Saturday, 19 May 2012

166. Porky's Building (1937)

To let an audience know watching this cartoon with the concept by Tashlin to make sure an audience is aware on how this cartoon is fictional. I like how the writing in italics reads; if you think we're going to sit around for days thinking up new ideas - you're pixilated!

Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.
Warner cartoon no. 165.
Release date: June 19, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig), Berneice Hansell (Little Rabbit), Ted Pierce (Sandy C. Ment, Construction Worker) and Billy Bletcher (Dirty Digg).
Animation: Volney White and Norm McCabe.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky Pig and his rival have a race to see who can finish a building first to win the job.

The cartoon begins with an office door reasing Sandy C. Ment which is a pun referred to "sandy cement". Sandy C. Ment is a city building commissioner. A nice silhouetted technique set up by Frank Tashlin of the commissioner having a meeting with Porky Pig and his rival Dirty Dugg. They are both the "only contractors in the city".

The commissioner assigns both of them to build a city hall and plan it out. Dirty Dugg who is the enemy of Porky then looks at Porky grudgingly. Porky Pig waves back as though he doesn't give a hoot. Nice character animation shown on the hand waving. The commissioner announces that the person planning the building "with the lowest bid will get the job". Porky Pig is needed for the job. The commissioner continues, "These are the plans". He grabs out a poster as he unrolls it with a poster of the future City Hall looking rather splendid in design. The commissioner then asks the contractors to report to their desks to plan out their building with the contractor with the "lowest bid wins". The commissioner then wishes both Porky and Dirty Dugg "the best of luck".

Porky Pig and Dirty Dugg stare at each other eye to eye as they are heading over to their desks. As they are seated on their desks. They are jotting down on their papers the plans. Dirty Dugg even peeps over Porky Pig's shoulder to see what plans that he is coming up with - cheating I'd say. They both turn around to look at each other while finished as they stare face-to-face.

Dirty Dugg and Porky Pig then hand over their plans to Sandy C. Ment. I like the angular shots displayed here of his animated in perspective which is another interesting Tashlin technique. The commissioner discovers that the results are in fact the exact same budget. The results have ended up with $3'000'000.02. The commissioner is unsure on what the next plan would be to take action but then comes up with an idea. The idea now decided by the commissioner, "I have it. You'll both build a building and the one who'll finish it first will win. So"...(and yeah; I wonder how that's going to work since a lot of money will be bought into this competition. the next scene the commissioner is starting the race of Porky Pig facing his building site as well as Dirty Dugg facing his building site. They are positioned as though they are in an athletics field beginning a race. The commissioner has a pistol to begin the "race" - "Oh your marks, get set - (blasts) go!"

Porky Pig and Dirty Dugg then dash off very quickly leaving a sway of wind on the crowd watching them build. Dirty Dugg then steps inside a excavator is already clearing the soil inside the dump truck. The excavator then picks up a truck but the backhoe chews the rock picking it up trying to make it softer before dropping it to the ground again. Porky Pig is already beginning work on his building site where his excavator isn't quite so useful as the one as Dirty Dugg has got and neither is it fast as well.

During that part of Porky with his "excavator"I like how there is a boot to help kick up the spade to dump in a dump truck used for Porky's excavator. Meanwhile while Dirty Dug is still digging to prepare his building site. The backhoe is caught jammed underground as the backhoe appears to have dug so deep underground that in the next shot we find a particular street with lampposts almost being sucked into the ground. The lampposts do do in which they are pulled out of the soil which is a big error that Dirty Dugg has made this time.

This is a good example of Frank Tashlin experimenting with weight in this bit of animation as well as squash and stretch on the backhoe trying to move. Meanwhile there is a digger that is placing some dynamite into a hole whistling as though he's just got a job to perform. The construction worker then walks down to the TNT detonator ready for the explosion.

A crowd of people therefore gather around to watch the explosion being performed with the detonator. The crowd then start to step in closer and closer to watch the construction worker about to press down. The construction worker tries to share the crowd away; "Step back folks, you bother me". The voice of the construction worker I believe was by Ted Pierce. The crowd therefore crowd in again until the construction worker shouts "Step back folks, you bother me".

The construction worker then pops out of the crowd puffing his pipe to find a quite spot. He walks over to the ditch full of dynamite but then the crowd follow his directions again. The small construction man then crawls under the crowd in his usual characteristic walk; puffing his pipe; no expressions on his face whatsoever. The worker then walks over to the detonator as he just implodes the boxes of dynamite (probably blowing off the crowd off-screen) in which the job is done.

A group of beavers start to contribute to the construction part for Porky's building along with a camel and a pelican. I must say but WHERE did these animals come from? Did they escape from the zoo or something? One beaver is seen dipping cement into the bucket with the other beaver dipping sand creating Mortar. The camel has a shaker in which the camel shakes it to mix the compound together. A pelican with it's beak labelled as "WATER" pours water him to form Mortar.

It does sort of create a form of rhythm with the shaking spirit going on by a line of turtles that are lining up in an assembly line. They have wheels on top of their shells and as they open they form a dump truck where Mortar is dumped into their shells to help create Porky's building. Meanwhile there is a dog construction worker that has the cement carried as he walks up the beams of the constructed building with plungers attached to his feet so he doesn't need to fall down very easily.

Meanwhile Dirty Dugg then forms one of his rotten, nasty tricks by picking up one of his bricks in a pile and aiming it at the dog. Look at how the brick is being thrown in perspective and comes out in arcs knocking the dog climbing the beam and hitting the ground. A Frank Tashlin trait. It looks like that Dirty Dugg is going on to the brick points or that Porky's building is catching up with his level of competition.

The gag is that after the dog has fallen off the beam; the plunger is still moving as though it's walking which is rather humorous. The flute sounds of the plungers walking is a very good music cliche chosen by Stalling. Porky Pig then warns his team that his building competition is not going too well and orders the workers on his side to "fight" to compete with Dirty Dugg. Meanwhile there is a little small rabbit that jumps in to show "How 'bout me, Porky?" Porky Pig immediately rejects with a "No!" A pelican then decides to create Mortar by mixing water, sand and cement from a machine.

The pelican then flies up in the sky shaking it's beak to mix the Mortar together to make it solid. The pelican then drops it down a ladder for it to smooth. Another pelican then walks into the scene mixing cement, sand and water from the machine.

Dirty Dugg then comes up with one of his tricks by attaching a balloon onto a body of the fish in which the fish ends up flying in the sky as the pelican ignorantly eats the fish leaving the compound inside his beak to drop out of it. A line of pelicans are still sitting down waiting for Porky's orders but as Porky enters the scene a whole plodge of cement drops on top of him which was done by the pelican as an accident. Porky Pig jumps up shouting, "Get in there and fight!" the same rabbit dashes into the scene shouting "How about me, Porky?" Don't worry folks; that's going to be used all through the picture - if Tex Avery could put it that way. I like the timing of how the rabbit just dashes into the scene.

Dirty Dugg still has his group of construction workers still digging his building site until he walks in with a proposition that he no longer needs his workers. He walks into his own office (shack) as he laughs evilly on what he has invented while his workers working under him were constructing the building.

During the pan inside the shack we hear the sounds of Dirty Dugg laughing by Billy Bletcher (in Bletcher style) and at the other end of the shack he is back. Yes; he has a new invention called the "Brick Laying" Machine. Now that is just cheating as it's going to be done backwards and not even fair on poor Porky. Porky Pig is already seen doing rather well with the building site and is already in the lead. He is in peril once he looks down to find Dirty Dugg's new invention. Porky Pig complains to Dirty Dugg; "Say you can't do that". Dirty Dugg replies; "Well, I'm-a doin' it ain't I?"

In the converter he has in his machines - he can alter the speed of the machine in different speeding levels - even going up to "Gosh Darn Speed". Dirty Dugg aims for the machine like a telescope and shoots bricks out like an army tank. The bricks are already pasted once they're shot out and it's all being performed very quickly.

The animation of the bricks being stacked was done by effects animator Ace Gamer and is of course; the studio's only effects animator of that time. I love how that  window is already formed while the brick laying machine already appears to know what to do which would be a success. Porky Pig then looks up from the other building site that the brick laying is being performed much more quicker and would even get finished on time. The scoreboard is already being calculated that the highest Dirty Dugg is scoring is "22 Stories up" while Porky Pig's building only has "2 stories" completed which must be very upsetting for Porky Pig not getting the job and probably has to go through the Great Depression scheme again.

Porky Pig sits down very sad going on about the negative thought; "It's always me". Always me". Just in time the brick-laying rabbit zips into the shot asking:

Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: Nope.
Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: Nope.
Rabbit: How about me, Porky?
Porky: No!

Everytime the rabbit dashes in and out - he is wearing a different jumper that reads about how much of a great brick-layer he is as he boasts he's a "Colossal Brick Layer" and then "Super Colossal Brick Layer". The poor rabbit then walks off rather sad about being rejected knowing that he could perform such a capable job as well as winning. Porky Pig finally gives in and stutters, "Alright - go in there and fight". The rabbit then zips past (and I do like the brush effects). The rabbit shows off his chest and is now wearing a "Super Colossal Brick Layer" instead of a plain "Brick layer" shirt.

The rabbit starts to show off his muscles in his arms and the biceps in his ears. The rabbit starts off in a slow pace dumping the bricks with it's ears and sure won't be able to catch up with Dirty Dugg. The pacing of the rabbit stacking the bricks gets quicker and quicker until the scoreboard shows both buildings are in a draw. The rabbit sweats after that hard work.

Dirty Dugg realizes that Porky's building has caught up and speeds up the brick laying paste even faster but the rabbit can still keep up with the fast pace or even faster. Dirty Dugg finds that the belt is caught jammed with the machine and gasps "It's stuck on the belt" or at least that's what he says. I imagine that this is a dated gag or quote reference but I'm not sure where it's from. The machine starts to turn chaotic as it pauses but reverses as the bricks disappear and the floors of Dirty Dugg's building get lower and lower. The machine then starts to get stubbier and stubbier before it bursts.
The sense of timing of the brick laying machine waiting to burst took a bit too long for it to happen as it wasn't too sharp timing. The equipment and materials then fly out into the scene. The inanimate excavator of Porky comes to life digging a type of grave for Dirty Dugg to have a happy landing. Dirty Dugg ends up landing on the ground which was not a safe landing. The boot attached to the excavator then starts to kick Dirty Dugg in the behind inside the grave. The building is completed by Porky Pig as he's now got the job. Porky is standing at the top cheering to the public. The rabbit dashes into the scene asking for praise, "How about me, Porky?" Porky accepts and holds the rabbit for everyone to cheer.

Overall comments: This was a rather interesting cartoon for Frank Tashlin to experiment with his techniques such as the shots of watching the buildings get taller and taller whilst being built. I like how he has shown some good quality in the animation particularly of the bricks being laid out here from the brick laying machine. Porky Pig is still portrayed as a very large character who is meant to be an adult. You'd expect his voice to be voiced by Dougherty but he needs to be cuter to make Blanc's voice suit the character's looks. I awfully don't have a lot to talk about this cartoon at all other than to say that I enjoyed the animation side to it but as for the story wise I found it rather boring to me as it's just watching a race of buildings being built and it didn't particularly surprise me since in just about every cartoon from this era; the climaxes of the cartoons were just the same and before the days of blackout gags. I had no idea on where the animals came from but I don't particularly find Porky Pig being with cute animals his type of characters but the Looney Tunes directors were still trying him out in many other ways so we can't blame Frank for that. The rabbit was rather annoying to me although it was just a character to make him try to appeal to an audience by using one line used over and over again - which was also used in Porky's Moving Day.


  1. Tedd Pierce is Sandy C. Ment.

  2. Dirty's line during his machine malfunction is, "Gosh! It's stuck in reverse!"

  3. Porky actually says "Woe is me" as he's lamenting over the thought of Dirty Digg winning the "race".

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