Tugboat Granny

“ANCHORS AWEIGH!”

Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Art Davis, and Gerry Chiniquy; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on June 23, 1956.

Would you look at that! Granny actually got her name in the title! But… it’s only so they could make a “Tuboat Annie” pun, so she won’t be featuring much in the following short. All we get out of her is a duet with Tweety about tugboats. Granny has a tugboat, you see. I don’t think I’ve made that quite clear. As for Sylvester, he’s been trying to snag a meal by hanging around the fishermen. Since that’s not working out, he decides to try and board the boat and bag the bird.

He first tries a rowboat. Tweety drops an anchor, causing the cat to have to row back to shore, sans boat. Next, he tries a rubber raft. They’re impervious to anchors, but not darts, and it just so happens that Tweety has one of those on him. (Weird. The shot of his dart hitting the raft contains no water. It makes the raft appear to levitate.) Well, the tug is making its way under a bridge now, so Sylvester tries to simply drop down. He lands in the smokestack. (Which would be impressive if this was a video game. It’d probably earn you a piece of heart.)

Right. Going on the water didn’t work. Going over the water didn’t work. Since there aren’t any sharks in this cartoon, it looks like it’s time to try going under and through the water. Sylvester makes a pipe into a handy metal snorkel, but that is exactly the kind of perch that attracts penguin-gulls. And it is insistent on staying put. Since Sylvester has no gills, he has to return to shore. Only then does he find that the bird laid an egg, which is now in his mouth. He throws it at the pest, but gravity returns it to him.

That’s enough tugging for today. Granny (Still not on screen, mind you.) starts docking. Sylvester readies a lasso, but it flies too far, and grabs a hold of a passing speedboat, pulling Sylvester in tow. He starts to get into the spirit of things, and starts pulling faces and stunts. When one doesn’t look where one is going, one is liable to crash into a post. Quoth the fish: “I tawt I taw a puddy-tat.”

Favorite Part: Sylvester’s disastrous fishing trip. Hearing somebody got a bite, he hides in their tackle box. The catch that is put in with him, is a very angry crab. The natural enemy of the common house cat.

Personal Rating: 3

Space Jam A New Legacy (First Thoughts)

“You remember fun, don’t you, doc?”

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

Very short version of this post: 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To laughably pathetic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Short version of this post: I quite enjoyed it.

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

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

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.)

Personal Rating: 1 (You’re better off just watching the original shorts)

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.)

Personal Rating: 2

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.

Personal Rating: 4

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)

Personal Rating: 4

Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales

“Merry Christmas to all!”

 Executive Producer: Hal Geer; Bugs Bunny sequences Produced and Directed by Friz Freleng; Road Runner sequence Produced and Directed by Chuck Jones; Written by Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, John Dunn, and Tony Benedict; Sequence Directors: Tony Benedict, Bill Perez, David Detiege, and Art Vitello; Voices by Mel Blanc and June Foray; Music by Doug Goodwin. Released in 1979 Executive Producer: Hal Geer; Bugs Bunny sequences Produced and Directed by Friz Freleng; Road Runner sequence Produced and Directed by Chuck Jones; Written by Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, John Dunn, and Tony Benedict; Sequence Directors: Tony Benedict, Bill Perez, David Detiege, and Art Vitello; Voices by Mel Blanc and June Foray; Music by Doug Goodwin. Released in 1979

Happy Holidays! Here’s a Christmas special that stars all your favorites! (Except Daffy.) It starts with Bugs having some problems with his carolers. Besides Ehlmuh’s obvious speech pwobwems, we h-have P-P-P-Porky s-st-st-s-st-having problems spitting out the words, Fog-ah say, Foghorn getting off the beat. Music that is! Et Pepe chante “Alouette” à la place. The only one who wouldn’t have a problem is Sam, but for whatever reason, he declines to sing. (Why though? We clearly saw him singing a few seconds ago.) Well, whatever. We’ve got three new shorts made specifically for this program to enjoy.

“Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol” Not as good as “Bah, Humduck!” in my opinion, but enjoyable nonetheless. Scrooge is played by Sam with Porky as Bob Cratchit. Bugs is playing Fred. Kind of. He comes in to the establishment and annoys Sam with mistletoe. He also gives Porky some much needed coal to warm himself with. But Sam’s cat, Sylvester sees the pig warming himself, (Although it looks like Porky is smacking his butt at the cat.) and alerts his master. Sam angrily takes it back. Bugs next comes in with Elmer, Foghorn, and Pepe to sing but Sam has reached his breaking point. He throws them all out and fires Porky. (Don’t make me leave Red Hot Ryder’s head in your bed, Sam.) Grateful for Bug’s efforts regardless, Porky invites him to dinner. Porky naturally has a family of his own. (A stud like him? It was easy!) His wife is Petunia of course. (You know, according to Walt, Mickey and Minnie are married. I’m going to say that Porky and Petunia are too. It’s canon now.) They have three children. (‘Atta boy, Porky!) One I’m going to guess is played by his nephew, Cicero, from the comics, the girl is most likely Priscilla, from “Bah, Humduck”, and the last is Tiny Tim. Played by Tweety. Apparently, he’s so small because he is fed birdseed. (Porky!) But Sam’s evil deeds are not over, as he forecloses the mortgage on Porky’s house. Since I’m not born yet to let Porky’s family move in with me, it’s up to Bugs to save the day. He tries the kind way first with more carols, but Sam chases them away. Well, that was the diplomatic approach, guess there’s no other choice but the hard way. Now that he’s awake, Sam tries to relax with a hot bath. Not wanting him to burn himself, Bugs thoughtfully fills the bath up with snow. Later, Bugs dresses as a ghost to scare Sam. (Seeing as how he probably never had a partner, he doesn’t pretend to be anyone Sam knew.) While searching for the source of the noise, Sam trips over Sylvester and they both end up outside. Returning back to his warm bed, Sam agrees to let Sylvester stay with him. That’s sweet. But Sylvester and his color-changing nose, beat it when Bugs appears before them. He tells Sam that he is taking him to see the man in the red suit. (Although it’s not Santa, that guess was only one letter off) Fearing for his soul, (although I do wonder what would have happened if Sam called Bug’s bluff,) he dresses as Santa and gives money to everyone he sees. He even makes Porky his partner! A Christmas feast is enjoyed by all! (Sam still doesn’t like kisses though)

After the commercial break, Bugs compliments Sam on his acting. Sam admits that his acting was just that, and starts demanding his stuff back. Meanwhile, the feast is being watched by two sets of hungry eyes. Them belonging to Wile E. and the Roadrunner. Seeing as they’re not invited, Wile E. chases the bird into our next short.

“Freeze Frame” Wile E. is reading a fascinating book: “Everything you’ve wanted to know about roadrunners but were afraid to ask” (That’s on my Christmas list.) Turns out, being a desert animal, the Roadrunner (Semper Food-Ellus) can’t function in cold climates. So Wile E. (Grotesques Appetitus) orders a machine that can make snow. It only lands on the coyote, so he just switches some signs around. Even though the short “Beep, Beep” said that roadrunners can’t read, the bird follows the sign pointing to the desert and ends up on top of a mountain. He really is out of his element, and ends up stranded on some ice. Wile E. skates over, but ends up sawing a hole around the bird. Seeing as this a cartoon, everything surrounding the cut part sinks, and the bird surfs back to shore. He next orders some sled dogs to help him chase down his prey. The poor things are kept in a crate with no air holes! So naturally, they’re a little cranky. (That, and it appears that they love Coyote meat.) Riding a rocking horse with a lasso only gets himself tied up and landing on some train tracks, and trying to crush the bird with a snowball had him get caught in it and soaring off a cliff. He wishes us a Merry Christmas before the short ends.

Back with Bugs he has his carolers hold a note. It’s then that his nephew, Clyde, reminds him of his promise to tell him a story. (Clyde really was a character in a couple of shorts. But there he was voiced by Blanc, and here I think he is voiced by Ms. Foray, seeing as he sounds a lot like Rocket J. Squirrel.) Seeing that his carolers are gasping for breath, Bugs dismisses them and decides now is a great time to go tell said story.

“Fright before Christmas” Up at the North Pole, Santa is waiting for his suit to finish drying. (Since it is air-drying, I think he’s not going to be too happy to wear it.) Meanwhile some pilots are flying their cargo over the North Pole. Contents: One Tasmanian Devil. (Aside from the plot, for what reason are they flying this animal over the Pole? Where is he being delivered to?) He breaks free and jumps out of the plane. (Don’t worry, he grabbed a parachute) he lands in his Santa’s suit and launched into his sleigh. Scared, the deer try to run off taking Taz along for the ride. Meanwhile in an actual house, (I guess it belongs to Clyde’s parents. Or Bugs just prefers a roof over his head in Winter) Bugs is reading Clyde “The night before Christmas” Everything seems to be just like in the poem. Except there is a mouse stirring: Speedy with his cocoa. When they hear “Santa” up on the roof, Bugs sends his nephew to bed. Taz comes down the chimney, and Bugs offers him plenty of food. By sheer coincidence, he has deviled ham, deviled eggs, and devils food cake. Not really. He just has milk and cookies. Taz takes them anyway, and begins to eat just about everything else in the house, while Bugs reads him Clyde’s outrageous Christmas list. (Which among other things, contains a solid gold football, and a little brother. You’d think as a rabbit, he’d already have both. Aren’t rabbits well known to be associated with their young and karats?) Seeing as “Santa” is still hungry, Bugs offers to make him some popcorn. Impatient as he is, Taz eats it before its popped. (Probably shouldn’t have done so in front of a roaring fireplace) He then makes to open a gift that is clearly not for him. Bugs sets up a holiday gift exchange and offers him to trade for a much bigger gift. He unwraps it outside at Bug’s suggestion and finds just what he wanted: more food. (Well, it’s really a self inflating raft, but Taz has a strong imagination) He floats away and Clyde, (who I guess was secretly witnessing the whole thing) bemoans the fact that “Santa” left without giving him anything. (I hate when kids act that way. From now on, he only gets birdseed to eat.) Bugs and him then decide to return his sleigh. Not only is it the right thing to do, Santa just might let Clyde get first pick at the presents.

We end with Bugs and his carolers (Foghorn’s head is white for some reason) getting a sleigh ride from Taz. (It’s kinda weird seeing him being used by Friz, but poor Bob had been dead by two years at this point, so he couldn’t really help out) It’s a nice gesture but it still ends with Taz eating the sleigh. (My favorite part is how they didn’t notice it happening.)

Personal Rating: 3

Merry Christmas from your own, Dr. Foolio! I’ll be checking in one more time before the year ends! Enjoy those holidays!

Tweety and the Beanstalk

“Acres and acres of Tweety Bird!”

 Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy, and Art Dabis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Film Editor: Treg brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. (Uncredited: June Foray); Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1957. Directed by Friz Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Virgil Ross, Gerry Chiniquy, and Art Dabis; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Film Editor: Treg brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc. (Uncredited: June Foray); Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1957.

This short doesn’t bother with any kind of cow, it cuts straight to Jack’s mother’s angry shouts about him giving up a whole cow for five beans. (At least he got five, most stories I’ve heard have him getting three) Regardless, she throws them out where they land underneath a sleeping Sylvester. Only one grows, (well, there is only one stalk) and takes him and his bed up into the clouds coming to a rest on some land in the sky. (I’ve always wondered about that too. Why is there more land in the sky? Is it another planet? The moon from Majora’s Mask? Angel Island from Sonic 3?) Waking up, the cat walks off and finds a castle. Ignoring most sentient being’s reactions to run away, he heads on over. He finds a treasure worth way more than a goose: A King-sized Canary! He wastes no time in grabbing the creature that’s roughly his size. (It’s not like the actual “King-sized Canary” short. Tweety doesn’t fight back. Then again, if I was being carried off by a cat that was as tall as me, I’d probably be in shock too.) Before he can dig in, Tweety’s giant owner comes back and Sylvester is forced to flee. The giant puts his bird back in his cage and hangs it from the ceiling. (So does he know that something was trying to hurt his bird? It’s not like putting Tweety up higher will keep him any safer. He’s a canary! He can fly!) Sylvester begins planning to get his meal, barely avoiding waking a giant bulldog in the process. He casts a fishing line over a rafter and ties the other end to his tail. It seems to work, but the line comes undone and he crashes to the floor. Somehow, this wakes up the dog. (I just don’t think he would make such a loud noise) Sylvester hides in a mouse hole but leaves upon seeing a kangaroo. (Oh no. It’s actually a giant mouse. I always get the two mixed up) He tricks the dog into another room before retrying. Tying a screwdriver to a pole he manages to unscrew the bottom of the cage, but is flattened. (Tweety staying safe on his swing) He tries riding a champagne cork up, but missaims and gets stuck in a hole in the ceiling. He jumps on it but lands both of them in a gun which fires them both back into a hole. He finds a saw that’s his size up there. (I guess Jack never made it out in this version) and cutting a hole in the cork, he lowers himself down via a similar sized rope, but the dog somehow came back and slams him between some cymbals. Recovering, he tricks the dog into the other room again. He sets up a catapult (or a cat-apult. It’s an old joke, but it’s okay to laugh) made of a spatula and an apple. It actually works and he grabs the bird, but the apple lands on him and if that’s not bad enough, the giant comes back. He chases after the cat (Any pet owner would do the same. But I’m just wondering why the ground doesn’t shake when he walks. Or jogs as the case may be) Climbing down the beanstalk he gets an axe and chops the stalk down. The giant lands on him though, and the shock sends the cat through the earth and down to china. (No matter where you dig in fiction, you will end up in China) There he is spied by a racially insensitive Chinese Tweety. (Well at least he’s not too bad. Slanty eyes and a coolie hat. At least they didn’t give him buck teeth. Or a buck beak I guess)

Personal Rating: 3

Red Riding Hoodwinked

“EEE! The big bad putty-tat!”

 Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gery Chiniquy, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1955 Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Gery Chiniquy, and Ted Bonnicksen; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Music by Milt Franklyn. Released in 1955

Quite the interesting way to start this tale! Ms. Foray tells about the hood of all things. It was worn by a girl, so they called her Red Riding Hood. (The hood meanwhile was named “Girl inside my body”) On this day, Red is going to visit her grandmother and is bringing her a gift. Namely, Tweety. This gets the attention of Sylvester who was in the middle of feasting on trash scraps(TM). The girl gets on the bus with the cat following. (And crashing into a post since he wasn’t looking where he was going.) As is the case with nearly all buses, it drops her off with still a distance to go and she skips through the woods the rest of the way. She is being watched by the Big Bad Wolf. (I thought that was the wolf from the 3 pigs story.) With quite the terrible memory as he needs a sign (that comes out of nowhere) to be clued in on her name. (Then again, how would he know her name in the first place? Has he tried this before?) She tells him of her plans before being on her way again. The wolf decides to take the shortcut to Granny’s place. (Why didn’t Red take it?) Along the way, he sends Sylvester a glare that warns him to keep out of his way. (“Now where was I going again? Oh yeah, Grandma’s house.”) Since he took the shortcut he is the first to get there and shoves Granny out. (And I do mean Granny. It’s not some generic old woman in this tale.) He finds Sylvester already in the bed. (Somehow) Then Red arrives and knowing that Sylvester could easily tip her off that something is amiss, has him hide under the bed. (He needs him nearby, he still can’t quite remember the kid’s name) Red comes in to show her gift. A canary is hardly a meal for a wolf, so he has her place it on the ground. There, Tweety asks why the old woman is also under the bed. Knowing that everyone has heard the dialogue before and knows it by heart, Red makes all her observations in one statement. The wolf and cat reveal who they really are and give chase. Sylvester accidentally slams a door on the wolf and brings him to with some water. Instead of being grateful, the wolf beats him with the pail. This allows their prey to make a getaway. They chase them outside, but the two cleverly run back in and lock the door. The wolf goes to the back and tries to break down that door, while Sylvester begins nailing a rubber band to the front. The wolf finally gets in the back way, and goes to let Sylvester in, (guess he’s realized that the cat isn’t trying to eat girl meat and could actually make a decent ally) just as Sylvester launches a rock at the non-budging door. While he checks to make sure his pal is okay, the girl and the bird make a retreat to the bus stop, getting on a bus. The predators run faster than the vehicle to the next stop leaving their prey all but trapped. The bus stops for them and they shove past each other to get in. Then are immediately punched off by the bus driver, Granny herself. (Don’t ever come between a grandmother and her granddaughter/pet)

Personal Rating: 3

Commercials aired during “The Bugs Bunny Show”

Directed by Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Bob McKimson.

#1. A promo for the show. Besides mentioning that Bugs and Daffy are in it. The only characters they mention are Oscar winners: Pepe, Tweety, Sam, Sylvester and Speedy. C’mon, where is the love for Porky? The sole reason he never was even nominated gives me enough reason to always expect the worst from that award show. (On another note, Porky still hasn’t forgiven me for showing his breakdown reel.)

Personal Rating: 2

#2. Bugs is eating Post Alpha-bits but runs out. He needs more because they are made of oats, and oats give you energy. So he blows up a balloon to hop the fence of Elmer, who shoots him down. (That’s Mel voicing Elmer. He hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet.) Bugs ends up landing in his kitchen and dazes Fudd. Sending him out the door saying he’s going home, Bugs enjoys his ill gotten gains. Elmer comes back to his senses and throws Bugs out. Bugs comes back and takes the cereal. He’s going to need all their energy to escape the gunfire.

Personal Rating: 3

#3. While eating Post Alpha-bits, Bugs hears Elmer approaching. Seems someone robbed him of his bits. Disguised as a cop, Bugs hears Elmer blame him before asking him to describe the bits. Elmer describes them as only one can in a commercial. (It’s cereal…er surreal hearing a commercial mentioning their product has sugar. That won’t fly today.)

Personal Rating: 3

#4. Bugs (in disguise) hops on Elmer’s tandem bike with him. Seems Post Alpha-bits are now brown sugar frosted. (Which lets be honest, brown sugar tastes better than plain) Bugs takes them for himself. (Somehow splitting the bike in two) and digs in. Elmer brought his gun with him though, but it doesn’t matter as Bugs ate them all. But he makes up for it and brings Fudd more. Distracted by the generosity, Elmer bikes off a cliff.

Personal Rating: 3

#5. Enough with the bits. Bugs shows off how strong he has gotten by eating Post Sugar Crisp. The whole wheat makes him invulnerable to the hammers Daffy tries to smash him with.

Personal Rating: 2

#6. Seeing Sam coming his way with Post Sugar Crisp, Bugs disguises himself as a guy at a hunting lodge. Sam tells how he is hunting Bugs because he steals Post Sugar Crisp to make him strong. Bugs demonstrates, but is kind enough to invite Sam to join him. Since he can’t beat him, Sam does.

Personal Rating: 2

#7. Sam is panning for gold. Watching from the bushes, Bugs comes out in prospector garb and tells him that Cactus Canyon has just had a gold rush. Sam leaves asking Bugs to watch his claim. Bugs was really only after his Tang. He gets it and escapes from the angry Sam.

Personal Rating: 3

#8. Bugs is running a carnival game. Shoot a duck and win Tang. (Which he mentions is orange flavor. Isn’t that the only flavor it comes in? Even a good 50 years later?) Daffy hates to hurt a potential relative but really wants the Tang. (Sound reasoning) He misses and finds out that Bugs was hampering his chances. Being the one holding a rifle, Daffy takes over the game. Hit Bugs and win the Tang! (It’s refreshing to see Daffy win for once. So is Tang!)

Personal Rating: 4

#9. Bugs as a bartender in a saloon faces a customer. It’s Sam who demands a drink. Bugs only has Tang which Sam begrudgingly takes. He likes it! Turns out he’s a wanted criminal though. (No! Really?) He makes Bugs dance, but the rabbit uses a rope to tie him up. Sam requests just one more glass of Tang. Bugs refuses.

Personal Rating: 3

#10. Bugs is going into space as the first rabbit to land on Jupiter. Elmer launches him. It was all a ruse to keep Bugs from stealing his Tang. Removing one’s Tang supply is the best way to get even. Upon landing Bugs finds that not only is there air on Jupiter, (I mean, why else would he take it off?) but the planet gets its orange color from all the Tang there. At least he won’t bother you anymore, Elmer.

Personal Rating: 3

#11. Bugs and Daffy squabble over a Post cereal 6-pack. Nothing more.

Personal Rating: 1

#12. Bugs tells of Post cereal. Nothing less. (They remembered Porky existed!)

Personal Rating: 2

(Those grades are me basing on how well they advertised their products)