Sunday, 12 February 2012

108. Buddy's Bug Hunt (1935)

Title card courtesy of Big Cartoon Database.
Warner cartoon no. 107.
Release date: June 22, 1935.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jackie Morrow (Buddy), Billy Bletcher (Judge/Spider) and Bernice Hansen (Butterfly).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Bob McKimson and Paul Smith.

Since there is a very annoying time-code which was taken from an old video tape and it's the only video that probably exists so far on the Internet; I'm afraid that this is gonna have to do. Don't worry; this Buddy cartoon and two more Buddy cartoons and Buddy'll be gone and out of our miseries.

The cartoon begins with Buddy with a butterfly net trying to catch a butterfly and is enjoying the day. Buddy doesn't even look out at what he is doing while catching a butterfly as he climbs up some small ladder; and runs through a cow's head and a farmer's head while the farmer was milking the cow. Buddy then runs past a sign that reads Be Sure to see Seasdie Beach and parts of the sign is turn off. The butterfly is standing on top of a sign; in which Buddy uses his butterfly net to watch it in which a woman pops out (with her dress being the same as the billboard poster's) and she walks off-screen disappointed. Buddy then looks down disappointed and then notices the butterfly flying past Buddy in which he chases it into his bug-house.

Buddy is inside the bug-house and he is looking for the butterfly but he obviously can't find it. He then notices it on top of a flower. Buddy then grabs hold of the flower blocking the butterfly from escaping out of the petals but Buddy shakes it down the stem and ends up inside a glass and he traps it. Buddy sees another glass in which he has a bag of butterflies and places them inside another glass. At least they're not moths or otherwise they'll eat the damn bag but I hope they eat Buddy's damn clothes for my amusement. Buddy then walks to the next part and he sees a spider hanging onto a cob-string. Buddy pulls the string out of the spider.

Buddy then steps over to a microscope in which he examines it by gluing the spider onto the table - poor spider. The spider then cries for help. Okay; for anyone who has arachnophobia - don't bother screaming; this bland drawn spider ain't scary. Buddy then accidentally gets ether coated on him in which the screen dissolves into a dream sequence that will appear. Good effects for the time of course. The dream sequence then starts to dissolve with the spider who is managing to get out from the sticky liquid easily and then is all free. The spider then notices that Buddy is already sleeping because of ether in which the spider laughs and climbs down the table.

The spider starts to climb up another table in which he frees a group of flies inside a jar in which he takes the lid off. The spider then starts to take the cork out of a bottle with a frog inside it. The spider is speaking to all the insects (that Buddy captured as part of his hobby) is speaking gibberish and I wonder if that was the concept. The spider then starts to take some steps back as he is going to get the cork out of the bottle himself - even if it's doing it the hard way. The cork then loosens and the frog is set free. Mmm; at least the gag works since frogs are pretty slippery to escape.

Buddy is trapped by a spider web created by a group of spiders to trap Buddy. Meanwhile there is a spider who drops down a small box open that reads REDUCING PILLS. It is poured onto a glass of water and Buddy is calling for help but the bugs aren't going to help him - not after what Buddy did to them. Buddy has a funnel inside Buddy's mouth in which the bottle of water with pills inside it is all gobbed into Buddy's mouth. All of the bugs are glad to see Buddy suffering in which Buddy starts to shrink at a small size. Buddy is trapped under the spider web in which he tries to get out but a group of bugs then start to go near Buddy and they sing about how that they are going to get their revenge towards Buddy.

There is a ladybird design spoof in which she is dressed in dots like a normal ladybird. The frog (I imagine that maybe Bletcher did the voice of that frog) then sings about Buddy will be in trouble for what he did to the insects and species. They appear to be treating him as though that today is his Judgement Day. There appear to be these group of bugs that find a rollerskate and they break it in half - how come? Is it something to trap Buddy in or something? We'll find out - I guess.

Buddy is tied up and is held prisoner and appears to be that the damaged roller skate was used for Buddy to sit down on and not to escape. Buddy is placed into the trial in which there are a group of bugs that use some grater in which the cheese turns into alphabet and sticks onto flypaper. The title then reads "Acme Fly Paper". Ahh, I wonder if that's where Chuck Jones got the idea to use it for his "Road Runner" cartoons? No? I think this was probably the first Warner Bros. cartoon to use the term "Acme". The Acme flypaper reads:

Hear Ye, Hear Ye - Buddy Will Be Tried in Court for Cruelty to Insects. 

The jury are sitting down in unused egg boxes; a sheriff then reaches to the scene in which he announces about the court about to start. A cuckoo clock then pops out of it's clock which I guess was part of the gag.

The judge then bangs on his table but pulls out some type of card to Buddy and wants Buddy to "cross your heart, hope to die, because here you won't tell a lie". The judge then bangs his mallet on top of Buddy's sailor hat and I think he says something like "Won't talk, eh?". The judge then approaches to the first witness in the trial in which there is a bug that accuses Buddy for losing it's leg and has a clothesline peg attached to it. The bug witnesses; "He yanked it off right near the joint; and now they call me Peg". The judge looks at him rather smugly, tuts at him with pity and then calls the next witness.

The next witness is a butterfly who seems to look like Cookie and of course; the voice is Bernice Hansen. The butterfly witnesses about something like her parents were taken away from Buddy and she "was left to die". The judge then says a line (that I can't make out what it is but I think it could be a reference). The next witness is a bird and is apparently voiced by Bernice Hansen's adult voice which is rare as she does the child voices. Another insect who appears to be dressed as a widow then witnesses: "That nasty old such and such..." and then speaks about that Buddy apparently ripped her husband and died. The witnessing here is pretty grim to listen to in this cartoon - even the one by the female butterfly - I wonder if this had influence on Pluto's Judgement Day but that cartoon wasn't released until August 1935 so who knows?

The judge reacts to the witnessing which is grim and shouts "For goodness sakes" and he bangs on Buddy's head for shame until he wipes the mallet with a cloth. The judge then turns to the jury; "Gentlemen of the jury; what is your decree? You find the prisoner guilty or do you insist him free?" Hmm, does every verse happen to have rhyming couplets back then - like in Disney's Snow White where she meets the forest animals.  A wrinkled old man of the jury then considers Buddy to be guilty but wants to see him punished and hurt - all of this does sound grim.

The judge then responds with this result with an "Okay - give him the worst" in which Buddy is taken out of his seat in which he is being sentenced to the Cigar lighter. It means that he is going to get burnt - obviously. The lighter is then switched on from low to full in which Buddy cries for help. Is he still stuck on that fire; I know he's tied up but couldn't he think of a neat idea like trying to crawl away from the cigar lighter so he probably wouldn't get burnt so much. This continues to happen until the dream starts to fade back into reality...

It appears in the dream that Buddy was screaming because on his buttocks his magnifying glass is reflecting sunlight on Buddy's backside. See; that's why Buddy should have been careful with ether since he could've been put in a deep sleep and probably would've got burnt and not woken up in time - that's the consequences. Buddy then runs to a nearby tub and cools his backside down. After the nightmare that Buddy just had with the bugs - we then lets out all the insects to be free as the dream must've taught him a lesson. Mmm; this is probably one of the earliest cartoons in which bad dreams for rough people that turn them into sweet people at the end. Walter Lantz used it for Boy Meets Dog, Disney on Pluto's Judgement Day, Tom and Jerry in Heavenly Puss, any more shorts to name?

All of the bugs start to fly out of the hut and even the animals such as frogs; bugs, etc. from the ground then leave the hut. Buddy is then making sure that all of the animals from the hut have banished and tells them to "Shoo". Buddy then slams the door of his hut in which the entire hut collapses and falls - probably must've been old. Buddy's head pops out of the planks, and he looks at these two frogs on a plank balancing on top of a broken down piece of wood as though they're playing seesaw. Buddy chuckles at the seesaw - and that's all folks.

Due to that really annoying time counter that was all over the cartoon; this was in fact a pretty decent Buddy cartoon to watch; and of course it's one of his last. It was one of the earlier concepts of a dream fantasy in which Buddy is in trial until all is revealed at the end as it was a dream but of course it isn't one of the best at all. Some parts of it seemed rather dark to me; even the witnesses who call Buddy a murderer and of course he isn't - he's just bland and weedy - he could barely even hurt a fly. Acme appears to be used for the first time in this cartoon (well; at least in a Warner Bros. cartoon; does anyone know where it originated in cartoons)? Well, the good news is that at there will be two more reviews of the Warner Bros blandest animated character and afterwards he will be banished from the Looney Tunes forever at least 9 more reviews to go until we finally meet Tex Avery's cartoons - so stay tuned and keep reading the following reviews.


  1. Hal Roach did a silent Our Gang comedy similar to this called 'Cat, Dog, & Co.' It's pretty amusing because it shows real animals acting like humans in a courtroom setting.

  2. The butterfly says,
    "An orphan child am I
    And I will tell you why;
    He stole my parents off a leaf
    And I was left to die."

    Judge (imitation of Joe Penner): "Ooh, is that so?... Next witness!"

    Widow: "That nasty old such-and-such
    With fiendish yells of glee
    Seized my husband in his clutch
    And a widow made of me."

  3. King would revisit the same basic theme (minus judge) later in his WB stint with the 1936 Porky cartoon "Fish Tales". And Famous Studios would use this type of formula often, particularly in the Little Lulu and Little Audrey series (albeit in the Lulu shorts, they still had enough of a sense of comedy so that in most cases she never does quite learn the full lesson).