A Star is Hatched

“Goodnight my little pine knot.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Bob McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 2, 1938.

In the little town of Hickville, Emily the hen idolizes the stars and starlets of Hollywood and fantasizes about the time when she too will be on the silver screen. (Ironically enough, this short actually being her second time. She wouldn’t get a third.) So enamored is she that she even talks like Katharine Hepburn. (Unless that is her normal speaking voice. It’s possible. I sound like J.K. Simmons, myself.) She can’t be bothered with the local rooster who comes a courtin’ for her wing in marriage. The high life is always the best life!

What luck! There’s someone at the gas station she lives at who could be a huge help with getting into pictures. A one J. Megga Phone by name, on his way back to Hollywood. (I love how he wears three pairs on sunglasses. I should do the same.) Emily lets him know that she has every intention of being big one day, and he likes what he sees. (She is pretty cute.) He hands her his card telling her to look him up, as home he goes.

Emily rushes to get her bags. (Past Alfred Hick-cock who never moved an inch.) She’s Hollywood bound! And she’s so committed to her dream that she walks the entire 2,000 miles which means Hickville is located in Maryland or West Virginia. (Or maybe her hitchhiking had more success than the montage suggested. Less impressive.) She makes it though, and she gets to see what some of the stars are doing when not on screen. Clark Gable drives a trolley, and W.C. Fields directs traffic, for example. And we see the cement footsteps left behind by Robinson and Garbo. (The former having a gun print; the latter being humongous.)

The picture business, that’s what Emily is here for. And Mr. Colossal wasn’t bluffing, he really is a director. One with at least 15 assistant directors who agree to whatever he says. (Except the 15th one who still has a shred of individuality and personality. Give us one week more, we’ll fix him.) His latest picture is a musical medley to America’s 48 states and if the clapboard is accurate, his name is actually Buzzard Berkelee. (I knew his cool name was too cool to be true.) Odder still, his movie is comprised of humans. Yeah, we already saw plenty, but it was only now that I realized how weird this world is. What does everyone eat?

Emily finds a casting office, but it turns out she’s not the only pullet here. Seems Mr. C gives out business cards to any girl he comes across and the room is already packed. And when the man himself enters, Emily can’t catch his attention; not that he even looks at or acknowledges she exists. Emily is already broken. Embarrassed and upset to find she was just one of many, she decides to forgo any hard work that would get her a position, and heads back home.

She married Alfred and we see how happy their little family looks. But one daughter can’t help but idolize the silver screen, and fantasize about when she too will be a star. Emily ain’t having it and gives her kid such a smack. If she’s not going to be an instant success, then nobody is.

Favorite Part: When Colossal says, “If you ever want to get in pictures, look me up.” and hands Emily his card. Flipping it reveals just that is written on the back. Not only gives a clue that he has so many of those cards, he’s memorized the script, but can be interpreted as him just being too dumb to remember what to say.

Personal Rating: If you’re not familiar with some of the biggest stars of the day, you might find the majority of jokes confusing. It’s a 2 for people like you, and a 3 for the rest of us.

The Lone Stranger and Porky

“Magic mirror on the wall, who needs my help the most of all?”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis and Robert Cannon; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 7, 1939.

It’s 1865 and with the end of the Civil War, a new problem arises to fill the void. Many settlers are out west settling, but the activity is attracting all sorts of villains, bullies, thieves and probably even the occasional cad. (One of these crooks is known as Cob Blampett. Reminds me of the similar person we have in our universe: Ogd.) But we need not worry, as our narrator brings a hero to our attention. A man whose horse is faster than a speeding roadrunner. The man; more powerful than rattlesnake venom. With a mask to not only keep his identity secret, but his house’s as well, he is: The Lone Stranger! (And no, we never do get to see under that mask.)

He and his horse (named ‘Silver’ because we were so proud of our Lone Ranger parody, we forgot to think up a better name for the equine.) have had a busy day. Just like all the rest. Time for some vittles and shuteye. Even eats with that mask on? I hope he washes it. (Whilst wearing it.) These two are comfortable enough with each other to share a bed. It’s not weird. They’re partners, and everything they own, they share. It helps build camaraderie.

Now for Porky’s addition to the title. He’s got a shipment of gold to deliver, but this has caught the attention of a cad! (I knew they were out here!) He looks pretty tough. He’s got a color-changing mustache and a gun he doesn’t mind using. And a horse to tie it all together. (I think I’ll call his horse “Bullion”. “Bullly” for short.) One of the rarer breeds: a mustache mustang. (They need breeding to avoid extinction.) The cad with no name holds the pig up at gunpoint. (And I do mean “up”.) Porky is scared enough to phase out of the plane of existence for a moment. Where is a stranger when you need one? We’d settle for a social one, even!

Not to worry, the Stranger’s faithful scout, Pronto, has seen the whole thing and lets the hero know of the threat. Hero and horse come to the rescue, splitting up to take on their same species. Maybe that cad’s gun isn’t such a threat after all, as after unloading all the bullets it’s revealed that every one missed the target. Then the narrator mocks him, and is shot for his troubles. (You probably found him annoying anyway.) The cad now has a body count. (Of one, but that’s always just a start.)

The horses hiss and arch their backs as horses do when threatened, but then they actually get a good look at each other. It’s love at first sight! (You didn’t even know that Silver was a mare, did you? Sometimes it rocks to be a zoologist.) The two go off screen for some quality time, and that’s for the best. Not just because I respect their privacy, but the stallion clearly ate Goofy and it is distracting. (Makes him sound like a Pinto pinto.) The Stranger, however, has gotten himself knocked off a cliff. Will he be killed by gravity and sharp rocks? It’s up to us, folks.

You have chosen…”No”. A very good choice. Well, I did catch a few smart asps say “yes” and some idiot who didn’t vote at all. (Turns out he was deaf. Whoops.) With the power of audience participation, our hero ascends the perilous precipice, pounds the pugnacious palooka, and sends him… er, flying into a boulder. The impact turning it into an impenetrable prison. Porky is saved, and it is now time for our heroes to return home. Silver is followed by the litter horses naturally have. The five fillies are spitting images of their mother, and the colt has his father’s mustache. The breed will live on!

Favorite Part: When we first see the villain, we are so scared that we miss our cue. The narrator is on top of his game and asks us to not hiss the villain. Naturally, we have to save face, and begin our role at last. (Heh… sorry. First time jitters.)

Personal Rating: 3 that borders on four territory. Maybe I’d have let it have that higher score if Porky HAD ANY LINES! He doesn’t get any dialogue apart from his outro. (Which might be why it sounds like he’s really putting his all into it.)

Porky and Gabby

“I don’t like campin’ anyway!”

Supervision by Ub Iwerks; Animation by Charles Jones and Robert Clampett; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 15, 1937. (The first of the two cartoons Mr. Iwerks supposedly directed.)

“Gabby? Who’s Gabby? I don’t remember any Gabby. You must’ve made the guy up. It sounds like something you’d do.” Well, when you decide you’re done gabbin about Gabby, you can join us for my introduction to the caprine. With Porky getting some good popularity and Beans abandoned in a well, a new sidekick was apparently needed. Daffy was still barely one short in. No proof that he was coming back at all yet. Instead, Porky got the goat. Gabby Goat.

He’s not he most fleshed out character. He’s your stereotypical hothead. Short temper, almost always sulking. Almost like the W.B. saw a certain sailor duck and thought giving him horns would make him unrecognizable. People don’t really seem to like Gabby; finding him unpleasant. Unlike Donald or Grumpy, he starts off in a sour mood. (Wouldn’t you if you were raised on goat milk? That’s a joke, by the way.) The other guys either start off smiling, (giving us reason to give sympathy when the universe won’t) or prove that his dominant trait isn’t all he has going for him. (Plus, with six others who are always in a good mood, he adds some much needed comic relief.)

Guess what? The Looney Tunes fanboy likes Gabby. I don’t know, I always saw the situation like this: Gabby isn’t the most pleasant guy to be with and he knows it. Porky has the patience of a saint, and Gabby knows it. Maybe he considers Porky his only true friend because he’s the only one willing to look past his billy-goat gruff exterior? Reading too deep, sure. But who hasn’t given more backstory to a character only they themselves seem to like? At least Gabby wasn’t totally forgotten after his brief three appearances. Guess who I saw in in 2018?

Looks a lot like me in winter.

And now I’m finally ready to get to the story.

Porky is going camping with Gabby to celebrate the latter’s debut. The road is currently in use by a van that their car can’t get around. That’s not Porky honking, Gabby’s the one with all the horns. As they pull ahead, Gabby takes the time to yell at the other driver. Luckily, the guy has something for these kind of situations: an arm on the car that can smack problems. He’s good natured and recommends the little guy relax. The little guy reacts the same way Petunia would. (Isn’t that the same voice clip sped up?)

Further along, another problem angers Gabby: the car stops. They’re going to have to push. (And yet, Porky pulls.) The car goes downhill and they chase, but roles reverse once the car gets on a uphill slant, and comes back. Don’t worry they get knocked into the vehicle and proceed to the campgrounds without any more problems. The spot they park in is so beautiful, that even Gabby can’t help but wear a smile. (Not pants though. It’s Porky’s turn to wear them this week.) Porky sets out to set up the tent; asking Gabby to unload the car. Naturally, the goat grumbles.

While Porky works, he is assaulted by an insect. I’m guessing a horsefly. He asks Gabby to get a swatter, but the goat decides a shovel will work just as well. He swats the the collapsed canvas the two are under, giving Porky a different kind of welt then he already has. Gabby missed the target though, and the fly gets him next. (Gabby clearly knows nothing about insects as he thinks it stung him.) He tries to kill it, but only succeeds in smacking the motor out of their car. At least Porky can finish the tent now.

Looking good. He just needs a little extra bit of rope to tie it all down. Gabby grabs a piece, not aware that its part of an outboard motor. The more he pulls the more it gets revved up, until it flies through the air with the greatest of ease, and turns their tent into a slice of Swiss cheese. This thing could easily take a head off, so the two flee in the car. (The motor still jutting out, nice attention to detail.) They don’t escape much when they find themselves behind the same van from earlier. The out of control motor causes the two vehicles to crash.

When the dust clears, Gabby finally has something to laugh about: the van driver got his comeuppance! (Gabby’s laugh sounds a bit like a bleating goat. Appropriate.) Since the van arm survived, Gabby is given another smack. (And even though I like the guy, I do think it’s funny that Porky beams at this.)

Favorite Part: When Porky asks for the swatter, Gabby doesn’t make any snide comments or angry faces, he immediately starts looking. Out of character? Perhaps, but I see it as proof that Gabby really does think of Porky as his only friend. I’m not kiddin’.

Personal Rating: 2. I don’t think many others will be able to enjoy Gabby as much as I do.

You’re too Careless with your Kisses

“Ain’t that just like a woman?”

Animation by Rollin Hamilton and Larry Martin. A Merrie Melody released on September 10, 1932.

Late at night, a tipsy bee heads back home. Since he’s been drinking, he can’t let the wife know that he’s there, and tiptoes into their room. They cut the sneaking crap fast, and his clumsy klutziness wakes the girl up. She is none to pleased to find Rupert (her husband) has been at the spiked honey again. (I’m a calling her Hunny. Objections? I’ve got none.) There’s no time for reprimanding him though. (Her antennae turn black.) As the female, it’s her responsibility to go out and make honey to make dough.

Outside (where her antennae have decided to stay black) she sets to work. She’s definitely got an interesting method of gathering nectar. She separates the lower half of her abdomen, and uses it like a bucket to scoop out the sugary sweetness. Kind of like an enema as thought up by David Lynch. I’m torn (get it?) between laughing my butt off and puking my guts out. And then comes the rain…

Bee’s can’t fly in this kind of weather. In fact, if Mario has taught me anything, the water there should turn her into a human, and those make milk, not honey! (Kind of hard to when you’re limited to one stomach.) So after robbing a store for a skirt and top, (Okay then. Perhaps you’d like to explain her change of wardrobe?) She comes to the first place one could conceivably call shelter. If I knew anything about predators, then I’d wager a spider lives here. A spider lives here and…Hey! I know this guy!

Score that later short another point! (You know, now I’m starting to think that that Terrible Tom character was the cat from “It’s got me again!“)

Spike (who still looks nothing like any spider I’ve ever seen) brings her in. She immediately recognizes the danger she’s in, but tries to escape up his winding stair! You fool! (Oh, and her stripes are back. K.) Her cries and screams reach her husband who seems to be snapping out of his stupor. He’s got no stinger, but he can blow a mean horn to alert the proper authorities. (I like how the cartoon trusts our intelligence enough to not spell out that the bees are riding horseflies.)

Rupert gets there first, and Spike plans to eat him as well. So Rupert just drags a thorny vine through the guy’s crotch! That looks to completely redefine ‘painful’. Imagine how much worse it would be without an exoskeleton. This isn’t going to be a winning fight, so Spike heads for his washtub boat. (Wait, if that’s human sized… I knew it! He’s not a spider! He probably just got spit on by Peter Parker!) The bee’s fight back like planes on a airliner, (One of whom teleports back to her original spot. Coward) but Spike knows how to defend himself, and puts up a good fight.

Time for the best weapon they have! What I presume to be a wasp (and the only insect in this short that has the correct number of limbs) drops a firecracker on the “arachnid”. The explosion not only destroys his tub, but it makes it look a lot like some stocks, and Spike is trapped in them as well. A happy ending for the pollinators. I guess willing to stand up to a predator is enough of a reason for Hunny to forgive her honey. (Come on. You knew I was going to say that.)

Favorite Part: Okay, that way of getting honey was pretty cool and unbelievably creative. I wish I had thought that up.

Personal Rating:2. Doesn’t do anything too creative that you haven’t seen in any other rescue picture. And the soundtrack is rather depressing.

Tin Pan Alley Cats

“GET ME OUTTA HERE!”

Supervision by Bob Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation: Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on July 17, 1943.

Yessir. This here’s another induction into the “Censored 11” hall of infame. Yet, it got to join “Coal White” on the top 100 Looney Tunes list. And I think it deserves its place. Unfortunately hurtful caricatures and all.

Cats Waller (who isn’t named in the short, but anyone who has even the most remote idea of Fats Waller is going to refer to him as such) is all set to have a good time tonight. His choice of venue is the Kit Kat Klub. Oh geeze. Oh wow. That’s just plain mean. This cartoon is already robbing people of dignity, (or cats as the case may be) but why remind them of that? Despite the fact that it should raise some sort of flag, (and while I’d want it to be red, I’ve got a bad feeling it’d be white.) Cats is still making a beeline thataway.

Next door is the Uncle Tomcat Mission. It’s where you’re likely to find preachers who waste their time trying to keep other cats out. I mean really. Why would you set your base of operations RIGHT NEXT to the place that is just going to tempt people? At least do it from across the street. They try to warn Cats of the danger within. Namely, wine, women, and song. That’s too vague. Wine is everywhere in the bible. (I think. I never really could get past all that begatting.) Not all women are sluts; one could be the positive influence Cats needs. And music is inherently one of the most pure things mankind has ever taken part in. No sell, Cats chooses hell.

That preachy preacher. This place looks great! (Despite how racist it is portrayed. And the humans within. So who is the dominant species in this short?) Cats heads straight for the piano and joins in a sweet jam session. Music. What ever could cause anyone to think this could lead to eternal damnation? The trumpet player at the klub makes Cats a promise: he is going to use his music to send the little guy out of this world. Clearly, we are talking figuratively, so Cats is all for it. Do your thing!

And Cats floats, and floats, and floats, until… he really is out of this world. It may look a little bit disturbing what with the statures shaped like musical instruments with severed hands still attached, but I never forget my ideal home. He’s in Wackyland! That lucky so-and-so! It may not be referred to as such, but it’s definitely the same place. With new features even. Example 1: Cats is welcomed to his new home by a disembodied pair of lips.

Looking ahead, we can see all the residents we’ve come to know and love. That guy who plays music from his flower, the one who smokes a cigar, cigarette, and pipe all at once, that rabbit who swings by his ears. (My mom fears him. I’m fearing that saxophone with a mouth and eye in the background.) But you know what else? This is our first time getting to see Wackyland in glorious technicolor! Sure, all the residents have black accented voices that I can’t be sure are real at all, but what’s more amazing is how much here would get reused in “Dough for the Do-do“. (That giant watermelon slice doesn’t seem so P.C. anymore.)

Cats tries exploring, but the residents are just a bit too out of this world for him. And those… trees, I think? That he’s hiding behind? Those are also scarring me for life. And I’m loving every moment of it! (Who would have thought a cello with feet could give me a heart attack?) Oh, and it might interest you to know that this is also the debut of Wackyland’s pride and joy: The Rubber Band. (Love those guys. They’re cute and they’re talented musicians. You don’t see that often these days.)

And Wackyland is even getting into the wartime spirit. Making us all feel better about ourselves by having Axis leaders rub their buttocks together. Yet, Cats is unhappy and wants to escape back to where he came from. There’s an elevator, but Cats was suddenly lying down to match Porky’s pose from years earlier, and he misses his chance. (It’s not the dodo this time, sadly. Just some black guy who looks like a duck with those inaccurate lips, and bird-like neck.)

The breaking point comes when Cats is forced to see Stalin kicking Hitler in the derriere. He begs, pleads, demands that he be brought back. (Something you’d never hear me saying.) Wish granted. I don’t know how, but the trumpeter is able to get him back to Earth. (Maybe it was a Moonside situation and it was all in Cat’s head?) Scared straight, Cats heads next door to help spread the spiritual word. Judging by their shocked expressions, this is the first time their preaching has ever reached someone.

Favorite Part: You kidding? We got to return to Wackyland! And they were kind enough to change it enough so that it wasn’t a total rerun. Sure, it’s become a bit more mean spirited this time around. But that creepy imagery was impressively creative! Isn’t amazing how putting limbs on random objects automatically makes them lovecraftian?

Personal Rating: 3. I’d like to give it a four, but it just can’t compete with its older brother, and the offensive imagery is sure to offend a good number of people no matter how long it ages. The soundtrack is awesome though.

Tweet and Sour

“You did sthee a pussthycat!”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc (June Foray); Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 24, 1956.

Granny is heading out for the time being, but she assures Tweety that he will be safe as she is locking the door. But she makes the foolish mistake of sticking the key under the welcome mat, the very place cats like Sylvester tend to hide. As she drives away she waves what could potentially be her final goodbye to her bird, but she snaps out of it and gets the canary out of the cat’s mouth.

Time for a threat. Either Tweety is unharmed by the time she gets back from… wherever it is she is going, or Sylvester is sold to a violin string factory. (That isn’t what catgut is, lady! Leave the feline alone!) Her threat flies straight through those ears, as he is all set to try again once she’s gone. Only after Tweety reminds him of the very real threat does he reluctantly decide to behave himself. But Sylvester isn’t the only cat in town…

Hey! I recognize that orange cat! It’s the one-eyed fellow from “Puddy Tat Twouble“! I’ve heard people say this guy is Sam, but since he doesn’t talk and can’t tell them they are mistaken, his name is Lee. And he helps himself to the bird, despite Sylvester telling him that his life is on the line. Why should Lee care about something that doesn’t affect him? That’s the American lifestyle! Sylvester does his best to get Tweety away from this interloper, and vice versa.

Tweety, in turn is trying to keep away from the both of them. He hides under a hen that lives in a hen house. (Naturally.) The hen is a little spooked when she feels something slip under her, but she seems to get over it quickly as when Sylvester makes a grab, she has a huge smile. (Ew.) Once she sees the claws that were groping her, she runs to tell the resident rooster, Not Foghorn the leghorn. He prepares to wallop the intruder, when Lee comes back and chases Sylvester off. His paw ends up flat as a pancake.

Sylvester gets Tweety back in the house, who comments on how kind the putty-tat is. Sylvester isn’t pleased to hear his reputation referred to in such a kindly manner and points out this is all to keep his body alive. (Don’t you have nine lives, son?) Not like Granny is going to forget this threat after this one time. Lee is planning to come down via chimney, so Sylvester sends up some dynamite via balloon. Lee lets it pass, and slips back down. It’s at that moment that the balloon realizes it has no helium and it drifts back down. Lee flees.

Sylvester notices Granny has returned from… wherever it is she was, and rushes Tweety back to the cage. She comes in just at that moment where the cage door is still open and his paw is still touching the bird. Knowing she wouldn’t believe him anyway, (I’m not even sure the two can communicate) he falls into a violin box on his own. Umm… Tweety? This is where you speak up and defend your hero… Tweety?

Favorite Part: When Granny waves to Tweety in Sylvester’s grasp, Sylvester waves back. It’s funnily cute. Like a pig with a pail on his head, or an elephant taking someone’s lunch.

Personal Rating: 3

The Dixie Fryer

“I’m a rooster, not a roaster.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Granpre; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on September 24, 1960.

Cold is bad. Cold equals death. Foghorn is the wisest chicken this side of Aardman, so he knew enough to get south once the weather turned on him. Since he can’t fly as well as a duck, he uses one to pull his balloon basket. Taking note of the magnolia scent in the air, he figures this must be his stop and he leaps out via the Mary Poppins approach. He came well packed with all one needs for a vacation: a comfy chair, and a table to hold a drink. (The mint julep is a cute touch.)

But predators are a worldly thing, and there is a couple in that tree just yonder. If you’ve watched every Looney Tune and Merrie Melody in chronological order, then you’d recognize these guys. If not, I’ll introduce you. They are Pappy and his son, Elvis, two raptors of indeterminate species. I call them that because they were turkey vultures in their first picture, but have shrunk down to chicken hawks for this, their final appearance.

They’ve been subsisting on black-eyed peas for some time now, and Elvis is really craving a chicken. The lack of them is all that is keeping his wildest desires from coming true. They take note of Foghorn and are ready to have themselves a good old fashioned BBQ. Foghorn isn’t too pleased to wake up to someone plucking his feathers off, but he finds even more to complain about once he finds out what is on the menu for dinner. (I hate hearing people complain on their vacations.)

With their dinner on the run, Pappy chases him down telling Elvis to shoot him with the gun they have. Elvis has been trained to fire when ‘fire’ is said, and unfortunately for his father, Foghorn knows this. This calls for dueling pistols. Foggy almost immediately gets the guns into the wings of the two, and tries getting them to duel. But what makes these guys fairly amusing is that they are fairly intelligent, and they both shoot their prey.

Foggy tries to get rid of them by claiming there is a tornado on the way, and nailing them in the storm cellar. Then the actual tornado hits him. Foghorn decides to take shelter in an explosives shed. The other two follow him and Foggy leaves them in there with a light. The resulting explosion sends the raptors back to their nest. They decide that the peas will make an adequate dinner after all.

Favorite Part: When in the shed, Elvis asks his father what T.N.T. spells. A very unique way to discover and announce your doom. I hope I can go in a similar way.

Personal Rating: I want to give it a four. There are some good jokes that even manage to subvert your expectations at times. But I don’t know, are the adversaries racial stereotypes? Let me clarify: offensive racial stereotypes? I enjoyed them and didn’t think they were hurtful, but I’m naive and scared of someone accusing me of being insensitive. It’s gotta stay a 3.

Goopy Geer

“Oh, goofy, goofy, Goopy!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on April 16, 1932.

You enjoyed “Lady Play Your Mandolin,” didn’t you?

What do you mean ‘it was light on story’? What more were you expecting? Leave this classroom. Everyone else is allowed to mock you on your way out.

For those of us who don’t mistake short films for novels, I’m happy to say that there is a lot of reused animation for this picture. (I’m happy to say that because I took my Zoloft.) It leads me to believe that this short is taking place in the same cantina as L.P.Y.M. was. And if you are listening to the crowd correctly, you’ll find that they are demanding Goopy Geer. He’s been the entertainment ever since Foxy got called out for ripping off a rodents style and took his girlfriend with him. Don’t worry. The three are friends.

Only close friends skip

Goopy must be a pretty talented pianuh player. Even Mickey Clone 277 wants to see him perform. You know, Goopy doesn’t do any sort of practicing. That’s how you know he’s talented. You could say he plays by ear. (They make that joke, and when the G-dog appeared on Tiny Toons, he’d make it again. It’s his favorite.) He’s also quite friendly with the clientele. He’s more than happy to accompany a trio of kittens as they sup on soup.

Never mind. Those are not any felines I’m aware of. They share a digestive tract! The first places a cracker in his mouth, the second chews, and the third swallows. It defies nature! Oh wait. I forgot that cartoons do that on a minute-ly basis, as opposed to a daily one. Another diner is a bull who is eating the world’s toughest pasta. I’ve never seen anyone need to chew spaghetti so much. (Unless it’s just a reference to how bulls normally eat?)

No meal for me, thanks. I’ve seen what goes on in that kitchen. They’ve got a naked chicken swimming in broth to make soup. I can’t believe its got its cloaca clenched tight all the time! And now that I’ve more than likely ruined the rest of your week with that image, let’s get our singer on stage! I’m guessing that it’s the character that I once named “Gigi,” so there’s no need for another one of my awesomely picked names this week. Shame, as Warner Bros. pays me a nickel for every unnamed character of theirs I christen.*

Her signing is also enjoyed by the crowd. Just look at Clone  441 applaud! (He never misses a show you know.) With singing and piano-ing combined, everyone (and a couple coat racks as well) get their groove on. Even Foxy’s horse stops by to get tanked once again. He nearly has the exact same hallucination as last time, but now he sees himself as Gandhi at the end. (Wouldn’t that be reason to cheer? If what Charlie Brown’s been telling me is true, girls are naturally attracted to zero hair. Explains my lack of love life.)

Well, as the saying goes, alcoholic horses and pianos don’t mix, and the equines explosive expectorations soon reduce Goopy’s piano to shambles. A crime punishable by limit to three cartoons max. Nice knowing you, Goop.

Favorite Part: Gigi arriving on stage with a bad pun for Mr. Geer. His reaction is quite humorous. Quite indeed.

Personal Rating: 2. It could’ve done better if a good chunk of it hadn’t been seen already.

*This is a lie. I have never even been approached. I didn’t think I needed to tell you this, but I’ve been surprised at how seriously people take me before.

The Hasty Hare

“That wasn’t at all nice!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal Rating: 3

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.