Curtain Razor

“I killed them in Cu-… camonga.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Manuel Perez, Ken Chapin, Virgil Ross, and Pete Burness; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 21, 1949.

Hope you enjoyed the green rings in the opening because they’re gonna be the iconic orange from here on out!

Today’s role Porky finds himself in is a talent scout at the Goode and Korny talent agency. It really is one of the world’s more entertaining jobs. You get to see the beginning of the greats, total failures embarrass themselves, and best of all: send the worst down a trapdoor. The operatic grasshopper that was singing over the opening titles wasn’t too shabby! Can any other acts top that?

We aren’t off to a promising start. Clara Cluck’s sister, Sara, instead of trying to develop a talent on her own, tries to copy her sibling’s opera shtick, seeing as how said sibling has been retired by now. Here’s a tip Sara: close your eyes when you do that. Makes you look more operatic and less “I’m being goosed by a poltergeist.”. She  stops her performance short upon laying an egg during the performance. Literal or figurative, that’s earned you a trap door ride. (Her egg hatches before it follows her, revealing Tweety’s stepbrother, Tweeter.)

A fox enters the room boasting about what a sensational act he’s got. Porky is willing to see it, but the fox totally cut the line. He’ll have to wait his turn. Next up for real is Cecil Turtle’s nephew, Sessile. He’s this universe’s Mel as he claims to have 1,000 different voices. (Of which, I can make out Bugs, Foghorn, Durante, and Rochester.) Despite his claim, Porky only counted 999. The poor reptile leaves, hoping he’ll remember the last one. (Isn’t it your normal speaking voice? Sessile, get back here! You need to be discovered!)

Next up, a parrot named Bingo, (who you can also see in Arthur Davis’s “Catch as Cats Can”) a chicken named Frankie, and a duck named Al, collectively known as the Three Cavalheiros! They sing just like their namesakes and I think they’re rather swell. Porky thanks them as they leave, but confines to us that that kind of stuff is only going to appeal to the bobbysoxer crowd. (Porky, pal, I can see your socks. Don’t be ashamed of what you like.)

And now a man with two heads enters. Porky is sure this act is going to be awesome, but the man angrily states that he is only the janitor. I figured two heads meant there was two of you. I guess me and Porky are both guilty of facial profiling. That poor guy! He’s just like every tall person who has to tirelessly tell everyone that no, he doesn’t play basketball. When will we learn as a society that we need to ask what other people are into. Oh, and the fox still tries to jump the queue.

After a couple more acts, including a regular old human using the same pigeon act Daffy tried in “Show Biz Bugs“, Porky finally gets tired of the pushy fox, and sends him down the trapdoor. Just in time for a dog to enter. He’s not a dog act. He’s merely the transportation. (Porky? What did we just learn from Double Header‘s son?) The dog’s got a flea circus act! And by that, I mean the fleas build a circus. (And judging by the musical accompaniment, they commissioned the  Rubber Band to join.)

Finally, finally, it’s that foxes turn to perform. This better be nothing we’ve ever seen before, considering how much hype he gave it. The act in question? Ingesting several flammable substances, before swallowing a lit match while dressed as a devil. … Well, I suppose back in 1949, people wouldn’t have yet seen this ending in a different cartoon by Freleng’s unit. I’ll give it to him.

Favorite Part: The scowl Porky gives after Sara’s performance. He’s all “B*tch, don’t you be having no babies on my floors. I just got these carpets cleaned!”

Personal Rating: 3. It’s a shame the aforementioned “S.B.B.” did this sorta idea better, mainly by having established characters with an established rivalry front and center. If you were watching this short before 1957, then it was a 4.

Porky’s Tire Trouble

“D-D-Don’t hurt that d-d-dog!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Norman McCabe; Music by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1939.

Starring Porky Pig! (Look at that doofy smile he gives at the beginning. I love this dope!) And yes, it is vital to remind us, as most of the focus will be taken by Porky’s dog of the picture: Flat Foot Flookey. (Don’t you just love names that are tongue twisters? Cause I don’t.) He’s a strange looking one, as dogs go. It’s like Clampett wanted his unit to get Pluto and Goofy for a cameo in one of his shorts, Disney obviously said “Screw off.” (with that charming smile of his), Clampett managed to get a D.N.A. sample off both of them, but accidentally put the two into the same cloning jar. So why do YOU think the dog is wearing shoes?

Porky is heading off to another workday at Snappy Rubber Co. (The scenery is  jumpy today), with the loyal Flat right behind. (I’d really rather not type his entire name out again.) Porky doesn’t notice until the dog enters the building.  Porky yanks him right back out because his boss has some asinine rule that makes no sense to me: No Dogs Allowed. I mean really, what if Porky needed to hug something warm and I wasn’t around? Are you willing to be there when your employee needs you most, boss?

Okay. Tone it back. I’m letting my fanboying take over again. Rules are still rules and Porky has to tie Foot to a car. (Look at the poor dog’s face! Why would Porky do this to him?) I guess it’s a good idea; his walrus boss is another Billy Bletcher role, so he probably can be a pretty nasty foe. But he does his job competently. He uses a machine to chew up rubber trees, and pour the pulp into the giant, novelty waffle irons that Porky mans. Turning out rather handsome tires. How are they considered trouble? Porky handles them like the champ he is.

Flookey (Wait… Lessee… ‘Flat’… ‘Foot’… Aw crap.) doesn’t heed the sign because he can’t read. He digs into the factory, dragging the car along I might add. I do so hope it was the boss’s. (I kinda want to dub him ‘Bletch’ but I’d rather make less references to “The Feebles” than Disney has. He’s not getting a name.) Porky directs his dog to the exit, but the pup steps into a barrel of rubberizing solution. His body absorbs the properties, essentially making him a superhero. Eat it Krypto and Underdog! Before you both existed there was Plastic Pooch!

With the power of rubber, Plastic Pooch does the most obvious thing: turn his face into caricatures! (His Edna Mae Oliver could use some improvements in the eyes, and his Hugh Herbert’s nose changes color. Or maybe it’s just a change of the light?) He can now take on his nemesis: Porky’s boss! He’s fully aware there’s a dog on the premises now, and he aims to eradicate him. (I can tell Mel is doing the shouting for him. That guy was born shouting.) But the dog is rubber, he’s not glue, Plastic Pooch will defeat you! If you grab a hold of him, he can stretch far enough to bite your rear! If you throw him away, he’ll just bounce back! He’s. Gonna. Rub. You. Out!

The boss learns all too well that he can’t rid himself of the Tuniverse’s newest hero. Plastic Pooch ends up knocking him into Porky’s tire press. And now we’ve just witnessed the supervillain origins of P.P.’s greatest nemesis: Snow Tire! Don’t miss the exciting next issue! Our villain continues to get thwarted, and he sure is tired of that! (Wait… “He’s not getting a name!”… Mm-hm… “Snow Tire!”… … Doh!)

Favorite Part: Porky is so chipper, that he even does a little dance on his way to work. Even more adorable is mild mannered Flat Foot copying him. (Oh yeah, Porky is the only one who knows Plastic Pooch’s secret identity.)

Personal Rating: 3.

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.)

Notes to You

“Poor dear.”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Manuel Perez; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 20, 1941.

And we bring the month of horror to a close with one more tie-in to the month’s post. What could be more thematically appropriate than a cat at night?

Ah yes, Night. Black as tar dipped in shadows. A time where the absence of light helps you realize how insignificant you really are. How vulnerable. You wouldn’t last three minutes against those who thrive in dark. Might as well sleep so you can manage to avoid the feelings of dread that will consume all empty space available in your mind. Helps that you’re probably exhausted to boot. It is at such a moment we find Porky. The best friend I’ve never personally met due to him being animated and I, not so much.

Murphy’s Law. Always lying in wait. Ready to pounce on the best laid plans of mice, men, salmon, and sea turtles. If you’ve got the gift of life, you’ve got an appointment with this phenomenon. All you have to do is anticipate. It will catch you when you stop. These two forces of nature intersect when an alley cat picks the fence bordering Porky’s domicile as the perfect location to partake in the only kind of wauling he partakes of: caterwauling.

Understandably, Porky is not pleased with the feline crooner. It’s around this time that you will take note (s to you) of that peculiar feeling we call deja vu. We’ve discussed a very similar plot over a decade prior.  So, even though this short was the original, you’re liable to see the more polished, colored reimagining first. It hurts me on a spiritual level to have to put Porky down, but the latter cartoon really does everything here, but better.

There’s a few differences. One that I like is when Porky sets out a dish of milk for the cat while he waits with his gun. It remembers that Porky’s patience isn’t the only thing getting exhausted. The cat (That I am now calling ‘Notes’ for obvious reasons.) is able to down the dairy delight without getting a bullet through the cranium. Of course, since cat’s are the natural world’s a-holes, he wakes Porky for no other reason than that it amuses him.

After lulling Porky back to sleep with a lullaby, and placing him back in his bed, he wastes as little as time as possible in turning on the radio, full blast. He leaves to keep in his spirit contained within his body, but doesn’t let up with the songs. Even entering the domicile again to make sure Porky’s ears catch the noise his larynx pitches. It’s hard to sympathize with Notes once he passes such a threshold. At least Sylvester would spend most of his picture’s running time out of Elmer’s place. Makes it easy to wonder why Elmer couldn’t just try ignoring the sound better, and since both are being jerks in their own unique ways, you don’t feel too bad when both end up dead in the end.

Oh! Don’t worry! Freleng and the Frelettes don’t go so far as to let Porky die. But rather than using a more cartoony version of killing, say, blowing a cat up with dynamite, Porky opts to just shoot the kitty. And don’t let Notes’s singing and hamming up his wound make you think he’s faking. Porky just shot a cat through the chest. Your sympathies probably won’t stay with him after such a stunt, regardless of how much you don’t care for cats. It’s pretty out of character for the guy, too. He doesn’t jump to murder as a solution for those who annoy him unless he was already hunting them.  At least Porky feels guilt for having to resort to such extreme measures, and from what I was taught before leaving religion behind, that should be enough of a punishment.

Murphy’s law, my friends. It returns with seven of Notes’s nine lives to continue the serenade with total immunity to guns now. (4 and 8 have gone to heaven and hell, respectively.) It’s an ending to be proud of as it stays on the singin’ sextuplets for over thirty seconds. (Gotta let them finish the song. Not like they’ve been singing throughout the rest of the picture.) And with that said, I’ve brought things full circle back to Porky-centric ghost stories. Will the cycle repeat the next time we meet? It wouldn’t be fun if I told you. Wait like the mortal you are. You’ll have a happy Halloween to keep you company.

Favorite Part: Porky is so sleepy that his head hits the pillow before he can lie down properly. It’s up to the rest of his body to get itself into slumber position. Cute; like a child insisting they are not tired and being betrayed by the eyes they thought were on their side.

Personal Rating: 2. The remake really was better in all ways. It kept the best jokes, gave the cat role to someone who had been building a screen presence, fixed the ending to be less horrific and more, you know, funny. It’s the superior product. If there wasn’t slight differences, you’d actually do fine to pretend this didn’t exist.

Jeepers Creepers

“There’s somebody at the door.”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by Vive Risto; Story by Ernest Gee; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on September 23, 1939.

October is that magical time of year where any mystery is believed to have a supernatural conclusion. To wit, mysterious sounds are being heard at an abandoned building and that means we have to get the police involved. ‘Pig’ might be a derogatory term for those in blue, but in this case, the kop is wearing black. He’ll solve this mystery, and he doesn’t need any “Porky Snacks” to boost his confidence.

The old house is really creepy. Lovely atmosphere shots help build the chills. It’s got bats, rattling shutters, wails and shrieks. That last thing can be explained by the radio inside. So someone is living here? Well, I wouldn’t use the L-word. If the tenet’s voice is any indication, I think this is taking place in the alternate print of “Lonesome Ghosts” in which Goofy didn’t make it out among the breathing.

This goofy ghost loves to scare because that’s just what ghosts do even if they don’t intend to. Whilst waiting for people to scare-ify, he likes to relax with a cigar. I’d tell him those are bad for the health, but I don’t think he has one. Besides, he bathes himself to get the stench out. No sense in scaring folks off before they even lay eyes on you. Officer Porky arrives on the scene, and the ghost lures him in. Here’s wishing you a sporting chance buddy, because my Porky worship tells me that he ain’t a scared of no ghosts.

The ghosts plan? He’s going to put some quacking frogs in shoes he’s tied together, to make it looks like they’re walking by themselves. Seems like a waste when you have a real ghost on the premises. (And are the frogs quacking so I can’t make any jokes about the ghost making them “croak”?) Porky doesn’t notice them, so they keep hopping forward because frogs like being crammed into shoes and would never try to hop out of the opening. The ghost opts to bang a serving platter over Porky’s head instead. (Sometimes we have to sacrifice originality for reliability.)

But the frogs come through for ghost boy, as they end up dragging a hat rack into a curtain, and making a decent specter of death in the process. I guess the pedestal I put Porky on must shatter, as he does indeed freak out upon seeing this thing. He wants out. The ghost decides now is the time to reveal himself and Porky is so petrified, he has to rip out the floorboard his feet refuse to move from. He bolts up the stairs, and unknowingly right into the arms of the ghost. Who has the audacity to mock him. (You made your point, dude. No need to be an a-hole.)

Time to leave! Legends say that ghosts won’t follow you out of the house they’re haunting, but those legends were started by lazy ghosts. This one has a work-ethic and is able to overtake Porky’s speeding car. Beware of hitchhiking ghosts! Porky isn’t one to pick up strangers though, and leaves the ghost with his exhaust. Which sadly means we end this fun Halloween treat with a blackface gag. (At least Rochester is a cool guy to reference? ???)

Favorite Part: The awful description the police chief gives for ghosts. “Those white things that go *evil laughter*.” He’s lucky Porky didn’t go arrest Dick Cheney.

Personal Rating: 3

Boston Quackie

“Come on out before I let daylight through ya!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story Tedd Pierce; Animation by George Grandpre, Ted Bonnickson, Keith Darling, and Russ Dyson; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Majors; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on June 22, 1957.

The titular “Boston Quackie” is one of those detective types who is a “friend to those who need no friends” and an “enemy to those who have no enemies.” It’s the second time of three that McKimson would have Daffy play detective, but while the first short was pretty timeless by not parodying anything specifically, this one’s title alone will probably send a few later generations to the Google search bar. (Assuming the younger generations are willing to give these old films a chance and realize that they hold up beyond remarkably well. I’m doing what I can.)

At the moment, Quackie is having a Parisian vacation with his girlfriend, Mary, and a dog that can’t keep his mouth from disappearing. (He’s just the chaperone.) But work will have to come before pleasure as Quackie’s boss, Inspector Faraway, shows up. Don’t know why Mary isn’t pleased to see him show up. He’s the kind of boss I’d invite to go on trips with me. (Of course I still need a girlfriend. Why do you ask?) Quackie’s got a job to do: deliver a package to the consulate in West Slobovia. (And do say “Hi” to Judd Fudd if you see him. Heard he was looking for lepus in those parts.)

Sounds so simple that even a duckling could do it. But spies will be hunting that parcel and- actually, one’s got it already. Time to give chase! Target: male with green hat. I’ve already got a police sketch drawn up.

Careful! I hear he’s a merry man!

Quackie follows the thief to the train station, and onto the most threatening locomotive this side of “Cuphead”. If the shrieking whistle doesn’t make your pants wet themselves, the endless eyes watching from the compartments will make it so. But that’s why Quackie is a detective, and I’m an amateur animation historian. He gets on board. (Watch out for that blue guy! I bet he’s a ghoul.)

There’s the thief! He’s just ducked into one of the cabins. Quackie drills a hole and points his gun. Give up the case or make out with the bullets! Your choice! And yet, despite those very reasonable choices, he chooses to pun the gun inside and shoot Quackie! Cheater! Oh wait. We got the wrong guy. This one is clearly wearing a top hat. And it’s not green.  A customary tip of the hat and this guy is one his w-GREEN!  I saw green on that head! Get him, Quackie! Be a hero!

Well, we can’t be quite sure who this mysterious man is, but he is willing to have Quackie join him for a drink. Rookie error! Reveal that hat, Quackie! And… he’s got a number of any hat BUT green under that top one. Well played, Barty Clubbin. Drink time! And I wanna break character to say how on top of things Daffy is during this scene. Shoots the guy poisoning his tea without looking and dumping the deadly drink into the nearest spittoon. (Even makes Barty flinch.) Still, he manages to subdue the detective with the ‘how many lumps do you want’ gag.

Now we’re sure this is our man! Chase time! It’s brief, but Quackie is outfoxed, stuffed in a mail sack, and left hanging on the nearest mail hook. Barty could get away right here, but he didn’t see the railway crossing, and is knocked off himself. Just in time for Farway and Mary to arrive, the latter knocking the thief out for good with her anvil-laden purse. Time to get that package where it belongs. Upon delivery, Quackie is aghast to find that he has just participated in an instant coffee run. But the consulate reveals it’s better than that: it’s a jar of instant woman! (Err… was that water he added?) He needed an escort, and Quackie delivered. The duck figures their could be a market for this stuff, but I’m not sure humanity is ready for it. I still remember the instant hole fiasco.

Favorite Part: When Quackie is checking the compartments, he finds a man about to be stabbed. It’s also said victim who pulls the privacy shade down.

Personal Rating: 3. I’ve never really heard of “Boston Blackie” before today, but I managed to make it through without scratching my head.

Hare-um Scare-um

“You don’t have to be crazy to do this. But it sure helps.”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by Gil Turner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on August 12, 1939. (Unusual title card. It appears to be night on an iced over pond. Which I wouldn’t doubt Proto-Bugs doing, but I can’t tell if my guess is intentional.)

If you look at today’s paper, you’ll find that meat prices are rising. You’ll also find Hardaway self inserting himself and advertising his work. (I think. He spells ‘merrie’ “right.”) This angers the man holding the paper, who if the copyright is anything to go by, is named John Sourpuss. I don’t know if the voice Mel’s supplying is the best choice. Makes him sound forty years older than he probably is. He decides that the only thing to do is go out and hunt his own meat. Good thing he has a gun casually leaning against the wall. (That’s not safe.) He takes the dog he was sitting on, and they head out to get some rabbit. We literally barely knew him. (What’s that picture on his wall? A giant parrot in a tricorn stuck in a galleon?)

Being pre-1940 means our rabbit of the picture will be played by Proto-Bugs. He’s kind enough to leave some stamped prints for his pursuers to follow, and crazy enough to have already placed one stamp ahead of his progress. He also plays ‘Guess Who’ with the dog. Smart little feller is able to figure out who it is eventually, and his prize is a log roll down the hill. Coming out dizzy and weak gives P.B. the opportunity to play doctor. You can tell he’s medically licensed because he doles out the best medicine: laughter.

When John finds the hare/rabbit lying in the sun, he decides to salt him up right then and there. (It’ll make his death all the more tasteful.) Proto-Bugs holds out his celery to catch the seasoning, while changing he feet’s fur color for a half second. Jeff can’t follow him into his burrow, because it’s now an elevator. (And yes, Jeff will continue to have those purple rings around his eyes for the rest of the short. This was the moment where I gave up thinking this was another coloring error.)

It’s the dog’s turn again, and Proto-Bugs does something the Definitive-Bugs will become well known for: dressing in drag. Puppy likes what he sees and eagerly accepts the lady dog’s invitation to sit down. When he’s ready to make-out, Proto-Bugs is completely unfazed that the costume is ripped off, and just supports the dog’s choice in mates. Angry, the dog gives chase, but the bunny in cop attire and invisible motorbike pulls him over for speeding. Then he just blatantly reveals who he is and runs off. Song time!

Nope, I’m not trying to be as screwy as him. (I couldn’t compare.) He really does sing a catchy little ditty. The same tune with different lyrics would eventually be sung by Bugs. (This picture is instrumental in shaping up the rabbit we would all come to love and secretly wish to be. But upon finishing his song, he finds John right behind him with gun pointed. Proto-Bugs lays on the details on why he wouldn’t be good eating: being thin and sick. Oddly enough, this gets John crying too. Maybe he’s just upset that this guy won’t make a decent meal after all? Looks like he’ll have to pay the $20.00 a pound for the porterhouse, after all.

The rabbit then gives him a joy buzzer handshake and flees again. Angry, John demands he come back and fight. He is also stupid enough to keep running his mouth and states that he can beat the hare and his whole family. They eagerly accept his challenge, and if you were watching this cartoon on T.V., things would abruptly end here. But the actual ending is thus: They thrash him. Driven mad, John imitates Proto-Bugs, hopping and hooing into the distance. Which got cut because it’s too similar to this ending? Odd reasoning.

But before I go, I want to mention what I was originally told was the real ending. I don’t remember where I read this, and looking back, I don’t recall any sources backing it up, but it was so out of left field that I’ve never been able to forget it. The ending I was told of has the rabbit clan beating the hunter (and dog) all right, but after the dust clears, all that is left is their severed heads! Which would then roll away into the distance. Whoever came up with that must’ve had the worst day in recorded history. Or they were an angsty teen. (Friggin’ psyco.)

Favorite Part: During the song, P.B. finds a Looney Tunes billboard, complete with Porky cameo! *Fanboy squee*! Shame he tears it up. I needed some wallpaper.

Personal Rating: 4. The writing is top-notch! I was deliberately leaving out Proto-Bugs’s wisecracks because you’d love hearing them much more than reading them. Almost makes me wish he stuck around more before evolving. But Daffy really was the more fleshed out screwball, and I’m glad they gave their next one his own distinct version of the personality. It holds up better in a historical context.

Dog Collared

“Suh-Suh-Sunday driver!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Charles McKimson; Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, 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 December 2, 1951.

Here we are. Porky’s final solo work. Of course, it makes me sad, but I can’t deny that his best work was as the second fiddle. And it does give him more of a personality than ‘everyman’. Too bad that Bugs has now taken that role, leaving Porky to usually play the butt of the joke nowadays. (Wasn’t that Sylvester’s job?)

Porky learns it is “Be kind to animals” week. (Which is what I call the first 52 weeks of every year.) Deciding it’s a swell idea, he sets out to praise any beast he may come across in this picture. (I like how the cat he praises thinks he’s insane for being nice to a cat.) This almost immediately proves to not be the best idea, as he instantly earns the affections of a very large, very cute dog. He instantly falls for his new favorite pig, and returns the love x-fold.

Porky changes tune and starts insulting the dog. The poor dear cries and Porky rightfully feels awful. He can easily take back his words, but the dog’s love is part of the package. Porky throws a plank to distract the beast, before making a break for his car. The dog pops out of the back seat and gives Porky the hugs and kisses that he probably receives from random women who fawn over him on a daily basis. But since Porky can’t see during this, they crash.

Porky next tries to lose the beast by taking many different public transport systems, disguising himself as he gets off each one. Brilliant! I’m sure the people he’s stealing clothes from are totally on board for this! (And his Hiawatha outfit is cute.) When he reaches his place in his semi-racially insensitive Chines outfit, he finds the dog copying him. (I’m not too comfortable with the hound pulling his eyes into squints. Good thing he doesn’t know any better, eh animators?)

Luckily, a pig’s home is his castle, and those were built to keep others out. Porky is safe, if a little disturbed that the puppy is still watching him from the outside. Even appearing on his T.V.! Because, get this, he’s actually a lost dog with a reward of $5,000.00! (Porky: “A thousand b-be-b-be-bucks?” T.V.: “No, five thousand b-be-b-be-bucks!”) Of course, once Porky gets outside, the beast is nowhere in sight. (But he does find one of Pluto’s quint-pup-lets. Neat!) The dog he is looking for is doing what I just figure anyone would do upon being rejected by Porky: ending it all.

Don’t worry! Once he sees Porky calling for him, he backs out of what is a always a very, very, bad idea and un-jumps off the bridge. Things are really starting to turn around for everyone, as Porky happily leads the dog back to his original home. But once they’re at the door, the dog slips around the corner and leaves a toy dog for Porky to return instead. (I can’t blame him.) When a butler answers the door, he is decent enough to let Porky keep his dignity and doesn’t point out the phony, just instead saying it’s not the dog they’re looking for, as theirs’ could talk.

Porky can’t believe a dog could ever talk like a pig, and admits that if it were true, he’d keep the creature himself. The dog reveals the truth, and is over the moon and stars to find that he is now officially Porky’s pooch. Would that I could be so lucky. (Oh, and I was calling the dog “Taco” the whole time. I just wasn’t letting you know so as not to spoil the surprise.)

Favorite Part: Porky driving in his car, signaling a right turn.

And turning to the left! Completely missing the pile-up he’s just caused.

Personal Rating: I’ll give it a 3, but a 4 for dog lovers. (Which pretty much means it’s a four.)

 

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

Porky’s Ant

“What I wouldn’t give to catch one of those old pigmuh-nuhuh-pigmuh-nuhuh-pigmuh- those midget ants.”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Rich Hogan; Animation by Rudolph Larriva; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 10, 1941.

What is something you’d like to do? Pretend money is no object. Pretend you’re as fit as need be. Pretend you have not fears or worries about failing. What would you do? Me personally, I’d be traveling the world just to see different animals. Porky is in the midst of that, and I’m envious. He’s just waltzing around Africa with a silent guide reading a book about rare insects. (My dream…)

One such insect is known as the Pigmy Ant (Pgymy formicidae). A creature not named for its size, but because it has a habit of dressing like humans. They’re also worth $150,000.00. Sadly, Porky is more interested in the price than the creature. Luckily for him, one of these ants is following him and his guide. (I wish it was Inki. That’d be a fun cameo.) Pigmy ant hierarchies are determined by the size of the bone in their topknots. The bigger the bone, the more likely you are to score mates. As such, the little gal feels the guide’s bone is better because it’s bigger.

Small, though she may be, the guide can feel her tugging on his clothing. When he turns to look. He crashes into Porky, flinging supplies every which way. When Porky sees the ant, he confirms with the book on her species. Yep. She’s the one! She’s fast, too! She bolts for the safety of her hill before Porky can nab her. Time to do a little luring. Good thing Porky brought some chocolates with him. He sets a bonbon behind some flypaper, unaware that the ant could just walk around it. He throws it away, and it lands on his guide’s face.

The ant ducks under some growth and Porky reaches after, unaware of the slumbering lion within. He throws a lasso that the ant sticks around the cat’s paws and pulls it out. (Porky lifts.) He puts it back. Now he knows that ant’s game, but still doesn’t dare get near her when she returns to its protection. She taunts him, but doesn’t realize the lion gets up and leaves until Porky has crawled out of the bush and is nearing.

Back at the guide, he finds another lion. It chases him back to Porky and the two can do nothing more than hide. Good thing the ant doesn’t hate them. She uses the flypaper to trip the lion up, saving the two from his intestinal tract. Porky is grateful and offers her anything she wants that he can give. She gets her bone, and since she’s following them still, I think she’s decided to let Porky adopt her. (…My… dream…)

Favorite Part: The face Porky makes when he first sees the paw he’s reeled in. He was all prepared to be happy, but fate didn’t get her lines right.

Personal Rating: 2