A Tale of Two Kitties

HEY BABBIT!

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. stalling. Released in 1942

This short was supposed to introduce the world to new characters who would be stars for Warner Bros. But someone else stole the spotlight. The two supposed stars are two kitties. (This is their tale) The taller one is named Babbit (Tedd Pierce) and the stout one is Catstello. (Mel) His name is never mentioned in the short, but come on. He’s a cat and if you have any idea who Abbot and Costello are, then you know who these two are based on and you’ve made the pun yourself. (That and the studio model sheets labeled him as such) It’s time to eat and Babbit tells his comrade to go get a bird out of a nest so they can eat. Catstello is reluctant even after he’s told of how small it is. (I guess they’d each get a mouthful, but I have a feeling Babbit would hog it all) Turns out hes got “Heightrophobia” and it takes a pin to his backside to finally get him up the ladder. Scared as his partner is, Babbit demands that he gives him the bird. (Catstello laments that the Hayes office is what is keeping him from fulfilling that desire. I just didn’t know the term existed in the forties) He makes a swipe at a sleeping bird but misses. This is the birthplace of Tweety. (Inspired by nude baby photos that Clampett’s mother had and he resented.) The ladder breaks and Catstello begs to be rescued. So scared is he that he doesn’t notice Babbit saving him until he is in his arms. For the next attempt, Babbit shoves his pal into a box against said pals protests. He’s also afraid of the dark. Babbit lets him out and the springs on his feet bounce him up to the nest. Here, our little baby Tweety (model sheets had him labled as Orson) utters his first words: “I tawt I taw a putty tat.” Seeing as he did taw a putty tat, Tweety has no choice but to defend himself. And does he ever! Using an arsenal of guns, clubs and even TNT sticks, he continues to beat the crap out of the poor putty tat. Catstello cries over this while unbeknownst to him, he sits on an explosive. When Babbit detonates it he flies up towards the nest again. But he flies past it. (Tweety helps himself to Catstello’s apple. Or rather, the worm that was inside) When gravity kicks in, the cat falls and is able to cling onto a telephone wire. Tweety comes over to play “this ittle piddy.” (I was lucky enough to watch this short before “Roger Rabbit” so I knew where that gag was coming from) Tweety isn’t totally heartless, as he throws the cat a rope. It’s attached to an anvil though. Said anvil crushes the cat into the ground and drags all the surroundings to wards it. This includes Babbit and his victory garden. (I really like how concerned he sounds for his friend. Turns out he really does care.) The final attempt is launching Castello with wooden wings strapped on. Wouldn’t you know it, it works. (Human beings have been trying to fly for years, and it took a simpler mind to figure it out.) Tweety calls the “fourt interceptor tommand” to report the disturbance and the cat is blasted out of the sky. He manages to avoid landing on a pitchfork in favor of his partner. (While they didn’t become the stars, they did appear in a couple more shorts after this. But they were mice. How humiliating.) Tweety is now on the ground and initiates a blackout. Seeing their chance, the two cats stalk their prey with faces that haunted my childhood. (That must be all real-world birds see cats.) Tweety doesn’t freak out though. He yells at the two to turn out the lights like he told them too. Their glowing eyes instantly dim. (As does the moon)  

The Old Grey Hare

What’s up, Pruneface?

 Direction by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael Sasanoff; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1944
Direction by Robert Clampett; Animation by Robert McKimson; Story by Michael Sasanoff; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. Released in 1944

Here’s your final entry of 2016. Everyone has already said that this year sucked. They’re right. I’d go more into it, but this blog is for Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes related things. So, let’s just agree that the year was crap, we’ll hope the next will be better and around this time next year, we’ll be saying the exact same things. Now then, with time constantly moving on, why not talk about a short that shows just that?

Elmer is crying. It’s only been four years since he started, but he’s already given up hope ever succeeding in getting Bugs. A voice tells him to keep trying. It’s never explicitly stated, but it’s kinda obvious that it’s God. (And he’s voiced by Mel. Don’t you think it would have been a bit more clever if he was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan?) Elmer agrees that he should keep trying, but how long will it take? So God allows Elmer to look into the future to see how things will turn out. This means one of two things: either he’ll succeed, or die trying. It seems that things will come to an end in 2000 A.D. (Which is odd, I was alive by that point and I don’t recall any of this. But then, I had just discovered Cable T.V. and it was hard to pry me away.) A lot has changed. (And I don’t just mean appearance wise) The horse Bing Crosby bet on still hasn’t come in, and Smellivision replaced Television. (The paper that Fudd is reading says that Carl Stalling doesn’t think it will catch on. Guess he was right) And Elmer is now toting a “Buck Wogers Wightning Qwick Wabbit Kiwwer.” There’s no way he can lose! All we need now is Bugs. Luckily, he pops up not too long afterwards. He’s looking pretty good for being 54 years older. (All that time has passed and I only can see one grey hare.) Sure he’s aged somewhat, (less teeth, glasses, and a beard) but he still has enough strength to strangle Elmer before hobbling away. (Seems like he’s got lumbago too) Elmer fires his new weapon, and wouldn’t you know it: he shoots Bugs. He can’t believe it either. He begins reminiscing and gives Fudd a present. A photo album! It shows all their good times together, including the first time they ever met. That happened when they were babies. Even though Fudd’s picture is labeled with him being “only 3 and a 1/2 years old.” (They just couldn’t resist making that joke again. It really should say “seconds” instead of years. Wouldn’t it be funnier to think that the very first thing Elmer did after being born was go hunting?) Either way, we see this flashback. Elmer is crawling along with a pop gun and looks into a small rabbit hole. Bug’s pops up and babbles some baby talk while drinking carrot juice. (Luckily there is a subtitle for those of us older than the age of 1. But then they both start talking in English. I guess we’re just seeing things from their point of view?) They begin their first chase of many. (They stop briefly to take a nap) When they resume, Bugs is able to get away. (This proves that no matter how many times Bugs is called a “rabbit” he is really a hare, as young rabbits are born naked and helpless, whereas hares are not.) Needing to match his prey’s speed, Elmer gets a stroller and drives after the leveret. (That’s the term for a baby hare, folks.) Miming a cop, (that includes miming a motorcycle too. Something proto-Bugs did once. Leading me to believe he is Bug’s father) he pulls Fudd over and berates him for speeding. After he leaves Fudd crying in his carriage, (I think that’s a real baby cry too. Way to be authentic, Bob.) the flashback ends and we go back to the two seniors. (This is the only Bugs Bunny short where Bugs doesn’t appear once as his modern self) Elmer is devastated that he has killed his oldest and dearest friend, while Bugs starts digging his own grave. He tells Elmer to smile while he does it. (Doesn’t every dying person say that? And wouldn’t they be offended if the person they were talking to actually did?) Elmer is so distraught that he doesn’t notice Bugs switching places with him, until the rabbit (I mean hare) buries him alive. (So there’s God’s answer: Elmer is never going to win.) Elmer is unhappy, but he takes some solace in the fact that he is rid of Bugs forever. Bugs comes back to give him some parting gifts: a goodbye kiss, and a lit firecracker. (Don’t worry. Bob may use actual crying of children for sound effects, but he draws the line at blowing up the elderly. But that doesn’t stop it from rattling the “That’s All Folks!” end card once it does blow.)

Ali Baba Bunny

It’s mine ya understand? Mine! All mine!

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Haris, Abe Levitow, and Ben Washam; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn. Released in 1957

 

This one is a classic. I think it’s Bugs and Daffy’s best known team up, outside of the hunting trilogy. Naturally, it’s one of the 100 greatest Looney Tunes and ranks number 35 on the 50 greatest cartoons.

In (somewhere in the Middle East, I’m sure) a midget seals a cave that is brimming with treasure. He tells the guard there, (Hassan) to guard it with his life. (Because the price is life.) Poor Hassan. I bet he’s really a nice guy who wants no part in this. But seeing as he’s got no alternative, he dutifully stands watch. The midget rides away on his adorably ugly, midget camel. We then see a very familiar burrow coming along. It heads right into the cave. Having noticed this, Hassan tries to enter but can’t seem to remember the magic words. (“Open sarsaparilla? Open Saskatchewan?”) Inside, Bugs announces that they have finally made it to Pismo Beach. Or have they? As he puzzles over things, his travel buddy, Daffy notices the treasure in a way I think we all would act. (Wide eyes, licking lips/beak, and plotting to get rid of the other guy.) He claims it as his own and shoves Bugs back into the hole, before unleashing his inner scrooge. (I remember in middle school seminary class, I got to teach about the seven deadly sins. I used Looney Tunes as examples. This was greed) Hassan meanwhile has finally gotten the phrase correct. (“Open septuagenarian?” No. “Open saddle soap?” Wrong. “Open sesame?” DING!) On his way out, Daffy mistakes him for a red cap and asks for a cab. Hassan slices his cute diamond studded hat in half. (Don’t ask where he got it) Daffy flees back to Bugs asking for his help in exchange for a diamond. Bugs is too cool to care. (This story could be part of the Looney Tunes Bible. “The good su-hare-itan?”) Daffy then tells the angry guard, that Bugs is the one who brought them there and he should get all the blame. Bugs has disguised himself as a genie and offers Hassan a reward if he frees him. He does so, and Bugs grants him the treasure all to himself. (Doing an amusing chant as well) With that taken care of, Bugs heads out and thinks that maybe they’re not at the beach. But his pondering must be put on hold as Daffy has gotten himself in trouble again. Seems he took one of the diamonds that now belong to Hassan. Bugs agrees to help and gets rid of Hassan by having him climb a rope into the clouds. (Here Daffy admits that he can’t help being greedy, it’s his hobby. At least he’s honest) With the guard gone, the treasure is all Daffy’s. He loads up a mine car with all the loot, (don’t ask where he got that either.) and takes one more quick look to make sure he’s got everything. He finds a lamp and rubbing it produces a real genie. Even though, it sounds like he’s going to grant Daffy a wish, the duck’s paranoia has him assuming the genie is after his treasure and tries to shove him back in the lamp. The genie is furious, and Bugs (wisely) decides to leave. Daffy is unafraid of the genie’s wrath, and says one of the best lines in all of ever. (“Consequences, schmonsequences. As long as I’m rich.”) Brilliant. I have the feeling every celebrity ever has said that at least once. (And once Kanye is out of debt, he’ll say it again.) At the beach, Bugs muses about what happened to Daffy as he eats clams. (They must taste like carrots) He finds a pearl in one. (Or they’re oysters.) Just then, and ant-sized Daffy runs out of the hole and claims the pearl as his own. Annoyed, Bugs shuts the bivalve on him. (It’s probably dead now, so at least he won’t be digested.) Daffy doesn’t seem to mind. And why should he? The oyster is his world!

Rabbit Hood

“Give my regards to da king, and da queen, and da jack, and da ten o diamonds.”

Directed by Charles M. Jones

In Sherwood forest, (which is apparently enclosed in a wall) Bugs is attempting to take a carrot. Wouldn’t you know it, he had to choose the only carrot patch that has alarms. The sherriff arrives and points out that they are the king’s carrots. (There’s even a little stamp to prove it) Bugs tries to run, but Little John appears and tells of Robin Hood’s coming. This doesn’t happen and the sherriff is ready to have Bugs murdered. Bug says he sees the king coming and clubs the sherriff when he bows. Later, Bugs runs into the king’s royal rose garden. When the sherriff points out that it is royal ground, Bugs tricks him into buying the land. The sherriff doesn’t realize he’s been had until he’s about halfway done. (That must have taken him 6 months as least) Bugs is still yet to escape and the sherriff catches him again. Little John is back, and Bugs constantly introduces each of them to each other. When the sherriff finally gets away, Bugs says the king is coming. The sherriff initially doesn’t believe him, but Bugs sounds so earnest, that he eventually gives in and looks. It is indeed the king. (Bugs in drag.) We never see the real king in this picture, but something tells me he’d find all this hilarious. The king decides to knight the sherriff and repeatedly clubs him with his scepter. The sherriff takes so long to fall, that Bugs has time to bake a cake for him to land in. (The sweetest way to be unconscious) Little John appears again, but Bugs has had enough and demands that if Robin Hood is here, then he should show himself. A live action Errol Flynn arrives but Bugs just can’t believe his eyes. (“It couldn’t be him.”)

You Ought to be in Pictures

“You mean to say you want to get out of your cartoon contract?”

Once upon a time, Friz Freleng left Warner Bros. for MGM. Long story short, he hated it. He did get his old job back and this was his short he made to thank everyone for the welcome. At the Warner Bros. studio everyone goes for lunch. Daffy tells porky that his talent is great and that he should go into the movies. Porky somewhat agrees and goes to talk to Schelsinger. (Interesting note. Leon is the only one doing his own voice everyone else including the studio guard played by Micahel Maltese is played by Blanc) He lets Porky out of his contract, knowing he’ll be back. Porky leaves for the studio but the guard won’t let him in. (I don’t know if he’s being a dick or he doesn’t know who Porky is) Porky disguises himself as Olliver Hardy and sneaks in. He disrupts a film, is thrown out, and decides to get his old job back. Daffy meanwhile has used this oppritunity to become the new star. When Porky comes back and discovers this, he beats Daffy to a pulp, and gets his own job back. Happy, he gets back on the drawing board and throws a tomato at Daffy.

What’s Opera, Doc?

“O mighty warrior of great fighting stoooock! Might I enquire to ask, Ehh, What’s up Doooc?!”

This is the greatest cartoon ever. (or so says the 50 greatest cartoons) while i dont personally agree, (in my opinion its porky in wackyland which is also on the list) i can agree this is some fine work. (and i am grateful a looney tune is number one). This whole cartoon is an opera and Elmer (as siegfreid) sings that he is hunting wabbits. Bugs appears and Fudd tells him he will use his spear and magic helmet. (which can control weather) Bugs runs away just as Elmer gets wise and disguies himself as Brunhilde. (riding the world’s fattest horse i might add) They dance and sing and proclaim their love just as Bug’s disguise falls off. In his fury Elmer conjures up many forces of weather to kill da wabbit. (Blanc yells Elmer’s line of “SMOOOOOOG!” the man is a good yeller) After this, Elmer sees Bugs is dead (yes really) He feels remorse and carries Bugs into the sunset. As the cartoon ends, Bugs asks us if we honestly expected a happy ending.

Rhapsody Rabbit

“Franz Liszt?”

Cartoon network turned twenty this year so i feel its my duty to talk about where it all started. The very first thing to air on this channel was this cartoon. the plot is very simple. Bugs is going to play my favorite piece of music, but we all know that other things will happen. First things first. Bugs kills someone who won’t stop coughing. Hey, this is off to a great start! He begins to play and catches the attention of a mouse who joins in, to bugs annoyance. Later the mouse tries to watch bugs play despite the fact bugs doesnot want it to watch. With the first part of the piece done the mouse gets bugs to play something more modern. Bugs joins in but afterwards shoves a tnt stick in with the mosue. the piano plays taps, but there is no time for bugs to grieve its time for the final part and it looks to be a monster. Bugs prepares to play a piece that may kill him but before he begins the mouse with his own piano beats him to the punch. At least he lets bugs play the last three keys.

One Froggy Evening

“Ribbit”

(quick note: i forgot to mention that in last week’s entry that all the voices were done not by mel blanc but by stan freberg, a rare thing in the looney tunes world)

Long time no video huh? I’m wearing my Michigan J. Frog shirt so it only seems natural that i talk about this cartoon. This chuck jones classic starts out at a demolition sight. A building is being torn down and one of the employees finds a box hidden in the ruins. Inside is a wondurous sight to behold. A frog who sings and dances to songs form the early 1900s. (and one that warner bros made up) Seeing this wonder of nature doesn’t take long for the man’s thoughts to turn to greed. However when he tries to show it to a talent agency, the frog acts like a normal frog. He gets thrown out and so he rents a theater to show off his new pet. The grand opening has no audience until he promises free beer. (some of those letters are off his sign) but by the time he gets the curtains open the frog is done, and he is booed. Now out of money he is living in the park, where a cop overhears the frog. He does not believe the man and takes him to a mental hospital. Later and now a hobo the man sees that the building is getting rebuilt and he leaps at his chance to hide the frog. 100 years later, another person finds the frog and begins to think of how rich he will be. Now i have a theory as to why the frog does this. I believe he was created to show people greed is bad. He purposely stops to get them in trouble. Hes the ultimate troll.

I Love to Singa

“That’s mine… Pop!”

In the forest there lives a bird named Prof. Fritz the owl. He is a teacher of voice, piano, violin, but the one thing he will not teach and can not tolerate is jazz. At the moment he is awaiting the birth of his children. When the eggs hatch one can sing, one can fiddle, and one can play the flute. (i guess you cant fit a piano in an egg) The last one hatches into our protagonist, Owl Jolson. (get the reference yet?) one things i dont get is why his voice starts out different and then changes right away. His parents are not happy and try to resort him to the power of classical music. However he refuses to give up jazz and his father pretty much disowns him. On his own he sees many other birds audiotioning for jack bunny. (this joke will never get old) He thinks all of them suck and lets them know with his trapdoor. Jolson’s music is just to his liking and he gets first prize ready. His family hears him on the radio and rushes over. Seeing them, the young owlet swithces back to classical. The rabbit is about to give him the door, when his father bursts in and tells him he can sing whatever he wants. The whole family joins in and jolson gets his trophy. A happy ending for all!

A Corny Concerto

“Gweetings, music wovers.”

Its a parody of fantasia which is one of the finiset films ever. So what would a looney tune based on it be? About 629087356.5 times better! Our host is Elmer (as Deems Taylor) and he lets us know the first segment will be “Tales from the Vienna woods” (all the while his dickie is giving him problems) It is a classic tale of a hunter going after bugs. Since elmer is on host duty its none other than porky who takes on the job. (one of the very few times Porky appeared on screen with bugs, 1 out of 3 i believe) Porky’s dog finds bugs and learns that this will not be so easy. Porky and the dog dive into a bush which bugs is hiding in and soon bugs tosses their gun away. It lands in a tree infuriating a squirrel who takes aim and fires. The three hold their chests assuming the worst. Porky and the dog turn out to be fine but when bugs peeks he passes out. Porky and the dog try to get his hands open to see the wound and instead find a BRA! Bugs screams places the brassiere on the two boobs heads and dances into the sunset. Elmer informs us that the next segment will be “The Blue Danube” (as his pants fall down now) It is a tale of the ugly duckling. This time however its really a duckling. A baby Daffy to be precise. (there you have it clampett created baby looney tunes) He wants to join a family of swans but the mother refuses. The family is spotted by a vulture who decides to have the cygnets for brunch. (he doesn’t want daffy either) The mother swan passes out when she finds out and daffy flies to their resuce. He knocks the vulture out and hands him tnt which kills him. (i’ve seen this part on an episode of Bill Nye) Daffy is now excepted as part of the swans family and swims with them. (His reflection crashes into a tree) This is also one of the few Looney tune/ Brawl videos that the cheetoh woman made. Starring kirby as porky, wolf as his dog, mario as bugs, pikachu as the squirrel, zelda as bugs in drag, peach as the mother swan, 3 pits as the cygnets, luigi as daffy, falco as the vulture but instead of wario being elmer as usual hes represented by toon link. (but its so awesome who cares)