Friday, 4 May 2012

159. Porky's Romance (1937)

The announcer then begins (before the actual cartoon short begins properly) announces something special for the series: Ladies and gentleman. Introducing Leon Schlesinger's new 'Looney Tunes' star - Petunia Pig. Yes folks, this is a new character introduced to the 'Looney Tunes' as we may have been familiar with Petunia Pig a few times but mostly became famous in comics.

Petunia Pig is seen with the microphone after the curtains rise as she introduces herself. The backgrounds are very stylized and modern for the 1930s which looks very snappy with Leon Schlesinger's name at the background with 'Looney Tunes' and 'Merrie Melodies' over it. I wonder if Leon demanded for his name to be mentioned here or if it was intentional as though Leon created Petunia himself. Petunia then speaks to the public voiced by Berneice Hansell, "My public. I hope you pictured my liking. (Stammers) I mean I hope you lectured my picking. I mean, I hope you like my picture...and I hope you like...Like me in my picture you know. I, maybe you know what I mean. I'm a little...(stammers)...'Cause I'm, I mean, I (stammers on word 'nervous'), you know unaccustomed--' she is speaking very nervously with the microphone stammering. The announcer then tries to speak quietly in the background to her; 'Petunia, don't get excited'. Petunia then starts to break into excited roars shouting; "EXCITED?! Who's excited? That's not excited!' with the curtains closing and Petunia's excited shouts are voiced by Mel Blanc. That was a very unique opening that was done by Frank Tashlin which was pretty surprising but fun as it makes the cartoon interesting. The opening was parodied from the radio programme Community Sing which ran from 1936-1937 as well as other references in this part.

Anyway, onto the credits:

Warner cartoon no. 158.
Release date: 3 April 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Joe Dougherty (Porky Pig), Alan Reed (Narrator) and Mel Blanc (Excited Petunia Pig).
Musical Score: Carl W. Stalling.
Animation: Robert Bentley and Joe D'Igalo.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky Pig tries to marry his dream girl Petunia Pig who has no interest on Porky. While attempting suicide, Porky dreams of what his future with Petunia could be.

This is the final cartoon to have Porky Pig voiced by that annoying actor Joe Dougherty with a speech problem and is painfully unfunny as a voice actor for Porky. He was fired from Warner Bros. as the directors were fed up of using him as it was a bother. Petunia Pig's first cartoon of course as she appeared in a few cartoons of the 1930s and mainly in comics.

The cartoon NOW begins with a jewel shop and the front window features a very precious, expensive diamond that appears to show the type of diamond he might buy for his love interest, Petunia Pig. Porky is portrayed here as a fat adult who likes to dress in a dandy 1930s style once you see him step out of the shop in delight. He has bought the ring as he is planning to propose to Petunia just immediately. In the next scene we encounter a candy store with a box of chocolates laid out on the front window for display. The man who owns the candy store then takes out the love-hearted shape box of chocolates to Porky off-screen as he walks out holding onto a box of chocolates with him.

After that Porky Pig enters a flower shop with posies displayed in the front part of the shop and Porky Pig steps out of the shop also merrily. You'll notice that in the backgrounds you can hear the sounds of off-screen chorus singers singing a chirpy song which is called 'I Wanna Woo'. Porky Pig appears to have a lot of confidence to ask someone out on a girl who'd be out of Porky's league completely.

He starts to walk up to Petunia Pig's house walking up the steps to her front porch. As you can see she lives in a very modern house that is very fancy looking. Porky Pig rings the doorbell as he throws his bag of posies in the air as they hand into his hand for position. The chimes inside the house make a noise which is what makes a doorbell sound. Petunia Pig then walks down to her front door wondering; 'I wonder who that could be?'

She walks down to open up a small door to peep through who it is but is disgusted to find it's Porky Pig who she has absolute no interest in him or respect. She also has a pet dog that looks a little like a Lhasa Apso. Petunia Pig notices Porky as she slams the small door exclaiming angrily, "Porky Pig. Pooh pooh!" Petunia's dog then starts to walk away from Porky and barks at him. Porky Pig has been dejected as he walks out in tears as though it's his only love. He walks off but pecks on the golden bar of her front door with 'Petunia Pig' labelled on it as he walks off depressed.

Petunia's obnoxious dog then starts to notice the box of chocolates that Porky Pig is carrying behind his bag. Since the dog and Petunia are very fond of chocolate; Petunia's dog (called Fluffnins in this cartoon). Petunia walks over asking, 'What is it, Fluffnins?'. In this very good point of view shot; Porky Pig is walking down with Candy as we iris in on the candy for a close-up so we get the gist of what Petunia' reaction would be.

There is a great example of Tashlin's speed (and I've explained it here) Petunia then exits the scene leaving a speck of dust and her dog standing by the window. She grabs Porky Pig as she has her eye on the box of chocolates but only to fool him. That's pretty good pacing here with the speed effects. She bring along Porky into the house (I love how modernized and curvy the house is) and she seats Porky down on the couch with her as she gobbles up the box of chocolates. "Porky. I'm so glad to see you" while too interested and busy eating chocolates as this was the only part of success that Porky Pig has achieved.

Porky Pig is a little unnerved sitting down but tries to help himself with some chocolates but only to be harassed by Fluffnins who just growls at him constantly and every time Porky Pig tries to grab a handle for him. Now he doesn't deserve to be in such state like this. Porky pats Fluffnins on the head trying to encourage him to calm down in a "Good boy" attitude.

Every time Porky still tries to grab a chocolate - there's always trouble from the dog as he comes up with a plan. He sits up twiddling his thumbs trying to be innocent towards the dog. Porky grabs out his hand in an innocent attitude but the dog still growls at him which would annoy Porky since he can't have a bit of chocolate himself. Porky Pig finally grabs out a bit of chocolate from his hand in which Fluffnins jumps up to eat it before walking off. Coming to think of it; isn't chocolate (what we eat) poisonous for dogs, I know you can get special type for dogs but real chocolate could kill dogs. Petunia then giggles what what Fluffnins and asks; "Isn't Fluffnins cute?" Porky Pig picks up his hat to find that it has been damaged by Fluffnins.

Porky Pig then starts to get down on his knees as he is about to propose to Petunia which will go very badly as he stutters: 'Well, Petunia, I want you to be, that is, will you (stutters) or may I...' Fluffnins is listening to the conversation but Petunia isn't listening as she is too busy scoffing chocolates. Okay, but I swear I am the only person to dislike chocolate.

As Porky Pig is about to say those lines to extend his hand in marriage (with an uninterested Petunia) he asks without a sweat; 'Oh shucks, will you marry me?' Just after saying that; Fluffnins then starts to pull the carpet off Porky as he spins off the carpet hitting the floor again. Petunia Pig laughs at Porky for his humiliation. She is laughing hardly as Fluffnins puffs for his effort (which is the same animation that was used from after scoffing the bit of chocolate). Porky Pig then starts to walk out of the house with misery as he walks out as though he has no ambitions or a life to live for after being dejected from Petunia who is still laughing hard at his misfortune.

The next scene is very dark in my opinion and probably a bit unsettling. Porky Pig is standing on top of a step-ladder as he writes on a death note to Petunia about how he loves her so and ends with "goodbye forever". He is attempting to commit suicide by playing a noose around his neck after tying it up. He kisses the picture of Petunia with a farewell and the jumps off.

With luck and his life spared from suicide; the branch with the noose attached to it then snaps as Porky falls to the ground (breaking the step ladder) and is knocked out unconscious to the ground. This is why I find it rather unsettling since suicide isn't a very pleasant topic that I don't like thinking or talking about it. Luckily Porky is unconscious and then the dream starts to blur into the dream sequence that shows us what his future with Petunia Pig could end up to be. The blur effects are beautiful I have to say - it looks very realistic.

The scene then starts to blur to the sounds and sights of church bells ringing. A whole crowd stand outside the church watching what is the wedding day of Porky Pig and Petunia Pig. Nobody is inside the church besides the couple and the priest who is conducting the wedding.

Inside the church we've already got to the point where the priest asks if the couple agree to live with one another as Petunia Pig agrees with a "I do" statement. Porky Pig stutters badly at it but then the priest whistles at him to move on as he ends with "do". After the wedding has finished they walk down as they wave to the crowd as they are a new married couple. Fluffnins is holding onto Petunia's dress at the back looking rather obnoxious as usual. The couple drive in their past with the banner reading "Just Married" as we find sneakers attached to the car on the road. Notice the hidden gag that the car's template is "BOOB".

The scene then fades to later  that night with the hotel reading 'Honeymoon Hotel' where Porky and Petunia are staying for their honeymoon. You can hear the actual song 'Honeymoon Hotel' played in the background which was a song composed by Harry Warren.

In the birds-eye view shot; Porky takes Petunia out of the car as they enter the hotel. You can see the elevator movement with the light shines from the windows moving upwards which was a similar animation technique used in Avery's 'Miss Glory' cartoon last year. The musical timing for the elevator moving upwards is pretty good by Tashlin and Stalling as Milt Franklyn shows some good musical arrangement here. The couple are at one of the top floors at the hotel. You can then see the pig couples with the blinds covering the window as they kiss but done in silhouette and Porky turns off the light. Notice how Porky looks very large while Petunia is cute and thin. Porky  Pig was just designed in this cartoon as a chubby, middle-aged man which didn't look right on him but he was still new as the directors had other versions of him before being finalized in about, say, 1938 or 1939.

As we move on with the Timeline; the announcer reads; "Time MUNCHES on!" which is a pun to "time marches on" once we hear munching sounds coming from Petunia and her dog. Yep, the time  has forwarded to Petunia who has gained an awful lot of weight as she is sitting down just scoffing chocolates and feeding some to Fluffnins. The dog has gained a lot of weight, too.

We pan along to the kitchen as we find that Porky Pig is doing all the housework in the family as Petunia has taken over him and orders him to do chores. We find that Porky Pig is multitasking with is jobs but struggles to keep up, too. He is also ironing clothes, washing, cooking food, cleaning dishes, etc.

 It all becomes too much of a task for him since he can't cope on his own. It becomes very chaotic as he moves from one chore to another leaving a mark on one of Petunia's dresses leaving the iron on it for too long. He then almost burns the cook and tries to stack the dishes in place as then he finally breaks them after all that effort he's putting in.

The babies then start to cry after hearing the sounds. It's now shown Porky Pig has a lot of children to look after a Petunia is just very fat and lazy. Boy, Porky sure will struggle at putting them to college. Notice how every single kid is called 'Porky Pig Jr' - now THAT'S just going to create confusion for the kids as they grow up - or even chaos and surely that they must have at least a daughter as it doesn't seem to be a probability here. Petunia is annoyed at the sounds and then starts to henpeck Porky.

Petunia Pig: Porky Pig, shut those kids up.
Porky Pig: I'm doing the the best I can, Petunia dear.

It seems that Porky Pig is too afraid to leave her since who'd take responsibility of everything since she's too lazy to do so.
 After Porky Pig is trying to calm the kids down by shaking the cradle (boy this must be as painful looking after the kids just like the King did in The Merry Old Soul). Petunia who loves to henpeck Porky Pig has the energy to get up and beat up Porky Pig with a rolling pin shouting "Don't you "dear" me, you worm!". She is also Porky's browbeating wife as she whacks him with a rolling pin, with all the other babies cheering on their mother shouting, "Give it to him, Mama" as they have a dislike on Porky Pig. The browbeating  scene of Porky turns out to be Porky shaking while still unconscious as...

...it was only the real Petunia who was shaking him to wake him up. Petunia Pig in the last part of the cartoon strokes Porky on the cheek feeling very sorry for Porky Pig almost killing himself and also guilty on her side. "Oh Porky, I'm so sorry. You're my honey man. I'll marry you". Porky Pig then thinks again in his dream of what could happen in the future and believing in superstitions, doesn't want to end up in that situation like in his dream. Petunia is still calling him some lovely-dovely names to him to show her love but Porky Pig doesn't show it this time. He runs away from Petunia grabbing the box of chocolates. In getting his revenge on the dog, Fluffnins (who is rather gentle to him too at the end) he runs back to kick the dog in the behind leaving Flufflins yelping in pain. Okay; I know that Fluffnins has been a jerk to Porky, by humiliating him and being obnoxious but kicking a dog in the behind is just mean; and Porky could get accused for cruelty to animals, but I guess he's been warned for being kind to animals like with Charlie Dog in (Often an Orphan). Still I thought the ass-kicking scene on the dog was a little mean.

Overall comments: I find that this overall cartoon is a little bit dark in my opinion with the story and how it's being displayed. I didn't particularly like watching Porky Pig attempting to kill himself since it was just a bit too far and not a sight I like to see but luckily he wasn't killed and the directors were obviously not going to kill him off. Petunia Pig is of course different through designs in this cartoon as Bob Clampett changed her to have hair, a kinder personality and make her more appealing which was what we seen in the comics later on.   The dream sequence was a bit imaginative of what Porky considers would happen in the future. The dog Fluffnins was an obnoxious dog despite of what happened to him at the end was a little bit cruel. I like the use of timing here of Petunia bringing Porky Pig in with the excitement over chocolate. The opening was pretty decent before the title card with credits appeared even though it was basically dated gags and radio references that Warner Bros. used a lot. It's good that his is Joe Dougherty's last cartoon he voices Porky Pig as Mel Blanc becomes his new voice actor and is brilliant when voicing Porky.

3 comments:

  1. SHirley Reed is Petunia, at least later, and another reed..Alan "Fred Flintstone" Reed is the "Time Munches On" narratore. But this does sound like Berneice Hansell as Petunia. Steve

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  2. I'm not sure if that's really Alan Reed - Internet Movie Database listed it as unconfirmed and I don't trust that site too much - even if being unconfirmed.

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  3. I work with a gal that is the spittin image of Petunia. I know its not nice but they could be twins and everytime I see her at work, my mind superimposes Petunia's body over hers. She even walks like Petunia with that pinched short-strided bouncy step.

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