The Slap-Hoppy Mouse

“You and I are going mouse hunting.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Ted Bonnicksen, George Grandpre, Keith Darling, and Russ Dyson; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 1, 1956.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a pet? (Assuming you don’t have a neglectful owner of course) You could sleep all day, eat without using hands, be adored constantly, and just when the monotony starts getting to you, you die thanks to your shorter lifespan. (Certain animals withstanding. I’d hate to be a tortoise) It’s a nice life. An easy life. And that is bothering Sylvester’s son.

In this picture, the two live in a mansion. Sylvester Sr. is quite content with the way things are going, but Jr. isn’t enjoying himself. (If my nose turned black for a brief second, I might be a little grumpy. Unless I could do it at will. That would be sweet.)  Mostly because of the other cats in the area that we don’t get to see. But according to Junior, they don’t think so highly of the his father. Seems he’s soft. Weak. A has-been. That’s all it takes. Sylvester promises to show the lad the art of the hunt, and prove that he still is a great mouser.

Donning some dapper caps, the two make their way to the best kind of habitat to find a mouse in: a derelict dump of a building. That’s right next to some railroad tracks. Why is that important? Well, a circus train passes by and a crate that isn’t secured at all tumbles off and ends up in the basement. Out of the rubble comes Hippety Hopper. (You like the inconsistencies? This little guy has one in this short. One of his eyelids is white at one point. Can you find it?)

Sylvester, meanwhile, has found an actual mouse, and prepares to strike. The main problem with hunting in these crummy old places, is that the loose boards can send you down to the basement. Creepy things live in basements. Like gargantuan mice! Sylvester runs back upstairs in a panic. Junior believes his dad’s claims as the suspected mouse followed him up. Sylvester is all set to run, but his boy reminds him that cats shouldn’t fear mice. (Sweet and all, but the fact that I shouldn’t fear fish doesn’t help me any.)

The hunt begins, and Sylvester is pummeled. It’s not long before he is grabbing some firepower to aid him. Unfortunately, he can’t seem get the right order of powder, shots and wadding in the gun, and he is constantly fired up to the higher floors. (The smaller mouse from earlier even comes back to the pull the trigger once.) Ultimately, Sylvester puts some glue down to catch his target. All the joey has to do is give him a light tap to foil this plot. (He even gets some buck teeth for a moment. Nice bit of zoological accuracy) With his father out of commission, Junior has to cut the floor out from under him, and carry him home.

Favorite part: After Sylvester calls himself “broken down” at one point, Junior instead claims that he is “a real, cool cat.” Really, it’s funny the way he says it. Even his dad doesn’t quite know how to respond.

Fish and Slips

“I hope you know what you’re doing, father.”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Dave Detiege; Animation by Warren Batchelder, George Granpre, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on March 10, 1962.

Breaking news! A record sized fish has just been caught! (By Treg Brown, no less.) I can’t quite make out what the newscaster is saying. Sounds like “Shark-nosed tralfaz,” which sounds more like a name for a dog to me. Not only that, but the fish look like marlins to me. (But what do I know about fish? Oh yeah! Plenty!)

Sylvester and son saw that broadcast, and Junior is mighty impressed. Seeing as how the only other fisher”man” he knows is his dad, he doesn’t have a lot of options. Sylvester is not pleased to hear this, and takes his son to prove that he does know how to fish. Not from a pier. That’s too hard. Why, humans are kind enough to build buildings fulls of sea life, just begging to be eaten. We call them aquariums. And since the place is closed, cats get in free!

Sylvester’s biggest problem (and where all of the jokes stem from) is his inability to check the sign telling what is in which tank. Using his tail as a line is all well and good, but not when sticking it in a piranha tank. Let’s step away from freshwater and move to the salty stuff. Much more flavor! (That’s not a joke. You’ll learn lots from me. And not just about cartoons.)

This tank is much bigger, so Sylvester can dive in. He catches a good number of groupers, but they’d be a rather boring specimen all on their own. This tank also contains a shovelnose. (Which looks nothing like how they normally do for the sake of the joke) Curiosity is a trait cats tend to have, so Sylvester takes a peek at its hole. It also tends to kill them, as a hammerhead pound him in and he is buried. Junior has to fish him out.

Could Junior do better? It’s possible. He managed to catch a small fish off screen. (I wouldn’t call it a small fry. It looks too old for that. Just “a little fish” humor.) It’s not enough to fill Sylvester’s belly, but it could probably make decent bait. The sperm whale seems to think so. (Wow. Cartoons sure are terrific! My universe has never had such a large creature in captivity!) Junior laments the fact that his father has become a meal. (He also calls it a fish. Something I was sure science had disproved by the 60’s.)

Sylvester uses the classic escape: a fire. (Why was there a raft in there? What sick sense of humor does this place have? “Don’t worry ma’am. Sure, we tricked your kid into being eaten, but there’s a raft in there. If he’s done any scouting at all, he’ll come out fine. Oh. He’s four?”) Sylvester gets out, but the dolphins have gotten bored with no humans around that they can warn of impending doom. They play catch with him. (WITH him.)

One last tank. Sylvester will go in via diving suit, and Junior will pump air to him. Things don’t get off to a great start, as this tank contains such amazements as an electric eel. (So, we’re back in freshwater?) a… lobster? (Well, it could be a very large crayfish. I’m sure there wouldn’t be any more contradic-) and an octopus. (Darn it, McKimson! Unless the mollusk is suicidal, you messed up.) Things get even worse for the feline, when Junior takes a break from pumping to observe an inchworm. Realizing his mistake, he pumps harder, and all that air makes Sylvester’s suit inflate. He winds up landing in a tank of dogfish. (Junior doesn’t bother trying to save him this time. He’d rather make another smart remark.)

Favorite part: A quote from Junior that all children have said at least once in their life: “I don’t think I’ll ever understand grownups.” I know I still don’t, and I’m 24.

Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special

“Beware! Beware!”

Producer: Hal Geer; Directed by David Detiege, Abe Levitow and Maurice Noble; Story by Cliff Roberts; Music by Harper McKay. A TV special aired on CBS on October 26, 1978.

Halloween is such a fun time of year. You can be as macabre as you want and nobody bats an eye. Having any excuse to eat nothing but chocolate is also a bonus. And unlike other holidays, this one doesn’t have any deeper meaning anymore, and is used solely as a fun excuse. And naturally, there are plenty of cartoon treats on the side.

This special consist of clips from other “spooky” themed Looney Tunes and edited together with some new footage. (Sort of like Frankenstein’s monster.) Even if you aren’t the expert on these shorts, like I am, it’s not hard to tell where edits were made. Voices sounding different and animation not syncing up properly.

We start with a bit of “A-haunting we will go.” Right after Daffy’s nephew warns of the real witch, and his uncle drags him out to prove him wrong, we cut to a snippet of “Broom Stick Bunny.” Hazel still invites Bugs in, but doesn’t explain why she is giving him a tea designed to un-uglify someone. Even more confusing, after Bugs reveals himself to be a rabbit, she still wants him to drink, as she sees “that witch” as a threat. (You’ve lost me. Can a rabbit be a witch? And if the two are combined, will that spell the end of all witches?)

Bugs refuses to drink her tea, saying that he only will drink the kind his doctor makes. So, now we jump to a “Hyde and Hare” clip. While Bugs is chased by Hyde, his screams wake up a sleeping Sylvester, and we next jump to an abridged “Hyde and go Tweet.” After that, Bugs has somehow managed to escape Hyde and samples his formula. Now properly scary, he leaves to try and frighten Hazel. She is immune, turns him back to normal, and that makes him fall asleep. Next up: “A witch’s tangled hare.”

After all that, we finally catch up to Daffy arriving at her place, with most of that short being played. It cuts right after Daffy leaves. (Here’s an omission I never noticed before: when Speedy tries to make Daffy drink, the table is gone. But there is still a chunk of Speedy’s clothes missing that is table shaped.)

After all this, Bugs is still not impressed with Hazel’s attempts at being scary. She decides to show him, by frightening the cat that is accompanying Porky who is coming to stay at her house, since she put up a vacancy sign. (She now lives amongst some other buildings? Magic works fast!) So now, we get a mishmash of “Claws for alarm” and “Scaredy Cat” playing. And despite Hazel saying SHE is going to be the one scaring the cat, he runs off when Porky orders him to get out. (Not to mention, was she doing anything? Were all those mice under her control?)

I guess Bugs is convinced, as he offers to team up with her to frighten people, and proposes a toast. Upon drinking she turns into Count Bloodcount and “Transylvania 6-5000” plays. To be fair, they put in some new dialogue here, with Bugs wondering where the witch went, and Hazel speaking instead of the vampire. (But they don’t explain why Bugs is dressed as an umpire suddenly. Unless you’ve seen the original, you’re going to be confused.)

Once back to her self, she chases Bugs as she has had enough of him. (I do love the face he makes as he runs away from her.) This leads to our last clip from “Bewitched Bunny.” This time, once Hazel is transformed, Bugs doesn’t make a sexist remark, and just notes that no one wants to be alone on Halloween. The two then go to share Hazel’s brew.

This special is kind of a mess. The cartoons don’t always flow together neatly, and will probably confuse anyone over the age of five. I’m sure little kids will love it through and through, but that doesn’t include me. Here’s wishing any of you REAL people who read this, a happy Halloween. (Seriously though people. Stop leaving your spam on my website. You’re just wasting your time.)

Yankee Dood It

“How can I run my business without elves?”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, 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 October 13, 1956.

Last of the shorts trying to teach. I promise. (Private Snafu doesn’t count. Those weren’t intended for anyone but soldiers)

We begin in Smurf Village. Or I guess right next door, as we look in a hollow tree that is close to the mushroom houses. Inside, we see elves. (Actually, it’d make sense that they would live in trees. It’s where they make their cookies) The leader looks an awful lot like Elmer, so let’s just call him what we all thought of: Elver.

Clever, but not what I meant. He’s just got done reading the roll call. Despite making it past the Z’s he decides now is the time to question where all the missing W’s are. (I think that’s what he’s looking for. He says it as “wouble u’s”) One little elf, (who we will call Joey. Joey the elf) knows where they went: to help the shoemaker. (Either that or Santa mistook them for his. Just naming all the jobs elves do, today) Elver is upset. That was over one hundred years ago. (No, they never explain how the shoemaker is still alive. It’s one of three options: 1. The shoemaker takes really good care of himself, and has surpassed the average human life expectancy. 2. Eating an elf every year makes you immortal. 3. Elver is exaggerating and is full of crap.) Joey is sent to go retrieve them. As he leaves, he is also reminded that the word “Rumplestilskin” is a magical word for elves and can save them from danger. The elves are indeed at the shoemakers. (From Keebler to cobbler.) The owner, (who I’m naming Sherm) really enjoys it. Mostly because he doesn’t have to pay them. (Slave labor is less wrong when you’ve got an entirely different species doing your work.) Joey arrives as a tiny glowing ball. (Since when can he do that? Is this another elf fact we’re learning today? While I’m on it, why do they have antennae?) Sherm smacks what he thinks is an insect (The antennae aren’t helping make it any easier) but finds it’s another elf. Joey wants his people back, but Sherm is hesitant. He’d have to hire humans then. And they’d probably want *gulp* payment! Or worse, breaks! He also says “Jehosophat” and it turns out this is another one of those magic words that affect elves. It slowly turns them into mice. Now spouting a tail, Joey begs for that word to not get spoken again. Sherm just so happens to have a Sylvester the cat around who is looking at Joey with great interest. The cat leaves and the phone rings. The caller asks for a Jehosophat. Now Joey has matching ears. Then, a telegram is delivered that Sherm reads out loud. It was a birthday greeting for a Jehosophat. That’s done it. Joey is now full on mouse and Sylvester is on the hunt. The new mouse runs into a giant hole. (Seriously, that thing is huge! Sylvester could just follow him in! And for that matter, who made it? They must have rodents of some kind around!) Despite the easier option, Sylvester tries to reach him with a coat hanger, but only nabs some exposed wires. Joey has forgotten the word that will help him and rushes to the phone book, as he at least remembers it was a name that started with R. He finds it just in time and is reverted back to normal. For some reason, this stops Sylvester from eating him. (I’m not an expert on house cats, but aren’t elves responsible for a good 45% of their diet?) Shem tells him to knock it off, and Elver decides to come see why he is still missing elves. (As long as he knows where they are, why does it matter if he has them back or not? We could learn so much about the Elf race, but no, instead we’re going to get another economics lesson.) Elver is here to tell how Sherm can run his business without elves. The main reason he can’t keep up the enslavement isn’t because it’s morally and ethically wrong, it’s just too old fashioned. According to Elver, older methods are destined to fail and must be modernized. (I get what he’s saying, but what if you have a really good way of making your product? One that doesn’t need upgrading.) If he buys better equipment with his profits, he can increase his production, and get an even bigger profit. But the cycle never ends, and he will have to keep using some of his gains to upgrade again and so on. (When, you put it that way, it just sounds depressing.) Nevertheless, Sherm is convinced and agrees to do it the modern way! Six months later, his shop is a much larger building, he has nicer clothes and his own office. Elver shows up again to check in on him. Sherm is doing quite well for himself. He only has one problem now: he needs a name for his new line of boots. Without any reason why, he dubs them “Jehosophat boots.” Turns out, tagging boot on the end of that word instantly turns an elf to a mouse. And Sherm still has Sylvester. Elver runs for his life from the cat, trying to remember the word that will save him, having forgotten it himself.

Well, it was an interesting experiment, but I’m not sure how well it worked or was received. Luckily, Friz would go back to directing comedy, which I feel is where he shined best.

Heir Conditioned

“You, doll!”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on November 26, 1955.

The second of the shorts designed to teach economics. Figured I might as well get them all taken care of. This one has a bit more comedy over education I feel. It starts off with a cat in an alley. (Quite the dapper one too. He’s got a little vest and hat.) Glancing at a newspaper, he finds out that a friend of his has just inherited some money. He tells friends who tell friends, and the story gets exaggerated. (Considering the total goes from “a fortune” to one million to three million.) Such news even convinces a cat in a cage to put Tweety back in one piece. There are sure to be much tastier things in the future. Sylvester is said friend and it looks like he’s all for spending the money frivolously. But I guess his late owner foresaw that as he is stuck with the company of Elmer as his financial advisor. It’s probably a good thing he’s around. There’s a whole army of moochers (cats) outside coming to help spend the loot. Elmer throws them out, but they stick around. Watching and waiting for a chance to snag their prey. Elmer notices the saw going around the bag and switches it with a firecracker holding one instead. He tells Sylvester they are going to invest the money. (Really now, can’t you let him have some of it to have fun with? I’m not surprised the putty tat tries to make a run for it) His pals are still trying to help too. Dressing as a phony mother, with a phony kitten, in a phony snowstorm asking for pho- I mean real cash. Elmer buys this and is all set to hand over at least a few dollars, but the “baby” ruins it for asking for 5,000. His “mother” beats him for speaking. Why not send in their smartest cat, Charlie? Posing as a salesman, he at least gets in the house and demonstrates a cleaner for metal. He succeeds in dissolving Elmer’s watch. Even if it worked, I guess all that would happen is Elmer would buy some. Either way, he shows himself out. Elmer locks the door so he can finally get the lesson going. Starting up a slideshow, (again, don’t try and learn this stuff from me.) He explains how life used to be much harder. Specifically, the work world. People would work long hours for little pay. But thanks to investing, new products were made. Which led to more jobs to make said products, and higher wages. With more people working, shorter hours could also be allowed. The cats (most of whom I think are voiced by Stan Freberg) saw all this, and wouldn’t you know it, they reform. Sylvester is not so easily swayed, and while Elmer’s back is turned, he runs the money over to his pals. In turn, they scold him and demand he puts it back. The economic structure depends on it! Sylvester finally agrees to invest it. Bitter that his owner didn’t take the money with her, saving him the headache. (Seriously though. That’s three million dollars. During the fifties, yes, but still a goodly amount. Like I said, I’m not an investor, but you really can’t let him have maybe 10,000? At least let him have one party.)

By Word of Mouse

Is good, yes!

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Art Davis, Ben Washam, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on October 2, 1954.

During the 50’s there was a time where Mr. Freleng directed some shorts teaching about America’s economic systems. Sponsored by the Sloanne Foundation, all three of them had Sylvester in them to keep them relatively humorous. This is the first of them.

In a German town called Knokwurst-on-der-Rye, (I hear they have good taste) a mouse named Hans has returned from America. His family eager to hear about his trip. It started off simply enough, he greeted his cousin, Willie and they set off to see the sights. Hans is amazed by all the technological advancements this new land has compared to what he’s familiar with. Surely, these are all very rich people to be able to afford all these wonderful things. Actually, no. But Willie isn’t exactly the best one to explain how the system works and so they visit a mouse at a university to explain things. Basically, the people who make these products, sell them for cheaper than it costs to make them. In such a competitive market, you have to cut prices to give the customer reason to take your product over theirs. Seeing as a cat is stalking them, the professor (who doesn’t really have a name, so I’m just going to call him that) slams Sylvester’s head in a book before continuing the discussion in a drawer. When the cat peeks in, he burns his whisker on the lighter they were using as a light source and as he goes to put it out, they relocate to a filing cabinet. To continue the discussion, selling things without making a profit, can work to the producers favor. If enough people want to buy his product, then in the end he will still make a good amount of money. Sylvester is able to find them easily, because they foolishly hid in the folder about mice. Luckily for them, it was also clearly about mallets. They hide in a water cooler. Can’t have a meal without a drink right? I like how Sylvester actually bothers to drink all the water he’s emptying to get them out. (No sense in wasting it.) But now he’s too waterlogged to catch up to his prey, and the professor is able to lure him into an open manhole. Hans finishes up his story. (Because I guess he came home after that.) His family now knows the ways of mass production. Correction: they always were quite aware of it. Mice have many offspring, after all.

Hope you aren’t trying to actually learn economics from me. I’m an animation historian/zoologist. I’m just summarizing what I got from this short. If you really want to know more, visit your local library. So you can use their computers to study. In today’s day and age, is there really any point in doing it the old way?

 

Daffy Duck’s Easter Egg-citement

“You ain’t laid a good egg in months.”

Executive Producer: Hal Geer; Produced by DePatie-Freleng; Sequence Directors: Tony Benedict, Gerry Chinquy, Art Davis and David Detiege. A TV special released on April 1, 1980.

Happy Easter! My favorite holiday! And what does Easter make one think of? Eggs, Chocolate and animals returning from migrations. You didn’t say rabbits, did you? We’re discussing Daffy’s special today. We’ll get to Bugs’ another time. What does Daffy have over Bugs? Original content! Three new shorts that had been yet to be shown to the world.

Our title screen looks pretty good to me, but Daffy is not satisfied. Besides the Easter egg, there isn’t much of the spectrum being used here. (Personally, brown is my favorite Easter color) We never see the animator here. (So if you want to think it’s Bugs, go ahead.) Daffy wants to be part of an Easter parade. All he needs is an outfit. After getting painted into a scuba suit, he gets a dapper tux. He is then stampeded by hens. Foghorn shows up and sends Daffy away with a script, saying that he’ll show up in scene 49. Time for the first short!

The Yolks on You

First on our plate, a cartoon about eggs. How do you think Easter eggs are made? I’m sure you believe the old myth about dyeing them yourself. (What really happens, the vinegar causes you to pass out and you just THINK you did all the work.) They come from hens of course. Foghorn is the boss, and assigns each of the hens in his care a color to lay. Prissy is also there. She is actually able to lay eggs in this one, but they come out shaped like… I don’t know. Some kind of teeth? Her anxiety only gets worse, as she is assigned the hardest color you can make an egg: Turquoise! (Unless you are an American Robin. Those showoffs! They figured out the secret ages ago, and continue to lay that color just to spite other birds.) Prissy tries her best, but the egg comes out gold. (The short never specifies that it is solid gold, or just colored that way, but it seems to go through more abuse than an egg should, so I guess it’s real.) Not wanting to be found with this mistake, she throws it away. It rolls down the hill. At the bottom, Sylvester is picking through the trash. Tough as things are, he at least has a friend: Daffy. (Scene 49 came quick!) Daffy is not quite the friend you want sharing your food though. He helps himself to Sylvester’s fish skeletons. Daffy is first to spot the egg, and tries to keep it to himself. Sylvester isn’t fooled and they chase for it. Daffy eventually gets in a taxi, but can’t relax due to his paranoia. (Read: Sylvester tapping on the window repeatedly.) The cat gets the egg back again, and Daffy tickles him to release it. This isn’t getting them anywhere. Daffy has an idea to keep it hidden so other’s won’t find it. Paint it white, and stick it in a hen house. No one would suspect it’s valuable. And no one does. A truck takes all the eggs away thinking they’re all food. The duo chase after it. Later that night, they’re still looking through all the eggs. Cracking each one, hoping to eventually find their treasure.

During the intermission, Daffy complains to the artist again. He demands an Easter basket. The artist complies. Daffy also wants a chicken on it. He gets a chick outfit painted on him. Not finding it funny, he refuses to move. A lever is painted under him, and a rock launches him into the sky. While he’s gone, the ground is replaced with water. And with a torpedo headed for him, Daffy has no choice but to use the basket as a boat.

The Chocolate Chase

Daffy has a new job. He is to guard a chocolate factory. (Said owner is a pig in a sombrero. I’d give him a name, but he disappears after telling Daffy to keep kids out.) A nearby village of mice, is hoping to get some chocolate rabbits for their kids. They are poor, but they gather all the money they can to buy some from Daffy. He takes it all, declares it not enough and sends them away. Geez! That’s evil! (And possibly racist, seeing as they are all Mexican.) Seeing as they are all Mexican, it seems quite obvious that Speedy would be related to one of the villagers. It just so happens that Speedy is related to one of the villagers, and agrees to help out. He gets one easily, and hands it to a grateful child. (Those rabbits are tiny! I get that they are mice, but does the factory really make such small chocolate molds? On another note,) I really do like that the kids thank Speedy. He is really making their Easter special. (Don’t try and tell me that Easter is more about the religious aspects. In a poor village, the chocolate is the only thing making it different than a normal Sunday.) Daffy has pretty good reflexes, as he is able to get Speedy in a net. (Doesn’t slow him down though. And Daffy is yanked through a fence’s knothole.) And a motorcycle isn’t any help. (Not only is Speedy faster, Daffy crashes and flies into a telephone pole.) Daffy tries to corner the mouse by chasing him into the factory. He chases him onto the machinery and winds up falling into the molten chocolate. Now encased in the confection, he can’t stop the mice from taking what is rightfully theirs. They even bring Daffy’s frozen body to their fiesta. Daffy manages to break his head free, but he isn’t mad. Chocolate has magical calming powers, and his attitude has adjusted. He’s just happy to be there.

Another intermission! What does Daffy want this time? Flowers! Cue the paintbrush. Now a “Daffy-dil,” (Which looks like a daisy with Daffy’s head. Or rather, Daisy Duck!) Daffy figures things couldn’t get worse. Then a giant bee is added. (And if you’ve played “Conker’s Bad Fur Day” you know why this is bad. That bee isn’t going to eat Daffy, that’s a different kind of hunger in his eyes.)

Daffy Flies North

Well, that’s a boring title. But it is what he is doing. But he’s not enjoying himself. He decides to forgo on the whole instinct thing, and find another way to get north. Heading down to the ground he makes a three point landing! (If the pitchfork only had more prongs, he could have set a new world record.) Could hitchhiking work? Kind of. The car in question is full of hunters and hounds. How about sneaking onto a chair that is being towed by a car? Again, it kinda works. Daffy still ends up in a lake. But there is still hope! A horse! He could ride it! But it’s not willing. (A horse can drink, but you can’t lead him away from water. Or something like that.) Daffy can’t really get on the horse, and besides he really does need a saddle. He does get one on the equine, and ties it (and himself) on so they can’t be ejected. It works at first, but since he can’t hold on, he slides under the animal and repeatedly hits his head on the ground. And I guess the horse would rather die than be used as a mount, as he heads into a lake. (Daffy is forced to carry the beast out. And I guess it was really cold as he is blue upon exiting. I suppose it could be due to lack of oxygen, but that is a little too dark. Either way doesn’t explain why the horse looks no worse for the wear) His next try lands him on a bull. (Sadly not THE bull from Bully for Bugs That would have been such a cool cameo! Daffy is chased onto an airplane. He kicks back, happy to have found an easy alternative to flying, which was flying. Except, it was headed back to South America. Right back to winter. (Since I don’t live in the southern hemisphere, I guess I can’t fathom it being cold. Even in winter, won’t it be at least seventy degrees?)

Well, that’s all for the new shorts. Daffy tries to get even with the paintbrush by shaving its bristles, but it shaves him instead. He is then painted inside an Easter egg. The brush is nice enough to paint a door on it. (Despite the fact it painted a sign to not open until next Easter.) Daffy tries to escape, but seeing the brush outside, he decides its better to just wait. (Being a bird, living in an egg is probably very soothing.)

Hippety Hopper

A mouse as big as me!

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Pete Burness, John Carey, Charles McKimson, and Phil DeLara; Layouts by Cornett Wood; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released in 1949.

I just love how many shorts titles were just a characters name. It wasn’t even their first appearance when it happened. Anyway, a mouse is about to commit suicide. Since it’s not being treated as a joke, it’s not funny. Luckily for him, he is saved. Hippety may be young, but he knows that ending yourself is never the answer. The mouse (Who needs a name. I’ll call him Mini. Mini the mouse. Completely original) asks his new friend (who he thinks is a giant mouse)  to help him get even with the one who caused his depression in the first place. Sylvester the cat. Hippety agrees. Mini wakes Sylvester up and threatens to take vitamins and grow to match his size. Sylvester laughs at this, but soon sees the joey and freaks out. Mini kind of ruins things by coming back to say he warned him. (I guess mice just fluctuate in size? Is that what rats really are?) Whatever. Sylvester tries to fight off the “mouse” anyway and it goes about as well as you’d expect. A bulldog witnesses this and refuses to let Sylvester be treated as such. If the dog has a job of protecting the house, the cat has to do his job of mousing. Sylvester is thrown back in. He tackles Hippety and goes for a bumpy ride before once again ending up outside. He tries to explain that a giant mouse is doing this to him. The dog sends him back with some glasses to prove he’s seeing things. Besides, no one hits a guy with glasses on. Oh wait, Australians have no qualms about such things. (Or at least babies don’t) The dog finally decides to take care of things himself. He sees Sylvester wasn’t kidding, but refuses to let a “mouse” kick him out. Hippety tries, but the dog has some great upper body strength and doesn’t budge. It takes a bite from Mini to get him to lose his footing and become kick-able. Mini threatens to pin his ears back if he comes back in. Despite what just happened, the dog calls his bluff and says he’ll take ballet up the day a mouse pins his ears back. And then he ends up with pinned ears. He does keep his word, but the jerk is so insecure that he forces Sylvester to do it with him. The two dance off into the distance.   

Satan’s Watin’

I’m not takin’ anymore chanceth with you!

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

Another one of the 100 greatest! And don’t let the fact that the cartoon says Tweety is the star here. He’s but a means to an end. This is strictly Sylvester’s short. While doing the usual chase thing up on a building, Sylvester skids off the edge. But by using a couple of Tweety’s feathers, he manages to fly his way back up to safety. Tweety thanks him for returning them. Without those, Sylvester plummets. While it is true that cats land on their feet, gravity is still accounted for. With that pulling down on him, Sylvester smashes into the pavement. He’s dead. I’m not joking. His soul actually leaves his body. Two different escalators also appear. Any newly deceased being would choose the one going up, but it’s roped off. Sylvester has no choice but to take the one going down. In Hell, the devil (or one of his minions shaped like a bulldog) welcomes the cat. Looking him up in his book, the devil dog finds Sylvester is indeed supposed to be here. (Why? For trying to eat? Or do all cats go to Hell? In the real world, I’m not complaining. I hate cats. But I love Sylvester! This hardly seems fair.) Seems an eternity of being mauled by satanic dogs awaits him. There’s just one catch: since cats have nine lives, nothing happens until the rest of them show up. So I guess cats just go to hell then. What if his other lives were (whatever the divine powers that be in this short) deem good? Doesn’t matter. Back on Earth, Sylvester the second comes to. He reuses to chase Tweety anymore. (Not that it matters) Satan tempts him into it though, and the chase leads right in front of a steamroller. Sylvester’s second life sits next to his first, flat as the day he died. (Shouldn’t Tweety have died there too?) Sylvester three is told by Satan that having seven lives left means he’s lucky, and he chases the bird into an amusement park and into a haunted house. He is literally scared to death. Life three remains pale as a ghost. (Sadly, this ends the lives all looking different. But I guess that would be too morbid, because…) After coming to again, the fourth reiteration of the cat chases the canary into a shooting gallery. This was a different time, as those guns fire real bullets and lives 4-7 end up wasted. Tweety hops on a roller coaster, with Sylvester waiting with a club. Failing to keep his body in the vehicle at all times is what costs him life #8. Still thinking he has a choice in the matter, Sylvester runs off vowing to give up the chase. He decides to spend the remainder of his days in a bank vault. (I guess he knows by now that he’s screwed, so he might as well make his time last. It might be boring, but at least it’ll be peaceful.) That night, some burglars come into the bank, aiming to blow open the safe with nitroglycerin. If playing Crash Bandicoot has taught me anything, it’s that that stuff is a good way to get yourself killed. Surprise! They get themselves killed. And robbing a bank was enough to seal their fate, and down they go. Unfortunately for him, Sylvester was caught in the crossfire. Whoops.

Jumpin’ Jupiter

The stars are so bright tonight, you can almost touch em.

Directed by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ken Harris, Keith Darling, Abe Levitow and Richard Thompson; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released in 1955.

You are traveling through an unknown area. An area of wisecracking rabbits, egotistical ducks, fanatic coyotes and homicidal canaries. Behind any door could be a train speeding towards you, and when you walk outside you must beware of falling anvils. It’s as clear as the pie on your face. You have just entered: The Wacky Zone.

Submitted for your approval, is the tale of one Porky T. Pig. He is out camping in a desert with his cat, Sylvester. Said cat is terrified. There are coyotes around, and coyotes will eat cats. But little does he know, that soon he will have much more extreme fears. Porky, does not worry about his cat possibly dying and leaves him outside the tent while he sleeps. Despite his worry, Sylvester does manage to get some shuteye. As they slumber, a flying saucer spots the campsite. Landing, we learn it is from Jupiter and on a mission to collect samples of Earth life. The pilot of said craft comes out and doesn’t he look familiar? It’s one of the instant Martians that Marvin is so fond of using! (Never buy Instant Martians from Craigslist.) Liking what he sees, (I’m guessing. He doesn’t emote much.) He gets back in his ship and burrows under the campsite. With the plot of land safely on top, he flies back into space. (Which seems to be full of bubbles) The lack of oxygen doesn’t bother Porky, but the lack of heat does and he grabs another blanket. The Instant Jupiterian comes out to check on his specimens and Sylvester panics. Unlike in other encounters they have together, he actually gets Porky to see the object of his fear. Porky is so cool, he doesn’t even bat an eye. He tells the (man?) that he’ll look at his wares in the morning, pointing out to us that he was a Navajo. (I don’t think that was racist. Porky isn’t one to be…)

 Hey! I already excused this!
Hey! I already excused this!

As I was saying: Porky goes back to sleep, while Sylvester continues to hide under the bed. The Jupiter (man created by) Jones goes back to his ship to read up on Earth life. (Written by Dr. Sig Mund Fre Ud) Only now do they seem to be free from Earth’s gravitational pull, as everything on the ship begins to drift away. (Except the dirt. I guess there’s magnets in it.) Porky and his belongings float down to ground just as he wakes up. Nothing like a good nights sleep to make the world look new. He even sees a planet he’s never seen before in the sky. (I’ve played Kirby 64. I think it’s called Shiver Star) He packs up camp and drives off with his pal Sylvester. Unaware they are being watched by the natives of the planet. Unaware that he is no longer on Earth.

Porky Pig. A mild mannered Earthling. He survived his close encounter of the second kind, and lived to tell about it. However, he just might soon find that things will never be the same. They never are, here in: The Wacky Zone.