Friday, 29 June 2012

171. Porky's Badtime Story (1937)

...apparently originally titled It Happened All Night (pun title of It Happened One Night) as it was altered because the title would be sexually suggestive.

Warner cartoon no. 170.
Release date: July 24, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Gabby Goat / Boss).
Animation: Chuck Jones.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Fear of being late again; Porky and Gabby try to sleep well during the night as they end up disturbed all night.

This is Bob Clampett's first cartoon where he's credited for supervision; or if you say so the first cartoon he directed. Clampett would go on and direct many Porky Pig cartoons up to 1941 and become a big influence to the humor and pacing of the Warner Bros. cartoons with his sharp timing, gross-out gags and very wacky cartoons. In the first few cartoons directed by Clampett; Chuck Jones is the only credited animator but I don't know if that meant he helped Clampett with directing or not. At that time Clampett didn't have his own story writer or gag man so it's safe to assume that he made up his own gags for this cartoon.

The cartoon would be remade later seven years later into Tick Tock Tuckered which is practically the same cartoon except Daffy Duck replaces Gabby Goat. Mike Barrier writes in Hollywood Cartoons that Clampett got the director's chair in May 1937 - two months before the cartoon's release; did this cartoon really get finished in those two months or was it started by Iwerks and finished by Clampett?

The cartoon begins with a still-frame of Porky Pig and his friend Gabby Goat asleep but the motion begins as we find them sleeping. The alarm clock is ringing by Porky's bedside as the time reads 6 o'clock in the morning. Porky slowly turns around to check the time but falls back to asleep deciding it's too early to get up. The clock continues to ring as Porky and Gabby are still asleep. Some pretty solid character animation of Porky slightly moving. The music in the background is called When My Dreamboat Comes Home which is one of my favourite Stalling cues.

There is a very interesting montage shot that shows the clock's arms in close-up moving forward an extra four hours so the sign reads 10 o'clock. Around that time Porky suddenly wakes up from under the blankets and reads the time on the clock. Porky Pig then shakes Gabby who's sleeping next to him; "Gabby, come on. It's time to get up!" Gabby then awakens in a grumpy attitude as they have overslept. Porky and Gabby then dash to the floor to throw on their clothes in such a hurry that they almost end up wearing the same sweatshirt. They dash out of the house and outside to their garage to get into their car as they are late for work.

 The car then drives out of the garage as they are in such a hurry and the speed being shown is so believable. You see the garage been sucked inside out because of the incredible force and speed the car makes. Very sharp timing of the garage turning inside-out as it must've been difficult to animate; here Clampett was only about 23 when making this cartoon and he's already ambitious at his age.

Porky and Gabby are on the road as they drive as fast as they could so they can arrive to work on time. Porky and Gabby then do parallel parking but considering that the parking space is too small; they park in there on time but the car gets so squished up that Porky and Gabby bounce off their motor car and onto the pavement. Some very rubbery and cartoony animation of the squished up car bouncing Porky and Gabby off. Porky and Gabby run across the street but slow down as they reach their work placement. They're occupation is at a building called "Peter Piper Pickled Peppers" which is just a play on to the nursery rhyme "Peter Piper" in which it's such a tongue-twister to recite. Porky Pig then opens the door quietly and whispers to Gabby; "the coast is clear; come on". Porky Pig enters the building quietly and Gabby follows Porky behind him.

Porky Pig and Gabby Goat then tiptoe through the room of their department room in which they have to sneak in quietly so their boss won't see them, as Porky whispers "We're okay if the boss doesn't see us come in". Porky and Gabby then sneak over to the punch clock so that they'll be seen working so it won't look so obvious they're late.

Porky Pig then whispers to Gabby; "We'll punch it easy so it won't make too much noise". Porky pushes it very carefully and delicately. Gabby then attempts to pull the slot and struggles to do so as it's jammed; which turns out just to be bad luck for Gabby (and Porky too). The punch clock then ends up making such a din after Gabby pulled the slot which means bad news. Porky and Gabby find that the boss is standing just beside them knowing that they've turned up to work late. The manager chuckles happily holding his cigar in his hand, "If it isn't the Rover Boys; and only two hours late, too". The manager then continues with his cigar attached to his mouth, "It's a shame you boys had to come to work today. Why I would've been glad to bring out your work to you". After the manager has spoken very calmly towards them; his emotions immediately changes from calmness to anger as he warns Porky and Gabby, "NOW GET THIS! If you're late one more time, you're fired! GET TO WORK!" I love how the manager was rather calm at first and changes his anger. Porky and Gabby then rush into the room to go to work; as they slam the door as the glass reads the letters "Employees Only" falls down from the glass which is a very interesting gag that is so Clampett.

 After a day at the office and being given a bollocking from the boss; the title card now reads "THAT NIGHT" as we find Porky and Gabby are in their nightwear ready for bed. Porky is standing outside his bed winding his clock to set the alarm. Gabby grumbles:

Gabby: "8 o'clock! That's a fine time to go to bed!"
Porky: Well, you heard what the boss said. If we're late again; we'll lose our j-j-j (stutters) we'll get canned.

Porky Pig then turns off the lights as the time reads 8 o'clock and they have to be at work early in the morning which is why they're having an early night's sleep. Porky Pig then goes to sleep after turning off the lights but just about a second after about to fall asleep; he hears the sounds of a baby crying outside which of course disturbs Porky Pig as he climbs out of bed to hush the baby outside.

Porky Pig then walks over to the window carrying a slipper as he is annoyed of listening to the baby crying. Porky Pig is now listening to the sounds of the baby making suckling sounds which annoys Porky in which he throws the slipper out of the window to hit the baby in order to keep it quiet. Porky Pig then walks out of the scene in which he pats his own hands as though he's done good effort and stutters "Well, that's that". The slipper is then thrown back into the house and hits Porky at the back of his head. 

Porky turns around to see what has happened and finds that he got hit. Look at that swish effect of Porky turning his head; very nice and sharp animation there which is very interesting to look at or even study. Porky Pig then steps by the window again and throws the slipper out of the window. Porky throws the slipper out of the window and slams it shut.

Porky doesn't realize the other window is open in which the slipper just slides through and hits Porky on the head as it returns to him like a Boomerang. Now that is a funny gag considering Porky is having problems with a slipper which would waste his sleeping hours. Porky Pig opens the window again as it's the last straw for him. After throwing the show out; Porky ducks to the ground as the coast appears to be clear he stands back up and walks back to bed. Porky ends up with a slipper whacked at his head again but before he throws anything more slippers and shoes are thrown straight at his face. I love how the animation of Porky here is very fluid, especially with the head turning as Porky's face swishes. Whoever animated it  - it's very good.

Porky then dashes straight back into bed before any more slipper throwing will occur to him again and to try and get some peace with his sleep. After Porky Pig has dashed back into bed; he finds that he is disturbed once more again as the cartoon gets even more fun to watch as Porky is getting even more disturbed. Porky Pig is now being disturbed by a fly that flies into the room and flies near Porky's face. Porky is annoyed of the fly in which he grabs out his pillow and tries to attack it not realizing that trying to attack the fly will make it angrier.

Gabby Goat is disturbed of Porky trying to whack the fly as he shouts "Hey, pipe down! How do you expect a guy to sleep with all that noise?!" The fly then lands on top of Gabby's head in which Porky's pillow flies into the scene and hits Gabby on the head breaking the pillow as the center is torn because of Gabby's horns. The feathers of the pillow then fly out. At least Gabby dealt with the fly better than Porky as he didn't appear to react rather badly after Porky whacked him with a pillow.

After a few antics that has happened during the night; the clouds then drift apart from each other slightly as the moonlight is shining. Porky Pig is in bed already asleep but is woken up by the reflection of the moonlight. Boy it sure must be a strong moonlight out tonight considering I don't see how it could bother Porky badly.

Porky is however disturbed with the moonlight reflection as he walks over to the window to pull down the blinds so he can get back to sleep again. After Porky has pulled down the blind and gone back to sleep; the moon is playing a trick on Porky by moving at a different position of the house where Porky will feel the moonlight reflection again. Porky Pig is disturbed with the moonlight as he steps out of bed to pull down the blinds again. As Porky is about to go back to bed again; the blinds just unroll itself to annoy the hell out of Porky in which Porky every-time Porky turns his head around; the blinds play tricks on him in which as Porky turns his head the blinds will be closed but as he turns it will be open. As Porky goes back to bed; the moonlight reflection still shines but each time he opens his eyes the moonlight reflection is gone. Porky then ends up getting terribly annoyed that he ties the blinds all the way to the end of the leg of his bed. The sequence concludes with the bed slamming the door; the bed flats disappear and Porky hits the ground.

After Porky has suffered grief (looks like Gabby hasn't even had a bad effect yet) there is a storm that occurs during the night. The storm is pretty bad during the night that it's shaking the blinds and Porky has to make the effort of walking all the way to close the window so it wouldn't be wet inside the bedroom. Porky Pig then walks over to his bed as he appears to be rather depressed, "Boy it's 2 o'clock; what a night". After Porky goes back to sleep in his bed; there is a bit of a leak from the top part of the ceiling in which it drips down to the bed making a small puddle on top of the bed. Gabby Goat makes up when he feels something wet under the blanket in which he finds a puddle next to him and Porky.

He begins to suspect as he turns around looking at Porky. Now THAT is a dirty gross-out joke that Clampett put in this cartoon where Gabby insists that Porky is a bed-wetter. A drop of rainwater then lands on Gabby's nose as he looks on top of the ceiling shouting "Why don't somebody fix these things" which is a little parody reference to the Listerine advert. Gabby then grabs out an umbrella in which he places on top of his head to stop the rain dropping on him. Porky wakes up, who believes in superstition tells Gabby:

Porky Pig: Hey, don't open up an umbrella in the house. It's bad luck!
Gabby Goat: Aww, that's phoney. You're too super, err. (trying to pronounce "supersitious"). What ya afraid of?

A lightning then strikes the inside part of the house in which Gabby is electrocuted as his umbrella is zapped; in which Gabby has already been cursed from superstition. After Gabby is zapped he starts to complain, "I may as well be sleeping under Niagara Falls". Water that is enough to fill up the Niagara Falls then lands on Gabby and Porky.

After such a terrible night for Porky and Gabby for being disturbed all night; they finally get some rest in which they're sleeping in a chest of draws avoiding sleep on a wet bed; and have found themselves cozy. The alarm clock then rings on top of the draw in which it reads 6 o'clock in the morning. Porky then opens up his pupil to see the time but finds that it's time to wake up. Gabby is awoken up as they jump out of the chest of draws. I don't know who the animator is but I know it's the same animator from the slipper throwing sequence.

Porky and Gabby then start to get ready as they throw on their set of clothes; and I believe that this is a reuse scene of then changing quickly to get to work. Although I do say why are they in such a hurry to get to work since I thought that they don't begin work until 8am; and they're already 2 hours early. Porky and Gabby then rush down the stairs as most of the next quick scenes are pretty much reused animation from earlier on in the film which I feel is suitable to use considerig it shows they're speeding to get to work on time. 

Although I don't understand why they're in such a hurry but they arrive at their office and find that their work is closed considering it's a Sunday. This must be terribly annoying for Porky and Gabby considering that they forgot tomorrow was Sunday and instead they could've had a long lie-in but got disturbed all night. A bunch of question marks pop up from Porky and Gabby's head with a "what the hell" type attitude as they rush out of the scene.

They drive back home into their car as fast as they could to get back home so that they can sleep in extra. They dash upstairs to their bedroom sleeping on the chest of draws again. The alarm clock rings again as the time reads 6.15am but this time Porky Pig destroys his own alarm clock with a hammer so he can rest all Sunday. The cartoon ends as Porky and Gabby continue to sleep and the alarm clock staggers.

Overall comments: Bob Clampett was only 23 or 24 years old at least when making this cartoon and I feel that he's done a pretty good effort in his cartoon. He has already shown some ambitions with director's timing and I believe that this cartoon was still made separate from the Schlesinger Studio before Ray Katz took Clampett's unit in a building separate from Leon's which lasted for a few years. Chuck Jones was Clampett's main animator back then and I believe that Jones drew character layouts for Clampett's earlier cartoons because you can find that distinctive drawing style even in Chuck Jones' earliest cartoons when he started directing. I feel that the story for this cartoon actually makes a very good cartoon considering that Porky and Gabby go through bad luck when trying to have a good night's sleep and I believe that formula has been used often many times in cartoons; but I feel the gags in this cartoon in particular were very enjoyable. 

Clampett's timing here I'd say is cartoonier than the Tex cartoons already made as Clampett had a good team with him; and I'd say he developed the story for that cartoon. Of course; Porky Pig looks like the normal version that we know of the character today and Clampett would even keep Porky like that which I think is great while the other directors appear to be indecisive over Porky as he would just vary from being a child or an adult and it doesn't appear to be completely settled until at least 1938. Overall I find that this was a decent cartoon to watch; and with Clampett now being a director of the Warner Bros. Cartoons; he would go and change the humor of the WB cartoons even putting the word "looney" in 'Looney Tunes' but for a few years he'd be making nothing but Porky Pig cartoons but afterwards he really would change the cartoons around.


  1. According to Hollywood Cartoons, Bob Clampett said this cartoon was the third cartoon made at the Iwerks studio. Its story came from the main Schlesinger plant, and Iwerks had begun drawing layouts before he left. It would’ve been impossible to finish a whole cartoon in just two months at that time.

    Also, that’s not a baby crying in that scene. It’s a dog howling then later, you hear a cat hissing with the dog growling, indicative that they’re having a fight.

  2. The songs Stalling used to score this cartoon:
    "When My Dreamboat Comes Home"
    passage from Schubert's "Unfinished Symphony"
    "How Could You?"
    passage from "The Bee"
    "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"
    "September in the Rain"