Thursday, 16 February 2012

112. Buddy the Gee Man (1935)

Warner cartoon no. 111.
Release date: August 24, 1935.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Jackie Morrow (Buddy) and Billy Bletcher (Warden/MachineGun Mike/Prisoners).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Sandy Walker and Cal Dalton.

Well, this is finally it - the last of the Buddy cartoons. The final of the blandness. The end of Buddy's career. We will celebrate with a bottle of champaigne and also some hot pudding.

Our final Buddy cartoon begins in Washington D.C. at the Departments of Justice. A dog agent then walks out of the office as he is delivering a letter to Federal Agent Buddy at 000 1/2 Cornbread Ave. in Kansas City, MO (Missouri). The letter gets delivered. Meanwhile Buddy is at home on his desk as he is about to cut open the letter with his knife so that he can be able to read it of course. Buddy is given the job to investigate on the warden on how he is treating prisoners at "SingSong Prison"?? okay.

It looks like that Buddy's job is being a spy or something. he brings out a mustache as a disguise. Buddy then walks to his hatstand to put on the sailor hat on and he grabs out a horseshoe from his pocket and throws it away and I guess the luck on the horseshoe was useless since it had a twisted nail inside it but I don't know. As Buddy threw the horseshoe away it broke his mirror in which Buddy does a Jack King's hat-take in which Buddy starts to run out of the door.

Buddy then steps outside in his backyard where he is calling for his dog and the kennel says he's called Gee-Man. Okay; I know that Cookie's been through three designs but is this dog going through a 3rd name or just the position or job of the dog? Because it doesn't look so similar to Bozo so I might as well refer his dog as "Buddy's dog". Buddy's dog then comes out of the kennel dressed in a Sherlock Holmes fashion puffing a pipe. Buddy whispers something in his dog's ear in which the dog is interested. He runs out of the kennel and they arrive at town very quickly.

Buddy and Bozo then climb on top of these group of kids' heads in a line done in height order. The gag was reused from an early Buddy cartoon Buddy the Gob. There is another scene in which there is a pig and frog in a sailor suit and the dialogue is NOT even hear in the copy I'm reviewing that I can't even understand if it's meant to be a joke or a reference. Oh well; I hope somebody could try and help me out. Buddy and the dog then start to climb on top of the back of a police car - and I'm assuming that they know that it's heading to Singsong Prison. I like the gag on how the police's car exhaust pipe explodes black smoke onto the man who was down a manhole. Funny timing.

We then go to the shots of "Sing Song Prison" in which there is a tower guard sleeping but then pulls the switch to let the door open with an incoming mass of police officers in their vehicles. Buddy and his detective dog are inside the prison building in which they are spying on the warden to see if he's doing a fine job. The name of the warden is called Otto B. Kinder (obviously a pun to "oughta be kinder". Buddy takes a peek inside in which he sees the warden walking in circles that Buddy writes down in his notbook as part of his inspection.

Meanwhile the next part then shows these prisoners that pop their heads up as they are about to go into song warming up their vocals. They then start to go into song singing Lulu's Back in Town. The warden is indoors rather angry about the singing going on in which he bangs the desk with a tray landing on top of his head. The warden then walks to the prisoners with his anger "Quiet, quiet! Back in there you bums!" Well, at  least we get the good personality of the warden who doesn't like them singing since the prison is called "Sing Song Prison" so they must at least have some rights. Buddy also jots that down in his notepad.

Meanwhile there is a prisoner who is holding a letter and shows it to the next person presenting "Get a load of this", the other prisoner reads the letter from the other prisoner's girlfriend or wife called Sadie. The end of the letter reads; "With all my love, your own Sadie. P.S. These are for you: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx". Looks like the wife doesn't care about his crime but his personality I guess. The guy who wrote the letter remarks "Not bad". Meanwhile there is guard who appears to have a letter attached to a bayonet directed to the prisoner who read the love letter. The letter seems to show that the prisoner has to pay some charity a donation of 10 cents. With the dialogue I don't know who the letter was from or what they're even saying. It's the video sound quality that isn't so great.

The warden enters the scene as he hears chatting and laughing from the prisoner and shouts "QUIET" and shouts "No laughing around, here". Buddy is upstairs from the hall but can see what the warden is doing. This is another incident that is being written down on Buddy's notepad. Meanwhile the next part then shows a prisoner who is rather lazy and is uselessly tapping on the rock to the theme of London Bridge is Falling Down. The warden walks into the scene in which he gives the prisoner a bigger hammer to smash rocks with so that he can begin working and shouts "Get to work". The worker then accidentally hits the warden on the head as he was about to take a whack at the rock but the warden's head pops out through a jacket and shouts "What's the idea?!".

Meanwhile even Buddy's detective dog uses his tail to write in the notepad. There is a prisoner who has an iron ball attached to his foot and he places it inside a cannonball in which he plans to try and escape from the prisoner (probably because of his hatred towards the warden). The cannon explodes but it goes off at the wrong direction - backwards. The warden enters the scene in which he gives the prisoner a pick-axe to continue chopping rocks. Buddy has finished the notes on inspecting the warden. He then walks over to a typewriter in which that he has completed the inspection and recommends for a warden replacement.

After the letter; the newspaper is screaming with a headlines that reads in giant letters BUDDY MADE WARDEN! So it turns out that Buddy was chosen to be the warden of Sing Song Prison; and I imagine that everyone is somehow going to like him with his ability to have fun, make the prison cheerful but I wonder if they won't like his blandness. There is even a newspaper boy that shouts out that he is the warden; and somehow THAT is big news. Buddy must've ALREADY been recognized from people before being given the job as the warden.

Buddy then steps up at the rocks as he is calling a meeting for prisoners and asks "Is everybody happy?" which he is impersonating Ted Lewis. All of the prisoners then start to cheer on Buddy as they already like the new warden. The next part on the microphone I think he is saying "Light up the land". The prisoners have already thought of what to do with the old warden and they use him to hammer. Now doesn't that not seem harsh? I know he was a strict and boring warden but couldn't be not have been sacked - which is the easier way? Buddy even offers the prisoners some ice-cream which he gives them out for free. Now I imagine that SOME of you people probably would wish to go to that prison if you committed a crime. A pig and a dog then ask for ice cream.

Buddy then starts to go around with his cart offering more people some ice cream. Meanwhile there appears  to be a monkey who throws a rock inside the prisoner's mouth in which he shoots them out of his mouth that produces tiny stones. Even the prisoners are allowed to sing - while the "old warden" barred them from fun at all in prison - well; is prison even MEANT to be fun? Buddy also offers cigars for the prisoner who is having his shoes polished and his nails filed. Okay; but isn't Buddy a "too kind" warden because I don't know if them having so much fun is a way for them to owe a debt to society. No, I'm not a boring old fart but don't you think Buddy is treating them too kindly here - I don't know many other prison wardens that would do something like that.

Meanwhile there appears to be a guard who is shouting "Calling Machinegun Mike!" The guard goes up to the prisoners who are licking their ice-creams but they believe to hear the sounds of a machine gun and they point at a different direction. The guard then finds Machinegun Mike in which he gives him the letter but puffs smoke on his face. The letter reads that Machinegun Mike is pardoned by order, which I presume means that he is free. It was signed by chairman of Official Pardon Hans Cuff (obvious pun to handcuff). The cartoon has a lot of these puns that you'd expect to see in comics or something. What I find pretty amusing is that Machinegun Mike scrunches the letter and continues to dig with a drill as though he doesn't care.

Meanwhile there is a group of people who are banging indoors begging to go to that prison probably because of how luxurious that they heard about. There are a group of people trying to get their way through the doors in which some of them manage but then the doors are locked shut with the other people no longer allowed to go on. Buddy leaves up a notice reading "No Vacancies" - and that's all folks.

Wow! This is another achievement that has accomplished. Not only have I "made it through the storm of Harman-Ising cartoons" but I've even made it through "the cyclone of abominable proportions" even in a short period of time. Well, the abominable cartoons haven't faded away yet and they will return - eventually; and even pop back every once in a while. This cartoon was in fact quite a good way in my opinion to end the Buddy series since he didn't appear in the cartoon TOO much and that the other characters got their share although some parts of it could be better like the plot and that maybe Buddy was too soft as a warden. But THAT was part of the whole joke because everyone wanted to go in. Of course; as we know the Buddy cartoons had a BAD start with that awful Tom Palmer cartoon Buddy's Day Out. Earl Duvall then directed a few Buddies which in my opinion were pretty good. Friz Freleng's Buddies were very dull and pretty bad, and so was Ben Hardaway. Only Jack King seems to have made the only good Buddy cartoons no matter how flawed they are.

I'm so glad that I have finally completed the Buddy reviews and I had no idea that I'd probably be able to get this far. Buddy is one of the most forgotten Looney Tunes characters and probably the blandest; and it's probably important that I've gone through the hard parts. I still have a very long journey to go since I haven't reached Porky's famed era, Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Road Runner or even Cool Cat. So now, Buddy - now that you're probably out of my head forever; and I will never miss him - not even a close bit. Comparing the Bosko and Buddy cartoons where they basically have the same personalities but as Bob Clampett puts it "Bosko in whiteface". Bosko is still a far better character than Buddy even though Bosko is basically nothing; but at least he has some appeal to the audience with his singing and dancing skills and the animation is very smooth. Buddy is just a blander version of Bosko with absolute no design or caricature and is nothing special.

His girlfriend has been through three different designs but so has Buddy. Buddy looked like a little kid in Buddy's Day Out but at least Earl Duvall made him a little more appealing in the next cartoon Buddy's Beer Garden and the last design of Buddy by Bugs Hardaway is just even blander; but I do really like the last design of Cookie than the curly blonde one. Also originally that Buddy did have a dog named Happy and a baby named Elmer but they were eliminated after the first cartoon but Buddy still always had a dog with him but he seemed to have at least 5 DIFFERENT DOGS which makes it more confusing. First it was Happy, then the dachshund in Buddy's Beer Garden, then Tower in Buddy and Towser, Bozo in a couple of the Buddy cartoons and last one the dog he had in this cartoon (Buddy the Gee Man). With Buddy gone; the bland stuff has basically gone past; as some Beans the Cat cartoons are pretty good and that with the arrival of Tex Avery; the cartoons do get even better. Although the Merrie Melodies are still not go great for a little while (especially in Friz Freleng's cartoons). When 1935 will be nearly complete, 1936 will be a great year; the arrival of Frank Tashlin and Carl Stalling who would pioneer the Looney Tunes. Stay tuned. Well, all I can say is: Goodbye Buddy! Good I've managed to review all his cartoons in a quick amount of time.


  1. Well done for staying the course...:)

    I havn't got a hat was such an important cartoon...really started the change..

  2. it did make me smile seeing the dog in a sherlock outfit with pipe!! Also liked the ending of everyone wanting to go to prision nice and subversive..

  3. Pig (German accent): What's all der excitement?
    Frog: They're taking Machine-Gun Mike to Sing-Song Prison!

    Later, when the prisoners receive their letters:

    Hound dog: Get a load o' this!
    Bulldog: [reads letter] Not bad! [receives his own] From me goil; perp [i. e. "pipe," listen to] this love letter!

    Sadly, when the hound dog makes fun of the bulldog's junk mail, I can't work out what he's saying, either.