Porky’s Romance (1937)
Porky has barely been introduced and he’s already attempting suicide. First Petunia Pig short – she’s stuck-up and candy-obsessed, with a fancy dog – rejects our man, changes her mind, then in a dream daze he predicts a miserable life with fat, lazy Petunia and flees. Some character introduction… no wonder Petunia didn’t take off. Song “I Wanna Woo” is featured. Don’t know much about 30’s music (despite once replaying the Singing Detective soundtrack for a whole month) but I suppose the Looney Tunes series would showcase popular songs onscreen, the Grey’s Anatomy of its time.
Porky’s Double Trouble (1937)
An escaped con looks just like Porky, kidnaps him and replaces him as bank teller for easy money. Two surprises: meek Porky kicks some criminal ass in the finale, and Petunia drops Porky to lust after the killer even as he’s being arrested.
The Case of the Stuttering Pig (1937)
The local lawyer takes Jekyll-and-Hyde Juice, calls the audience a bunch of softies and creampuffs, goes after Porky and Petunia’s family to steal their inheritance, defeated by having a chair thrown at him by a guy in the audience.
The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (1937)
Hooray, more owls. Also, the word “esophogi.” The rest isn’t so amusing, all caricatures of 30’s personalities who I mostly don’t recognize.
Have You Got Any Castles? (1938)
Opens with a cuckoo – nice continuity. Another collection of caricatures, but this time it’s book titles and characters, something with which I’m more familiar. More excitedly animated and sung than Cuckoos as well. Named after the Johnny Mercer tune.
Porky’s Road Race (1937)
More celebrity caricatures, including a parody of the scene where Chaplin goes nuts with his wrenches in Modern Times. Hard to imagine, but that was a current film at the time. The plot is minimal, but among all the film references Porky manages to beat Borax Karloff in a car race. Future head writer Tedd Pierce voices W.C. Fields and Mel Blanc makes his debut.
Speaking of the Weather (1937)
Another musical caricature piece, this time with magazines come to life instead of books – even the exact same Thin Man gag. This one has more of a story – a criminal sentenced to Life (heh) escapes and a team of mag covers helps bring him in. Castles has guns firing from All Quiet on the Western Front and Weather has scout troops from Boy’s Life – same idea. Each seems to have been named after a song featured for only half a minute and having nothing to do with the rest of the picture. At least The Woods are Full of Cuckoos is set in the woods. Maybe it’s some contractual co-branding with the music companies, if they had such a thing in the 30’s.
Porky at the Crocadero (1938)
P.P., with a music degree from the Sucker Correspondence School becomes band leader at a jazz club, probably imitating other bandleaders of the time but the only one I recognize is Cab Calloway.
Porky the Fireman (1938)
Ooh, an animated (and multiplied) Keaton gag, circus tricks, smoke and ash turning frantic white people into lackadaisical black people, murder and mayhem. In the end, the fire wins.
Wholly Smoke (1938)
I can’t tell what nationality Porky’s mother is supposed to be: “nix on the mud-playing-in.” An anti-smoking ad with Porky as a stooge conned into trying a cigar by a tough kid. Cameos by the Three Stooges and I think Bing Crosby.
Porky Pig’s Feat (1943)
Porky and Daffy are broke, try unsuccessfully to escape from an absurdly high hotel bill. References to Dick Tracy and to other Looney Tunes, including a Bugs punchline at the end. Joe Dante commentary: “By the time he passed away, his career had falled on hard times with bad vehicles for actors of waning popularity.”
Swooner Crooner (1944)
Porky’s wartime egg factory is endandered when the hens’ attention is captured by a crooning rooster, leading to a Crosby/Sinatra showdown. Is it naughty that the crooners’ voices make the girls all lay eggs? Also the third Al Jolson caricature I’ve seen today. Oscar-nominated, beaten by a Tom & Jerry.
Hare Remover (1946)
I take it Tashlin didn’t do many Bugs cartoons. Elmer (looking a little primitive) is a wannabe mad scientist who recruits Bugs to test a formula which doesn’t seem to do more than taste awful (and explode when thrown).
Also watched a short doc on Tashlin’s career. Sounds like his comic strip Van Boring was the Dilbert of its time. Would’ve been great if they had clips from the live-action films instead of just a few stills.