Friday 27 December 2013

313. Porky's Snooze Reel (1941)

Warner cartoon no. 312.
Release date: January 11, 1941.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett & Norm McCabe.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig/Additional Voices), Robert C. Bruce (voice over).
Story: Warren Foster.
Animation: John Carey.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: A short which poorly satirises a series of newsreels hosted by Porky Pig.

Sorry for the late and delayed postings that are coming in this reviews...but boy, this is a bad cartoon. A real bland with Clampett's talent lacking and effort placed into it. Just thinking about the cartoon itself and after watching it is more painful than my viewing of it.

Probably worth mentioning, this is the short which finishes the long-time policy for the Looney Tunes to always feature a recurring character in the series, as this is the point where Leon Schlesinger's policies are beginning more relaxed, and the freedom of the Warner directors bind them.

Following 1941; as well as to 1943; the LT shorts still remain in black-and-white but produce an occasional one-shot cartoon from one of the directors who were strictly making Merrie Melodies shorts.

This also becomes a turning point for Clampett, as for the first time in his career, he's producing one-short cartoons; and moving over to colour cartoons. From after this short; Clampett gets a little break from a consistent routine of directing Porkies until he almost snapped. Other directors like Chuck, Tex and also Friz take their turns to direct Porky shorts, giving Clampett a chance to breathe.

In this short, Clampett (and McCabe) again make little use for their talent, and the Porky output just get mediocre by the short. By becoming more mediocre, a spot-gag short is the answer. Another factor: Porky is taken for granted, by being given a much lesser spotlight.

The whole plot and concept of the short show how the Clampett unit have just gotten lazier with their cartoons, and reworking past elements featured in previous shorts.

The Film Fan was a rather lame spot-gag short featuring film reels of upcoming film trailers and newsreels in a cinema; whereas this short has a similar element though the element is presented as a newsreel in the style of Sees All, Hears All & Knows All--judging by the referenced ending shot of Porky rolling the film. With that, the short then becomes bombarded with horrible and unfunny gags which aren't punchy or surreal at all, making it a very un-worthwhile viewing. Though, the introduction  to the Pathe News introduction is satirised in a satisfactory way, though thats it.

One of the most bizarre moments in the short, and a guilty pleasure would be the Lew Lehr sequence in which the short satirises the newsreels performed by comedian Lew Lehr. To begin with, yes it is a very stupid sequence. The whole satire of it is very lame, as well as the gags involving dogs, and even satirising a comedian who isn't particularly as funny as the Warner directors emphasise. Talking of highlight, it would be Porky's impersonation of Lew. Before I begin, a lot of it has its downfalls: it is a stupid out-of-character moment for Porky, and his Lehr expressions are wrongly off-model.

However, you just give Mel Blanc some great recognition and praise for giving Porky quite a three-dimensional performance in this sequence. He creates this sense of realism for Porky, where you certainly believe the character is human, and can perform impersonations like anybody else. This is a very difficult voice and assignment for a voice actor to establish, and due to the hugely talented Mel Blanc, he comes to great advantage of the sequence, and makes the gag work very well. He does a similar performance with Porky back in Porky's Movie Mystery, where Porky is seen as a impersonation of Mr. Moto.

Another sequence worth analysing for the short would be the 'Tax Expert' sequence; it's not worthy for the poor gag delivery which appears in the short, but in artistically, it is fulfilling. The gag of the sequence is a local financial advisor who advises his audience on income tax to simply "skip it", believing it turned him out for the better.

As the camera trucks out, we discover he is already held in prison for his inactivity of income tax. The gag itself is executed modestly, and it does the job well, though what stands out the most is the realism and perspective of the animation of the man's head movement.

It shows how Clampett intended to show some realism in his animation in terms of construction and tight timing. It moves in such unusual angles, with proportions handled carefully, and yet the perspective shows some amusing caricatured drawings that it the results are pleasing.

Of course, the proportions are slightly disjointed, as a supposedly realistic face with tiny cartoon eyes are rather erratic, but I suppose it was how Clampett wanted it to be seen from his vision. If any of the Clampett sequences show some decent comic timing, during the newsreel sequences; I would nominate the horserace sequence which features what is seen as just a typical horserace. Clampett and Warren Foster, emphasise on the pun from the commentator: "Yes, ladies and gentlemen it's a photograph finish!"; where the gag translates metaphorically to the horses posing for a photo shoot, before proceeding to racing. The gag is flawed in terms of writing, but Clampett's timing adds up to the shattered pieces.

To sight on the cartoon's weak gags and sequences; there is too many to list from that is creates a very disastrous plot and pace for the short itself. The fact its a spot-gag which just shows a routine of unfunny gags all run down together when viewing the cartoon. It also doesn't help when too many recycled elements appear in the short.

An example can be explained during the swimming race reel, where the divers are swimming the full length front crawl underwater in a river. As the race draws to a finish, we find a group of alligators climbing out of the river having eaten the contestants.

Since these type of gags have appeared too many times in a Warner short, because apparently, a hundred times a charm! Most of the weak and unfunny gags appear all through the short, that I will not want to analyse the whole lot of it, as it isn't worth to be gone into detail. It's all the same elements and deliveries that have been done before, and for an avid Warner cartoon critic like myself, watching the shorts with nothing original to offer is enough to get sick of the short in the first two minutes.

In conclusion, Clampett's short is a mess, and it's a bigger mess compared to Clampett's other mediocre shorts that he was making in that era. Porky's Snooze Reel expresses little of Clampett's talent artistic wise (excluding the tax scene), no effort was combined in the story of the short, it also features an abundance of dated and unfresh gags, and...the weaknesses of these gags show there is nothing salvageable of the short at all. Clampett evidently wasn't trying or expressing any desire, as his desire was directed for a totally different path he was close to crossing. To me, the only real effort shown in the short was the Mel Blanc impersonation of Porky (a la) Lew Lehr. To add to the technology and animation all combined to produce this short, this short shows how the environment could have been a tad saved if a tree wasn't torn down to make a cartoon which was a painful experience to watch. However, luckily Clampett will turn out for the best, even if it takes one whole year to finally make it; and this gives Porky a new fresh start, with alternate directors, as well as a new song to sing for Clampett.

To add a new element to future reviews; I have considered using a out-of-5 rating for future reviews: if you wish for this to not be featured in future reviews, please comment on this blog for your objection. If  you accept it, then you don't have to say anything....

Rating: 1.5/5.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

312. Elmer's Pet Rabbit (1941)

featuring Bugs Bunny.
Warner cartoon no. 311.
Release date: January 4, 1941.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Chuck Jones.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny), Arthur Q. Bryan (Elmer Fudd).
Story: Rich Hogan.
Animation: Rudy Larriva.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Elmer purchases a domestic rabbit, who happens to be Bugs Bunny. Bugs, unimpressed with the lifestyle as a pet, decides to teach Elmer a lesson.

A modern viewer, having hardly any exposure to the history of the Warner Bros. cartoon, would raise their eyebrow inquisitively watching this cartoon. No, not because of Jones' pacing and bloated timing in the short...but more blatantly due to Bugs Bunny.

Bugs was already an established star by that point, as proven by the opening titles as he is christened the name we all cherish.

Whereas Tex Avery was largely responsible for developing the trademark Bugs that appears in A Wild Hare; his second cartoon is handed over to Chuck Jones, which is quite outlandish for a character handed over to a director who previously had worked on cartoons which were mimicking the Disney style with Pluto-fetish, and cutesy characters. Despite already becoming an established character, Jones interpreted Bugs only slightly, and yet for the rest of his career took Bugs to different levels. Whereas Jones treats Bugs with the personality of a Tex Avery character, the viewer obviously notices his voice difference. Jones had asked Mel Blanc to impersonate Jimmy Stewart, just to stand out differently, even though Tex has already installed the Bugs voice heard in A Wild Hare permanently. Not to mention, Bugs has no front-buck teeth at all in this short, due to Chuck's dislike of buck-tooth characters, according to Greg Duffell.

 As for Jones, at this point of his career, Jones was really beginning to get the idea of how a funny cartoon was made, and how well it can be delivered to an audience. He had previously attempted comedy before though with little success in Elmer's Candid Camera, and Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur.

He makes an attempt again where the story of the cartoon is in the format of what a Tex or a Freleng cartoon would have been for the time it was written.

Though, Tex probably would have interpreted different gags, and Friz's comic timing would've have come to advantage, the overall product feels suitable as a Jones short.

Though Bugs' voice may me a little erratic to the audience who are used to hearing his trademark voice, for his first time Jones nails Bugs' performance in how it's executed, not how its timed. Some great examples appear during the opening sequence where Elmer strolls around town singing Strolling Through The Park One Day, and Bugs joins in harmony, killing the moment (probably animated by Ken Harris). Then asks Elmer who he has in the basket, but responds slightly offended: "Listen, bub. Be a little more careful about who you call a 'wittle gwey wabbit. See!". Another great example appears when Bugs grumbles over his new rabbit hutch, as well as the diet he is given for dinner. The animator, as well as Blanc completely nail the performance and it's as good as it could get. Bugs is seen berating about how unfairly treated he is: "I'll starve before I eat this stuff!"; and yet eats the carrots and vegetables whilst he complains!

Though, despite giving Bugs some fine personality and character animation sequences, you can't help but get the impression that Jones interprets Bugs as a rather grouchy character. When Elmer Fudd has finished building his new rabbit hutch, Bugs already moans: "Frankly old man, I don't like it. I stinks. When I think what I might have been. Gad, makes my blood boil. Me, a potential Easter bunny! Four walls, the irony of it all!". Though it seems quite out of character for Bugs, a thumbs-up for the line complaining of his new home, which is my favourite quote of the whole cartoon itself. Then later on, after his dinner, he complains about living in the freezing cold outside. Why? There is a hut located at the other end, why not just enter inside to be a tad warmer?

Anyway, the use of moaning and grumpiness affect my interpretation that the story appears to focus on the cruelty of leaving pets outside in the coal, and how pets could be really feeling when left outside. You feel empathy for the character, even though you would sympathise with Elmer more, considering how Elmer is a harmless character portrayed in the cartoon. Notice Chuck still interprets Elmer Fudd as a civilised harmless human-being, who even purchases Bugs as a pet, whereas in A Wild Hare, he was out in an attempt to hunt rabbits.

Nevertheless, Bugs' personality appears to be his mischievous self as he breaks into Elmer's home and disturbs his peace in the lounge. The music on the radio is on, and then Bugs and Elmer both have a moment together where they dance (Song anyone?).

A great little scene shows Bugs impersonating Hepburn, "You dance divinely, rarely you do!". That shot in terms of its delivery and speech would have worked for any Bugs cartoon that was made 2 or 3 years later.

Towards the climax of the cartoon, Jones also appears to interpret some comedy and speed which shows how he has not yet mastered the technique or force. The airbrush effects of Bugs and Elmer rushing out of the bedroom and all through the house shows a very decent effect in term of speed, and it always works off very well in cartoons generally. The explosions and firework effects were also very decent, as well as homage to the Tex short: Dangerous Dan McFoo. However, the supposedly wild-chase sequence with the objects gripping magnetically to the speed of Bugs and Elmer lacks gravity and force, and this shows how Chuck's timing hasn't been mastered, and how his 'molasses timing' have still struck him.

 To decide one of Jones' weaker sequences in terms of timing and his sluggish pacing--this all occurs in the bathroom sequence. The bathroom sequence goes on for quite a bit of time, and there a lot of golden opportunities which appear to be wasted in this sequence. Bugs is disrupting Elmer's shower time, as he consistently walks into the shower, with Elmer pushing him away.

Some of the dialogue of Bugs pacing around the bathtub, shows some very great dialogue, with some timing and delivery that could've been produced far much better. "After all, he is responsible for my welf--", and menacingly, his idea then turns into a fake-drowning sequence.

The character animation of Bugs faking his performance shows very weak and unconvincing animation acting where the arms lack weight, and you don't communicate with Bugs well in the sequence.

This then results in Elmer almost breaking down pitying himself and blaming himself over the supposed 'death' of Bugs. Then, this results in Bugs apologising for his actions, and gives Elmer access to kick him in the rear end. Conned by his complex and faked apology; Bugs stares at Elmer quoting Groucho Marx: "Of course you know, this means war!". This results in Elmer being abused by Bugs as he smacks Elmer with his glove, confusing the poor man. The whole sequence, again, could have been a whole lot better, with the pacing and timing being more affective and active. Instead, it's bombarded with poor acting, stiff animation, as well as a slow-paced sequence itself.

Thanks to Yowp for supplying this piece of information off a Film Daily written in October 25, 1940--it turns out that Elmer's Pet Rabbit was in fact rushed through production due to popular demand as A Wild Hare had been very popular in theatres, and Schlesinger wanted more Bugs Bunny shorts, which of course led to a strict Warner's policy, where Bugs had to appear in roughly 8 or 9 shorts a year.

Also worth mentioning, is how according to Thad Komorowski, the copyright synopsis indicates that the cartoon's ending had been extended, where Elmer snaps and leaves the house to Bugs. Sort of another alternate ending of what you see in Hare-Um Scare Um, or Elmer's Candid Camera.

Though, watching the cartoon's ending, it probably does work better. Elmer walks back into his room, after what seems like a furious battle between Bugs and Elmer. Just as Elmer walks to his room, Bugs, asleep, bellows: "Turn off that light!", and then it goes straight to black-out; Elmer turning off the light o.s. It works out a lot better, the spontaneity of the timing is wackier and it says all you need to know. Just a great sense of energy.

To conclude the review, Elmer's Pet Rabbit is a short I like and dislike at the same time. What I like for the short is how Chuck Jones transits into a comical director for one short, and does a pretty neat interpretation of Bugs Bunny in terms of his personality. Of course, the Jimmy Stewart voice doesn't match with the rabbit's design, and he can be presented as a grouch; but I believe for his first attempt he follows Tex's footsteps rather faithfully. Certain elements of the short, like Bugs eating his vegetables and complaining show how Chuck is more than a director who is a victim of molasses timing, or cartoons full of incoherent ambiguities. On the other hand, Chuck's own comic timing is still incredibly weak and poorly paced, though I suppose the short was enough to have impressed an audience, who wanted more Bugs Bunny cartoons. On the other hand, the Warner directors still experimented with the character even after A Wild Hare, including Tex himself who tried out several animals like a fox and a quail. Elmer is tamed down greatly in this short, but is a fool all the same--falling for Bugs' sly tactics, and there couldn't have been a better performance in terms of caricature and comedy when Elmer sings I Was Strolling Through The Park.

Saturday 14 December 2013

311. Shop, Look and Listen (1940)

featuring Blabbermouse.
Warner cartoon no. 310.
Release date: December 21, 1940.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Friz Freleng.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Blabbermouse/Mohicans/Whistler's Mother), Bill Thompson (Conductor).
Story: Dave Monahan.
Animation: Cal Dalton.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: The conductor and Blabbermouse return again, where a tour is performed at an empty department store.

Being the second (and last) cartoon to feature Blabbermouse, this is also quite possibly the final WB cartoon to use the formula for blabbermouth annoying characters, which had been a concept used by Tex, Bob Clampett and Ben Hardaway previously...another case where the Warner humour are a step ahead, showing how the directors and writers have developed better humour strategies.

Judging by the title card which features 'featuring Blabbermouse'--was the character was really intended to be a newly established character for the Warner shorts? Well, it isn't certain for sure but it was more or less likely just a temporary creation, as the character doesn't hold any merit than Porky or Bugs, or even Sniffles.

It still feels a little bit peculiar that the character would be followed up from the previous short Little Blabbermouse, which isn't a spectacular cartoon itself in which the cartoon is given a sequel. Perhaps it was a hit during the time it was released in theatres? Yowp, can you back this up with any surviving reviews from Film Daily?

It's also quite satisfying to see how the short marks the end of those annoying characters who talk continuously, which showed little purpose, and how they were apparently meant to be appealing and funny.

The short itself, is without doubt a follow up to Blabbermouse' debut short which was released earlier this year. Comparing this short to Little Blabbermouse, I'll say that Blabbermouse was superior. This cartoon is just a almost recycled plot from the short itself, except with 'Blabbermouse' it at least showed some sort of synopsis or summit, whereas with the cartoon it doesn't.

It's merely just another spot-gag short which takes place in a department store, whereas previously beforehand it took part in a chemist. A part of me wonders whether any planned future Blabbermouse shorts would have been based on different stores for each short, such as a restaurant, or a  bookstore.

The whole perspective of the Blabbermouse shorts are very 1930s-oriented, with gags not being fresh, and lame deliveries and construction. The ending itself for the sequel short, ends with the same scenario and delivery from Little Blabbermouse, too. Blabbermouse, who doesn't even center the whole cartoon himself, just continuously asks infuriating questions to annoy the conductor, that he eventually snaps and gives Blabbermouse his destiny. His fate is, during the modern inventions sequence, he gets pulled off the cart, and ends up wrapped in a Xmas present, with a stamp slammed to his mouth reading 'Do Not Open 'Till Xmas'. The delivery is at least more charming and delivered better than the previous short, considering the short was released around Christmas time. Also, notice how the finishing dialogue for Blabbermouse is almost similar to the preceding short, where he threatens the conductor to summon his father, being a police officer.

Anyway, some parts I thought worth to analyse, and that would be the opening sequence itself. The short's opening is rather lengthy, and to me it goes on a lot longer than necessary. It features the exterior of the department store building, the working hours for the days, including a Sunday gag, as well as a pan of the interior of the store at night, before we meet the conductor by the cashier. The opening sequence opens with the department store's neon lights flashing, with the department store called 'J.T. Gimlet'; a unfunny parody of the now defunct store 'Gimbels'. The opening time sequence has a particular lame gag lineup where the days of the week read the times the department store is open: '9 to 6' even on a Sunday, if it is open.

The opening sequence I guess was added longer to add some extra time, and I guess to at least try and create some suspense and wonder, even though there isn't much to be curious about.

The cartoon sequences which focus on the picture frame department shows some good gag developments as well as delivery. A great example can be the Whistler's Mother portrait. The portrait is seen as how the public know the ending, of an elderly lady sitting at her chair.

She then comes to life, whistling to She'll Be Comin' Around The Mountains. At first, you would expect the gag to have had a very weak outcome, or something you would expect out a Tex Avery spot-gag, but thanks to Freleng...the gag then develops further, with some decent comic timing.

The mother then remarks, 'You ought to hear my son, he's a whistler, too'. The mother then impersonates his son, as she stomps her foot and claps broadly. The timing, as well as the extra setup works out with satisfaction, with a touch of Freleng's subtle genius.

Another amusing though subtle visual delivery appears following on where we view an infamous sculpture known as The Thinker. The Thinker is indeed, thinking and pondering to himself, with some of Blanc's distinctive murmurs. As he thinks, it turns out the Thinker is reading his Tax Income Report from 1939, or is it 1940? I guess that was a clean-up error, as indicated on paper, as well as the layout shot. Freleng even pays homage to one of Tex's gags that he uses for his spot-gags...though not one of his more charming gags. The Hunter painting indicates the dog is pointing at a direction with a eager face and is dragging the hunter to the direction. It turns out the direction is pointed at the Lonesome Pine, which shows even Freleng has gone as far as to make a dog-innuendo gag.

Not to mention, there are also going to be some poor gags which fall flat through the sequence, as well as how it was developed. Earlier on during the tour of the department store, the conductor points out the various types of shoes that are in stock. The camera pans through the conductor's point of view of what's on stock. First, you get the suede, pumps, slippers, and then mules. Two different coloured mules then pop out of the box where they bray, and the whole output was just incredibly weak, and amateurish. It just sticks out like a sore thumb, you'd expect a 'mule' gag to somehow appear, and having them bray continuously shows no surprise or effort in developing this gag.

Another sequence, which shows a tad bit of weakness, but it more or less was reused from the Freleng short: Sweet Sioux; is the Last of the Mohicans painting. The gag itself is a little tame and unoriginal, but Freleng's comic timing had improved to better taste three years previously, that the smack is a tad more funnier.

Moving on to the modern inventions sequences, the mechanical robots call for some technical assignments for the animator. One of the highlights for the mechanical sequences are a group of machines seated at a table playing cards. This also calls for an amusing gag setup, as well as Friz's own comic timing.

The mechanical robots playing poker, are portrayed as very human, that they even would cheat in a game.

Due to the cheat, one of the mechanical robots shoots the robot, which is a hilarious setup; in terms of delivery and Friz's timing. It portrays very well as a close up, as well as unexpected tension that goes into the sequence.

Another great little sequence which is great to watch visually would be the modern invention sequence where the booths are seen wrapping up Christmas presents. This is a great advantage for Treg Brown who has created some very groundbreaking sound effects for the wrapping sequence, that they show a very technical and comical charm to it. You can hear the sound with better and more memorable cartoons like Baby Bottleneck, during the 'Powerhouse' sequence. So, towards the end of the cartoon, the machines come to better use where they grab hold of Blabbermouse, and wrap him around as a Xmas present, as well as placing the stamp on his mouth so he'd stubble to speak, and that's the last we ever see of Blabbermouse.

To conclude the review, Shop, Look and Listen is still just a mere lame followup to Little Blabbermouse, and it's as smile as that. Though both cartoons have the same construction and theme, though you'd probably ask how could I compare both cartoons? Well, Little Blabbermouse stood out to me for two great sequences, which included the song sequences which combined some great popular songs with the items, as well as a chase sequence with the cat, whereas with this cartoon there is no climax or much thought put together. You could hardly call the mechanicals to be the climax of the film, except they only come to good use when they shut the character's yap. Still, it's a good cartoon to an extend, as it would involve the end of Blabbermouse, and not having to endure annoying, unappealing chatterbox characters.

Well, this now marks the end of reviewing the year 1940: which HAS taken an awful long time to get through, and eventually...I have made it. Overall: this has been a groundbreaking year for the studio: meaning the birth of Bugs Bunny, as well as the return of Friz Freleng. The humour has improved a great deal, the timing is getting faster and the gags funnier, and we'll see what 1941 has to offer when the blog next reviews it...

Wednesday 4 December 2013

310. The Timid Toreador (1940)

Warner cartoon no. 309.
Release date: December 21, 1940.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett and Norman McCabe.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig/Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull/Matador).
Story: Melvin Millar.
Animation: Izzy Ellis.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky is selling hot peppers in the streets; and it ends up coming to advantage when he is encountered by a fiery bull.

The first cartoon where Norm McCabe, himself sets a 'supervision' credit but shared with Bob Clampett. It's uncertain as to how much he had contributed to the cartoon, other than possibly the animation. The cartoon as a whole feels a lot like a Clampett product, as his drawing style is evident in the animation through layouts, the way he interprets gags, and also his timing. Don't state this as fact, but it's likely perhaps McCabe was being supervised by Clampett in terms of timing, animation, and that McCabe didn't become loose until Clampett took over Tex Avery's unit.

Clampett chooses gags which evidently make the cartoon appear as his own product, rather than McCabe's, whose cartoons stand out as more milder than Bob's later cartoons, and more active than his black and white shorts.

During the opening sequence, it opens with particularly lame gags in a town which lies in a desert.

An example can be seen in the poster sequence at the beginning, where the poster advertising the bullfight lists out the matadors, toreadors, picadors, as well as a 'cuspidor'; which if you translate to English, meaning a spittoon.

A rather useless play-on word for the sequence. Then cut to the town sequence, where Clampett is satirising and paying homage to the popular Hollywood diner The Brown Derby, where here it's titled The Brown Sombrero. Clampett's drawing style is evident in the scenes of the trio playing some music (song anyone?). A washerwoman is seen cleaning some long underwear, beating it with a paddle. Then the paddle forms to life, almost drowning the washerwoman in the fountain and whacking her in the rear end. Only Clampett would interpret a gag such as this, with its bizarre pantomiming, and his taste of timing. The opening sequence is really much just exposition, for what is to come, especially in the sequence featuring Porky selling hot tamales, which would become an important element in the cartoon's poor synopsis.

Now time for a bit of analysis on a gag which Clampett reused rather regularly, though it is one of his more darker and tamer gags, but done with good comic timing. Porky is seen selling how tamales in the streets of the merry village. A unsuspecting chicken approaches the scene, where it opens the box of hot tamales. Of course, the box advertises the hot tamales as 'too hot to handle'. Unnoticed of the slogan, the chicken swallows the hot tamale which then results to his fate--a roast dinner.

A very flat gag in terms of creativity and energy, but Clampett's (or McCabe's) timing couldn't have been funnier with the way it has been delivered. After those few moments of no suspense, the chicken exploding is as bizarre it's going to get. If the gag had been approached again a couple of years later, Clampett would have staged and interpret the gag differently, with possibly more edgy comic timing, and a series of takes.

The bullfight sequence shows how relying on references, and deliberate setups shows how it overlaps the action of the bullfight, and with many gag opportunities wasted. Chuck Jones would master a cartoon involving Bugs Bunny and a bullfight in Bully for Bugs, whereas Tex Avery would do so at MGM with Señor Droopy.

The name of the matador is 'Punchy Pancho' (perhaps a reference to the infamous outlaw Pancho Villa?); whereas the bull is named 'Slapsie Maxie Rosenbull' which is a poor pun to the infamous boxer of its time: Maxie Rosenbloom.

Throughout the fight, we get deliberate setups with some particularly unfunny one-liners from the bull, though Blanc's voice makes the right touch. He approaches the matador who is waving the red flag.

The bull approaches rather angrily, but compliments on the design of the flag: "Nice piece of material, I think it is", I suppose its amusing in a ironic sense, but Clampett obviously isn't relying on his comic genius, or his flamboyant sense of wild timing.

It appears very obvious that Clampett or McCabe clearly aren't coming up with some very creative concepts for the short, and it gets so that reused dialogue for the fish was used from The Sour Puss, and the whole delivery of it. I believe that the laugh and the caricature of the matador laughing goofily (as well as the horse) are supposed to resemble Lew Lehr to an extent. The bull charges at the matador, combining the matador and the horse together, making them looking like a centaur. I'll admit, its the only highlight of that sequence, where the timing and delivery really come to advantage, as well as being a solitary gag.

Once again Porky is portrayed as a minor character, who has at least some stardom in the cartoon's climax sequence. He is seen as a seller who is selling hot tamales, whose chanting the words in rhythm to La Cucaracha.

He walks in the middle of the ring as he is busy selling hot tamales to attendees watching the bullfight. With the matador screaming out of the scene like a baby, Porky is the next victim. Standing behind the angry bull, Porky turns, but after a double-take rushes frantically out of the way.

So, Porky decides to antagonise the bull as he grabs out a blade, but the blade slides down loose, causing Porky to timidly smile at the bull, with that expression which very much belongs to Warners.
Just then, as Porky is caught up with the cartoon's action scenes, Porky being the subplot of the cartoon, uses his hot tamales as a weapon to defeat the ball. The hot tamales become a justified symbol to the bull's ruin, where the bull sniffs the scent of the peppers. The bull, after sniffing, remarks: "Hot tamales. Hot? (chuckles) who's afraid of hot?", and then takes the whole lot down. The reaction from the bull isn't very integral of what you would expect out of Clampett, as the reaction stands out as rather mild, apart from crashing outside the stadium and knocking the village buildings around.

After the crowd decide to cheer on Porky's impulsive finale of the bullfight; a rain of sombreros and hats fly on top of Porky. The cartoon concludes with quite possibly the most hypnagogic gag featured in the cartoon, where a derby hat lands on Porky, transforming his face into Laurel Hardy, with his music cue backgrounded in the score. It is, itself, very much an out-of-nowhere gag which you would expect from alcoholic gagmen (not implying Clampett); but the caricature is a decent touch, and it blends in neatly.

Now, to turn over to the readers: how do you knew The Timid Toreador: a Clampett product or a McCabe product? Well, it is pretty evident that this was largely Clampett's own, rather than McCabes even though it is unknown as to how much he contributed to the cartoon. Clampett still would have done character layouts due to his drawing style dominating the entire cartoon. His poor gag sense and no motivation with the story is also evident, whereas McCabe had a different style compared to Clampett's black and white cartoons. Despite McCabe's cartoons having lived in the darklight like some of Clampett's cartoons--McCabe at least showed some effort artistically as well as creatively. Why would Norm McCabe be co-directing with Clampett that early since Clampett hadn't yet left the Katz unit even at the time this cartoon was released, and Tex hadn't yet left the Studios. The cartoon, itself overall adds up as Clampett's own cartoon, with possibly McCabe's assistance, even though not relying too much on the credits.