Baby Buggy Bunny opens with its weakest sequence–a bank robbery. The perpetrator is a baby-sized thug who gets away by throwing on a bonnet and hopping in a carriage. Clearly there are some Baby Herman connections, especially later on when the robber and Bugs Bunny start battling.
Bugs gets involved thanks to a runaway baby carriage carrying the loot–hence the title–but most of the cartoon has him caring for this thug, unaware of the true identity of the “baby.” There are some great bits; Jones has the comic pacing down here.
The arrival of Bugs also has a change (for the better) in the animation. The bank robbery sequence is erratic, maybe even intentionally, but the Bugs stuff is just good work. The writing is really strong too. The scene where Bugs finds out who he’s been caring for is fantastic.
Buggy is a great time.
Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny / Baby-Faced Finster).
Robin Hood Daffy is an unappealing mix of pointless, dumb and bewildering. Besides Porky beating up Daffy (Porky’s Friar Tuck, Daffy’s apparently Robin–more on that one in a bit), Jones’s gags all seem recycled from a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. It’s Daffy swinging around to disastrous result.
It’s never clear if Daffy’s actually Robin Hood or just playing in the forest and pretending. One hopes the latter, as it makes Robin a little more interesting. Also interesting is Jones and writer Michael Maltese’s anti-welfare take on the redistribution of wealth. It’s just a line, but it gets the brain working more than the rest of the cartoon.
The animation’s not bad, with the grand finale somewhat impressive, but there’s no energy. Mel Blanc does exceedingly well with the voices. It’s a shame the cartoon doesn’t match his efforts.
Jones only had to fill six minutes; he fails miserably.
Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow and Richard Thompson; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck / Porky Pig).
Baton Bunny casts Bugs as a perfectionist conductor who, during a performance, has to cope with wardrobe malfunctions and a bothersome fly.
The most interesting thing about the cartoon–and something I’ve never seen from a Bugs Bunny cartoon before–is how co-directors Jones and Levitow go out of their way to make Bugs cute. He’s not drawn cute–in fact, he’s quite ugly in some shots–but Jones and Levitow show his little fluff tail being cute as it dances to the music and his ears doing something. It’s odd, but at least it keeps one’s attention.
Sadly, even though Baton has good direction (sometimes great) and good animation, it’s boring. It’s not the best way to listen to the piece of music the orchestra plays and it’s not a good Bugs Bunny cartoon. Bugs is interchangeable with anyone in Baton.
At best, Baton‘s a tedious viewing experience.
Directed by Chuck Jones and Abe Levitow; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Richard Thompson and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.
Cat Feud is almost too precious for its own good.
In fact, the precious nature is what gets it into most of its trouble.
The cartoon concerns a tough construction site guard dog who gets all mushy inside when he finds an adorable kitten. Trouble comes in the form of a stray cat, who is after the kitten’s lunch.
Jones has some fantastic shots of the construction site, where all the action plays out (including the chase) but the cartoon’s pace is disastrous. Milt Franklyn’s score is most obvious culprit. Franklyn concentrates on accentuating the cuteness of the situation–the bulldog protecting his kitten–without bringing any of the tension. The kitten will be about to plummet from a steel skyscraper frame and the music will be pleasant and ethereal.
Feud could have been exciting and enthralling. Instead, it’s just a cute little cartoon.
Adorable or not, it’s lesser work.
Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Abe Levitow, Richard Thompson and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Milt Franklyn; produced by John W. Burton; released by Warner Bros.
Starring Mel Blanc (Marc Anthony / Pussyfoot)