Of Fox and Hounds

“Well, thanks a lot George! Thanks a lot!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by “Draft No. 1312”; Animation by “Draft No. 6102”; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 7, 1940.

Mornings are so peaceful. So serene. So nice to sleep right through. And if you’re not allowed to do that, you try to ruin it for everyone. And so, the fox hunters blowing their ungodly horns and bringing their hounds along for a round of “kill the animal for sport.” One hound, is a bit slow. And I do mean both ways. His name is Willoughby and he is making his screen debut here. He’s packing quite a bit of meat here, (making him look an awful lot like a St. Bernard) and his coat has more white than his later years. (Huh. Usually it’s the other way round.)

Willoughby takes off after the rest, and he has some pretty decent luck, as he almost immediately finds a fox. But he doesn’t know that, and asks the fellow, (named George) if he’s seen a fox. George, (who is to Bugs what Foxy was to Mickey: a blatant ripoff.) gives him directions. Just past a stump up ahead, and on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby takes off, jumps the fence and falls off a cliff. At the bottom, he realizes that the chap he was talking to, was actually the fox of which he seeks.

He heads back in a murderous fury, but finds another hound. It’s George in disguise, but he doesn’t know that and asks the fellow if he’s seen a fox. George, (not even bothering to disguise his name) gives him directions. He just has to pass a stump up ahead, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willought heads off, leaps over the fence, and falls off a cliff again. He doesn’t catch on this time. (I do love his little resigned sigh. Sometimes, that says it all.)

He returns to George to tell him the directions were faulty, and the little dog decides to go with him this time. But while squeezing through a log, his costume comes off and Willoughby catches on again. (The costume loses a leg for a brief second, and this scares the dog so badly, that his ears turns white.) He chases the vulpine, waking a bear in the process, and barricades off the hole George is in with a boulder. He happily tells the bear what he’s done, before realizing it’s a bear and climbs a tree. (A good safety tip. You can learn a lot from cartoons.)

George is able to move the boulder, and sees the ursine and the treed canine. Some might say it’s a conscience thing, but I think George just can’t resist the opportunity he has here, and gives the bear a hot foot. ( A great reaction I’m not spoiling if you choose to read this synopsis before the watching the short.) Willoughby tries to act cool, but faints in relief. NEXT MORNING! Those cruel hunters are at it again, and Willoughby is once more the last one out. But this time he has George with him, as the two live together now.

Still, a hound has to do what he was bred to do, and he asks George for directions towards the nearest fox. (Preferably one that he isn’t on a first name basis with.) George tells him to head for a stump, turn past it, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughy heads out, leaps the fence and there is no crash. The dog is learning, and this time he left some mattresses to cushion his landing.

Favorite Part: The little chuckle George gives when pranking the bear. He kinda sounds like a marmoset.

Personal Rating: 3. Sad really. I saw this one all the time back in the day on Cartoon Network, and was looking forward to seeing again for the first time in twenty-one years. I remembered it being a lot funnier, George. A lot!

Slightly Daffy

“Greetings, gate!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Micahel Maltese; Animation by Virgil Ross; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 17, 1944.

In Wackyland2 tradition, I must talk about the colored remake before its source material. Sadly, this is pretty much the same cartoon as “Scalp Trouble.” Only the gags aren’t nearly as funny. Whatever. This time, I’ll talk plot, and whenever I talk about the original, (Which yes, I already should have done if I’m talking about this one.) I’ll discuss gag differances.

Out at some outpost in what is no doubt the American west, General Daffy Duck isn’t pleased to see that most of his troops still snooze. (How/why did they make this guy the general? It seems more like a role for the later Daffy.) Making use of his knife, and the bugler’s buttocks, General Daffy rousts most everyone awake. But one soldier continues to sleep, because he’s the wisest of the lot. This soldier is Porky Pig.

Ahhhhh. Wonderful, blissful sleep. Proof that life is best experienced unconscious. The polite thing to do would be to let a sleeping pig lie. I mean, what could be more important? But then, General Daffy has his name for a reason, and the reason is that he’s the leader, so he’s got to be the bad guy. But Porky is a champion at the R.E.M. cycle, and can’t be woken. Worn out by his efforts, General Daffy decides to join him in his rest.

That was his mistake, as the bed wasn’t designed for two bodies, and it crashes to the floor. Porky is awake now, and follows his general outside. What are they doing out here anyway? Just keeping the natives at bay? I think that’s who they’re up against. They keep saying “Indians” but they don’t look Asian at all. But they are willing to fight. (What, do they think this land belongs to them, or something?) And an entire army descends on the fort.

These guys could be tough! They have guns and horses! Except one who can’t be trusted with such a weapon, as whenever he fires his bow, he shoots his horse. But apart from him? I don’t know how they could be beat! Porky (being the most competent soldier there is) is the first to take note and tries to warn the sleeping troops. Too late! To quote Heather O’Rourke, “They’re here!” and they’re capable! Very soon, Porky is the only thing keeping them from just pouring in!

The pig needs more bullets! General Daffy (who was in his hat for some daffy reason) rushes to comply, but trips on his way back and swallows every shell. Deadly? Yes! That’s just what we need now! With his new superpower, General Daffy has become a super weapon! Porky wields him well, and it’s not too long after that the opposition is on the retreat. (Even better, I counted zero casualties.)

When all is said and done, General Daffy is just glad that it’s over. But he trips again, and lets a fresh round of bullets fly! A pretty normal day for this place.

Favortie Part: When Porky trips over General Daffy’s scabbard, he ends up with the duck in an embrace. Obviously, General Daffy does the “didn’t know you cared” bit, but Porky isn’t embarrassed, angry, or temporarily attracted. Instead, he’s got a big smile on his face. It’s adorable! Who says that an army can’t be a family?

Personal Rating: 2. If it was its own picture, it could have done better.

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.

Two Crows from Tacos

“I am not a grasshopper.”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Virgil Ross and Art Davis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on November 24, 1956.

About three years before Mr. Freleng would direct what many would consider to be the best Speedy Gonzales cartoon, he directed a short with a chubby character and a slimmer one named Jose and Manuel, respectively. But these guys aren’t cats; as the title promises, they are crows, and I guess they are from a place called “Tacos.” Which I looked up, and it apparently DOES exist in Bolivia. And Spanish is commonly spoken there, so I can buy it.

These two are enjoying life the way most smart people want to, but can’t. They’re lounging in a tree, lazily singing, and not giving a remote *$#@. But one can’t subsist on songs alone. And Manuel spies a tasty morsel on his amigo’s sombrero: a grasshopper. And Jose gets his head smashed. But he likes the idea of grasshopper guacamole, and joins in the chase. A furious pounding ensues, but Jose is the one whose heads connects with the club. (He returns the favor though.)

Using the sky as a way to see further, the two find their prey once more and dive after him. They crash, because Manuel is just having too much fun. (Look at that face! Hysterical.) When the grasshopper hides in a tree, Jose reaches in for him. The insect tricks him into grabbing a firecracker, and Jose shows his true colors. He meant to eat the grasshopper all by himself. But Manuel does have agility and hunger on his side, and takes the catch for himself. Peeking in his fingers, he sees they’ve been tricked. He goes back to Jose to apologize… and tell him that grasshopper is rightfully his. Seeing what he is holding, causes Jose to call for help, and Manuel comes to give aid seeing as how they’re amigos. They both blow up.

The two try to lure the insect out by feigning defeat and a claim of going to hunt for the stupid grasshoppers that live in Guadalajara. The insect creeps out, and the two try to smash him once more. Crafty creature that he is, the grasshopper stands next to a cactus he has decked out in sombrero and serape. The corvids think it’s a real person who is stealing their meal, and attack. They end up covered in quills, but even then they aren’t as sharp as crows usually are.

And you know what? The cartoon just kinda ends there. Sure, the crows go back to the tree and we get quite the beautiful screenshot to end on, but there’s no big finale, no end joke, and nothing more than what is shown. And you know what? I like that. Sometimes things end without the bang or the whimper, and you’re just back where you started. Deep stuff.

Favorite Part: Yep, Manuel’s “eager face.” That’s great. It should really be a meme of some sort. Caption it like “Me, when I see Thanksgiving dinner.” Or “How I looked when Banjo was revealed for Smash.”

Personal Rating: 2. But that’s only because “Mexicali Shmoes” is everything this cartoon is, but better. But don’t get too disheartened if you prefer crows to cats, we haven’t seen the last of Jose and Manuel.

Shake your Powder Puff

“I’m one of the Jones boys.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Boc McKimson and Bob Clampett; Music by Bernard Brown. A Merrie Melody released on October 17, 1934.

It’s showtime over at Animal Farm! (No relation to Mr. Orwell’s locale.) Tonight we’ve got a real great variety type show at the Powder Puff Revue. To start, we have the house band playing “Zampa.” And if you think Mickey might be watching this, thinking, “I can do this much better and in color!” Then you’re wrong, because he’s a part of the band! (Okay. You caught me lying. In actuality, it’s clones 38 and 620.)

Our title song is performed by a trio of rabbits. Cuties. And they really are the perfect ones to perform this number, as they have built in powder puffs! (And boy, do we love to see them shake ’em! *Howl*) And they share the stage with Donald clones 1, 2, and 3. (I think the one in the middle is Huey, Dewey and Louie’s father.)

You’d have to be a dickhole drunk to find any problem with this performance. Which explains the booze (sic) coming from one of the audience. Why, if it isn’t Boozehound! The unlovable scamp who frequently goes to shows, just to mock the performers because he’s secretly envious that he had never had a chance to be on stage and this is how he masks his insecurities. (One could argue that he was the same guy doing this to Piggy.)

Boozy is thrown out, and isn’t going to be let back in anytime soon. Quick cut back to the stage with pigs singing the song now. Was something cut out? Cut that out! How am I supposed to appreciate these old films if they have more holes than a sea sponge? Because Boozehound has Statlernwaldorf syndrome, he has to get back into the show that he hates. And he’ll show them, he will! He’s going to pour pepper into some bellows, and spray it on the audience!

Sneezing ensues. And with the collective nostril gusts combined, the audience is able to remove the feathers off the dancing chickens. This pleases Boozehound so much, that he laughs and accidentally reveals himself as Goofy clone number 1! Busted! But then, he falls into the theater, and everyone immediately knows that he must be the one responsible for this. Since animals don’t make popcorn, it’s not surprising to find they brought produce to snack on. But they’re not adverse to pelting the drunkard with it. Get ‘im!

Favorite Part: The maestro getting a little too into his conducting. His jumping sends him through his platform.

Personal Rating:2

Strife with Father

“Monte will do no such thing!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Emery Hawkins, Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Rod Scribner, and J.C. Melendez; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 1, 1950.

You know, I’m disappointed. You see, my Mother was happily showing me something on “Instagram” the other day. Someone had posted “The Lion’s Busy,” there, and judging by the comments, everyone was enjoying it as they should. But get this, they were all referring to Beaky as “Buzzy Buzzard.” And really, this could have been avoided if YOU bothered to tell anyone about this place.

Okay, that was rude, and I apologize. Why don’t we honor BEAKY the right way, by discussing his final picture?

Late at night when diurnal birds slumber, a mysterious figure leaves something on the doorstep of a pair of English Sparrows. Come the morn, Monte, (the male) finds it is an egg with a note imploring him and his wife, Gwendolyn, raise the baby known as Beaky. (Whoever that shadow was, they’re not coming back, and their name was apparently “Big Beaky.”) Monte has no interest in adoption, but the Mrs. is taken with the egg, and so they will keep it.

When the hatching occurs, Monte is none too pleased. Only a mouse would grow to love the adopted son he never wanted. But Gwendolyn won’t let him dispose of it, for you see, if “The Ugly Duckling” has taught her anything, this chick will grow up to be beautiful. Isn’t that swee-did she just admit that she thinks the kid is ugly? Et tu, mama? I think I’ll have to beg to differ. Can we get a picture please?

Baby’s first meal

Yeah, no. I’m right, BEAKY must be adorable.

And yet, the narration doesn’t seem to agree with me, stating that he grows up to still be ugly. What’s worse is that BEAKY is now at that age where he really needs to be eating meat. Monte still hates the kid, but loves his mate and promises to help catch the lad a chicken. BEAKY however, isn’t too keen on flying, so Monte has to saw off the limb he’s sitting on to get him to the ground. Now, on to the chicken farm.

Monte’s plan is to go inside and throw the hens out to BEAKY. But wouldn’t you know it, chickens are much larger than sparrows, and he doesn’t succeed. So, he has a new plan: he’ll willingly get a chicken to chase him, and BEAKY can smash it with a mallet. As you’d expect, Monte ends up smashed. But a gentleman never raises his voice in anger, and he keeps the calm demeanor he has throughout the picture. (It’s actually quite funny how calm he talks. Speaking of voices, his wife barely emotes, and BEAKY sounds more like Goofy than Mortimer Snerd, here.)

Monte (who’s wing/hand actually disappears at the 5:38 mark. See if you can catch it.) resorts to using a grenade. BEAKY has never seen one of those before, and tries to give his father what he believes is an egg. Monte makes it quite clear that he doesn’t want it, and unlike I’m pretty sure every cartoon that’s done something like this before ever, BEAKY actually gets the hint. Still thinks it’s an egg though, and decides he’ll hand it over to his mom.

She does know what a grenade is though, and throws it out of the house and right into the returning Monte. Thus, endeth BEAKY’S movie career. Sad really, I like the little fella. Though I will admit this is my least favorite of the shorts he starred in. In fact, the later the date, the less I think its great. There you go, ranked all his cartoons.

Favorite Part: Monte asking how BEAKY could be so stupid, and the buzzard replying that “I get around.” I like this line not for what is said, but what it entails. BEAKY knows he isn’t the sharpest thing around, but he knows enough to get by, and he’s content with that. It really makes me want to dive into this psyche more.

Personal Rating: 3

Mad as a Mars Hare*

“This joint makes Siberia look like Miami Beach.”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, and Tom Ray; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on October 19, 1963.

We are not alone in space. Someone is watching us. Observing us. His name is Marvin. And for once in his life, he’s not waging any kind of war on Earth and its inhabitants. No, he’s a scientist in this picture. (His final one, too.) And Earth has a good many species to look at. From the mighty, majestic mammals, to the small and oft-forgotten insects. Marvin has a particular interest in those. His favorite is the one called “man.”

Even more exciting though, is what appears to be some sort of fledgling species leaving Earth for the first time. It’s coming right toward Marvin too! After the crash, he decides that he must exterminate whatever is landing on his planet. It really is the only way to deal with invasive species. Might as well nip it in the bud, and have as little suffering as martianly possible.

We on Earth call this species a “rocket ship.” It’s hypothesized that they could take invasive species to new planets and give them new worlds to colonize, pillage, and maim. The downside being that we haven’t had much of a way to test it, and we sure as heck aren’t going to test it on our own kind. That’s why we send those like “Astro-rabbit” Bugs Bunny to do our dirty work. Now rabbits, they’re expendable.

Bugs wants no part in this and refuses to leave his ship. Mission control was prepared for this, and have prepared a fool-proof plan to get Bugs’ attention, and get him off the ship: a carrot. Bugs takes note, and his leave. (And his front teeth seem to be missing the line normally there to separate the two. Kinda makes them look like a large vampiric tongue.) Tricked again. Carrots lured him into Cape Canaveral in the first place, and worse,  he can’t even enjoy the one he’s just obtained. It’s aluminum.

Marvin shows up with a disintegration gun in hand. Bugs hardly bats an eye, and just takes the gun away. But it goes off anyhow, and Marvin isn’t even half the martian he used to be. This calls for a quick trip to the re-integrator, and a more powerful weapon: the time-space gun. With it, Marvin will be able to project Bugs forward in time where he’ll be a harmless, useful slave. So…what does that entail? Is it just supposed to age Bugs up? We’ve seen him that way. I don’t think he’d be complacent. Is it supposed to morph him into a higher stare of being? One that doesn’t believe in violence, and instead wishes to help those around it?

I ask these questions, because of what happens next. Marvin shoots Bugs all right, but he had the gun set in reverse, and Bugs has now become some frightening combination of rabbit and neanderthal. He’s not younger, and while yes, I would count him as a more primitive species, I’d be more inclined to think he’d end up like this:

Maybe it just wasn’t built for Earth species.

Regardless of what I think, this new form works well in the rabbit’s favor, as he is able to snap the gun with his bare paws, and squish Marvin into his own helmet. Even better, his jaws have become powerful enough to munch on the metal carrot. Sure, he’s still stuck up here for the time being, but as soon as he DOES find a way back home, Elmer (who Bugs name drops despite the studio having retired him by this point) is going to be in for quite the surprise. All in all, things worked out quite nicely.

Favorite Part: Getting some introspection on Bugs and his love of carrots. He wonders why it is that he loves them so much. They’re dry and lacking figurative meat. Like life’s hardest questions, he can’t come up with an answer on the spot. (Personally, befitting his Grouchoesque tendencies, I always saw it as the carrot equivalent of a cigar. Dependencies are hard to give up.)

Personal Rating: 3, but that’s only for the common folk who expect and want mindless cartoon action. I think the more intellectual types can classify it with the 4’s.

*This definitely gets my vote for best pun title.

A Taste of Catnip

“Hello? Oh, Señor Duck! Como sta?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael O’Connor; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Bob Matz, Manny Perez, Norm McCabe, George Grandpre, and Warren Batchelder; Layouts by Dick Ung; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Lee Gunther; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc and Gonzales Gonzales; Musical Direction by Walter Greene. A Merrie Melody released on December 3, 1966.

At Guadalajara Medical centre, you won’t find a better shrink than that of Dr. Manuel Jose Olvera Sebastian Rudolfo Ortiz Pancho Jiminez Perez III. (His friends call him Rudy.) He really is the top of his game, but he can’t help but point out how strange some of his clientele are behind their backs. Such as the time he helped out a fellow by the name of Daffy Duck.

It was about a year ago that Daffy entered the office with quite the peculiar neurosis. It all began when he was at the park. He saw Speedy walk by and he felt a powerful urge that he had never felt before. He wanted to eat Speedy. But that’s absurd, cartoon ducks don’t eat mice! And yet, every time Speedy crosses his path, Daffy has to avoid seeing him to keep his hunger pangs out of control. But things get worse as he finds himself desperately needing to do something else he’s never even conceived of thinking up. He rushes to the nearest trash receptacle, pokes his head in, and lets out a “meow”.

The symptoms worsen. He begins to stalk Speedy on all fours. His competion is not appreciated by Sylvester the cameo. (Marking this short as the cat’s final appearance during the golden era.) So why not just stay home, away from the source of the obsession? Well, Speedy has moved into Daffy’s house and tries to be neighborly, inviting the duck to dinner and everything.

And it’s not like the life of a cat is all overrated videos and lasagna. Daffy now has an instinctual fear of (color changing) dogs, and a need to lap milk from a saucer. That he kept in an unrefrigerated hiding place on top of a hanging lamp. From a color-changing carton. As if drinking milk wasn’t gross enough! (And yes, I’m aware that real cats aren’t supposed to be drinking the stuff either. No need to think you can try and teach me something.)

So, Daffy has come to Rudy for advice. First up, the Rorschach test. Daffy refuses to admit he sees a mouse, even though the doctor sees the same thing. Thus, he deduces that the problem isn’t mental, but physical. Which probably isn’t part of his profession, but what the hey. He enjoys looking with his microscope. He must have taken a blood sample at some point because he has some shocking news: Daffy’s blood catnip is 3.2%!

Wait…. his what?

Yeah, it seems that Daffy’s got catnip on the brain, spine, and circulatory system. Rudy tells him to find the source, and upon returning home, Daffy notices something that he hadn’t before, but probably should have. (So self-centered!) There’s a catnip factory right across the street from his place, and the fumes have been doing things to him. Well, it must be stopped. Peaceful protests, letters to the C.E.O., and poisoning the workforce all take time. Daffy jumps straight to the ultimate solution: bombing.

Well, that problem is fixed, but Daffy is now on the hit list of every cat in the country. All three of them. (One of whom is Sylvester. I wish the other two were Claude and Conrad. What joy I would have!) Still, his feline urges have been suppressed, so I’d call it a happy ending. Rudy meanwhile, is on to his next patient. Speedy himself! And if the quacking is any indication, then I think Speedy thinks he’s a duck! Looks like a certain tape factory won’t be around too much longer.

Favorite Part: Daffy bombing the factory. Such an over-the-top solution for a minuscule problem. Exactly what how I’d expect Daffy to handle it.

Personal Rating: 3 Amazing quality considering when it was released. An interesting plot with nice jokes. (If not hilarious ones.)

Along Flirtation Walk

“21! 18! 36! 32! Hike!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Smith; Musical Score by Norman Spencer. A Merrie Melody released on April 6, 1935.

Tomorrow is the big game! (Actual Big Game date may vary. Please consult a calendar instead of me to get your facts straight.) Good old Plymouth Rock College. So much better than that preppy Rhode Island Reds University. (Think they’re better than us, do they?) To hype everyone up for tomorrow’s event, a dance is being held. And quite the progressive one for the time period at that. Nowhere else in 1935 will you see a chicken dancing with a duck.

Sure, he’s civil when he meets her on the street.

Outside the dance is the perfect place for young couples to get some privacy. The poor bird on the end only looks like they’re lonely and alone. Actually, they’re just nervous about the game tomorrow as they’re competing. Romance doesn’t play any part in today’s story. (But it ties in so well with the title song.) Next day, game day! Our two teams are raring to go! Look at those fine specimens! The coaches should be really proud of those boys! What’s the event anyhow? Cockfighting? Crowing? Something masculi- why do they look ready to lay eggs?

Wait, those are hens? Good twist! Call me a sexist pig all you want, (I like being compared to swine.) but I wasn’t expecting an all female sports team in the 1930’s! Much less one that gets such a turnout. So that’s settles things then. The event is egg laying. Seems like something best kept private, but I should really learn to be more accepting of other cultures. But one thing that can’t be rebutted is that it looks painful. And people think women don’t want to play painful games.

So our little black hen from earlier is named by me! And I’ll name her Penelope. (Haven’t used that one yet. Not for a bird, anyway.) She wants to be on the field where the action is, buy the coach refuses. (Why is she here then? Answer me that, coach!) Comes back to bite him in the tail feathers by half-time. The opposition are leading by 58 points? Those rotten Reds! (It’s not racism, just schoolism.) And it looks like they have a sneaky way to hold on to the lead. They ingest billiard balls. (They’ll regret it tomorrow when they tear their cloacas apart. What a hemorrhoid.)

It’s working! The crowd can’t tell that eggs that look like billiards are often billiards, themselves. Things aren’t going much better for the Rocks as one of the players had a little too much fun with her boyfriend the previous night, and is now producing chicks. That’s a penalty. And it’s coming at such an inopportune time! There’s only five minutes left and the reds have such an insurmountable lead. Once more, Penelope begs to be part of the game. Seeing as how it’s one of those “nothing to lose, everything to gain” scenarios, Coach puts her in.

What an athlete! Barely on that nest for four minutes, and she’s already raised the total to 99! But the opposition has 100! Just a little more! Two hammers to the noggin equals two more eggs, (Not the Disney series. That sucked.) and thus ends the game! Up yours, Rhodes! All hail our new champion! She doesn’t need a trophy to remember this victory. Her bump will do nicely.

Favorite Part: While we’re looking along flirtation walk, we see a turkey couple ready to make out. Seeing our eager faces, the tom uses his fan as a chastity screen. Then he mocks us. (We deserve it.)

Personal Rating: 2

Beanstalk Bunny

“I smeww the bwood of an Engwish wabbit!”

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, Abe Levitow, and Keith Darling. Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on February 12, 1955.

This is the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Only Jack isn’t a human, or mouse, or sailor, or dragon, or squirrel, or puddy-tat. He’s a duck. And unlike most every Jack ever in this story, he admits to himself that trading a full-grown cow for three beans was a pretty lousy idea. He throws them away, and they land in a rabbit hole. Which is underground, and when you place beans underground, they grow into a beanstalk. But in a story like this, it’s a beanstalk that is capable of climbing.

Jack is also privy enough to know that if he climbs the plant, he’ll find himself with a good amount of golden goods to gather. Climb he does, but the lad bumps his head on a bed that grew with the stalk. Bugs’s bed, actually. Jack wants all gold for himself, and throws Bugs off the other side. Angry, Bugs decides to join the story as well.

Because of the head start, Jack naturally gets up first. Which means he also has the privilege of seeing who would reside at such heights. Someone quite accustomed to them. A giant named Elmer Foot. Jack runs back with the giant close behind and Bugs coming towards them both. Bugs also keeps Jack from fleeing, with the promise of settling things. By which I mean he points out that the giant hunts Jack in this story, not a rabbit. And by the way, the duck is Jack. (Revenge is awesome.)

Elmer decides to just take the both of them for his flour needs. (I’ve wondered, would that work? More importantly, how would it taste?) He puts the two under glass while he looks for some tools that will grind. They easily get out via glass cutter, but the lead-up is so great that I’ll save the description for my “Favorite Part.” Elmer sees they’ve escaped, and gives chase. You’d think being so small in comparison, they’d have no problem hiding, but Bugs gives his location away when he sneezes in a snuff box. (Jack gives his away, when saying “Gesundheit.”)

The two dash into Elmer’s ears for safety. (And the animator’s remembered that there wouldn’t be much light in a body. Well done!) Elmer decides to smoke the two out, by corking up his ears, and lighting a cigarette. (Probably the first time in history a cigarette has been the correct answer.) Knowing that it would work, the two poke out of the cigarette to blow out the matches. This leads to them getting found once more. (Jack: “He’s Jack.”)

They dive into the giant’s clothes and give him a bit of a tickle, using the time to escape once more. With the giant in pursuit, Bugs proves that the simplest solution is always the best one, and sticks his foot out. Elmer trips and lands hard. He won’t be coming to for some time and Bugs suggests they flee while they can. Jack won’t have any of it. He’s going to stay and get some gold like he originally intended. Bugs leaves on his own, but stops short when he realizes that the carrots up here are also giant.

Six and a half of those carrots later, (however long that takes exactly, I’m not sure.) Bugs wonders what happened to Jack. In the castle, we see exactly what. The giant stuck him in a pocket watch, to use him as the hands. Harsh, but considering the other option, fair.

Favorite Part: When they’re under the glass. Jack is frantic, and begs for Bugs to get them out. Bugs doesn’t react, which leads to Jack turning angry. Still no response. Giving up, he adopts Bugs’s pose, at which point Bugs finally coughs up the goods. And all done with no dialogue!

Personal Rating: 4. Plenty of good gags, and Jack is lovably despicable. Is it as flawless as the hunting trilogy? If you had to ask that, you’re no longer welcome on this post. But it’s enjoyable all the same. Shame it’s not as well remembered.