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 their 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.

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

Hippydrome Tiger

“Get off my chariot.”

Directed by Alex Lovy; Story by Tony Benedict; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, LaVerne Harding, Volus Jones, and Ed Solomon; Backgrounds by Bob Abrams; Layouts by Jamie R. Diaz. Film Editor: Hal Geer; Voice Characterization by Larry Storch; Musical Direction by William Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 30, 1968.

Time once again for “Hunting Tigers” with your host, Colonel Rimfire.  Today, he will be hunting with his best friend that is making her second and final appearance, Ella the robot elephant. Yes, a mechanical, pink pachyderm is the man’s preferred mode of transportation. People only tend to laugh once, as one bullet is enough to silence them.

But wouldn’t you know it? Cool Cat isn’t around! He was kind enough to leave a note that says he’s going to Paris. Not knowing where the colonel is now, I can’t say how much of a trip he has to make, but make it he does and learns about the tiger’s whereabouts. C.C. has entered the Grand Prix because tigers are allowed to do that. And hunters are allowed to hunt them regardless of their race. (They were rather progressive like that.)

The race starts, and I hope you weren’t betting on any of the human racers. They’ve disappeared, and haven’t been seen since. (Though, I swear I caught sight of one at the mall.) Since Ella has wheels, Rimfire isn’t too far behind his prey. A little oil slick sends him into the drink, but since Ella has a trunk, it can be used as a periscope and they can find their way out. (Ugh. I don’t like how the thing looks now. Put the trunk down. PLEASE.)

Ella may have wheels and a trunk, but her steering leaves a good deal to be desired. When Cool Cat makes a 90 degree turn, the pursuers keep on going straight towards and over a cliff. But somehow, the track continues below, and Cool Cat was driving fast enough for the two to land on top of his vehicle. Naturally, the tiger tries to make a break for it, but ole Rimmy has a tight grip on the cat. He ends up getting pulled out of the car. Ella, being the sole occupant, is considered the winner once she crosses the finish.

With Cool Cat pinned up against a tree, Rimfire feels assured of victory. But the sporting thing is to offer the feline a final request, and Cool requests a light. Seems fair enough, but when the colonel’s back is turned, we see that the object to be lighted is a rocket that aims to blast the hunter away. It does too. C.C. heads to finish the race, but sees the elephant android receiving his victory parade. With nothing else to do and the short coming to a close, he allows the hunter to chase him once more.

Favorite Part: After Rimfire emerges from the lake, he fires a torpedo Cool Cat. The tiger freakin’ GRABS THE TORPEDO and throws it right back. Thus proving his cooliocity to you.

Personal Rating: 2

Space Jam A New Legacy (First Thoughts)

“You remember fun, don’t you, doc?”

As the title suggests, these are just my first thoughts about this film. A synopsis, complete with annoying jokes, limited information, and inflations to my own ego will happen someday in the future. Not today, for it is the present.

Very short version of this post: 🙂

Long version of this post: I expected this movie to be fun. Not good, bad, great, or abysmal. Just fun. And I got exactly that. Let’s be real. Even the first S.J. wasn’t really all that great. (Something I’ve come to grips with long since I blogged about it.) Neither of them have a great story, these films are just an excuse to have cartoons play basketball. (And sell W.B. merchandise on the side.)

Speaking of weak story, I won’t lie: this film has got one of those. LeBron is just playing the “father who wants his progeny to be like him, despite the kid’s protests to do something else.” Seen it. And yeah, the man isn’t a superb actor. (At least he is able to admit it in the film.) Still, I feel he does better than Jordan did. He definitely emotes more. As opposed to Michael looking dead inside. (Really. How could you not go “Looney” getting to meet animation’s greatest characters?)

But as week as the story is, (and some might disagree with me on this) it’s leagues better than the first one’s. Having the Tunes exist in a digital world makes much more sense than being underground. And for that matter, LeBron’s actor/son’s conflict actually gets some sort of payoff. Unlike Michael’s actor/son who mopes a bit, cheers up upon finding his dad was kidnapped by animated characters, then disappears until the denouement.

And the crossover aspect! If you can fathom the idea of someone never seeing “Ready player one” or any “Avengers” movie, then you can probably believe me when I say I was getting goosebumps when all of Warner’s properties gather to watch the game. But there’s a downside to that too. After they assemble, they don’t do anything. Yes, they’re the audience, but the original film let its audience react a bit more. (The most we get here is a pout from King Kong.)

For that matter, the original utilized the Tunes universe just a bit better. The team you see in all the advertisements? That’s pretty much all we get. Marvin and K-9 get a little screen time, when everyone sans Bugs is coerced into seeing what other worlds they can explore there’s a group shot of many minor characters. It just goes by so fast one can’t enjoy it. (I was able to see Rocky, Muggsy and Playboy.) And Canasta appears in the “Mad Max” universe. That’s it.

Wasted potential there. Why couldn’t they join the rest of the crowd for watching?Too expensive to animate? Which reminds me, the animation was gorgeous. Not spectacular. There’s nothing on the levels of “Fantasia” or “Spirited Away.” But what we get is a real treat. Vibrant, bouncy, and looney. Just what I expected and wanted. But that’s the 2-d stuff. How was the 3-d?

I won’t lie. It looks good. And that’s a relief considering how computer generated animation trying to look like it really exists ranges from nightmare inducing:

“I’m the reason animated spider’s are drawn with simple mouths!”

To laughably pathetic.

“Did I miss the auditions for “Pan’s Labyrinth”?”

The voice acting was nice as well. Zendaya Maree Stoerme Coleman did pretty good as Lola. Heck, if I didn’t know going in, I would’ve figured Ms. Bunny was being voiced by a 25 years older Kath Soucie. And the basketball stars voicing the villains did an admirable job. And mentioning the villains, I thought they were a lot of fun. Even if super-powered mutant basketball players feels strangely familiar.

“Good news, everyone! The public no longer has to remember us via “Pixels!”

It’s a good thing they were a joy to watch, as they don’t get nearly as much screen time as the Monstars. And one of them appears too late, and disappears too fast. Why wasn’t he there from the start? Oh, and while I’m discussing the villains: I found Don Cheadle entertaining, but not Pete. He did nothing to further the story. Completely superfluous. But the Minions have made it so animated films won’t sell if there isn’t at least one tiny, annoying, comic relief character that wouldn’t be missed if cut out completely.

The weakest part of the film in my opinion? The ending. I won’t spoil it here, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and seemed to wrap up a bit too fast. Lucky for me the fun stuff starts a lot quicker than its predecessor, so I don’t feel like there was a bunch of wasted time squeezing the entertaining middle.

And that pretty much wraps up my first thoughts after my first viewing of the first “Looney Tunes” film I’ve been able to see in theaters. My rating is just a few more lines down.

Short version of this post: I quite enjoyed it.

Favorite Part: Really, I did get chills seeing such a large crossover of properties. It might change in the future, but it’s the winner for now.

Personal Rating: I’ve been seeing fairly negative reviews from other people. I however, feel that if you go in expecting to see a movie that is more “fun than substance,” you’ll have a good time. (It’s the film equivalent of a lollipop.) Therefore, I grant it a 3 for the basic crowd, and a 4 for my fellow Looney-tics. (Yes, really.)

Dr. Jerkyl’s Hide

“LET ME OUT OF ‘ERE!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 8, 1954.

Hey, it’s Spike and Chester! Haven’t spoke about either of them since 2014. Oh, wait. I won’t be mentioning Spike after all. His name is Alf now. Because it’s a more appropriate name for a cockney dog, don’t you know? Oh, yes. The two have some nice thick accents this time around. Makes sense. This short’s source material does take place in London.

“Alf” and Chester, (making their final appearances) are out having a jolly stroll. At least, that’s what “Alf” wants and Chester believes. See, Chester looks up to “Alf” as some sort of hero. He’s bigger, meaner, and has people clothes. The kind of dog we’d all like to be. But “Alf” is also a bit of a bully. Smacking the little guy around, demanding he leave, and turning down his suggestions of fun. Chester then plays his trump card. Maybe “Alf” would like to beat up a cat?

That’s the ticket. “Alf” is always up for a good feline thrashing, and the two give chase to Sylvester. Poor cat takes refuge in a building that belongs to a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jerkyl. (And I’m sure at least one of you was planning to tell me I made a typo in the title.) Breathless, due to all the exercise, Sylvester is more than happy to take a swig of what he believes to be soda. (Honestly, can YOU name another liquid with carbonation? Because I can’t. Please help.) But that wasn’t pop.

This stuff, whatever this stuff is, is designed to turn the drinker into a much meaner, much tougher, much scarier version of thyself. So Sylvester grows a couple feet, his eyeteeth grow out, and he gets a murderous look in his eyes. It is then that “Alf” comes in for a pummel. He leaves, white as a ghost. (I like how his shirt changed color, but his hat didn’t.) That stuff only lasts so long though, and Sylvester is back to his normal self when Chester takes a peek at this “scary monster.”

Well, that don’t make any sense to the spaniel. I mean, the cat is actually quite small. Chester could pound him, himself. And logic dictates that if a small dog could do it, a big dog could do it, but easier. Chester drags “Alf” back in, just as they witness their prey escape into another room. Yeah, he looks timid, terrified, and totally weak. “Alf” regains his confidence, and follows after him. (Chester doesn’t follow, for the sake of the joke.)

“Alf” corners the cat in a box, where we see the formula kicks in sporadically. Now powered up again, Sylvester gleefully plots out how we will carve the dog. “Alf” returns to Chester, but falls to pieces. (Probably a good contender for the most violent massacre in all Looney Tunes, and there’s not one drop of blood.) The power wears off again before Sylvester can take on Chester, and the dog proves good of his claim to beat the cat. Now more convinced than ever, he traps “Alf” in the building for his own good.

Sylvester takes this time to flee. (I really can’t tell if he is aware of his transformation or not. Maybe if I read the original “Jeckyll” story, I’d know.) “Alf” sees this and also sees an opportunity to seize. He uses the beakers around him to simulate a fight that he is winning. But one of the beakers he throws was full of more formula, and the stuff lands on a housefly. (And I guess it drinks it. Unless the stuff can be taken topically.) It does its thing, and the fly’s size increases, as does its temper.

Now, the insect is only roughly the size of a hummingbird, but insects ARE immensely strong for their size, and it has no trouble roughing “Alf” up and throwing him out. “Alf” begs for Chester’s protection before the two witness the fly slamming the door in their faces. A big fly, yes, but a fly nonetheless. And thus, the last amount of respect Chester might have had for the big dog is dead. As such, the roles reverse: Chester wears the hat in this relationship now, and he slaps the now hero-worshippy “Alf” around.

Kind of a shame these two had such short careers, but seeing as how this is very similar to their earlier work, there probably just wasn’t enough material to make multiple cartoons.

Favorite Part: How Chester gets “Alf” back into the building: marching him in at gunpoint.

Personal Rating:3