The Bird came C.O.D.

“Mm-nh.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Animation by Ken Harris; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on January 17, 1942.

Conrad! Hey, buddy! Haven’t discussed you for since the twenty-tens. Did you ever get more of a personality than Goofy wannabe? No? I’m sorry. You’ll always have a trio of posts talking about you eventually.

Conrad is playing delivery cat today. His company specializes in delivery of palms. Slogan is, “You grease ours, you’ll get yours.” (Clearly, I should have been writing for these pictures.) Being Conrad’s first film, he makes sure to look directly into the camera. Just to make sure that Mr. Jones know how grateful he is for this opportunity, and he could be the new breakout character for Chuck should Sniffles ever… you know… disappear. Just look at those exaggerated cartoon movements! He’s the ideal star!

His first problem is just trying to get the plant into the theater awaiting the delivery. It really does feel like a “Goofy” cartoon what with the tree getting caught on the door frame and flinging Conrad backwards, and the door shutting on its own when he thinks he found a solution by squat walking inside. No wonder Mr. Colvig would be voicing him. It was clearly always meant to be. Conrad finally figures out the secret: hold the door open with the delivery. Please, enter.

…AND BRING THE PLANT, STUPID! Geeze, hope you’re not expecting a tip after that. Now inside, all Conrad has to do is not trip and get it to its proper location. After he trips, he gets it to its proper location. Not even a scratch! Maybe he does know what he’s doing. He finds the old plant, switches it with the new, and is all set to go on his way, when he sees a top hat that has been left on the stage. That can only mean a magician has performed, and Conrad has always secretly been envious of those guys. He can’t resist having a little fun and pretending to be what he is not. (Without talking. He has no dialogue outside of nervous chuckles and exclamatory grunts.)

Wouldn’t you know it? First try and he pulls out a live rabbit. Even he wasn’t expecting to be that good. His reaction puzzles me. He looks less amazed and more nauseous. Does it smell that bad? Then it should have been a skunk. I bet Chuck could get a lot of mileage out of those. But what’s really worrisome is the other occupant of the hat. The title star finally shows, more than halfway in. Some early ancestor of Henery Hawk it looks like. But I guess he’s a dove? What magician uses hawks in his act? A fun-king awesome one, that’s who.

The little guy doesn’t seem too pleased to see some amateur messing with the hat, but he doesn’t do more than give Conrad a glare. Not even an angry glare, just a “do you mind?” kind of glare. And I get it. I hate when delivery boys bring me a package and then start looking in my drawers. But Conrad feels like he’s been the one wronged, and knocks the bird back out of the hat. Again, Little Birdy just kind of gives a look. A “this is getting old” look. He only slaps Conrad when the cat tries taking a closer peek inside that hat.

Angered, Conrad smashes the hat. Little Birdy is unharmed, but gives the peeking tom (cat) a poke in the eye. Come on, Conrad. It’s not worth it! He agrees, but decides to throw that hat rather than just leave. It comes back to hit him, and L.B. punches his nose now. Conrad should consider himself lucky, considering what silent birds usually do to cats, but he refuses to be three-upped and makes another attempt to get the bird. He’s caught in the act, and Little marches him back into the orchestra pit. I bet a lot of good slapstick is happening. You can tell by the number of instruments flying.

Now sporting a pair of black eyes, Conrad finally gets the hint that he should cut his losses before the bird cuts him. He takes the old plant and tries to flee, but runs straight into the theater’s brick storage room. (I love those rooms.) Dazed and disoriented, he next stumbles into wardrobe where he finds six more top hats. Surely you figured Mr. Birdy wasn’t the only one in the clutch, right? Too bad they don’t do more than pull Conrad’s hat over his face. Passive aggressiveness runs in the family.

Favorite Part: Conrad leaving the plant outside was a good gag made better by the triumphant music petering out.

Personal Rating: 2. I can’t relate to the main character because I think L.B. was totally justified in his threats. He deserves being the title character. (If only he showed up sooner.)

Toy Town Hall

“Yowza, so help me.”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Bob McKimson and Sandy Walker; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. (One of if not the first to have him.) A Merrie Melody released on September 19, 1936.

We’ve all been in this situation as a kid: you’re just about to start something. Maybe the TV show airing next. Maybe another movie. Maybe your 26th round of Super Smash Bros. Whatever it is, you dread hearing those words. The words no kid wants to hear when they’re enjoying themselves: “It’s time for bed.” You beg and plead and whine that you can’t do that just yet! Your friends don’t suffer such injustices! You’ll do anything in the word to just do this one last thing! But your pleas fall on deaf ears.

So, I feel for little Sunny when his mom-arms turn off the radio before he can hear the next program, even if I’ve never been in the exact same scenario. (I wish we could see more of his matriarch. I know you should never judge a lady by her arms, but I bet she’s attractive.) Well, upset as he is, the kid still goes to bed, reluctantly. He’s got a nice collection of toys. What do you think they’d do if they were alive?

They’d imitate the biggest radio stars of the day! Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee… What do you mean cartoons were always doing that? You want something new? Pah! Just for that, this cartoon is going to feature almost nothing except reused animation from previous Melodies! Remember, you brought this on yourself. Let’s meet our opening act! Quick cut to the same elephant lights operator from “Those Beautiful Dames” and we’ve got a lovely song performed by a Bing Crosby parrot. (Not quite a recycled shot, but he IS singing a song a different Crosby inspired bird sang in/called “Let it be Me”.)

Next up, the Eddie Cantor toy. Now with a completely different body, so we can reuse his song sequence from “Billboard Frolics“. (Rub-em-off will not be joining this time.) At least as far as I can tell, the Rudy Vallee toy isn’t being reused. He still has a different body too, though. Unless Sunny has two Rudys? Nothing wrong with that.

Oh, this next cameo is a fun one! The cockroaches from “The Lady in Red”. Sure, there is the tiniest difference in color, but that just means Sunny has toy roaches. What kid has toy roaches in the 30’s? And when did that package on Sunny’s bed appear? It wasn’t there before. But what’s inside has been on screen before! Peter the rabbit from “My Green Fedora”! He’s a toy now! Singing the same song he sang back then, and reacting to his audience likewise. All the toys dance as we return to reality. It was a dream, like in “Dames” but Sunny isn’t halluci-dying.

His mom wakes him up for the day, and I guess he’s angry that his dream was interrupted. The end.

Favorite Part: One of the toys is a balloon with feet. (Did you have one of those growing up?) After he inflates himself, he plays a flute with the air. But his mouth is down there, so that can only be one other orifice he’s playing with… Yep, his nose.

Personal Rating: 1 if you could tell everything was rehashed. If you were ignorant before, it could’ve been a 2 with a really lousy ending.

A Sunbonnet Blue

“Oh, George! You’re so cuute!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ain’t we got Fun

“3rd shelf: Things ‘n stuff.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Porky’s Pet

“Tickets, tickets.”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Cal Dalton and Sandy Walker; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on July 11, 1936.

*Sigh* I was really hoping some sort of Christmas miracle would bring back my lost work. I promise, that’s the last time it’ll be brought up. Now, let’s discuss the first short to have Porky’s name in the title.

Porky’s just received a telegram from someone named J. Botts. (Jo Botts?) We never see the person, but they’ve got a great offer for my pig pal: A job that’ll pay seventy-five cents a week in New York, so it must be Broadway related. But it’s not just Porky who’s going to be big, so will his titular pet, Lulu. He rushes to her cage to tell her the good news. How cute! She’s a canary, then? She’s an ostrich.

Now, I’ve always loved ostriches. Probably my first favorite animal before I moved on to yaks, then bats, then newts, then goblin sharks, then hermit crabs, then hamsters, before making pigs my final choice. So I know a fair amount about the largest extant birds. For example, I’ve never known one to speak in a strange garbledygork of insane laughter and English mumblings. And her size and appetite mean that she must be a heck of a hassle of a pet. But I see genuine love in her eyes for the Porkster, so I can’t and won’t interfere with the heartwarming bond between them. (Though I COULD give her a good home…)

Well, with the future calling, P. and L. traverse to the train station. Climbing aboard, it appears that Mr. Pig can’t take a trip with a pet in tow. (Dogs are allowed but not ostriches?) Well, Porky just tells Lu to run ahead of the train and he’ll sneak her on. (Why not just ride her? How far is your journey, anyhow?) She may look like a birdbrain, but she understands and the plan works great. Porky was able to pull her into the moving train by her neck. He is our new god.

But now comes the difficult part: keeping her hidden. She’s a big girl, and is quite noticeable. Lucky all the other passengers are willing to stay mum on the subject. Still, she’ll have to stay out of the conductor’s sight. Porky stuffs her under the seat with some difficulty, but she’s a wide-open spaces kind of bird! She doesn’t stay put and decides to put her special ostrich talent to good use. That’s her appetite. She roams around the area eating whatever catches her eye. Toupees, toy planes, musical instruments. She’d probably eat a baby if she came across one.

Crap! The conductor approacheth! In a panic, Porky hides Lulu into the only thing big enough he can get his mitts on: a cello case. (Why did someone bring an empty one along?) This hardly works before Lulu stands up, giving the conductor quite the ride and interesting story to tell later on. When she’s revealed, he doesn’t need to react with surprise or fright. He grabs her without so much as a flinch, and throws her out the window. Porky is next to go, though he gets the more dignified exit via the back door.

The two are still a long way from Broadway, but their ingenuity sees them through. Tying a nearby handcart to a nearby cow gives them a means of transportation that’s even faster than train! Bet the conductor feels embarrassed now!

Favorite Part: A small thing, but I like how the concertina Lulu swallows is labeled as such. So many people think they’re accordions, but here you’ll have no excuse for the mix-up. (Unless you can’t read.) Together, we can help raise awareness.

Personal Rating: 2. I think I preferred Donald Duck interacting with an ostrich. Hortense was way cuter, too.

(And yes, I know female ostriches don’t have black plumage. But since this isn’t “Fantasia” I can use the grayscale to my advantage and blissfully believe that Lulu is just a very dark shade of brown.)

A Horsefly Fleas

“As long as they’re gonna chase me anyway, I might as well get paid for it.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Manny Gould, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Effects Animation by A.C. Gamer; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on December 13, 1948.

All work done between November 5th and December 10th continues to be lost. And I’m still in the dark about it. And I’m still UPSET about it. Any info on WHY this happened would be lovely. And you know what else? I don’t think I ever want to retype them until I get an actual explanation as to what happened.

It’s the return of A.! You remember A., don’t you? He’s that flea with the catchy song about dinner being around the corner. Yeah, that guy! Seems eating Elmer and Willoughy wasn’t a bright idea after all, as A.’s singing about finding himself a new home. (Now being voice by Mel as opposed to Sara Berner.) But he’s not alone for long. Another animal that normally feasts on mammalian blood is outside, and that’s a horsefly. (An animated horsefly. Which means he’s 80% horse.) Cars have made his “mane” food supply dry up.

Since they’re both in need of living quarters, A. invites his fellow pest to join him in the homestead hunt. The best looking land can be found in the mountains. (A dog.) They fly over and start settling. Chopping “trees” makes a mighty fine cabin, but a shelter won’t be of much use without a food source, so A. begins digging a “well”. (Never called an incision that before.) Of course, the “land” is aware of these activities, and scratches at the discomfort causing “earthquakes.” But that’s only the biggest concern in literal terms.

This “land” is “Indian” flea territory. (Really? The “land” doesn’t look like a jonangi to me.) These fleas look like Miniature Injun Joes, so you know they mean business. A. wasn’t foolish enough to try taking land without guns, and he’s a pretty good marksflea. At least five chibi Joes change up their usual diet and bite the dust. But A.’s shots are a finite amount, and he and his horsefly soon have to do what the title suggests. The chase begins and neither snow nor sleet (flea powder and… more flea powder) slows down either chaser or chasee.

You know, I think these native fleas really do have Joe’s blood in them. They have the stamina to wear down a horse fly just chasing on their feet and skis. A. and D. (Horsefly) are tied to a “tree” and a fire is lit beneath them. The “land” draws the line at this, and heads to the outdoor fountain to extinguish itself. In the panic and confusion, A. and D. escape via stolen canoe. The Joes still pursue them, but the “land” doesn’t care too much. It’s just glad to be his own “land” for once.

But not for long. The circus has just arrived! See, this “land” is actually their winter quarters. So, those little Joe’s aren’t really natives then? Well, they are now as their continued chase of A. leads all of them into the center ring. Just in time for wild west show! The “land” by this point decides to just take things in stride and enjoy the show.

Favorite Part: A. looking over the sign that warns he’s entering “Indian” territory. After doing so he comments that he probably misses out on important details being illiterate and all.

Personal Rating: 2. Light on new gags, D. doesn’t really contribute enough to warrant being part of the title, and it could be viewed as offensive today. But at least I’ve finally discussed A.’s entire filmography.

A Tale of Two Mice

“You’re scared of the cat.”

Directed by Frank Tashlin; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on June 30, 1945.

It’s the first of the two times Babbit and Catstello were mice, and it turns out that hunting cheese is nearly as dangerous as hunting Tweety. There’s a cat that looks a lot like Babbit used to guarding the stuff, but the current Babbit is certain that his rotund chum can get past him to the dairy. He lays out the plan while his ears change color. Catstello is against it until he hears that the cat will be asleep. That’ll be a cinch! He’s ready now! He’ll show the old model of Babbit!

Change of plans! He wants back in the hole, pronto! But Babbit can’t let that happen, and flings Catsy back out via rubber band. Cats crashes into the cat and barely makes it back to the safety of the hole. Plan two is much more sensible: Catstello will fly over in a wind-up plane. Babbit is so sure that this will work, that he’ll be a jackass if it won’t. (His fur will change color regardless.) You know this is going to end swell when the wings get torn off on the small hole. No flying allowed, but the plane does beat the cat up a little before returning back home. Catstello is happy to remind him of his promise. (Number of times ‘jackass’ is said in “A Tale of Two Mice”: 3.)

The next plan must’ve worked great at first as we see the two in the middle of it. From what I can gather, Babbit hoisted a platform over the cat to the fridge for Catstello to load with cheese. But it was a hefty hunk of the stuff, and Babbit struggles to hold both it and Castello’s portly girth. He can’t hold on much longer and the load plunges down towards the cat, stopping at the last possible moment. I get a kick out of Catstello’s raspy, squeaky, whispery yells for help. And I can believe Babbit could hear them, as he’s been dragged right up to the cat’s maw. Soon as he realizes he’s in the danger zone, he’s out, leaving Catstello to face whatever fate the cat chooses, alone.

Catstello has a half good idea: using the cheese as cover. The cat following and appearing to just be gliding along the ground. (I’ve seen cats do that, sure.) Babbit tries to warn his companion, but is just reminded that this is a stealth operation. When the danger is revealed, Babbit does what I’d expect any best friend to do: start advertising for a new roommate. The cat tries to toss his prize into his mouth, but doing that in front of a fold-out ironing board was second only to doing so in the midst of a firing squad in terms of worst places to toss a prize into his mouth.

Catstello opens it, crushing the cat’s skull, somehow warping inside the iron that was also inside, and crushes the cat’s skull again. With imminent death right behind him, he grabs the cheese and makes it back to safety, with doom on his heels. Once safe, Babbit has the audacity to berate his partner for grabbing Swiss, knowing full well that Babbit hates the stuff. (I can’t blame him for not being able to tell at a glance. All cartoon cheese has holes. Without them, they’d look like tofu.) Having had a very tiring day, Catstello stuffs the stuff down Babbit’s throat.

Favorite Part: Babbit trying to go over his plan, with Catstello loudly saying that he’s not doing it. The face Babbit makes upon realized he’s being ignored, coupled with the threatening smile he flashes are two of the greatest gifts to animated facial features.

Personal Rating: 3. The animation on Catstello alone makes this at least worth one watch by every person on Earth.

Shop Look & Listen

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

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

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

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

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

*Is my internal fear showing?*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get rich quick Porky

“This land is so saturated with oil, that you can literally wring it out with your fingers.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Charles Jones; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on August 28, 1937.

Seen the trailer for the “Tiny Toons” revival yet? You must have if you visit this site. If my eyes aren’t screwing with me, it looks like there may be a protege for ole Gabby Goat! (Why not? Looks like Cool Cat got one. Probably called “Fab Feline”.) They could call the new kid “Chatty Capricorn” or something. (Since most people don’t know the term ‘caprine’.) All this is just my way of saying I’m reviewing Gabby’s final short today.

A businessman named Honest John Gusher (the brother of the guy who invented the fruit snack, no doubt) is preparing a scam. He’s going to fill an empty lot with oil, and pawn it off on the next saps he sees. Sadly, those two are Porky and Gabby. (I like to provide links whenever I indirectly mention a short’s title.) They’re on their way to the bank. Porky has a bag of cash that he is all set to invest despite Gabby trying to convince him to spend it and frivolously at that.

John (who is a… fossa? I think? Or some new species of mammal whose ear can vanish at will.) calls to their attention and offers to sell them the field. Even going so far as to demonstrate that it has indeed got the goods. Now, Porky is a smart pig. He knows that putting money in the bank is a great option, but oil is valuable. And if you saw a field full of the greasy gold that was being offered to you, you’d find it hard to say no to what would surely be a great payoff. He agrees and he and Gabby eagerly grab some tools and dig in.

Porky makes do with a pickax, while Gabby chooses the jackhammer. (The dirt not only changes color, but shape as well! It must be valuable too!) A dog also stops by to do some digging, but only to rebury the bone Porky unearthed. (Wouldn’t he want to chew it a bit before saving it for later? I wouldn’t ask if he entered the scene with the bone.) He has a bit of a hard time what with oil gushing out of every hole he digs. Making matters worse is a gopher that makes his bone disappear like magic. (That rodent’s appearance makes me laugh. He looks like a naked “Arthur” background character.)

John is still around and he decides to turn the oil off. Porky discovers the trick and is man enough to cry. Poor guy. I want to hug him more than usual. Since Porky is unhappy, John offers to buy the deed off of him for a whole dollar! (A-hole.) Since Porky is pretty much broke, he doesn’t really have much of a choice. But Gabby is still digging and his jackhammering has led him underground, and wouldn’t you know it, there is real, actual, honest-to-god, authentic, genuine, made from 100% dead animals, pure, perfect, not compatible with water, fresh from the ground, o-i-l, oil!

The resulting gusher carries victim and perpetrator up into the sky. Porky is obviously happy that he really is going to be a billionaire, but John’s still got a hand on the deed, and he’s not going to let go! Only a goat with a pneumatic drill could pull him away. So, after he’s pulled away and the two friends land on the ground,  Porky happily holds onto the deed! Oh, wait. It’s that dogs bone. Drat. (John probably got pulled underground and is now realizing that he will eventually become the very substance he was using to swindle people.)

But all is not lost as that gopher pops up and shows he/she has the deed. And they’re willing to give it back, as long as they can become partners. (Poor Gabby.) Porky agrees and to this day, you’ll find G. P. Richfield gas stations in every state of the union.

Favorite Part: When we’re shown Gabby is approaching some real, actual, etcetera, etcetera, it is labeled ‘oil’. After cutting back to Porky and back again, it’s labeled ‘same oil’. You know, in case we thought Gabby was heading for some different oil.

Personal Rating: 3

The Queen was in the Parlor

“I’d rather listen to ‘Amos ‘n Andy’.”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Paul Smith. A Merrie Melody released on July 9, 1932.

Today is a day when many a people celebrate a man who is said to have died and come back to life. I’m not one to talk about religion, but I will tie that into today’s featured short, as Goopy Geer did the same thing, just taking roughly sixty years as opposed to three days. This was the last time people would see the guy alive for quite some time yet.

At the only castle in the shot, we decide to see what’s going on. Our king has returned. I call him Sir Pigguy, and so should you. He must be rather beloved as far as kings go, as he gets quite the turnout for his return and they are all singing his praises, and giving adulation. But our king has no time for such meaningless words, as he just wants to know where his wife is. The title is sung to him, and he learns that she doesn’t want to/can’t be seen. Rules don’t apply to kings, so he dismisses the singers and heads to her location.

The parlor is where the clothes mending takes place, as Queen Hippo knits a sock, and Princess Gigi patches up her father’s armor. (Methinks there’s something dishonest with the royal bloodline.) Since our king’s mood has been soured, he demands his jester entertain him. Goopy plays that part and offers to get the royal crooners, “Crosby, Columbo and Vallee”. (A cartoon I’d insert a link to if I’d blogged about it already. Chalk this up to another instance of me whining about how I don’t blog in chronological order.)

The king isn’t amused. Goopy dances for him instead. His little talking stick and hat change color. His left ear vanishes a few times. But darn it, he IS putting his all into things! And a cat fails at catching a mouse. (Something I only bring up to catalog Mickey Clone #248.) While the festivities continue, an ugly knight enters the picture and takes off with the princess. Goopy fights for her, as it’s just jester code. And he manages to hold his own fairly well, even without any proper training.

Still, as an amateur he finds himself flung into an assortment of kitchen wares. The pans, kettles, and graters make decent armor, but not great and he is punched against a pillar, knocking a stuffed ram’s head onto his own. With this new advantage, he is able to knock the opposition right out of his armor. Once the guy gets it back together, he flees. He’ll never recover from such an embarrassing attack.

Favorite Part: Goopy listening in at a keyhole and getting caught. “Are ya listening, HUH?” But I don’t get Goopy’s reply: “Yeah. I bought a windshield.” Maybe it makes sense to those who listen to “Amos ‘n Andy”?

Personal Rating: 2. It’s not such a shame that Goopy disappeared from theaters after this.