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Director: Walter Lantz or Bill Nolan
Release Date: September 4, 1933
Rating:  ★★★
Review:

King Klunk © Walter Lantz‘King Klunk’ is a surprisingly faithful, if silly retelling of the 1933 hit movie ‘King Kong‘.

The short stars Pooch the Pup as a film maker, who enters the jungle to film the monster King Klunk, accompanied by his girlfriend. In the jungle they soon meet a savage tribe offering a young girl to King Klunk. Of course, the giant ape takes much more interest in Pooch’s girlfriend, and abducts her instead.

Imitating Tarzan (made famous by Johnny Weissmuller in ‘Tarzan the Ape Man’ from 1932), Pooch rescues his girlfriend and together they floor the giant ape with a giant rotten egg. Like in the live action film, the duo takes the monster home to New York to display. And in the final scene, King Klunk, too, falls from the skyscraper, but in the cartoon he immediately catches fire and burns to a skeleton…

It’s weird to watch such a tight parody of a movie as this one, and the cartoon’s close satire is without precedent. However, this also means that the film is lower on gags than it could be, and Pooch the Pup is as bland as ever, never becoming near star potential. In the opening scene we hear him whistling ‘Kingdome Coming’, familiar to many as the wolf’s whistling tune in Tex Avery’s ‘Three Little Pups‘ (1953). Tex Avery worked at Lantz during the production of ‘King Klunk’, so it may very well be he remembered the tune from this cartoon when he used it twenty years later. In any case, ‘King Klunk’ features a dinosaur having a double-take that is surprisingly Tex Averyan. This is probably the first classic double-take to enter the animated scene.

Watch ‘King Klunk’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘King Klunk’ is available on the DVD set ‘The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection’.

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Director: Jack Hannah
Release Date:
November 1, 1946
Stars: 
Donald Duck, Goofy
Rating:
 ★★½
Review:

Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive © Walt Disney‘Frank Duck Brings ‘Em Back Alive’ is the fourth of five cartoons starring both Donald and Goofy. The coupling never was really successful, and ‘Frank Duck Brings ‘Em Back Alive’ is no exception. 

In this short Goofy is staged as some Tarzan-like wild man wearing sneakers. Donald Duck is himself as hunter ‘Frank Duck’, trying to capture the wild man. Their endless chase ends when they encounter a lion. The wild man escapes with Donald’s boat, leaving Donald leaping from tree to tree, followed by the lion. Iris out.

The comedy of ‘Frank Duck Brings ‘Em Back Alive’ does not work well, because Goofy is not really himself here. Maybe director Jack Hannah was inspired by the anonymous Goofies that crowded the Goofy films of the era, including some he directed himself. In any case, when the anonymous Goofy suddenly is reduced to one, something apparently goes wrong. Then we probably expect to watch the real Goofy again, something which does not happen in this cartoon. Instead, we watch a Goofy acting silly, but also outsmarting his hunter, just like Daffy Duck does at Warner Brothers. It just doesn’t feel right. It’s so out of character, it ruins the comedy.

‘Frank Duck Brings ‘Em Back Alive’ contains a very late occasion of Donald’s typical dance of anger, made famous by animator Dick Lundy in Donald’s second screen appearance, ‘Orphan’s Benefit‘ (1934). Donald showed this behavior often in his early career, but it had become rare by the 1940s.

Watch ‘Frank Duck Brings ‘Em Back Alive’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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