Corn Plastered

“Nice instrument, Junior.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, and John Carey; 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 March 3, 1951.

You watch this, and you can’t help but wonder: did McKimson want to create a new series of cartoons here? One starring an oreny old farmer Al Falfa wannabe and the illegitimate cousin of Heckle and Jeckle? Calling it the Crow and the Coot? Can’t really tell anymore, but we’re here and we can see this short, so let’s watch shall we? Maybe there IS potential here.

A crow (that I’m calling Cornfed) has a habit of eating the cornfields dry. He clearly hasthe brains crows possess, as he isn’t fooled at all by a scarecrow. He has a propeller beanie and a dickie as a wardrobe. The hat makes sense. As he has arms instead of wings, he needs something to fly with. The dickie… *shrug* a pun on dickey bird? What’s really interesting is his voice. He’s not voice by Mel! If IMDB is to be believed, the crow is voiced by a one Pat Patrick. To me, he sounds like Francis X. Bushlad. Could there be a connection?

As is typical of these kind of cartoons, the farmer (Who I’m calling Pop and thinking might be a relation to the Martin brothers,) has no chance in killing the corvid. Even when he has the bird cornered in a tree stump, he still manages to miss. I do love Cornfed’s reply: “You missed me. You didn’t exactly miss me either, but I wasn’t exactly standing where you shot.” (I’ll have to remember that one for if I ever play “Godeneye” again.) Since he missed, Pop chases him with an axe and begins chopping the tree Cornfed is hiding in. In a nice subversion of expectations, the tree doesn’t immediately fall on Pop, but threatens to crush his car. And succeeds despite his best efforts.

Pop comes home. There, he and Cornfed have a very intellectual and philosophical discussion about the refrigerator: whether or not the light stays on. Cornfed is a believer, Pop is not. The crow tells him there IS a way that they can find out, and Pop is willing to do that. He shuts himself in the fridge, and is soon begging to be let out. Cornfed does no such thing, but don’t worry, Pop gets himself out. (And is pleased that he proved his theory correct. This is how scientists are born.)

Maybe booby trapping some corn will wor- it won’t work. Pop tucks some TNT into a cob, but Cornfed sticks it back in his pocket. And making a pre-PVZ cob cannon fares even worse. (And keeps Pop’s mouth from moving.)The crow pulls on the cob, yes, but he pulls hard enough that the cannon is redirected at Pop when it is fired. And I do love his face. Looking at it, you can immediately read his thoughts: “Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I win? Is it even worth living anymore?” That last question gets answered after he lands in a boat, and angrily throws the cannonball down, making a hole.

He could swim, but he stubbornly chooses to drown. Stating that wherever he is going, there won’t be crows there. (Please don’t be heaven! I couldn’t face paradise without one of my favorite birds!) Dark enough, but the envelope gets pushed further. I guess Cornfed loves pestering him THAT much, for he quips that there soon will be, and plunges himself into the water too. HOLY-!

Maybe it’s good that any potential series stopped here.

Favorite Part: The bold and bass way Cornfed enters the house. Doesn’t knock or nuthin’, just struts in like he owns the place. Crows are so awesome.

Personal Rating: 3. Good effort. Some new twists on old gags, willing to let another person voice your characters, (I think I like Pat’s performance) and great facial expressions. (Still confused about that dickie, though.)

Bushy Hare

“I’m scared of the dark!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Phil DeLara, J.C. Melendez, Charles McKimson, Rod Scribner, and John Carey; Layouts by Cornett wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on November 11, 1950.

Bugs is a park dweller today. Most of the time, it’s a very peaceful place to live. No guns, no predators, no playing in the fountain… but today is different as Bugs is being watched by a very creepy Italiano who was never taught the meaning of “personal space.” (Kids, if you ever see this guy handing out balloons, run. Run and scream!) He would like it very much if Bugs would hold onto the balloons he sells whilst he ties his shoe. Bugs is happy to oblige, but being much lighter than the man allows the balloons to take him away from the reassuring grip of gravity. Once Bugs realizes this, he’s too high to let go. (No giggling.)

These are some quality helium balloons! Bugs has traveled from L.A. to Hawaii and still they persist. (Well worth the 25 cents. Just keep them away from the ocean, please.) If world geography has taught me anything, then Australia should be the next noteworthy location Bugs will fly over. And there it is! (No Zealand, though.) Bugs isn’t the only one up here; a stork is also heading down under to deliver a kangaroo joey. Looking nothing like how a newborn one of them should look. Shall we compare?

Cutest jellybean ever!
Bean’s growing like a stalk.

That darn stork union. When they’re not drunk off their tail-feathers, they show up six months late. After both Bugs and the bird enter the same cloud, there’s a bit of a mix-up. Bugs is now the one being delivered, while the joey is having the best birthday ever. (Nine balloons with super helium? I always knew my parents hated me.)

Delivery time! Mama roo is instantly smitten with her “child”. So big and strong from day one! All the other marsupials in her bridge club would sell one of their uterus’s to be so lucky. Bugs wants no part in this. (And he’s got to be seriously concerned that McKimson keeps making this happen to him.) But Bugs’s biggest weakness calls him back: the tears of a female. He agrees to being her child, and she happily pouches him up for baby’s first ride.

Australia is no stranger to dangerous animals, and the deadliest one of all has the two in his sights: man. An aborigine who is either hungry or a sportsman, follows the two with the best weapon ever: a boomerang. If he misses, it will just return to him. But a direct hit is gonna hurt. Bugs learns this fact the hard way. He gets in a shouting match with the man, (dubbing him “Nature Boy”) and I can’t make out what they’re actually saying, but Bugs must have called the guy some really good words, as it really rages him up.

He thinks he has Bugs in a hole at the mercy of his spear, and Bugs does the ole “You killed me and I’m dying” bit. Unlike Elmer though, he has no remorse and happily continues to stab. (I do love hearing Bugs say “Just go away and let me die in pieces.” Why don’t I hear kids quoting this line? You are shameful parents.) Perhaps the lack of sympathy from N.B. is why Bugs angrily kicks him in the hole himself. And tickling him? That’s cold, man. Natechy tries to shoot something poisonous with a blowgun too, but Bugs beats him to the draw and blows it down his throat. (Not as cold, for some reason.)

It’s Kanga who finally gets the best of the the aborigine and boots him off a cliff and out of their fur. Even better news? Those balloons have finally started to lose their power, and her biological baby drifts down to her glee filled arms. The two are happy to give Bugs a lift back to the U.S.A. and attaching an outboard motor to her tail, makes for a nifty little boat. (As for me, I don’t think I’d be comfortable sitting in her pouch that long. I’ll just stay here.)

Favorite Part: I’m a sucker for displays of motherly love, so I adore seeing the kangaroo not taking guff from Nature Boy. Soon as she sees her adoptive son is in danger, she shows why you don’t piss off an animal that has feet large enough to function as water-skis.

Personal Rating: 3

Hoppy Daze

“No mouse is no match for no cat.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Bob Singer; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on February 11, 1961.

Age happens to the best of us. (The worst of us too. It don’t discriminate.) Sadly, this leaves one with the inevitable fact that there will be one day where you just will simply not be able to do the things you enjoy. Even basic things like getting sustenance. Such is the fate of a cat I’ve decided to call Moe. He just can’t catch mice like he used to. (Also, he stole Spike’s clothes.)

Spying an equally hungry Sylvester gives Moe an idea, offer to train him as a “champeen” mouser. Sylvester likes the idea and agrees to that, and the fact that he’ll get 20% of the mice. This… seems kind of out of character for him. Sure, he’s gullible, but I’d think his ego would be big enough to think he already was a “champeen.” If anything, I’d think he’d be more likely to just try and prove that the little cat’s tutoring would be useless. (Also, I can’t help but think this would’ve been a perfect opportunity to bring Dodsworth back.)

Sylvester enters a warehouse, and begins chasing a non-anthro mouse. (Which looks scary and out of place here.) It runs into a crate, and Sylvester opens ‘er up, failing to notice the label saying there’s a baby kangaroo inside. Look at that, a giant mouse. Kicks him out, too. Moe doesn’t believe the giant mouse story, and reminds Sylvester that they’re small creatures. Filled with resolve, Sylvester enters again. He is thrown out. Again.

After entering the third time, Sylvester finds Hippety is copying the cat. Without hesitating, Sylvester realizes that he can use this fact to his advantage, and a game of follow the leader commences. Once Hippety is back in his crate, Sylvester slips some TNT in with the marsupial. Hippety sends it back, along with the other five that was in with him. (What the? If he needs to be put down, can’t you find a more humane way?)

Time for an actual tip. (Brought to you by Moe, the cat whose hands change color briefly.) He tells Sylvester to keep his left up. Sounds like a good idea, so Sylvester tries it. (And he tries talking without moving his lips. He gets about six words in before he cracks.) Since Hippety is out of the crate again, he can bounce away from the pugnacious putty-tat. Sylvester tries the bouncing trick himself with some old bed springs. Then, well this happens:

He tricks Syvlester into jumping off the top of a pile of crates. He lands on a barrel of gunpowder. The springs get stuck, and Sylvester in launched up to the ceiling. The springs pull the barrel up, and launch Sylvester out of the warehouse, and into a nearby incinerator smokestack. Seeing the launch, Moe follows and the resulting explosion sends Sylvester’s left right into Moe’s mug. He’s mighty impressed with his pupil. (Oh, by the way, could you tell that Moe talked like Jimmy Durante? No? Then allow Hippety to end with another impression.)

Favorite part: The little clap Hippety gives is adorable. He really thinks Sylvester is here to play with him.

Personal Rating: 2. For the out of character, and missed opportunity.

The Leghorn Blows at Midnight

“Ask a silly question; get a silly answer.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Charles McKimson, Phil DeLara, Rod Scribner, J.C. Melendez, and Emery Hawkins; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 6, 1950.

Foghorn is enjoying a game of solitaire, I think. (I’m not an expert on card games. You can only expect so much of me.) He’s also cheating. Which the universe can’t handle as once he puts down the 3 of diamonds, the seven of spades disappears. And then that 3 vanishes when he puts down the ace of hearts. (Cheaters never win because they literally can’t!) Alas, the rooster should have found a better place to sit as he is well within B.D.’s leash length and is cymbal’d. (After the hound misses at first. Love the smile he wears when he succeeds the second time.)

This doesn’t set Foghorn back for long, as he swipes a pie from the windowsill and smushes it into the dog’s face. Then he plays barber, shaving the pie off and giving the dog a hot towel. (Love the expression of fear he wears when he sees it coming. This dog makes great faces.) The small stuff is not quite good enough, and Dawg sharpens up an axe. (Drama-queen.) Henery shows up and just decides the dog is a chicken. (Huh. Usually he has to be misinformed.) The dog points him toward Foggy. That’s his chicken.

In turn, Foghorn gives a sob story about how afraid he is of going into a dark oven. (Henery [with genuine concern]: “Would you rather be fried on top of the stove?”) Foghorn tells him that chickens ain’t worth a 99-cent value meal. (I’m paraphrasing of course. Those weren’t around at the time.) Now pheasant, that’s a tasty dish. Foghorn is even willing to give the kid a lift to pheasant territory. (They’re cute when they sing together.) Wouldn’t you know it, Henery had been talking to a pheasant earlier and didn’t even know it!

Foggy give the hawk some glass so he can enjoy the pheasant under it. (I want to say that the handle of which changes color, but since it was already transparent, maybe it’s the background behind it changing color?) Henery gets the “pheasant” under the glass, but has to run from the angry “bird.” The leash keeps it away, and Foghorn uses the opportunity to do like he did in “Walky Talky Hawky,” and use the dog’s stasis as an excuse to hurt him in comical ways.

Eventually, Henery calls B.D. a pheasant right to his face. Rather than correct him, he reminds the small bird that he is a CHICKENhawk. You think ANTeater’s ever vary their diet? Stick with what humans named you. Getting the hawk to untie him, B.D. fakes the sounds he usually makes when he is strangled and Foghorn is summoned. The two engage in good old fashioned fisticuffs, while Henery cheers them both on. The winner gets to see tomorrow. The loser joins Henery for dinner. (He still thinks that dog is a pheasant.)

Favorite Part: During Foghorn’s weeping, he tells Henery to feel how gristly his wing is. That’s not an empty request. As the camera zooms in for what is sure to be a heartfelt backstory, the chicken DEMANDS the child feel it. (I didn’t make that sound weird, did I?)

Personal Rating: 3 teetering on four. It’d make a fine introduction to Foghorn’s cartoons.

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.

The High and the Flighty

“Ace, ah-say, Ace novelty Company?”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Russ Dyson, and Keith Darling; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Carl Stalling. A Looney Tune released on February 18, 1956.

Foggy’s really going to get that dog today! See, he’s made sure to clearly mark the limits of the dog’s rope, so he can stay out the jaw’s range, but still mess with him. Smacking him with a fence post is just part one. The rest relies on Foghorn’s beach ball. All the while, this fracas is being noticed by Daffy of all characters. He witnesses the rooster stick the ball in the dog’s mouth and popping it, and the dog retaliating with a watermelon to the beak.

All of this is very interesting to the duck. He’s once again in the game of novelty selling, and that chicken looks like he could make good use of his wares. Daffy introduces himself, and offers up a spring-loaded bone for $2.98. Foghorn naturally has the money. Being a rooster pays well. (No benefits, though.) He walks right up to the Barnyard Dawg and offers a bone as a sign of peace. No sooner does the canine put it in his mouth, does Foghorn undo the latch and put some spring in the dog’s step. (I hope Daffy’s clientele are all toons. That looks like it’d be horribly painful to a live-action dog.)

You know, that dog could probably make good use of Daffy’s ware as well. And Daffy isn’t afraid to play both sides in order to make a profit. The dog’s gag is an ear of corn that he deliver to Foghorn as a package. So excited to eat is he, that Foggy doesn’t take note that the cob is connected to some electric wires. All right, why don’t we call it a tie? -And Daffy is once more coercing Foghorn into purchasing another prank. A fake train that he’ll charge B.D.’s house with. The hound dodges, and Foghorn runs onto an actual track. Complete with actual train.

Daffy decides to offer up the big guns. He calls it the “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.” (Complete with instructions, even.) Daffy makes even more money, and Foghorn sets up what is sure to be the ultimate prank. (Bet you thought it involved “Invisible Spray.” Ignoramus.) Just as he’s putting the finishing touches together, Foghorn spies his adversary setting up the exact same prank, from the exact same company. The two put two together and realize they’ve both been played. Time for a real truce.

They purposely make loud threats to the duck, knowing full well he can hear them. Daffy probably would like to make more money off them, but he decides to cut his losses and leave while he still has his spine intact. He doesn’t notice he is walking right into the firing space of “Pipe Full O’ Fun Kit No. 7.”, (Complete with instructions, even.) until he gets the brunt of it. The gag is revealed to be nothing more than rubber band launching a poor schmuck through a pipe, and into a bottle. Despite the simplicity, the customers seem quite content with their purchase.

Favorite Part: It’s not much, but I really like that Foghorn didn’t need to be told he was getting ripped off. Let’s be honest, he’s kind of a meathead. (White meathead, that is.) Yet, he was the first one to figure out what was going on. Proving that he DOES have a brain. Peanut sized, though it is.

Personal Rating: I give it a 2. Daffy doesn’t really add anything that couldn’t be filled with some generic salesman character. But for the common folk, 3.

Fast Buck Duck

“Ingenuity triumpths every time!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Co-Director: Ted Bonnicksen; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Geroge Grandpre; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on March 9, 1963.

Daffy has clearly hit hard times if the slums he lives in is any indication. And the morning paper isn’t doing anything to lift his spirits either. A local millionaire has willed everything to his butler. (Probably because nobody stopped by to make him laugh.) It’s not fair! But wait, there’s a want ad in the paper related to another millionaire. (Having two of them locally might actually play some part in why Daffy’s neighborhood is so crummy.) This one is asking for a companion.

That’s a swell job opportunity! True, it doesn’t list any amount of pay, but being friends with the one percent always pays off. And I do mean “pays.” Daffy heads to the mansion, and finds one of those “beware the dog” signs. Worthless really. The richest people own the tiniest dogs because….

So Daffy plans to befriend the most definitely pekingese or even chihuahua with a ham. His arm is chewed by a bulldog.

So we have the classic “get past the guard” plot. Daffy tries digging, but gets flattened by the dog’s… well, what does one actually call those things that flatten the ground when you push it? A manual steam roller? Which I guess wouldn’t have steam. That’s my convoluted way of saying Daffy is flattened, and the dog makes him a kite to get rid of him.

No self-respecting toon bulldog would ignore a cat, so Daffy concocts a plan to lure him out by calling for nonexistent felines and readying a mallet. But real cats show up, and leap onto the duck’s head to avoid the dog’s jaws. The cat’s fearful scratching tears Daffy’s head up something awful, so he tries to drown them. They leap back on top of him, and when he dives in he finds out why: the dog beat them into the water.

Daffy has a good plan this time! Sleeping… powder? Does that exist? Is it just ground up pills? Do I do any research or do I just ask my generally silent readers to answer things for me? The world may never know. But what is certain is this powder. The stuff works! Daffy just pours it into the dog’s water dish, and he’s out like an underage kid at a strip club. Just to be sure, Daffy makes a goodly amount of noise to test it. The dog sleeps on.

Ah, but as we dog owners know, a dog has to be REALLY out of it to sleep through an invitation to play. Even the unintentional ones count. That’s me offering a scientific explanation as to why the dog wakes upon Daffy stepping on a stick. Maybe playtime could also be the solution? Daffy throws another stick, and the dog happily chases it down. He’s a lot faster than he looks, and returns for another round. Daffy aims to get rid of him with a firecracker.

Daffy makes his way to the mansion’s front door without the dog returning. That’s because the dog was inside waiting to give the duck the stick back. Aw, he likes him! Additionally, Daffy has made it to the front door, so he can get inside and offer up his services. The millionaire is quite impressed by the resume that Daffy probably concocted in the hallway. He gives the duck the job. Daffy suggests some activities they could do, but the man clarifies things: HE didn’t want a friend. (That’s what his money is for.) PERCY wanted a friend. Percy is the dog’s name. Wah-wah.

Favorite Part: The little pose Daffy makes when the cats land on his head for the umpteenth time. Suggesting that he prefers it to the dog’s bites.

Personal Rating: 3

The Slick Chick

“Why that little monster of yorn, makes Dennis the Menace look like an angel!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonicksen, Warren Batchelder, George Grandpre, and Keith Darling; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc and Julie Bennett; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on July 21, 1962.

A hen is looking for somebody to babysit her son while she goes to a hen party. (Her words.) Her name is probably Widowhen, seeing as how the two guys who address her, refer to her as “Widahen” and “Widerhen.” I’ve at least narrowed it down to those three. But Mr. Cackle, the elderly rooster on the farm, refuses to take part in babysitting. Junior there, gives chickens a bad name. (Worse than McNuggets?)

Having heard those remarks, Foghorn steps in to defend the kid. (I’m pretty sure Mel is just using his Tweety voice for this character, they just didn’t speed it up.) In Foggy’s words, there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” To prove it, HE will take over the sitting while W-hen is gone. Barely out of sight, and Junior pokes his sitter with a pin. Foghorn is ready to strangle, but he can’t let the cackling Cackle have the last cackle. Chalking it up to simple boyhood pranks, Foghorn takes his charge to find him some fun.

Good thing Foghorn has a box of toys for the little scamp. He can play, and Foghorn can nap. (The best way to babysit. Only neglectful types talk on the phone while they’re in charge.)

Admit it. You’ve always hated her too.

Junior is upset to find this box intended to entertain little children only contains things to entertain little children. He decides to take a peek in the barn because “There’s always something exciting in a barn.” (Man, if I had couple hundred dollars for every time I saw that on a T-shirt.) To his delight, he finds a cement mixer and uses it to rig up a little trap. Then, playing phony phireman, he wakes Foghorn up with a phake emergency that sends him running right into the mix.

Once free of the concrete prison, Foggy threatens to tell the kid’s mother. Junior has blackmail of his own though, and he threatens to tell his mom about Foghorn’s crippling horse race addiction. Foghorn denies such things, but he can’t resist once the kid starts imitating one. The rooster angrily tells the kid to go play in the freeway. Which I only bring up so I had an excuse to make this:

Yes, well, anyway…

Junior finds a balloon to play with. It’s the weather variety, so he attaches it to Foghorn’s hammock and cuts it loose, lifting the big bird into the stratosphere. Naturally, Foggy wants down. The boy shoots him down, and provides him with a landing pad as well. It’s the land mine variety, so Foghorn blows up. And yet, he still claims there is no such thing as a “bad boy.” Mostly because this boy is the “worst.”

Favorite Part: The fact that Junior was upset with the toy selection, when one of said toys was a gun. I don’t care if it was still a toy, he could have modified it!

Personal Rating: 3

Mouse-placed Kitten

“Happy birthday, Junior.”

Directed by Robert McKimson. Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, Tom Ray, and George Granpre; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on January 24, 1959.

As a man drives his car, he throws out something in a sack. Judging by the sounds coming from within, I’d wager that it’s a kitten. And it’s a wonder that it survives to the bottom of the hill, as it looks like that trip hurts. The small creature comes to a halt at the home of two mice, Clyde and Matilda. Matilda is instantly smitten. A child is something she’s always wanted. So what if he’s on the big side? Just more of him to love, right?

Clyde isn’t taken right away. As he points out, this baby is a cat. One of him and his wife’s natural predators. In other words, the kitten is absolutely, positively, not going to be their child. Which is story-talk for “the very next scene contradicts that statement.” Looks like the kitten is a member of the family after all. But he can only stay so long before contrasting diets make things difficult. The kitten just doesn’t like cheese.

Matilda concedes that her husband is right. (Something most husbands can only dream about.) Junior would be better off being raised by humans. I mean, he’s well past weaned. Clyde takes him to be left on a different doorstop, telling him about how much better his life is going to be. None of that “We never really loved you.” B.S. Quite the contrary, as it seems Clyde has grown to love the kid, and tearfully bids him farewell. Since they didn’t leave Junior at MY house, the kitten is subsequently adopted by the lady therein. (So what if his nose disappears for a second.)

A year goes by. The mice are still alive, and figure that the day the kid is left on your doorstop is as good as any other day to call their birthday. Time for visit. Junior has grown up by this point. And it looks like he’s matured into quite the mouser, as when Julie (the name I’ve decided to give his owner) catches sight of the rodents, he jumps right into action. He grabs the mice, gives them a good sniff… and instantly recognizes them as his parents. It’s really a sweet scene. (Yes, I’m being sincere.)

Julie isn’t happy to find the cat not evicting them. And oddly enough, once Junior puts them in his mouth, she tells him to take them outside. (Your pet too good to eat mice? Or is there a strict “No blood on the linoleum” rule in effect?) Matilda figures that with the reception they’ve gotten from 50% of the household, it’s best that they leave already. Junior won’t hear of it. And I like that. One shouldn’t have to be ashamed of their folks. (Although, I think the other way around is totally fair.)

He invites the two to partake in some snacks. He grabs the most exotic cheeses from the fridge, when Julie catches him in the act. Birthday or not, she’s not going to allow him to touch the food she buys. Clyde is not one to be deterred. He wants that cheese. (I like this guy.) He uses a jug of cider as a boost, but accidentally falls inside it. It’s the hard stuff, and Clyde is thoroughly plastered.

Junior now has to keep his dad safe from the various dangers of the house. (Namely Julie.) The more his mistress catches him messing with various things, the more cross she gets. Culminating with her deciding to kick him out should he bother her one more time. Lucky thing, Clyde’s back to normal by now, and the two decide it’s time for them to go. Junior still feels no ill will towards them, and earnestly hopes for them to visit again.

Back at their place, Matilda is overjoyed to find another kit has been abandoned at their door. (That sounded a lot more sweet in my head.) But it’s not a feline this time. It’s a skunk. Interesting that NOW is when Clyde decides to clothespin up his nasal passage. I mean, skunks only spray when scared, whereas a cat has an unpleasant stench that will follow him beyond death. (THAT sounded a lot more cruel in my head.)

Favorite Part: When Junior sees his parents again in months. Mainly because, when I first saw this short back in the day, I really thought he was going to have forgotten them, and the rest of the picture was going to either be the two trying to escape, or trying to remind him of who they were. It was a heartfelt swerve.

Personal Rating: 4. It’s a sweet story. And I love how Junior knows he’s adopted, and it doesn’t diminish his love at all. Sometimes, your real parents are the ones who don’t throw you out of a moving vehicle.

Thumb Fun

“WHOA-HO-HO-HOOOOOOO, NELLY!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Rod Scribner, Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, and Bob Wickersham; Layouts by Peter Alvarado; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on March 1, 1952.

Daffy scoffs at the idea of flying south for the winter. I mean, it’s not like ducks are champion endurance flyers. While the common mallards will waste time AND energy, Daffy will get south the way evolution intended him to: hitchhiking. Nobody is offering rides though, and Daffy is reduced to having to paint a fake canyon in the road. (Nice use of perspective. Really brings to mind the works of the masters.)

One driver stops. His name is Porky Pig. Even though he was only stopping to avoid a potential crash, Daffy takes that as an offer to ride. He even fills the trunk with his excess luggage. (What does he even have in there? He’s not even wearing clothes. And to think people harp on Porky’s lack of pants.) There’s not much room, but Daffy makes do. When Porky takes a peek, suitcases fly everywhere. What a start.

They get going, but find they aren’t the only ones on the road. There’s a driver who wants to pass them. Now, Porky has no reason to give in. He got where he was first, and the other driver is acting like an a-hole with a horn. But this is Porky Pig we’re talking about. Friend to the common man and road jerks alike. He wants to let the guy pass, but Daffy shares my sentiments and continuously steers the car back in front. This goes on for awhile, until the other driver crashes into our stars.

Porky is not happy this has happened, but Daffy isn’t worried. The other car is ridiculously small, so the driver ought to be just as well. Said driver is not only tall, but pissed. It’s not enough that kids find his appearance while driving a vehicle humorous, but now he has to find another comediacally small car. Daffy’s reaction is great: he acts like groveling dog. I guess the big guy finds this endearing, because he lets Daffy live. He gives Porky a punch.

After they get going again, Daffy complains at the lack of speed. Porky is a responsible driver, and refuses to speed. Daffy steps on the gas himself, and that’s when the cop shows up. (It’s the universal law.) Daffy has a plan: he tells the officer that Porky has “something” in the trunk. Knowing all too well what will happen, Porky begs for the man to NOT look in the trunk. This doesn’t help matters, it only makes him look more suspicious. The cop takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Before Daffy can get Porky to flee, they are nabbed.

They’re brought in to Muddville. (Where there is no joy. It’s their slogan.) Not surprisingly, Porky gets off easy. A fine of $2.00. (Sweet!) Daffy is angry to hear it, and goes to fight. This ends up costing Porky an extra fifty. Daffy still feels that’s a victory. Porky has had it, but plays it cool. In fact, he ups and buys Daffy a present. But the fun in giving is seeing the surprise on the giftee’s face. Therefore, Porky refuses to let Daffy have it right away. He stuffs it in the trunk.

Daffy’s greed gets the better of him. He takes a peek, and suitcases fly everywhere. Porky takes his chance, and drives away. Daffy is able to take some solace in still having the present. He opens it up to find: a novelty hitchhiking thumb. (Wah-wah.) Come winter, Daffy is still desperately waving his thumb. One of these two things has got to give first: the season, or Daffy’s life.

Favorite Part: The man who pulls over for a hitchhiking Daffy, just to tell him that he never picks his kind up. (It really is a shame that so many dickweeds ruined trolling for the rest of us. It’s actually quite humorous when done right.)

Personal Rating: 4