Friday, 2 March 2012

121. Plane Dippy (1936)

Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.
featuring "Porky"
Warner cartoon no. 120.
Release date: January 4, 1936.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Joe Dougherty (Porky), Bernice Hansen (Little Kitty), Billy Bletcher (Sergeant / Inventor).
Musical Score: Bernard Brown.
Animation: Sid Sutherland and Virgil Ross.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).

The first entry of 1936. This is also the first animation credit for Virgil Ross who was one of the greatest animators in Golden Age animation of all time. Unfortunately this video that I have is a colourised version of the cartoon; as there isn't a black-and-white copy available on the Internet. So this will have to do. It's also Porky's first full-cartoon while he only played minor roles in the 1935 cartoons. 

Our cartoon begins with Porky as he is walking across the streets looking at posters that read Join the Army - Infantry Division. Porky then thinks logically in his head whenever or not to join the army but shakes his head "no" as it doesn't appeal to him. Porky walks to the next poster reading See the World - Join the Navy. Porky isn't eager to join the navy so he walks on.

Porky then walks on to the next poster as it appears to be a bunch of military posters being displayed. The poster that appeals to Porky is Learn to Fly - Join the Air Corps. Porky is interested to join the air corps in which he marches inside for applicant. So, it appears to be that Porky was marching in a streets with military posters and applicants about. Avery has altered Porky's design in this short since he was an adult in the last one. The design of Porky is better but his take on Porky isn't so appealing - I have to say.

Porky meets the sergeant of the room in which he shouts "Well"?! Porky announces but stutters very badly in that god-annoying Joe Dougherty stutter. "(stuttering) I'm gonna..." then he starts to spread his arms out pretending they're wings and making plane sounds.

The sergeant then asks for his name "What's your name?" in which Porky then starts to stutter his own name. The sergeant helps out Porky by handing him a small blackboard with a chalk to help write down his name so he doesn't have to take down stuttering it out, "Here, write it then!". Porky not only stutters while saying it but as he writes it down he is also stuttering while writing it. Now that is a funny gag that encourages me to laugh out since it's inventive and appealing since it shows that Porky can't even control his writing and stutter. it appears to be such an affliction. Bless. The song being played in the opening of this cartoon is I'd Love to Take Orders from You.

Porky Pig then starts to stutter the rest of his name as the blackboard is taken off him. It seems that Porky is exaggerating with his other names that appear to be gibberish or other names but I can't quite tell what he is saying clearly. Can anyone help? I know this was meant to be a gag; which I thought was funny but I didn't understand exactly what was said which was a little hard for me to understand the gag.

The sergeant then takes Porky away in which he brings him a back of uniform for him to try and put on. Porky then enters the dressing room in which the sergeant is waiting for him to get changed; and seconds later Porky is out there. The sergeant is surprised as he sees his uniform doesn't fit Porky. The sergeant then dumps Porky into a bucket of water in which the uniform then shrinks into the perfect size for Porky.

The next sequence dissolves to a title card that reads Dizziness Test. I love how the words then start to spin around like propellers to probably make an audience dizzy. The sergeant is in a test room with Porky tied up onto a long piece of rope. The sergeant then loosens the piece of rope in which Porky spin with those tornado speed lines.

A member of the air corps in the test room (could it be Beans?) then draws a line in the middle of the room but it leaves Porky spinning all over the place and not keeping his balance. It doesn't seem like a great gag to me because of the speed but this was just the 1930s back then. It still works.

The next sequence then shows a title card that reads Target Practise that shows bullets firing at the screen to print those words. The sergeant has a toy plane out in which Porky's job is to try and aim at it with a machine gun. It was simple for the sergeant to do it; and then he turns it over to Porky to do the job. Porky's attempt then fails in which he starts to fire all over the place. The smoke then covers the screen leaving the entire test room all blown up with the plane still in the air. Porky kicks the machine gun in frustration but then it shoots the machine gun which is funny since it took him all THAT effort to try and shoot it. Some good personality on Porky going on here - even though it's not quite like his known personality that we know.

The next title card then reads Ready for Duty and I imagine it means Porky has qualified his tests and is ready to begin his duty at the air army corps. The sergeant is giving out guns to the soldiers and those in the corps. The sergeant is throwing the guns at these lanky dogs in which they almost loose their balance and walk off.

Porky then turns up ready for duty but the sergeant disqualifies Porky for his shenanigans in which he has to do the job of sweeping as the sergeant gives him the duster and gives him a paper of "orders" to do. He is sent to do work inside a hut in which the sign reads Robot Plane - KEEP OUT! It appears as though that an automatic plane is being built. Porky enters the scene in which he whistles to see if anybody is in the room but the cloth flies out with a mechanical monkey in the scene leaving Porky flying with those tornado speed lines. It appears to be that Avery enjoyed using those twisted speed lines for Porky to spin that kept the timing fun although I wonder if that was assigned to a particular animator to do. I know that Virgil Ross would use that in later cartoons but he wasn't the one and only to use that. The monkey mechanic then shouts "Well?" The monkey then reads the note in which it reads:

TO Professor Blotz; This Helper O.K. for your robot plane tests. Sgt. Mc(?) His damn thumb is covering up the sergeant's name.

Professor Blotz then shows Porky a type of machine in which he shows him, "Get a load of this". Porky is holding onto the microphone in which the plane starts to fly automatically. The professor then gets the microphone in which he asks the plane to do a "loop" and the plane will do a loop. All these clever tricks that aren't invented...yet.

The professor then asks Porky to "try it" in which Porky asks the plane to do a "loop" but it takes him too long to ask the plane to do so because of his stuttering problem. Porky accidentally tells the plane to go "up" in which it is about to pop a hot-air balloon but then tells it to go down. The inventor then snatches the microphone off Porky in which he shouts "Get to work". It appears that the inventor is rather grumpy and grouchy. What really annoys me about him is the voice. If this is Billy Bletcher doing the voice then it isn't a very great voice that he puts on. He's better off as the villain; but at least it's better than Dougherty's.

Porky then starts to sweep the plane in which the inventor places the automatic projector on the window sill. Little Kitty then walks into the scene in which a puppy runs into the scene and licks her in the face as she giggles. On one thought; what is a puppy doing in the air army corps? Another person comes in who resembles Oliver Owl (but is more of a dog than an owl evidently). Little Kitty asks, "Can he do tricks". The dog then asks the dog to stand.

Of course; the dog is standing very near the automatic projector that controls the plane. Porky is inside the plane in which he is scrubbing and he can feel that the plane is standing or balancing doing what the dog is doing. Now this is where the fun part of the cartoon comes in. I imagine this was probably a lot of fun to animate. The Oliver Owl type-dog then asks the puppy to wag its tail in which the plane does the exact same thing as it wags the back part of the plane. Little Kitty shouts "Get the balloon" then the pup is after the balloon...

...and off the plane goes charging at the hot-air balloon in which it bursts. Now that is just a fun, executed gag since the hot-air balloon gag just works well and it was even featured earlier in the short. Porky then starts to wail that the plane is going all over the place and when I hear that wail - it sure sounds weird and horrible.

Meanwhile Little Kitty then asks the pup to perform more tricks by chasing it's tail. The plane then starts to chase it's tail but spins around and around. The plane then flies around a tall building in which the gag shows chunks of the building being demolished until all of it is destroyed except for the very top part that is now on the ground. It's one of the gags that had to be well animated to make the gag work. Well; this cartoon's main theme is the gags and most of them are coherence in the cartoon world and even appeal to the audience. The next gag then pops up as the plane flies into the circus and as Porky's plane flies out of the circus there are already aerobic people swinging onto the rope performing tricks deserves some laughs.

The plane then reaches the ocean in which the aerobic swingers are skidding onto the sea still holding onto the rope that looks as though they're water-skiing. A swordfish jumps into the scene in which cuts the rope. Porky's plane then swims all underwater where a swarm of fish fly out of the way. The plane is chasing after a particular fish (probably as though the puppy is chasing after a cat).

A cat ACTUALLY walks into the scene in which the Oliver Owl (dog) asks the puppy to chase after the cat; which appears to be a coincidence as I was just speaking about that. Unless that this was meant to be for the fish chasing sequence but it was just in the wrong part of the film or if I got this all wrong.

Porky's plane then shoots straight out of the sea in which it bombs straight at the purple plane and it causes a fight. Yes; it looks more like a cat-and-dog fight there. The parts of the plane have vanished in which the pilot of that plane falls down holding onto the propeller.

Porky's plane then slides inside a blimp that is advertising cigars in which it creates a tunnel inside the blimp that is very visible from the sky but doesn't fall down. There is a weird but wonderful gag that shows a cloud figure running away from the plane and hides into a cloud shaped of a house. I like the ideas of gags that Avery use. It's often hard for me to describe what is going on with these gags but I know what they're meant to mean. So I can just say; I enjoy watching them a lot. It's a shame that this isn't in black-and-white but the colourised version isn't bad.

Porky's plane then crashes into a cart with a haystack on top. As the plane flies through - it immediately forms into hats. At least the gag is very handy since the job is already completed for the horse cart but doesn't realise.

Another gag pops up which I don't understand fully well but it shows these row of planes that appear to "duck" as Porky's plane is zooming straight past. Then the group of planes pop back up again. This has proved to be crazy for Porky as a whole bunch of people are encouraging the pup to do tricks and it's very chaotic for Porky.

Porky's plane is still copying the exact movements; and we see about twenty seconds of the pup and plane moving around until it sort of gets to the point on moving on. The pup is then finally exhausted and puffed out. Well; that should be the end of Porky's wild ride. The Oliver Owl pup then says "You had enough?" and then takes his puppy home.

The plane then zooms straight down back into the army air corps. First of all; I sort of wonder why are there a bunch of children in the corps when there should be soldiers all over the base. The plane lands back into the room where the inventor had worked until it crashes a wall. Porky runs out of the scene in which he does that Tasmanian-Devil sound run as he runs extremely fast - and the speed is pretty good as we see multiples of his hands and feet.

Porky runs as fast as he could - although the movement isn't so great because it doesn't look like that he is speeding very much; although the movement is good; but not the pacing. Porky runs to the next part in which he changes his mind and wants to join the army in which he applies.

We then take a close up of the poster that dissolves into a group of soldiers marching - including Porky. Porky turns to the audience rather satisfied that he is in a better position in the army. (Update 7/8/2012: I've restored the colorized Looney Tunes into it's black and white formed and it will look like it's an actual film except it's got Cartoon Networks pooed into it).

Overall comments: This is basically Porky's first "full" cartoon where he was the star while he was just a supporting character in the previous shorts. This is clearly not his best cartoon since his design here may not be appealing; but at least it's not a bad start at all for him. I seemed to have noticed that this cartoon's main theme is "gags" and most of them actually are very good although they can be complicated to explain. I really like that wild plane sequence in which the puppy is doing all the tricks. It makes this picture really fun. Although I still wonder why there are children in the corps where the inventor is? I quite like Porky's personality (even though it hasn't been properly developed) but I liked how at the beginning he was rather foolish, clumsy and also the stutterer; when he couldn't write on the blackboard. The gags in there were inventive this time and I think this cartoon was an improvement to Gold Diggers of '49. Personally; I'd say that Plane Dippy sure was a pretty good cartoon as it's a good start to 1936. Tex Avery is already kicking in. The progress is slow but his cartoons are just coming in better and better - so far.


  1. "It seems that Porky is exaggerating with his other names that appear to be gibberish or other names but I can't quite tell what he is saying clearly. Can anyone help?"

    Porky is giving his full name: Porky Cornelius Washington Otis (?) Lincoln Abner Aloysius Casper Jefferson Philbert Horatius Narcissus Pig.

    Apart from Otis, I'm certain about the others.

    In other news, Professor Blotz is an amazingly close ripoff of Mickey Mouse's comics enemy Professor Ecks. Look at him (with his inverse-colored brother, Professor Doublex) in his 1932 debut here...

    1. Jorge Gonzalez3 June 2012 at 19:45

      Thanks for posting the names. Do you happen to know where to watch Plane Dippy?

  2. Thanks David G. - you're such a help.

    Thanks for the acknowledgement for Professor Blotz; and it seems weird to me that Avery must've gotten influence from a Disney comic - since he was anti-Disney - or was that just a coincidence?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This cartoon is chock full of Disney-influenced character design. As well as, of course, the title itself. How prescient to have the military testing a remote-controlled weaponized airplane. What was futuristic 70 years ago is now an unsettling reality.

  3. The Tasmanian Decvil sounds were also quite a lot sued for the Roadrunner,too! Interesting about Professor Blot's Disney cousin , rhought he looked familiar.

  4. Jorge Gonzalez3 June 2012 at 19:41

    Is there any place where I can see the full cartoon? I can't find it in Youtube. Please help!

  5. A copy is available on Dailymotion. It's colorized though but I used my screenshots to change it to black and white to look as though it's from an original copy.

  6. This is one of those titles that I wish were restored for the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION series, a PORKY PIG entry that doesn't quit as far as gag content is concerned. There were a series of VHS tapes of LOONEY TUNES that came from Columbia House, compiled by Jerry Beck, and the PORKY PIG volume contained this cartoon, as well as "PORKY'S HIRED HAND", another title that I wish saw restoration. It is fantastic!