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Director: Isadore Sparber
Release Date: March 14, 1958
Stars: Herman and Katnip
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Frighty Cat © Paramount‘Frighty Cat’ revisits the premise of ‘From Mad to Worse‘ (1957) and mixes it with the idea of the Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘Fraidy Cat‘ (1942).

Nobody knows why (it’s completely irrelevant to the story), but the setting is the Illside sanatorium, where Herman and his cousins play pool. Then Katnip arrives and manages to trap the four mice in a mouse hole. He decides to ‘wait them out’, while reading a ghost story aloud. This, of course, prompts Herman and his kin to play tricks on the cat, making him believe the house is haunted. In the end Katnip flees into the distance, haunted by his own ghostly image in a mirror.

Even though ‘Frighty Cat’ is one of the more entertaining of the latter day Herman and Katnip cartoons, it’s difficult to praise the cartoon, as it completely fails to live up to its peers (apart from ‘Fraidy Cat’ ‘Mouse Wreckers‘ from 1949). The animation is often subpar, and Herman looks quite misshapen at times. At least some of the background art is nice.

Watch ‘Frighty Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

 

‘Frighty Cat’ is available on the DVD ‘Herman and Katnip – The Complete Series’

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Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: March 8, 1958
Stars: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Robin Hood Daffy © Warner Brothers‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is the last of Chuck Jones’s great series of Daffy and Porky pairings.

Like earlier entries, such as ‘Drip-along Daffy‘ (1951) or ‘Deduce You Say’ (1956), Daffy fails completely in acting out the hero he is supposed to be. In this cartoon Daffy Duck is Robin Hood, but he has a hard time proving that to a skeptical Friar Tuck (Porky Pig). He does so by relentlessly trying to rob a rich nobleman who rides on a remarkably little donkey in a hilariously silly fashion.

This nobleman character is totally unaware of the antics around him and is a late addition to a series of similar odd characters that populated many of Jones’s early films, like the Minah Bird (1941-1947) and the bearded sailor in ‘The Dover Boys‘ (1942). Daffy’s attempts, on the other hand, are more akin to those of the Coyote in the Road Runner series. The best gag is when he tries to swing on a rope, Errol Flynn-style, shouting “Yoicks and away”, only to crash into multiple tree trunks.

Porky is redesigned completely into Chuck Jones’s late design: with ridiculously cute eyelashes, anticipating similar redesigns of Jerry in Jones’s Tom & Jerry cartoons seven years later. The redesign is not a success: Porky looks a little too feminine and too cute for the purposes of the cartoon.

Watch ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.b99.tv/video/robin-hood-daffy/

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 150
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Boston Quackie
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: China Jones

This is Daffy Duck cartoon No. 83
To the previous Daffy Duck cartoon: Don’t Axe Me
To the next Daffy Duck cartoon: China Jones

‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Three’

Director: Les Clark
Release Date: August 1, 1958
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Paul Bunyan © Walt Disney‘Paul Bunyan’ belongs to a group of Disney specials that retell tall tales from the West, following ‘The Legend of Johnny Appleseed‘ and ‘Pecos Bill‘ from ‘Melody Time‘ (1948).

The short is told by three “eye witnesses”, who tell us about the great deeds of the mighty lumberjack Paul Bunyan, who was “63 axe handles high”, and his equally gigantic ox Babe. The best part describes how Bunyan and Babe have reshaped the American landscape: their footsteps turn into the land of 10,000 lakes (in Minnesota), and they themselves build landmarks like the Missouri River, Pikes Peak in Colorado, and the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Falls in Wyoming.

Eyvind Earle supervised the color schemes, while Tom Oreb designed the characters, like they  did for ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (1959). Their designs are very bold and angular, and the background art, painted by Eyvind Earle and Walt Peregoy, is a delight to watch. Composer George Bruns composed a catchy theme song for the giant hero, which is sung several times throughout the short.

Unfortunately, the short is hampered by a remarkable slowness and a terrible lack of good gags, which make it at 17 minutes too long to remain entertaining. In the end ‘Paul Bunyan’ is more interesting for its looks than for its story.

‘Paul Bunyan’ was the only non-educational short directed by Disney veteran Les Clark, who had been with Disney since the birth of his own studio in 1928.

Watch ‘Paul Bunyan’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Paul Bunyan’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’

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