Thursday, 23 August 2012

197. Porky's Five and Ten (1938)

Warner cartoon no. 196.
Release date: April 16, 1938.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Radio Announcer).
Animation: Chuck Jones and John Carey.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky plans to open five and ten cent sore on a tropic isle but gets delayed by fishes.

First animation credit for animator John Carey.

The cartoon begins as we find a silhouetted scenario of a ship sailing by in the choppy oceans which is what is seen in the background of the cartoon title credits. The newspaper appears in which it then has the front headline as it reads: PORKY TO OPEN 5 & 10 c STORE ON TROPIC ISLE.

After we see the newspaper headline which writes about Porky opening a store abroad in a tropical island - we then find that Porky Pig is in his sailing boat as he is going to sail the seas. As he has every equipment ready for sailing. He then starts to let go of the rope that is attached to the pole in which he sails away as he greets goodbye - I guess to those watching him though we can't see it and he also says goodbye in which he says other ways for a farewell like "too-da-loo...goodbye.., etc". Afterwards we then watch him sail away into the distance as there is a sunset out in the distance (well, the only copy I know of that exists around the internet is the damn colorised version) and they consider that a sunset - and just why would they colourise..leave it as it is.

After about almost two weeks of being sailing out at sea -- there is a montage shot that appears in which we find that Porky Pig has written in the "Ships Log" in which the description reads: 13th day out - and nearing land soon". After he then starts to write that down in a letter - he then immediately quickly writes down:

 I hope
I hope
I hope

What Porky is writing is of course a reference to (and I've said this many times) referencing the Al Pearce Show from the character Elmer Blurt and I knew that something around that period explains the popularity of the show back then with the writers - must've been a huge hit that it's influenced them greatly. In that montage we find that Porky's ship that he is sailing on is travelling up some choppy waves as there are seagulls that also fly past, too. Meanwhile out in the sea we then discover what appears to be a shark's fin circulating around but discover that there is Porky's ship sailing by. The fish then pops up and all I can say is that what the hell is that types of fish? I can't tell whether or not it is meant to be a miniature shark as it doesn't look like a one but it has a shark fin on top? The fish then swims down the depth of the ocean to warm the fish creatures about a ship that is on top of there. All of the other fish critters then start to hear the news as they then start to swim all the way up to the top in which they go near the ship where it looks rather unusual to them in their view.

As they reach to the top of the ship in which they then start to investigate what is it. There is a swordfish at the top who is rather curious as to what is there in which he then starts to saw a part of the ship in which he opens up the door he formed in which a huge amount of items then fall. After the amount of items then fall down - Porky then ends up falling down but they then start to throw him back up inside the ship and close the door.

Okay, but I have to say this but that's JUST impossible for the ship to just stay afloat if still floating and opening the door. If the door opened the ship - the water would suck straight into it since the pressure of being underwater is quite so from my standard - how did that ship not sink even though opening it would've at least filled up the compartments very quickly. All of the other fish creatures then find that belongings that Porky was supposed to take along with him to the five and ten cents store but all of the other fish leave and takes his items. The swordfish then starts to unwind his own horn in which he gives it to the little black fish to parade the ship and stop Porky from probably trying to swim through and collect his stuff. The items then continue to drop lower in which then it starts to form a type of civilisation underwater. What we see then features a lunchbox and pins falling but it turns out that as they land - the lunchbox forms into a snack bar and the pins are formed into bar stools so the fish creatures can have some food to eat. Okay, I can say that it was a pretty clever idea to form the civilisation.

A gramophone then starts to land to the bottom of the ocean in which these seahorses then start to go over to it and they then start to land on the record in which it starts to play music. Other small fishes then start to jump onto seahorses as they are disguising themselves as the horses that you see in a Merry-Go-Round and then you hear the music to The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down.

A gag that then pops up which I find overall an interesting one but one that actually works itself where there is a fish swimming over to a teapot while the theme of the merry-go-round still goes on in which the fish swallows the teapot and in time; the teapot then whistles which is quite a fun gag since it suits the rhythm of the song, it makes it funnier and the fact that teapots do whistle. More gags then start to appear themselves; after the sequence with the merry-go-rounds its completely different music. It's mostly focusing on gags there is a type of fish that appears in which curiously stares at a clock and then swallows it. The fate of the fish from the gag that after swallowing the clock - the pendulum then starts to swing inside in with his legs as he starts moving sideways. As he turns around and walks away; the pendulum at the back makes it look as though he is shaking his booty which is presented in a comical form. Another fish then arrives at the scene just doing an impression of Hugh Herbert's whooping sounds and has a tag labelled "Foo" attached to it which I guess is a reference to one of Herbert's catchphrases.

Meanwhile inside the ship; we find that Porky is at the bottom part of the ship as much of his belongings appeared to have been taken. He then starts to open up the formed door to see what has happened. Porky opens up the door to see what is at the bottom of the ocean but he discovers that the fish guarding the ship squirts water at Porky's face. Funny as it may be shown but how is it still possible for the water to just stay there and not suck up the ship - it really doesn't make sense that I really doesn't make me comfortable.

After the situation with Porky with his first attempt to try and return his items; more gags then follow as we find a fish then spots a radio floating down the ocean in which he then swallows the radio. He starts to walk on as normal (even though we hear radio switching sounds) in the background as it makes a dodgy sound but the fish then realises that a voice is coming from his voice in which there is a news reporter heard coming from the fish as it starts to puzzle him. For a couple of seconds the fish just keeps on turning around to where he hears the voice until he believes he must be imagining things and then walks on taking no notice whatsoever. The news reporter was in fact commenting about the news about some bombings that have been going on but he believes it's only just voices.

After the fish just walks on trying not to take any notice of the voices - he suddenly then starts to feel some booming effects that is going on inside  his stomach even though its only coming from the radio that he swallowed. It even follows on some very funny animation where the fish reacts badly to the sound of gun shots and bomb sounds that the fish starts to move around rather effectively and the animation is very funny. The animation then continues onwards in which the sounds of a bomb falling then causes the fish to swoop and dig to the ground causing a type of explosion.

The animation of the bomb reactive scenes are just incredible and the way it is fluid is amazing. It's definitely looks like Chuck Jones' own drawings which is why it's a safe bet that Chuck was the animator of that fish in that sequence. More bombing reactions then continue in which we hear the sounds of the shotguns being heard the fish then continues to react in which the radio then finally drops out of his mouth. That was a great sequence I thought where it featured satire and also the fluidity of the animation too. I believe that the radio sequence there was a very long scene that Chuck (if he was the animator) would've animated since it lasts almost approx. 47 seconds long which would be roughly maybe two weeks work since Chuck Jones was the best animator out of the Clampett/Katz unit.

After burping the radio out of the fish - the radio then appears to change channel as there is a song  being sung called Happiness Ahead. There are then more items that then start to float down to the ocean again as the clever part (and even cleverly animated, too) where it features more items but they end up forming hotel saloon rooms, curtains in which then the front building ends up being formed as well as brick blocks that read "HOTEL" also gets formed, too as well as the front part. What I think makes it even clever then features these electric eels as they go over to make the finishing touch. The eels then start to form the form in very fancy-looking handwriting to form the name of the hotel which is called Hollywood Hotel which I feel was made in a very decent effect but I imagine this was also difficult to animate, as well. Then the words 'Hollywood' then starts to brighten up like bright lights. More finishing touches are then made when two fishes then approach as they then add a torches to create a spotlight.

During that sequence after the formation of the hotel in which we then find two flounders swimming along. Suddenly then there are derby hats that then go on top of their heads but as they turn around they are a resemblance to Laurel and Hardy. That should even be worth a chuckle as it's caricaturing on what they would look like being flounders as they swim inside the hotel.

 Another fish then walks into the scene who is a caricature of Greta Garbo as she walks on with a Garbo face pulled on. There are then a pair of boots that then fly down to the surface in which she steps into the shoes and walks on them which look like a giant size but that's how Garbo was stereotyped as. The fish then speaks in  Garbo voice, 'I want to be alone' which is one of her famous catchphrases and in reality was alone.

Another caricatured celebrity that then appears afterwards -- well, first it begins with a fish who finds a pair of lightbulbs together but swallows it and then forms into Mae West who was Hollywood's sex appeal. She then walks over at the stadium where she is going to watch the boxing but then she comments in that Mae West voice, 'Come up and see me sometime'. Inside the stadium we then find that there are a pair of fish standing on a typewriter which is the arena as they are boxing. We then start to view closer in which we then find that they are boxing on the typewriters and there is a piece of paper on top as it's being typed with what they are writing. They then start to sit down after some boxing as they want to catch their breath before they then continue their fight. The animated typewriter then forms the words that are being written whilst fighting which is actually a part of the commentator: He's up, he's down!

The fighting then continues after we see in close-up to the gag as they are typing but after forming the commentaries which may be quite cool but they sure know where they appear to be fighting if they are forming the words and liners very correctly and spelling it perfectly which would be very complicating to probably even think about or to do. Afterwards the dark fish then gets knocked out as the other fish is the winner.

After the boxing match and a view of the sea in the sequences - we then return back to the boat as we find that Porky Pig is in dire need of getting his stuff returned and back into the ship. Porky has already got a fishing hook and he places a worm in the silk where he is trying to fish the fish guard who guards the ship. Porky then drops the hook into the water and he waits where the fish is sitting on the hook. As the fish is still guarding - he then starts to turn his attention on the worm as though it's a treat for him to eat and also a part of the bait. The funny part is that the fish even fails so in which he tries to capture the worm by grabbing out his own fishing rod so the worm would bite to it and the fish has had his feast. At first the fish appears to struggle to eat up the worm which shows some weight in the animation but then eats it. Well that certainly didn't work for Porky's plan since the fish already HAD his own fishing rod but it makes the situation even funnier.

After the sequence with Porky's second known attempt to have failed - we then view back down to the hotel saloon room as we find that there are a couple of fishes in there that are giggling whilst having their drinks. After enjoying some drinks and even getting drunk - the show them starts to begin as the spotlight features at the curtains and the curtains then begin to open.

After the curtains then open; we then spot on what we think appears to be these lovely lady legs that even capture the interest of the legs. It then turns out that the legs where it is coming from is coming from an Octopus dancers which is also a very clever idea for a dance show, too since octopuses have eight legs - (hence the "octo" - Latin for 8). The Octopus animation was reused again a few years later in Porky's Poor Fish. While the octopus is performing a dance - Mae West then arrives at the scene and offers an old fish (but it looks like a walrus) to dance around. During these dance sequences; we then view to the same fish we saw earlier who had swallowed the clock who starts to dance as the legs part where it looks like a pendulum then swings sideways numerously. Meanwhile back at the ship where the fish is on guard -- he then knocks on the door at the back. Whilst guarding there appears to be a whale that then arrives at the scene to try and cause a prank towards Porky.

Porky then starts to answer the knocking as he responds to that, 'Who's there' it turns out that the whale then starts to squirt water out of Porky in which the blowhole squirts Porky in the air. Afterwards Porky then starts to thud to the ground again. The worst then starts to come to Porky since not only is his stuff all the way at the bottom of the sea but it turns out that there is a water spout (like a cyclone but not on land) which is hitting its way to Porky and Porky is now in double trouble as he would very well be shipwrecked.

During Porky's incoming cyclone that is heading its way -- the hotel is still going on quite fine as there is dancing from the fishes going on - just like what you would normally see in hotels or ballrooms. The radio then starts to report the news as some bad news is about to occur: Ladies and gentleman! We interrupt the program momentarily for a important news bulletin. Flash! A giant water spout has been cited in the (whatever island he is naming)...' but it is bad news for the fish since they hear the news since the water spout is on their way. The fishes don't take particular notice as they just carry on dancing anyway but the radio announcer even knows what they are doing (which also makes it even funnier) in which he shouts 'Well come on you guys, scram!' They then start to scram out of the scene making a complete dash knowing their fate and at least knowing it would be serious (but not for them since they're underwater).

 As they are swimming away underwater; the cue song heard in this action sequence is Nagasaki which appears to be quite popular when in action scenes of the 1930s. A clever looking gag then appears where the fish then starts to swim inside these clams but then the clams then start hide in each bigger clam which makes it rather humorous. A fish then pops out the sign that reads 'Do Not Disturb'. The fishes then start to dash into a bucket that is full of sardines as they hide inside it. One of the fishes then starts to step out of the sardines dish and prays for being spared until jumping back in.

The water spout then appears at the spot as Porky's ship then gets caught in the cyclone in which he spins around continuously and also the objects from underwater (where the spout is under there) even start to spin around. For a couple of seconds - the objects that were flying around completely until the water spout completely stops. After it stops; all of Porky's objects then start to fly back into his ship. After his valuables for his five and ten cents store - he sails to the distance. The fish guard then looks back spitting water but Porky's boat returns and Porky squirts him with a water tank as part of his vengeance. This results in the black fish crying like a baby.

Overall comments: The parts that interest me about this cartoon and from what Clampett was doing was that he's made Porky play a much minor role in this cartoon. Porky's been a minor character before in some of the cartoons - (particularly in the Beans cartoons where he would make cameo appearances) but later on Bob Clampett would in fact later get bored of making Porky cartoons where sometimes he doesn't appear no longer than 30 seconds in a whole 6 minute cartoon. Porky's role in this cartoon was very minor since it just focused on Porky's objects being stolen by a fish and we see what is going on under there. It may sound very interesting but the gags that have been developed under there have been cleverly thought of and I think Clampett was just experimenting with some ideas of his own (other than a Porky cartoon) but having to add Porky into it since he was only allowed to make those cartoons.

The radio sequence I thought was very well animated and even a well-developed gag that is just great itself. There weren't too much references other than celebrity references but they were huge for its time and everyone knew the stars even though they may be still known today which makes the cartoon entertaining to watch too. When I first watched the cartoon I thought that it was a total bore but with these colorizations but I guess when just watching one cartoon - I really am too relaxed but when I watch them again I get more into detail and I realise that this cartoon even works well itself. What really bugs me and I will still be bugged by it no matter what people say is how did his boat not get sunk when he opens ups the door at the bottom when he could've ben crushed by the sea uncontrollably coming in? Still doesn't make sense and it will continue not to. I feel that the title for the cartoon should've been given a different name since we don't even see him running a five and ten cent store as it mostly relates to him having troubles with fishes and should be called something like 'Porky's Fish Trouble' or something like that.


  1. "Foo" is a nonsensical term from Bill Holman's "Smokey Stover" comic strip. Apparently, Clampett was a fan because the word turns up in quite a few of his cartoons from this time period.

  2. We never get to see Porky even reach the isle and open up his five and ten store. "Hooray for Hollywood" is heard when we see our fish friends walk into the Hollywood Hotel. "Foo". Other songs, heard used are over the open titles oneb that is opften called "Christo[her Columbus" but is "Let that be a Lesson to You", then the tic-toc-aticky tune heard is (APPROPRIATELY!)"I'm a Fish outta Water", then the famed baseball cue as Porky is fishing, (heard on many WB caartoons, including the opens of: "Proky the Fireman","Porky's Baseball Broadcast"), is "Come up and let's Sing a song of good cheer", all ()inc;luding "Hooray for Hollywood") from the studio's musical of the previous year,1937,"Hollywood Hotel"(which also featured the ACTUAL "Christopher Columbus"), all written by Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting (thanks to Robert Osborne of the US American Movie Classics of a 1998 broadcast on his own show of "Hollywood Hotel", which revealed the instrumenntals used as vocals.) Well known for the swordfish's theme from The Andrews Sister's iconic 1937 version and it being sung by Egghead in "A Lad in his Lamp" is "Bei Mir Di Du Schoen", though the "Little Egypt" song (as used in his "Goofy Groceckiers" by Clampett himself a few years later), "On the Streets of Cairo"( "There's a Place called France..") could have just as well sufficed for the pendulum swinging shark. Steve C.

  3. PS: "Hollywood Hotel": Now you know the copnnections besides the studio's ownership[ min bgeneral, to those songs!:)

  4. I loved that bit with the boxing fish. That's what I remember most about this cartoon.