Thursday, 20 July 2017

Snuffy Sneeze

In Chuck Jones’ hands, Daffy Duck morphed into an incompetent braggart, setting the stage for the incompetent and angry Daffy of the wretched Daffy-Speedy cartoons of the mid-1960s (by which time Jones had left for MGM to remake Tom and Jerry into Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner).

However, there were several cartoons Jones directed where an incompetent Daffy was pretty funny—whenever Daffy was playing a role. One is The Scarlet Pumpernickel (released in 1950).

Mike Maltese loved swashbuckling films, and in his story Daffy (as the aforementioned Pumpernickel) gets to swash and buckle and smash into things and poke himself with a pin to reach the top of an impossibly tall castle. He also, foppish that he is, snorts some snuff. Alack! He’s not refined enough to avoid sneezing. Note the eye take in the frame below. Then Daffy turns into streaks of colour as Jones cuts to a long shot.

The credited animators are Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, Phil Monroe and Ben Washam.


  1. Mel Blanc voiced Elmer in that scene. He hated doing it but you can hardly tell it was Mel because of what a great actor he was.

    1. THAT'S because Elmer only speaks briefly, like in 1944's "Stupid Cupid" where Mel Blanc also played him, but here Elmer is just doing a cameo.

  2. As a solo here, Daffy isn't totally incompetent -- unlike Wile E., his parachute actually works when it opens, and he does seem to be holding his own in the fencing duel with Sylvester (until the volcano erupts). It was moving on after this cartoon, where Jones and Maltese paired him either against Bugs or with Porky that the totally inept/completely egotistical Daffy emerges (and survives fairly well until about 1962 or so).

  3. Unfortunately, this great cartoon is butchered in TV airings. Not only is this bit usually excised, but even worse, the closing "suicide" payoff gag as well, resulting in the ending not making much sense. What a shame.