Yep, everyone's been waiting and here he is; Fred "Tex" Avery. The man whose humour, timing and animation inspired the other directors that would change the Looney Tunes from the blandess of Buddy or Bosko and created hilarious and charming characters such as Porky, Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck; and the concepts of Elmer Fudd. Well, from the start of when Tom Palmer was in charge of production; you'd probably thought "what's TAKING him so long??"; or thought he would never arrive. Well, unfortunately - Tex heard the bad cartoons and left Oregon immediately to go to Schlesinger; but his route spanned months as he was in fact a bad navigator when it comes to driving. Here is his route to Sunst Boulevard, Hollywood where the Schlesinger Studios is located:
So, here is the review:
featuring 'Beans' (and Porky).
Warner cartoon no. 117.
Release date: November 2, 1935.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Bernice Hansen (Little Kitty), Joe Dougherty (Porky Pig). Beans voice unknown.
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Bob Clampett and Charles "Chuck" Jones.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
The whole captions sequence was a parody of what was used in Western films back then and was often shown with a small text but here it's only very few words that is shown very simplisticly - which is something what Avery would definitely do. Notice how that one continuous shot and it was one very long background and it would've been an achievement back then. I wonder if Avery used different backgrounds to make it look like one long background setting.
Little Kitty reads a sign on the newspaper headline YOUNG PROSPECTOR TO HUNT GOLD IN RED GULCH that shows a picture of Beans with a ground shovel. The bottom caption reads "Beans: Local boy to brave hazards for Red Gulch for Gold. Mmm, notice that there are newspaper clippings in the newspaper and what confuses me is that; the newspaper clippings would've been from the 1930's and yet it's already published in 1849? Is that meant to be a hidden-gag?
Meanwhile we see Porky who looks much larger and older. He is eating a huge sandwich that includes chicken, sausages, cheese and fish. He eats it all up and shouts "Whoopee". Of course this isn't a great catchphrase for Porky but this was Avery's first picture and not everything can go perfect in the first time (as well as character appearances) but Avery's doing well in this short at the moment. Little Kitty runs into the scene showing the newspaper to Porky who is his father. She shouts that Beans is going to find the gold and will make the town happy, and also goes on about the romance side which she shouts she's going to marry him and all that. One problem I have in this part is that Porky's daughter is a CAT?! What the hell had happened - my guess is he PORKED a cat. ;-)
All three pictures in the slots have the same picture and Beans wins "Gold! Gold!". Yep, but in the excitement of Yosemite Sam in 14 Carrot Rabbit - but it's still fine. Beans then rides on his horse as he returns some gold and as he is riding giant words hog the screen screaming the word Gold! It's a really good way that makes the cartoon exciting and we're all glad to see Tex's presence. Beans rides back to the quiet town and enters saloons shouting "I've found gold in the gulch!". Everyone in the room all shouts with intrigued, "Gold?!", they rush out the saloon with the bartender shocked with his customers leaving.
What is also funny is that there are gags showing up every time Beans shouts "Gold". He disturbs a dog in the bathtub telling him about "gold in the gulch" with him running and holding onto the tub. Beans continues to shout out "gold" with some Chinese fellows running out excited. The next gag which is very funny (but also a pun) are these group of barbershop quartet singers standing outside a "barber shop" (that's the joke). Whilst they are singing Sweet Adeline Beans tells them about "gold" in which the barbershop singers start to dash off with Beans but return to the spot singing the rest of the song they were performing. That must've been fun for probably Clampett or Jones to animate considering they "didn't get along with the other directors".
Porky and Beans jump into Porky's automobile and Porky excitedly shouts "Whoopee" which was meant to be his catchphrase evidently. The automobile then overtakes these two mad Chinese dogs but then the exhaust pipe explodes smoke onto them as they are seem with black faces which is another example of racist stereotyping. There appears to be a reference going on that is dated but I can't understand what it could be. Could anyone help? I know one of them is saying "Now brother, as I was saying about this year; who's the proposition?" with a rather groaning stereotypical sound heard in the background. I did a Google engine search on that but couldn't find the answer.
Porky is still digging the ground until he finds a piece of gold on the ground and shouts "Gold!" Okay, the voice when he shouts "Gold!" is definitely makes me cringe and as bad as Dougherty's imitation on Porky Pig's stutter but of course this is Dougherty using his normal voice in this cartoon for Porky. This is the only time where Dougherty would use his only voice for Porky (and for Porky to sound completely different) but Dougherty used that same voice for Porky's father in the 1936 Avery Porky cartoons.
Porky has already placed the piece of gold in his back pocket but since there are two holes dug; he reaches his hand for more gold but that gag is his arm comes out of the other hole and takes the coin out and places it back into the pocket a couple of times. At least it's one of the "impossible things" gag that works. Porky hears the screams of Beans as he shouts "Quick! I've found something, etc". Porky rushes into the scene to help out Beans the cat from underground to pull out a treasure chest that Beans has found.
Meanwhile higher up by the edge of the cliff there is a bandit bulldog who is the villain of this cartoon of course. The bandit grabs out a pair of binoculars that belong to him and he is looking for some gold; he skips past a confused Porky and Beans reading the book. The villain skips past the bag of gold but doesn't realize until he finds it properly with his binoculars as he plans to steal it - the thief.
Porky then immediately makes a deal with Beans; "if you grab that bag for me then you can have my daughter". Which means Beans can get married to Little Kitty, presumably. Goodness the stutter sure is annoying but Dougherty can't help it. The bulldog bandit then starts to ride on his horse as he is taking off with his horse. Beans starts to ride inside the car that Porky was riding earlier when he was off to search for gold.
Beans has already caught up in the car as he is already firing guns at the bandit's hat that causes to spin. Avery is not only bringing in great gags; but at least a great use of speed - even though Frank Tashlin was more notable for using it in his cartoons. I like that spinning hat gag in which the bullets shoot the hat into tiny pieces until it is finally no longer useful. The bandit isn't doing anything about it but Beans is still shooting as much as he could which forms a type of patch onto the sheriff's behind but the patch is loose in which the sheriff has a pot to protect himself. Funny gags that shows Beans is almost doomed.
This creates a problem for Beans but he immediately finds a replacement. Beans grabs out a bottle of moonshine to place onto the car's engine as part of petrol in which we hear the funny guzzling sounds that Treg Brown probably created. This ride sequence is in fact really fun to watch and the animation & speed is such a vast improvement than the earlier shorts.
I imagine that the animation of the car sequence with all those speed-lines would've been very difficult to animate because of all of those swoosh lines and I wish to know who that animator was; but I won't guess since animator IDs are frowned upon - often. I noticed how that at times the animation of the car's wheels seem to be up and down most of the time that doesn't look like it's touching the ground. It might have been an error in layout but I think it works really well since when we see a car going in that speed it really looks like it's flying on air.
The car then starts to zoom into town and Beans even drives past Little Kitty who is sweeping her porch but spins around due the speedy car driving right past her. She spins and flies which is quite amusing to watch.
Beans and Little Kitty embrace each other. Beans gives Porky the bag and shouts "and here's your gold!". Porky denies that it's gold; and shouts "That's my lunch". The gag ALL along in this cartoon was that Porky's lunch was stolen and it was thought to be gold in there. Heh-heh. See this is why this was an overall funny story that was not a bad start for Avery. Porky takes the sandwich out of his bag that had fish, sausages, cheese, chicken and he scoffs it all up rather peckish...
and that's all folks!
Overall comments: This was indeed Avery's first cartoon that he worked on and I have to say that this was actually a good start to Tex entering the studio. No, I'm not just liking this cartoon JUST because Avery arrived at the studio. I like this cartoon a lot due to the improvement and comparison of gags, animation and speed. The chase sequence was probably the highlight of this cartoon in my opinion; and also the use of captions at the beginning; with that long background shot. Avery really showed great techniques already in his first picture. The story was all set up pretty well with "the bag" turning out to be Porky's lunch the whole time which would definitely have made the audience laugh back then.
Despite the great parts of this cartoons; I have some downers in this cartoon. I didn't like Avery's voice of how Porky should sound like (although I guess he was trying a different way). The "Whoopie!" sounds weren't very memorable or even charming so at least Avery stopped using it after this cartoon. Some incoherence in this cartoon such as Porky's daughter is a cat but this was overall a great cartoon to look at; and really fun to review. The best cartoon probably made at the studio so far (or compared to A Cartoonist's Nightmare - maybe better). Well; I'm sure you are all glad to see that Tex Avery has finally arrived at the studio and we'll expect many delights from him in the many shorts to come.