Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Porky Pig Underwater

Chuck Jones started out 1942 with several lacklustre cartoons featuring Conrad the Cat. By year’s end he started making some funny cartoons while layout man John McGrew started fussing around with the look of them.

“The Dover Boys” gets all the plaudits as critics talk about art and animation technique instead of comedy, but I’d rather watch “My Favorite Duck” instead. Daffy’s funny in this and there’s lots going on around the plot. There’s even a benign battle of song going on. Daffy casually sings “Blues in the Night” through the picture while Porky croons “On Moonlight Bay.” Daffy temporarily wins the musical fisticuffs when Porky starts singing his song. What else do we get? Porky AND his camping gear hang in mid-air. An imaginative burn take. ‘Duck Season’ signs, predating a trio of cartoons Mike Maltese wrote for Jones in the ‘50s. Porky says “Fillagadushu.” And Maltese throws in an Avery-esque film-break at the end. In other words, Daffy is fun. Conrad is ... uh, who was Conrad again?

Oh, McGrew’s at work here, too. There are overhead shots and up shots and angular movement and character close-ups. But none of that is my favourite visual from the cartoon. I’ll take a great scene—I’m presuming it’s Bobe Cannon at work—where Porky sets up his campsite under water. Porky doesn’t realise he’s in a lake until a fish swims by. There’s a stare take then four drawings as Porky collects his stuff before going back onto dry land. They’re on ones.

I suspect Ace Gamer or someone else in effects was responsible for the bubbles.

Cannon got credit on “The Dover Boys” so Rudy Larriva gets it here. Jones’ unit also consisted of (if other credits around this time are any indication) Ken Harris, Phil Monroe and Ben Washam.


  1. The first Jones-Maltese pairing and the second color Looney Tune, after Clampett's "The Hep Cat" (given how central Porky had been to the series, and Daffy's connection to it, I'm surprised Warners didn't make this the initial color LT release instead of a one-shot cartoon, if for no other reason than to make the exhibitors paying more for the color shorts happy).

    I've also thought of this as the first of a "non-trilogy trilogy" of Porky and Daffy in the woods, which included Freleng's 1944 "Duck Soup to Nuts" and McKimson's 1950 "Boobs in the Woods". They obviously weren't meant to go together, but they're all great cartoons using similar settings/set-ups, that at the same time show off each director's strengths.

  2. I think Phil Monroe was already with Freleng in 1942.