Thursday, 29 March 2012

137. Porky's Pet (1936)

Warner cartoon no. 136.
Release date: July 11, 1936.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Jack King.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Joe Dougherty (Porky Pig).
Musical Score: Norman Spencer.
Animation: Cal Dalton and Sandy Walker.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky Pig and his pet ostrich, Lulu try to board a train but Porky plans on hiding Lulu in the train as birds are now allowed to board as passengers.

The first Porky cartoon to have "Porky" to have his name in the titles and it pretty much tells us that Porky is the permanent star character of the "Looney Tunes" for roughly five or six years when Bugs Bunny became the true star of the Looney Tunes that we all know of today.

The cartoon starts off with a goat-looking postman who is riding on his bike on the way to Porky's house. The goat then accidentally bumps his bike on the road on a part that looks like it needs reconstruction. The goat mail clerk cycling is probably a cycle but the bump scene is full animation but I wonder if it went back to cycle after that.

The goat postman cycling then makes a turning point by the house that Porky Pig lives in. The goat then makes a bump on the bike leaving him hitting the pavement before walking to the porch of Porky's house. The goat postman does a little merry dance before ringing the doorbell. That goat certainly needs to be aware of safety and considering that he hasn't got a helmet and could've cracked his head.

Porky Pig then walks up to his door in which the goat's hand reaches inside the door shouting "Telegram". Porky signs a cheque to the goat postman and the postman then leaves Porky's house.

Porky unfolds the envelope and reads what's inside. The telegram reads (as you can already see for yourself in the screen grab I've displayed) - Mr. Porky Pig - Can Use you and Lulu [Porky's pet ostrich] in my New Show $75 Week. Stop. Come New York at Once. J. Botts, Producer. Well the last part of the telegram certainly didn't seem like proper English other than a rushed letter. It's appeared to be that Porky and his pet ostrich Lulu are going to be stars for a new show (Broadway or roadshow? I dunno). Porky screams in delight "Whhooppee!" which means that Jack King definitely got influence from 'Gold Diggers of '49' in which Porky shouted it now. Hang on a minute; here is a quote from my "Gold Diggers" review I wrote:
Porky (again) shouts his annoying "Whoopee!" sound in which is the only carton we'll hear it (as far as I know)
Wow! What WAS I thinking when I wrote that down; although it's likely that I had forgotten about 'Porky's Pet' - well most of it that I couldn't remember the "Whoopies" by Porky but only in 'Gold Diggers of '49' since it's most famous of that use. Apologies for that error. I bet you'll be thinking - To err is unacceptable; to forgive is bullshit! ;-)

Porky then runs up the stairs to his bedroom where his pet ostrich Lulu with it's head inside a cage. Porky tells her the news, "Look Lulu, look" as he stutters it of course. Lulu is satisfied with the letter he received. I can't understand what Lulu the ostrich is saying but it appears to be some catchphrase that some dated actor/comedian around that time. Porky informs to Lulu that they're "gonna be big shots".

Lulu the ostrich then starts to rock the rocking chair in which Porky opens the cage to pull Lulu's head out and ties the rope around her neck. "Let's go" orders Porky as they run out of the house trying to catch a train. Porky runs down the stairs with Lulu sliding down the banister of the stairs but gets jabbed in the crotch from the knob of the stairs. The ostrich acts all kooky until it jumps off the stairs as the pair dash out of the house for the nearest train but the door slams on Lulu. Lulu squawks to get out of the house as Porky takes him out. Somehow; that ostrich reminds me of a prototype of Daffy Duck; they're both birds except they have huge differences; ducks can fly, ostriches are flightless; ducks are small and ostriches are huge; and the MOST important part is DAFFY IS A FRIGGIN DUCK! Although it's highly improbable that his was a prototype of Daffy since Avery is the creator but the ostrich has the kookiness of it but that's it.

Porky and Lulu arrive at the platform of the train station as the nearby train is coming by in which Porky and Lulu are trying to wave at the train to grab attention but fail. The incoming steam train has a lot of speed lines which is similar to 'Gold Diggers' when Beans'  car goes fast after pouring it with moonshine.

The train then streams past the train station in which the entire train station including Porky and Lulu spin around with these twisted speedlines. Porky who is feeling very weary then shouts "Stop!" in which he spins around carefully. Lulu the ostrich has her head dunked onto the hole on the wood - as the gag shows that ostriches do dunk their heads in the sand but instead it's on a plank of wood. Another train then arrives in which it makes a very bumpy stop.

Porky and Lulu then step inside the train as they try to buy to enter the train. The conductor on the train shouts "You can't bring no birds on this train" in which he tosses out Lulu the ostrich and Porky himself. The voice of the conductor is unknown but also heard in 'Country Mouse'  and 'A Cartoonist's Nightmare' but he voice however is unknown.

Porky thinks of a Plan B when whispering to Lulu in the ear of her going by the tracks while he boards the train in order to try and get her in without any of the crew members of the train noticing. Okay but that ostrich squawking is just annoying to me. Porky boards the train in which Lulu the ostrich follows
I do like that animation that shows the train tracks moving that has careful drawings; AC Gamer wouldn't have been at Warners already by then since he was the Studio's effects artist

?Lulu is then standing on the side of the tracks waiting for Porky to grab Lulu in the neck for her to arrive on the train. Porky already has his hand out in which he manages to grab Lulu in the neck on time. The animation of the neck stretching shows some pretty good, loose animation. The woman looks outside of her window probably rather terrified at an ostrich approaching the train but I wouldn't blame her - I hate ostriches.

Lulu the ostrich then starts to make squawking sounds which annoys Porky since all the passengers will find out about an ostrich (well they already knew from outside the window) but anyway the conductor of the train then. Porky Pig then insists on hiding Lulu the ostrich under the seat in which Porky is sitting on.

Porky starts to stutter to Lulu "Quick Lulu, before they see us"; as Porky is still pushing Lulu's behind under the seat until Lulu's neck and head pops out at the end of the cushion which I guess is meant to be a gag; but there's not enough weight in the animation to make the gag funny. This whole Porky pushing Lulu's behind with the head popping up is repeated a couple of times and the only way it's made funny is by Treg Brown's marvellous sounds of course. As Porky hears the bell; he sits down stuffing the ostrich's behind through the chair to try and not to make the conductor notice until Porky jumps out after being bitten by an ostrich. Boy if that was me doing that to the ostrich and being bitten I'd probably die of horror as I have a phobia over ostriches but not cartoon ones.

As Lulu's head is stuffed back down the cushion again; the ostrich then starts to peek under the seats being rather nosey and all. Lulu the ostrich then eats a hairpiece from a sleeping passenger of the train as she guzzles it down her throat with that funny guzzling sound effect. I do not know why but for some reason the close-up of the ostrich's face seems to have been drawn in a realistic form that is shown here.

Meanwhile we see what looks like a resemblance or Ham or Ex that is playing with a remote control toy plane. Lulu the ostrich is eager in looking at the look of the plane.

The ostrich's neck then starts to move while it's looking at the plane after it forms into a twist in the neck since the ostrich is spinning it's head around and around. Lulu the ostrich then starts to swallow the plane inside her neck in which starts to cause some type of crazy scene in which Lulu's neck starts to spin around until it flips around hitting the wall with some pretty loose stuff.

Lulu the ostrich then starts to walk around nosily again until he finds an accordion lying on a chair. Lulu then walks around with her neck going up and down with the accordion sounds heard. This wakes up the sleeping passengers on the train as they look at what Lulu is doing.

The ticket collector then walks into the coach asking for tickets as Porky is frightened to see him since it's the same person who picked the ostrich out. Porky now has to try and find a way to hide Lulu again instead of hiding her under the seat again. Porky grabs out a spare guitar case in which he stuffs Lulu inside. He manages to make Lulu swallow the accordion down her neck. Porky closes the case but Lulu's feathers are sticking out in which Porky grabs out a pair of scissors to cut them.

The ticket collector then walks up shouting "Tickets please, tickets please". The guitar case with Lulu inside there then starts to move squawking as the legs pops out and almost runs over the ticket collector while he was sitting on top of the guitar case. The ticket collector (probably conductor) then grabs Lulu by the neck and tosses her out of the window and does the same for Porky.

Porky and Lulu are already tossed out of the train but then they find a trolley car for them to go on and catch up with the train. They can't go anywhere since there is a cow mooing but Porky holds onto it's tail in which the ride for the cow to catch with the train arrives. The ticket collector is standing outside looking rather stunned to find that Porky and Lulu have already catch up with them with the running cow. I do wonder what Porky is exactly doing with the hand position since he's doing the peace time but backwards; it's like as though he's swearing.

Overall comments: It feels to me as though Jack King created a new pet character for Porky probably help boost his star position for the Looney Tunes in which the ostrich is kind of a screwball but it's pretty clear that the audience didn't care for the character as she was only used in this short and 'Porky's Moving Day'. Jack King probably only showed some improvement in his cartoon in terms of speed and such; but his humor hasn't been adapted very much although at least shows some improvement of gags; I guess. The animation wasn't very snappy at times but at least we got the knack to see some loose movement of the ostrich. There really isn't a whole lot to comment about in this cartoon at all since it's pretty much a lack luster but I think this cartoon tells us the point that Porky is the new star to the 'Looney Tunes' after it took him about a year for that to happen. Question is; I wouldn't understand why Porky Pig would want to have a pet ostrich.


  1. It's a Telegram not a letter. There were certain restrictions when sending telegrams, the biggest of which were that there was no Morse Code equivalent of a period so when you ended a sentence you wrote "stop," and were restricted as to the number of words you could send for a specified price. Every word after that cost more money. It sounds like a rushed letter because it essentially is. Telegrams were usually delivered by messenger boys on bicycles, so the goat wasn't a postman, he was a telegraph boy.

  2. It's a Telegram not a letter. There were certain restrictions when sending telegrams, the biggest of which were that there was no Morse Code equivalent of a period so when you ended a sentence you wrote "stop," and were restricted as to the number of words you could send for a specified price. Every word after that cost more money. It sounds like a rushed letter because it essentially is. Telegrams were usually delivered by messenger boys on bicycles, so the goat wasn't a postman, he was a telegraph boy.

  3. Thanks Brent; although here where I live I'd still refer them to a postman.

  4. Besides the Tubby Millar reference in the poster in one background drawing you have, there's also a reference to John Burton when the goat is cycling. A sign reads "Buy Burton's Burpo Beer." Other than "Malaria Manor" and "General Store", the digitised versions of this cartoon on-line are so poor, I can't read the others.
    I can't figure out what the mystery voice ostrich is saying.
    Bike helmets are a recent invention. They wouldn't have existed in the '30s.