Saturday, 30 June 2012
172. Plenty of Money and You (1937)
Release date: July 31, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Weasel).
Animation: Cal Dalton and Phil Monroe.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A curious baby ostrich is born by mistake and experiences misadventures in the back yard.
This is the first known cartoon to use the 'Eat at Joe's' gag reference that would be used even through the years as it was a fictional name for restaurants.
While the hen is still hatching waiting for the eggs to be born; they happen to be born just on the spot as the hen is getting impatient. The hen jumps after one egg cracks making a "plop" sound effect with the first chick born. Then a couple of other eggs are hatched with more chicks born in the nest. After most of the eggs have been hatched; there is just one more egg that needs hatching; and it turns out the hen grows because it turns out she has apparently laid an ostrich egg and a baby ostrich has been born. This leaves me rather confused and so many questions: Why is there an ostrich egg inside the henhouse? How did an ostrich egg even end up in the henhouse? How can a hen hatch an ostrich egg when not being an ostrich? Wouldn't an ostrich egg be much larger from what is being hatched? I could continue asking these questions but here are the main ones.
All the other hens then dash into the henhouses to look at the baby ostrich as though it must be the most unusual poultry they've ever seen not knowing what an ostrich is or what it looks like. They look at the baby ostrich with amazement; but the ostrich tries to stand up but slips inside the nest not keeping itself in balance. The ostrich uses it's long neck to help pull itself upwards to stand. All of the other chickens and hens are amazed at what they are seeing; the ostrich then leans it's neck towards them and blows a silly face towards them. The chickens have a stunned look afterwards as they gossip towards each other on what they are seeing. Personally; I really dislike ostriches; I'm really scared of them in real life - no joke. However I find this cartoon ostrich rather cute here so I don't have a problem (although I swear I've already told this before in a review that I hated ostriches).
Meanwhile the ostrich peeps its head through the hole of the fence with curiosity as to what is seen. The baby ostrich then finds a pond in which there is a small fish swimming across it. The baby ostrich believes that it is food in which it gobbles the mouth with its beak and tries to swallow it. The fish is still seen swimming inside and alive as it is swimming inside the ostrich's beak and the ostrich can't keep control. The ostrich from the rear is caught on the fence as the mother hen walks into the scene to try and pull the ostrich out of the fence and uses its weight to drag it off. As the ostriches' head is being pulled off the fish is pushed out of the ostrich's mouth and back into the pond. The mother hen then starts to tell off the ostrich for not following orders even though the ostrich doesn't particularly understand. Boy; if that was me trying to tell off that ostrich I wouldn't dare because I'd rather cry my eyes out or faint before being pecked or beaten up.
The ostrich then trips and falls down the stairs that leads to the basement. The baby ostrich has already crashed inside the basement with a few items lying over the place. The baby ostrich does not realize what is in there or any danger and starts to eat some of the tools in which it is mistaken for food. The ostrich has already swallowed a type of vice in which it starts to hiccup (hiccups were done by Mel Blanc) in which the neck starts to extend as it forms into a type of funny gag. The ostrich's neck then ends up with parts of the vice sticking out.
Back inside the basement door; the ostrich peeps up from the top as the baby ostrich probably heard the mother hen calling for worms and probably went up to see what the clucking noise was for. The baby ostrich then finds one of the worms sliding out of the way and past the ostrich trying to escape the chick. The baby ostrich takes an interest in eating the bird and chases after it. Well, the worm would definitely be in peril considering that ostriches run extremely fast and the ostrich could get it easily.
The worm then starts to stand on two legs; and considering that this is definitely a cartoonie worm since it has arms and legs. The ostrich turns around to chase after the worm as it's turning away. There is a little chase sequence that follows on with the baby ostrich is trying to snap at the worm for food. The worm then escapes under a small hole in which the baby ostrich takes the wrong direction but turns with it's neck which is some interesting animation movement. The neck turning movement is repeated a few times each time the worm jumps down the hole and that the ostrich is still going to follow after the worm.
The ostrich looks closely at the holes of the hosepipe but the ostrich gets soaked in the eye from the hose. With one eye open; the ostrich gets squirted in the eye from the hosepipe. The ostrich then opens up the other eye but gets squirted with water again. With both eyes opened the hosepipe squirts both eyes as the ostrich is moved out of the way. Now the baby ostrich is running away from the hosepipe; although I do wonder if it's being controlled by the worm because it wouldn't make sense if it wasn't. The ostrich then starts to dunk it's head in the sand; which is a make belief of what ostriches do which makes the gag work but fact is ostriches do NOT bury their heads when frightened as it's just made up.
The ostrich then starts to chew up the hosepipe into it's mouth but as the baby ostrich walks on; the handle for the hosepipe is let go as the ostrich is sprayed backwards because of that effect which makes it a decent gag. The ostrich runs off rather frightened after the hosepipe sequence that went on for a bit (and by this point I'm surprised that the chicks or the mother hen haven't noticed anything so far). After the ostrich buries it's head under the hole; the ostrich is encountered by a weasel who plans to eat it. The words "The Weasel" (The Rat!) pops up for the audience to know who the character is of the cartoon. Of course; those words popping up is a little Avery influence unless by that point there were story artists working for Freleng and Avery, too. The ostrich from the outside of the hole then gets dragged in by the weasel and the mother hen looks under to discover and ends up in state of panic; as NOW she's noticed.
The weasel here I don't know if it's voiced by Mel Blanc or not as I swear it's the same voice actor in I'm a Big Shot Now or He Was Her Man but I don't know who the voice actor for that would be [01/07/2012 update: I stand corrected that the weasel is in fact Mel Blanc]. The weasel continues to work on his recipe by shaking the salt of the vegetables and also peeling the potato skins to add into it. As the ostrich is inside the cage still curious; there is a lamp hanging from the ceiling in which the ostrich gobbles it inside his joke with curiosity but the weasel finds it's rather dark. The weasel walks over to the ostrich and pulls the lightbulb out of the ostrich's mouth. The weasel then walks back to the cooking table to continue the recipe after sorting out the baby ostrich.
The ostrich is being placed inside the pot as the poor baby ostrich is going to be cooked alive. The weasel then places the baby ostrich inside the casserole dish and then inside the oven. The weasel then walks over to the stove carrying the casserole dish and closes the door inside. All the weasel will have to do is wait for the ostrich to be cooked as he sits down waiting for the baby ostrich. Well that is just cruel to cook them away; especially from weasels who just want to eat them which will just kill them. The weasel is sitting on the chair humming waiting for his dinner to be ready.
The weasel makes a 'take' at the stove starting to react badly with exploding fireworks and the stove continues to jump. The ostrich then falls out of the stove reacting to the amount of fireworks but stops after being driven out of the stove rather dazed. I do like the animation of the ostrich being stirred up by the fireworks and I imagine that the firework effects were done by Ace Gamer. The weasel walks over to the ostrich rather gobsmacked as to what had happened. The weasel opens the baby ostrich's mouth but more fireworks then start to react. Even the weasel is starting to shake badly as though there is an earthquake going on underground.