Friday, 26 October 2012

210. Porky and Daffy (1938)

Warner cartoon no. 209.
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. 

The cartoon begins taking place early in the morning as we find a house that belongs to the residence of manager Porky Pig and his fighter Daffy Duck (as identified in the letterboxes). We then truck in to the front porch of the house until we dissolve into a close-up shot of a newspaper sitting on the doormat next to a milk bottle. The text of the newspaper appears to look rather modern. Porky opens the door as it is morning.

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.

After a rush up the stairs - we then find Porky skidding inside the bathroom which is also Daffy's own bedroom. We find that Daffy is asleep in the bathtub floating on top of water. That is rather amusing since before we have seen Daffy Duck living in a pond where in the day he would pester hunters. Porky then attempts to wake up Daffy about the news, "Get up, at last, I got a fight for ya!"

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.

Daffy then runs over to the cupboard as he jumps into the chest of draws and it closes itself. After jumping into the draws, he jumps out wearing his boxing outfit for the big game. That rubbery animation from Daffy whooping and jumping into the chest of draws is Bobe Cannon animation. Bobe continues on where Daffy is standing on top of a bed as he is practicing some boxing in a rather looney style. Good ol'Clampett.

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.

At the arena we then find there is a pelican who is trying to quieten the crowd watching the boxing. The pelican is the referee of this match. Interesting how when he uses his whistle - he has to squeeze his own throat pouch to make a whistle sound although I find the character animation on that part a little bit weak as there feels to be a lack of weight.

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?

Porky then rushes into the scene at the running as he is grabbing hold of Daffy Duck and he throws Daffy onto the canvas. Porky then ensures to the pelican that Daffy is willing to fight. I like how that Daffy is seen in his dressing gown looking all muscular - even though he is just shown as a really scrawny, kooky duck. Some real use of perspective animation of the pelican is used where he announces who are the fighters for this match. The pelican referee then turns around, "In this corner..." he then looks at a chicken rooster who is also known as the champ.

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.

From the view that we are looking at - the champ looks incredibly weak and unfit to fight. However, we find one of the guys then unzips his cloak and after unzipping his cloak - it is revealed that he huge muscular chest then sticks out and he has a rather fierce looking face. In fact he is so frightening that for some odd reason (being a cockerel) - the champ then ends up roaring like a lion. I guess it makes the cartoon sound effect and staging appear more funnier - but the fact the cockerels roaring is just too weird.

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.

The pelican then goes on to announce the next part of the act - he shouts: "Challenger at 95 and one-fifth pounds". Before he could even go on, Daffy is sitting on the stool and he is therefore kicking his beak in which he then goes into a very funny sound effect movement (and Clampett loved using that gag). Daffy Duck then stands up as he shouts, "Sold to the American tobacco (?)" - we hear that Daffy Duck has lisped - so its safe to say that this could be the first cartoon where he lisps. That little reference with the pelican making funny sounds (I believe) was from a song called 'Sold American' and that would later be used much later.

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.

Porky is standing behind the arena as he is trying to support Daffy - he then stutters for him to "get on his bicycle" as he really meant tricycle. He then manages to successfully step on as he then appears to cycle in an invisible bicycle. Now that is rather interesting since there are a few cartoons to use "Daffy's invisible bicycle" even going as late as 1950 in 'Boobs in the Woods'. That invisible bicycle scene has gone some pretty neat movement - animation-wise I have to say.

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.

The champ is rather dazes but after he gains his consciousness back, he goes into dialogue with the referee.

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.
  
After acting crazy inside the cuckoo clock - the champ then begins to retaliate back as he then attempts to sock Daffy as there is a cloud effect covering the champ, Daffy Duck and the referee as he is dragged into it as Daffy Duck was standing on top of his tongue (and beak). The cloud effect smoke follows through the canvas - and we find the pelican has his beak being dragged through the canvas because of Daffy running.

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 then pulls out a candy cane as he calls Daffy over 'Yoo hoo' to get Daffy's attention. Daffy then manages to fall for the trick easily as he thanks the champ and mentions his fondness for lollipops. The champ then whacks him on the head with a candy cane and poor Daffy is now about to suffer from the knock-out.

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.

In a terrible rush, Porky then dashes out of the scene as a plan to help bring something to wake up Daffy. The pelican is almost finished counting up to ten. I love the quick speed effects of Porky just dashing home and I can see a bit of Tashlin pacing and influence seen around this cartoon - this is really what make the Warners directors separate from the other Golden Age directors.

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.

More fighting from Porky and Daffy then continue to keep going. Daffy manages to successfully beat the champ but then the champ regains his strength and they both end up fighting. The champ then starts to stretch his own arm as he is trying to sock Daffy. Daffy then manages to avoid getting beaten up as he grabs out a baseball bat and then socks the champ's hand away. The champ is then defeated by his own punch as Daffy then whoops around the canvas excitedly. Daffy has won the game as the crowd then go wild. The pelican referee then runs over to the champ (knocked-out) and he quickly counts to 10 and is out. Daffy dashes at the scene and he whacks him with the gong. The gong then causes the champ to act wild and looney (probably explains Daffy's personality) and he then goes into wild spastic motions as the cartoon fades out.

Overall comments: I find that this cartoon where its the 2nd to pair Porky and Daffy to be a very hilarious one. The gags really do come out of nowhere, and some of them are just wild and bizarre the way that Clampett would like it. Daffy Duck really appears to be established as a looney character in this cartoon. The cartoons before that - he was just a mere screwball who just took the piss out of those who were a threat to Daffy. We already know now that Daffy Duck is already a friend of Porky here (and even became a companion for Porky through the years starring with him as they were famous co-stars). Clampett has evidently been influenced by Avery's efforts on Daffy Duck (and Clampett even animated him in his first appearance) and Clampett has used his character and has made him more of a lunatic. Of course; more directors would use Daffy and in fact, developed him much more extensively and even improved him from his earliest appearances in the Avery cartoons.

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.

4 comments:

  1. The ref warns the fighters not to hit below the belt-which was why Daffy hikes his shorts up to his head.

    Just noticed Porky and Daffy have padlocks on their mailboxes.

    Terrific cartoon.

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  2. Sold to American was indeed a reference to SOld to American Tobacco co., from the old auctioneering of such. Mel Blanc does almsot eveyrone, including for Mr.Pelican ref for the veyr first time his Marvin the Martian voice used by 1952 for Marvin (who'd debuted with a puny wimp voice in 1948 in ":Haredevil hare",btw the last releaed "A.A.P. Pre-48" package). The title seems way tloo generic-Porky and Daffy? How about a Fight Tonight?:) That does appear in the cockerel (when he ssays "Where's Daffy") to be Lionel Stander voice briefly but it IS Mel Blanc going "Hooo" with the "lollipop" aka candy cane. That cahse song is very catchy-it's the same that POrky woulf whistle in their next pairing, also by Clampett's, 19o38's "The Daffy Doc".Steve C.

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    Replies
    1. That song is called "Something Tells Me", a Harry Warren piece.

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