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Directors: Harry Bailey & John Foster
Release Date: February 24, 1933
It starts unremarkable enough, with several farm animals making music and dancing to it. At one point the cartoon starts to focus on a pup, but the short really gains momentum when the pup chases a cat into a well. Almost immediately, he’s struck by guilt and the complete surroundings turn into a nightmare haunting him. During this sequence the scenery changes frequently around him, as if the pup is transported through time and space, adding to the surreal atmosphere.
‘Panicky Pup’ mixes Disney and Fleischer influences (comparable cartoons are Disney’s ‘The Cat’s Out‘ (1931) and Fleischer’s ‘Swing You Sinners!‘ (1930)), like no other studio did, with surprising, if uneven results. The cartoon is the direct ancestor of other guilt cartoons like ‘Pluto’s Judgement Day‘ (1936), ‘Pudgy Picks a Fight‘ (1937) and ‘Donald’s Crime’ (1945), showing that Van Beuren had a much more interesting and forward-looking outlook than most reviewers grant the ill-fated studio.
Watch ‘Panicky Pup’ yourself and tell me what you think:
‘Panicky Pup’ is available on the DVD ‘Uncensored Animation from the Van Beuren Studio’
Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: December 2, 1961
Stars: Tweety & Sylvester
Introduced by an Alfred Hitchcock-like shadow of a pig, it tells the story of Sylvester, who for once thinks he has actually eaten Tweety and who is then eaten by guilt.
The cartoon makes use of a conscience-like voice-over and very beautifully colored and well-staged angular backgrounds to evoke an atmosphere that reflects Sylvester’s inner feelings. In that respect it is very similar to ‘Donalds’ Crime’ from 1945, although that cartoon is still superior.
Watch ‘The Last Hungry Cat’ yourself and tell me what you think:
Director: Dave Fleischer
Release Date: May 14, 1937
Stars: Betty Boop, Pudgy
What follows is a great depiction of his feeble attempts to revive his foe, and then his genuine horror when he realizes he has killed the animal. His feeling of guilt turns his surroundings into a nightmare.
‘Pudgy picks a Fight’ is undoubtedly the most inspired of all Pudgy cartoons, the nightmare sequence being particularly imaginative. Its theme of guilt and imagination running away with it would be revisited by Disney in ‘Donald’s Crime’ (1945) with equally impressive results.
Watch ‘Pudgy Picks A Fight’ yourself and tell me what you think:
This is Betty Boop cartoon No. 62
To the previous Betty Boop cartoon: Pudgy Takes a Bow-Wow
To the next Betty Boop cartoon: The Impractical Joker
‘Pudgy Picks A Fight’ is available on the French DVD Box Set ‘Betty Boop Coffret Collector’