High Note

” ‘THE BLUE ADNUBE’ “

Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard and William Butler; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Looney Tune released on December 3, 1960.

MUSIC NOTES ARE PEOPLE!

I know you don’t want to believe me, but it is true. Chuck Jones said so! See, when one writes sheet music, they are really just playing god. Deciding who will live where, and ultimately creating beautiful music/ear cancer. The notes take their job very seriously, they do. They set up the score themselves, including folding out the treble clefs, the score, and the other things that have names.

The notes themselves have the most important job. Not for the faint of heart, you understand. See, what they have to do, is take their place on top of the score, and hang upside down to make what appears to our eyes as this:

Hello, note!

Once everyone is in place, and everything is ready, the conductor note takes to their podium and begins the show. “The Blue Danube” is a classic piece that has can be heard in series ranging from “Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants.” (And beyond, but they were the first two examples that entered my head.) The notes have performed this piece so many times, why would they ever expect anything could go wrong?

Things go wrong sixteen notes in. The seventeenth note is missing, and that is quite the anomaly as he’s never been late before. Oh, he’s around all right. He’s been  in the sheets next over. The booze related ones. (“Little Brown Jug” IS a catchy tune.) This doesn’t really make him “high” as the title suggests, but there isn’t as many puns one could make. I suppose there could be “Hey Mary, wanna do marijuana?”, or “I’m in pain without cocaine in my brain.” Or the always classic “P.C.P. and L.S.D. (Tell me what they mean to me.)” But those are all terrible ideas that I just made up, so we’ll have to stick with a drunk note. For now.

Highrum (as I affectionately call him) can be identified as an alcoholic by the classic symptoms: tipsy staggering, hiccuping loudly, and a red nose. (Although, since he lacks one of those, his whole head is a lovely vermilion.) He stumbles back to his workspace, but now that his head isn’t very clear, he starts interacting with the other notes. Why, a whole note looks a lot like an egg. That’s because it is. This is how notes reproduce. But hatching it too early, could really throw the tempo off. And it’s rather rude of him to get the quarter rests worked up, seeing as how they are essentially dogs.

The conductor note is constantly many steps behind their quarry, even though High is constantly evading them unintentionally. Seems the conductor will have to act like a drunk note to catch one. So, when High takes one of their eighth note steeds out for a run, the conductor does the same. They are even willing to sacrifice one of their trebles, using it as makeshift lasso with which to catch the interloper. Hope it was worth it. Those things are a b*tch to tangle. (But in all seriousness here, I LOVE the backgrounds in this short.)

Keeping High pinned in his place, the conductor can finally get on with the music. Things go wrong sixteen notes in. Not only did High escape, but the rest of the notes got sick of waiting, and went to try out the liquor lyrics for themselves.

Favorite Part: When High is playing with the rest dog. Not only is it cute, but the object he grabs for it to fetch was just barely established as a baby note. That is so dark. I love it.

Personal Rating: If you’re a kid, you’d probably go no higher than a 3. (And I’m flattered/impressed you’re here, but you’re way too young for my jokes.) For the rest of us, 4. (The rest of us.) Those who really know music will especially enjoy it.

A Mouse Divided

“Let’s face it; I can’t fly any feather.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Warren Foster; Animation by Art 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 Merrie Melody released on January 31, 1953.

We’ve seen a cat delivered to mice parents before, what if the situations were reversed? All thanks to Stupor Stork, making his first appearance, and not only being inebriated BEFORE any deliveries, but also sounding a bit more helium-ish. As fate is funny, he gives up at the house of Sylvester and his Mrs. She’s just been complaining to him about their lack of offspring. Something that she must have brought up before, seeing as how Sylvester mockingly imitates her as she weeps.

Stupor leaves them with the bundle, and even if Sylvester wasn’t too keen on the idea of having children, he’s still as excited as his wife to hear the news. (I like that.) To their shock, their son is a mouse. (To my shock, there was lot more bundle than what is needed for a mouse pup. But then, how else could anyone be fooled into thinking a kitten is in there?) Mrs. S. is a bit taken aback, but one “Mama” is enough to get her maternal instincts going. Her husband is more on the “He’s so cute, I could eat him up” train of thought. She won’t have it.

Foolishly enough, she even trusts her man with watching the kid while she goes out. As soon as the door shuts, Sylvester gives the baby a pepper powdering, a lettuce diaper, and two slices of bread to rest between. (I guess the safety pin is akin to a toothpick.) Before one bite happens, the infant identifies the predator as “daddy” and that’s all it takes. Sylvester is more taken with the child then I’ve ever seen him with his biological kid. It’s still sweet.

Well, it looks like father and son are going to get along swimmingly. The two decide to take a stroll around the block, and are almost immediately chased home by throngs of other cats. Seeing as how they are a species that is concerned about nobody’s happiness but their own, they have no problem trying to kill a child in front of its parent. They try anyway they can to get in. Disguised as a salesman, claiming to be a babysitter, even trying to break down the door. (You’d think these drama queens have never eaten before.)

Unlike most of his movie career, Sylvester succeeds in driving them all off. (I mean, if he didn’t, then Friz would have infant blood on his resume. I’m not even sure Parker and Stone can make such a claim. And I’m not looking it up.) But even though I’d say the family is happy together and can overcome these obstacles, the higher ups really got on Stupor’s case and he’s back to retrieve the kid. Rather than, pfft, I don’t know, knocking at the door to explain the mistake, he opts to use a baited fishing line.

Considering the kind of day he’s been having, it’s not strange that Sylvester thinks its just another cat trick. He pulls the line himself, and Stupor proves his strength by reeling him in. (As a stork, I’m sure he’s delivered his fair share of whale calves.) Still not clear in the head, he mistakes Sylvester for the mouse, and delivers him to the mouse parents. That’s going to be embarrassing to explain.

Favorite Part: When his wife says that the kid is theirs, Sylvester takes that as an excuse to share the meal. Even going so far as to hold a cleaver above the child.

Personal Rating: 4. It’s adorable. True the ending is a bit mean, but I choose to think that afterwards, the two cats got to keep the kid, and he learned to fight off all his would be predators.

The Stork

From what I’ve heard, having a baby is a most joyous occasion. I don’t get it. Maybe in the past when the human race was kept more in check, it would be worth getting excited over, but nowadays? I think any mother is just looking for an excuse to be able to drink again. Drinking is where this guy comes in.

This character doesn’t really have a name. He’s just a supporting character too. But he meets my five appearance rule. (Probably the last one of these character posts too. I’m sure you’re relieved.) This guy’s shtick is very simple: he’s a stork, so he delivers babies. The parents are so happy that they get out the champagne. Since the stork did most of the work, he’s invited to partake as well. And as I’ve stated, there’s no shortage of births on a daily basis. So our friend here drinks. And drinks. And drinks. And drinks. And drinks. And…

Yeah, not really a whole lot of story potential there. I think keeping him as a punchline was the right way to go. I do like that he’s not a bad guy despite his bad habits. He clearly wants the best for the babies he’s giving away, and does his best to get them to where they belong, regardless of his blood alcohol. He makes mistakes, but everyone does, and he often goes out of his way to fix things once he’s been found out. (Which leads to him making another one.)

For those of you who have visited this place before, (And I know there are of some you who do. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.) You may recall that I had decided this character was to be named “Tipsy.” I changed my mind to work the alliteration angle, instead. From now on, he’s Stupor Stork! You’re free to refer to him however you want. I’m too polite to tell you your names aren’t as clever.

Hare Splitter

“Let’s pitch some woo.”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Tedd Pierce; Animation by Gerry Chiniquy, Manuel Perez, Ken Champin, and Virgil Ross; Backgrounds by Paul Julian; Layouts by Hawley Pratt; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on September 25, 1948.

I get that I should’ve talked about this short a week ago, as it would have been seasonally appropriate. But I’m not one for Valentine’s day. And no, it isn’t because I’m an angsty loner. (Smart asp.) I am of the belief that if you truly love someone, you don’t need a calendar to designate a day for proving it. And if you think I’m covering for myself because of my angst, screw you. I tried.

Now then, spring is a season that’s just right for making babies. But a good many life forms need a partner to do that. Bugs Bunny is one of those life forms. He has his sights on a fetching young doe named Daisy Lou. Daisy for short. She’s rather pretty as far as rabbits go. (More so than Lola, anyway.) I’m guessing that at least one furry was born from seeing her, and it it is you, then there is no shame in that. Unless you make it weird, in which case, shaaaaaaaame.

A pretty thing like Daisy surely wouldn’t have just one suitor. Enter the rival of this picture: Casbah. Bugs certainly takes note, mostly because the other rabbit’s bouquet is bigger. (Bugs was aiming for simple yet sweet.) Still, fighting for mates is something a guy just has to do if he doesn’t want to die alone, so Bugs ups his game to candy. (Scientifically proven to be a better gift than flowers.) Casbah goes bigger. Bugs switches to jewelry. (Economically proven to be more valuable than candy.) Casbah goes bigger. So it goes with the two trying to outdo the other, until Bugs cuts the crap and holds an anvil for Casbah’s head.

Bugs heads for Daisy’s house, without any sort of gift. You may think that will lower his chances, but let’s really compare our two bachelors.

Bugs Bunny: D.O.B.: 7/27/1940. Pros: Hollywood star, future Oscar winner, uture Walk of Famer on the future Walk of Fame. Cons: Well, he might wear your clothes once in a while, but not for any weird purposes!

Casbah Lepus: D.O.B.: 9/25/1948. Pros: Gives expensive gifts. Cons: Is named “Casbah”.

I like Bugs’s odds.

Wouldn’t you know it, Daisy is out shopping at the moment. This gives Bugs the perfect opportunity to raid his girlfriend’s laundry, dress as her, and mess around with other guys. Nope. Not a weird purpose to be found. Casbah isn’t really the brightest guy, (Nor the strongest, nor the luckiest, nor the best smelling…) so he falls for the get-up. He’s also not much of a gentleman, as he keeps trying to touch “Daisy” who isn’t comfortable with that sort of thing. “She” makes her feelings known with a mousetrap, and exploding carrots.

In the next scene, (Bugs is wearing shoes now. ???) Casbah at least tries asking for a kiss. “Daisy” will allow it if he closes his eyes first. Casbah kisses a plunger. Bugs uses the brief bit of time to set up a bomb for Romeo to kiss, but it just turns the big guy on more. (Witness the mating calls of the cartoon rabbit. Note the clucking and barking. That’s how you know he is serious.) Sadly, “Daisy” is not interested, and Casbah is left sulking on “her” front porch.

Bugs shows up, this time as Cupid’s protege, Daniel. He says that his arrow will make Casbah irresistible, when its really just an excuse for Bugs to shoot an arrow into Casbah’s butt. (If only Casbah had gone to school long enough to study Roman mythology. Then he’d known that those arrows make you fall in love. Not the others.) He catches on to Bugs’s real identify, because Bugs wasn’t wearing a dress. He rolls up his sleeve/fur to punch which I only bring up because it’s rolled down in the next shot.

The chase leads into the house, and Bugs sees Daisy returning. He bolts. Casbah sees her and assumes that it’s just Bugs trying to trick him again. He attacks her with a vase, and wouldn’t you know it, she doesn’t like it that much. Casbah flees from the house, probably becoming a homosexual in the process. With no rival, Bugs is free to do his wooing. But he brought the explosive carrots inside with him, and Daisy is partial to root vegetables. When they kiss, they are both impressed by the other’s power. They make a cute couple!

Favorite Part: I liked the ending. I can see some people thinking what Bugs did was wrong, but he was just looking out for his love. It takes a true romantic to keep others out of toxic relationships.

Personal Rating: 3

The Cagey Canary

“Mama’s poor, little, frightened bird.”

Supervision by Tex Avery and Bob Clampett; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Robert McKimson; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on November 22, 1941.

Today, Warner Bros. is no stranger to being well known for cartoons about a cat chasing a canary. But before it was Tweety and Sylvester it was unnamed cat and cagey canary. (Which are terrible names, so we’ll call them Petey and Lester) And it wasn’t Freleng’s unit taking charge. It was started by Avery, he left for MGM, and then finished by Clampett. What a guy.

Petey the cat is hungry (or just plain bloodthirsty) and makes no effort to hide his attempted killing of Lester the canary. Luckily for him, the mistress of the house catches the cat in the act and rescues her beloved bird. She tells him that all he needs to do is whistle for her should the cat try and get him again, and she’ll throw the feline out into the rain where he belongs. Petey is not fond of this idea, so he’s going to behave. And by behave, I mean: try again as soon as the lights are out.

Lester is good at feigning sleep, and just when Petey is about to grab him, he whistles. Petey dashes back to his rug and feigns some sleep of his own. He figures he might as well just take the whole cage, but the bird slips out and the cat doesn’t notice until after he’s thanked him for holding the door open for him. So if we review the facts, we see that: Lester isn’t going to fall asleep, and if he wants the woman, all he has to do is whistle.

Petey creeps away with a smug grin, and like the saying goes: “curiosity nearly got the canary killed.” Lester is now stuck in a jar, and Petey’s paw is the lid. No sound is coming out of that jar, and Lester doesn’t have a pin to poke with. Petey would win right here and now, but there IS one fly in the ointment: a fly. And he has made himself comfortable on Petey’s nose. Those tickly little legs, that high pitched whine of the wings, and the all in one disease zoo it’s packing are enough to get Petey to swat at it. Lester whistles once more and the cat zooms back to his rug.

The cat’s next plan involves crackers. Birds love them, and even better: can’t whistle with a beak full. Lester doesn’t know this, and takes the bait. Petey gets closer than ever before, but Lester finally swallows his snack and whistles again. Petey has no choice but to return him to his cage. Now the bird starts to get cocky. Taunting the cat with faces, and slapstick and rushing back to the safety of his cage each time. The one time he returns with his eyes closed is when Petey beats him to the cage. The bird barely escapes. (No whistle this time.)

Petey hasn’t had any trouble with the woman yet, (she just never wakes once to the whistling. Probably just said she would to give the animals peace of mind/paranoia.) but he isn’t about to take any chances. He places some earmuffs on her, and they work great! He even whistles himself, then poofs away and she still doesn’t wake up. (I like that. It’s funnier than showing him zoom off in a blur. But I can’t say it was intentional.) This will surely turn the tide. He returns to the battle with no fear.

Lester whistles, but the woman didn’t come earlier, I doubt she’d come now. Even if she wasn’t muffed up. The bird flees, and turns on every sound making device he can, which makes no difference. But he is able to find out what’s wrong and waves the empty earmuffs in front of the cat. Realizing he’s lost, the cat rushes outside himself. But the old woman is awake now, and I guess is angry at all the noise the canary made. (Why would she even suspect him?) The canary joins the cat outside. Before the short ends, the bird asks us if we’re interested in adopting homeless pets.

Favorite Part: Lester gets Petey to whistle himself at one point, by holding up a sexy picture. Funny enough on its own, but what’s even better is the fly having a similar reaction when he sees it. (Who knew both species found humans attractive?)

Personal Rating: I give it a 4 thanks to some great facial reactions. If they don’t make you smile, you can call this one a 3.

Fast Buck Duck

“Ingenuity triumpths every time!”

Directed by Robert McKimson; Co-Director: Ted Bonnicksen; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Keith Darling, Ted Bonnicksen, Warren Batchelder, and Geroge Grandpre; Layouts and Backgrounds by Robert Gribbroek; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on March 9, 1963.

Daffy has clearly hit hard times if the slums he lives in is any indication. And the morning paper isn’t doing anything to lift his spirits either. A local millionaire has willed everything to his butler. (Probably because nobody stopped by to make him laugh.) It’s not fair! But wait, there’s a want ad in the paper related to another millionaire. (Having two of them locally might actually play some part in why Daffy’s neighborhood is so crummy.) This one is asking for a companion.

That’s a swell job opportunity! True, it doesn’t list any amount of pay, but being friends with the one percent always pays off. And I do mean “pays.” Daffy heads to the mansion, and finds one of those “beware the dog” signs. Worthless really. The richest people own the tiniest dogs because….

So Daffy plans to befriend the most definitely pekingese or even chihuahua with a ham. His arm is chewed by a bulldog.

So we have the classic “get past the guard” plot. Daffy tries digging, but gets flattened by the dog’s… well, what does one actually call those things that flatten the ground when you push it? A manual steam roller? Which I guess wouldn’t have steam. That’s my convoluted way of saying Daffy is flattened, and the dog makes him a kite to get rid of him.

No self-respecting toon bulldog would ignore a cat, so Daffy concocts a plan to lure him out by calling for nonexistent felines and readying a mallet. But real cats show up, and leap onto the duck’s head to avoid the dog’s jaws. The cat’s fearful scratching tears Daffy’s head up something awful, so he tries to drown them. They leap back on top of him, and when he dives in he finds out why: the dog beat them into the water.

Daffy has a good plan this time! Sleeping… powder? Does that exist? Is it just ground up pills? Do I do any research or do I just ask my generally silent readers to answer things for me? The world may never know. But what is certain is this powder. The stuff works! Daffy just pours it into the dog’s water dish, and he’s out like an underage kid at a strip club. Just to be sure, Daffy makes a goodly amount of noise to test it. The dog sleeps on.

Ah, but as we dog owners know, a dog has to be REALLY out of it to sleep through an invitation to play. Even the unintentional ones count. That’s me offering a scientific explanation as to why the dog wakes upon Daffy stepping on a stick. Maybe playtime could also be the solution? Daffy throws another stick, and the dog happily chases it down. He’s a lot faster than he looks, and returns for another round. Daffy aims to get rid of him with a firecracker.

Daffy makes his way to the mansion’s front door without the dog returning. That’s because the dog was inside waiting to give the duck the stick back. Aw, he likes him! Additionally, Daffy has made it to the front door, so he can get inside and offer up his services. The millionaire is quite impressed by the resume that Daffy probably concocted in the hallway. He gives the duck the job. Daffy suggests some activities they could do, but the man clarifies things: HE didn’t want a friend. (That’s what his money is for.) PERCY wanted a friend. Percy is the dog’s name. Wah-wah.

Favorite Part: The little pose Daffy makes when the cats land on his head for the umpteenth time. Suggesting that he prefers it to the dog’s bites.

Personal Rating: 3

Goopy Geer

“Oh, goofy, goofy, Goopy!”

Animation by Isadore Freleng and Rollin Hamilton; Music by Frank Marsales. A Merrie Melody released on April 16, 1932.

You enjoyed “Lady Play Your Mandolin,” didn’t you?

What do you mean ‘it was light on story’? What more were you expecting? Leave this classroom. Everyone else is allowed to mock you on your way out.

For those of us who don’t mistake short films for novels, I’m happy to say that there is a lot of reused animation for this picture. (I’m happy to say that because I took my Zoloft.) It leads me to believe that this short is taking place in the same cantina as L.P.Y.M. was. And if you are listening to the crowd correctly, you’ll find that they are demanding Goopy Geer. He’s been the entertainment ever since Foxy got called out for ripping off a rodents style and took his girlfriend with him. Don’t worry. The three are friends.

Only close friends skip

Goopy must be a pretty talented pianuh player. Even Mickey Clone 277 wants to see him perform. You know, Goopy doesn’t do any sort of practicing. That’s how you know he’s talented. You could say he plays by ear. (They make that joke, and when the G-dog appeared on Tiny Toons, he’d make it again. It’s his favorite.) He’s also quite friendly with the clientele. He’s more than happy to accompany a trio of kittens as they sup on soup.

Never mind. Those are not any felines I’m aware of. They share a digestive tract! The first places a cracker in his mouth, the second chews, and the third swallows. It defies nature! Oh wait. I forgot that cartoons do that on a minute-ly basis, as opposed to a daily one. Another diner is a bull who is eating the world’s toughest pasta. I’ve never seen anyone need to chew spaghetti so much. (Unless it’s just a reference to how bulls normally eat?)

No meal for me, thanks. I’ve seen what goes on in that kitchen. They’ve got a naked chicken swimming in broth to make soup. I can’t believe its got its cloaca clenched tight all the time! And now that I’ve more than likely ruined the rest of your week with that image, let’s get our singer on stage! I’m guessing that it’s the character that I once named “Gigi,” so there’s no need for another one of my awesomely picked names this week. Shame, as Warner Bros. pays me a nickel for every unnamed character of theirs I christen.*

Her signing is also enjoyed by the crowd. Just look at Clone  441 applaud! (He never misses a show you know.) With singing and piano-ing combined, everyone (and a couple coat racks as well) get their groove on. Even Foxy’s horse stops by to get tanked once again. He nearly has the exact same hallucination as last time, but now he sees himself as Gandhi at the end. (Wouldn’t that be reason to cheer? If what Charlie Brown’s been telling me is true, girls are naturally attracted to zero hair. Explains my lack of love life.)

Well, as the saying goes, alcoholic horses and pianos don’t mix, and the equines explosive expectorations soon reduce Goopy’s piano to shambles. A crime punishable by limit to three cartoons max. Nice knowing you, Goop.

Favorite Part: Gigi arriving on stage with a bad pun for Mr. Geer. His reaction is quite humorous. Quite indeed.

Personal Rating: 2. It could’ve done better if a good chunk of it hadn’t been seen already.

*This is a lie. I have never even been approached. I didn’t think I needed to tell you this, but I’ve been surprised at how seriously people take me before.

Of Fox and Hounds

“Well, thanks a lot George! Thanks a lot!”

Supervision by Fred Avery; Story by “Draft No. 1312”; Animation by “Draft No. 6102”; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on December 7, 1940.

Mornings are so peaceful. So serene. So nice to sleep right through. And if you’re not allowed to do that, you try to ruin it for everyone. And so, the fox hunters blowing their ungodly horns and bringing their hounds along for a round of “kill the animal for sport.” One hound, is a bit slow. And I do mean both ways. His name is Willoughby and he is making his screen debut here. He’s packing quite a bit of meat here, (making him look an awful lot like a St. Bernard) and his coat has more white than his later years. (Huh. Usually it’s the other way round.)

Willoughby takes off after the rest, and he has some pretty decent luck, as he almost immediately finds a fox. But he doesn’t know that, and asks the fellow, (named George) if he’s seen a fox. George, (who is to Bugs what Foxy was to Mickey: a ripoff desperately wants some love.) gives him directions. Just past a stump up ahead, and on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby takes off, jumps the fence and falls off a cliff. At the bottom, he realizes that the chap he was talking to was actually the fox of which he seeks.

He heads back in a murderous fury, but finds another hound. It’s George in disguise, but he doesn’t know that and asks the fellow if he’s seen a fox. George, (not even bothering to disguise his name) gives him directions. He just has to pass a stump up ahead, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughby heads off, leaps over the fence, and falls off a cliff again. He doesn’t catch on this time. (I do love his little resigned sigh. Sometimes that says it all.)

He returns to George to tell him the directions were faulty, and the little dog decides to go with him this time. But while squeezing through a log, his costume comes off and Willoughby catches on again. (The costume loses a leg for a brief second, and this scares the dog so badly, that his ears turns white.) He chases the vulpine, waking a bear in the process, and barricades off the hole George is hiding in with a boulder. He happily tells the bear what he’s done, before realizing it’s a bear and climbs a tree. (A good safety tip. You can learn a lot from cartoons.)

George is able to move the boulder, and sees the ursine and the treed canine. Some might say it’s a conscience thing, but I think George just can’t resist the opportunity he has here, and gives the bear a hot foot. ( A great reaction I’m not spoiling if you choose to read this synopsis before the watching the short.) Willoughby tries to act cool, but faints in relief. NEXT MORNING! Those cruel hunters are at it again, and Willoughby is once more the last one out. But this time he has George with him, as the two live together now.

Still, a hound has to do what he was bred to do, and he asks George for directions towards the nearest fox. (Preferably one that he isn’t on a first name basis with.) George tells him to head for a stump, turn past it, and he’ll find the fox on the other side of a rail fence. Willoughy heads out, leaps the fence and there is no crash. The dog is learning, and this time he left some mattresses to cushion his landing.

Favorite Part: The little chuckle George gives when pranking the bear. He kinda sounds like a marmoset.

Personal Rating: 3. Sad really. I saw this one all the time back in the day on Cartoon Network, and was looking forward to seeing again for the first time in twenty-one years. I remembered it being a lot funnier, George. A lot!

Porky’s Baseball Broadcast

“What a ball game!”

Supervision by I. Freleng; Animation by Cal Dalton; Story by J.B. Hardaway; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Looney Tune released on July 6, 1940.

Six years before Freleng would have Bugs face off against the Gas-house Gorillas, he tried his hand at a baseball cartoon of a different sort. Bugs was still a few weeks from making his official debut, so Porky was to be the one taking the title. But he’s not really an athlete. (Though he looks FABULOUS in his basketball outfits.) He’s much more comfortable playing the announcer.

It’s a big deal. Today just so happens to be the World Series! Tickets are selling like hotcakes, (being crafted like them too.) and the scalpers are having a grand time with all the headcount. And this game looks to be way more fun than anything the real world can offer. One team has a literal giant on their side, and the other, a literal double header. You’d have to be the world’s biggest waste to miss this! So the portly guy that I decided is named Lou had better find his seat posthaste!

Let’s begin! The umpire is blind and has a guide dog, (which is odd because he is clearly a dog himself.) and the catcher is a turtle wearing his shell backwards for safety. Yep, I’ve already gotten my proof that this is way more exciting. And the action! Why, in the first inning we see a dachshund use his body length to ensure at least two of his feet are safe on a base at any one time. He manages to get all the way around the bases, despite hitting a single. *Insert quote at the top of the page here*! And Lou is still trying to find his seat. Poor waste.

Seeing as how we only have a little over seven minutes total for the game, a montage of what we’ve already seen has to be employed to get us to the end and still feel like a story.  So here we are, the bottom of the ninth, the Giants are behind, but they can secure victory if they get this hit right. Lucky for Lou, he has finally found his seat and only after sitting does he find there’s a pillar in his way. And if Porky’s broadcast is any indication, he just missed a spectacular comeback that has netted the Giants a victory! *Insert quote at the the op of the page here*, indeed!

Lou paid good money for this seat. And so he stubbornly sits and tries to pretend he’s enjoying himself. Hours later, after the sun goes down, he finally quits lying to himself and begins tearing apart the stadium in a rage. Really though, the rest of his life isn’t going to be as grand slash epic as that game was, so I feel for him. The waste.

Favorite Part: The reveal of the pillar. It’s handled well. Enough of Lou’s seat is visible that we don’t immediately notice it’s crummy, and Lou is currently blocking other people’s views with his girth, so our eyes are currently pointed elsewhere. But watch it again with your new knowledge, and you can see that no seats behind the crappy one have people in them. They misdirect us most enjoyably!

Personal Rating: 3. The weakest gags you’ve seen in “Baseball Bugs” can all be traced here, and their humor potential is divided in half.

 

Slightly Daffy

“Greetings, gate!”

Directed by I. Freleng; Story by Micahel Maltese; Animation by Virgil Ross; Musical Direction by Carl W. Stalling. A Merrie Melody released on June 17, 1944.

In Wackyland2 tradition, I must talk about the colored remake before its source material. Sadly, this is pretty much the same cartoon as “Scalp Trouble.” Only the gags aren’t nearly as funny. Whatever. This time, I’ll talk plot, and whenever I talk about the original, (Which yes, I already should have done if I’m talking about this one.) I’ll discuss gag differances.

Out at some outpost in what is no doubt the American west, General Daffy Duck isn’t pleased to see that most of his troops still snooze. (How/why did they make this guy the general? It seems more like a role for the later Daffy.) Making use of his knife, and the bugler’s buttocks, General Daffy rousts most everyone awake. But one soldier continues to sleep, because he’s the wisest of the lot. This soldier is Porky Pig.

Ahhhhh. Wonderful, blissful sleep. Proof that life is best experienced unconscious. The polite thing to do would be to let a sleeping pig lie. I mean, what could be more important? But then, General Daffy has his name for a reason, and the reason is that he’s the leader, so he’s got to be the bad guy. But Porky is a champion at the R.E.M. cycle, and can’t be woken. Worn out by his efforts, General Daffy decides to join him in his rest.

That was his mistake, as the bed wasn’t designed for two bodies, and it crashes to the floor. Porky is awake now, and follows his general outside. What are they doing out here anyway? Just keeping the natives at bay? I think that’s who they’re up against. They keep saying “Indians” but they don’t look Asian at all. But they are willing to fight. (What, do they think this land belongs to them, or something?) And an entire army descends on the fort.

These guys could be tough! They have guns and horses! Except one who can’t be trusted with such a weapon, as whenever he fires his bow, he shoots his horse. But apart from him? I don’t know how they could be beat! Porky (being the most competent soldier there is) is the first to take note and tries to warn the sleeping troops. Too late! To quote Heather O’Rourke, “They’re here!” and they’re capable! Very soon, Porky is the only thing keeping them from just pouring in!

The pig needs more bullets! General Daffy (who was in his hat for some daffy reason) rushes to comply, but trips on his way back and swallows every shell. Deadly? Yes! That’s just what we need now! With his new superpower, General Daffy has become a super weapon! Porky wields him well, and it’s not too long after that the opposition is on the retreat. (Even better, I counted zero casualties.)

When all is said and done, General Daffy is just glad that it’s over. But he trips again, and lets a fresh round of bullets fly! A pretty normal day for this place.

Favortie Part: When Porky trips over General Daffy’s scabbard, he ends up with the duck in an embrace. Obviously, General Daffy does the “didn’t know you cared” bit, but Porky isn’t embarrassed, angry, or temporarily attracted. Instead, he’s got a big smile on his face. It’s adorable! Who says that an army can’t be a family?

Personal Rating: 2. If it was its own picture, it could have done better.