Sunday, 25 March 2012

135. Shanghaied Shipmates (1936)

Warner cartoon no. 134.
Release date: June 20, 1936.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Joe Dougherty (Porky Pig) and Billy Bletcher (Admiral).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Paul Smith and Joe D'Igalo.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: An admiral shanghais a group of drunks to be his crew on a ship including Porky as they are treated horribly.

I'd declare this cartoon as the "final" cartoon of the "Beans" gang even though Porky was the main star; but there was the Oliver Owl type character who was sort of part of the gang; but with this short over - Porky is the main star of the Looney Tunes and will continue to be the star for years - and still is a star.

Our cartoon begins with a ship that is docked in a harbor town. By the docking station is a pub where there is already noise going on in there such as music, folks raising their glasses, cheering, etc. A group of folks are raising their glasses in which they cheer for Porky who is dancing in the middle of the bar.

A hippo is seem in the bar playing two pianos at the same time; and looks as though he's definitely enjoying playing it. There is a goat pulling the rope and you'd think that he is pulling a huge amount of weight and effort into it but it turns out to only be a pint of beer. Now that is a kind of clever gag used in terms of wright that works here. The goat then grabs out the glass of beer in which he guzzles the beer but the foam is stuck on the goat's face as though he could be Father Christmas or something. The goat then licks the foam off his face and tastes it.

Meanwhile back on the ship, the admiral of the ship is walking up and down the deck thinking about probably on how to get recruiters to join his ship. Meanwhile a dog who looks a lot like Oliver Owl is the assistant to the admiral stands on top of the captain. The Oliver Owl type creature then says to the captain "I say captain, the crew's deserted the blinkin' ship" but the captain replies "Enough! rats! I'll shanghai the crew, Mr. Stew". Thanks David Gerstein in the comments for the actual quotes.

The captain then shouts "I'll shanghai them" - or something along the lines that I can't make out very well. The Oliver Owl resemblance sorta reminds me of Mr. Smee in a way with the pompous walk - although this isn't "Peter Pan" but the character personalities are sort of similar (and I'm NOT talking about the Disney film in 1953).

The admiral and Mr. Stew then walk on the side outside of the inn where they are looking for recruiters. They look through the window of the drunks in which the admiral shushes Mr. Stew to enter the door and seize them. The captain then slams the door in which he rolls his belly up until it hits the ground - an attitude pose that villains often did - like on Peg Leg Pete.

The admiral then walks up to a drunk in which he glares at him eye-to-eye; face-to-face before whacking him away to the ship in which he spins. The other drunks on the ship also get whacked by the admiral as well. All of the drunks spin across the planks ascending to the ship as they arrive on the decks which tells us they're shanghaied.

The admiral then starts to whack the guard out of the way in which he starts to spin with those tornado speedlines in which is another influence from Avery. Porky Pig is hiding under the table  hoping not to be found by the admiral but is found unfortunately.

The admiral turns around in which Porky runs off but finds him attempting to hide inside a piano but is taken out. Porky protests while stuttering "You can't do this to me!" The admiral laughs "Oh yeah?!" The admiral grabs Porky in which Porky is the meek character from this point on as we can only show sympathy for our favorite character.

Porky in the next seen is found on the decks scrubbing and is one of the slaves of the captain. Porky is deeply frustrated by the admiral and the orders he is forced to do. The admiral is keeping a watch on Porky to see if he's doing a fine job. Porky looks at the admiral as he walks on in which he slides a bar of soap down the deck.

As the admiral is walking around the deck minding his own business he slips on the passing by bar of soap. The admiral then stands up fuming as he knows that Porky threw the bar of soap aiming at him. In a way the admiral reminds me of Peg Leg Pete in the short "Shanghaied" with Mickey and Minnie - I wonder if Jack King got influence from that short? You'd probably think if this was by Disney then the admiral would be animation by Norm Ferguson. ;-)

The admiral then walks up and presses Porky down with his foot to open his mouth to stuff the bar of soap into his mouth. Now that admiral is certainly a jerk throwing his weight around. Porky stands back up protesting "You can't do this to me"; as he said that earlier on in the cartoon. Porky starts to hiccup soap. The admiral laughs and walks out of the scene.

Meanwhile another shanghaied recruiter walks past the deck listening to Porky trying to speak as the sailor is trying to get Porky to speak clearly and Porky is trying to tell him about soap being stuck in his mouth. The sailor then walks towards Porky's rear end in which he accidentally knocks a cupboard over but pulls his tail in which the soap falls out of Porky's mouth and onto the same position on where the captain was walking down the deck.

The captain continues to walk back to his cabin until he slips on the bar of soap again. The hippo from inside the cabin pops his head out of the window to humiliate the admiral by laughing at his fall. The admiral doesn't find any of it amusing at all in which he captures the hippo and ties him up to get tortured.

You'd probably think of a different type of torture, but the torture he's getting is pretty funny. The hippo's torture is having his feet trapped in a lock in which the admiral pours cream down his feet for a passing by cat to lick the cream off the admiral. The torture is pretty funny as it's just ticklishness but in a suitable type of torture. The hippo laughs of the feeling of the cat's tongue in which the admiral then laughs at. There is a part that shows a sleeping sailor with his foot on a bucket of water as he was supposed to be cleaning. He gets whipped by the captain to continue working in which he uses his peg scrub to continue cleaning. A call from the brass means dinner is ready as they all rush in ready to eat trembling over the brass player.

Everyone is inside the dining saloon in which they're all seated waiting for their feast. The captain walks into the top part of the table seated as all the others start seating. The admiral grabs out a turkey leg in which he starts to lick the taste of it which becomes one of Porky's temptations. Porky is licking his lips and rubbing his hands just wanting to have a taste of the chicken.

As the admiral has finished with the chicken; he gives Porky a chicken bone which is meant to be leftovers. The group of sailors then pass the dish down to the hippo who is extremely surprised to find that there was no turkey saved for him or anyone. The hippo then starts to flick the turkey bone away and sits down sulking.

The same situation happens to the dog sailor in which he is given a piece of the chicken bone but finds out that nothing is saved for him at all. The dog sailor gets to the point of having to eat his hat as he is facing starvation. This happens to the next sailor on the left who cut the bones into slices with a knife with his eyes weary that shows he'll probably freak out anytime soon.

Porky is given the chicken bone on the plate again in which he sheds a tear but places salt on the chicken bone. Porky licks the bone but while the admiral isn't looking; Porky grabs out a drumstick but is noticed by the captain in which he slams his chicken leg on Porky's hand in which Porky almost chokes on the chicken leg as he has accidentally swollen it. This is definitely bad news for the crew as this shows some seriousness going on here; and the admiral is certainly a nasty villain who doesn't share any supper to his sailors and treats them badly. Hopefully he'll get what he deserves in the end just like the villains always do in those 1930s Warner cartoons.

The the ship is sailing through the choppy seas; the story has forwarded to one week later; where the sailors are inside the dining saloon very hungry. They are banging on their mugs very nosily chanting "We want food!" Porky sneaks around them by the table in which he comes up with a plan.

Mr. Stew who resembles Oliver Owl is eavesdropping at the conversation that is going on between the sailors and Porky. The captain is walking down the deck happily strolling until his assistant, Mr. Stew runs up to him while sliding through the poles and onto the captain's arms shouting "Mutiny captain, Mutiny!". The captain and assistant then march out of the deck.

The folks at the dinner table with their mugs banging loudly chanting "We want food" still continues. The captain walks into the scene drawing out two pistols in both hands with evil looks on his face. Porky walks up to the admiral shouting *stuttering* "We demand some food!"

The admiral's response to that is he blows Porky some wind from his mouth in which he hits the walls. Porky stands back on his two feet shouting "Come on men - get him!" The admiral is in trouble as he blasts but fails to stop the sailors as they jump on top of the admiral beating him up.

Porky who is of course much smaller gets the task of beating up Mr.Stew; the Oliver Owl resemblance. Porky is sitting on top of him giving him a beating. The assistant then halts Porky to wait until he starts to take his spectacles off but Porky still beats him up without his glasses so he can't see very well.

A whole group of sailors start flying out of the dining room which shows the admiral is beating them up; and in the long shot view of the ship sailing - the fight still continues to fight the admiral as there is a sort of battle. Until the next scene...

Porky and the sailors then charge up to the admiral with Porky carrying out a sword as they charge after him. The admiral then starts to load the cannon which the cannon only slightly erupts which causes the admiral to be shot backwards by the cannon. The cannon sends the admiral flying until he lands in a room full of gunpowder, dynamite, etc. that is stored in there leaving an explosion on the ship which could mean our heroes would be doomed.

Porky and the sailors are found safe in the next scene on a raft in which they're singing cheerfully but it turns out that the admiral is leading the raft attached to a rope trying to swim but gets the whip by Porky. At least the admiral got what he deserved since he was horrid. Most of the sailors haven't even survived and even the assistant, Mr. Stew. Yikes!

Overall comments: As I've already said - "Westward Whoa" should've been the last cartoon of the Beans gang - but I'd just consider that cartoon for this reason; since the last minor character makes his last appearance. Beans and the gang weren't there for very long and that's the way it should end because if it still went on - it could only go worse; and besides Porky has proven to be the popular character as he takes over. In fact; "Milk and Money" is sort of the first short of where Porky takes over because of the new Looney Tunes theme titles where it only shows Porky's head and not the members of the Beans gang.

This cartoon showed some good character personalities here like the admiral who was a real toughie to real with; and that Porky had some good gags here like the soap scenes even though it's not exaggerated. The torture scene with a puss licking the hippo's feet was pretty funny to look at. Yes; this is the colorized version of the cartoon as it's from TV and it's not been available to the public in its restored conditions (if it has been restored recently).


  1. The hippo getting its feet locked in stocks and having them licked by kittens reminds me of 'Shiver Me Timbers', a 1934 Popeye cartoon.

    The shanghai aspect in the beginning reminds me of the Laurel and Hardy short, 'The Live Ghost' (also from 1934), where they both help a captain shanghai these toughies in a bar, but I won't dare spoil how they do that (it's really funny).

  2. Here's the dialogue from the pirate captain and his sidekick (whose actual name seems to be "Stew," which not-so-surprisingly sounds a little like Smee):

    [At 1:25]
    Stew: I say, Captain, the crew's deserted the blinkin' ship!
    Captain: Enough! The rats!... I'll shanghai a crew, Mr. Stew!

    [At 5:49]
    Stew: Mutiny, Captain, mutiny!

    Other thoughts: not all of the crew seems to have survived the final explosion; Stew and others are gone! Pretty grim.

  3. You're right; I never thought about Stew and the lads perished. Did Jack King intend to kill them or does an error made by the director? The latter is probably more likely to be right.

  4. I think so, too. (I can imagine that once the film was released, the crew was watching it and saying "Hey, wait a minute, we never thought about what happened to Stew...")
    If you look closely, Stew (complete with glasses) is also Oliver Owl's assistant in HOLLYWOOD CAPERS, so Stew clearly didn't "evolve" from Oliver. He just had a short, sad little career of his own—ending in his accidental death by drowning (-:

    Oliver himself disappeared for a few years after this, but then he reappeared as a regular character in the Henery Hawk comics in LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES COMICS, which were drawn by Warner animator Vivie Risto.
    Ollie's debut in the comics was in issue 37 (1944). He was portrayed as the snooty schoolboy of I HAVEN'T GOT A HAT, though his visual design is different in the comics—aside from his glasses, he doesn't wear clothes (maybe so he would look a little more like Henery?).