Saturday, 23 June 2012

169. Porky's Super Service (1937)

Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.
Warner cartoon no. 168.
Release date: July 3, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Ub Iwerks
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig).
Animation: Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky Pig works in a service station and while fixing a car; he gets harassed by a brat.

This cartoon is Ub Iwerks' last cartoon he is credited for being the supervisor; even though Clampett and Jones sort of were co-directors of the cartoon and after that; Clampett would take the director's chair and direct nothing but black-and-white Porky Pig cartoons until 1941...

The cartoon begins with the sign which simply reads: Porky's Super Service which is the name of his service station as well as the name of the cartoon itself. After the background view shot of his small service station - we see the price signs; as the price for Gas is only 3 cents. Then sign then lists on taxes onto the sign which I guess is a gag but is probably dated as it lists the price for State Tax, City Tax, County Tax, and even Unemployment Tax with the total price adding to 43 cents. Is this supposed to be a Great Depression gag or something.

Porky Pig is seen busy working at his job as he is holding onto a petrol tube in which he is loading the car with gasoline. Porky Pig looks under the car; and you'll notice a question mark pops up the top of his head to show confusion before it disappears; now here is a little Ub Iwerks trait that popped up here. Porky asks the driver, "Where do you load the gas?". The driver then pops his head replying back to Porky with a French accent and go into dialogue:

Driver: You want to know?
Porky Pig: (stutters) Yes, I want to know.
Driver: Humph. Shall I tell him?.

The driver breaks the fourth wall in this part.

The car moves upwards in which Porky Pig finds the gas tank to load it. Porky Pig then starts to load up the gas by using the handle to load it. At the gas tank there is a timer that counts up how much gallons is being used up and on how much Porky should fill up as it makes a *ding* sound each time Porky fills up a gallon on a time.

A bird pops out of the tank once the hand on the clock reaches "9". The bird announces, "At the sound of the gong; it will be exactly 10 gallons". I know that this has been used before in cartoons but I'm not sure if this a reference or whatnot. The bird then places his hand by his hear to hear the gong sound and once's it's reached 10 gallons - the cuckoo then pops back inside the tank. That was an interesting little gag to add a cuckoo inside a gas tank. After the job has completed Porky is seen flipping a coin to show that he is doing a satisfactory job. The next car then rides along and asks Porky to fill his engine up with more oil in which Porky agrees to do so as part of his duty.

Porky then starts to fill up the radiator inside the car with an oil can in which we hear that guzzling Treg Brown sound effect in which Porky slams the front part with the job completed, and he replies with an "Okay".

Meanwhile the next car to ride along has got a burst tire and it's moving very well in which Porky Pig reminds the driver inside the car, "(stutters) Hey mister, you've got a flat tire". The driver bursts out of the roof of the car ripping it and exclaiming, "Why don't somebody tell me these things?!". I believe that is also a catchphrase used in Listerine commercials - probably from the 1930s. The driver then stretches out his arm to grab the burst part of the tire in which he ties it into a knot to believe that it's good as new. The car continues to drive on but still moving unusually and making squeaky sounds. I like how that Porky Pig in these cartoons is more on-model here and cuter than Avery or Tashlin's version in that era.

The next customer that Porky Pig goes off to deal with is has got a problem with the front part of the car which is just a bump on top which makes the car looks rather hideous. The customer asks Porky, "See this bump?" Porky nods knowing it's there as the customer continues, "Well, take it out". Porky Pig accepts ("Yes, sir") to do his duty.

Porky Pig is holding on to a mallet in which he whacks the top part of the tire as the bump vanishes but then it pops up on the front part of the car which makes it a funny cartoon gag considering that it's going to be a lot of work for Porky to get rid of the bump. Porky slams on the front part of the car to get rid of the bump but the bump returns in a different location in which Porky slams it again. The bump even ends up on top of the roof in which Porky slams it and the bump keeps on ending up at different parts of the car as Porky has to climb through the car to get rid of the bump which is a bit of a funny sequence as it creates a problem for Porky. It's even more of a problem for Porky as the bump even ends up inside the glass (not so visible to see in version I'm watching) and Porky slams the glass window as the glass smashes which means double trouble for Porky and even the customer to find his car ruined.

After that entertaining sequence there is a mother standing outside her car as she is beeping her horn continuously and is rather impatient waiting for Porky to come over. We already learn from the mother (beeping the horn) that she's incredibly impatient. Porky Pig returns as he is already doing a job for her, the woman asks "Have you fixed that tire?" Porky replies with a guaranteed "yes". The woman asks to fix the other tire and warns, "But be awful careful and not wake up Junior".

Porky then walks over to the side of the car and watches Junior sleeping on top of the car seat. Porky comments, "Cute little fella". After Porky Pig turns around away from Junior we find that Junior opens his eyes and pulls a face at Porky taking an immediate dislike towards him. While Porky is busy fixing and adjusting the tire on the woman's car - Junior pops out of the window car and whacks Porky on top of the head with a baby bottle. Porky Pig looks around to see who was the culprit but resumes at his job not going to bother taking any notice. Mmm; Porky being harassed by a baby; I wonder if that type of plot would inspire Frank Tashlin 7 years later making Brother Brat?

The brat is already seen at the front part inside the car as the brat pulls the ignition in which the wheel starts to spin around and so does Porky as he's still seen fixing the car.  The wheel then ends up falling out of the car in which Porky whacks himself into a pole. I like how that Porky creates a reflection effect on the pole. After Porky has hit the ground; he has a tire stuck on him.

Porky is whacked in the head by a type of iron ball on top of the pole. Porky finds that his body is caught inside a tire as he crawls out of the way like a tortoise which is a funny walk. Porky then attempts to stand up normally but when he stands; he falls back down to the ground as the tire kicks him down. Porky Pig then attempts to tug himself out of the fire by grabbing hold of it and pushing forward so his rear end isn't caught. After Porky uses up a lot of his strength; he flies upwards from the tire and then hits the ground again as it's almost impossible for him to have the tire taken off. He even pulls his own rear by accident making a mistake of it being the tire. Junior, sitting inside the car then starts to stretch the bottle-cap from his bottle like a slingshot and straight at Porky's behind. 

Porky Pig reacts to the bottle hitting him but luckily he falls out of the tire but is facing trouble from a brat. Porky finds that he's been harassed by a baby by looking at the bottle and throws it out of the way causing it to break off-screen and walks towards the car disgruntled.

Porky looks over the window but finds that Junior is sleeping as a plan to trick Porky by acting innocent. Porky is puzzled by what has happened but remains with his duties. Porky is busy fixing the radiator inside the car with the front roof open so Porky can do some repairs. Junior decides to cause some shenanigans towards Porky by closing the roof in which Porky almost suffocates and pops his head out to remain with his duties and trying to ignore the baby. Porky Pig even rips off the front part of the car so that it wouldn't have to close on top of his head again. After that bit of mischief caused by Junior; Porky then grabs out a stethoscope in which Porky checks to see if the radiator is still pumping and Junior turns it on in which Porky ends with with a quick electric shock. The animation of the shock effect is rather interesting with the color flashes even though the timing isn't particularly funny (could this be a different handling from either Clampett or Jones organizing the timing?).

Junior then continues to annoy Porky as he beeps the horn which gives Porky a fright. Porky Pig throws away the stethoscope annoyed at what is going on but not even taking any notice of Junior at all. I find that this sequence had slower-paced timing and probably was handled by Jones with slow-paced timing but I don't know...

Porky Pig moves onto another part of the car as he is squirting oil with an oil can as he appears to be working inside an engine or a tank doing his job which would be enough for Junior to cause as much trouble as he can. Junior then presses one of the buttons in which Porky is being attacked by the machines that slide up and down from the holes and gets whacked. There is some interesting drawings of Porky getting beaten up as there are multiples of Porky showing up creating a type of effect. Porky Pig then ends up being pumped out by the exhaust pipe as his face is covered in black soot. The cuckoo then pops up making a "cuckoo" sound which is demonstrating the craziness of what is happening.

Porky Pig then walks up to Junior finally taking notice of him and beginning to make such a suspicion. Porky looks at Junior who is faking his innocence as Porky begins to wonder by scratching his head. Porky turns around not bothering to go into detail as Junior wakes up to blow a raspberry at Porky but immediately goes back to the pose faking sleeping as Porky quickly glances his head.

Every time when Junior makes any movement or a pose; Porky Pig turns around to suspect if he is being tricked on but he is being tricked by as this is a good use of experimenting with timing. I wonder what the exposure sheets for that particular scene looked like. Porky Pig then thinks of  an idea to prove that he's not turning mad by dashing to the other side of the car to check what Junior is up to. Junior then wakes up trying to pull a face at Porky but realizes that he's not there and that he's been caught by a cunning Porky. Junior then turns around to see where Porky went but makes a take when he finds Porky behind him as he tries to fake sleep again. Porky just stares at him with dirty looks but Junior just falls down the seat away from Porky.

Junior then starts to think of more cruel practical jokes towards Porky by pulling the car window upwards in which Porky's stout is caught from the top of the roof and from the glass of the car window. Porky is now squirming as he struggles to let himself go and even demands Junior to let go of Porky but Junior opens the door and leaves Porky Pig there.

Junior walks out of the car but then back as he returns with a hose to place on Porky and walks to a small handle where the sign reads "Air" which would mean Porky will look like a balloon in a minute. As the air is caught on Porky; he starts to swoop along and move while still caught on the door. For the animator I do wonder if that would've been a challenge since the only part that cannot move is the stout that is caught stuck. Porky's nose then manages to fall off the car window as the pipe pulls Porky off as he is seen in the air floating with helium and a lot of movement made in the air. Porky is giggling with the amount of helium that he has got which probably means that it tickles. Junior then grabs out a can that has got oil in it and squirts it straight at Porky. Gee, Porky sure laughs like a 1930's Daffy Duck character.

Junior misses when he tries to aim at Porky as he is moving too much and it's hard to aim for him. Junior then turns off the air with the handle the as Porky stops moving and falls straight to the ground. Junior then squirts oil in front of Porky's face in which Porky grabs out his hand for Junior to hand it in. Porky stutters, "Gimme that gun". Junior sprays even more oil on Porky until he is completely covered in oil and trips.

Porky tries to stand back up as he is standing on slippery oil but as he stands he starts to slip and slide  on slippery oil in order to try and keep up his balance. Porky then starts to spin around from the amount of oil and slides out of the pool of oil and down those stairs that probably lead to a type of underground basement. Junior then tries to squirt even more oil towards Porky but then finds that he's probably run out of oil after pumping it a few times. This is one of them cartoon moments when Junior turns the squirt gun towards his face to test it and ends up squirting straight at his face which is a result of bad luck. After Junior is completely covered in oil; he starts to wail like a baby and Porky grabs the squirt gun away from him.

The mother walks into the scene after she has returned from (I don't know - it hasn't been mentioned; shopping presumably). Junior then starts to point at Porky as though he was the culprit for squirting the oil on Junior in which Porky wouldn't have the time to explain to what would be complicating to the mother.

The mother immediately criticizes Porky Pig for his "treatment" towards Junior stating "You oughta be ashamed of yourself! Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" Junior is still crying in the background as the mother tries to comfort him, "There, there not now Junior; mother's talking". Junior still cries until the mother whacks him on the face with her glove. Now that was a funny little part and even Junior deserves it after giving Porky a real hard time which leads up to a misunderstanding. The mother then ends up telling off Porky shouting, "I'm going to report the authority for beating up little children, etc." and this is definitely bad news for Porky Pig as no-one will believe his true story.

As the mother is still telling off Porky for what has happened set up by Junior; the baby (still covered in oil) then grabs out a petrol hose. Junior ties it by the tire of the car to try and destroy Porky's service station as his last setup.

The mother has finished off telling off Porky and she leaves to drive off in her car. Porky is unaware that Junior has set up one final trick which is to damage his service station and cause it to fall apart - and it does so. So, the whole service station falls down leaving Porky Pig's business in real trouble. This is definitely a bad, unlucky day for Porky. The cartoon ends with the sign "Porky's Super Service" crashing on top of Porky's head.

Overall comments: I imagine that most of the cartoon has been written by Clampett and Jones; the gags since I don't believe they even had a gagman or a storyman writing their cartoons for Iwerks. There were a few Iwerks traits that popped up with the question mark popping up on Porky early in the cartoon. It pretty much feels like the overall cartoon was directed by Clampett and Jones before Clampett would get the director's chair after or during this cartoon. I like the gags that mostly appear around the beginning of the cartoon such as the sequence with the bump on the car and also some of the naughty parts of Junior's shenanigans also early in the film. However I feel that the cartoon towards the end ended up being a little bit cruel as I feel sorry for Porky as he's just harassed by a baby who manages to even destroy his business all in that day. I do like here that this cartoon shows Porky Pig a more close resemblance to the character we would know today; while Frank Tashlin would make Porky beefier and Avery often more child-looking; but here it feels more like the notorious Porky Pig except Porky is probably a little taller through design. The screenshots may not be excellent as this is just a colorized version with screen-shots edited into black and white from a photo editing website.


  1. I wonder if all these animators whok later worked in Clampett's unit(Lu Guarnier, Jerry Hathcock) worked at Iwerks studio before joining WB. Isn't it?

  2. According to Alberto's page; Jerry Hatchcock was with Iwerks as early as 1934; but isn't mentioned of working for Schlesinger.

  3. The 10 o'clock gong gag is a reference to time-tones on radio. In fact, the CBC still has a 10 a.m. official time signal.

  4. Junior was a karma houdini here and it seems like the whole universe just had it in for Porky in this cartoon.

  5. The woman is voiced by Elvia Allman.