he passes out. Sniffles treats him as one of the deceased. (Since he’s drunk, it’s cute.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               There’s a cat in the store, and he or she finally shows up, taking note of the still drunk Sniffles. Before it can nab him, Sniffles falls into a claw game. That has no ceiling? (Someone could easily reach in there and take many goodies. Not me, though. I’m an angel.) Cats always carry change, so the feline decides to take a chance, and win dinner. (It’s a pretty sweet machine. Prizes range from perfume to a camera. And all for only five cents! (Which I guess would now be 92 cents as I type this. Still…)

After only three tries, the cat wins the desired prize. (Those games aren’t rigged, but only select few are allowed to win. The gods make sure of that.) Buzzy comes to, and notices what fate is to befall the heroic soul who healed him! After infecting him. (Still a hero in my book.) Attacking as only a razor can, Buzzy shaves the cat of nearly all its fur. The cat flees, meaning Sniffles will live until tomorrow, barring his illness getting worse. As he thanks his savior, he sneezes again. The force sending him back into the machine.

Favorite Part: Buzzy’s manner of speech. He only talks in the sounds a razor can make, and yet, I have no trouble understanding him. It must be heard to be believed.

Personal Rating: 3