…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 31)

It’s the PIG!  Porky Pig!

The stuttering pig followed this sombrero-wearing parrot with no name, no known history, no cartoon, no nothin’.  His claim to fame is appearing as clip art, which I discovered in a Google search.  He’s a cutie, though, and I’m guessing he has crossed paths with Yosemite Sam in Mexico.

Back to Porky, the pig has been around since 1935, courtesy of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Cartoons.  He is the oldest continuing Looney Tunes character, due to his popularity.

The plump pig was named after creator, Friz Freleng’s childhood classmates who were nicknamed, “Porky” and “Piggy.” 

Porky’s stutter is his most recognizable trait, and he shared it with his first voice actor, Joe Dougherty, who actually stuttered.  Because Dougherty couldn’t control his stutter, however, production costs became too high as his recording sessions took hours.  Porky’s additional lines were given to Count Cutelli, instead, and then Mel Blanc took over Dougherty’s job in 1937.  He voiced Porky until his death in 1989.

Blanc added an interesting comedic twist to Porky Pig’s stutter.  He had Porky stumbling over a simple word only to substitute a longer word without difficulty. 

Porky’s stutter was featured in a Warner Bros. blooper reel, in 1938, and was shown during the Warner Bros. 50th Anniversary TV Show.  In the short black-and-white film, Porky is doing some carpentry work, pounding nails when he smacks his thumb with the hammer.  Grimacing in pain, he cries “Oh, son of a bi-bi, son of a bi-bi, son of a bi-bi-bi-… gun!  He then turns to the camera and says, “Ha-ha-ha!  You thought I was going to say ‘s-s-son of a bitch’, didn’t ya?!

Well, friends, Th-Th-Th-That’s all folks!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 27)

The Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Cartoon gang is back on the Sun City Peachtree bench!  Today, it’s mean ol’ Yosemite Sam with both guns drawn, ready to face off with his nemesis, Bugs Bunny.  Watch out, Bugs, because the fierce-tempered cowboy is trigger happy and despises rabbits!

It used to be just Elmer Fudd hot on the trail after Bugs Bunny, but he was kind of a softy, according to his creator, Fritz Freleng.  Wanting more a tough guy to antagonize Bugs, he created Yosemite Sam, and named him after Yosemite National Park.

The thing is, Sam isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed.  In fact, he is just plain stupid.  Outsmarted by the rabbit every time, he manages to constantly get himself into painful—or, at least humiliating—situations.  You would think he would learn, but he never does.  He’s been a glutton for punishment in 33 short films, between 1945 and 1964.

Although we think of Yosemite Sam as gun-wielding cowboy, he has had several occupations throughout his career of hunting down Bugs Bunny.  He has been everything from a prison guard to a pirate, and even an Indian chief.  Ha!  He was even an alien! 

Believe it or not, Sam was actually nice in the film, Shishkabugs.  Not only was he NOT the aggressor, but he was a very kind and generous chef for a rude, spoiled king who has Sam enslaved through blackmail.  One day, Sam cooked up the King’s usual array of buffet selections, but the King kicked it away and demanded something new.  Chef Sam chose to make Hasenpfeffer, which calls for cooked rabbit.  Uh-oh!  Watch out, Bugs! 

Well, Bugs was captured by Chef Sam for the King’s soon-to-be meal, but he outsmarted the chef twice and escaped becoming the King’s dinner.  The King blamed Chef Sam, of course, and eventually had his guards arrest him.  Who became the King’s new chef?  Bugs Bunny!  “What’s up, Doc?”

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 25)

Mr. Romance is on the scene lookin’ for love and stinkin’ up the place!  Yes, it’s Pepé Le Pew, the stinky (Peeeewwww!) skunk on the prowl for Penelope Pussycat.  (Don’t tell Pepé that Penelope isn’t really a skunk.  She got that white stripe from walking under a freshy painted white fence!).

The thing is, Pepé’s foul odor is so bad, any victim of his pursuit high-tails it out of his way.  Pepé’s such a narcissist, though, that he just hasn’t caught on to the problem of his presence.  He thinks Penelope is lucky to be the object of his affections! 

Pepé sure gets around, the world traveler that he is.  He has visited Paris in the springtime (of course; he’s French!), the Matterhorn, and the little village of N’est-ce Pas in the French Alps.  The romantic skunk has also traveled to Algiers and the Sahara Desert.

The foul-smelling Pepe has been pursuing Penelope since he was created for Warner Bros. Looney Tunes Cartoons by animation director Chuck Jones, in 1945.  He was voiced by Mel Blanc for 44 years! 

Jones said the skunk’s personality is loosely based on Termite Terrace writer Ted Pierce, Jones’s colleague.  Evidently, Pierce was quite the narcissistic ladies’ man who assumed his infatuations were reciprocated. 

Pepé Le Pew is definitely not the most popular of the Looney Tunes characters.  His antics have been criticized for normalizing rape culture and perpetuating stereotypes of French culture.  Amber E. George, in her 2017 essay “Pride or Prejudice? Exploring Issues of Queerness, Speciesism, and Disability in Warner Bros. Looney Tunes,” describes Pepé’s actions towards Penelope Pussycat as “sexual harassment, stalking, and abuse” and noted that Pepé’s qualities mock the French people and their culture.  For these reasons, the narcissistic skunk is not my favorite character either.  He reminds me too much of #45…

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 24)

BEEP BEEP!  It’s Road Runner speeding in on foot(???) to Sun City Peachtree!  We’ve had all sorts of birds visit us by air and land:  We’ve had a hummingbird, a toucan, a penguin (which is classified in zoological terms as a bird), yellow bird of unknown species (Woodstock), a yellow canary (Tweety), a duck (Daffy) who waddled in, and even an owl sneaked in under the cover of night.  This time, it’s the Greater Roadrunner species making his way here from the southwest desert.

Debuting in 1949 in Fast and Furry-ous, Road Runner has been portrayed by three different people—Mel Blanc being the most famous.

Of all the characters Mel Blanc has voiced, Road Runner was the easiest.  The only thing Road Runner ever says is “Beep Beep,” which really sounds more like “Meep Meep” to me.

Like the other Looney Tunes Cartoons, there is a protagonist and an adversary.  In this case., Road Runner’s adversary is Wile E. Coyote, and Road Runner always gets the best of him.  In the end, Coyote always ends up looking like a fool and making us all laugh.

Chuck Jones based Coyote on Mark Twain’s book, Roughing It, in which Twain described the coyote as “a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton” that is “a living, breathing allegory of Want.  He is always hungry.”  Jones said he created the Coyote-Road Runner cartoons as a parody of traditional “cat and mouse” cartoons such as MGM’s Tom and Jerry.  In this case the always-hungry Wile E. Coyote is always trying to make a meal out of Road Runner.

Wile E. Coyote’s name is a pun on the word “wily.”  The “E” stands for “Ethelbert” in one issue of a Looney Tunes comic book.

In his book Chuck Amuck: The Life & Times of an Animated Cartoonist, Chuck Jones claimed that he and the animators behind the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons adhered to some strict rules.  As it turned out, though, some of those “strict rules” were broken from time to time.  The following are a few of the eleven rules that were never broken:

3.  The Coyote could stop at any time—if he wasn’t a fanatic.

6.  All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters—the southwest American desert.

8.  Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy (e.g., falling off a cliff.)

9.  The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.

10.  The audience’s sympathy must always remain with the Coyote.

In a 1971 interview with Michael Barrier years after the series was made, Michael Maltese said he had never heard of the “Rules,” and he was the writer for the series!

Road Runner will now be making his way back to the desert, so if you are out on the road, watch out for him!  MEEP MEEP!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 21)

An adorably curious owl flew in last week and took a rest here at Sun City Peachtree; and, today, it’s Tweety Bird!  I could have sworn I heard him say, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat!”  Sylvester was nowhere to be found, though.

Tweety (aka Tweety Pie), has been fluttering about for quite a long time.  The yellow canary with the big head was born five years before Sylvester came around.  He first appeared in A Tale of Two Kitties, in 1942.  Five years later, he joined his nemisis, Sylvester, in Tweety Pie, which won an Academy Award.  A star was born!

Now, about that big head of his.  Tweety’s design was based on a baby picture of Bob Clampett, the director of the canary’s first movie.  (Evidently, baby Bobby had a fat head!)

Tweety has mellowed over the years.  At first, he was an angry little bird with a short temper, but he has chilled.  Don’t let those long eye lashes and his sweet charm fool you, though.  When it comes to his rival, he’ll find a way to humiliate the cat in the end.  Besides, the pint-sized canary has Granny to protect him, when he lives at her house.  She keeps him in a cage and away from Sylvester who is always trying to eat the little fellow. 

Sylvester is just jealous.  He thinks Granny likes Tweety better and gives the bird more attention.

When he’s not (easily) escaping Sylvester’s claws, the star canary is off making appearances in other movies, such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam, and Looney Tunes:  Back in Action.

Recently, it appeared as if being a star had gone to Tweety’s (big!) head, and he turned a bit aggressive and angry again in Looney Tunes Cartoons

The star will be making some appearances in the near future, beginning with Tweety Mysteries, a live-action/animated hybrid.  Instead of living with Granny, he will be living with Sydney, a pre-teen girl.  He will also be appearing in the preschool series, Bugs Bunny Builders.  (I wonder if Bugs Bunny will try to eat the yellow-feathered canary, too!)