Tuesday, 31 July 2012

179. I Wanna Be a Sailor (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 178.
Release date: September 25, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Elvia Allman (Mama Parrot) (?), Mel Blanc (Duckling), Billy Bletcher (Father Parrot), Berneice Hansell (Patricia Parrot, Patrick Parrot ?) and Robert Winkler (Peter Parrot).
Animation: ???
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A baby parrot wishes to be a sailor like his drunk father; and tries to follow an adventure at sea.

This is the first cartoon where we don't know fully on who the animator in the screen credits could be. We don't know if this is the first cartoon to change the credits for one animator and one story man; or the last cartoon where the screen credits credit two animators. Of course; judging by the last cartoon Sid Sutherland and Elmer Wait got screen credit; in the next Tex cartoon (Little Red Walking Hood) Irv Spence gets screen credit. It's likely the animator credits could read Paul Smith and Virgil Ross; but because this would be proned as guessing - I'm not going to put that up as the credited animators as we don't know for sure. Considering that this cartoon fell into the public domain because it wasn't copyrighted properly when it was first released; it was released as a Blue Ribbon in 1949; so the copyright catalog would fail to list its animators - and even for the public domain cartoons in Blue Ribbon released; presumably. If anybody knows any helpful information or knows the original titles - could you please ask me? I'd be obliged by your help.

I wonder who claimed that Bob Clampett was the animator of that short; he was directing by that point. If Clampett said anywhere that he animated on that short or a document, or animator draft that lists Clampett as an animator then I won't go against that.

The cartoon begins as it features a family group of parrots inside a bird cage. The mother parrot is inside giving her parrot children a lesson into saying "Polly want a cracker". The mother is conducting the lesson as she starts off, "Alright now children - follow me and Patrick and say 'Polly want a cracker'". The first parrot then starts to try and practice saying 'Polly want a cracker' but struggles and ends up talking in baby talk such as 'Powwy want a cwacker'.

After the first parrot managed to succeed; the mother compliments and encourages him, 'You're doing fine Patrick. The mother then moves on to the daughter parrot of the family, 'Now Patricia, now I'll make you try it'. The daughter of the parrot family is slower when trying to learn to say it and hesitates it in one of Berniece Hansell's typical child voices. I'm not too sure if she did the voice of the son; but it's certain she provided the voice of the daughter parrot. Patricia Parrot then giggles after she's finished reciting the line. The mother compliments her again; 'That's nice honey; now Peter he a nice boy and say Polly want a cracker'. Peter Parrot is seen sulking towards the camera and is a bit of a sour egg. Peter Parrot then gets angry and annoyed as he replies, 'I don't wanna a cracker, see? I wanna be a sailor like me pa, see?' Peter Parrot then points to a picture hanging on the bird cage that features his father as a sailor. There is some pretty decent character personality coming out there which Avery was pretty good at showing to an audience; I'd say.

The mother parrot then walks over to Peter Parrot as she bitterly exclaims, "Huh, like your pa! Why that sea-bear and home wrecker, that high-thieved hitchhiker?' After listing the names of insults about his father; she then sarcastically comments, 'A fine father he was, the sea-goin' slob - a sailor.' There is some pretty good dialogue coming from the mother which is a little juicy in my opinion.

The mother then continues onwards in which she recites the story about Peter Parrot's father about the say she walked out on him. It then fades to a flashback to when they were living together. She asks; 'Let me tell you something, when your father and I were first married; we lived in the Canary Islands'. We find a rather nice-looking background of the Canary Island at night time and of course parrots are popular in the Canary Islands. Inside the house; we find that the mother parrot is inside with three baby parrots inside a crib and come together as triplets. The mother continued; '...then the stork brought you lovely children. Oh, I was so happy'. The mother in this flashback is giving the crying carrots their milk bottle to suck on.

There is a rather funny volume change towards the mother and the setting of the flashback. We PAN towards the drunken father to find that where he is sitting is much more darker; and the music changes; and so does the mother's tone of voice which I think fits very well. We find that the drunken father is seen drinking many couple of shots.

The mother continues; 'But your father the rotten so-go seagull, couldn't stand being an (?) anchor in a harbour for five minutes. So he sipped the door and set sail for Hawaii'. We find that the father parrot is walking out of the door leaving his family. After the mother's bit of description; the father parrot opens the door for some correction; 'No Ma, it was Catalina!' and then closes the door. The mother is stood corrected; and mentions 'Oh yes, it was Catalina'. Now that is also rather funny since she's even being corrected through her flashback which is just crazy but funny, too. That lengthy scene from where the baby parrots are in their cribs to the PAN of Pa walking out the door; is of course Irv Spence's animation. It doesn't look too distinctive like was in that period but that's his posing and timing. The mother continues on as she sadly says; 'I used to burn a little light in the window'. We find that it is in fact exaggeration as there is a huge beam coming out of her window in order for the father to return. That is rather funny since she exaggerated there; and it turned out she used a beam to search for her father.

The flashback then fades back into the present day where they aren't living in the Canary Islands but in the bird cage. The mother parrot then shows a saddened face showing that he hoped for his father return; she immediately changes mood and replies bitterly, '...and he never did!' She then goes emotional again as she asks Peter who is weeping; 'and now Peter you don't want to be a sailor don't you?' Peter Parrot; who is sobbing then replies 'Yes' because he still wants to be one not caring about what happened to his father.

The mother parrot is thunderstruck that her son doesn't take her word in which she gaps, 'WHAT?!' in which she faints on the spot dangling onto the swing of the bird cage and that is a rather funny way of making a bird faint, by lying down upside down still attached though. Peter Parrot doesn't care what he is doing or where he will be going but he opens up the bird cage in which he flies down leaving to become a sailor. Peter Parrot is walking on the floor as he turns his head back and forth at the bird cage and walking as though he is a toughie. While the parrot is still talking; we find the animation is still the same but only the backgrounds change which is a rather cool background effect. The parrot is still walking in that characteristic Avery walk cycle as he turns his head again but hits a barrel. After feeling the hit; he finds that the barrel is useful to make a shop and he carries it.

After we find out that Peter Parrot has escaped from his bird cage; we find that the next location is set in a pond as there are cat-tails all over. We hear some banging noises off-screen but we continue to PAN as Peter Parrot has finished making his ship by hammering the nail.

Meanwhile there is a yellow duck that walks into the scene while Peter Parrot is still nailing the last piece of plank to make his ship. The yellow duckling is rather curious of that parrot's curiosity as he asks, "Heya fella, what'ya doing? What's your name? What ya building for? What ya building?' Peter Parrot is rather annoyed of the duckling who keeps constantly asking question as the parrot doesn't get a word in edgewise. Peter then closes the duckling's bill shut so he wouldn't speak. Peter Parrot then answer's the duck's question, "Well, see, I'm building a boat, see? That's I'm putting out to sea, because, because, because..' and then Peter Parrot is making a reference to what a Jewish person he passing onto childhood '...today I am a man'. That was a funny little reference here; at least for its time. The little duckling then starts to feel some excitement as he pleads to ask if he can be at sea.

The duckling talks too fast which of course annoys Peter Parrot but he allows him to join his crew as he slaps his bill shut. Peter Parrot then grabs out a peg in which he shuts the duck's bill so that he can't speak anymore. Peter Parrot and the duckling then walk up the plank towards his new ship as the parrot brags about being the captain of this ship.

Peter Parrot and the duckling then walk up on deck, and being given to join the crew - the duckling is the cleaner of the deck. Peter Parrot tells the duckling is job is to "scrub the deck, or I'll switch your feather (?) neck". Peter Parrot then walks over boasting in which he rips off a label of a skull off a poison bottle. He climbs up the crow's nest to make the sticker to be formed into a flag. We find some effects animation (probably by Gamer) of the buccaneer flag rising in which he continues to boast about going to treasure island. Irv Spence also animates those scenes where the duck is assigned to being the deck cleaner; you can tell that it is his drawing style and his way of movement through those scenes.

The effects animation then show a shot of the anchor being pulled upwards as the ship then starts to set sail. The ship is already sailing along the river past the wind-mills in the background and Peter Parrot is steering the ship; as he even mentions about himself that he is the "captain's kid".

While Peter Parrot is sailing by steering on the ship's wheel, he looks upwards - and from his point of view shot we find a pair of dungarees floating to sail the ship. As Peter Parrot is riding; he turns to the audience in one of Avery's typical line-ups, "This picture is kinda like Mutiny on the County, don't y'think - or don't ya?" Of course; he's parodying Mutiny on the Bounty but why couldn't he not just say the actual film title; it's unlikely that Warner Bros. would get sued for using the title. Peter Parrot then grabs out some liquorice in which he grabs the liquorice and chews it with his mouth. After chewing the parrot then spits out the liquorice and it lands underwater into a spittoon. A nice little gag that would've been an idea for Tex for use - or probably anybody but certainly what Tex would've approved of back in that era. After that spit; Peter Parrot then decides to walk up the crow's nest as he holds onto the pole and climbs it up with his feet to look out; so far everything is going well for him until he spots something shocking off-screen.

There is a terrible storm that is coming overhead; and there is a lightning bolt that strikes and after the lightning strike; the bolt forms into the word "BAM!" which is of course a clever gag for the lightning bolt to change into words; and animated well. This leaves for Peter Parrot to climb down the crow's nest which leaves him into a panic as he is facing a storm.

Peter Parrot runs over to the duckling who is still scrubbing the deck to help do some very important duties in order to survive a storm. In a panic he shouts out to the duckling, "Well don't just stand there, do something!" as he tugs onto his bill. The duck then starts to talk very fast by complaining, "What for? I like rain. I like water, etc." he then interrupts talking as he turns to the audience appears to be speaking in a radio voice, "Ain't I the talkingest (?) little guy?" I'll go to say that I don't know that reference but anybody who knows the answer to that I'll be grateful. The duckling doesn't particularly care about the weather being shown here since and insists that it is fine. The dungarees tide to the ship that are meant to keep the ship's sailing strong isn't any good in this type of storm.

The storm is still striking pretty badly and poorly; Peter Parrot is doing his best to ride the ship's wheel but the ship's wheel is almost jammed as it makes it almost impossible for him to steer it. As he makes to make it nudge; the ship's wheel starts to spin very quickly; and so does Peter Parrot. A little silly gag is shown where there is a bucket of red paint that tips when the ship tips. The red paint slides down but as the ship tips back so does the paint and it doesn't leave any marks.

The duckling is just walking around on deck feeling the rain which is just splendid for a duck like him not for a parrot who lives at home. The storm continues to get even worse in which Peter Parrot continues to spin as he tries to pull the ship's wheel. Peter Parrot then starts to pick up an anchor and he swings it like a lasso to try and stop the ship from moving. Since the storm is so strong; that the anchor drops down but so does the aft of the ship that was attached to the anchor; so the parrot has very little luck now. The ship is will suffer from a type of collision and the duckling and the parrot won't be able to survive on the ship in that type of storm. As they dive into the stormy sea the parrot is sitting on top of the duckling crying for his mother like a helpless child.

From what is being heard outside the mother parrot can apparently hear the screaming from outside which means she must have some strong hearing sense. Peter Parrot off-screen then shouts "Calling all cars" which is what police would use to say back then. The mother parrot is in a panic as she jumps out of her cage running for her life after her son, "Peter I'm coming!" she quickly then goes into melody singing a popular of a song called 'Old Black Joe' which features the lyrics 'I'm coming' and she also dances to it. Now that is also very funny and cleverly put out.

After that bit of song when she runs after her child to the rescue. Peter Parrot is then shouting out for "Help" but as he nearly drowns; he is picked up by the duckling. Peter Parrot then goes into rhythm of shouting "Help" to the tune 'Shave and a Haircut' which is also really funny since the theme is very recognisable. The duckling then punches Peter Parrot in the face and then swims him back to shore where he is on the grass and calls the duckling "You big sissy" and swims away; the voice and the comment is also funny to me since even the duckling isn't afraid of the name.

The mother parrot then runs up to Peter Parrot as she reunites with him and cuddling him up. Relieved, she cries; "Oh my baby boy, are you alright? I knew you'd get in trouble. Now you don't want to be a sailor do you?' Of course she spoke about this to his son earlier on in the cartoon; but of course even after what Peter has been through he still weeps and replies "yes". Now that is something that I find very funny because in endings like this you think the character actually changed his mind but he still wants to be a sailor after all. The mother is thunderstruck again as she shouts "WHAT?!" in which she faints in some characteristic faint, I guess and the cartoon irises out. We iris back in as the mother parrots breaks the forth wall, "Now what would you do with a child like that?" as though she can't even do anything about Peter Parrot.

Overall comments: I find that this cartoon is one of Avery's better cartoon of this year; I think that so far 1937 has been an average output for his cartoons (even though only some Merrie Melodies he maid I'd consider weak). This cartoon is at least different as it has a story of a baby parrot who aspires to be a sailor. With the title similarities and plot-wise I always thought that this cartoon was sort of a recycled theme from I Love to Singa which was released the previous year before this cartoon; Owl Jolson wishes to be a jazz singer and Peter Parrot wants to be a sailor. Of course - the story constructions are different but what makes it the same is that they both don't give up on their dreams.

Some of the effects animation I thought in this cartoon was what made the cartoon look rich in its ways; the lightning and storm effects were pretty good and it would've been a challenge to animate back in the 1930s but at least it's solid. Of course even the character animation in the cartoon was very decent. Even though the animator's original credits may be unknown until further notice (or if anyone owns a original copy) - I guess Blue Ribbon released aren't really as degrading; I mean at least we still got the actual cartoon itself. I like the mother parrot who has some good personality here and even shows some hatred towards the father of the family who was a drunk and comes up with funny insults. I'm thinking that the voice of her could be Elvia Allman; but maybe Martha Wentworth but I can't say for certain which is which though.

Monday, 30 July 2012

178. Dog Daze (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 177.
Release date: September 18, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Police Dog, Spitz, Russian Wolf Hounds, Prairie Dog), Billy Bletcher (St. Bernard) and Berneice Hansell (Bull Terrier Puppy).
Animation: Bob McKimson and A.C. Gamer.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Antics and events all happen in a dog show.

The carton begins with an exterior shot outside a theatre with the big words reading "Dog Show"; the plot already says it all - it's going to be about a dog show. We find that there are celebrity caricatures with their dogs walking down which would of course entertain the audience featuring their stars. One of the stars that pops up first I believe looks like Edward G. Robinson who is walking his bulldog. William Powell is then seen walking his dog, Asta famous in the 'Thin Man' series - so that is a dated reference for you.

The Powell character then starts to tie Asta to the pole; and during that scene there he ties Asta to the pole. There appears to be a lost footage assuming that he is lifting his leg on the light pole for a pee but it would've been quite mild for Hays Office as it would've been cut. After viewing some of the celebrities then the crowd start to enter the dog show theatre. Inside the dog show;  we find that a fat lady's behind walks down the aisle to find a theatre seat. A funny, charming gag turns up when the large lady is trying to get seated into one of the seats but finds that those already seated then slide out of their seats and then a whole group of bald-headed men bundle to the ground after being pushed off.

After that sequence with the theatre rooms; we find a row of dogs in the waiting room waiting for the dog show, barking excitedly. A more line up of gags then turn up which features a "bird dog" - of course bird dogs are dogs that belong to hunters to retrieve birds; but the gag here features a dog inside a canary cage whistling like a canary.

We find an Irish setter dog (even labelled below to identify the dog) that is resting but we find out that he is laying eggs. The eggs then hatch as it therefore forms puppies. Okay; but I don't quite fully understand the joke of the gag; I guess that is a "setter" which is a plural for "sitter" referencing as though hens sit down on their eggs and then the pups are hatched; that's what I think. Although I would've found it funnier if it had involved an Irish joke in it but probably wouldn't be redeemed as appropriate. The next scene features a curtain drawn; in which a guy appears to shout "Rainbow (?) through the mountain!!" it sounds a lot like a dated gag in which a "police" dog is seen wearing mountie uniform howling loudly. Another gag that appears again features on a Spitz dog as it's labelled under.

We find that the Spitz dog is chewing tobacco and then spits it in a spittoon. Of course the breed of that dog is a play-on word as the dog spits. We PAN along afterwards with the curtains opening to a St Bernard dog. The St. Bernard dog then starts to howl. The label below reads that is a "booze hound". Of course a boozehound means a person who drinks heavily; and we find that the St Bernard dog is howling while intoxicated. We find that the dog hiccups while howling. The timing on the hiccup shows some nice squash-and-stretch and quick timing. The Bernard dog then continues hiccuping and then giggles with glee.

The next gag we see that is another play-on word is a "hot dog" which is pretty obvious but it doesn't make it much of a gag since it really is a hot dog. Unless it could've changed to show a dog that is really boiling up or looks hot - I'm not too sure.

After watching a series of gags that have turned up; we then focus on the audience again who are sitting down to watch the show. A spotlight beam is then faced on a stage on the 'Asbestos' curtain. The ad on the curtain reads DOG BISCUITS LIKE MOTHER WESTO MAKE BARKER BAKERY which is another pun-gag with 'barker' added into it.

Other little ads are by the backgrounds also pun-like posters that focus on dogs. I noticed that they feature 'K-9' (canine) and that would later be the name of the green dog belonging to Marvin Martian. The beam then moves upwards to find a display reading COME UP AND SEE OUR ITCHINGS CANINE ART CALLERIES. The beam then shoots on to the next ad on the right, ARE YOU IN THE DOG HOUSE? GET A NEW LEASH ON LIFE SUPPLY CO. After the beam focuses on some posters that may not be humorous in today's standard; the first act of the dog show being introduced is 'The Scotties' which it focuses on the talents of Scottish terrier dogs. The Scottie dogs then perform the Highland Fling dance. The dance is rather short but spiritual and even some entertainment watching Scottie dogs doing a Scottish dance.

A man's hand then appears in which he swaps the sign from the Scottie dogs to the Russian Wolf Hounds - which will be the next act performing. Two Russian wolf hounds then walk onto the stage as each are wearing a Ushanka. They turn to the audience as we find that they are very two-dimensional looking dogs indeed. They then start to begin performing the Hopak (Russian dance) in front of their audience. Watching the animation of the dancing Russian dogs is rather fun to look at.

The funny part is that the Ushankas' their wearing turns out to be dogs in disguise (doubt it's the Scottie dogs) they then conclude by finishing off the Hopak and all the dogs dash off the stage. They back run and out again before the curtains close. After the Russian dogs performing; the next card to be swapped that reads "Dog Eats Dog" and the audience get the first interpretation that two dogs might each other but of course; it's much more cleaner than that; and more charming. It is very short; it features a dog holding onto a hot-dog; eats it and then the curtains close. It might seem very boring to watch but at least it gives us that conned feeling of two dogs eating each other but it ends with a dog eating a hot dog; simple as that but quite clever though.

After that simple act; the next title card is already displayed (I guess cheaper not to have it animated this time of every card swap). The title card reads "Little Man You've Had a Busy Day". That is of course another dated reference; but I know that the title is actually a popular song written back in the 1930s. We think that it might be a group of dogs going to go in a singing and dancing routine; but we find that a dog is all puffed out and panting from running I reckon; then the windows close.

The next sequence with the title card being swapped focuses on "Prairie dogs" which is of course rather funny since they're not from any breed of dogs at all or are they even dogs at all. They're rodents from where you get mostly in North America (Utah and Mexico, I think). The prairie dogs are seen in their sombreros; singing the song My Little Buckaroo. The beavers are seen in a point-of-view shot but the animation of that is rather conservative. With three of those prairie dogs singing at the same time, one of them is playing the guitar and they look rather western from my view.

The St. Bernard dog (from who we saw earlier in the cartoon) listens to the singing being heard in which he starts to howl still drunk. There appears to be a weird camera cut featuring the dog howling in-between. As the hound is still howling rather loudly; a man's hand pops into the scene to cover the dog's house with a muzzle stopping the St. Bernard from singing or howling.

The St. Bernard realises that he has his own mouth caught inside the muzzle as he tries to use his own paws to try and pull his face off, but struggles. The muzzle hits back on his face as he falls back and lands inside a chest. He then pops out of the chest a couple of seconds later with his four hands caught on roller-skates; and some reason they happened to attached onto his legs and arms without what probably appeared to be was no effort. The St. Bernard caught on the roller skates then starts to trip and fall. The prairie dogs continue to sing but in the song they sing they howl just like what the St. Bernard did - which I imagine got some laughs for a audience watching it in the 1930s. The song then concludes after we hear those rodents howling as the conclusion to the song.

The St Bernard is still caught on the roller-skates and ends up skating his way through the stage just shortly after the rodents have finished their song. The St Bernard then reaches the other exit of the stage still on roller skates. Of course; the St Bernard has a bucket of barrel tied to a collar around his neck then starts to hit the floor as the Bernard dog is rolling across the backstage and then crashes to a wall.

There appears to be a rather odd film cut after the wall crashes; in which the St Bernard is flat from the ground. The St Bernard then has to try and put in the effort again of trying to stand up. This then starts to follow on into a sequence where St. Bernard is struggling to keep himself standing up and keeps falling down each attempt. This would be a lot of work for the character animator who has to make the St. Bernard think of ways on how to stand up and to come up with solutions. The St. Bernard falls again but then starts to get rather annoyed bashing his own legs to the ground and drumming his fingers. Somehow the St. Bernard dog reminds me of the cast being influenced from the characteristics of Pluto.

In the next sequence we find that there is a timid little bull terrier peeping over to take a look but is too nervous to enter. The scared bull terrier is being pushed inside by a crewman but the scared bull terrier dashes back only to be pushed in again. We then find that the bull terrier is in fact reciting the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. This little scene where the bull terrier is tossed inside by the man, and reciting the poem is a recycled idea that was featured two years ago by Freleng in I Haven't Got a Hat when Little Kitty recites the poem.

As the bull terrier is still narrating the poem; the terrier then shouts "Aww, this is silly!" a book is then tossed on top of the bull terrier's head and he continues to recite. The timing of the book being tossed at the book has its pacing too slow and feels like molasses. If that is in fact Hansell doing the voice of the Bull terrier then at least this is her doing a fine job and it doesn't sound as degrading as her other work where it just sounds very childish.

Meanwhile as the poem is being recited by the bull terrier; the St Bernard is still showing some struggle in being able to move with roller coasters caught on his feet; and of course we don't know exactly how it was caught in their. The St Bernard  then starts to slide down giving a rather scared take as it is about to crash into another chest that reads "Flea Circus". There are then a group of fleas that fly out which will then result in some chaos at the dog show.

As the bull terrier is still reciting the poem; there is a flea flying all over the terrier which causes him to be distracted whilst reciting. The terrier shows some nerves as the terrier's eyes start to rotate a full 360 degrees; since at one point we don't see his pupils and then after a while we do. Without noticing the flea has already ended up inside the bull terrier; which causes him to itch whilst he is reciting the poem and starts to panic more. The dog then starts to scratch his behind on the stage floor in which a flea has already dominated his flesh. The bull terrier, still yelping then concludes the poem by walking near the stage that once he's finished he immediately exists with the asbestos curtains lowering.

After the St Bernard appears to have gone through a type of coma from hitting the wall; he then wakes up but discovers that there are a group of fleas drunk from the barrel of ale. The fleas then start to crowd together they conclude the cartoon singing in such a high-pitch voice in which they sing in a drunk way like what the St Bernard did earlier on the cartoon. They also hiccup while they sing the song. The fleas continue to sing in their very high pitch notes until they slowly drift and land to the grounds.

Overall comments: I'd say that this is one of Friz Freleng's take on trying to do spot-gag type cartoons; as we find that earlier on in the cartoon there is a lot of use in play-on words and gags featuring the breeds of dogs. Although the cartoon is rather short for a 1930s cartoon of the time but it does feel like as though there were cuts through the cartoon. The characters in this cartoon did have some fine personality like the drunken St Bernard who drunk throughout the cartoon and ended up causing some trouble at the dog show. Character personality of the bull terrier was of course a reused idea when reciting a poem but indeed it is worth some entertainment watching.

The animation I feel, or the timing by Friz Freleng shows some slow pacing particularly the scenes where it features the book being tossed at the terrier; it really felt unrealistic. Overall; I don't really think much about this cartoon as it wasn't a particularly special Freleng cartoon but at least I found some of the gags particularly at the beginning at least enjoyable. Somehow, I do feel that the St Bernard dog has a resemblance to the personality of Disney's Pluto and at least that's what the other studios were aping their styles back then - but it feels like it was featured here.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

177. Porky's Garden (1937)

Am no longer jet-lagged. My energy for blogging has returned...

Warner cartoon no. 176.
Release date: September 11, 1937.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig), Earle Hodgins (Reducing Pills Hustler) and George Humbert (Italian Poultry Farmer).
Animation: Sid Sutherland and Elmer Wait.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky takes part in a growth product competition but is in competition with his Italian neighbour.

After this cartoon, Tex Avery abandoned Porky Pig as he withdrew directing his cartoons and was assigned to work only work on color 'Merrie Melodies' cartoons instead; but he returned to black and whites in 1941 and directed on Porky Pig again in Porky's Preview. This is also the last cartoon to be animated by junior animator Elmer Wait who died roughly two months prior the cartoon's release date.

The cartoon begins with a background view of a village. The captions then start to pop up describing the story's time, and location like it is often seen in motion pictures. The year is taken place in 1927. The place is called Podunk Center with a population of 500 inhabitants.

You can hear the music in the backgrounds which demonstrates its' action of the period and location; but then you hear the sounds of a baby cry. There is a cross drawn across the population number, as it's named to '502' with a small caption reading below (Mrs Castle Bottom just had twins). Now that I think is just pure genius and a very clever parody of these descriptive events. It's also a very original gag and so typical Tex; because you can never be certain of a actual population since someone could've given birth or somebody has died. There is a bulletin displayed to the village reading  Podunk County Fair announces CASH PRIZE FOR LARGEST HOME GROWTH PRODUCT. 1st prize: $2,000.00 - (Tax): $1'999.00. Total: $1.00. Of course that is another tax gag that we saw previously on 'Porky's Road Race' that was released earlier this year.

As we truck back, we find that Porky is reading the bulletin as well as other folks in which he insists on competing in the gardening competition. Porky Pig then brags as he asks the locals, "I'm going to win first prize with my garden". There is an Italian local standing next to Porky as he denies Porky's word and insists that HE will win the competition instead which is going to create some competition. The Italian gardener replies, "Ah no. I'm gonna win with my chick!"

The Italian farmer then leap frogs on to of Porky pushing his head down so that he can jump. Porky then starts to zip out of the scene to race down to his garden on time as they are competing. We find that through a birds-eye view shot they rush back to their houses and into the gardens. Porky is now planting a field that is already ploughed. Porky then starts to use his own pig tail to dig small holes in the field and drops a seed inside to make his garden grow, to help grow some crops. What I've noticed while watching it is that once Porky has dumped the seed, the hole then vanishes.

The Italian farmer is already preparing for his gardening competition as he is making something to feed his chickens. He first pours some Iron Tonic into the mixing bowl. He then starts to mix "Vitamins A-C" which will be very nutritious for the chickens. The Italian farmer when he adds the ingredients comments, "I take a this" when he pours it. You can hear the music in the backgrounds to the traditional theme, "Chicken Reel" which is a very popular theme relating to chickens used by Carl Stalling often, or in any cartoon that isn't composed by him or used in Warner Bros.

The Italian farmer then places the food inside the trough for where the chickens will feast. There is an interesting gag that we find in which the Italian wants to feed them to get strong but then the chickens spit out the food as they do not like the meal they are given. After the small sequence with the farmer; we then return to Porky's garden again as he grabs out a bottle of "Quick Grow". Porky then squirts some of the quick grow up for it to grow into the crops.

Porky Pig walks over to the fields in which he is going to squirt the quick grow out. As Porky squirts the quick grow out; it then starts to feel as though there is an earthquake occurring making it a little gag causing a huge amount of crops and vegetables growing. Porky then starts to sweep his hands showing success.

Porky then walks back into the house singing though stuttering to make it appeal to the audience for the stuttering pig. The Italian farmer then looks over the fence staring at the crop fields of what Porky has produced, "I bet my chicks would like some of that" in an Italian accent". His further plan is to then start to raid the crops and ruin Porky's garden by making his chickens much bigger which is cheating. The farmer then starts to open up the plank leading a small path towards Porky's garden in which his chickens cross his garden as the Italian farmer asks the chicks, "Come on, chick'. Come and get it" as they cross to raid Porky's garden. As the chickens have crossed the garden; they then start to gobble up the food in which a series of gags of the vegetables being eaten pop up; as it's basically animated gags not possible to happen in the real world.

While the chickens raid the garden; the first chicken we see starts to find some tomatoes that is already grown in the garden planted. The chicken then starts to pull out the stem of the tomato and suck the juices out; and I'm glad I'm not doing that. Uggh; tomatoes. The chicken slurps the stem like drinking juice until the juice of the tomato is all gone.

The next chicken to start raiding the food in the crops finds some peas in a pod to eat it. The chicken then grabs one of them from a plant and starts to unroll it like unrolling a can of sardines as the peas shoot straight into the chicken's mouth one at a time like a cannonball. These gags are very typical for the 1930s cartoons but of course; it still shows some appeal to an audience as it's also quite a clever way of presenting it. After some eating gags; there is a big rooster that finds a watermelon (mmm) in which a baby chick then fights for it with the hen but then the hen flicks the baby chick out of way; not realizing how delicate those creatures can be. The baby chick is then rolled away out of the scene and starts to weep, "Why don't you pick on somebody your own size..." walking back dejectedly. The chick continues to weep trying to call the chicken a bad time and then calls her an ox; which would be the ultimate insult of the time.

The lip-synching of the chick walking away isn't very good. As the baby chick walks away rather sad; the chick then starts to find some spinach in the garden. This would be a great oppurtunity for the chick to get revenge on the rooster in which the chick eats the spinach and grows biceps. The chick then starts to turn into a resemblance of Popeye the Sailor with the big muscles and the distinctive face.

The rooster is seen again already eaten much of the watermelon. The Popeye-resemblance chick then walks over, socks the rooster and finishes off the remaining of the watermelon. This is a great, charming little sequence thought up by Tex Avery; and he was such a great gag developer and here he's building the gags for a sequence to make it funny and charming to an audience watching it. A chicken then stands up on top of the gate in which he shines the apple on its chest to make it polished. The chicken then starts to open up the apple in half as though opening up a peanut in half which would be almost impossible but could still be possible (if you had extremely strong hands). There is a little worm inside the apple eating it but the chicken then eats the worm and sweeps his hands with success.

After watching a series of individual chickens raiding the gardens - we fade out and watch that the chickens are still feasting in Porky's garden. Porky is in the house taking a break but looks out the window to check if his vegetables are find. He is shocked to discover it's being infested with hungry chickens ruining his garden. Porky then jumps with fright; in which he grabs his broom and runs out of the house.

Porky starts to try and chase the chickens away from his garden as they are clucking over the place. As Porky tries to chase his chickens away but ends up with no luck; Porky then climbs to the top of his fence staging a protest towards his neighbour about the chickens infesting his garden:

Porky Pig: Hey neighbour, tell your chickens to keep out of my garden
Italian farmer: Okay, I speak to them. Hey chick; why you going in nice man's garden.

The chickens however are still infesting on his garden as the Italian is not going to bother to take notice; and is the fraud behind all this.

After the Italian farmer uselessly and pretends to chase his chickens out; he then continues: "You see. I talk to them. But they won't listen to me one word to me". The Italian farmer uses that as an excuse as to why his chickens are raiding his garden in which Porky turns back rather bluntly. The Italian farmer then makes an apology and insists on blaming the chickens claiming he can't get them back into his garden.

After that bit of dialogue; the Italian farmer then laughs behind Porky's back and walks back to his own garden. He comments, "He's a too-bad" in which he winks to the audience as though he's commenting on the fresh vegetables that Porky can make. But not too bad". Of course an Italian that speaks bilingual but doesn't speak good English. After the talk with the Italian farmer was rather useless to Porky as he delibrately acted as though he was useless albeit a scum. Porky steps down the barrel and walks down his garden rather annoyed what what the chickens have done to his garden. Porky Pig then starts to and finds a very long stem from the ground in which he follows it's path holding onto it.

As he continues to walk on he finds a pumpkin which the stem is attached to. Porky then picks up the pumpkin and carries it towards his garden. Porky walks out the back part of his garden carrying the pumpkin. The other chickens then watch what they are seeing in which they crowd together whispering for a plan on Porky Pig. One of the chickens then count to 5; and this is parodied like it's an American football game.

Porky finds that he is being charged by the poultry team in which he is still holding the pumpkin and makes some tackles through the garden. He makes some tackles towards the chickens; but it doesn't make it a hilarious gag as each hit he makes on the chicken is exactly the same but it could've been funnier if he made individual hits. After tackling the other chickens; he is about to run back into the house but as he runs back inside he trips on the porch of the steps in which the pumpkin flies out of the scene.

There is a pretty funny run cycle that Avery has given on Porky which gives some personality; that could've been Porky's characteristic run. Avery was great with characteristics walks giving each of his characters a personality. As Porky dashes back inside the house to fetch the pumpkin, he then finally manages to grab out of it safely. After he grabs hold it, he then dashes out of the scenery. The Italian farmer then congratulates his chickens for doing a fine job in ruining Porky's garden. The Italian farmer then boats, "and now we're going to win the contest prize".

In the next shot we fade into the front part of the Podunk County Fair. You can hear that The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down in the background which would be used as the main theme for the 'Looney Tunes'. Porky then runs in with his pumpkin; and the Italian farmer walks in with his line of chickens as they have eaten a lot of the food and are rather fat. Porky has already brought in his prize which is the pumpkin to be his largest home-growth product.

We then start to PAN through the displays being shown on the County Fair and one of them includes a completely naked Cleopatra being displayed but with her private parts being covered by a snake; boy I wonder how that avoided the censors. One of the barkers is performing a display on the "Reducing pills", also voiced by Earle Hodgins. The type of idea has been recycled back from Porky the Rainmaker and Avery's brought the similar idea back.

The inventor then grabs out a pill as he begins a demonstration towards an elephant as he asks the elephant to say "Ahh", the elephant replies with a very funny Treg Brown sound effect. The elephant then starts to drink in which he forms into a tiny mouse; as it appears to look like. The shrinking scene of the elephant was some pretty decent timing as he's nothing but titchy afterwards.

The hustler then continues in which he explains about how the elephant has turned into a tincy, wincy little mouse. You hear that his voice gets a little higher demonstrating the voice in which it makes it a rather funny voice effect by Avery which also would give laugh for an audience. I imagine that the voice tone changing might have been done by Mel Blanc.

As the hustler continues to sell out his weather pills; the Italian poultry farmer then starts to walk on with his marching chickens. The bottle of reducing pills then start to drop in which his chickens start to chew on them not knowing what they even are or even going to care what is it about; but we all know that the Italian farmer is going to fail big time.

Just as Porky is about to receive the 1st prize award which means he'll win the lot of money; the Italian poultry farmer arrives at the spot with his huge chickens. The judge awarding Porky then swipes the bag away changing his mind and gives the Italian poultry farmer the money prize. At the spot the chickens then start to shrink even smaller because of the reducing pills and the chickens continue to get even smaller until they turn into eggs - hee-hee. The judge is rather shocked at the sight. As we iris in; we iris back in so that Porky grabs the bag of money from the Italian poultry farmer and iris out again.

Overall comments: Even though this is being the last Avery cartoon where he was working on the Looney Tunes (at least until 1941) I find that this cartoon along with Porky's Duck Hunt to be the best cartoons that he's directed on Porky; I admit that thinking of it now I don't particularly care too much on his other Porky cartoons. That is probably because he mostly directed Porky cartoons where Joe Dougherty provided the voice; and Dougherty isn't funny - he's irritating and probably couldn't do much on the pig with an actor who had more struggle with his stutter than Porky did.

This cartoon had some charming moments with some gags even though it was the 1930s and this may not be one of Avery's best gag moments; but the opening shot with the captions was at least worth a laugh out loud with the population changing. I like the Popeye reference that is shown on the baby chick where he changes; of course this would've been based off the Popeye cartoons made by Fleischer Studios that were a hit through the 1930s; but it was also a comic-strip before that. The Italian villain in this cartoon at least had a sneaky personality but had a better personality considering that he doesn't speak English too well; and I feel that one of Avery's recycled old ideas was suitable when Avery was gag developing the ending which he is a genius of doing. I noticed that there doesn't appear to be any Irv Spence animation; unless he wasn't supplied with footage at all; or considering that this cartoon came out slightly late after 'Porky's Duck Hunt' this cartoon would've been back-logged for a while before it was released since it was Elmer Wait's last credit and he didn't credit since 'Porky the Wrestler' so maybe there were some reasons.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Birthday Bugs

I've no time for a review today because I'm still jet-lagged from my flight but the reviews will be posted tomorrow. Just a remainder of course that it's been 72 years today since the release date of A Wild Hare which is of course; the first official appearance of Bugs Bunny; after a couple of prototype appearances.

Here, I'll make a very quick and unofficial tribute to Bugs - with YouTube showing his cartoons that he's played over the years...

Bugs' first official appearance directed by Tex Avery; but wasn't christened until the next cartoon - Elmer's Pet Rabbit.

Bugs Bunny when his voice was meant to be an impression of James Stewart. This takes place in Chuck's slow-paced era and was probably trying out comedy here; although the gags are alright - the timing was slow.

Bugs in this fairy-tale spin-off in 'Little Red Riding Rabbit' one of Friz Freleng's greater comedy cartoons.

Of course; Bob Clampett handles his version of Bugs where he's made him such a nuisance and a pschyopath in his 1944 cartoons - particularly in Hare Ribbin'.

Bugs Bunny faces one of my favourite villains - Gossamer. Bugs Bunny is very funny when he pretends to be a gay stylist which was animated by Ken Harris.

Bugs with  my all-time antagonist to Bugs - Yosemite Sam who is based a lot on Friz Freleng. There is amazing Gerry Chiniquy animation particularly the dance sequence, and the chase sequence; Virgil Ross also handles the introduction scenes in the saloon.

Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam again in my all-time favourite WB cartoon - High Diving Hare.

Another great pair (only in maybe the first two shorts) features Wile E. Coyote who challenges Bugs. A very good pair as they're both very smart in different ways. Wile E. - academically and Bugs is street-smart. Ben Washam handles the introduction scenes; with Ken Harris animating the entire sequence of Wile E. trying to cook Bugs with the stew machine. Phil Monroe animates the babydoll bomb sequence; while Lloyd Vaughan handles many scenes such as the UFO sequence; the "will and testament" sequence and much of the ending; with the finale by Ben Washam.

Following by the sequel to 'Duck Amuck' where we got to see Daffy Duck humiliated on the screen; this time Bugs gets to be the loser this time as he mostly wins much of the time. Ben Washam is the sole animator on this short where he makes it very appealing. Asides this cartoon, this is one of the rarest cartoons where Elmer Fudd defeats Bugs in the end.

That's all the clips that I'm going to gather for now. I hope you enjoy the viewings.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

What? Again??

Yes folks sorry but I'm having another two weeks break. I'm on holiday in California where I am getting a visit to the Disney Archives. I resume this blog around 26th or 27th.

Monday, 9 July 2012

176. Speaking of the Weather (1937)

Warner cartoon no. 175.
Release date: September 4, 1937.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Frank Tashlin.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Conductor / Cholly Jam / Walter Snitchall), Charlie Chan (Detective) and Billy Bletcher (Public Enemy / Judge).
Animation: Joe D'Igalo and Volney White.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Books and magazines come to life doing what else? Singing and dancing.

This is the first Frank Tashlin cartoon produced in Technicolor and the first 'Merrie Melody' that he makes. He is influenced by the Harman-Ising cartoons here; in which he said so in an interview. This cartoon is sort of a remake of I Like Mountain Music.

The cartoon begins at night time as a clock tower reads that it is midnight. We then make a PAN with a pretty decent camera move to the drug store. There is a sign displayed outside the drug store that reads: ALL POPULAR MAGAZINES ON SALE HERE. We start to truck inside the drug store and view inside a stall full of the popular magazines. We continue to pan as we stop at a magazine called "Dog World" and a travelogue magazine next to it called "Asia". Note that the date of it reads 'October 1946' - looks like this cartoon is set in the future then. Interesting.

As we continue to truck in we then start to hear the sounds like some kazoo being played but it turns out to be a caricature of Bob Burns playing a "bazooka" which was his notorious musical instrument that was novelty. The magazine in which he is playing at is called 'Radio Stars' and note that his name on the magazine is called 'Bob Boins' which sounds Brooklynese. The "bazooka" then starts to break in which Bob Burns sits down speaking to the audience, "Y'know folks, I can't play this bazooka as good as Uncle Fud back in Van Buren". I imagine this is referencing Van Beuren where Tashlin used to work at.

Bob Burns continues, "We know him as Uncle Fud. You know him as Ted Lewis". Bob Burns then points to his right on Ted Lewis. Ted Lewis is introduced in this section of the cartoon as he's on the magazine cover of Radioland which does sound like an appealing name for a magazine.

Ted Lewis then dofts his top hat holding onto a clarinet and shouts out his catchphrase, "Is everybody happy?" Ned Sparks appears from another magazine and responds, "No" and Sparks was famous for being a grouchy man. That is a very funny gag added in - even at the time considering it's a very popular Lewis quote and yet they add in a grouchy celebrity to make it funnier. Ted Lewis then starts to play the clarinet playing to the song With Plenty of Money and You. We find that Lewis then plays the clarinet for roughly 10 seconds on the screen before then it switches to an outdoor life magazine which was meant to have a beaver on the front cover that joins inside an instrument magazine playing the double bass. I like how that Tashlin has organized the combinations here to make the audience rather eager and pleased with what is being seen. 

In the next scenes we find some dance scenes but it's reused animation from recycled animated shorts. There is a magazine called 'The Dance' in which it shows a dance duet dancing all in silhouette and this is animation reuse from The Miller's Daughter. The next scene shows a boxing magazine called 'The Ring' where there are two boxers on the Ring as they dance. That is reused animation from Those Were Wonderful Days. The next dancing scene takes place in a gardening magazine called 'House & Gardens' with these flowers dancing. Animation reuse from Flowers for Madame.

Ted Lewis returns again playing the clarinet and even some original animation; but with Tashlin making the reuses I guess it's also clever since these animated shorts with reused animation are probably forgotten by this point and nobody sitting down watching this cartoon is going to think it's reused animation or would even care. I imagine that the Ted Lewis dancing scenes must've been a little hard to animate; at least with movement as he's drawn like a human but moves a lot; which meant the animator must've had to take care with the drawing.

Here are some comparisons to compare the animation reuses:

After watching Ted Lewis finish off his clarinet playing sequence; all of the toys then applaud as they would to for every act. I believe the animation of the boys applauding is probably reused from an earlier production but I can't remember. We find that even Hugh Hebert inside a magazine article is applauding and giggling; which he is known for those characteristics. Note that in the article; The CooCoo Nut Grove gets mentioned. 

Ted Lewis then bows to his audience; in which the end of his suit form into hands shaking triumphantly to the audience. After that sequence with the audience clapping; we find in the 'Asia' travelogue magazine (Huh, that's funny I already thought a magazine of that appeared early on in the cartoon). We find that in the Asian magazine there is a snake charmer playing an instrument. We PAN along to the magazine reading 'Better Homes & Gardens' as there is a hose pipe on the front cover hypnotized to the music. The hose pipe ends up dancing to the snake charm music and squirts out water. 

The next magazine we find that Leopold Stokowski is on the front cover as there is rain falling on top of the magazines where he is standing. The magazine is titled; 'The Etude'. Stokowski was of course; a famous Hollywood conductor of the time. Leopold then opens to the conducting book as he's going to conduct 'The Storm' which is a part of the William Tell Overture piece.

That would've expected at least a funny gag considering there is a bit of storm in the magazine Leopold is standing on. He then turns on the windscreens and wipes the rain off the paper of where the musical notes are. Stokowski then begins to conduct (starting with that notorious pose he makes before the music starts) and then 'The Storm' is heard in the background. I like how that Stokowski in the magazine also yanks his hair to make the action of the music rather exciting. As we find he's still conducting that serious musical piece; a funny part interrupts the musical piece in which Stokowski turns around as he starts off to sing Speaking of the Weather which is a popular song of the 1930s and more lively and upbeat than William Tell - evidently.

Another copy of 'Radioland' (probably published from a different issue) focuses on the front cover with the Boswell Sisters sitting on the piano singing the title song of the cartoon. The animation reuse of the girls in the piano is from I've Got to Sing a Torch Song. Hugh Hebert then joins into the theme of the music gayly clapping his hands. There is then a houselady inside a magazine who sings her part and Clark Gable is in the front cover of a lady's 'Companion' magazine which I guess meant Clark Gable was a lady's man back then.

Inside a "Best Foods Magazine" we find a page that speaks of tongue sandwiches; in which the tongue sandwiches go into rhythm which makes the song rather entertained and the audience listening to that would think it's rather clever. The tongue sandwich scene was reused from 'Buddy's Beer Garden'. The shots then cut back to Stokowski still conducting like mad (in which a kettle boils in one of the magazine covers to give the some a rhythm). Meanwhile there is a Greta Garbo that is in the front cover of 'Photoplay' magazine and we find that her feet are caricatured as large that it looks like we think she's on a rocking chair reading her book but she's using her own legs and feet to make it looks as though it is considering she is tall and had large feet.

After some entertainment; something pops up which I thought wouldn't return again. Yep, it's the dancing lobster that has appeared numerous times in these pre-1935 cartoons that was reused in animated cartoons like Mr. and Mrs is the Name, Viva Buddy and How Do I Know It's Sunday? It's not a problem but I do find that dancing lobster very annoying. The clams also join into the rhythm of the lobster dancing.

During the 'Speaking of the Weather' song; there is a thug - who is the villain of the cartoon in the 'The Gang' magazine. The thug then steps out of the magazine who will cause trouble for the rest of the cartoon. The thug then walks over to another magazine where there is a vault locker on the front cover and the thug grabs out a burning device to open up the vault to steal money. The thug hears a voice from a detective in a detective magazine who is pointing at the thug with his pistol stating he's under arrest, "Put out our hands, please. You're under arrest, my friend". Afterwards the scene fades to a 'True Confessions' magazine in which the thug clearly admits that he's committed a crime which I find rather funny as it works well with the magazine titles and the gags being pulled off.

Here is another comparison here with the dancing lobster that we've seen a couple of times before.

After the true confessions part; there are montage shots which lead to the arrest of the thug as the judge in a judge magazine is about to give the thug the penalty as the judge shouts, 'You have confessed and pleaded guilty. I sentence you to LIFE". The judge then points to a magazine which reads 'Life magazine' which was an actual popular magazine of the time which makes it a funny gag. They're all real magazines that were read at the time; so it's clever how it's been pulled off which would've been very funny at the time but dated today.

We find that the thug is already caught inside the bars of LIFE magazine and struggles to open the solid bars. The thug wearing prisoned uniform then thinks up an idea on how to escape. The thug then walks all the way through the other magazines and then goes to the 'Liberty' magazine (also a real-life magazine of the time) in which the thug walks over the bars and escapes. These are clever gags as it all works together. The thug tiptoes towards his escape.

As the thug is about to make his escape; another magazine. There is a Walter Winchell caricature who is known as "Walter Snitchell" in this magazine. Winchell was of course famous for his time as being a radio gossip commentator. "Snitchell" then peeps through the keyhole in 'Look' magazine (another well-done gag as it's also a real-life magazine). An interesting point of view shot features the thug tiptoeing.

The Walter Winchell caricature then starts to grab out a script to report the news; he accidentally goes over to the astrology magazine to report it; but goes to the next magazine before it called 'Radio Guide' as he reports it: Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North America. South America. Flash! Public enemy number one has just escaped. This dangerous criminal is now at large. Be on the look out! During the call; we faded in to a microphone that was also on the front cover in which police cars drove out of the magazine pages to find the criminal. The 'American Boy' magazine features the front cover of a scout making the call on the trumpet -another real-life magazine of the time. During these montage shots of the call; there are boy scouts jumping out of the magazines to go to the rescue.

More montage shots arrvied; even with reused animation that features a Johnny Weissmuller dressed as Tarzan (Tarzan actor - also Olympic athlete) in which he makes the Tarzan call. The animation reuse is in The CooCoo Nut Grove. The animals on the run towards I believe was reused from Porky in the North Woods. The African natives running in perspective is reused from Buddy of the Apes.

After those montage shots; there is a sailor on the front cover of 'Sea Stories' magazine waving the flags as a sailor. The next montage shots also focus on reused animaton; such as the Navy tank sailing through which has been reused a couple of times; but originated from Buddy the Gob. The cowboys on their horses shooting from their pistols in the magazine 'Wild West', is reused from the Bosko cartoon Ride Him, Bosko. Then there is a caricature of William Powell who is maybe best known for appearing in the film, The Thin Man. We walks out of a magazine also called that in which he walks down and as he turns we find that he is indeed very thin and is as thin as a grasshopper. The music played in the background to William Powell walking is Boulevardier from the Bronx.

One of the dogs from the magazine called 'Dog World' another magazine at the time for dog enthusiasts - then points to the Thin Man character pointing, "That's my pop". The dog then leaps out of the magazine. Meanwhile the thug is seen disguised as a baby in a magazine called 'Better Babies'. The thug notices that he's being tracked by a dog that is sniffing on the criminal. The date for the magazine is also dated October 1946. I like that goofy take the thug makes when being hunted.

The dog then starts to sniff for some clues; and so does the William Powell character who is sniffing for some evidence. While sniffing for the thug; William Powell then starts to tie the dog's eyes so that the dog won't be able to see as though the dog is walking - I'm not sure what that gag is meant to mean - unless it's a dated reference. Whilst he is walking the dog; we find that the thug then punches the Thin Man character and covers him up with a blanket so he wouldn't be able to see. The dog starts to yap at the dog in which the thug escapes with the pram.

As the thug has managed to escape successfully with the pram; there is a golf player now after him by shooting golf balls at him. The thug keeps on missing hitting the balls by ducking and I like the facial looks on the thug which is rather cartoony looking. While after the thug; there is a cowboy in a cowboy magazine in which he's riding his noble steed and swirls his lasso. The lasso then grabs hold of the thug in which he is strangled and pulled off the pram.

The navy ship is reused again in which it is firing cannons then fires at the thug as he escapes on a rope but the rope rips from one of the cannonballs. The native are still out on the hunt again - but they're not running out of the books so it doesn't seem to be risky except they might throw one of their spears out at him. The natives try to throw their spears at the thug but instead the thug just bounces off each spear as the tribes have just missed. A "St. Nicholas" magazine shows Father Christmas as he is holding onto his bag full of presents and drops them to crash the thug whilst riding on his sleigh. The thug is still running away from those chasing after him and there are toys on top of him that are covered. As the thug is still trying to run away those after him; Greta Garbo appears again from photoplay and she steps her foot out so that the thug can trip.

After being tripped the thug lands inside a 'Country Life' magazine where the front cover shows a pond; and splash goes the criminal. A fisherman from a 'hunting & fishing' magazine then uses his fishing rod to fish the thug out of the pond. The worst part for the criminal is that he finds himself inside a pinball machine. The plunger then sets off and it is a dodgy and bumpy ride for the criminal. The criminal then starts to hit the bumpers. Although all I can say is that where did that pinball machine come from? It's not inside a book or shown inside a magazine - it just feels random. The thug then falls into the drain and is shot out. The pinball scene is reused animation from Sunday Go to Meetin' Time.

The thug lands into a book and finds himself arrested inside the book called Twenty-Thousand Years in Sing Sing with the author credited to Warden Flaws; which is a reference to Lewis E. Lawes. Why is there a book inside the drug store when I thought it was meant to focus on magazines? It doesn't make sense to me. The thug is therefore caught inside the book - trapped (when it could've just been the same "LIFE" magazine cover. Hugh Hebert; who appears to be a recurring gag through the cartoon as he pops in and out; when laughs at the thug's misfortune. The thug shouts "Arrgh! Dry up". Hugh Hebert still laughs in which the thug picks up a globe from a magazine cover and tosses it at the celebrity. Hugh Hebert then ends up with a lump on top of his head. The thug then starts to clap copying Hugh Hebert in part of his amusement.

Overall comments: I find that this cartoon overall has some pretty clever ideas with the magazines on how to make the characters work but I do find that this cartoon would've also been cheap, too. Maybe at this point the budgets being made were going higher and Tashlin made this cartoon in order to help save money or get it done faster in time to be released to theaters or if that cartoon had to fill in Schlesinger's release dates. This cartoon was rather fun, had some decent gags in it relating to book titles but as I said - kind of cheap. It would be frowned upon today by animation enthusiasts watching this cartoon who'd think they'd seen it before in a black & white Looney Tunes before but for somebody sitting down watching this; they won't notice and they'll just find that it's still a fine cartoon itself. I don't personally find the reuse of the animation particularly harmful at all.

Of course Frank Tashlin was a copycat; and he admits that. He explained how he was always influenced by Harman-Ising and made a couple of these pictures relating with book covers or magazine covers and made this cartoon which was a part of their influence. I find that this cartoon was a better version that the Harman-Ising one. Sure this cartoon had singing and ending; and the same old climax at the end but I still find those magazine ideas quite clever. This cartoon wasn't particularly special itself even with the amount of reusing and a recycled plot; at least there are more magazine ideas featured in there and some funny gags including the Ted Lewis and Ned Sparks gag at the beginning. The thug looked rather cartoony which appeared to have been handled a lot by some particular animator who drew cartoony for Frank Tashlin in that period but I'm not sure who it is.