Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Fun with Rudy Ising's Piggy

You Don’t Know What You’re Doin’! (1931) is a nicely put together cartoon with a stylised drunk sequence, great music from Gus Arnheim’s Orchestra (a band that was broadcasting from the Cocoanut Grove on KFWB at the period this cartoon was made) and some good little takes.

Piggy puts bootleg hootch in his car’s radiator.

This is a really imaginative take. A drainage intake at the end of a sidewalk turns into a monster to scare a drunken dog.

There’s always a butt gag in these early sound cartoons.

And a flatulence joke that turns into an Al Jolson “Mammy” joke.

Poor Piggy and girl-friend Fluffy made their debut in this cartoon, though Fluffy vanishes half-way through, maybe out of embarrassment for being a pig named Fluffy. They lasted one more cartoon.

Norm Blackburn, later an NBC TV executive, and Friz Freleng are the credited artists.


  1. Also, I believe, the first appearance of the "trombone gobble" that would feature prominently in Treg Brown's arsenal in the years to come.

  2. I was friends with Rudy Ising as a teen, but too young to think of carefully interviewing him before he passed.

    That said, he told me one interesting factoid firsthand: Piggy and his girlfriend were born as last-minute traceovers for Foxy and his girlfriend in what would have been their fourth and fifth films (YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOIN' and ONE MORE TIME). The tracks had already been recorded and animation was in process when Walt Disney phoned up Rudy directly and asked him to retire Foxy, whom he felt was too close to Mickey for comfort.

    This suggests that "Fluffy" started out as the name for Foxy's girlfriend, not Piggy's—and the F-alliteration makes sense. Foxy's otherwise unnamed girlfriend only became Roxy when WB had to name her for Tiny Toons some sixty years later...

    1. The stuff you learn. Thanks, David.

  3. The drunken rampage sequence at the end is the most Fleischeresqsue Harman & Ising ever got, in terms of a scene feeling as though it's a free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness scene, as opposed to something painstakingly calculated from something Walt and his crew had done in their cartoon 5-6 months earlier.

  4. Eric Goldberg told me that they used these shorts because the local tv stations couldn't afford to buy the really good ones like Bugs and Daffy. I know that in most of these cities, they used the Boskos, Scrappy, Buddys and Van Bueren Tom and Jerry toons in one show.