Release date: July 13, 1935.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Animation: Don Williams and Jack Carr.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
This is the earliest Warner Bros. cartoon to feature a Blue Ribbon release and yes; there is no credits but I used Dave Mackey's that features the credits that we think were - and Internet Movie Database says so in there.
We begin with a country mouse who is training or dreams of being a boxer. He is using a punching bag for practice and he already has a group of people that the mouse seems to be the influence. The country mouse then starts to boast on how that he would try to knock down anyone in the county fair fight. Even one of the kids plays the harmonica that goes with the music on the background La Cucaracha. Everyone all slaps at his speech and his practicing in which he gets the praise. Well; he doesn't deserve praise since he looks extremely weedy.
Meanwhile the country boy's mother is sitting outside on her porch in her rocking chair knitting and also puffing her pipe. She spits out tobacco and aims at a pan standing on a porch from a hook. Now she looks like one tough woman for her age. Meanwhile the country mouse then starts to show off his muscles; and my - I guess he isn't so weedy then. All his fans then admire him and he walks along with a strong pose that he is putting on. All of the kids copy his position.
The country mouse (Elmer) then starts to begin by doing his chores in which it appears to be is that he is some type of lumberjack where he is taking down trees. Well he's not using an axe or a sharp equipment to pull them down. Instead he is using his own muscles to do it to get the tree down. As the tree is down, the country mouse then notices an axe on the tree. Why? He could've used the axe to cut down the tree. What? Is he trying to show off his strength again. Now THAT'S modest of him. Elmer is then starting to cut off thin layers off the tree and of course; it's pathetic and is obviously afraid being hurt. Now that is a type of strength I'd not associate with that mouse.
The country mouse (Elmer) then proposes to the grandmother that he is going to be a fighter at the country fair; and I guess that's probably what the book is about? Why did he need the book? Elmer then does some demonstrations of his "fighting skills" by hitting the air again. The grandmother doesn't even care and doubts that Elmer would even win since he's pretty weak. She grabs his ear and walks him to the porch of the house. The grandmother then slams the door; and probably the end of Elmer's career in boxing.
The nickname that the bulldog has is called The Run-Some Bulldog. The bell then rings in which the fight between Elmer (Hickville Threat) and Sam (The Run-Song Bulldog) is about to begin. The fight starts off in a pretty funny way. They're all walking and threatening in funny positions, but they fight like sissies - mostly because of Elmer. As they start to repeat the position again; they fight like sissies again but Elmer gets knocked out that time - with the audience laughing. Yep, he's definitely weak. Come on; that's not what to do at boxing; the way to do it is if a punch is coming directly at him - you duck and sway your head sideways.
I like the punching gags that are being presented in this short so far; as Elmer is proven not to be even stronger than the bulldog. The bulldog then punches Elmer in the air and he lands on a stool and is knocked out. A pig runs into the scene to fan Elmer to try and wake up. Elmer then wakes up and wants to try to pick a fight on the bulldog. The pig punches Elmer unconscious as he wants to fan him to try and calm him down.
Back at the arena; Elmer is still useless at the boxing match since his brain doesn't seem to function well anymore and that he can't find ways to defend himself anymore. All of the crowd are cheering on the bulldog who is winning the game by a mile. The next gag shows up that is just wonderful; but it wouldn't work by force but the timing is excellent when the bulldog missed his shot at punching Elmer but punches the rails in which the ENTIRE canvas spins. The speed is just great to look at.
Since I noticed the humor in Freleng's cartoons have started to slightly improve; I've noticed the speed in his cartoons are improving and it shows in this cartoon. Would this be Friz's lucky months on that studio or is this real improvement? The highlight of this cartoon was of course the boxing as there was some good gags; and a good use of timing and speed. The staging was all done well; and we got to see one of Friz's examples of his timing on music. I like how that the kids all think Elmer the country mouse was pretty tough but considering that the grandmother was tougher than him - which would mean it's an embarrassment for Elmer. I think it shows that Tex Avery WASN'T the only guy who improved the Looney Tunes - he certainly gave the humor and gags which inspired the people at the studio - but the *other* directors had their share.