Tokio Jokio


Supervision by Cpl. Norman McCabe; (He was drafted. This was his final short. He never got to play with technicolor.)  Animation by I. Ellis; Story by Don Christensen; Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 15, 1943.

Oh, boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. And three more. This is not a good cartoon. It probably brought some smiles to faces in a long bygone era, but today? Oh, boy. I am not Japanese. I’ve never been to Japan. The most I can say is that I took a cooking class with an exchange student from there. (He was a cool guy.) I don’t know how anyone who is Japanese would take this short today, but I wouldn’t be upset if they, were. This is wartime propaganda and nothing more. Even if it wasn’t problematic today, it wouldn’t be funny. There’s no smart jokes here. They’re all either weak puns, or just plain mean jabs. It gets my lowest score, so you can leave if you’re ready. I’ll press on. Not like I do anything else with my life.

This short is presented as, and I seriously quote, “Japanazi propaganda.” (Closest we’re getting to clever today.) Enemies or not, they are still humans and deal with problems during war as well. Sadly though, they all have the same unfortunate look. Squinting eyes, overgrown teeth, and ears that suggest they are members of the Ceboidea family. If you saw “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips“, you’ve seen these caricatures. If you’ve seen these caricatures, you may understand how uncomfortable I feel describing them.

We start with a segment on civilian defense. (Given what we’re given here, I’m surprised they didn’t spell it as ‘civillain’.) Their air raid siren comprises of two guys who take turns poking each other’s rears with a needle. Since they’re Japanese, they are very polite throughout the process, tipping hats and bowing between turns. (Kill me. Go on. I won’t be missed.) We also see a tip on how to handle incendiary bombs. What you want to do is stay clear for at least five seconds. Then you can use them to roast franks. (Still kills a man though. At least he’s getting out of here early.)

Kitchen hints comes closer to a joke than many here. It’s a gag I could see done with American folks: Making a sandwich out of ration cards. If there wasn’t another hurtful caricature, I’d name it as my favorite part. Oh geeze. I’m going to have to supply one of those as well. Ohhhhhhhhhh, boy. In other gags, clothing is one of those topics we can all familiarize with. The latest Japanese fashions have no cuffs, pleats or lapels. In fact, it’s little more than a diaper. Let’s all mock our adversaries in the style of 5-year olds. (Really. Death. I welcome it.)

Headline personalities is spelt as ‘poisonalities’. And really? Even the little skull has to have squinty sockets and oversized mandibles? Well, look at the general run during an air raid. Isn’t worrying about your life cowardly? And look, when he runs into a skunk, (In Japan?) its the Mephitidae donning a gas mask. (Do you want to make fun of his weight next? I don’t think you picked a low enough hanging fruit.) We even get a look at what Hitler and Mussolini are up to, courtesy of Lord Hee Haw. Having a donkey head is actually the least offensive design we’ve seen. (His left eye whites out.)

We finish up with pokes about their navy. Ships are launched before finished, aircraft carries are loaded up with shot-down planes, and a literal mine sweeper blows up. Blegh. Finally. It’s over and… No. NO!  I’d know that drum anywhere! Please, don’t. Buddy, pal, the one guy I’m always willing to defend. Don’t do it! Don’t show yourself! Don’t- AUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Porky, why? Why, Porky, why? Why can’t I pretend my favorite character of anything is a real breathing, living person, who was under contract and could choose to say his line, or find a new job? *sigh* Because I’m the brutally honest type. I’m crying myself to sleep tonight.

Favorite Part: *you serious? glare followed by an even bigger sigh* I choose Hitler getting a ‘wish you were here’ card from a concentration camp. At least I can agree with that.

Personal Ra- 1. You’re not surprised, I”m not surprised. This was a guaranteed 1 from 3/1/2011. I feel bad for Norm. None of his shorts are anywhere near the best, but this one aged like botulized milk.

Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips


Supervision by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy; Musical Direction by Carl Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on April 22, 1944.

Before I get to a personal story before I get to today’s post, I just want to remind you that war is awful. You know that already, I’m aware. Still, I just want it said that during times of war, we say and do things that we will come to regret. Things that are hurtful and we should be ashamed of, but still be strong enough to admit these bad things happened and not hide from our past.

Before I get to today’s post; a personal story about me and this short. It was just another high school day, another U.S. history class and one difference: a student teacher. He was going to talk about wartime propaganda and said he was going to show us this particular cartoon as an example. I’m a pretty introverted, shy, slightly misanthropic individual, so you better believe it was a big deal that I blurted out: “You’re so cool!”

He never played the cartoon. He didn’t say he changed his mind, he didn’t claim he couldn’t find it, he didn’t leave after that day so he had more chances. He just never brought it up again and never showed any cartoons in its place. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember his face. All I know is I made a mistake: I told a man he was cool, when he was not. And I’ll never be able to apologize to him for my mix-up. If that man is you, I offer my sincerest apologies and hope you didn’t wind up passing on any genes to any unsuspecting offspring. Now let’s get to what you actually are here to read about:

START OF THE POST RIGHT HERE! Bugs is afloat in a crate somewhere in the Pacific. When he spots land, he gleefully heads on over. He comments on the peaceful serenity that surrounds him before reality bites hard. WWII is still in swing and this island is already occupied by hurtful, incorrect Japanese stereotypes. And since Bugs isn’t drawn in such a disrespectful manner, he must be on an opposing side. Shame this must happen, but war is war (is hell).

Bugs manages to fool a man by dressing as a Japanese general. The bowing commences, but give Freleng’s crew a small point for showing that our adversaries aren’t brain dead imbeciles, as the one onscreen very quickly realizes that this general before him is really Bugs Bunny. He even reveals the charade is up by spouting off his own “What’s up, doc?” Bugs takes off in nearby plane with the soldier right behind. But Bugs is fast, and lands and ties a rope to the other plane, stripping it of most of its body. And because it is war, he gives the parachuting man an anvil, sealing his fate.

Bugs happily marks his victory on a tree when he sees his next foe: a sumo wrestler. (I admit, I admire Bugs responding by painting another victory tally. That is bass.) The wrestling match goes about as well as you would think. We in the future know that Bugs can never win these kind of things with his “muscles” alone. He must dress as a geisha in order to get the drop on the big guy. (Since Bugs already has buckteeth, it’s only a smidgen less insulting than the rest of the cartoon.)

Two down, how many more to go? A whole lot of them judging by the boats being unloaded on the island. A brilliant plan must be wielded to get Bugs out of this predicament. A plan involving ice cream! That’s actually perfect as everyone loves ice cream! So Bugs gives the people frozen treats with real grenade filling! I mean, he sells them the stuff because he’s going to purchase a war bond. That’s my attempt of making some light of this scene, as Bugs lays down some downright nasty insults to the poor guys. Isn’t taking their lives enough? A lot of families are about to be changed forever. (And poor Mel. While I have no doubt he regretted saying these lines, I would like to see a quote from him saying that.)

What’s done is done. Bugs has killed a minimum of 62 soldiers who were just pawns in this horrible game, same as him. I understand that he is trying to bolster morale for his country, but I wish he never had to in the first place. Well, at least he can relax now, right? A quiet, peaceful island to forget the atrocities of the world is what everyone secretly desires, right? Big wrong. Bugs hates tranquility! (I believe it. You seen the adventures he has on a yearly basis?) He’s ecstatic to find an American ship in the water and calls for their attention.

Then he sees another local: a fetching doe that doesn’t seem too harassed by Bugs enthusiastically running after her. The short ends and we can exhale in relief knowing that this was as bad as things got in Bugs’s theatrical career.


*long heavy sigh* Some other month, perhaps.

Favorite Part: Bugs letting us know that he’s just waiting for the deserted island that will inevitably pop-up, because deserted island’s tend to pop-up in these kind of pictures. He’s that kind of savvy.

Personal Rating: 1. A few okay at best jokes can’t deliver enough merit for me to tell average viewers to hold their noses and muck their way through.

Fagin’s Freshman

“Boy! This is keen!”

Supervision by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton; Story by Jack Miller; Animation by Rod Scribner; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 18, 1939.

You remember the rhyme about the three little kittens who lost their mittens? I was never a fan. Even when you don’t take my feelings towards felines into account, I always found the tune annoying, the lyrics inane, and the plot just depressing. So, this cartoon doesn’t get to a good start with me, since it starts with that precise rhyme.

A mother cat and her kittens are singing, and smiling, and just making the world that much more saccharine. I’m with the kitten sulking in the corner, Alphonse. (He says the kids call him “Blackie” but I come from a millennium where that sounds a bit derogatory. I’m not one to judge kids by the color of their coat.) Now, the radio programs that feature guns, and violence, and death? That’s more his style!

His mother is angry about this. So much so that he’s getting the ole “bed and no dinner” punishment. Pretty harsh. Sure, he interrupted her inoffensively offensive sing-along, and yes, it’s probably not great that he is so fascinated by shooting, but to deny him his meals because of that? That’s poor parenting. Hasn’t she ever tried simply turning the radio off, looking her kid in the eye, and just spanking him?

Well, as long as Alphonse is in his bed, he might as well sleep. And if he’s asleep, he might as well dream. And if he’s dreaming, he might as well dream about something related to this whole thing. So, in his dream, he spots a sign asking for boys. It doesn’t really go into any further detail, so I don’t fault the kid for knocking on the door. He’s greeted by an older cat named Fagin. He seems like a kind enough gentleman, he’s running a school, and everyone knows those are always on the up and level.

Alphonse is introduced to the other classmates, and even though they permanently scowl, they seem chipper enough. But Alphonse isn’t too keen on hearing he just agreed to go to school. But Fagin makes a good point about how education gets you farther in life. (You think I WANT to write a blog that nobody reads?) Why just look at the students that he’s tutored. (I’m a little disturbed that one sometimes goes by “Holocaust Harry.” Wh…Why would that be an alias of his?)

Alphonse is starting to get worried, but Fagin makes a good point about how he just teaches. It’s the pupils who decide what they will do with their education. And yet, the cops just don’t see things that way and knock at the door. The police (who in this dream are all dogs) are doing their best to get inside. And they’re willing to use their firearms too. Either they don’t know their are kits in there, or said kits knew what they were getting into when they signed up.

Now that Alphonse is witnessing all this firsthand, he breaks down. He’s scared, and wants out of this lifestyle. But since he’s still asleep, he’d better find something he can get tangled up in, so they can become covers upon his awakening. Falling out the window, and getting wrapped in the curtains counts. He wakes. And now that he knows that being shot at is no fun, he joins in his families singing.

Favorite part: During the shootout, Fagin asks for everyone to cease while he answers the phone. They comply, and after answering, Fagin relays the message to officer Hogan. His wife needs butter.

Personal Rating: 2. But it teeters on the edge of one.

Confusions of a Nutzy Spy

“That guy sure d-d-does act suspicious.”

Supervision by Norman McCabe; Story by Don Christensen; Animation by I. Ellis; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 23, 1943.

You may have noticed that lately, I’ve been talking about many wartime shorts. Well, in honor of mothers everywhere, (including my own; who I don’t think has ever visited this place) this will be the last one for awhile. And there’s no better way to end things off, than with my brother from another porcine mother: Porky!

Said b.f.a.p.m. is working as a constable. And he has decorated his place quite nicely. He has a bunch of hand prints on the wall labeled as a “Fingerprint Dept.” (Fittingly enough, all the prints have three fingers and a thumb), a letter A labeled as “Exhibit A”, a rather sizable limb that is “The Long Arm of the Law”, and several wanted posters. (In the case of the woman, she’s just simply wanted.)

And where would a constable be without a trusty bloodhound by his side? Old Eggbert might be a bit lazy, but his sense of smell is second to none. Good thing too, as there’s a German spy on the loose! A feline fellow by the alias of: The Missing Lynx! (Or maybe that is his real name. Poor guy probably had no choice but to be a spy) Befitting his title, this spy is a master of disguise. I mean, you’d have to be to fool Porky. But it only lasts so long before the pig realizes that the strange person who can make himself look exactly like someone he’s never seen and is wanted by the law, might, just might, be the spy of which he seeks.

And what is this guy even doing here in the states? He’s going to blow up a bridge! Well, that’s what he intends to do. Despite the fact he is capable of keeping Porky away by donning a Porky mask and ordering him away, (Said mask is now in my hands. No shame) Eggbert was able to grab the bomb bag and return it to the Nazi. He hands the explosive to Porky and ducks into a nearby cave. Once he realizes why the bag is ticking, Porky joins him. Eggbert comes too. (Dogs are pack animals.) Eggbert has been sneezing throughout the whole short, and he lets one loose here as well. Porky and the lynx are flung through the air. Porky is saved by grabbing onto a pole, but the lynx ends up embedded in a cliff wall with the bomb at his feet. But wouldn’t you know it? The bomb was a dud. Angered, he bangs it on the ground in frustration. That was all that was needed, and they spy is no more. He may be dead, but he’s just happy his bomb worked after all.

Personal Rating: 3

Meet John Doughboy

“Our Open Door Policy is responsible for the Draft”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Vive Risto; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 5, 1941.

Want to learn some military secrets? Secrets that are over seventy years old? Porky has got what you want to know! (Sadly, he disappears from the short after his introduction.) Well, what have we got? We see our factories that pour molten metal into tank shapes. (Without those pesky molds. Here in America, we just pour it out, and it takes the shape.) Planes are an essential part of are army. And they can do some pretty spectacular things. A spitfire plane can actually spit fire A couple of guys aren’t worried about being drafted. The bigger one tells the smaller one, that he especially doesn’t have to worry. He’s too short. Unfortunately for him, stilts WERE around by the forties. There are some pretty quick gags too. A machine gun nest is actually a nest for the gun, and we see some of The Draft Horses that actually were picked. (Seeing as they all came from South America, the general is probably just racist.) Considering their ethnicity, It’s no surprise they start a conga line. An anti-tank gun is being tested, but the idiots who are in charge are too busy having a cigarette measuring contest to fire the weapon. So, it’s a good thing that we have other tools to fight with. A land destroyer so fast, that all one can see is a blur. (Slow it down, and you’ll see it’s just Jack Benny and Rochester in their car. Whatever works.) Okay, so maybe we aren’t as prepared as we could be in the event of a war. At least, if all we want to do is fight back. We’ve got a lovely defense system. Should enemy planes ever fly by, Miss Liberty will give them a dose of pesticide. Takes care of those annoying pests.

Personal Rating: 2

Fifth Column Mouse

“Did you ever have a feeling that you a-wanted something?”

Supervision by I. Freleng, Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on March 6th, 1943.

Seeing as there’s no cat around, a large gathering of mice are having a grand old time. Singing, skiing, (fake snow) and lounging around. But a cat could come, and it does. (Rubbing his paw on the window to see better, leaves a couple of smudges that make a distinctive hair and mustache) I’m calling him: Dolph. When he enters, most of the rodents flee. But one is captured. (Seeing as how he is larger and gray rather than brown, I think he’s a rat. And with all the symbolism this short provides, that sounds about right.) Seems Dolph has a plan, but he needs the rats help. (His name shall henceforth be: Columbus) Said rat, is initially against the idea, but is easily bribed with cheese. He tells the mice, that the cat simply wants to help. They treat him like a god, and in turn he will keep them safe and well fed. Sounds like a good deal. Can’t possibly see anything backfiring here. The mice agree and appease their new master. But all too soon, Dolph shows his true colors and has a hankering for some mouse. And that does not exclude a rat either. They are all fair game in his eyes. They escape though, and begin a plan to fight back, building a secret weapon in the process. But I’m not above spilling the occasional secret: it’s a mechanical bulldog with extendable teeth. And it works too! Dolph flees and the mice cheer. Columbus tries to play it cool, but still has cheese thrown in his face.

Personal Rating: 3

The Weakly Reporter

“We love California”

 Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released in 1944. Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Ben Washam; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released in 1944.

With that said, who wants more topical humor from the forties? Hopefully, everyone did because that’s what you’re getting. While Wacky Blackout demonstrated how the country life reacts to the war, now we look at the urban side. (With bridging sequences done in a simple stick figure style, predating UPA by a good six years) With such a large war, automobiles are becoming more scarce. Those still around are frightened at the sight of  a horse-drawn cart. With such few cars, some people take to sharing a vehicle. Some go a “step” further and share shoes. Certain foods are really valuable and are delivered in an armored vehicle. (You laugh, but butter is precious to us Americans. It’s our favorite food!) Speaking of food, that’s a luxury now too. Lovely meat for sale. Only $1.19 for a sniff. (Smells like cow blood. So worth the investment) During these times, hoarders are looked upon with disdain. Unless you’re hoarding bonds. But in all seriousness, many men are now in service. What are the ladies doing? They’re still buying the latest styles. (That welder’s mask is you!) And girdles are now used to help win. The only downside is you can see the difference it makes without them. (Oh, you thought I was talking about a woman wearing it and not a man? That’s the short’s best joke) Ladies are now taking on more jobs. (And the men who are still around love to watch them.) But women fight in the war too. Putting lipstick over their gas masks, and training for fights by brawling over nylon. (How accurate.) Sexist jokes aside, they know what they are doing. When the factories stop, it’s a lady to the rescue! (The machine just needed her to insert a new bobby pin) Yes, we are doing a fine job of producing weapons really fast. So fast in fact, we can get a ship delivered before the champagne bottle finishes its swing.

Personal Rating: 1. So, unless you’re a WWII buff or Looney-tic, I wouldn’t reccomend this one. But if you’re reading this, I figure you’ve got to be one or the other.

The Ducktators

“Tutti frutti and all-a kind of whips cream and a wall-a nuts!”

Supervision by Norman McCabe; Story by Melvin Millar; Animation by John Carey; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1942.

Just want to remind everyone that this comes from a time where the country was at war. So naturally, we Americans made fun of our enemies. (Instead of today where we casually make fun of everyone)

Why do all the poultry in the barnyard have cigars? Seems that a pair of ducks are expecting! Wait, why is their egg black? Unless you’re a fish, I don’t think that’s a healthy color for your egg to have. Well, it may not be dead, but it IS rotten. Out hatches a duckling with a familiar looking mustache. Welcome to the world little Hitler Duck. He grows up quickly enough and seems he hasn’t got quite the right mindset. He gives some speeches to other birds about his ideas for the future. (They sound nice on paper… actually they don’t. He’s evil.) Sadly, some poor souls were taken in by his words. Especially one goose in particular. (He’s not given a name, but he is Italian, so it’s safe to assume we all have given him the same name. You were thinking “Goosalini,” right?) I would also like to note, that this cartoon is not so single minded as to think all “ducks” and “geese” are like this, and it offers an apology to those whose countries names are being tainted by these a-holes. They begin amassing a good number of soldiers. (One of whom, is a black duck from south Germany. Unlike the depictions of Nazis, this guy is still pretty offensive today. I give it a pass due to its time period, but it is still sad it was once considered perfectly acceptable) Not all the birds are agreeing to the way things are going. A dove (naturally) wants things to go in a more peaceful direction. The two leaders agree to a peace conference, but then go and shred the treaty. (Not cool guys. And after you even bothered to hand a banner saying “Peace iss vonderful”) But aren’t we missing someone? Wasn’t there one other enemy we had? And here he is now, Tojo the duck. He tries to label an island as Japanese mandated, but the island was really a turtle and he isn’t quite pleased. He chases the bird to beat him. The duck tries to get out of it by showing off his “I am Chinese” button, but the subtitle saying it was made in Japan doesn’t convince anyone. The gang’s all here, and they begin marching. (By this cartoon’s logic, they’re Italian stepping) The dove tries once more to get them to stop, but they just walk over him. Having enough, the dove begins to fight back. Others join his side, including “Hare-y Colona” and a sign advertising war bonds. They are victorious! Later, the dove, (who has two children named Peace and Quiet) admits that he still hates fighting, but he had to so something to stop those fowl types. And he really gave it to them, he mounted their heads on his wall.

Personal Rating: 3

Wacky Blackout

“Okay! Lights out!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Story by Warren Foster; Animtaion by Sid Sutherland; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released in 1942.

In today’s short we will see how animals react to the war. For example a farmer has trained his dog to put out fires. (He’s a Spitz) And milk is and essential part of a soldiers diet, so it is a good thing that this cow gives out 5,000 quarts a day. (or rather we take it from her.) Old Tom is a cat. He has lived through at least three wars so he knows that this one will turn out okay. And next to him is a woodpecker. He knows that it might result in bad things, but he can’t resist giving the cat a peck. Now, when it comes to American holidays, (by that I mean, ones we invented) my favorite is Thanksgiving. Luckily for me, a turkey is busily “gobbling” down food as fast as he can. Unluckily for me, once he learns of my dinner plans, he begins a weight loss program. Next, some turtle eggs are just about to hatch. (But first, that woodpecker pecks Tom again. Remember kids, never peck a pussy.) Yes, well, as I was saying, the eggs begin to hatch. The first two are normal enough, but the last one is convinced he is a jeep. A dog wants some attention from… well, technically speaking, a bitch. (Don’t look at me! That’s the correct term!) But the poor guy is shy. He has to resort to initiating his own blackouts in order to score some make outs. And speaking of blackouts, (wacky and non-wacky) the fireflies are performing a practice one. A turtle that is much older than what we’ve seen thus far is hesitant to go into his shell. He’s afraid of the dark. (Because that’s when dogs get it on. What is wrong with me today?) A mother bird is trying to teach her chick to fly. Does that bird look familiar? It’s Tweety! Or at least a proto-Tweety. He’s got a different voice and a slightly different design, but this is the bird that would become the world’s favorite canary. What’s his gag? He doesn’t want to fly normally, he’d rather be a dive bomber. Speaking of birds, the swallows won’t be returning to Capistrano anytime soon. They are blocked by the fourth interceptor command. But some birds are more loved during the war time. Pigeons for example. One pair in particular produced many offspring during the last war. And though they are quite a bit older this time, they are still as patriotic as a “Draft Horse” (And as for that woodpecker? He pecked Old Tom one time too many and is no longer with us. But he still  is with Tom for at least… 24 hours? How long does it take for a cat to digest a bird?)

Personal Rating: 3

The Draft Horse

“Raise left foreleg!”

Supervision by Charles M. Jones; Story by Ted Pierce; Animation by Robert Cannon; Musical Supervision by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released in 1942.

A short very important in the history of Mr. Jones, as it was the first time he wasn’t trying to be Disney.

A horse (Not named like we’ve come to expect. I’m calling him Stallone. It’s a clever name for a stallion) is happily plowing a field. But he then sees a poster asking for horses for the war. Feeling fully patriotic, he bids the farmer farewell, and heads to the recruitment office. (The plow still attached and driving a gap through the countryside) There, he shows off how great he’d be on the battlefield to the major. He imitates guns firing, bombs dropping and even his own heroic death. The Major even tears up before remembering that the horse is still alive. He orders it to strip. Stallone  does so as sexily as he can. (Which to another male, isn’t any. But plenty funny) He is scrubbed down by a soldier… Well I’ll be! It’s Private Snafu! Making his first appearance! Stallone is ticklish though, and doesn’t stand still. When getting a physical,he screams when told to say, “ah.” When told to lift various limbs, he does so without putting any of the previous down. He doesn’t fall until he’s told he can’t float. (Except, as a toon, he definitely can.) When all is said and done, the poor horse is rejected. As he mopes, he accidentally wanders onto a sham battlefield where a sham war is being held. (What a sham pain.) He runs around in fear from the cannons, tanks and bombs. He agrees that he is not quite ready to be drafted. So back to plowing? Hardly! Still as patriotic as ever, he takes to knitting sweaters for the troops. (And it takes a lot of patriotism to knit with hooves.)

Personal Rating: 3