Buddy’s Bug Hunt

“You’ll get yours today!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Bob McKimson and Paul Smith; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on June 22, 1935.

Despite what the title says, we see Buddy chasing a butterfly. Which may be an insect, but is not a true bug. But fine. For today I’ll do like the common man do, and use “bug” as a catch all term for insects. (Makes me feel dirty.) Anyway, Buddy really wants this butterfly. I don’t know, maybe he’ll get a golden net if he catches it.

Rookie mistake on the butterfly’s part! In its attempt to escape, it flew right into the very place the bravest arthropods hesitate to enter: Buddy’s Bug Hun- House. Buddy gets his prize and adds it to his already extensive collection. (Buddy also sounds like a little kid in this short. A fact that makes his action’s a bit more innocent.) Along came a spider, that Buddy does spy, he grabs hold of the arachnid, it’s going to die.

Wait…. arachnids aren’t bugs either! They’re not even insects! Cheat number two for you, Buddy m’lad. But yeah, he has every intention of killing this animal. How else would a “bug” collector collect? ( Considering this spider has six legs, it’s clearly some undiscovered species. Or maybe it’s a beetle using mimicry to avoid predators?) Buddy glues the poor thing down to keep it still, and readies the ether. Yes, he has ether.

And he’s not too careful with the stuff, ether. It starts affecting Buddy, making him woozy, and dizzy and apt to getting knocked out. And down he goes. During this time, the spider has managed to get itself free and sees the threat is no more. In fact, the threat looks like it could be at its prisoner’s mercy. No time wasted, the spider sets about freeing the other animals Buddy has imprisoned. Including a…frog. Strike three! That’s not even an invertebrate!

Buddy learns how Gulliver felt, when he wakes up to find himself ensnared in a spider’s web. They could just eat him, he’d probably be enough of a feast for seven generations of spiders, but spiders don’t kill for revenge. They’re going to put Buddy on trial first. Just got to bring him down to their size. They force feed him some reducing pills, and Buddy the terror has become Buddy the peanut. (What really makes this terrifying is the glee on the animal’s faces. No malicious smiles here; it’s pure cheer.)

And so Buddy is put on trial for his animal cruelty. Previous offenses include: ripping off a grasshopper’s leg, killing a butterfly’s parents, and making a widow out of…I guess another spider? She has even less legs than the others and has antennae to boot! But what else could they use for a black widow joke? Scarlett Johansson wouldn’t even be a sperm for another forty-nine years.

Buddy’s found guilty and is sentenced to what passes as the electric chair at this scale: a cigarette lighter. (Ironically, this is exactly how the majority of people who know about Buddy, wanted to see him go.) But it was all a dream of course, and the pain on Buddy’s backside is due to sunlight shining through a magnifying glass. Naturally, Buddy sets everyone free. Just in time, as the clubhouse collapses. (Which is the second most wanted way of Buddy’s demise.)

Favorite Part: How the judge reacts to the butterfly’s testimony. His “Ooh, is that so?” Just sounds so sarcastic. “Really? That’s really the extent of your misery? That other guy lost a freakin’ leg! It’s never going to grow back! And you have no parents? You, a butterfly, an animal whose parents never even witness their eggs hatch, blames this monster for your lack of a mom and dad? Well, I guess we have to give him the chair now!” (That’s all subtext, you understand.)

Personal Rating: If you’re like me and love the kind of stories where someone gets put in the place of some animal they’re harming in some way, then I think it’s 3 worthy. Otherwise, it’s stuck at 2.

Cats Aweigh

“There goes a brave pussycat!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Phil DeLara, Charles McKimson, Herman Cohen, and Rod Scribner; Layouts by Robert Givens; Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 28, 1953.

Sylvester doesn’t mind being an alley cat. He can go where he likes, do as he pleases, and it really makes one appreciate your meals. His son, on the other paw, is not pleased. He wants a home! Where humans will feed him, pet him, and possibly find him cute. The main reason Sylvester is against all that, is the work that it will entail. “Meowing” for food? How civilized.

While at a wharf and searching for breakfast, Junior sees a wanted sign for cats to catch mice on a ship. It’s close enough to his wish for him! And if his dad needs help, he’ll help him! Sylvester thinks that maybe, this could work out after all. He agrees and they get the jobs. Or job, rather. Sylvester sees this as a an opportunity to take a cruise.

When Junior calls him out on his slothful behavior, Sylvester makes a deal: since his son is small, he can catch small mice. Since Sylvester is large, he’ll catch any big mice. You know, should any happen to be around. Poor little guy. He can’t bear to refuse his old man, so he resumes his chase into the cargo hold. The mouse he was chasing has hidden in a baby kangaroo’s crate.

Junior has a neat “Jurassic Park” moment with the marsupial, a good 47 years earlier than the novel. He runs to his dad, telling of the giant mouse, and per their arrangement, his job of capturing it. Sylvester humors the little guy, but finds he is telling the truth. Still, he tries to honor the deal, and sets about trying to fight the beast. It goes about as well as the previous 5 cartoons they’ve been in.

Sylvester makes a new deal with his kid: see, it’s unfair for a child to do more work than the parent, so, since there is only one big mouse, and plenty of small ones, Sylvester suggests they trade. (Geeze, Sylvester is a horrible parent.) But since Junior is such a good son, he agrees to his father’s demands once more and prepares to fight. Junior is quite quick to realize that this is all a game to Hippety, and what’s more, he’s copying all of the cat’s actions. With this knowledge, Junior is able to get him back into his crate quite easily.

Sylvester went back to his reading, because I guess he figured this would keep Junior out of his fur. But once Junior reminds him of their deal, he actually honors the deal! (He is a good father after all!) He follows a mouse back into the hold, and tells his son to not open the door. No matter what he says. The mouse (Who has a shock of red hair on his head. Huh.) hides in a crate of vitamins. And they work wonders! (Must be from ACME.)

With the upper paw, the mouse begins to pummel Sylvester, all while the cat calls desperately for Junior to let him out. Unlike how this gag usually goes, I think Junior is quite aware that his dad is in real peril. But he’s earned the right to benefit from this, and honors his father’s last request.

Favorite Part: The fact that Sylvester didn’t try weaseling out of the deal again. He’s not happy, but it takes very little provoking to get him to do his job this time.

Personal Rating: 3

Porky’s Last Stand

“Don’t get me sore!”

Supervision by Robert Clampett; Animation by I. Ellis; Story by Warren Foster; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on January 6, 1940.

That’s the name of the lunch wagon Porky runs. Daffy works there too, but he’s got those rings around his eyes again. When he loses those, then we can talk about privileges. In the meantime, it’s opening time. Time to cook food, and wash dishes. Because there are customers, and they are hungry. One of these types is placing his order to Daffy. He wants “a good hamburger, and he wants it bad!” I know how to make those!

The secret is to step ON the ingredients.

Of course, to make a good hamburger that’s bad, you kinda, sorta, need some ground beef. And Daffy’s stock has been gobbled up by mice.

Porky, meanwhile, has a customer of his own to take care of. This one wants coffee and eggs. The first part of that order is no problem. And the second part should be easy too. Porky grabs a couple of eggs, (Tiny, aren’t they? Was there a quail under that chicken?) and sets to frying. But since we clearly saw a rooster at the beginning of this picture, it’s not too surprising to find that one of the eggs was fertile.

What a way to begin one’s life! Not only do his feet hurt, but he clips behind the frying egg! Whoops. Better get rid of that thing before Leon sees it. Next shot: no egg! And you don’t need to worry about the chick either. He heads back to his mother, and the “Do Not Disturb” sign he puts up should keep similar mishaps from happening. Now, how is Daffy doing with that g.h.t.b. order?

Well, there is certainly no more beef in the wagon. but there is a calf outside! Veal makes tasty burgers, right? (I’m legitimately asking. I’m curious enough to ask, but not enough to look it up myself.) Well, natural selection dictates that the customer is always right. Daffy picks up a mallet and follows the young ungulate (or “youngulate.” Feel free to spread that around.) Back to the barn. Fade to… I don’t know, half a second later, and Daffy tries pulling out his future sandwich. (So, did he actually try using that mallet at all?)

Seems like a bit of a mix-up occurred, as Daffy has grabbed a full grown bull. (Unless that fade was actually suggesting two years, and Daffy was just waiting to get the most of his meat. A brilliant theory! I’m a genius.) I also like how Daffy uses the old “It’ll hurt me more than you line.” Because, I think he really means it. Business is business, and sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to for our employers’/customers’ benefit. (Like how I want to punch certain people, but instead pretend to be interested in what they say.)

The bull gives chase, but Daffy makes it back to the wagon, shutting the door as well. (Well built, too. I was sure that bull would have torn through it like damp tissue.) His frantic ramblings lead Porky to believe there’s a salesman of some sort at the door. (Great shot of the bull charging towards him.) Porky slams it just in time, so the bull has no choice but to get a running start and ram with all he’s got. The cart is quite sturdy too, as it barely moves as the bull tears right through it. Like… some sort of… wet… Kleenex?

Porky has to run, now that he’s outside his sanctuary with an angry porterhouse on his tail. Daffy manages to get its attention with a cape, and the bovine changes course.  Daffy bolts at the last moment, Porky (who got behind the cape somehow) digs. (And breaks his neck if you look closely enough.) And the bull ends up crashing into the wagon. It finally goes down. (I guess that was the last stand’s last stand.)

Not to worry though, the chickens all survived. And they decide to celebrate by becoming a carousel. A wagon wheel as the base, the hens as the mounts, and the chicks as riders. The bull’s nose ring plays the part of the ring you try to grab. (Do those still exist? I’ve only ever seen them in cartoons.) Maybe the bull is still alive after all. I mean, only a living animal could regenerate rings at such a rate.

Favorite Part: Daffy coming to the rescue. Porky didn’t even call for any assistance. So that means Daffy truly cares!

Personal Rating: 3 Well done action, medium rare jokes.

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.)

Who Scent You?

“Wait a just minute!”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, Ben Washam, and Keith Darling; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on April 23, 1960.

Before I begin with that:

I have seen the face of God.

And now for today’s regularly featured proram.

Summer is that magical time of year where weather is nice, so people take advantage of the blissful warmth by traveling. Penelope may be a pussycat, but she has yearns to see the world via cruise ship. (Cats love the ocean. Every time I’ve ever thrown one in, I never saw it leave.) The guy who takes the tickets is French, so he greets people in the traditional french way: guys get it on the cheek, girls get it on the lips.

Since Penelope is a pussycat, and doesn’t have a ticket, she is not allowed on board. She is left behind with the transparent luggage. (Sure, it sounds cool now, but it gets embarrassing once you realize people can see all the condoms and tanning oil you have in there.) Still, a cruise is one of those once in a lifetime things for most, and she won’t be deterred. All she has to do is slip under the fence. Sure, it’s got a bit of wet, white paint on it, but it’s a pretty small obstacle all things considered.

Success. Using her amazing claws, she grabs a hold of a rope and goes along for the ride. But wouldn’t you know it, France is the homeland of Pepe Le Pew! He waves the ship off, but notices something dangling from a rope. It’s black, and white, and female all over. Sounds like a skunk to him. And he’s not about to let a little water and his lack of swimming get in the way. As for his object of desire, she clambers onto the deck.

Now, you and I know that Penelope is a pussycat, but with that white paint on her back, she looks an awful lot like a skunk. So much so, that every human on the boat would rather abandon ship than face it head on. (The sharks love it when this happens.) As for Penelope she has found herself in the arms of one very smitten skunk. A wet one, so the stench must be worse than usual. She bolts, but Pepe takes his time before pursuit. He’s got to dry off first. (Shame. I think his hair looks good that way.)

A trip to the salon is just the ticket. (Pepe looks kinda cute all fluffed up. Why is that not a plush toy?) Once back to his normal self, he resumes his chase. The ole “chaser is always where chasee” is hiding routine. It’s pretty basic stuff, even for this formula. Looks like Penelope has changed her mind about her cruise today, so she opts for the lifeboat. Once safely onboard, she watches the troublesome ocean liner head for over the horizon. This is the moment when Pepe reveals that they’re all in the same boat. It’s a little story I’m calling: “Life of cry.”

Favorite Part: The ad for the ship Penelope reads at the beginning. It’s the “Fun?” that makes me chuckle.

Rating: 2. It starts with some good jokes, but things get kinda boring once the two animals make it on to the ship. Perhaps the formula was finally getting stale.

I think I’ll take the next week off. No real reason, I just need to take a look at myself. Reexamine my life. Ask if I’m happy. I don’t plan on quitting yet. If I was, I’d tell whoever actually reads this. Expect me on the 18th. I’ll tell you what I thought of the latest “Space Jam.”

Dr. Jerkyl’s Hide

“LET ME OUT OF ‘ERE!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Arthur Davis, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Backgrounds by Irv Wyner; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on May 8, 1954.

Hey, it’s Spike and Chester! Haven’t spoke about either of them since 2014. Oh, wait. I won’t be mentioning Spike after all. His name is Alf now. Because it’s a more appropriate name for a cockney dog, don’t you know? Oh, yes. The two have some nice thick accents this time around. Makes sense. This short’s source material does take place in London.

“Alf” and Chester, (making their final appearances) are out having a jolly stroll. At least, that’s what “Alf” wants and Chester believes. See, Chester looks up to “Alf” as some sort of hero. He’s bigger, meaner, and has people clothes. The kind of dog we’d all like to be. But “Alf” is also a bit of a bully. Smacking the little guy around, demanding he leave, and turning down his suggestions of fun. Chester then plays his trump card. Maybe “Alf” would like to beat up a cat?

That’s the ticket. “Alf” is always up for a good feline thrashing, and the two give chase to Sylvester. Poor cat takes refuge in a building that belongs to a Mr. Hyde and a Dr. Jerkyl. (And I’m sure at least one of you was planning to tell me I made a typo in the title.) Breathless, due to all the exercise, Sylvester is more than happy to take a swig of what he believes to be soda. (Honestly, can YOU name another liquid with carbonation? Because I can’t. Please help.) But that wasn’t pop.

This stuff, whatever this stuff is, is designed to turn the drinker into a much meaner, much tougher, much scarier version of thyself. So Sylvester grows a couple feet, his eyeteeth grow out, and he gets a murderous look in his eyes. It is then that “Alf” comes in for a pummel. He leaves, white as a ghost. (I like how his shirt changed color, but his hat didn’t.) That stuff only lasts so long though, and Sylvester is back to his normal self when Chester takes a peek at this “scary monster.”

Well, that don’t make any sense to the spaniel. I mean, the cat is actually quite small. Chester could pound him, himself. And logic dictates that if a small dog could do it, a big dog could do it, but easier. Chester drags “Alf” back in, just as they witness their prey escape into another room. Yeah, he looks timid, terrified, and totally weak. “Alf” regains his confidence, and follows after him. (Chester doesn’t follow, for the sake of the joke.)

“Alf” corners the cat in a box, where we see the formula kicks in sporadically. Now powered up again, Sylvester gleefully plots out how we will carve the dog. “Alf” returns to Chester, but falls to pieces. (Probably a good contender for the most violent massacre in all Looney Tunes, and there’s not one drop of blood.) The power wears off again before Sylvester can take on Chester, and the dog proves good of his claim to beat the cat. Now more convinced than ever, he traps “Alf” in the building for his own good.

Sylvester takes this time to flee. (I really can’t tell if he is aware of his transformation or not. Maybe if I read the original “Jeckyll” story, I’d know.) “Alf” sees this and also sees an opportunity to seize. He uses the beakers around him to simulate a fight that he is winning. But one of the beakers he throws was full of more formula, and the stuff lands on a housefly. (And I guess it drinks it. Unless the stuff can be taken topically.) It does its thing, and the fly’s size increases, as does its temper.

Now, the insect is only roughly the size of a hummingbird, but insects ARE immensely strong for their size, and it has no trouble roughing “Alf” up and throwing him out. “Alf” begs for Chester’s protection before the two witness the fly slamming the door in their faces. A big fly, yes, but a fly nonetheless. And thus, the last amount of respect Chester might have had for the big dog is dead. As such, the roles reverse: Chester wears the hat in this relationship now, and he slaps the now hero-worshippy “Alf” around.

Kind of a shame these two had such short careers, but seeing as how this is very similar to their earlier work, there probably just wasn’t enough material to make multiple cartoons.

Favorite Part: How Chester gets “Alf” back into the building: marching him in at gunpoint.

Personal Rating:3

Viva Buddy

“Zeppo!” “Harpo!” “Chico!” “Groucho!”

Supervision by Jack King; Animation by Frank Tipper and Ben Clopton; Music by Norman Spencer. A Looney Tune released on December 12, 1934.

Buddy sings as he walks. And he walks wherever he wants. In and out of doors, up steps, and onto railings. Of course, this doesn’t bother anyone since no one seems to be around. Nearly ever other in this cartoon is hanging out at the famed “Cantina El Moocher.” The best place for a nap. Not because any and all happenings there are boring, but rather, it’s just that were in Mexico, where everyone sleeps. Stereotyping is fun! (Although it really shouldn’t be. Ask someone to punish you if you continue to do so in spite of my warnings.)

Well, Buddy, you’ve still got a bit of time before Warners washes any traces of you they can find off the Earth, how will you entertain with a bunch of laze-abouts? Oh, you’ll just pop a coin in the piano player’s mouth and things will get jiving? Why didn’t I think  of that. Now that we’ve got some more music playing, we can hear our slightly offensive song. (Having never been to Mexico, I can only assume that they don’t add an “a” suffix to most of their words.)

And now the villain. Or at least some oafy thug who will cause trouble. Everyone knows him as Pancho, and they are wary of him too. It’s a good plan, as this guy fires his gun with reckless abandon. Sure, we don’t see anybody get hurt, but guns aren’t toys! He could put somebodies eyeteeth out. But all he winds up doing is shooting Buddy’s banana. That’s done it. If Buddy can’t enjoy his banana, then Pancho can! Buddy squeezes it in the big guy’s face, and as punishment, Buddy must now play the piano. (Poor guy.)

The music summons forth a dancer, who while not stated to be Cookie, will be treated as such. Pancho likes what he sees, and tries flirting, but she really isn’t interested. (Why aren’t the decent girls ever interested?) Pancho doesn’t care, and threatens to marry her tonight. Either the girl really IS Cookie, or it’s just the chivalrous thing to do, but Buddy uses a cello (maybe?) to shoot a fork at “That big bozo!” (Cookie lets you kiss her with that mouth?) Okay, Pancho vs. Buddy. While I think it’d make for a nice change a pace to got a different direction, my money is still on Buddy.

And my master gambling skills pay off once again. Shrugging off Pancho’s threat to “kill you to little pieces.”, he fires a candelabra (maybe?) which plugs up the scoundrels guns. Last option: the whip! Pancho gets Buddy (color changing string instrument!) leaving Buddy with little more than his puny fists to fight with. So Pancho starts swinging him around by his ankles. (I’m not worried. Be prepared to pony up.) Buddy grabs hold of a chandelier, and the both of them are soon spinning.

Once the chandelier has spun all it can, it spins the other way, throwing the two into a table. And what does Pancho have to say about all that? He was only kidding, of course! *eye-roll*

Favorite Part: During Buddy’s amble, he steps off a balcony and onto a stack of hats on a man’s head, stretching the top one over the rest. Buddy’s fixes things by giving the man a kick in the rear. Funny, because it’s such an un-Buddy thing to do.

Personal Score: 2. The stereotyping and weak ending keep it from scoring the coveted 3. This is still one of the better Buddy cartoons. You know, if you really need one.

 

The Cat Came Back

“WHAT THE F-!!!!”

Directed by Cordell Barker; Produced by Richard Condie, Cordell Barker; Written by Cordell Barker; Based on: The Cat Came Back by Harry S. Miller; Starring: Richard Condie. A cartoon released on June 22, 1988.

Boy, oh boy! What a treat we have here! A cartoon well worthy of its spot on the 50 greatest cartoons. It’s got catchy music, great jokes, fun animation, and… isn’t… even a Warner Bros. cartoon. Oops. Let me try it again.

“And she kicked me right here! Right where I sit down!”

Supervision by Isadore Freleng; Animation by Robert McKimson and Ben Clopton. A Merrie Melody released on February 8, 1936. (The last cartoon to be produced in Cinecolor.)

There we go. That’s what we’re used to. And look at the… um, cuties? Look, you should really be aware of my feelings toward cats by now. The only way I could find them cute is roasted to a golden brown, with some of those paper things at the end of its legs, and a garnish on top. But I’ll digress for now. The kittens are having a wonderful time while mother cat watches. And just across the way from the basement they live in is a family of mice.

Things are a little less joyous in the mouse house. Mother mouse is busy lecturing her pups about the evil kats. (sic.) Mere hyperbole and mouse propaganda, right? Hardly! For at this very moment, Mrs. Meow is teaching her kittens how to attack and probably kill mice. Which ordinarily wouldn’t seem too strange, but all the animals are on a similar scale of size. Instead of predator and prey, it just looks like a gang war.

At least Mrs. Squeak doesn’t stop at just talking, she also has the brains to train her children on dodging paws. (She has whiskers now?) But one little mouse can’t help but take a peek outside the hole and see what the world is really like. A kitten cross the way has similar aspirations. At last, the two star-crossed lovers can finally meet! I kid. Actually, they look ready for a rumble. Guess their mothers really did get through to them.

It’s then that Mrs. Squeak catches sight of what’s going on. She tells the kitten to leave her kid alone, and we learn that she was set to become the fourth Chippette before  she became a mother. (Oh? Would you like to explain her sudden change of voice then?) The little cat tries to follow because… it either wants to eat them, or it has learned that the mouse isn’t so different from its kind after all? Its reason doesn’t matter, because the mouse matriarch throws the cat right back out.

The little cat tells its mother what happened, and she goes to give the neighbor a piece of her mind. Squeak ain’t having any of it, and gives her eyes a good poking. She’s won this round, so Mrs. Meow has no choice but to drag her offspring home. Later, as the kitten mopes around, the mouse invites it to come have some fun together. (I guess it got over its hatred too.) The two do some dancing, before the cat falls into an open sewer. (What a typical cat.)

Meow heard those screams (That didn’t occur during the actual falling part.) and runs right over. We skip the tired cliche of her thinking the mouse was behind it all, as the mouse decides to jump in after its new pal. Also becoming alert is Squeak who makes an actual effort to rescue her kid. It doesn’t work, but I give points for effort. The mouse isn’t able to catch up to the cat because of the strong current. (Why is there a cuckoo clock, guitar and chair down here? These animals are just as bad as humans.)

The cat comes to a whirlpool, and is close to death. Time for the mouse to save the day! While holding on to a plank of wood up above, it lowers its tail to be grabbed on. (So, maybe its not a food related animosity. Maybe the cats just hate being constantly shown up.) The whirlpool is strong and twists the mouse like taffy, turning it into a makeshift helicopter. The two fly out. They are safe!

They return home and the two families decide to bury the hatchet and be friends. But wouldn’t you know it, Mrs. Meow just can’t get over that eye poke from earlier and she starts pounding Mrs. Squeak. (Cats also can’t forgive.) Being impressionable youths, the children forego their friendly ways and go back to how things were before.

Favorite Part: Mrs. Squeak training her kids to dart through active mousetraps. The cherry on top is her smile. “Yes, Billy. I want you to enter this contraption that can snap your neck. It’s for your own good.” You can’t prove there’s no risk.

Personal Rating: 2 If you only want to watch the first cartoon up there, I understand.

Hopalong Casualty

“*gasp pant pant*”

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on October 8, 1960.

The Roadrunner is so fast, that it only makes sense that his credits would be fast too. They appear before the title even! And how is Wile E.’s never ending chase going today? Actually, I’d say better than ever, seeing as how he manages to actually wrap his paws around the bird’s neck. A tussle ensues, and when the roadrunner shaped dust clears, the coyote finds nothing is left. His prey beeps behind him, and sends him flying up the nearby telephone pole.

Luckily for the coyote, he didn’t receive an electrical shock, so he begins climbing back down. The Roadrunner comes back to beep him again, and both predator and the pole get spooked enough to jump into the air. Sure, they both come back down, but the pole lodges Wile E. underneath the ground. A bunch of gags follow that don’t merit description. I mean, I swear you’ve seen them all before. The truck mistaken for a roadrunner, pulling a rock on himself, a detonator going off too soon. I mean why waste my time- d*mn it.

The other gags are as follows: trying to get the bird to use a detour that leads into a gift wrapping machine. Another beep gets Wile E. inside it himself. (Wraps him up with a cute little bow, too) Then, a fishing pole with dynamite at the end. When he casts, he gets his… well, I guess I could call it bait (it’s certainly not a lure) stuck in a cactus. He pulls hard, the plant pulls harder, and he is reeled in himself. Now tangled in the line, he can only fruitlessly attempt to blow out the fuse. (Doesn’t work)

Earthquake pills! A pill that causes the body to experience the same sensations one would feel during an earthquake! (You’d be surprised at how much of  a market there is for those.) Wile E. labels a pile as some of that unbelievably tasty free birdseed and waits. The Roadrunner gulps the pile down and heads off. Hey. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Have they expired? Wile E. is a canine of science, and tests that theory by ingesting a pill himself.

No reaction. Well, maybe one pill is just too small a dose? He downs the bottle. No reaction. Guess they were duds. But wait! There’s a bit more writing on the bottle! Seems the pills aren’t effective on roadrunners. Then… that must mean… they work like any ordinary pill and take a bit of time to kick in. Oh boy. These things work like a charm after all! Wile E. shakes, rattles, and bounces across the desert landscape, destroying many natural constructions that took rain and wind millions of years to make.

Miraculously, he makes it out of the pill’s cycle with nary a scratch on him. So relieved is he, that he doesn’t notice his trip had him ending up at the top of the cliff. Since he doesn’t notice that, he walks off said cliff. Can’t win them all.

Favorite Part: His reaction when he catches sight of the bottle’s fine print. He notices it the moment it leaves his grasp, and dives to catch it. What a performance! Haven’t we all been in a similar predicament? So relatable.

Personal Rating: 3

Quackodile Tears

“An egg is an egg!”

Directed by Art Davis; (his last one for the studio) Story by John Dunn and Carl Kohler; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Virgil Ross, Bob Matz, Lee Halpern, and Art Leonardi; Layouts by Robert Gribbroek; Backgrounds by Tom O’Loughlin; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on March 31, 1962.

A duck that I’m going to assume is Daphne (voiced by Ms. Foray rather than Mel) sits on her egg, but it’s time for her husband to take a turn. The husband is a duck that I don’t have to assume is Daffy, because I recognize Daffy when I see him. And it’s a good thing I do, as he is missing his neck stripe in this picture. (Gotta have the neck stripe.) Daffy does not want to sit on the egg as he finds it a threat to his masculinity. His wife’s foot helps change his mind, and he sits, albeit begrudgingly.

While he tries to make his nest a bit more comfortable, his egg rolls away and ends up amongst a clutch of crocodile eggs. His should be easy to tell apart, as its shell is harder than the others, but he’s not entirely sure, and just takes one at random. Not very stealthily though, as Mama Croc saw his theft. She’s not like most mother crocs, as she relies on her husband, George to deal with him. As for her name, we’ll call her Carol. Why? Because that was the name of a grandmother of mine who died the morning of the day I wrote this. She was an ornery, fierce woman who was still almost always smiling and loved her children. It fits perfectly.

George takes the egg back and prepares to sit on his clutch himself. (It won’t warm them, but it should deter any other egg thieves.) Daffy takes it back, and sits on a his nest with a smug smile. That’s because he’s sitting on a lit firecracker that he knows the reptile will take. Which he does, but almost immediately puts it back under Daffy. After Daffy extinguishes his rump roast and takes the egg back again, George just flat out chomps him. No swallowing as Daffy still had the egg in his hand.

Daffy ain’t having it. He threatens the egg at gunpoint, and George has no choice but to let him go with such tactics. (Any good parent would.) Any good parent would also try to take the kid away from the maniac who points a gun in their unborn faces. And so a game of back and forth ensues. Daffy and George both try to keep the egg in their arms, and the other constantly takes it away. Gags happen.

Daffy paints an active grenade to look like the egg, but that’s the time Daphne catches him off the nest, and forces him to sit on the explosive. After that, the blessed event occurs: the hatching of the egg! Now, I’m no expert on babies, but I am a zoologist. That child of theirs isn’t the same species, genus, family, order, or class as its parents. It’s clearly a crocodilian. But why should being adopted make any difference? It doesn’t. And Daphne loves her child regardless. Sure, he may be a figurative ugly duckling, but that just means he’ll be a swan someday. (Which still isn’t a duck, but at least is in the same family.)

As for George, he also doesn’t look too happy with what happened. He and Carol ended up with a literal and figurative ugly duckling. (And three other babies who survived. A dark but accurate portrayal of what happens to the majority of crocodile hatchlings.)

Favorite Part: Daphne telling Daffy to sit on the egg, or have his face slapped off. A threat not to be taken lightly, as she demonstrates by relieving Daffy of his beak AND eyes. A clever take on the old classic.

Personal Rating: 3 that is very close to 4. A fine final film for Mr. Davis to direct for the W.B.