Friday, 9 November 2018

Try the Eel For a Meal

All kinds of great scenes highlight Daffy Duck’s debut in Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937). One starts out with something you’d expect from Tex Avery—a sign to act as a helpmate to those in the theatre audience who can’t quite follow the action.



And in case we still don’t quite get it.



Daffy decides to have eel sushi for lunch.



Now comes the fun part.



Whenever you get annoyed about how Daffy’s character was reduced to being an angry, incompetent foe in some unfunny cartoons with Speedy Gonzales, instead think back to this cartoon, and let your memories of drunken fish singing “Moonlight Bay,” Porky pulling out the script or Daffy sliding around the closing title card overcome you. This is a great comedy that holds up 80-plus years after its release.

Bobe Cannon and Virgil Ross are the animators credited on screen but Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones and (I suspect) Sid Sutherland employed their craft on this one.

7 comments:

  1. Wouldn't "eel sashimi" be a more fitting term?

    Also, while Daffy Duck is one of my favorite cartoon characters and definitely one of my favorite Looney Tunes characters, I don't think I've ever seen his first outing. I might have to rectify that at some point.

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  2. Aside from Clampett's crazy animation of Daffy, Chuck Jones had a big influence on this cartoon with the major redesign for Porky -- putting him through an animated liposuction treatment -- and Chuck would fall in love the sign bit here, and use it over and over again in the 1940s and 50s (to the point he was using it way too much by the time he resumed using the WB characters in the 70s and 80s).

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  3. IMHO, this is where the Looney Tunes legend begins.

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  4. Similar signage used in McKimson's A Horsefly Fleas (1947) ("It's a Flea, Folks!").
    My take on them is they were employed to alleviate audience confusion as a flea and a eel aren't exactly distinctive creatures.

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    Replies
    1. It's also used in Clampett's An Itch in Time (1943) ("This is a flea, folks" [...] "Teeny, ain't he?").

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  5. This sequence also had a snazzy rendition of "Streamlined Greta Green" in the background.

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