Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ballot Box Bunny 1951 ( dir Friz Freleng)

Ballot Box Bunny is another one of those quirky Bugs Bunny films that I like. The fact that it has a false ending and one hell of a pun makes it more endearing.

It's election time in some village and Yosemite Sam is running for mayor. Bigs is not interested in the least, until Sam states that he will get rid of all the rabbits. This brings up Bugs' vengeful streak and he runs against Sam for Mayor ( and quotes teddy Roosevelt too!).

As one can guess Sam isn't going to settle for this so he tries his hardest to destroy Bug's reputation.Copying Bugs' campaign tricks ( which backfire) Sabotaging a picnic, creating a contraption that will blow up bugs when he opens a door, rigging up a piano ( something daffy did in Show biz Bugs)

Despite their fighting they find out that the election is won by a dark horse - A mare! A mare for mayor! ( what a pun!) so as a result they indulge in a game of russian roulette. Sam is first and misses. Bugs shoots and as there's the iris closing in we hear a bang. A 2 second pause and the iris opens again and we find out that Bugs missed and shot Sam instead. Sam's closing words are 'I hate that Rabbit' and the iris closes again.

I'm a huge sucker for trick endings so even if this cartoon was rubbish, i would gurantee that an ending like that makes up for everything. Fortunately the short is great so the end just brings the whole thing to another level.

tomorrow will be my last Bugs blog and then i'll be working on Daffy and Porky

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wabbit Twouble 1941 (dir Bob Clampett)

Now I adore Bob Clampett. He broke every rule in cartooning and you can still see the effects today. Zanyness , bizarre endings, puns littered about even vukgarity. Clampett started it all and he doesn't have one crap cartoon in his repetoire.

however he does have some weak ones and Wabbit Twouble, his first Bugs Bunny film is one of them.

Oh it starts promisingly enough - all the credits are in fudd-speak, that is every 'r' is replaced by a 'w' and elmers car enters the picture by moving to a samba like beat.

but it sort of goes downhill from there.

Elmer wants to go to the countryside for rest and relaxtion but gets none of it as Bugs decides to play tricks on him. ( the usual fare) For a Clampett cartoon this is absurdly normal. Things do pick up when Elmer plays dead cause he hits a bear but really this is Clampett restricting himself.

Eventually Fudd loses his temper cause he can't relax and starts to vandalise the park. As a result he is thrown in jail. Elmer sees the agvantage of this and starts to realx. After a couple of minutes though he finds out that his inmates are bugs and the bear, who is chewing a carrot as well.

the very last minute is typically Clampett but unfortunately the rest of the short doesn't really live up to his other cartoons. If you want to see Clampett firing on all cylinders check out the Great Piggy bank Robbery.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Bunny lies over the Sea 1949 ( dir Chuck Jones)

Usually the average Chuck Jones cartoon is linear and knows exactly where it's heading but My Bunny... eschews that COMPLETELY, it almost harks back to the zany style that Bob Clampett perfected in his cartoons. Weird, bizarre and with some surprises, this cartoon is definitely an oddity.

Bugs is on his way Albuquerque but ends up in Scotland and the first thing he sees is a Scotsman playing the bagpipes. Bugs, having never seen such a sight thinks it's a lady being attacked by a monster and tries to help but ends up causing more problems. The Scotsman ( called McCrory) gets insulted and by means of revenge, challenges Bugs to a game of golf.

never has a golf game been treated weirdly. Misdirected golf balls, spontaneous golf pits, golf balls surreally disappearing in and out of holes. This is interesting stuff. Then when you think it can't get stranger McCrory then boasts that he is an expert bagpipe player. Thus from a golf contest it morphs into a music one in a the space of a few seconds.

the scotsman plays the bagpipes and then bugs enters playing the bagpipes as well, but with tons of other instruments attatched to it.

and the cartoon ends.

Now I love weird but this one just doesn't hold itself too well but because of the development, it makes compulsive viewing, there's a certain carefree spirit that's rare in a Jones flick ( or at least later Jones) . Watch, furrow your brow and then laugh.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Big Top Bunny 1951 (dir Bob McKimson)

Oh dear another Bob McKimson Bugs Bunny cartoon. Big Top Bunny is another weak cartoon in Bugs' hefty canon. Again it's unfunny,cliched and the villian is forgettable.

The cartoon starts out with Bruno the Slobakian Bear ( who's accent is on the point of being degrading) enjoying the high life. He is the star of the circus and is getting lots of accolades.

That is until the ringmaster introduces a new partner for his trapeze act who you is .... Bugs Bunny!. Bruno is instantly jealous and at first gets the upper hand by bullying Bugs but then the rabbit gets wiser and starts wising up to Bruno's antics.

the real and only highlight here is when Bugs challenges Bruno to a high diving contest. Knowing that Bruno desperately wants to outdo him, Bugs suggest some very silly diving heights and things to land in. Eventually Bruno announces that he will dive a 1,000 ft into a block of cement. Bugs further teases Bruno by trying to dive but Bruno's arrogance takes over his common sense and dives.

with the bear's skull cracked Bugs takes advantage and places Bruno in a cannon and blasts him off into the stratosphere.

I don't know why Bob McKimson's films bring out the worst in me. Could be the lack of wit. Sure he tried to play around with the formula ( not on this one though) but they just won't work. However his Foghorn Leghorn series are fantastic ( and there are some others) but his bugs is for the birds.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Big House Bunny 1948 ( dir Friz Freleng)

Big House Bunny is probably one of the few golden age era Friz Freleng Bugs Bunny cartoons which I don't like. Mind you in theory it has the elements of a great short. There's Yosemite Sam, an interesting plot and some eye opening cartoon violence. but it just falls flat.

Bugs accidentally burrows into a prison's backyard and is immediately arrested and put on duty by Yosemite Sam. After some failed attempts to escape Bugs then focuses on trying to get Sam in trouble with his superiors by sabatoging his plans. Sam gets fed up and kicks Bugs out. Sam's superior hears about this and Sam gets arrested proper.

true sam nearly dies by hanging on a noose and sitting on an electric chair. plus he tortures his boss quite a bit. However the cartoon is just not funny and surprisingly enough it drags a bit too.The botched escape scene is a bit interesting and Bugs does pull off a great switcheroo using his verbal skills but, no pun intentded Big House Bunny fails to get it's stripes - at least in my books.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Water, Water Every Hare 1952 ( dir Chuck Jones)

Water, Water every Hare is second cartoon to feature cult figure Gossamer, the red hairy heart shaped creature who wears sneakers. However it is a near by near replica of the 1945 cartoon 'Hair Raising Hare' so it doesn't get nay points on originality.

Like the previous cartoon Bugs finds himself in the castle of a mad scientist who wants his brain. In order to catch him, he sends gossamer to fulfill his duties. Bugs being who he is manages to play a few pranks on the monster. The grand finale is when bugs pours shrinking liquid ( or reducing oil to be more precise - and bugs is invisible while doing this) on Gossamer.

The scientist then tries to kill the rabbit himself by throwing an axe at him but misses and hits a jar of ether. Thus ensues a fantastic slow motion chase and Bugs finds himself in the real world again. Just as he's contemplating whther he was dreaming, minature Gossamer passes by.

Theres nothing really to say here. Timing is good, gags are ok but it doesn't have that punch that one would normally find in a chuck jones cartoon.Not even Gossamer is used fully and appears for a grand total of three minutes. Good but not great.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rabbit's Kin 1952 ( dir Robert McKimson)

I stated previously that I'm not too fond of Bob McKimson's Bugs Bunny cartoons, well of course there are exceptions and Rabit's Kin is one of them. Here everything is perfect. A villian who's intelligence is disasterous, a running gag which involves verbal and physical actions and some great animation.

The whole thing starts off with a brown rabbit racing through the woods and diving into Bugs' warren. On asking what's the matter, the brown rabbit replies ( in a high sped up voice that's nearly incoherent) that pete puma is after him. Bugs, always willling to help his friend decides to subject Pete to a bunch of tricks.

At first we think that Pete is slightly intelligent ( despite his moronic voice) as he tries to trick Bugs into smoking an exploding cigar. Bugs simply hides it. Then he invites Pete for tea and the running gag starts here.

when Pete asks for sugar lumps in his tea Bugs pulls out a mallet and pounds Pete over the head according to the number of lumps he asks for. In the first sequence Petes asks for three or four lumps so Bugs hits him on the head and four lumps appear on his cranium ( well there's one extra but Bugs fixes that) - and then offers the exploding cigar that pete gave him in the beginnng of the cartoon.

Pete then dresses up as the brown rabbit's mother ( albeit extremly badly and he is caught out in a second) ( also take look at the animation in this part, fantastic) and bugs repeats the lumps gag, except this time with coffee instead of tea. When Pete removes his hat we find out that he has a stove lid on his head, however on removing it the head lumps pop out.

in the third and final scene bugs and the brown rabbit ( called shorty) go to Petes cave and bugs disguises himself as Pete's cousin ( although the disguise is obvious, Pete does not realise that it's a rabbit) and convinces him to light up the oven in order to cook the rabbit. When Bigs asks Pete the amount of coals he needs to heat the oven, he answers a 'whole lotta lumps' catches himself out and begins to beat himself over the head with a mallett. Bugs and the brown rabbit leave the cave while Pete is smashing is skull in.

This cartoon is well known and has a cult audience due to Pete puma. Yes he is an imbecile but a loveable one. Plus his speech patterns are recognisable and genuinely funny. Also his gait, gestures and facial movements are comical and add to his popularity.

Recently Warner Brothers have tried to resurrect him and cast him in Tiny Toons, as the guy who does his voice (stan Freberg) is still alive and is capable of doing his voice but it was a flop. Better to let one offs remain so!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What's up Doc ? 1950 (dir Robert McKimson)

I have some sort of aversion to Bob McKimson's cartoons, bar Foghorn Leghorn and some here and there, I get irritated by him. His jokes aren't funny, his characters look rubbery and the dialogue is of standard fare, oh and he overuses Raymond Scott's Power House WAY too much! Unfortunately I think his Bugs Bunny filns are rubbish bar the phenominal Rabbit's Kin ( more on that next time) and 'What's up Doc?' isnt one of my faves either but it has one gag which is great and saves the whole short.

Well the whole thing starts off with Bugs talking about his rise to fame. First he starts out as a 'rabbit in a human's world' ( a very memorable quote if there was one) and discovers that he has some musical talent.

then he tries out for vaudeville and gets stuck in a group of chorus boys singing the same song

Oh we're the boys of the chorus
We hope you like our show
We know you're rooting for us
but now we have to go

and this song/gag reappears a couple of times.

finally Bugs gets fed up and looks for better deals but fails miserably.

while he's with other 'failed hollywood Stars ( and thus some great caricatures of Bing Crosby, Al Jolson and eddie cantor) Elmer Fudd passes by and instantly hires Bugs for his vaudeville show.

togehter the duo bring the crowds, however bugs is the stooge and Elmer is the clever one. Bugs gets irritated and pies Elmer in the faces. When Elmer threatens him with a gun Bugs says 'Whats up Doc?' and basically the whole Elmer vs Bugs routine is born and it is a SUCCESS!

at the end of the cartoon Bugs is interupted by a phone call and he tells us that he has a big role. There's a 2 second pause then Bugs appears on stage singing

Oh we're the boys of the chorus
We hope you like our show
We know you're rooting for us
but now we have to go

And that makes me crack up everytime i watch this short.

'What's up Doc?' outstays it's 7 minute duration quite a bit but the build up to the chorusboy gag is worth it. Yes it does seem like McKimson (and writer Warren Foster) put everything as filler ( to be fair the song what's up Doc? is presented here in it's entirety and it works) but a good conclusion can make up for an average cartoon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bully for Bugs 1953 (dir Chuck Jones)

Bully for Bugs has got to be one of my top three 'Bugs revenge' cartoons, the other two being 1949's 'Long-Haired Hare' and 1951's simply brilliant 'Bunny Hugged' There are some more I like but it these ones I always return to. Not only is the humour and gags fast paced and flowing but each movement is practically memorable.

Bully... actually had a very interesting genesis. When Leon Schlesinger left the Warner Brother Studios, Eddie Selzer took over ( and that's when the best looney tunes were created - imo of course). Selzer had no sense of humour or a love for cartoons so when he said something Jones and co would do the opposite and it would lead to a great short.


Jones wanted to do a short on bullfightin and Selzer refused, so Jones did it anyways and created one of the most well known Bugs Bunny cartoons. However originally the matador was going to be the baddie but when Jones actually attended proper bullfights ( and music director Carl Stalling recorded bull fight crowds - with great difficulty) he found out that he pitied the bullfighter and reversed roles.

The cartoon starts off with bugs accidentally tunneling into a bullring and facing a frightened matador. Perplexed at the matador's cowardness bugs stay pondering his predicament while the bull notices him and breathes on his tale. This irritates Bugs and he starts giving the bull a tongue lashing. The bull butts Bugs into the air and ..

'of course you that this means war'

as usual Bugs starts employing his little bag of tricks. An anvil hidden behind his cape, the famous nose slapping dance and a shotgun which the bull accidentally swallows.

Bugs is always one for great finales so when the bull runs out of the stadium for one super killing, bugs plans one of the biggest booby traps he's ever made.

As the bull charges he slips on some grease, goes flying into the air, goes over sandpaper covered in glue, passes over a match, the friction of the sandpaper causing it to light up, which sets off a barrell of TNT which explodes as the bull enters the area and makes hin crash into a wooden target.

Bugs then appears with the end written on his cape.

The astonishing thing about this short is how breathtaking it is. The audience is left in suspense for a full 7 minutes and not once will you take a breather. All the tricks here are true classics, the nose slapping dance being the most memorable.The best Bugs bunny cartoon ever? maybe?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

HIgh Diving Hare 1949 (dir Friz Freleng)

High Diving hare is quite an interesting cartoon as it runs for a full seven minutes on one gag. That is Yosemite Sam running up a ladder and falling into a tank of water. It's as simple as that

basically Bugs is running a sideshow and his main act, a diver called fearless Freep, who Sam adores is sick. This leads Sam into some type of outrage and tries to force Bugs to jump off the diving board. This all backfires and it's Yosemite Sam who falls into the tank and it's the usual cliches which Bugs pulls off i.e. tricking Sam to cross over a line and sam falls off.

there is one shot which focuses entirely on the diving board ladder only and sam falling down and then climbing up the ladder and then falling down again. We don't see what happens above or below. I remembered reading Scott Mccloud's 'How to read Comics' and he says that the white trench between comic panels contain actions which the reader has to figure out. This falling scene is like that. Freleng shows you Sam falling but it's up to you to picture the methods.

other than that it's quite a weak cartoon, which doesnt really have a high humour level. Saying that though I personally think that the Yosemite Sam/Bugs pairings are way better than the Elmer Fudd ones, Sam's a more intelligent villain and exudes more character.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Long-Haired Hare 1948 (dir : Chuck Jones)

ahhh Long-Haired Hare, one of my favourite cartoons. Unfortunately it was heavily censored back then, so I never got to watch it properly until now. Although nearly every Chuck Jones/Michael Maltese ( as he wrote the scripts) Bugs Bunny cartoon deals with revenge, this one is pulled off in a spectacular manner.

The cartoon starts off with Bugs playing an old showtime tune, A rainy night in Rio on a banjo. Nearby an Opera Singer is practising for his big night, however Bug's singing is interrupting his rehearsal and he storms over to Bug's warren and destroys the banjo. Bugs then proceeds to annoy him further by playing a harp, in which the singer closes his head in it and then a third time with a tuba ( the opera singer then ties bugs' ears to a tree and pulls his body down causing bugs head to knock against the tree several times). After a pause Bugs states his Groucho Marx pilfered sentence

of course you know that this means war.

cue to the big opera night and the singer is confident and excited about his singing role. As usual if one notices the typical Bugs revenge films, he starts slowly and builds the revenge to a climax. Here the beginning prank is banging the opera room roof so that the singer moves about a bit.

now the pain starts seeping him.

bugs then sabatoages the singer's voice with alum ( and his head shrinks)

pretends to be a female fan ( Bugs in drag again!) and gives the singer a stick of dynamite instead of a pen. You can guess the results, and then as a finale, he dresses up as famous conductor Leopold Stokowski, who used his hand to conduct, (bugs does likewise) and keeps the singer on a high note ( including one highly inspired gag where Bugs keeps his glove in mid air while buying and recieving a pair of mail order earmuffs within 2.5 seconds) until the whole opera house crumbles and bruises the singer completely. When the final boulder falls on his head, Bugs whips out a banjo and strums 'Good Evening Friends'

It's a revenge cartoon, but one thing with bugs is that say unlike Daffy Duck who instigates, Bugs will only react when provoked and even here he shrugs off the opera singer's early bullyings in a very friendly manner.

but when he's riled he will pull off an act of revenge that's extremist and painful. There's one quote in what's up doc where Bugs says that he was a rabbit in a human's world. I think this phrase is excellent in summing up this cartoon as indeed he is one BUT he's always in control, never to be domesticated by us humans.

Rabbit Seasoning 1952 ( dir Chuck Jones)

I was afraid that I would be inconsistent in my updates so please do not expect this blog to be updated on a daily basis. Probably when I get into the routine of updating more frequently, things will improve. Bear with me :)

Rabbit Seasoning is the second part of the 'Rabbit Fire Triliogy' To sum up briefly. This is a series of three cartoons in where Daffy and Bugs try to outwit the rather dim hunter Elmer Fudd. The twist is that both Daffy and Bugs dont really work as a team and constantly betray each other. Usually it's daffy who instigates the trouble in the first place by trying to convince Elmer that it is Rabbit ( or Wabbit) season and that ducks should be left alone.

Each of the cartoons take place in the major hunting seasons - summer, fall and winter. Rabbit Seasoning takes place in the Fall.

The premise of Rabbit seasoning is simple. Daffy convinces Elmer to shoot Bugs, Bugs manages to get out of the situation using various means ( more a bit later) and Daffy gets shot ( well usually his bill is the only thing which suffers)

Rabbit Seasoning is more violent than the classic Rabbit Fire as there's more gun usage. It's also worth noticing on how Jones uses daffy's detatchable beak as a running gag all throughout the picture ( in fact it's more off his face than on) and again Bugs dresses like a female in order to trick elmer, and Jones does manage to make bugs genuinely sexy (im not joking) . However it's a zippy cartoon and has the famous pronoun argument. Thanks to wikipedia i'll be able to paste this conversation :

Bugs: It's true, Doc; I'm a rabbit alright. Would you like to shoot me now or wait 'til you get home?
Daffy: Shoot him now! Shoot him now!
Bugs: You keep outta this! He doesn't have to shoot you now!
Daffy: He does so have to shoot me now! [to Elmer] I demand that you shoot me now!
[Elmer raises his gun. As Daffy sticks his tongue out at Bugs, he is shot. Daffy walks back over to Bugs, gunsmoke pouring out of his nostrils]
Daffy: [to Bugs] Let's run through that again.
Bugs: Okay.
Bugs: [deadpan] Would you like to shoot me now or wait till you get home.
Daffy:[similarly] Shoot him now, shoot him now.
Bugs: [as before] You keep outta this, he doesn't have to shoot you now.
Daffy Duck: [re-animated] Hah! That’s it! Hold it right there! [to audience] Pronoun trouble. [to Bugs] It's not "he doesn't have to shoot you now", it's "he doesn't have to shoot me now"
Daffy: [angrily] Well, I say he does have to shoot me now!! [to Elmer] So shoot me now!
[Elmer shoots Daffy again]

See with this argument ( and the wabbit season/duck season one in Rabbit Fire) on really understands the Bugs/Daffy/Elmer relationship.
Bugs is always in charge
Daffy tries and fails due to his extremest personality
Elmer is a follower, who obeys without using reason.

If you check out other Jones directed bugs/daffy cartoons, you'll notice that Bugs will always win at the end of the day and Daffy will suffer due to the fact that he doesn't use his full potential in rationalising the situation, as he is perfectly capable of doing so.

Eventually it is this pronoun mix up which leads to Daffy being shot in the end and again, his bill is somewhere else and he uses his infamous ' you're despicable' statement against bugs.

As the second part of the triliogy, Rabbit Seasoning is an excellent follow up. Maybe not as funny or monumental as 'Rabbit Fire' but nonetheless entertaining.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Baseball Bugs (1946) Friz Freleng (Dir)

It's sort of funny that this cartoon is the one to kick off, on what can possibly be a ten volume series but anyways what's done is done.

The short starts out with a baseball game between the octogenarian (and older) team Tea Totallers ( and one makes a statement which harks back to Clampett's Baby Bottleneck, which is a refrence to radio star, Fanny Brice's similar quote) and the odious Gas House Gorillas, who cheat and win their way throughout the game.

However the Tea Totallers ( nice pun) have a fan in the form of bugs bunny, who vehemently talks badly against the G-H Gorillas. This results in him having to single handedly beat the team and take over where the tea totallers left off ( which isn't very good)

As usual brains will always win over brawn and Bugs uses his usual tricks.

Verbally confusing a team player who has sabatoged the 'fair' umpire.
Distracting team players with pin ups
And so on.
The game continues until there is one point remaining between Bugs and The Gorillas and the brutes are up (the player using a tree instead of a normal bat). Obviously the ball gets hit and literally soars out of the grounds. Bugs is determined to catch it, hails a taxi ( and one of the Gorillas is the driver) , hops on a bus and rushes to the Empire State Building and yes he catches the ball. As The Gorillas start arguing with Bugs, The Statue of Liberty concurs ( again another throwback to a radio star of that time) and it ends with Bugs imitating her.

Baseball Bugs isnt really one of my top Cartoons, Freleng has done much better and funnier Bugs ones but it is entertaining in its own way. However the batboy pun is great and the pinball imagery (when bugs throws a ball and it bounces against the Gorilla's heads) is executed well. It's good but not great.


First of all this blog will be focusing on Looney Tunes ( and Merrie Melodies) since Warner Brothers are releasing every single cartoon (from their golden era roughly from the late 30's to early 60's) on the Golden Collection Series, I thought ( or rather a friend of mine suggested) that it would be a good idea so start a blog analyzing each cartoon.
If you do look up the cartoon titles on major sites like imdb or wikipedia, you'll get scant information and i'm sure that there are other sites doing the same thing but it's an experiment i'd like to try.
I will try update daily but I can't promise this, however i'll try my best. Plus I will not analyse each cartoon in chronological order but in the order they appear on the boxsets. So far I have vols 1 & 2, with 3 and 4 on the way ( 5 can wait a bit longer)

I will not include trivia regarding censoring or things like that. What you'll get is a brief summary of each cartoon and my impressions on this. One thing I do gurantee is that I will watch the cartoon before I comment. I won't be pasting youtube links or pics either as the former will be defunct after a couple of weeks and sometimes it can happen to the latter as well.
So as a last question - why did I choose Looney Tunes?
will first of all I've been watching them obsessively since the age of 8 and I'm showing no signs of stopping. Now that the Golden Collection sets have been appearing on the market, I am now able to have the whole collection.
So Let's Begin!