Monday, 6 August 2012

184. Porky's Double Trouble (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 183.
Release date: November 13, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky / The Killer).
Story: George Manuell.
Animation: Joe D'Igalo.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synposis: Criminal, Killer has escaped from prison and uses banker Porky as a plan to steal his identity and loot at the bank.

The cartoon begins as we find that there is a silhouetted figure and we can tell that is a prisoner. The beams then start to shoot straight at the figure and is now identified as a criminal that looks like a tough version of Porky Pig wearing prison uniform. The tough pig criminal then starts to shoot with his pistols to those that have found him. That is a good way to open the cartoon which Tashlin is influenced by film; with a silhouetted figure escaping but caught by light.

Tashlin was influenced even more with silhouettes as there are prison wardens on top of the prison walls firing at the tough pig criminal. The prison wardens then start to run down after the criminal; also performed in silhouette and the whistle blows. I love how Tashlin has demonstrated the scenery of the prison wardens and its atmosphere. The colours look very good and striking. Prison walls are dark at night; and you probably can't see prison wardens shooting at you; and they look like figures which is why I find that Tashlin has done a good job there. In the next scenes; we then find the narrator is narrating the recent news of what has happened. It follows by with montage shots of the police are in their offices doing some serious work with the telephone systems. The shot of the police dialling is a notorious reuse of the 1930s Warner Bros. cartoons as it originated in The Blow Out a very early Avery cartoon. The narrator then starts off; 'The machinery of the law is put into motion as news of the escape is flashed over the police telephone system...' the fast radio-typical talking continues as the news is pretty bad; but the montage shots are really great as you see the police cars leaving for action; and typewriters clicking on the report. All of this is done by the works of Frank Tashlin with his brainstorming film technique ideas.

The newspaper then fades into the screen as the headline screams the front page: "KILLER" ESCAPES FROM ALCATRAZ PRISON!! and even the news reporter reads it out. Killer is the name of the character we saw at the beginning; so we know who he is now; and of course Alcatraz Prison is a very famous prison island near San Francisco that used to be active around this period. It's visited by many people today.

The news reporter then proclaims: A manhunt is on! The picture of the Killer here I find is very well designed and even is drawn very solid in that newspaper. The police however believe that Killer is hiding as reported. Notice at the top of the newspaper you'll find Leon Schlesinger's surname written in small handwriting. After the fade-out of the newspaper; we then iris in to a background of a boarding school that is called Katz School for Girls which is of course a reference to Ray Katz; who was an associate of Leon; as well as his brother-in-law. The news reporter reports that the girl's boarding school is in fact abandoned. We view inside the house to find that the house is in fact stored with guns, deadly weapons, teargas, bombs, etc. and a whole range of weapons that the news reporter lists. The camera pan from where we lead to the room and even the hallway of the staircase was very cleverly filmed and the cameraman did this in the orders of Tashlin.

Meanwhile inside a room of the abandoned boarding school; there are a group of thugs standing together on a table with multiple newspapers laid out with the headlines focusing on Killer. One of the thugs reading the papers then comments on the killer as they go in dialogue:

Thug 1:No jail can hold the chief.
Thug 2: Yes, the guy is clever, just like Houdonny. (I think he's referencing daredevil Houdini). He can get out of anything.
Thug 3: That's a good picture of the Chief. He looks just like Clark Taylor.
Thug 4: Yeah, but it don't look natural. They no numbers on him

With the names of who they're describing; I believe that they are referencing celebrities but not quite saying their names correctly; like Houdonny would be Houdini. The thug probably then said 'Clark Taylor' as though it's a cross combo between Clark Gable and Robert Taylor as one of the thugs has mixed up the names; perhaps. There is a sudden knock on the door; and the thugs then turn around with their pistols pointing towards the door as the thugs then shout out altogether; 'Who's there?' It turns out there appears to be a baby doll outside who might resemble Mae West that responds; 'I've got a message from the killer, boys'. The thugs then walk over to see who it is; they even have their own peepholes through the door but on different height orders; so each thug climb on top of each other to view their own peephole which I think is rather funny. The baby doll then replies back; 'Open up and let me in, will you?' The door then opens and the Mae West caricature then walks in with her sophisticated walk.

The thugs then line up by the door as they let her in showing that they admire her looks and sex appeal. The Mae West baby doll then walks over to the last thug lined up; as the thug rubs her cheek with his finger asking; 'What message did the Killer send, sweetie pie?' She then replies in her girl voice; 'He said...' as she walks over she then punches the thug in the face and all the other thugs get whacked as well and they bundle to the door.

The Mae West baby doll was in fact a disguise as it was Killer pretending to be a baby doll. He replies then in his manly terrifying voice; '...not to fool around with dames, you lugs! Let that learn you a lesson'. Killer then takes off the fur coat that wore and we find him wearing the prison uniform; and he placed two bombs on his chest so that he could disguise them as boobs. He then starts to take off the boots and appears as his normal self in prison uniform. He picks up one of the newspapers as he comments; 'Some publicity, eh?' He picks up the newspaper; and one of the headlines with his face featured reads; PUBLIC ENEMY No. 1. Killer then comments; 'Once I was only Public Enemy No. 9. Now I'm at the top!'. From the point of view shot of Killer reading the newspaper; he then moves onto the right as he finds some extra news about Porky Pig; as it reads; Porky Pig Promoted to Bank Teller with a picture next to him. Killer then gets baffled over the picture of him and exclaims; 'The guy looks just like me! He could be me twin brother!' and I like the comparisons between the pictures of them. Killer then starts to think of an idea; as he places the newspaper on the table and brings his thug gang over to discuss the plan. 'We go to the bank, get this guy and then...(whispering)' and they're plan is to capture Porky but the rest is for us to find out.

The off-screen news reporter then returns his spot as he narrates; 'The evildoers carefully plan another hideous crime'. We then view the outside of the bank that is called Worst National Bank which I think is pretty funny since Porky has been given a promotion on the worst national bank which pretty much makes him a sucker. We find that Porky is inside the offices as he is the bank teller. There is a queue of animals (as civilians) lining up to hand their money over to the bank.

The scenes of Porky just doing his job aren't too interesting and I bet it was vey tedious for the animator even though the job had to be done; as we just watch Porky signing a cheque and handing it back. There is however a Scottish terrier civilian of course stereotyped as a Scotsman; in which he hands over the bank book to Porky. The Scotsman then grabs out his purse in which it has a very tight lock around it; and I imagine that could be a little cold since Scottish people are stereotyped for being very tight with money. As he unwinds his purse there are moths that fly out of it which is random; but amusing. The Scottie dog then hands over a join to Porky as he signs his bank book; and off he goes. Porky then picks up the coin to drop it; but it drops very flat which means it wasn't a proper coin as it shows Porky has been tricked by a Scottish terrier who is very tight with me and I think that is the whole gist of the joke. Porky has been conned as he covers his hand over his face and slides it down with grief and humiliation.

Miss Petunia Pig; who appears again in this cartoon (and at this point the only character that Tashlin was really focusing on) then starts to get Porky's attention by calling his name over. She plays as Porky's secretary in this cartoon. Porky walks over as he stutters; 'Yes, Miss Petunia'. Petunia is acting all flirty towards Porky as she suggests a date with Porky; 'How about you and I stepping out tonight, big boy?' Porky is of course very nervous and is afraid to confront his feelings:

'Gee, Miss Petunia. I'm bashful. Ha-ha. You're so pretty, and I'm--' He continues to hesitate but then at that moment; Porky is saved by the bell. Porky then quickly replies, 'It's time for lunch. Goodbye'. Porky then dashes out of the scene as he had no chance to show his feelings and would probably annoy Petunia even more. Meanwhile outside Killer is outside disguised as Mae West as he is pretending to be fixing his car as he is holding onto a hammer and is hammering his car. Porky then steps out of the bank and watches what the "woman" is doing. He walks over to Killer in disguise for some assistance. Porky then walks over as he asks for some assistance; 'May I help you madam?'; and Killer puts on his disguised voice; 'Would you be so kind?' faking as though the woman is struggling. As Porky appears to he doing a hat-take; it appears as though he's excited about the woman's looks or so it seems and not for Petunia.

Porky Pig then starts to look over at the car with the front part open where he is trying to fix the engine. Killer (in disguise) realises that it is his chance to finally attack Porky with the hammer; but as he is about to do so Porky turns around at the spot spoiling the moment. Porky then says, 'It won't take a minute'. He then tries to hit him again but Porky keeps turning as he responds; 'It's almost fixed'. As Porky keeps turning; he replies about the engine is 'in the bag'. Killer in disguise then boots Porky in the behind and traps him inside the engine compartment as he shouts in his man voice, 'So are you!'

Okay; we know that one of Killer's plans so far is that he's already captured Porky inside the engine compartment of the car; as the car drives off. The narrator continues; 'The Killer adds kidnapping to his already long list of diabolical crimes'. The car then drives off back to the abandoned boarding school for girls. Inside the room where Killer is; we then pan across to find that Killer has in fact come up with a very dirty plan as he realises that he looks like Porky and works in a bank. Killer then speaks about the plan; 'And with your sissy clothes on, I can rob the bank. And you'll take the rap, see?' Killer is wearing Porky's bank uniform; while he has Porky tied up to a chair so that he wouldn't be able to escape. What a horrid plan realising that he has found a very clever but dirty way to rob the bank and to make sure the police mistaken Porky as Killer because of them looking identical. The only parts that don't make them look identical is that Killer almost looks as though he needs a shave.

After laughing at his crooked scheme; he then walks over to the mirror. Killer walks over as he is disguised as Porky. He comments; 'Now I look like the squirt!' The mirror reflection then starts to pull a face towards Killer which was a little fun gag added to also make Killer feel a fool. Killer then punches the glass in the mirror as we find that the reflection has a black-eye; now that is funny considering it feels like an actual person in there.

Killer then walks over towards Porky all tied-up on a chair in which he says goodbye to him; 'So long squirty-wirty' as he pulls Porky's snout so long and far that as he lets go; his snout hits his face and laughs at Porky. I've seen that same animation style on Porky that appears to love drawing very goofy eyes and wild takes; I've seen it in Case of the Stuttering Pig but I don't know who it is. After having Porky all trapped; then we fade back to the 'Worst National Bank' as there is a description of it displayed on the wall reading: A terrible reserve bank capital plenty millions deposits half that amount which is of course a jokey description. With the neat camera movement; we move back towards the street as we find Killer in a long-shot walking over to the bank pretending to be Porky whistling happy. The news reporter (who is narrating the story) then reveals to us audience already that he is wearing Porky's clothes so that his identity is hidden; and then continues on which I quite like; 'Public Enemy No. 1 has returned to the bank'. That is a pretty good animated scene of Killer walking through but I imagine that the staging and layout of it must've been very complicating to the animator as there is a lot of camera movement and such.

The sign that did read in the "teller" section of the bank reading Porky Pig Gone to Lunch then is removed by Killer as he stands on the counter waiting for those queuing up to hand in their money or items. One of the ladies lining up then asks; 'Put my jewels in the safe, Porky'. Killer then starts to hand over the jewels and stuffs it in his pockets where he probably considers it the "safe". Another man then hands over a couple of hundred dollar notes and asks him to put it in the deposit; but then again Porky stuffs them in his pocket assuming that could be his deposit.

Porky then starts to grab onto more items that are being handed over to him such includes bag of coins; money notes, and even a whole box of jewellery which must mean Killer could be in seventh heaven as this rate. Meanwhile Petunia Pig who is distracted and interests in "Porky" then calls Killer over shouting, "Oh Porky". Killer who is still handing over the money and hiding them shouts very rudely, 'Yeah, what is it?!' he then makes a taste realising that he is shouting at the wrong person. Killer realises that he has made a mistake so he puts on a voice of Porky asking the same question; 'Yeah what is it?' now that is very funny considering I that Killer has almost made a fool of himself and forgot who he was saying that too; even putting on a voice of Porky was even funny - just the charm of it being shown.

Killer then walks over to Petunia Pig; as she then flirts with him assuming he's Porky by asking the same question she asked before lunch; 'How about you and I stepping out tonight, big boy?' as she fiddles with his chin. Killer then starts to act rather violently and pressures Petunia (pretending to be Porky) 'Why wait until tonight, baby?' he then grabs Petunia in which he smooches Petunia on the lips very tightly and probably very uncomfortably.

Petunia then releases herself loose in which she slaps Killer in the face holding onto her desk shocked as she points towards him; 'Why you're not Porky Pig!' Kiler replies as he couldn't care less, 'So what?' Petunia Pig then starts to press the burglar alarm in which the burglar alarm goes off. Within seconds; we find that Killer is already blasting inside the room with his pistols at the police shooting after him for looting. Killer then makes an escape after he has been caught; and in the next scenery he has already driven back to his headquarters. The news reporter continues (who appears to be reporting the entire cartoon of the actions of what Killer's been up to), 'After looting the bank, the Killer speeds back to the hideout!' We view back to the room as there the thugs are in the same room with them. Killer then shows the thugs all the money and jewellery that he managed to steal, 'Easy picking, huh, boys?' Killer then points over to Porky trying to make a fool of him, 'And they (the police) think you did it!' in which he goes on to laugh at Porky. Poor Porky; he's going through so much chaos that he doesn't even deserve it.

Meanwhile back outside; the cops are standing outside the boarding school (their headquarters) in which they duck under to try and make sure Killer doesn't know that the cops are about. Killer looks out the window as he shouts, 'Jiggers! The cops!' Killer then starts to fire at them with his machine gun but a whole lot of jewellery and goods all fly out of his pockets because of his spastic movements with the machine gun.

The cops are also outside the boarding school in which they start to fire with their guns too. The police officer then walks over to the boarding school in which he starts to fire from the top but he ends up digging himself to the ground which is of course a funny gag; but I think that is reused animation from the cartoon I'm a Big Shot Now. The officer is sitting on top of the branch of the tree about to fire; but there is a woodpecker opposite the tree and the officer doesn't notice it. The woodpecker starts to peck on the tree, but the officer thinks he's dead as he covers his chest shouting; 'Ouch. They got me'. Now that is just hilarious and even a original idea that came up (even though it's probably been used loads of times) but not with a woodpecker before and I think that is just funny. The officer still shooting straight him is still dug to the ground; and luckily one of the bullets flies up to the top part of the house and the ropes loose Porky Pig. Luckily that the bullets even missed Porky. Porky jumps out of his chair relieved that he is free but is ready to seek revenge.

The thugs are standing outside with their heads through these stands for which you change your clothes and cover your privacy. Porky is standing on top of the banister of the stairs holding onto a lamp in which he jumps off and kicks the stand as the thugs crash to a wall trapped. Porky then swings back to the hallway upstairs.

Killer is in fact still shooting straight ahead at the cops; and Porky has found the culprit on which he's set him to humiliation and for kidnapping him. Porky then jumps off the steps in which he prepares a land on top of Killer in which they fight one another. They are beating each other up continuously; and I think that watching the animation of them beating up; should be worth freeze framing and notice how that each drawings are so different but yet so funny and interesting; should be worth studying. I know that this was done by an animator who was wacky in the Tashlin unit and loved to draw eyes overlapping their foreheads but I don't know the animator; does anyone else know or have a theory? The police are in fact standing by the doorstep in which Petunia is standing with them. The police officers then ask; 'Who's Porky'. The real Porky Pig then starts to point to himself, 'I'm Porky' but Killer then shouts out 'I'm PORKY!' in which he is trying to fake his identity again. The officer still points with his guns asks who's the killer; but then Porky and Killer then debate each other who is Porky; but it's just Killer who is trying to make it very difficult for both of them; and even the officers too. Only one person will be able to prove to the police; Petunia Pig.

Petunia Pig then starts to press on the chief's arms in which she starts to have her words; 'Just a minute, chief. I'll find out'. There is a really weird cut from where Petunia is standing next to Porky and appears to have got to him real quick; it feels like a goof to me. She stands next to Porky examining him on the real identity. She tries it out; as she speaks in her flirtatious catchphrase; 'How about you and I stepping out tonight, big boy?' Porky then replies in which he stutters, then Petunia then proves to the officers; 'That's Porky'.

She then starts to show that she has second thoughts on the Killer as she gasps with glee and admiration; 'How that Killer can kiss'. Porky then starts to move towards Petunia in which he kisses her so passionately to try and prove his love to her as he just hesitated towards her. After Porky gives her a kiss to try and get her to win his heart; he stands in a pose with attitude but however Petunia turns him down. She then responds to that; 'I still take the Killer' which would make Porky downhearted as though Petunia doesn't prefer Porky. If you think about it; if only Killer hadn't planned to kidnap Porky or even encounter Petunia by giving her the kiss; this whole thing would never happen to Porky. Petunia then starts to walk off with the Killer as he is being arrested by the police. She holds onto Killer's arm in which it turns out that Killer has got the girl at the end of the cartoon; and is practically the winner and Porky being the winner. Petunia comments, 'Come on big boy, I'll wait until you get out'. Being Public Enemy's No. 1 - at this rate she'll probably be waiting forever.

Overall comments: The way that the story structured throughout this cartoon I feel has been put into detail as how Killer's plans will flow. Of course when I watch what Killer is doing; I really feel that is a nasty villain planning on getting another innocent albeit identical character like Porky to be Killer and lead him being arrested by the officers without trial. I really like how that Frank Tashlin's film techniques feel rather advanced in my opinion; as in the beginning it really feels he's focusing on live-action film techniques that no other cartoon director achieved what he could achieve. The silhouettes were amazing from the beginning as it gives you the feeling of how dark it would be; and the montage shots were pulled really well. Some of the bold writing I feel even shows the type of writing that appeals to Tashlin.

However despite the great animation in the cartoon, and the designs, techniques, etc. I don't particularly like how Porky is handled in the cartoon. I understand the whole joke at the end where we think the Killer goes to prison; in which Petunia goes into this 'My hero' attitude to Porky and ends the girl - it doesn't end that way; and I think that's what the WB writers are for - they like to surprise their audiences. I just feel as though Porky in this cartoon was treated like a sucker and after what he's been through he even got his heart broken as Petunia leaves him for the Killer; I don't think Porky got what he deserved but I think that's the whole though; we are expecting the Killer to get perfect justice which would be a life impriseoment but instead even though going to prison; he has won the heart of Petunia forever which makes it particularly funny but I do feel pity on Poor Porky.


  1. a book I have says that Petunia is voiced by a performed named SHirley Reed; My copy of that book, author Graham Webb's 2000 "Animated Film Encyclopedia" mentions another performer Frederich Linsley but that book, as Keith Scott has said, is chock full of voice errors..anyway, either way, Sara Berner wasn't yet working at Warnewrs yet.Steve

  2. Porky apparently was so traumatized by Petunia's rejection at the end of this cartoon he immediately went on a diet -- i.e. Tashlin finally gave in after this short and followed Avery and Clampett's lead in re-designing Porky to make him much thinner, and easier to animate in action scenes (though Frank's version would retain the apple cheeks). The changeover shows up in "Porky at the Crockadero", but it apparently was done fast enough so that the publicity drawings for "Porky's Double Trouble" feature both he and the killer sporting Tash's new svelte design (prison food must have been lousy in 1938).