Release date: August 6, 1938.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Robert Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Daffy Duck / The Champ / Pelican Referee).
Animation: Robert Cannon and John Carey.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky chooses Daffy to fight in the arena against the champ.
After two cartoons of Daffy Duck directed by Tex Avery, Bob Clampett has a go directing this wacky duck. Daffy Duck is a regular character in both the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies cartoons. This is the first cartoon for Daffy to be starring with Porky since 'Porky's Duck Hunt'. The first Clampett cartoon where Chuck Jones doesn't receive a screen credit as an animator - although I believe its likely he did the character layouts.
After grabbing the newspaper and milk bottle - he then looks inside the newspaper to read through the dailies. I like that opening shot of Porky as he picks up the newspaper and bottle but we don't see his face, as it sort of reminds me of a Tashlin shot that Clampett could've been inspired by.
The headline he is reading is an important headline for Porky. The headline reads:
CHAMP FIGHTING COCK TO TAKE ON ALL COMERS AT LOCAL ARENA TONIGHT.
The news of the newspaper then surprises Porky as he shouts, "Gosh". He then starts to call out for Daffy Duck and he rushed upstairs to wake him up.
He then attempts to wake up Daffy but he is still sleeping very heavily an not making any movement or motion whatsoever. Porky then begins to shake Porky in an attempt to wake up, "Open your eyes, Daffy! Daffy!, etc." he then shakes Daffy with both hands splashing water out of the tub but still no motion from Daffy as he is too busy snoozing. Daffy Duck then turns around to continue his sleep. After some of the frustration to waking him up; Porky then thinks of an idea to wake up Daffy. First, he grabs out what appears to look like a tureen and then he grabs out a spoon. Afterwards; the gong then makes a big vibrating effect and Daffy finally wakes up with his head also vibrating, too. That is a rather very funny gag on how to wake up Daffy as well as the funny animation. Daffy then wakes up as he is whooping with excitement and he is also singing the song Sinkin' in the Bathtub as the shower quickly turns on. That is mildly amusing as you can see Clampett is having fun with Daffy Duck after directing many Porky cartoons.
I like that really loose Cannon animation of Daffy jumping on the bed and punching the pillow like a punching bag. Look at how Daffy appears most of the time with his pupils expressed with wackiness. After some fun of punching the pillow as he pretends to use it as the enemy - he then finishes his own boxing practice and the pillow flies upwards into the air. After a couple of the seconds; the pillow then beats Daffy and the whole bed crashes together. I like how that even Daffy is make a fool out of - being defeated by and its probably the earliest form of him being made a fool out of. A title card then appears after the fadeout that reads 'That Night' and we see a huge crowd of folks entering the arena where there is a sign reading 'Fight Tonight'. We find that the crowd ends up overcrowding that the building almost explodes but instead - it ends up being formed in some sort of stadium. Now that type of gag development there is incredible! It then follows on with some montage shots of the crowd entering the arena.
He then gets the audiences attention as he speaks for himself in the arena: "Your attention, please. Who wants to fight?" then there is a little gag there there is a whole group ganging up on the pelican referee as they are shaking their fists towards him. You can hear mumbling sounds in the background as they threaten the pelican, "I'll pulverise ya!" The pelican then continues on with his introduction of the match - he then directs his hand towards "the champ". The gang then look at the champ and the champ is watched though we can't see him yet. The crowd then rush out of the scene as they are afraid to fight the champ. I wonder if Chuck Jones was still working on this cartoon? I see that the posting of the crowd really resemble Chuck's drawings or character layouts but he doesn't gain any credit for animation in this cartoon - unless he did the character layouts for the cartoon and left before becoming a director?
He then announces that the chick weighs at "two hundred and three and one-third pounds. The most magnificent, marvellous, multiple, monstrous, etc. etc.", we then find that the pelican is using a lot of nouns to describe the champ's strength and talent at boxing. It results in the pelican then speeding up his own voice as he then speaks faster and faster and it results his voice the pitching higher and his throat then ends up getting croakier. You can notice on the throat pouch is getting rather worn out and wrinkly from all that fast and continuous talking without taking a break. The pelican referee then puffs out after and walks out of the scene as the crowd then applaud at the champ.
The fierce roars even start to form wind as the roars are so intense the nightgown on Daffy then ends up being blown off. We thought that Daffy was all mucho and buffed-up but it turns out that he was carrying two bags of flour to try and disguise his puny self - but then we see a daffy side to his personality and that is wildly amusing. The crowd even roar with laughter after the nightgown is blown off and we even see that Daffy has that worried look on his face. Daffy is rather terrified as he is going to get smashed by the champ. Daffy then finds his time to shine as he grabs the stool and he then manages to pick up a whip and treats the champ like a lion act in a circus. Now that would be worth some laughs since the chicken was in fact roaring like a chicken. The audience then applaud for Daffy's wacky manoeuvre as he has managed to slay the champ.
In the next round - we then discover that we have moved to Round 10. The pelican then reminds Daffy and the champ to not hit - but why must they not hit each other when this is a boxing match? Daffy then pulls up his boxing pants up so he wouldn't be able to get smacked to easily - I presume. The champ then makes a huge wave fist so intensely that the pants rip off towards Daffy. There is some small Clampett toilet humour where Daffy just blushes towards the audience where he covers himself sheepishly. He is then given another loud roar from the champ but this time he just whoops away excitedly and also with cowardness. I'm starting to think that Daffy is at least showing a bit more of personality here. In the earlier cartoons (the previous two) where we see him as just a pest in the ponds - but this time this is his own cartoon in a boxing match and he isn't all much of a pest.
The part where he just pushes the small bell on a 'bicycle' was a rather nice fitting touch, I think. Daffy is now running away from the champ who is chasing Daffy in circles around the arena with the pelican referee watching his moves. Daffy then breaks the forth wall and remarks, 'I'm so crazy, I don't know if this is impossible' before he whoops. There is some neat pacing where Daffy Duck is on his invisible bicycle and as he slightly speeds up - he manages to knock the champ down. Then there is a good use of timing displayed as Daffy speeds up faster and faster in his invisible bicycle that he then dashes out of the way. That scene could've been messed up quite easily - but hey, its solid.
Champ: Where's Daffy?
Pelican: Daffy? Daffy? I don't know. Where's Daffy? Who's seen Daffy.
The pelican referee looks around the arena searching for Daffy but believes that he has vanished. Oh, it turns out that Daffy was hiding inside the pelican's beak as he jumps out to give the champ a surprise which is a beating. I like how his head just swirls after the punch. Some real hilarious comic timing then comes up as the champ socks the pelican by mistake and his neck extends up and hits the light attached to the ceiling displaying the arena. The timing there was really funny and I can see that Clampett is really having fun with the sequences and even the cartoon itself. The pelican then opens up his beak and Daffy is standing at the tip of his tongue acting like a cuckoo clock. Okay, but I really like how Clampett has portrayed Daffy Duck here - he has learnt the craziness from Avery and has decided to make him even more nuts here but at least with a little bit of personality.
Daffy then opens up the pelican's beak and he appears to be mentioning a one-liner and he is speaking way too fast that I actually can't understand what he is trying to say, and it ruins the fun for me a little. The chase then continues as the refers is being chased by the champ and the wrestling match is all going into chaos. After grabbing hold of the pelican referee - we find that the pelican's beak then extends much further and we find that as it stretches through - Daffy can't run any further inside the beak and then the beak slams straight back to the champ as the fighting continues. Daffy jumps out of the pelican's beak as he whoops around with excitement bouncing around. The champ is very frustrated with his effort and he then comes up with another plan.
The champ isn't quite through with Daffy yet - and his next plan is going to be so brutal, so intense, and so violent that he has to pull down the censored slide to tone down the violence. That was a very appropriate and even charming gag setup by Clampett as of course - these cartoons were intended for children and even made the censor part to mock the censorship and even to appeal to an audience, too. I love how the letters, 'Censored' actually moves from the effects of the beating and it really makes the animation look very appealing. This shows that Clampett's cartoons of 1938 were really brilliant and he really had talent. It turns out that Daffy Duck has in fact been knocked out unconsciousness - and he is going to suffer through the knockout. The pelican referee walks over as he begins the count. Porky then walks into the cartoon after what appears to feel like ages without seeing him around. He then shouts out for Daffy to wake up and not to suffer from the countdown.
This quick-pace editing where there pelican is shouting each second (and showing each shot representing a second of Porky in incredible speed) is just amazing. I know Tashlin has used that effect before but here its presented with two events occurring at the same time which wasn't so common back in the 1930s - I don't believe. As the pelican continues to count up to '9' (and a second short from Daffy being defeated from a knock-out') Porky then brings over the tureen and a spoon and whacks Daffy on top of the head. That effect of Daffy waking up is still amusing to me as it is pretty wild. Porky used the trick earlier on in the cartoon and it works for Daffy even in the arena. Daffy is back on his feet - this time wilder than ever. The champ realises that Daffy is charging straight towards the champ and they both end up flying through the canvas. There is a really crazy part where the pelican just stands there (and after the champ and Daffy zoom past) that the pelican's body is caught inside his own throat pouch and he spins like a turtle. That gag idea is so bizarre that its even very creative itself. The pelican then gets back up squabbling.
What I find really good about this cartoon is I think I see a turning point in Clampett's career with this cartoon. I look at the timing - and I've noticed the speed really got fast-paced and even the animation appears to be much more broader and wilder. Clampett is really using his timing very well in action scenes and he certainly knows how to impress an audience with intense action - as I have to say he is good at that. Porky hasn't really been much of a star in this cartoon (playing a minor role) but I can tell that Clampett wanted to focus on using Daffy Duck as the star of this cartoon as he was already a star by 1938.