Release date: June 4, 1938.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig).
Story: Melvin Millar.
Animation: Robert Bentley.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky and his fireman team try to stop the fire at a boarding house.
As the fire engine is riding straight ahead - we find a point-of-view show of the front part of the engine moving which would've been Tashlin's own idea to feature that. The fire engine then makes a complete stop as we discover that there are these cats crossing the road - which makes the situation and the stopping appear rather amusing before the fire engine continues. Boy, making that fire engine stop in that bit of staging on the camera would've been a very difficult part to animate. As soon as they arrive closer and closer - we fade into an boarding house that is set on fire. There are flames flaming out from the windows with smoke coming out. There are even flames that then start to form the words 'HELP' which makes it as a whole a cartoony effect. Since I know A.C. Gamer was with Tashlin - and even in the credits - he would've done those scenes. As soon as the fire engine makes a complete stop - the truck then starts to fly out of the scene with their fireman. The timing there is very funny. Notice in the background that it the sign featured reads: Opera House To-nite LOONEY TUNES. Which is an in-joke relating to the series. After the engine flies out - the firemen (including Porky) then place it back and walk on to do their duty.
After placing his hat back onto his head - he makes his way over to the apartment grabbing onto the hose. In the long-shot view - there are fireman firing with their hoses at the burning boarding house. The funny part is that the flames then start to form into words again reading 'THANKS BOYS'. Even the flame then starts to form into hands and they clench onto each other's hand and cheering with it - it makes the gag rather amusing and appealing. Porky is standing outside the boarding house as he is still holding onto a hose pipe. Porky is calling somebody in the background to turn on the hosepipe as the hosepipe is attached to a fire hydrant.
The musical song that is played in the background during the dogs slow walk is called Boulevardier from the Bronx which is his theme and that cue chosen by Carl Stalling is very witty and funny and it goes by really well with the character who just walks around really well - it's a perfect view for walking scenes - particularly in the Thin Man scenes like in Speaking of the Weather or Have You Got Any Castles?. The way that the slow dog even walks through those hosepipes must've been difficult to animate since he had to move upwards in perspective and also that it pans through so some good mathematics would've been used when animating this scene.
Slow dog: What did you say?
Porky: I said, 'TURN ON THE WATER!
Slow dog: Oh.
The way that Porky even flied with rage made it rather funny since the slow dog is just wasting time. He then walks back down through the hosepipes - doing it the long way and also the annoying way. A boring scene to animate, perhaps but it makes the joke and the situation funnier. After walking through - the slow dog then turns on the fire hydrant in which a huge mass of water then starts to follow through the pipe as it's even massive. After travelling through the hosepipe - Porky is about to discover that after what we thought was just a huge amount of water coming up - only barely a drop just make out of the hosepipe and that is just hilarious. Porky then starts to run over to catch a bucket of water as he is desperate for it - after the hosepipe wasted a lot of his duty. He runs over in which he then scares the other dogs that are hanging out in their favourite spot - the fire hydrant. After Porky uses a spanner to unscrew the fire hydrant for the use of water as a emergency. Porky runs over to one of the boarding house windows to let the fire out but the funny part features an inanimate fire creature that stands up and grabs the bucket of water away from Porky and then splashes him. He hands the bucket of water back to Porky before he vanishes.
The slow dog then hears the sounds of her screaming in which she walks over - but then cuts directly back her since we didn't want to waste more time of him walking all the way through the hosepipes again. She continues to scream until the slow dog pops over from the ladder and asks, "What did you say?" - her comments then go into a rage since surely he must've heard from her screams, she responds; 'I said get me down out here. Put me on the street. Put me ON the street!' The slow dog thens starts to toss the fat lady off the boarding house as she wished. After the fall - we wait a couple of seconds the dog is just standing there waiting for her fall. After the fall - the camera then starts to shake sideways after the crash. Admittedly I don't find that camera shake to be very convincing or even as effective as Frank Tashlin could've done - but when I compare to how maybe if Clampett made it - he would make the crash feel like an earthquake and Tashlin would as well in years later. But I guess this was the 1930s but the camera shake feels like a 1960s effect.
As he does so - the old man continues to cry for help as he is trapped from the fire. Old King Cole is played in the background once Porky is inside the old man's room preparing to save the old man. The old man stops him from saving him as he shouts, 'Don't worry about me, go save grandpa!' The weird part was that the old man appears to have his own grandfather who'd probably be a tombstone by this point. The old man then jumps out of the window as he is still fit to jump back down. As he dives down the boarding house - he lets his own bears then float like a parachute which makes the gag of it particularly amusing and the comic part of it to be pretty cool.
The amusing part in this silly sequence features - the hoses going from window to window but it's all going curved which is a pretty cartoony concept but silly, too - in a fun way. The conclusion to that gag then features the flame being extinguished from the hose without realising.
Afterwards, Porky then runs over to a fire hydrant as he is in desperate need to fill up more water. The result of the gag is when he almost loses his way of finding the hydrant - he ends up being tied up by the hose before he is unleashed in that twisted speed line effect. Pretty cleverly animated from that point. Porky places the hosepipe on the valve as he opens it up but it turns out that water is spraying on the other end. He then replaces the hosepipe to another valve but discovers that as he turns it on with his spanner - water, again squirts out at both ends. He then tries with both ends and the funny part shows that water sprays at the top as Porky results in a take. A moment of character animation is featured as Porky thinks logically on how he would open up the fire hydrant and wondering what the cause is. After he opens it - it turns out that there is a hand holding onto a squirt gun and squirts Porky which is rather amusing since Porky is now a sucker to that effect. Afterwards; we then PAN along to where we find a manhole as the slow dog walks out carrying a squirt gun.
We then discover that even inside the boarding house there are aerobic people there as they plan to dive down there. As they dive down; they already land into their position as they are also forming aerobics. The last few aerobic guys then land as the music to Shave and a Haircut is played with the banner held by one of them that reads The Flying Leroys. The timing of them even landing as well as escaping makes it funny to me since they're performing a circus act. Meanwhile there appears to be a businessman who is screaming at the top of his voice but then he dives down. As he continues to dive down - he then ends up flying down some smoke in which after being covered by the smoke - he then forms into a blackface in which he is caricatured as Stephin Fetchit - who sure seemed to have appeal with stereotypes.
As the fireman are still trying to get the fire out in this climax sequence - the wall of one of the apartment buildings then collapse but the window stands land on the exact same position as they did they don't suffer from any injuries in that fall but it still makes the gag work. In the next following montage shots - we discover that the large woman is still on top of the same building (What, again??? - or is that somehow ANOTHER large woman?) They are all reuses of the same people in the montage shots and we even find the EXACT same aerobics people. Okay, but this is a situation where re-using animation in montage really, really fails. I mean - what on earth happened? Did they somehow escape but then somehow got their way back into the building? How very incoherent.
Overall comments: The fact that the cartoon overall really has no plot and it's just a string of gags performed by the fireman - it does result the cartoon landing in a minimum amount of time. The slow dog scenes I thought were particularly amusing since he just takes his time and is the main result of comedy here. There isn't too much Tashlin techniques featured here although the opening with the fire engine steaming past is definitely a trait of his in those early cartoons. Nevertheless, the cartoon had some funny moments like the Slow Dog scenes which featured "wit" with the music that went along with it and even the comic timing on how long he takes just walking alone the hosepipe. I suppose that concept or pantomime of the gag was reused from 'Porky's Building'
The fact hat the old man even still had his grandfather went as far as extreme but though amusing in the same way since he would still feel "young at heart". Even visual gags appear to be the main use of gags like the flames forming words like 'HELP' or 'THANKS BOYS' is typically what Avery would've used before in his cartoons so I see some influence there. The aerobics sequence was a rather nice touch as the timing of that was very well done. The montage shots were an epic fail in my opinion because of being re-used animation - wouldn't the audience member just question that by thinking "I thought they already landed to the ground". The camera shaking effect of the large lady falling off the boarding house looks like Frank Tashlin is trying to experiment with a camera shaky effect - but a attempt. Some of the fire gags of the hose trying to squirt the water is sort of Disney-ish gags like seen in Elmer Elephant.