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Director: Seymour Kneitel
Release Date: April 3, 1959
Stars: Herman & Katnip
Rating: ★★

Fun on Furlough © ParamountWith ‘Fun on Furlough’ Herman and Katnip return to the department store scenery of ‘From Mad to Worse‘ (1957).

This time Herman’s cousins are having fun at the toy department until Katnip almost catches them. Then Herman enters, who inexplicably has a three days leave from the army. He reveals that Katnip once had been in the army, too. What follows is a chase sequence with an army theme, using toy soldiers, a toy tank, a toy plane etc. The idea already is preposterous, and the follow-up is hampered by trite and formulaic gags.

Watch ‘Fun on Furlough’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Fun on Furlough’ is available on the DVD ‘Herman and Katnip – The Complete Series’

Director: Seymour Kneitel
Release Date: August 16, 1957
Stars: Herman and Katnip
Rating: ★★

From Mad to Worse © Paramount‘From Mad to Worse’ takes place at a department store, where Katnip is a night guard.

We watch Herman and his cousins playing with a toy train in the toy department. When Katnip tries to catch them, Herman and his fellow mice play tricks on the cat, making him think he has gone mad, much like Hubie and Bertie did to Claude Cat in the Chuck Jones cartoon ‘Mouse Wreckers‘ (1949). Katnip even goes to a psychiaCATrist (got it?).

Compared to Chuck Jones’s cartoon, ‘From Mad to Worse’ is a rather tiresome experience. The short is surprisingly dialogue-rich, hampering the gags, and in this short Herman ‘quotes’ Confucius twice, turning into a stereotyped China-man while doing so. The animation is full, but mediocre. In fact the cartoon’s highlight is the cartoon modern background art, especially the background paintings of the first scenes are very beautiful.

Watch ‘From Mad to Worse’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘From Mad to Worse’ is available on the DVD ‘Herman and Katnip – The Complete Series’

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: April 12, 1941
Stars: Sniffles
Rating: ★★

Toy Trouble © Warner Bros.‘Toy Trouble’ marks the return of Sniffles’s friend the bookworm, from ‘Sniffles and the Bookworm’ (1939) and ‘The Egg Collector’ (1940).

This time the two friends snoop around in the toy collection of a department store. All goes well until the duo encounters a cat.

Like Sniffles himself, the bookworm is more cute than funny, and like most Sniffles cartoons this short suffers from a terrible slowness. The result is a rather tiresome watch. Nevertheless, it contains a nice scene in which Sniffles hides in a row of Porky Pig dolls, predating a similar scene in the Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by eight months. There’s also a mechanical duck, which accounts for some gags that look all the way forward to the elaborate gags of Chuck Jones’s Roadrunner and Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Watch ‘Toy Trouble’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Toy Trouble’ is available on the Blu-Ray set ‘Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: The Chuck Jones Collection’

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: 
August 11, 1945
 Bugs Bunny

Hare Conditioned © Warner BrothersIn ‘Hare Conditioned’ Bugs Bunny is working in a display at a department store. But the manager has other plans with him and wants our hero stuffed.

‘Hare Conditioned’ is full of director Chuck Jones’ typical sophisticated humor and extreme posing. For example, at the beginning of the chase scene we can see the manager looking for Bugs in three places. His move from one place to another is done in smears only one frame long, leading to extremely fast takes between the poses. Also, the final chase, involving elevators and stairs, is wonderfully timed. One of the short’s best gags, however, is set to a slower pace, and involves Bugs cross-dressing as a female customer and the manager courting him/her by tickling his/her feet.

Unfortunately, the cartoon ends abruptly with a rather trite ending: when the manager has Bugs Bunny cornered on the roof, Bugs convinces his adversary there’s a monster behind him, with himself posing as the monster, making the manager jump off the roof. But then he looks into the mirror himself…

‘Hare Conditioned’ is one of the great entries in the Bugs Bunny canon. The short clearly establishes Jones’s concept of the rabbit, as the director stated in his book ‘Chuck Amuck’:

“Golden Rule. Bugs must always be provoked. In every film, someone must have designs upon his person: gastronomic, as a trophy, as a good-luck piece (…..), as an unwilling participant in a scientific experiment (laboratory rabbit or outer-space creature). Without such threats Bugs is far too capable a rabbit to evoke the necessary sympathy”.

Indeed, Bugs only comes into action in this cartoon when threatened by death. First he tries to flee his foe, but when this proves impossible he takes control of the situation himself. Only then he does serious harm to his opponent. Nevertheless, Bugs remains calm throughout the cartoon.

Jones kept to his golden rule in the rest of his cartoons, giving Bugs other large or powerful adversaries like a giant red monster in ‘Hair-Rasing Hare’ (1946), a large boxer in ‘Rabbit Punch‘ (1948), or a Martian, capable of blowing up the earth, in ‘Haredevil Hare‘ (1948).

Watch ‘Hare Conditioned’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 33
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Trigger
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare Tonic

‘Hare Conditioned’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Two’

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: April 7, 1965
Stars: Tom & Jerry
Rating: ★★★½

I'm Just Wild About Jerry © MGM‘I’m Just Wild About Jerry’ is a chase cartoon taking place in a department store. It’s Jones’ fifth Tom & Jerry chase cartoon, ending a mini-series of chase cartoons within Chuck Jones’s Tom & Jerry series.

Although not hilarious, ‘I’m Just Wild About Jerry’ is particularly inspired, and arguably the best of the five. It contains a great gag in which Tom deftly catches a falling pot, but not the bowling ball that follows after. It also contains a running gag involving a streetcar.

Watch ‘I’m Just Wild About Jerry’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Tom & Jerry cartoon No. 139
To the previous Tom & Jerry cartoon: Haunted Mouse
To the next Tom & Jerry cartoon: Of Feline Bondage

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