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Director: Ub Iwerks
Release Date:
 December, 1930
Stars: Flip the Frog
Rating: ★★½

Puddle Pranks © Ub IwerksAlthough released after four other cartoons, ‘Puddle Pranks’ is Flip the Frog’s second cartoon. It was made before Pat Powers had sold the series, and it’s the last in which he’s portrayed as a real frog, small in size and acting in nature. Powers was dissatisfied with this version of Flip, and in the subsequent films he would, like Mickey Mouse, be boy-sized and living in towns.

‘Puddle Pranks’ starts with a very Mickey Mouse-like scene, in which Flip drops by his girlfriend’s house to take her for a ride in a grasshopper-chariot. Soon they’re followed by a pelican, which eats the grasshopper(!), and threatens to eat the two frogs. Flip disposes of the pelican, and the two go for a swim. But suddenly, the pelican is back, and they are only rescued because the pelican is eaten by a large fish.

‘Like ‘Fiddlesticks‘, Flip’s first cartoon, ‘Puddle Pranks’ is well animated and joyful, but low on gags and rather boring. The short is almost evenly paced, which makes it rather tiresome to watch.

Watch ‘Puddle Pranks’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flip the Frog cartoon No. 2
To the previous Flip the Frog cartoon: Fiddlesticks
To the next Flip the Frog cartoon: Flying Fists

‘Puddle Pranks’ is available on the DVD ‘Cartoons That Time Forgot – The Ub Iwerks Collection Vol. 1’

Director: Hamilton Luske
Release Date: January 7, 1944
Rating: ★★★½

The Pelican and the Snipe © Walt DisneyMonte (a pelican) and Video (or Viddy, a snipe) live on top of a lighthouse in Montevideo, Uruguay (hence their names).

Viddy tries to prevent Monte, who’s crazy about the practicing war planes nearby, from ‘sleep-flying’. Unfortunately to no avail…

‘The Pelican and the Snipe’ probably is the cutest cartoon relating to World War II. Told by Sterling Holloway, its story is simple and short, and about friendship instead of sex or violence. Typical in its South American setting, it was originally intended for ‘The Three Caballeros‘,released later that year.

‘ The Pelican and the Snipe’ marks Sterling Holloway’s debut as a voice over artist in a Disney short, after appearing in ‘Dumbo‘ (Mr. Stork, 1941) and ‘Bambi‘ (adult Flower, 1942). Holloway would become Disney’s most  favorite voice actor, providing voices and voice overs for Disney cartoons up to the late 1970s. In fact, he will be most remembered as the voice of Winnie the Pooh (1966-1974).

Watch ‘The Pelican and the Snipe’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Pelican and the Snipe’ is available on the DVD ‘Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities’

Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date: 
September 20, 1946
 Donald Duck

Lighthouse Keeping © Walt DisneyIn ‘Lightouse Keeping’ Donald works at a lighthouse. He nags a pelican by aiming the light on it. What follows is a fast and funny duel between the two birds in switching on/off the light.

This is a hilarious cartoon from the first scene, in which we watch Donald trying to read in the ever-circling lighthouse light, to the last one, where the feud has gotten so fanatical, the two birds even continue it after sunrise.

With his third Donald Duck short Jack Hannah really hit his stride. It’s faster and better timed than his first three shorts, ‘Donald’s Off Day’ (1944), ‘The Eyes Have It’ and ‘No Sail’ (1945). Maybe he was inspired by his work on a Goofy cartoon, ‘A Knight For A Day‘ earlier that year? In any case, while directing both Goofy and Donald (1946-1947), he made some of his best Donald Duck shorts: apart from ‘Lighthouse Keeping’, the 1947 shorts ‘Straight Shooters’, ‘Clown of the Jungle‘ and ‘Chip an’ Dale‘.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Lighthouse Keeping’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Donald Duck cartoon No. 59
To the previous Donald Duck cartoon: Dumb Bell of the Yukon
To the next Donald Duck cartoon: Straight Shooters

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