Saturday, 17 March 2012

130. Westward Whoa (1936)

Warner cartoon no. 129.
Release date: April 25, 1936.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Bernice Hansen (Ham and Ex), Joe Dougherty (Porky Pig).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Paul Smith and Ben Clopton.
Synopsis: Beans and his gang set out for west; until Ham and Ex tease the pioneers disguising themselves as Native Indians; until actual Indians arrive.

This is the final appearance of Beans, Little Kitty, Ham and Ex from the Beans gang; as it appears to be that only Porky is left (although the Oliver  Owl type character appears in "Shanghaied Shipmates").

The cartoon begins with a group of wagons walking west where Beans and his gang are pioneers in this cartoon looking for land to form settlements, community, etc. Beans and Little Kitty are sitting on the front wagon while Little Kitty has a banjo and Beans has an accordion. They are singing the folk song Covered Wagon Days. The singing isn't particularly great; although the cattle's mooing isn't at least bad. I imagine they're moving west when the Colonial U.S. was declared as independent in 1776 by the British Empire.

There are a group of pioneers that are joining them; like Porky Pig for instance. As well as a drunken one drinking a bottle of liquor while riding a mule. The chorus are then singing the traditional song "Oh Susanna!" that pioneers sung.

The cattles then halt as Beans likes a "steady" type-noise as they halt. Little Kitty then turns over to Beans shouting: "Look; this is a good place to stop right by those big trees!" which probably means they're taking a break from their big travel or calling this part the new settlement.

As they've found the place; they've gone to have enjoyed settlement here as it's the right accommodation for them. There is square dancing going on with "Oh Susanna!" played in the backgrounds. At least the animation of the square dance is rather simple and not the type of squared-dance scenes that would be reused a lot in Disney animation in the 1940's like "The Martins and the Coys" where Jack Kinney and Wilfred Jackson reused them.

Ham and Ex walk to Beans and they are wearing "Davy Crockett" hats - now I won't be able to tell which one's which? Ham and Ex then tell Beans on where their whereabouts will be:

Ham & Ex: We're going to play "Indians".
Beans: Be careful the Indians don't get you.

Ham and Ex laugh at it as though they accept it as poppycock. They both then are about to play as they believe to see the feathers of an Indian hat behind a rock. They approach to the rock to see what the feathers are but it just happens to be the feathers of a turkey that is pecking on the ground for crumbs in the floor. Ham and Ex then use the turkey as a trick in which they whisper to each others ears as they are going to trick the pioneers. They run out shouting "Indians" loudly as though they're in danger.

Beans is seen carrying a pile of wood in which he drops them after hearing Ham and Ex shout "Indians" and Beans has been conned. Beans grabs out a shotgun in which he continues to fire as he thinks he sees Indians. Beans then runs to the rock that Ham and Ex were at earlier in which he finds the feathers of a turkey; but not from his point of view. He fires at the turkey in which the turkey dashes out of the scene clucking madly.

Beans is furious as he hears the sounds of Ham and Ex giggling at the prank Beans was pulled at.
Ham and Ex continue to giggle until Beans walks up to them as he is going to give them a telling off. "Some say an Indian will get ya; and (pantomimes cut throat) off goes your head!" As he is walking away; he walks up to one of the twins (is it Ham or Ex?) as he shouts "And you too!"

As they watch Beans leave the scene Ham and Ex continue to have naughty ideas as one of them then asks the other by whispering in the ear of more tricks to fool the others. They both then start to put on Native Indian tribal calls as Beans has already been conned by this - twice. Beans performs a 360 hat-take and I probably don't need to explain why anymore. The voice of Beans shouting "Indians" is a different voice actor here performed with a lower voice shouting "Indians!".

A dog settler then starts to jump inside the pond as he shoots while underwater but then shoots back while trying to fire at an Indian. Another settler jumps until the bones of a cattle for his base as he shoots under firing with the cattle skull mouth opening as he open fires.

Ham and Ex have got the giggles once again (they won't be once they've FOUND an actual Native Indian). Ham and Ex then run into the woods as Beans tries to find them but gives up instead as he walks out to pick up more firewood.
Ham and Ex are hiding in the forest and they continue to attempt pranks on people with the Indian tribe ball...until an "actual" Native Indian pops by and scares them. So this is how it's supposed to appear - Native Indians are shown with Negro stereotypes.

The truth is that they are now being chased by Indians in which they shout for it. After being conned twice; who is going to believe it this time? They hide under the log in which the Indian follows them down as the Indian's rear end gets caught up. Ham and Ex then start to smack them with a paddle with one of them smacking the Indian on the rear end while the other twin then smacks the Indian on the head.

As the "Indians" screaming continues; Beans and Little Kitty were working with the washing cleaning their laundry mangle but as the Indian screams are being shouted - Beans continues to work on his laundry faster as Little Kitty asks what are they up to?

Porky Pig makes his appearance in this cartoon as he's cutting potatoes. He hears the screams; works faster and stutters to the audience, "It's just kids trying to fool you again!" The spanking scenes of the Indian under the log continue until the Indian flies out of the log from a reaction to the paddle and hits onto a tree.

Ham and Ex then continue to scream for "Indians" until they are spotted by MORE Indians which means they're definitely in trouble in which their Davy Crockett hats flip. Both Indian chiefs then start to grab one of the twins but they managed to get away - just barely.

Porky is still peeling potatoes as Ham and Ex shout outside "Indians!" in which he shrugs as though his attitude is telling us "Oh well". Both Ham and Ex then run to the chest board with one of them entering it and the other being slammed as it closes. Porky stutters, "Those kids must think we're pretty dumb!", but Porky must have felt "dumb-mannered" as a arrow shoots at the potato he's peeling since he makes a take as the Indians have found the settlement. Porky then runs around the wagons in which he trips over one as he finds a whole mass of Indians invading the site. Porky then shouts "The Indians" as an arrow shoots at his rear end and he yelps in pain.

A pioneer then drinks a bottle of moonshine as an arrow shoots past the moonshine as he grabs out his shotgun. His body then holds itself backwards as he lands in the river again.

The Indians have then surrounded a circuit of wagons as the settlers and pioneers are trapped inside their wagons or in the circle. Beans is being chased by an Indian in the circle around the laundry mangle but gets caught. Little Kitty then turns the handle around as it whacks the Indian in the face. Beans continues to shoot at the Indians until his hat is caught in a bow and arrow. Beans then grabs a pipe in which the arrows shoot out from the barrel and trapping the Indian almost stabbing him.

A dog pioneer is being chased by another Indian tribe in which he grabs out some type of wrapper; or old hat (whatever that looks like) in which the Indian grabs out the hat and makes the tribal call again.

Meanwhile another Indian inside a wagon is trying to shoot straight at another settler until the arrow curves around shooting straight at the Indian's rear end again which causes him to yelp. More shooting continues from an Indian (!) - why would an Indian use a gun instead of the spears or bow&arrows? Did they manage to get the gun off somebody? Anyway - Beans creeps up behind the Indian with a baseball bat. However there is another Indian holding a dagger creeping up to Beans; Beans manages to hit both of them on the head as they collapse in time.

Porky is then shooting after the Indians but an arrow  strikes at his suspender straps in which his pants fall down with his buttocks showing. Porky continuously pulls them up even though they keep on falling. An arrow then flies in in which the flaps are attached again.

Ham and Ex are being chased at by an Indian (no surprise) as they hide in a chest of draws and whack the Indian. The Indian then cuts the chest of draws in half in which he grabs Ham and Ex. Beans then finds a bear trap in which helps set up a trap for the Indian.

Beans then starts to untie the bear trap in which he spins it for it to aim at the Indian's rear end. The twin pups Ham and Ex then watch the Indian leave since it probably means that most of the Indians have left the settlers.

Beans then creeps up behind Ham and Ex in which he starts to fake Indian tribal calls to trick them as they've finally got conned. They both then jump inside the chest of draw to hide from an "Indian". They peep their eyes out to check.
Overall comments: This cartoon is sort of like another retelling of the famous story The Boy Who Cried Wolf but instead it involves Native Indians; and Ham and Ex. So far "Ham and Ex" appear to be a popular choice by Jack King as they've been the main stars in three shorts. Sorry if the quality of the video I used wasn't so good -although I believe this cartoon is in the public domain. I find it a little odd on why Native American Indians are portrayed as black-face characters which isn't what they're meant to look like at all. The Indian sequence isn't harmful to watch at all as there was no stereotypical references featured here -unlike in Disney's "Peter Pan". The overall cartoon wasn't very exciting including the dull action scenes - only Tex in this period could probably only make it funny.

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