Saturday, 4 February 2012

102. Buddy's Pony Express (1935)

Warner cartoon no. 101.
Release date: March 9, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Ben Hardaway.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jackie Morrow (Buddy), (Cookie) (?) and Billy Bletcher (Bad Guy).
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Ben Clopton and Cal Dalton.

Our cartoon begins in a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere which is lawless. There is gun-shooting going on in the streets. There was a Sheriff injured as he flips backwards until a doctor places him on an injury bed. We see more gags such as two outlaws shooting at each other on telephone poles - and they get shorter each time they fire a gunshot. Another gag which I do think is pretty good is when there is a outlaw is drawing his gun at the small one into the gun. The outlaw aims him at the air until he shoots him out but falls back down to crash the big outlaw to the ground - BOOMPH. Now that gag works well itself.

Two grave diggers then approach the scene in which they bury the bodies (what; do they automatically become dead). From what we know is that this is of course a lawless town; and that they enjoy shooting sprees. As I reach to the next scene of Buddy playing the piano; and let me ask - why is there dogs as humans - has Buddy gone to another dimension? Okay; I guess that I can't make a problem out of it - since Elmer Fudd would appear in cartoons full of anthropomorphic animals like Bugs or Daffy. But Buddy appeared in a world with just humans and no animals that speak. It makes me think - is Buddy in a completely different world? Besides; he's no human himself so I guess it's suitable for him to stick with animals. Anyway; no big deal - let's move on.

Anyway; to the next scene. Buddy is inside the bar playing the piano with his piano stool moving out to do some tap dancing. There is a scene of some dog ordering probably some liquor from the pig waiter but once the dog local tries it - he falls down and flops like a fish. Cookie is walking into the scene in which she is singing a song I can't make out - but the singing sure is bad. Buddy is still showing off his skills on the piano in which he tries to impress Cookie.

Cookie then sings about that she notices some outlaw walking into the scene and is shooting around to get people inside afraid. Cookie asks the guy on the table to light his cannon in which the hat blows out and Buddy was the person pretending to be an outlaw - what the hell? Try not to have too much fun or you could get shot and killed. Meanwhile; a dog local walks into the scene and shoots the poster to be attached to a wall. There is a "Pony Express" race that would be starting at 2.30 in the afternoon. The winner would get a "Mail Contract" and I wonder if that's meant to be a dated pun or some cliche but I don't know if it was intended.

Everyone else is excited to take part in the pony race - in which they rush out the doors. Buddy and Cookie then read the poster in which Buddy laughs "It's cinch". He runs up to a window and point "That's my horse". The horse is pretty energetic. Cookie asks, "Is he fast", with Buddy's reply; "He's the fastest in the county". Meanwhile there is a bad villain who is looking out to see what Buddy and Cookie are doing and what the bad guy will do against it. Buddy watches his clock and says, "Gee, I outta get ready - I'll see you at the race; Cookie".

The bad outlaw then looks out the window to see if Buddy and Cookie are gone. He laughs "Fast horse, eh?". He steals the horse from Buddy by untying it and walking the horse away. The bad outlaw then takes him to park the horse outside a glue factory. What's he going to do - borrow some glue inside the factory and steal it to glue Buddy's horse? Nope, so far - it turns out that he's "shooing" a vulture away from his horse. The bad outlaw is blowing a balloon to try and get his pony all pumped up - but it doesn't work. Instead; he uses a pumper to get some air in that flattened-out horse - but fails the first time as he shoots up in the air.

His horse is extremely sleepy and can hardly move. The bad outlaw then grabs out a paintbrush with some paint in it to paint pupils on the horse's eyelids so it looks like it's awake. The gag is that the horse raises it's eyelids to look at the bad outlaw - with the painted pupils still showing. The bad outlaw has then finished with the disguise on his horse and then laughs evily.

Buddy has finished putting on his outfit as he hears the trumpets playing. There is a weird gag or jump as Buddy jumps out of the window - bounces off and lands on a sick horse thinking he's riding his noble steed. Buddy's horse then rides to the start of the competition, and come to think of it - the horse doesn't even run that bad at all - just sleepy. It seems to scatter around the place a couple of times, though. Cookie is in the crowd waving at him shouting "Good luck" as Buddy still says "It's a cinge". The villain laughs.

The race is about to begin as the guy with the gun sitting on a horse shouts "On your marks, get set---" but fires in which he flies off the horse and onto the ground. Which is a pretty funny gag. The race begins with these dogs running the race with some people riding it. Hang on a minute; I thought this was a pony express race - not a dog race. There is a handicapped dog who is trying to run the race but spins around a number of times as there are incoming dogs coming by. There is a rabbit (not mistaken as Hardaway's rabbit  in 1938 but looks similar) - the dogs are then running and chasing after the rabbit by trying to go down rabbit holes but starts to make the action chase sequence too complicated.

Okay, I really don't understand on why there's dogs in that race - what about the horses? Okay, after that sequence - we finally see the horse racing as Buddy and the bad outlaw are doing their best to try and beat one another. However, Buddy gets yanked out of the scene in which the bad outlaw laughs at Buddy's accident. But Buddy manages to catch up again in which the bad outlaw grabs Buddy's horse tail and starts to spin it around and around until it plays off and hits the ground. They are both pretty dizzy but then get back on their feet to defeat the bad outlaw - if they could.

The bad outlaw then laughs at Buddy and the horses' accident again until his neck hits a cactus and he spins. Ouch. Buddy is now overtaking the bad outlaw in the race (I guess the dog racing wasn't even part of the race). Buddy and his horse are on the edges of a mountain road - and Buddy is almost about to fall off the edge but is still holding onto the reins. Buddy is trapped on a tree in which the reins spin around numerous times until he falls back again onto the horse's saddle. Meanwhile, the villain is in the lead again (which isn't shown) but he crosses a bridge. He makes the race really unfair for Buddy as after he crosses the bridge - he shakes it to delay Buddy even further.

The bridge then suddenly turns into a type of wheel and the villain as to run very quickly. The wheel-bridge then crashes into a rock breaking into pieces. Buddy falls off and is stuck with his suspenders trapped on a branch sticking out from a cliff. The outlaw laughs at Buddy's misfortunes and he drops a rock to make things really bad. Boy, he really is a nasty villain; not giving any chances for anybody to win. The rock bounces off the branch and whacks the villain in the face. The villain then tries to grab himself up the edge of the cliff but his hands are surprisingly so strong that the grass fall on him; in which the villain and his horse fall down and crash Buddy off the branch. They end up splashing onto a lake but Buddy uses his horse to row him to land - but the villain underwater is still winning.

Buddy's horse has nearly drowned as Buddy pulls him out of the lake. Buddy tries to drag his horse to move but for luck - thunder strikes. As thunder starts to strike at the horses' rear end - Buddy's horse manages to keep up in such a good speed. They then start to run inside a cave - but it's so dark that you can only see their eyes. When you see the thunder coming - you can see their skeletons - like X-ray vision. Buddy and his horse then rush out to the end of the cave - and is now competing with the villain. It's starting to become really close as to who will win that race.

Cookie is chanting for Buddy to "come on" as he's very close to finishing. Both of them fall into the mud, but it turns out that Buddy won the race; as he's gone over the finish line. It means that Buddy has won the "Mail contract". Both Buddy and Cookie are about to kiss each other on the lips but I guess to escape from being in trouble from "Hays Office" (who didn't often like kissing scenes) they accidentally kissed Buddy's horse. The horse blushes - and that's all folks.

Except for some really great gags that did appear in that overall cartoon - the rest of it just flaws to me. I didn't understand about why there were dogs racing in that race considering that this was a "pony express race".  There were two-many long-shots in that film which didn't make the film in my opinion to be very exciting. Although I guess the only part to me that saved the cartoon was the gags - in which they do deserve some credit and effort. Cookie's singing voice at the beginning is really annoying and I don't think it's Bernice Hansen. Not many Buddy cartoons left to review - and I can't wait to finish them, and Buddy will be gone in my mind.


  1. Ben Cloptoaen?

    I think this is one of the better Buddy shorts. And I don't think Carr was the voice of Buddy in this one.

  2. Historically significant for the first ever use of John Stepan Zamecnik's tune "In The Stirrups", soon to be associated with Stalling's action-packed scenes — played here in the beginning.

  3. Jackie Morrow is Buddy. I think Carr was working for Lantz at this point, wasn't he?

  4. Jackie Morrow is Buddy. Yes, that's Bernice Hansen.

  5. Glue Factory reference: A horse that is near death or had ceased to be useful as a working animal was said to "be ready for the glue factory." In the time before the current varieties of adhesives, and even today for some purposes, glue would be made from animal hooves, hides and connective tissue. So given Buddy a horse that was quite literally at the glue factory was giving him one which was supposedly near death.