Saturday, 12 May 2012

163. Porky and Gabby (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 162.
Release date: May 15, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Ub Iwerks. Clampett and Jones uncredited.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Van Driver / Gabby Goat).
Animation: Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky and Gabby go on a camping trip which becomes a crazy expedition.

This is the first of the two cartoons to be "supervised" by Ub Iwerks as this was made from his studio and sold over to Schlesinger. Jones and Clampett went over to his studio to work for Iwerks as they were basically co-directors on the cartoon. First appearance of Porky's friend Gabby Goat who was pretty unpopular and didn't last long in the series.

The cartoon begins with Porky Pig and his friend Gabby Goat inside the car with Porky driving. At the back there is an awful lot of luggage tied up for the pair of them as they are going camping. Porky comments, "Sure is a swell day to go camping isn't it, Gabby?" The tire of the car hits a rock with the luggage jumping out of the back before landing back.

Gabby Goat who is a rather grouchy goat has a frying pan landing on his head after the bump from the rock.  He ends up with a lump on his head as he replies back to Porky's comment, "Yeah!" grumpily. Meanwhile while Porky and Gabby are driving in the countryside road; they are behind a van called "Star Van" that is moving rather slowly and Porky honks the car to get the man's attention but no response. It turns out that it was Gabby Goat who is honking the car too often as he shouts, "Move over! We haven't got all day, etc." as he continues to shout. I love the animation here where Gabby seems to move freely. Looks like Clampett probably filled in exposure sheets and shows sharper timing than what Tex Avery is turning out. You can see a bit of Iwerks' traits here like Gabby shaking around with these shock lines coming out.

 The car then starts to make a move next to the van on the side of the road as Gabby is shouting at the driver to drive faster or let them overtake. The way the van driver responds to that is by pulling the rope as a pad on the van slaps Gabby causing to spin around in these twisted speedlines. Gabby continues to try and pick a fight on the driver as the driver responds:

Van Driver: Take it easy, little fella. Don't get excited, don't get excited.
Gabby Goat: (exclaiming) EXCITED? Who's excited?! I'm not excited!!

This is another reference featured here in the radio show 'Community Sing' and the gag was also used in Porky's Romance which came out a month earlier. The van driver then dumps Gabby into a pile of mud as Gabby stands back up trying to pick a fight. Gabby Goat then starts to jump back up trying to pick on a fight again as it appears to only want to do. Porky Pig hears the sounds of Gabby who seems to only realize now he's not in the car with Porky and Porky stops his car.

Porky Pig finds that Gabby isn't with him as he appears to be too busy driving. Porky Pig drives back in his car but finds that he is smacked by the paddle attached to the van that the driver used to Gabby. As Porky Pig drives past; he lands on the pile of mud and doesn't notice Gabby is under the car.

Porky Pig: Hey Gabby, where are you?
Gabby Goat: Where am I? Where am I? Now ain't that a smart question?! I'm under the car you fathead!

Porky Pig steps back into his car and drives forward to try and find his friend Gabby. "Wait a minute, I'll pull up". Gabby Goat jumps up shouting "A fine friend you turned out to be, etc!" moaning as usual. Here's something what makes me dislike Gabby - he complains too much and just wanting to pick a fight. Ahh; this is before the days of when Porky Pig would team up with a friend; Daffy Duck most of the time as Clampett made Porky Pig an appealing character as he had a sidekick around most of the time. I have to say I love the timing of Gabby jumping around which is very unique for the 1930s.

After Porky Pig has collected Gabby in the next sequence; they are not driving up a steep hill. The water in the engine appears to pump up water every time the car tries to make some effort. The fumes inside the car start to blow before going into exhaustion as it turns out the car has ran out of gas.

Porky Pig and Gabby are on top of the hill but Porky suggests on other ideas which may be tiresome.

Porky Pig: Looks like we'll have to push.
Gabby Goat: Now ain't that somethin'!

Gabby Goat steps out of the car to walk down the end part of the car while Porky Pig walks down to the front parts. Porky Pig is struggling to take the front part of the car down the hill as well as Gabby. Gabby moans, "I'd rather much stay at home. I don't like camping!"

Porky is still tugging the template part of the car and ends up being unattached as Gabby pushes the car down again as it ends up falling. Porky and Gabby end up running down the hill trying to chase after their car. It's a rather bumpy ride for the car as it rolls down the hill and because of the force - it runs up the hill. The car gets slower and slower while ascending up the hill but ends up pausing before rolling back down. Porky and Gabby arrive at the bottom part of the hill as they run off from their incoming car.

There is a little sequence that focuses on Porky and Gabby running away from the car and chasing after it once it leaves trying to grab the car firmly on time. Porky and Gabby end up being hit by the car as they fly up high in the air before landing on the car in time. The flip scene was pretty good timing. The car then starts to drive up the hill again (but I thought it was low on gas) as the exhaust pipe appears to be working.

Porky Pig and Gabby then park their car in their camping site. "Well here we are", says Porky; "I'll put up the tent". Gabby Goat is given the job to "unload the car". Gabby goes again moaning about the job he's given to complaing, "I get all the hard work!" Gabby then attempts to pull the other parts at the back of the car off but struggles. Look at that weight given in the animation as it looks solid. All of the luggage then starts to pile on top of Gabby.

Meanwhile Porky is busy trying to put up the tent. Is it me or is Porky just animated very weirdly as he appears to be drawn much taller and weirdly angular. Meanwhile Porky Pig is having some trouble with a fly that is flying around. The swish-lines of the bee flying is beautiful in my opinion. The fly then starts to fly around near Porky's head and eventually starts to fly around near Porky's head causing his head to rotate monotonously. Porky Pig is rather annoyed of the fly as he tries to get the fly to "Shoo! Get away!" The fly then starts to knock Porky down and into the tent.

There is a very crazy, bizarre scene where it involves Porky Pig inside the tent being harassed by a fly and the movement is extremely solid and wild. It really feels like watching an Iwerks cartoon in some ways with that sequence or even an early  Clampett cartoon with exaggerated comic timing. I think that this hasn't been topped before that in a Warner Bros. cartoon.

Porky Pig then starts to call for help ans asks Gabby Goat to catch a flyswatter. He goes around looking for it but doesn't seem to find one unless confusing a shovel with a flyswatter. Porky Pig is still shouting "Gabby, get me out of here!" Gabby then whacks the shovel on the tent whacking Porky by mistake. The screams of Porky done by Mel Blanc are funny to listen to and yet Mel always performs funny and great screams as well as voices. After Gabby has hit Porky with the shovel by mistake; he is rather concerned as he opens up the tent to check if Porky is alright but finds that now Gabby is being harassed by a wasp.
Gabby Goat is now trying to catch the fly that has flown out of the tent. This may not be proper airbrush speed line effects but the movement of it is very appealing and incredible. It's a shame I don't know who the animator is but (admittedly) this must have been more fun to work on than with Tex since his timing was toned down if you compare this scene but this was Tex before he made sharper timing. I wonder if there was more than just Chuck and Bob animating in this cartoon but I'm not sure if other animators like maybe Bobe Cannon could've provided some animation. It looks like there was one animator on that whole fly sequence.

The fly continues to fly around until it lands on top of an exhaust pipe Gabby Goat finds that the fly is standing still at a position for Gabby to try and whack the fly with the shovel impulsively. Gabby whacks the exhaust pipe and on the front part of the car ends up with a radiator sticking out. Which was another epic fail  for Porky and his buddy Gabby.

Porky Pig is fixing up the tent after the wasp incident. There is a stake dug to the ground that Porky tries to pull the rope towards the stake but finds that the rope is too small to reach the stake. Porky calls for Gabby, "Hey Gabby; bring me a piece of rope".

Gabby Goat starts to murmur looking for rope. Gabby then manages to find a piece of rope long enough for Porky to have tied to the stake. Gabby tries to pull the rope a number of times but struggles and it turns out that piece of rope is from an out-board motor. Gabby continues to pull really hard until a number of objects start to fall out and the out-board motor starts to fly around in perspective. The motor then starts to dig itself to the ground as Gabby looks down the hole to see what is going on. The out-board motor  then shoots up forming another hole and hits Gabby down the hole. Gabby's head pops out watching to see the out-board motor losing control.

Porky's tent is in damage as the motor-type plane is tearing it up into pieces as Porky and Gabby will have nowhere to camp. Gabby Goat grabs out his shotgun to try and shoot the out-board motor down. As he shoots he flies back from the gunfire reaction but lands on a horn and the gag is repeated each time he blasts.

As the gag continues; Gabby then lands on a mattress with springs sticking out that causes him to bounce. There is a spring stuck on Gabby  that causes him to bounce high but is left dangling on top of a branch in a tree. Gabby Goat then starts to shout "Porky, get me out of here!" rather worried. The outboard motor then spins Gabby around leaving him to spin around 360 degrees a couple of times. Gabby Goat then lands down rather dizzy which means Porky wouldn't need to help him down. Porky ducks down trying to hide from the out-board motor crashing him until he grabs out a piece of rope (not knowing the end part is attached to his leg) as he shouts "I got it!"

Porky Pig is left flying as Gabby Goat is in trouble again as he runs away from the outboard motor that leaves Gabby to run up the two thin trees that have no leaves on it. The motor then tears up the trunk in which Gabby has to use it as stilts which we can see in this long shot. I like how wobbly the animation of the stilts is being presented. Porky and Gabby then suddenly land back onto the ground again.

As they are about to walk back; they hear the sounds of the outboard motor flying near them as they turn to crash into each other but duck in time from an incoming outboard motor. Both Porky and Gabby decicde to leave the campsite as they plan to leave and go home away from menace and trouble.

While Porky and Gabby are running home; the outboard motor is still chasing after them and it appears to be that the outboard motor must have a type of signal that follows Porky and Gabby everywhere they go. Porky and Gabby are still trying to ride away as fast as they can. They continue to speed fast until their encounter the Star Van again which is a slow-moving van very reluctant for Porky and Gabby to overtake. Gabby shouts; "Hey, get out of the way; we're comin' through!" Both turn around in a scared take as the outboard motor is striking closer and closer (great point of view shot). The outboard motor then shoots straight at Porky and Gabby's car to the van with the vehicles exploding. After the explosion; the van driver is rather weary wearing a tire around his neck. Gabby Goat then laughs at the driver to try and humiliate him. The driver responds to that by whacking Gabby again with the paddle on the van.

Overall comments: With Ub Iwerks only being credited as "supervisor" you can see some parts where it looks as though it had his involvement in the cartoon. Clampett and Jones were more than animators on that cartoon and I imagine that Clampett did most of the timing and Jones probably worked on character layouts.  The timing is much more sharper in this cartoon than the other directors have attempted and I have to say I enjoyed this cartoon as it reminds me of an early Clampett cartoon who did use the character Gabby Goat. Everyone says that  Gabby Goat was voiced by story artist Cal Howard but I think that he only voiced Gabby in Get Rich Quick Porky and this would be Mel voicing Gabby; I think. The animation here is done top notch where Clampett and Jones appeared to have a lot of fun trying out unique ideas for their cartoons and it must've been fun for them to animate it. This is sort of the first Porky Pig cartoon where he has a sidekick character with him while so far when becoming a star; it all focused on Porky and I think Porky with a sidekick made the cartoons probably more interesting and funny which is why Daffy Duck was the perfect side character for Porky Pig in later cartoons.


  1. It's Blanc as Gabby.
    Lu Guarnier and John Carey worked on this, didn't they?

  2. Mel Blanc as Porky/Gabby, outboard motor sound FX, B.Bletcher as the trucker...uh..van driver (listen again to his dialogue.Steve.