Friday, 3 May 2013

272. Porky's Last Stand (1940)

starring PORKY and DAFFY
Warner cartoon no. 271.
Release date: January 6, 1940.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Daffy Duck).
Story: Warren Foster.
Animation: Izzy Ellis.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky and Daffy run a food stand, and it turns out that their biggest concern is attempting to slaughter a bull to make a hamburger.

The first cartoon of 1940, as well as the new decade. Around this point, Daffy Duck is already being used far less frequently in the black-and-white cartoons, but appeared more regularly two years later in colour cartoons. It's also worth pointing out, that this is the last cartoon to feature Clampett's alternate design on Daffy Duck with the zigzagged ring around his neck, as well as the shades around his eyes.

In the opening shot: we find a food stand out in the countryside; simply called Porky's Last Stand. Clampett is riddled with his own childish humour where the slogan reads: 'Our Fried Chicken Has That Real Fowl Taste'. The stand is then being displayed; and on top of the stand tent, are a few chickens under the 'Fresh Egg Dept.'.

The off-screen chorus for the opening sequence sing (Ho-dle-ay) Start of the Day. The chickens are seen clucking gaily towards the tune. In the next shot, there are chicks hatching out of their eggs in rhythm of the song, but the final egg jumps out and kills the melody.

The voice from Blanc has been delivered amusingly, as well as the fact the black duck is the odd one out. Inside the stand, Porky is pouring and making some pancakes. The gag is the way it's been poured out stands like a mountain before Porky splats the pancake like a spatula.

We pan across the room and Daffy Duck is then seen in the kitchen washing the dishes. However, it appears Clampett has the song sung in a Mexican style; whilst Daffy scrubs the plate to be stacked with his rear end. He appears to be using it in some sort of visualised connotation. It's his way of having fun with the popular song so the opening doesn't stand out as boring. Daffy Duck continues to stack the dishes with his behind until they all smash.

Up next there is a customer, whose silhouette is heavily reflected in the background when the customer demands for service. The music cue for the sequence is I'd Love to Take Orders From You. Daffy Duck walks over and asks for his order. The customer bellows 'I want a good hamburger, and I want it bad!'.

When Daffy accepts, Stalling and Franklyn's arrangements are cleverly organised as to how he loves taking orders. Daffy Duck then walks over to the fridge here hamburgers are stored in. However, much to Daffy's surprise, there is a note inside the fridge which reads (parodying Jerry Colonna):

'Greetings Gate, You're a wee bit late'. Turns out the mice have infested the hamburger refrigerator. Anyway, what would mice be doing nibbling on hamburgers? I guess if it were a cheeseburger refrigerator then it would be a fair enough excuse. Daffy then paces around the room with panic wondering how he would get a burger. Meanwhile, Porky serves one of his customers some coffee. He turns on the spigot and a cup of coffee already plops out. Clampett's timing and Treg Brown's sound effects are a perfect fitting, and the gag has been used similarly in Milk and Money - an early Avery cartoon.

Porky then reaches over with the customer's side order which was an egg. When Porky hums, you can actually hear his real impersonation of Porky, which comes from an editing error, as evidently, his voice hasn't been sped up for the humming. He walks over to open the fridge, and I guess the gag is, there is a hen sleeping on her nest just outside the fridge.

Inside, Porky then grabs out the two eggs outside the hen's nest. He walks over towards his grill where you can see in a close-up: Porky cracking the eggs. I'll admit, the close-ups of Porky cracking the eggs is animated very solidly.

After the second egg is cracked: we find there is a baby chick inside screaming and shouting: 'Hey! What'ya tryin' to do, give me a hotfoot?!'. He jumps in agonising pain and then escapes from Porky's grill and into the fridge. The chick then jumps inside the fridge and then he pulls out a sign under the hen reading 'Do Not Disturb'. The last part of the gag was too cutesy, and padded. Would've been funnier if it cuts directly after the chick yelling in agony.

Daffy continues to pace up and down wondering where the hell he is going to get a hamburger. Daffy then looks out the window and spots a calf who is seen chewing on some grass outside. Daffy visualises the calf as a proper hamburger and grabs out his mallet and singing With Plenty of Money and You.

Daffy follows the calf who is walking inside a barn, and at that point he ends up pulling (what we believe) is the calf's tail. He comments, 'C'mon, this is gonna hurt me more than it will hurt you'. It turns out that it isn't a calf he is pulling, and it turns out be a dangerous bull.

The bull then quotes from the Ken Murray Show 'Oh yeeeaah?'. Daffy, realising he is in trouble, then pulls a very sheepish grin, and it's facial expression is extremely priceless. You've all seen that pose before, it's a very common pose of the Warner cartoons throughout the 1940s. It empathises that the Warner guys could always go one step further than what Disney would ever go through, and it shows how much guts they have for wacky expressions.

After Daffy gulps a couple of times, he watches the bull slowly approach towards Daffy--and this turns into a chase sequence. During the chase, Daffy complains: 'Why they can't do this to me? Why, I'm a citizen!, etc'. The chase then leads to Daffy escaping inside the restaurant stand. Daffy then tricks Porky into believing a salesman is at the door for him.

What a real dick and horrid move or Daffy...but it's funny. Porky then opens the door and finds the bull to be charging straight towards the stand. Porky slams the door quick enough on time.

The bull reacts from being hit from the stand, and then plans on pulling a trick as he is about to exit the barn, so he would trick Porky and Daffy.  Instead, he immediately turns around and charges straight towards the stand.

The stand finds itself stretched, because of the charging bull. After the brief stretch, the bull turns his anger onto Porky. Porky manages to make a quick escape and climbs on top of the tree, as the bull still charges. The bull skids, turns back and charges at Porky.

I move how Porky's own heart pumps out, which is wonderfully exaggerated in its form. Daffy finds himself then in a spot where he holds a red flag, and calls out for the bull: 'Hey Ferdinand...!' (reference to Ferdinand the Bull ?). Daffy calls for the bull's attention and pulls a face at it. He waves the flag, and the bull aims straight at it like a bullet. after Daffy and Porky exit to defend themselves; the bull ends up shooting straight at the stand where the chickens are seem. I love the 'Bam' effect. Afterwards; there is a ring in the stand which turns into a merry-go-round for the hens. The final gag is, the ring around the bull's nostrils, are pulled off by chickens to display it like a carnival.

Overall comments: Being the first cartoon of the new decade, and I'm certainly not just saying this, but I feel this cartoon was at least a better Clampett then what most of Clampett's entries had been a year earlier. The main reason as to why I feel the cartoon was a great effort was the use of Daffy Duck. If Clampett really was sick of making all those Porky cartoons--then it's a shame he couldn't use Daffy a great deal since he always knew how to handle Daffy. The cartoon itself had some great moments in it-- the main highlight, I feel, is the sheepish grin on Daffy, which I believe, is the earliest use of such an exaggerated grin, in a Warner cartoon so far. As it would sound so typical, Daffy was evidently the main highlight of the cartoon. Porky, was still a side character all through the cartoon, so I haven't got much else to talk about him, other than the fact that listening to Porky's singing voice not sped up really sounds offish. The cartoon's plot doesn't have a stretched climax, and we never even see the customer at the end who demands for a hamburger to be ordered to him. This is a relatively short cartoon with its pacing serviceable, as it isn't too slow, and at least Clampett showed more effort into this.


  1. Yeahm that "Ferdinand" reference was to THE Ferdinand the Bull! Also seen in 1938's "Wholly Smokle"(?)We'll encounter a later reference in 1941's "Porky's Bear Facts".

  2. That alternate design was used in some of the late 30's-early 40's advertisements. Personally, I liked it. It made him look daffier.