…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 30)

First Sylvester, and now Elmer Fudd.  Poor Bugs Bunny can’t catch a break.  Elmer has made it his mission to hunt the rabbit down, and he’s at it again!  If it isn’t Daffy Duck he’s after, it’s Bugs; but, he always fails.

What usually ends up happening on Elmer’s hunting expeditions is that he ends up either injuring somebody else or himself—but, never Bugs Bunny.  Bugs is too crafty to let Elmer get the best of him.  Besides, if Elmer actually was faced with the prospect of succeeding, he would probably just let Bugs go anyway.  In the cartoon, Rabbit Fire, Bugs tricked Elmer into believing he had suceeded in killing Bugs, but Elmer showed great remorse.  As it turns out, Elmer is actually a vegetarian and just hunts for the sport of it.  (He also happens to be a billionaire and owns a yacht!)

Elmer sure has a way with words, Since his R’s and L’s sound like W’s, he says things like, “Be vewy, vewy quiet.  I’m hunting wabbits!”  His way of pronouncing words has become so popular that Google even includes “Elmer Fudd” as one of the novelty languages it will translate to in its search engine.

Late comedian and actor, Robin Williams, was so fond of Elmer Fudd’s pronunciation that he even sang Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire” in one of his sketches. 

Elmer became so famous that he popped up as a guest star on all sorts of TV shows, cartoons, and movies.  He was also mimicked in others, including TV show The Big Bang Theory.  In that show, there was a recurring character named Barry Kripkethat talked like Elmer Fudd.

Now that we have seen Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, and Sylvester, will Bugs Bunny be next to visit the bench?  Stay tuned!

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 29)

Notice something different about this photo?  Speedy Gonzales didn’t appear on the Sun City Peachtree bench today; he landed in our bird box!

What is a “bird box” you ask?  Below our curbside mailbox is an open box that is attached.  These boxes are meant for newspaper deliveries; however, our local newspaper is now delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.  Instead, the boxes are used for delivery of the Community Buzz, which is Sun City Peachtree’s newsletter.  Birthday and holiday cards also get placed there, as do notices for community events and all sorts of other things.  It’s for everything else that is NOT mail, and that includes bird nests!  Yes, the birds have made quite a habit of building nests in those nice, cozy cubby holes.  We’ve had a couple of those nests ourselves.

Today, Speedy Gonzales appeared in our bird box along with a note.  The thing is, the note was a thanks for help that I didn’t provide the person who signed it.  Hmmm…  Putting two and two together, I made a phone call to the person who I believed signed that note.  No last name was provided; however, Bruce had a hunch based on some observations he had made.

Mystery solved!  The artist shall remain anonymous upon request; so, it’s now our secret.  As it turns out, Speedy was meant for my next-door neighbor; so, I took his photo, and then tucked him with the note back into the Ziploc.  I then placed the package in my neighbor’s box.

As long as these little random acts of kindness keep bringing smiles to our community, I will continue to (hopefully!) bring a smile to you! 

Now, a little bit about Speedy…

The Mexican mouse with the yellow sombrero is an Academy Award winner!  In 1955, the short, Speedy Gonzales took the Oscar for Best Short Subject (cartoons).  In the film, one of my previous subjects, Sylvester, is featured guarding a cheese factory at the American/ Mexican border from a group of starving Mexican mice.  The mice call in Speedy to save them. 

From then on, Sylvester was Speedy’s nemesis in a series of cartoons.  The energetic mouse often called Sylvester “El Gringo Pussygato,” and the cat was always outsmarted and outrun by “The Fastest Mouse In All of Mexico.”

Poor Sylvester.  Between being humiliated (and injured) by mousetraps and accidentally consuming large amounts of Tabasco hot sauce; he had a tough time with the little mouse!

That was until 1999, when Speedy Gonzales went off the air here in the States.  In a 2002 interview, Cartoon Network’s Laurie Goldberg explained, “It hasn’t been on the air for years because of its ethnic stereotypes.”  (She was probably referring to Speedy’s buddies who were depicted as being slow, lazy, and possibly drunk…)

Despite the controversy in the U.S.A., Speedy Gonzales is quite the hero in Latin America.  They love him down there, ethnic stereotypes and all!

…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 26)

The painted rocks just keep coming here at Sun City Peachtree!  This artist just keeps rollin’ them out!

Today, Mr. Magoo landed on the bench, probably because he couldn’t see where he was going and tripped over it!  The poor old guy is so nearsighted, he could really use a good pair of glasses.  I don’t know why he doesn’t have his eyes examined.  It’s not like he can’t afford it, because the little chap is wealthy, just like his uncle, Tycoon Magoo. 

Poor eyesight runs in the household.  Magoo’s second dog, McBarker can’t see much either.  The talking bulldog also happens to look like his master, so they have a couple of things in common.  (Magoo’s first “dog,” Bowser, was actually a Siamese cat!)

Created in 1949 by UPA animation studio, Jim Backus is the voice of Mr. Quincy Magoo.  Although Magoo episodes were nominated for Best Animated Short Film by the Academy Awards committee three times, and received the award twice, TV Guide ranked Mr. Magoo way down at number 29 on its “50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time” list.  Actually, I would have to agree.  The stubborn old guy doesn’t make my Top Ten either.

After several years on the silver screen, Mister Magoo joined families in their living rooms, on television, in the 1960’s.  UPA had shut down its animation studios in 1959, so the company hired Jack Kinney Productions and Larry Harmon Pictures to take over the animation.  This was all done in a rush, though, so Magoo cartoons looked a bit choppy in the beginning. 

Are you a Rutgers University fan by any chance?  If so, you and Mr. Magoo would get along great! He was a frat boy there and graduated in 1928. Why Rutgers?  His creators wanted him to be “a college alumnus who was still fired up with the old school spirit [and they felt] Rutgers was the embodiment of the ‘old school tie’ in America.”

As ol’ Mr. Magoo was known to shout, “Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Rho—Rutgers, Rutgers, Go – Go – Go!”

…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 23)

I’m not sure if he flew in or waddled his way up onto the bench, but Daffy Duck has paid us a Sunday visit, here at Sun City Peachtree.  Perhaps he was looking for Tweety and Sylvester.  Sorry, pal, you missed ‘em!

Daffy Duck is another one of Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes characters; and, a character he is!  Although he is Bugs Bunny’s rival, he has occasionally been the rabbit’s best friend, too. 

Born in 1937, the feisty black-feathered duck was quite the star, appearing in 130 shorts.  He was ranked #14 on TV Guide’s list of Top 50 best cartoon characters of all time and appeared on the cover. 

Daffy had quite the attitude.  Assertive and combative, he was a protagonist that had everybody talking after seeing him on the screen.  A star was born!

There was some speculation back in the day about how Daffy got that lisp.  One story that made the rounds was that Daffy’s voice was modeled after producer Leon Schlesinger’s tendency to lisp.  Mel Blanc, the voice of Daffy Duck, poked a hole in that theory saying, “It seemed to me that such an extended mandible would hinder his speech, particularly words containing an s sound.  Thus “despicable” became “dethpicable.”

Mel Blanc had a lot of practice with that lisp.  At one point, his voice for Daffy held the world record for the longest voice-acting of one animated character by his original voice actor: 52 years, just breaking Donald Duck’s 51-year streak by Clarence Nash.  Both records were broken by June Foray, the voice for Rocky the Flying Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle, which lasted for 55 years.

Who will be next to occupy the bench?  Will it be Daffy’s sometimes-rival, sometimes-best friend, Bugs Bunny?  Will it be Porky Pig??  Elmer Fudd???  If it’s Elmer, he’ll sure be on the lookout for Bugs!  Stay tuned to see who’s next!  The plot thickens…

…AND, ANOTHER LITTLE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS (Act 22)

Sylvester is on the prowl!  He looks quite fed up, too.  Tweety has escaped the feline’s claws with every attempt at capture, but the yellow canary always gets away.  I have to hand it to Granny’s proud cat, though; her whiskered pet never gives up. 

As I mentioned in my last post, Tweety always wins any battle with Sylvester James Pussycat, Sr., the Tuxedo cat who appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.  As a matter of fact, he appears in a lot of them– a whopping 103 Warner Bros. flicks.  Between 1945 and 1966, he was quite the popular cat on the screen. 

In addition to his attempts at making a meal of Tweety, Sylvester is best known for his sloppy lisp.  In the cartoon, Tweety, Tweety, Tweety, this exchange takes place between Tweety and Sylvester:

Tweety: “I wonder where that puddy tat went to?”  Sylvester [swinging on a wooden swing, flattened by a rock crusher]: “Does thith anthwer your question?”

About that name, “Sylvester,” is a pun on silvestris, the scientific name for the wild cat, the ancestor of domestic cats.

Interestingly, Sylvester’s many different cartoon directors put their own spin on the cat’s personality.  Friz Freleng is the one who directed Sylvester’s first appearance with Tweety in Tweety Pie; and it was the beginning of Sylvester’s desire to capture and munch on his little yellow-feathered enemy.   

When Bob Clampett got a hold of him in 1946’s, Kitty Kornered, Sylvester was one of Porky Pig’s pet cats and looked nothing like he does with Tweety.  He was voiced by Mel Blanc, though, so he sounded just like you remember.

Next up was Arthur Davis who gave Sylvester two completely different personalities.  In Doggone Cats, the feline was a trickster troublemaker who didn’t speak.  He spoke with a dopey voice, in Catch as Cats Can, though, and had a dopey personality to match. 

Robert McKimson paired Sylvester up with a silent baby kangaroo named “Hippity Hopper,” and then later with his son “Sylvester Junior,” where he unsuccessfully tried to raise the kitty to be a real cat.  Lastly, Sylvester and Speedy Gonzales were paired up together.

Finally, Chuck Jones put his spin on the black and white feline.  This is when he was paired up with Porky Pig in three horror-themed cartoons.

Looking back over Sylvester’s career, that cat really did have nine lives!  His appearance changed, his voice morphed, and his personality went in all sorts of directions.  That was one busy feline!