Sunday 27 January 2013

244. Naughty But Mice (1939)

Warner cartoon no. 243.
Release date: May 20, 1939.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Chuck Jones.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Margaret Hill-Talbot (Sniffles).
Story: Rich Hogan.
Animation: Phil Monroe.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Sniffles already has a cold and goes to the drug store to pick up medicine. Being the medicine contains alcohol: Sniffles ends up in a acid trip where he encounters an inanimate razor.

Chuck Jones' first cartoon and even debut appearance of his new character: Sniffles the Mouse. Between 1939-1941 - Chuck would make a number of Sniffles cartoons where he is meant to be a resemblance towards the cutesy Disney characters, in Chuck's Disney-esque era. Sniffles was a rather bland and unforgettable character in the Looney Tunes franchise, and the cartoons were much too cutesy and slow-paced to enjoy. The character proved to be quite successful in 1939 that he was given his own series until Chuck abandoned him when he was attempting to make funny cartoons, but didn't wipe Sniffles out completely until 1946 when he attempted to make Sniffles rather funny, but failed.

This is also the last cartoon where it appears Chuck's drawing style from the early Clampett cartoons are visible through the animation. Sniffles was designed by Charlie Thorson, who was a previous Disney character designer - and Disney cartoon: The Country Mouse and Sniffles do have a resemblance. The title is a parody of the 1939 musical comedy Naughty But Nice starring Dick Powell. Mostly known as a phrase, it wasn't even popularised until the 1980s where it was mentioned by Salmon Rushdie in his controversial book: The Satanic Verses.

The cartoon starts off with the tower clock as it rings (as already seen in the title card of the cartoon). We pan down towards the streets at night towards Savoy Drug Store. The backgrounds of the streets at night so some delicate details of colour for night time. We truck in closer to the front door of the drug store and pan vertically towards Sniffles who is standing by the mail slot.

He is suffering from a cold and is carrying a piece of paper with him which was recommended by a family doctor. The writing on the paper reads: For Colds: Go to the nearest drug store for a cold remedy. Sniffles enters inside the drug store to search for medicine.

As Sniffles is inside the drug store he is looking for some cold medicines. He manages to spot some where the camera pans horizontally and there is a shelf where some cold remedies are displayed. Sniffles climb up the table to grab some of the cold remedies himself.

After climbing up - he finds a bottle which is called XLNT Cold Cure. The label of the bottle reads that it contains up to 125% of alcohol. 125%?! Jesus - how on earth could they serve remedies: that is stronger than Russian vodka (which goes up to 90% column) - but 125% - that could kill him or perhaps, anyone! Sniffles decides to use the bottle himself as he believes it could help cure his cold. He places the bottle down and pours some into a spoon. He places the cork back into the bottle so it stops filling up and ends up drinking the medicine inside the spoon.

Sniffles drinks up the medicine in the spoon - after a few moments; all the alcohol goes inside his system where he then suddenly hits intoxication. Chuck Jones experiments with animation by going through some pretty wacky takes of how Sniffles hits it, when the medicine goes into his system. Definitely a little extreme for Chuck when making his early cartoons - but the timing is very crisp.

Afterwards - Sniffles finds that he is breathing out fire; and the way Chuck has visualised Sniffles being intoxicated is rather creative. Sniffles dashes out of the scene frantically in search for water. Afterwards - he finds a glass of water which he drinks out of.

Afterwards, Sniffles breathes out with relief, 'Gee' as smoke rises out of his mouth. Sniffles then ends up being engaged to hiccupping - where the timing of the hiccups is presented as rather syrupy. Sniffles walks down very drunk, and the drunk walk is certainly some realistic and generic movement. Sniffles then paces faster and faster, until he is just walking frantically and bumps into a box which contains an electric shaver. Just to bear in mind - what on Earth is an electric shaver doing inside a drug store?!

The cartoon just gets even more bizarre and surreal where it turns out the electric shaver is very much alive, and Sniffles engages in a conversation with it. I guess it's supposed to show Sniffles is having an acid trip and believes the razor is alive and moving, but its rather confusing as to how Chuck Jones has set it out.

They both then engage into conversation. I have to say, the voice effects for the electric razor is very creative and cleverly thought out - probably the pinnacle of one of Treg Brown's sound effects.

The creative voice effects certainly do feel like it comes from Chuck's inspiration from the Disney cartoons who have even experimented with realistic voice effects. I do wonder if Treg Brown is providing the voice effects of the razor, but I'm not sure. As they greet each other, Sniffles then warns to the razor he has a terrible cold. He sneezes and the cold then catches on the razor - who is feeling rather unwell, sneezes back.

Sniffles then realises that the razor has a cold and decides to head back to bring the remedy for him. This is a suffice example of Chuck's slow pacing where Sniffles takes almost forever to just go and collect the medicine. 'Now you wait right here, old fella. And I'll get ya something' that'll fix ya right up!' He then asks him to wait here, 'You wait right here. Just right here. Right here, see. Right here. Now remember, don't move. Just stay right here. Right exactly here'. As he walks out - he STILL asks him to stay there - and this is just too much; its slowing the cartoon down and the pacing is terrible! Its about as slow as molasses in January.

Sniffles returns back with the medicine. He grabs out a spoonful of the remedy, as the razor is feeling rather unwell. Sniffles places the medicine inside the razor's mouth to help cure him. After a few moments, nothing happens. The razor then finally hits it as he ends up jerking with some really funny animation.

What's more, the sound effects of the razor's reactions is absolutely superb and hilarious. It's been used many times afterwards by Treg Brown, and I find at this point - this is the peak of his sound effects. It's extremely creative and even believable.

After the reaction, the razor is now drunk and rasps; 'Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!'. Sniffles then starts to go into song singing: How Dry I Am. It was a well-known tradition for those who supported prohibition for alcohol - so I suppose the song was included for laughs because they are drunk. Sniffles is balancing on the spoon, and the razor joins in singing the song.

The character animation is top-notch; you can feel Sniffles is drunk with those silly poses as well as the razor. Chuck had the best animators when he started as a director - which must've been a huge advantage. Afterwards; the razor then passes out after the amount of alcohol in his system. Sniffles, still drunk, then tuts at the razor with pity: 'Can't take it anymore, huh? Too bad' and then walks out.

Whilst the animation of the sequences with Sniffles and the razor have been well-animated - the whole pacing of the story has slowed down the entire cartoon - and its ben terribly disjointed. That entire sequence with Sniffles and the razor lasts at least two and a half minutes of film in a 8 minute cartoon. The pacing of it is too damn slow and much of it is padded, including when Sniffles keeps on TELLING him to say 'Stay right there' and that ballard they sing - which is just an ear worm to listen to - but the only highlight I thought of that sequence was the razor's reaction to the remedy - which is just amazing.

After that lengthy sequence - Sniffles walks through the drug store walking very wearily and wobbly. Behind the boxes of toilet soap - we find the evil, mysterious eyes which belong to a black cat. The cat chooses Sniffles as a target to eat, and so he follows Sniffles in the drug store. Sniffles, still having a cold, then starts to sneeze (standing in mid-air) and attempts to run back on the table but falls.

Sniffles ends up caught inside a claw-vending machine. This shows how he is in peril as the cat can catch him out of the claw vending machine. The cat approaches the claw-vending machine, and he pulls out a coin from his pocket. Cats have pockets? Wow. Anyhow; as he uses the claw to attempt to catch Sniffles - Sniffles trips before he catches him.

The cat snaps his fingers and then grabs another coin to try and catch him again. This time Sniffles approaches a container that contains perfume. He holds onto the perfume, and in a drunk manner he hugs it where perfume ends up puffing out. Sniffles hushes the perfume. The claw-vender picks up the perfume in a attempt to catch Sniffles, but fails.

Sniffles believes he has been robbed (in a drunk manner) and he ends up shouting, 'Where'd they go? I've been robbed. Police, police'. It turns out he's standing on top of a camera where it stretches. The cat looks at the vending machine to try and scare Sniffles. Sniffles turns and makes a mild eye-take. Sniffles then makes his attempt to escape by scrambling through the items in the vending machine, but makes his way out through the tip, but as he escapes he is already cornered by the black cat.

The electric razor then manages to regain its conscience and notices that Sniffles is in trouble. The razor charges up towards the black-and-white cat. There is a good use of speed lines during the chase - although the timing is still not very convincing. The razor charges as William Tell is heard in the background. The razor goes straight to the cat where the cat ends up being attacked by the razor.

The frame (seen on left) is surprisingly wild for Chuck Jones there, and even so in general. Afterwards, the cat is almost completely shaven but the razor continues to shave him even more. Afterwards; the cat then finds he only has a bit of hair left. As the razor is still charging after him - the cat pulls off the last bit of hair off before running out of the window and closing the window.

Afterwards; Sniffles then thanks the razor for saving his life. As he is about to say 'It was swell' he then builds up to sneezing again where he finally ends up caught inside the claw-ending machine.

Overall comments: Being that it is the first Sniffles cartoon - it makes me not wanting to look forward to the future entries of Chuck's cutesy Sniffles cartoons. What really bugs me about the entire cartoon is mostly the pacing of the entire story -- as I have already indicated whilst reviewing: the sequence with Sniffles and the razor almost takes up half of the cartoon that its just padding. The story of this cartoon is rather rather peculiar and odd - its the type of cartoon what I would watch if I was tipsy. The fact that the electric razor comes to life is already enough to confuse you - and even the fact it also talks is just weird. Overall, this is not a very good cartoon at all - as it has been a rather frustrating entry reviewing this cartoon. It's not even a coherent cartoon itself; and I don't know if that is supposed to be the purpose of the cartoon or not. The story construction is just rather poor as Sniffles is just going to look for some medicine, but then starts to goof around with the razor for a long time, and there isn't any climax in the cartoon until the cat turns up. I imagine that the cartoon must have done moderately well in the theatres where it gave Chuck the excuse to use Sniffles as a regular character in the colour cartoons for the next few years - as Chuck has introduced a new star to join Porky, Egghead/Elmer and Daffy.

Probably the only highlight of the cartoon itself: and probably what I find is what catches my attention to the cartoon - is the sound effects of the razor, and the character animation. Well known fact: good animation and techniques don't always make a good film; and it pretty much shows while story wise is probably just have to praise Treg Brown for his magnificent creative ideas for the sounds of the razor. It really sounds like a cartoon razor; and who doesn't love that sound effect of the razor almost exploding - which Treg Brown has used in many other cartoons; it certainly is very wacky and believable. Chuck Jones sure has experimented and focused on some of the exaggeration in the animation which appears to be the main focus animation-wise. There are smears used for when the cat is attacked by the razor, but the reaction shots for Sniffles and the razor are pretty wild that it certainly feels rather believable. It's pretty much the last cartoon where Chuck Jones has used his drawing style that dominates the cartoons which is visible in the early Clampett cartoons. The style he started off with in his own cartoons like The Night Watchman and even timing where he used underdeveloped speed lines. His cartoons then start to look more polished and beautiful in colours, animation in his following cartoon - Old Glory where he shows a really polished, meticulous style through the rest of 1939 and even up to around mid-1940.

Saturday 26 January 2013

243. Kristopher Kolumbus, Jr. (1939)

starring PORKY PIG as Kristopher Kolumbus

Warner cartoon no. 242.
Release date: May 13, 1939.
Series: Looney Tunes.
Supervision: Bob Clampett.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Mel Blanc (Porky Pig / Sea Serpents / Native American Greeter).
Animation: Norm McCabe and Izzy Ellis.
Musical Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Synopsis: Porky portrays as American discoverer Christopher Columbus where he is at a journey to a world endorsed by the Queen of Spain.

With the cartoon already features Porky Pig playing at Kristopher Kolumbus Jr. (parody of famous explorer who discovered America - Christopher Columbus). Clampett already featured Porky playing as Mr. Moto in Porky's Movie Mystery so here he's using him as a role for a different character - I guess Clampett was bored of Porky and tried to spice him up a little.

As already indicated in the title cards - Porky is playing ANOTHER character (well more like figure) who is Christopher Columbus (but spelt with 'Ks' - I guess satiric misspelling is fun). The song in the background, I believe, is Let That Be a Lesson to You which can be heard in Katnip Kollege.

The narrator speaks out and takes the story back to 1492 - where astronomers used to believe the world was 'flat as a pancake'. The layout of the Earth looking flat provides a nice illustration to what astronomers theorised of the Earth before it was proved wrong - even when the background artist excludes the 'New World' off.

The narrator moves to the Queen of Spain's palace where Porky is portrayed as Kristopher Kolumbus Jr. (for some reason) where he proposes to prove to Queen Isabella the world is not flat.

He shows an example (all performed through pantomime). Porky demonstrates by grabbing out a baseball and he tosses it briskly into the horizon. After it is tossed - he waits and the ball arrives back and he catches it! The music cue for the sequence is Boccherini's Minuetto. He then jumps with joy for catching it. It turns out the baseball already has stamps covered over it to show its been through parts of the United States, and China. The Queen is impressed by Porky's demonstrations that she hands over a box of jewels to him as a gift to finance his expedition - which was what happened in history. Porky thanks the Queen try trying to stutter 'her Majesty' but instead stutters out 'thanks Queenie'.

The next sequence features Porky's expedition about to begin as he set with his supposedly 'brave crew' where his crew end up wobbling their feet and clattering their teeth with finger. Porky tries to stick firm with them, 'Why fellas, you ain't scared to go are you? What are you - men or mice?'

The crew then transform into mice and admit they're whimps and they scram out of the boat refusing to go on the expedition. The transform scene is just bizarre and creepy. Afterwards - Porky pulls the rope so the sail could stick out but it turns out the sail is a girl's blouse which is a typical Clampett joke.

The narrator responds 'listen to the crowd roar'. There is hardly anybody at the pier who is watching his departure - which is a little amusing. The ship then departs to set sail for the 'New World' as the ship leaves there are signs that read 'No Parking after 5 P.M.' which was used for humorous purposes. The animation of the ship sailing looks too small compared to how the signs have been drawn on a large scale basis. The ship makes a skid through the buoy and then makes the journey to America - but...I thought Columbus originally was looking for a passage to India.

As the ship sailed at night - the narrator explains about how Kristopher Kolumbus Jr. was excellent at navigating that he used his telescope to follow the stars which of course was documented in history. As Porky uses his telescope to follow the stars - he spots one star (in a POV shot) where an arrow points to America to make the journey more obvious which is a rather corny gag.

Porky then addresses to the audience with a  cheesy one-liner: 'Gee, I could sure mess up a lot of History books by turning back now, couldn't I folks?' and he chuckles to himself. There is a great scene that follows on where the narrator continues '40 days and 40 nights passed...'.

There is a good use of timing by Clampett where the sky turns to daylight and then flickers out - it works in a process where it flickers on and off like a lightbulb which is a cool effect. The amusing part is the pacing scene only goes up to 39 days and nights where the narrator reminds the behind-the-scenes crew to fix the error - and then it changes to 40 days. An amusing and silly gag which is clearly an inspiration of a Tex Avery gag - which is just a spoof of a technical error in a animated cartoon.

The next sequence fades to where Porky is reading a map as he is about to enter a Sea Serpent territory. Mendelssohn's Fingal's Cave can be heard briefly in the background. The narrator narrates the part about sea serpents lurking in the area. Porky scoffs that there is no such thing as a sea serpent. It turns out there is one next to him.

I'm going to suspect that the scene there might be Bobe Cannon because the lip-synch doesn't match to the dialogue. The voice of the sea serpent is rather funny. Porky then responds, 'No - you're not a pollywog. You're a--' Porky then makes a take as he spots the sea serpent.

He pulls his foot out of the plank and he climbs to the top of the crow's nest. The sea serpent with the funny voice then shows off with his muscles. However an even larger and tougher sea serpent comes out and shouts 'Oh yeah!' who is seen as very muscly and fierce that the little sea serpent swims out of the scene frightened with the bigger sea serpent following. Porky's ship is no longer in danger afterwards.

After days and delays of travelling through the seas - Porky has finally approached land which bounces up in the horizon. Porky jumps up with excitement as he spots it with a telescope. The animation of the land jumping up is rather cool. As he has approached the shores of the 'New World' we find an Indian statue at the coast (resemblance to Statue of Liberty) and we pan to the left where a sign reads: try our DANDRUFF CURE - where it shows some puns such as a 'scalp' treatment.

The pan then moves forward as the narrator mentions about the native indians greeted Porky as he was the first explorer of America (in this cartoon). We find the Indians greet Porky as they are riding on a riverboat to with a banner that pays fees to watch a 'white men' which is just an odd gag. There is even a weird sequence in the pan where the Indians appear to be grinning towards the 'white men'.

I don't quite get the entire gag, but even as a whole its not funny. After the indians greet Kolumbus - the official greeter arrives in a speedboat through the sea and arrives and boards in Porky's ship. Porky greets the Chief with a 'How' as well as the hand gesture.

The official greeter greets Porky through the dated radio catchphrase, 'How DO you do?' which is a reference to Bert Jordan's Mad Russian character. I like the set up as he raises his hand for the greeting but goes through a dated radio catchphrase. Must've got some laughs in the theatres. The next scene then features Porky riding through the river where he is greeted by the Indian tribes during his visit - which has been documented in his visits to the 'New World' - but I guess Clampett is having fun with exaggerations by adding confetti over his ship.

After the visit in America - Porky then sets sail back to Spain where he brings back a few of the Indian tribes to show to Queen Isabella of what he has discovered. Trying to get my knowledge right - Columbus never brought back tribes to Spain - but I haven't studied the topic in History lessons so I wouldn't know too much.

As he has departed back to Spain successfully, the narrator jokes again that the crowd give him a huge welcome when there is such a small crowd watching. The narrator then begins to act rather personal where it is discovered that the Indians have arrived and to perform the ceremony to Queen Isabella.

Some nice touches on the voice acting of the narrator - even though I don't know who the narrator is of the cartoon. The tribal dance then begins with an Indian drummer - and then some Injuns that are performing the dance. This is one of Clampett's reuse schemes where he reuses animation of the Indian performing a rain dance from Sweet Sioux which was released two years earlier.

Afterwards - Clampett completely changes atmosphere in terms of music style and even animation. The indians then perform the 'jitterbug' which was padded as a reference to how popular the dance was of the 1930s - mainly for a gag. The jitterbug dance then continues with the indians dancing; and also featuring Porky on top of a table dancing with an Indian. The Queen watches the dance and orders for everyone to stop the dance. As she orders for them to stop: the entire group then freeze. The queen walks over and then orders for everyone to go. Prior that Porky shakes worrying she is unimpressed but instead she joins in with the jitterbug dance with Porky as the cartoon ends.

Overall comments: This was just another Clampett cartoon where it is a hit and miss, but I'd consider it a miss for the most part. While I suppose making a parody of the Christopher Columbus stories would certainly make a great cartoon - I felt the way that it has been handled was rather dull. The gags in the cartoon were rather cheap and mostly unhappy - and only a few that I'd consider funny. The narration of the cartoon became rather monotonous through the whole cartoon - even though we don't know who the narrator is (Keith Scott or anyone that might know?). Much of the cartoon itself isn't very exciting at all as through the cartoon there is hardly any action that would grab your attention. Probably the only part of the cartoon which was worth were the sea serpents where Mel Blanc performs a funny job on those voices, even it it does sound a little degrading. Some of where Avery clearly showed inspiration (like the 40 days and night scene) which I felt Clampett channeled quite well. Since Clampett is using Porky for play roles in recent cartoons - at least his voice hasn't been changed unlike when he was portrayed at Mr. Moto. Overall, not much thoughts to say of the cartoon - but its a rather boring and forgettable cartoon - in my opinion.

Friday 25 January 2013

242. Thugs With Dirty Mugs (1939)

Warner cartoon no. 241.
Release date: May 6, 1939.
Series: Merrie Melodies.
Supervision: Tex Avery.
Producer: Leon Schlesinger.
Starring: Danny Webb (Killer Diller), Mel Blanc (Snitching Bank Clerk / Audience Member / Secret Agents) and John Deering (Flat-Foot Flanigan).
Story: Jack Miller.
Animation: Sid Sutherland.
Music Direction: Carl W. Stalling.
Sound: Treg Brown (uncredited).
Story: Parody of famous gangster pictures where a group of gangsters commit to robbing numerous national banks and detective Flat-Foot Flanigan fails to find ways on arresting the gang.

Tex Avery was still turning out parodies of particular cultures: such as historial events, fairy tales, travelogues - but here he is parodying gangster pictures. I feel that this attempt of parodying gangster films is what Avery did the best at in his Warner cartoons. The title of the cartoon is a direct pun to the 1938 gangster film: Angels With Dirty Faces - which is rather executed well into a title pun - as mugs is used for the title which was a popular and informal slang for criminals.

With start off with a montage opening where Avery is already setting out the story by introducing the characters with subtitles below the featured characters - which was really common in gangster films of the era. The first character introduced is F.H.A. (Sherlock) Holmes - and Tex is already parodying Arthur Conan Doyle's notorious detective playing as 'Flat-Foot Flanigan' - with the caption 'with a floy floy'.

The subtitles is already silly as the character's name is a spoof of the popular 1938 song Flat-Foot Floogie. We find Flat-Foot Flanigan is pacing up and down puffing his cigar vigorously in his office - already aware of crimes scenes that have been continuously repeating. The opening shot already explains to you a story is definitely going on.

The next character introduced is the antagonist: an Edward G. Robinson bulldog caricature but called 'Ed G. Robemsome' who is playing a character named 'Killer Diller'. The term 'killer diller' was of popular use in the mid-1930s of a musician who played all out. We find Killer Diller is already committed to a robbery threatening a unseen bank clerk with his pistols. The bank clerk backs down with fear by hanging over the money. The Eddie G. Robinson caricature is rather invigorating to the personality we are already seeing as the caricature is really well-put.

The following shot in the montage sequence features a group of recent newspapers where the front headline screams with the amount of robberies that were committed by Killer Diller. The gag that flows is it exaggerates on how many national banks he's robbed but all in separate newspapers which is very intriguing. Notice how the columns below the main headlines are just the *exact* same articles as featured in the first newspaper?

Well, it'll just be a waste of time to come up with random articles, and who in 1939 would even care to notice? The last article appears with the headline '13th Nat'l Bank Skipped Killer Supertitious', then afterwards it exaggerates how many banks he robbed.

The '13th Nat'l Bank' gag is very funny as it implies if he robbed the 13th national bank - it would lead to superstition as we know the number is a very notorious urban legend that would bring in bad luck towards people - and it's very well executed, and cleverly thought out.

The action begins as we find the robbers approaching at banks - and robbing them. They rush out firing with their pistols before leaving the scene to rob more banks. They leave the scene to rob another bank - they rob another scene (13th National Bank in fact) where they steal the bank safe box which then converts to a trailer in disguise so the police wouldn't recognise what they stole. A really cleverly animated gag shows their car being squished and converts into a type of limousine which would be rather tactic as the cops probably hadn't even been on the loose for the muggers, yet. It's a rather simple gag, but relentless as it demonstrates the seriousness of the action scenes and the fact the cars are disguising themselves as non-criminal.

The next newspaper announces at 87 banks have been robbed in a day. Its a pure exaggeration but pulled off well as they continue to get away with endless robbery as we know the police are unable to arrest them. Amazing things that Killer Diller is able to do. The next sequence shows another one of Killer's tactic tricks at night. He pulls the doorbell like a pinball machine where the windows all ping and appear like a pinball. A rather colourful gag, and the backgrounds of the bank at night certainly is beautiful in colour.

Afterwards; the light of the windows appear diagonally and bags of dough flood out of the bank. The silhouettes are a rather nice effect to hide identity. The next headline announces that the police are already about to close in on the suspect. The next scene is a very good setup of an off-screen gag.

 In many gangster films - we find silhouetted scenes are very common as they give out atmosphere and suspense - but here, Tex just puts it out into a gag. Goes to show how Tex is a genius at building up gags and tension. Flat-Foot Flanigan shouts metaphorically to what we believe is a suspect: 'I'm gonna pin it on ya!'. Inside its revealed he is blindfolded and is playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and the gag itself is revealed - very well executed. Flanigan trips on a waste bin and the pin attached to the tail lands on his rear end which is some amusing use of timing - but Tex isn't showing off his comic timing which he hadn't perfected yet. A gag so nice that it was used twice - for Clampett's Great Piggy Bank Robbery.

The next sequence we find a secret agent who is attempting to make a phone call towards the police about the criminals he identified. After placing a coin inside - he then attempts to phone the police. 'Hello operator, give me the police'. No answer. He attempts to get a response from the line, but he ends up banging on the booth where it responds with the word 'Tilt' on the booth which is very dated when it came to technology - but it would've been funny as a gag then.

The next headline features the police being baffled. The same Flat-Foot Flanigan is pacing up and down with a cigar attached to his mouth. As he walks up he vows, 'I'll get the killer yet'. As he walks down - the cigar is still in air which is just rather plain silly in Avery cartoons. He continues: 'I'll send him up. The rat'.

He walks back up to place the cigar back in his mouth whilst pacing. The same mobster on the phone is calling for the police - and there is a split-screen sequence where the telephone lines reach over towards Flat-Foot Flanigan.

The split-screen sequence is a wonderful, accurate set-up whereas it wasn't too common for live-action films of the era but here it really makes the supposed dramatic setup wonderful. The mobster finally gets hold of him as he gives him an important message: 'I'm calling from Skunky Joe's beer joint'. The agent identifies himself with the codename 2 and 3/8. After trying to call up - Flanigan then cuts across the split-screen as he shouts 'Listen 2 and 3/8 - you're gonna have to talk louder. I can't hear a word you're saying!' Just wonderful as Tex is breaking the rules of animated cartoons. What makes it a hilarious setup is the fact the more time wasted - the more crimes sorted.

Afterwards - the 112th national bank has been announced for his robbery as the police are doing a poor job of investigating and solving the crime. The story then begins with the gangster's side of the cartoon. They arrive at their hideout where Killer Diller is sitting on the table looking at the cold-hard cash on the table. He's rather pleased with the results but wants MORE.

"Well, you need okay, boys. It was a clean job, see? Nice getaway. But you, Rocky, after this, lay off the penny gum machines. There ain't no money in them, see?' Of course 'see' was a trademark that Eddie G. Robinson often made in his own cartoons. The next part is just pure silliness, and this is definitely got Tex Avery's fingerprints all over.

Killer Diller addresses to the audience: 'Say folks, I kinda sound like Eddie Robinson, huh? Well I can do a Fred Allen, too'. He uses the tip of his finger to press his nostril so he can imitate Fred Allen. He performs the Fred Allen impression which is very funny. The whole scene is just really funny itself as its very corny, and the gag (and animation) is suffice alone to show Tex is just up for a huge laugh for the audience. Its very silly but that is the whole purpose. One of the mugs then cuts out the fun stuff: 'Ahh, come on Killer. Quit showing off'. The Killer stops and sits back on his chair.

The next sequence where Killer Diller and his gang arrive to rob a gang - this is Avery focusing (I believe) on comic timing - as well as other corny gags. The car parks at an area - the corny part is where it a sign reads its reserved for gangsters only - which is just baffling a gag what are you going to do about that?

Killer Diller approaches a cashier where it blackmails 'This is a stick-up brother. Give me all your dough!'. The bank clerk waves his arms up (which it wobbles). Killer Diller then keeps his pistols in mid-air and he steals the money that is given to him to steal.

The pistols where they are on 'hold' is certainly rather exaggerated and it appears to be Tex's way in this cartoon for exaggeration - where he has proven this is definitely an unreal world. The fact the gun is still pointing to him is rather amusing when Killer Diller isn't controlling the gun. Meanwhile there is a bank clerk who is rather goony looking and threatens to tattletale. "You're a bad boy!" and he chants "I'm going to tell!" A mugger arrives at the spot and clubs the 'teller' - great pun there which adds weight to the gag. The animation afterwards is a little exaggerated as the teller vibrates and still chants with a vibrating sound effect which is rather wacky. I feel this is Tex having a shot at comic timing - which you can tell he hasn't quite perfected yet and wasn't quite the master of yet.

The next sequence with the following newspaper headline reads: Police Grill Suspect. It's another off-screen gag that Avery turns out - we believe Flanigan has caught the suspects as we hear him shout 'Take that you rat!' but it turns out he is throwing slices of cheese towards a rat which is just extremely bizarre but it makes you chuckle. Very amusing and cartoony looking rat.

After chucking slices towards him - he stops. "That's all you get. I need the rest for my lunch". The rat crying and wailing for more cheese is also very funny. The next sequence begins with a new day, the gangster's car parks at the 'Worst National Bank' where they commit a robbery - even if it is the 'worst'.

The bank already assets $250,000,000 and so Killer Diller and his gang break in to steal everything in there. The bank owner walks out to change the sign where the bank now only assets $2.

The amusing conclusion of the sequence is where Killer Diller runs back in to get the remaining two dollars. That's not the amusing part - the camera trucks in to the sign where the bank has no money already sums up to the name of the bank itself; 'Worst National Bank'. The next sequence we find Killer Diller committing more crimes through the telephone where he places his gun through the operator. A woman screams and then a lot lot of money flows out, as Killer Diller collects them with his hat.

The next sequence we find the gang and Killer Diller drive back to their hideout at night (reused animation from earlier). They empty the bag that was loaded with cash. 'Another nice haul, boys. Now we're getting somewhere!'. The gangster next to Killer Diller then goes into dialogue:

Gangster: Hey Killer, what's the next job we're going to pull off?
Killer: Wait a minute! I'm busy. Thinking!

There is a buzz sound that is heard inside his head which is some interesting sound effects for brain thinking. Killer Diller then finally figures out a place which would be at Mrs. Lotta Jewels (the pun name clearly indicates she has a lot of cash and jewels) and they decide to arrive at her place at 10pm. Whilst he discusses the plan - he watches a member of the audience about to leave the cinema room. This is a real moment where the audience member actually becomes essential to the story - Avery has taken these 'audience members' to a new level. Killer Diller spots him leaving, 'Hey, bud, you in the audience. Where do you think you're going?' The audience member responds that it supposed to be his cue but Killer threatens him with a gun until the cartoon is over - which is really powerfully executed and paced. It all works solidly. Killer  remarks, 'That mug's trying to get out of the theatre to squeal to the cops'.

The next scene fades where Flanigan is pacing up and down as he is still determined to find and even capture Killer and his gang. 'I could trap that killer, if only I could get a tap off on his next job'. A member of the audience then pops out and shouts, 'Oh captain. I know, Captain. I sat through this picture twice - and the Killer's gonna be at Mrs. Lotta Jewel's at 10:00 tonight'.

Flanigan replies with such awe as he has finally found out the evidence. He leaves but returns briefly to comment on the man, 'You little tattle-tale'. This is certainly a turning point of the Warners humour and even Tex Avery's own style. The story is not actually flowing as it doesn't even reach to conclusions through snitching and other circumstances - so writer Jack Miller has been very creative and unique through construction of the story that definitely makes the cartoon rather wacky in its subtle ways. This goes to show this is Tex and his unit hard at work in developing strong gags to pull off successfully.

Killer and his gang arrive at the sopt of Mrs. Lotta Jewel's estate. The lights are still on. Killer whispers to his men: 'Quiet you mugs. Wait til they put out the lights'. The lights then flicker out. Supposedly there could have been a funnier gag where a certain light still kept flickering but that would just slow down the pacing of the cartoon.

Inside the house they tiptoe through the hallway with overlapping shadows that reflect on the wall. Killer then halts: 'Easy now, mugs. There's too many of us here. You shadows stay back and watch the door, see?'.

Very typical of Tex where he just breaks the rules of reality. The colours and lighting of this sequence has some great atmosphere where the room looks very dark. A great camera angle is featured where the cops at are the balcony and they aim their pistols towards the mugs - which is a set-up that would be frequent in gangster or mystery films.

The mugs then approach a safe where they try to open the vault to steal the money - but the set-up by the police as a radio where they end up listening to a Lone Ranger story which is also amusing. The cops then turn on the lights and announce their arrest - with that same camera angle. The capture of Killer screams the headlines where the banks are no longer a threat. The next scene is a conclusion where we find Killer Diller in prison uniform locked up in a cell and is writing lines on a chalkboard. The lines read 'I've been a naughty boy'. Mmm, Killer Diller's posing of when he writes on the chalkboard kinda predates Bart Simpson, am I right ;-) (?). The cartoon concludes where he sticks his tongue to the audience which is a little childish.

Overall comments: A Tex Avery cartoon in the Warner Bros. period that says all you need to know. This is a WB parody (out of the many he has one) which I feel is first-rate work. He managed to channel gangster parodies like the dickens. The whole parodies and gags that have been used for the sequences are just very accurate that gags he pulls out all come in very smoothly and nicely. This is a cartoon that I feel is probably Avery's funniest cartoon he made in the WB period. Just to tell you I'm excluding his MGM work when praising here so I don't need to repeat 'in the WB period'. The gags that are pulled off in this cartoon - contributed by Jack Miller, and especially Tex Avery all smooth out very nicely - even wacky gags that become a climax to the cartoon story. I mean by that; such as the member of the audience who steps out to reveal what will happen - which is really what makes a funny detective spoof. It really is a whimsical Tex Avery moment that I can imagine not working as a gag - but the while gag situation is very solid and well executed. A lot of combination gags that all fit nicely in the cartoon. You have the certain simplistic 1930-ish gags like when the safe turns into a trailer or the pinball machine gag. You even have those really goofy, bizarre, charming gags like when Killer Diller impersonates Fred Allen or even the bank clerk threatening to snitch, and also the visual gags like what was seen in the 'Worst National Bank' window after the robbery. Lastly, those gags where it builds in suspense; like the off-screen gags of Flat-Foot Flannigan which is just corny but very well put.

With that asides - the story pacing and even construction has been constructed terrifically. The cartoon is not slow-paced at all; with many sequences that all fit in nicely. Many of the sequences appear to be spliced by each 'newspaper' headlines which actually works very well. Avery was very accurate with parodying the opening cartoon where it is a very long montage sequence, but it is certainly enough to get to know the characters: we get to know Flat-Foot Flanigan as a rather anxious character; whilst Killer Diller is willing to rob any bank he'll encounter - and it's all set out and acted beautifully without dialogue (or just little dialogue).The cartoon is exciting from the very first scene of Flat-Foot Flanigan pacing - the story already starts right at the spot. The cartoon even has its own twists through the cartoon, which you wouldn't find in WB cartoons - and that attributes to the strong story telling there. The cartoon starts out great: about the first half we get to know the characters as well as the crime scenes - the suspense it causes, and then everything gets into action. It has failed before. E.g. is to look at Uncle Tom's Bungalow - the opening sequence takes up about half of the cartoon itself that the pacing is extremely terrible, and the cartoon itself isn't a good satire of the Uncle Tom story - even being the first Avery parody. Tex's best parody here at Warners is excellent for its satire. The voice acting is also excellent as Danny Webb performs a great Edward G. Robinson voice, and even John Deering's voice acting is rather solid. Mel Blanc, as usual contributes to great voice acting. Lastly, the whole cartoon has great satire - it doesn't even have to be broken down in words: it already shows its a satire all through the cartoon. Tex was at the top of his peak here.