|Title card courtesy of Dave Mackey.|
Release date: October 9, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig).
Animation: Chuck Jones. (Bobe Cannon, Bill Hammer, Jerry Hatchcock, John Carey and Lu Guarnier uncredited).
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky tries to teach tricks to his old dog Rover; but his dog already has a rival who is younger and fitter.
This is the first cartoon to feature the new theme to the Looney Tunes which would become it's permanent theme - The Merry-Go-Round-Broke Down in which it's also the first cartoon to which the ending credits feature Porky on the drum stuttering 'That's all folks'. On YouTube, Larry Tremblay has done a animator breakdown on the cartoon which was very good considering these 1930s cartoons are a toughie to identify animators. If you're interested; then watch here. I'm not going to list every single scene of what the animator did as it's shown in the video but I'll give a mention on some of the scenes.
Porky Pig then puts down his book on his armchair in which he dashes out of the house rather quickly as he grabs out a frisbee. He shouts when dashing out, "Oh baby, I can hardly wait". Porky Pig then dashes outside from his porch to his own garden as he runs to his dog's kennel and we know now that the name of Porky's dog is called Rover - very typical for a dog to be called that. Porky is standing outside Rover's kennel as he tries to call for his attention; in which he clicks his fingers, holding onto the frisbee and calls for his name to come out the kennel.
Porky then starts to give Rover some exercises to do; in which he asks Rover at first to "sit up". Rover then starts to try and sit up but because of his slanted back he slowly manages to sit up but his back makes horrible creaking sounds and it's very funny. Porky Pig then asks Rover to "turn over" as Rover quickly holds out his ear and asks Porky to repeat that with an "eh?" Rover doesn't manage to turn over but instead turns around when Porky is trying to demonstrate him. Meanwhile there is a little pup walking down in the garden (So, did that pup come of nowhere?) and watches the tricks that Rover is trying to perform. It looks like from the distance Rover is playing dead in which the little pup points to Rover like a sucker, then the pup walks over.
In the next sequence; Porky is asking for Rover to jump over the hoop where he asks Rover, "Jump through the pup". Without Porky noticing, the little pup jumps over the hoop on what looks like he could be jumping over a type of wallpaper; but it's torn once the little pup jumps over it. Porky Pig then throws the hoop away to find it is torn as he is annoyed, "Aw shucks" but at that moment Rover is just about to jump over the hoop but instead makes a mistake and crashes into a pan dangling on the shed. Now that comic timing is very funny and very well-paced; such genius of Clampett. We now go to learn that the little pup is a menace to Rover but is also a much younger and fitter dog.
Porky then starts to hand out a rubber ball in which he encourages Rover to do a trick. He asks, "Here Rover, catch the ball". Hang on a minute; if he's reading a book about new tricks for dogs; then the tricks that Porky is performing for the dog are the most common tricks for the dog; how can they knew. Unless the book he's reading must've been first published at a time when somebody invented dog tricks. Rover then wakes up and he tells off the little puppy calling him a "young whippersnapper" in which he asks him to watch for what he can do. Rover then runs over to Porky in which Porky throws the ball high in the air. The pup then picks up the pumpkin and tosses it towards Rover but instead the pumpkin lands on his mouth instead of the ball. That little sequence with the pumpkin was also Bobe Cannon's animation.
Pup: Don't ya understand? You're finished, through, washed up!
Rover: (tearful) You mean to say. I'm one of them dogs...used to was his?
The little pup then starts to mimic poor Rover who has an old-grandpa's voice and the little pup puts on his old voice and even an old looking face. Porky is watching what is going on he tells of the puppy; "Hey told mimic Rover, he's sensitive". The puppy is also a bully towards Porky as he completely mimics him with body posture, size and even stutter, "Gee, I'm sorry to hear that...yeeargh!" Porky is then looking through the book in which he finds something that makes him happy for what Rover could be able to do with his abilities, "Here Rover; here's one you can do!"
As Rover runs, the pup is counting up the numbers on how long he takes. As Rover is about to go near the stick; the puppy is actually giving Rover a head start; as as the puppy has finished counting he dashes off-screen to catch the stick before Rover makes it. As Rover is just about to catch the stick; he turns around to check is nobody is about but as he lowers his neck to catch the stick the little pup then dashes through and catches the stick before Rover even bites it with his own teeth. The puppy then skids as he has made it; and as Rover was just about to bite it he accidentally ate some soil which he spits out of his mouth. After the puppy has returned it; Porky then asks "Now this this time it's Rover's turn to get it".
The puppy then arrives at the spot with the walking stick and also wearing Rover's false teeth which makes the pose funny. This point Porky then throws the stick away whilst Rover places his false teeth back on. Rover then runs back to fetch the stick but the puppy tries to run over and catch it but Porky quickly grabs him to make sure that Rover still catches it. Why couldn't the puppy just bite Porky off; he'll be able to let the puppy go easily. The stick then starts to go far into a construction site which Rover goes into; and there is a caution sign reading, DANGER WE'RE GONNA BLAST. Rover believes that he has found the stick but it turns out to be a dynamite stick. He then says to the dynamite believing it's a stick, "So there you are, you little Scallawag". Of course that is a Civil War term to describe a White southerner who supported the Republicans.
Porky leaps as he scrambles about trying to find an area to throw away the walking stick. He throws the dynamite stick away; but the little puppy doesn't understand dynamite and dashes off to return it. Rover then suddenly reacts upon hearing the word as he shouts "Dynamite!" Rover then starts to scramble back into the house. Rover runs back into the house as he sits on the armchair flicking through the pages of a dictionary for the word "dynamite". The close-up shot of Rover flicking through the dictionary was also Chuck Jones' animation.
Porky then scratches to head to see what Rover is doing but the little pup then returns with the dynamite in which Porky becomes afraid and he throws it away but the pup still runs back after it. The music heard in the sequence played where Porky throws the dynamite away is called Nagasaki another popular Stalling cue. The sequence where Porky tries to throw away the dynamite away still continues; and even the pup turns in more dynamites just being a nuisance towards Porky.
That sequence was also animated by Chuck Jones; and I believe those distinctive swish effects must've been a trademark of his when animating. Porky then starts to take out more dynamites out of the pup in which they're all attached to one another; oh dear. Afterwards then Porky and the pup continue to pass back the dynamite in many funny ways; as the pup appears to be juggling back the dynamites over to Porky; and then Porky ends up carrying them all. A funny part then pops up as the pup asks Porky, "Pardon me but do you have a match please?" Porky hands over the match, and the pup replies "Thanks" very stupid of Porky but looney, too. The pup then lights all the match. While all that activity is still going on; Rover is inside the house still trying to find out the definition of the word "dynamite" in the dictionary.
Rover then reads through the definition in which it means explosion and Rover exclaims with horror, "EXPLOSION??" The close up was also by Jones who drew very beautifully. The frantic seen of Rover running out the house was by Jerry Hatchcock who was a wild animator and later spent his career at Disney and Hanna-Barbera. As Porky is trapped by the dynamite sticks; he prays to the Lord as he is about to die but then Rover arrives on the spot and collects all of the dynamite to protect his owner Porky. As Rover runs off slowly carrying the dynamite in his mouth; the puppy then runs back as he holds Rover and carries him away since he is a light-weight.
Rover dashes out of the way in which he lets go of the false teeth; that is attached to a branch of a tree. As he dashes off; the wind the blows fast that the branch falls down and traps the puppy's tail from Rover's false teeth. Porky then walks over to then scene to see what the commotion is about. Rover then believes he's going to get killed; and shakes Porky's hand as a farewell shake before dashing off. Porky watches what happens off-screen and there is a very thunderous shake which is a dynamite explosion. I imagine that maybe Smoky Garner created that camera effect. Porky and the pup fall to the ground and dash off to find Rover. A funny sign then plops to the ground out of nowhere that reads in big letters WE'VE BLASTED!
Porky Pig and the puppy then run over to Rover as they find that he is lying down flat and covered with soil (although if you take a look it looks like as though Rover's body has been split in half as well as his legs). Afterwards; the puppy then starts to harbour some guilt in which he begs for Rover not to die but to still live claiming that he never meant anything at all.
The puppy then continues; "Why of course an old man can learn new tricks". The puppy then concludes that Rover is in fact the best stick catcher there ever was. Upon hearing the compliment, Rover immediately wakes up flattered with the comment and asks, "Do you mean it?"
|and of course; a new closing. T-t-t-that's all folks.|
The cartoon had some very funny gags featured but there are a few oddballs such as the title of the book Porky was reading where it featured new tricks; and the tricks Porky tried to show Rover are just some of the most basic tricks ever that any dog could do. The little puppy had a very good, menacing personality although what annoys me a little is that I don't think his justice was very fair at all. He was a jerk; and he tried to blow up Porky; and all what happened was in the end when he tried to beg for Rover being alive and went as far to say that he is one of the finest dogs which would wake up Rover being, "Do you mean it" - okay, he got the puppy there but he should've been punished fair. I feel that in this cartoon Clampett knows how to make funny gags and even an appealing story with great characters. Ol' Rover even has some appeal with the old man voice. The old man voice sounds distinctive; is it the same voice actor who played the watchman in A Cartoonist's Nightmare. As I said; I liked Porky's design here as it is his most distinctive.