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Added by Andy Goulding on 18 Dec 2013 05:45
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1001 Animated Shorts You Must See - Part 6

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DIR: Tex Avery

SUMMARY: When a rabbit overhears a hunter telling his dog that he'll never catch a rabbit if he doesn't get a good night's sleep, the rabbit sets out to continually disrupt the dog's slumber.

WHY IT'S HERE: A lesser-know Tex Avery short, 'Dog-Gone Tired' has a typically simple process which Avery is able to milk for maximum laughs. Rather than produce yet another chase film, Avery has here created a pre-chase film, in which the prey does everything he can to ensure that the chase never takes place by tiring out the would-be hunter before it even begins. Such subtly subversive tactics were what frequently set Avery's cartoons apart from more run-of-the-mill material.
DIR: John Halas, Brian Borthwick

SUMMARY: The famous Edward Lear nonsense poem of an owl and pussycat who get married is brought to life in vibrant 3D.

WHY IT'S HERE: Halas and Batchelor studios were always a very ambitious studio and with their adaptation of Edward Lear's 'The Owl and the Pussycat' they created a very early example of a 3D animation, for which they essentially had to make the cartoon twice, once for the left eye and once for the right. Accompanied by a slightly grating, whimsical musical reading of the poem, 'The Owl and the Pussycat' is graphically astonishing, with the angular characters shapeshifting and jerking across the screen in a surrealist manner which perfectly complements the original poem. Keep a particular eye out for the pig, who contorts geometrically like no pig ever has before!
People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: Spike the Dog is building his dream dog house but it is repeatedly destroyed in the chase between Tom and Jerry.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Dog House' is another example of a later Tom and Jerry that reworks the plot of an earlier cartoon, in this case 'Quiet Please'. That cartoon saw Spike threaten Tom with violent consequences if he was woken once more by his antics. 'The Dog House' sees the same threat issued, only this time the warning is against destroying the dream kennel that Spike is building. Although it is not a patch on its Oscar-winning predecessor, 'The Dog House' shows that the Tom and Jerry series was still very funny even when it was showing signs of running out of steam. In 'Quiet Please' Hanna and Barbera played with the comedy of aural contrasts between loud and quiet. Here they plump for the more time-honoured hilarity of abrupt destruction (a theme that also ran through the very first Tom and Jerry outing, 'Puss Gets the Boot'). 'The Dog House' is also notable for placing greater emphasis on the character of Spike. Though it ultimately only lasted two cartoons, Spike and his son Tyke were given their own series a few years after 'The Dog House', so perhaps this served as one of Spike's audition tapes for that abortive project.
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Bug Bunny is once again pitted against a mad scientist and his creation in this sequel to 'Hair Raising Hare'

WHY IT'S HERE: Chuck Jones's 'Water, Water Every Hare' is significantly better than its truly dreadful title. Pitting Bugs against a bulbously headed green faced scientist and his furry orange, sneaker wearing monster (later dubbed Gossamer but here referred to as Rudolph), 'Water, Water Every Hare' features some breathtaking visuals in the opening minutes. His home beset by flooding, an oblivious, soundly-sleeping Bugs is washed away on his mattress. This sequence is glorious to behold with its flowing water and cascading waterfall. Ultimately, this watery subplot plays only a small part in the cartoon, making the dreadful title even more unforgivable. Most of the action takes place inside the castle. The most famous sequence is the hairdressing scene in which Bugs assumes the role of a camp beautician spouting a monologue about all the "inter-resting" monsters he's met (this is actually a rehash of a similar routine in the previous Gossamer cartoon 'Hair-Raising Hare'). Far more memorable, however, is the climactic chase scene in which Bugs and the green faced scientist are both under the influence of ether and bound across the screen in slow motion. It's an appropriately striking climax to a particularly handsome and dreamlike cartoon which proves to be inventive and entertaining in equal measures. A lesser talked-about classic, no less.
DIR: Jack Hannah

SUMMARY: Lambert the baby lion is mistakenly left with a flock of sheep by the stork and is raised thinking he's a sheep... until a wolf brings out the lion in him.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'Lambert the Sheepish Lion' is a typically lush production and plays like a little movie. Disney's more recent nominess had largely been fairly dull affairs and the studio was conspicuous by its absence in 1950, only the second time this had happened since the Academy Awards inception. 'Lambert the Sheepish Lion' is a glorious return to form. The story of a lion cub accidentally delivered to a sheep, it features everything Disney has come to be known for. Sweetness, warmth, great storytelling, a few big laughs and an infectious theme tune, not to mention hilarious narration from Disney stalwart Sterling Holloway, pre-his star turn as Winnie the Pooh.
People who added this item 72 Average listal rating (57 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: A bulldog falls for a cute litle kitten but must keep it out of sight from his owners.

WHY IT'S HERE:Chuck Jones's 'Feed the Kitty' is one of the undisputed classics of animation. It runs the gamut of moods from sweet to horrifying, hilarious to tear-jerking. The short made such an impression on director Joe Dante that he regularly pays tribute to it in his full length features. Starring a soft-hearted bulldog named Marc Anthony and a doe-eyed kitten named Pussyfoot, 'Feed the Kitty' forsakes the usual anarchic mayhem of Warner Bros. cartoons for a disarmingly heartwarming tale of one dog's adoration for a cat. Jones knows better than to revisit the Disney-esquire cuteness of his dull early work and neatly sidesteps this by mixing the sweetness with plenty of laughs and an extremely dark sequence in which Marc Anthony thinks Pussyfoot has been chopped up and baked to death! 'Feed the Kitty' subverts the usual setup for cartoons in which a big character causes chaos while trying to catch and eat a little character by making the motive for the chaotic antics the big character's desire to protect the little character. Marc Anthony goes to extreme lengths to hide Pussyfoot's presence from the owner he is sure will eject the kitten from the house. In doing so, Marc Anthony undoubtedly steals the cartoon. Cute and accurately kitten-like as Pussyfoot is, he is basically a prop. Marc Anthony, on the other hand, became world famous for his performance in this cartoon by virtue of his plethora of amazing facial expressions. Much has been made of the facial expressions Jones coaxes out of his characters and 'Feed the Kitty' is the prime example of his genius with a reaction. Marc Anthony snaps instantaneously from ferocious to confused to adoring to desperate to stern to relieved etc. The saggy, bloodshot look of total devastation that he adopts when he believes Pussyfoot has been killed is the most jaw-dropping element of 'Feed the Kitty'. It is so heart-wrenchingly accurate in its depiction of a soul who has lost all hope that it is simultaneously unbearably sad and hilarious in its extremity. It's unlike any expression you've seen in a cartoon before and writer Mike Maltese pushes this grim gag one step further when he has Marc Anthony take the freshly baked effigy of his beloved pet and place it lovingly on his back. Of course, this deeply sad material is also very, very funny because the audience is in on the joke and knows that Pussyfoot is OK and we are rewarded with a happy ending. The cartoon ends on a quiet note instead of the usual crash of an anvil or straight to camera wisecrack, further highlighting what an unusual piece of work 'Feed the Kitty' is. Jones used Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot in several other shorts but never to such incredible effect as in this classic treasure of a film.
People who added this item 133 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.3
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: The Rabbit Season/Duck Season battle continues in the second of the Hunting Trilogy films.

WHY IT'S HERE: Chuck Jones's 'Rabbit Seasoning', the second in the much beloved hunting trilogy, is often considered to be the best of the three. While I find it almost impossible to choose between this trio of fantastic cartoons, I would have to concede that 'Rabbit Seasoning' is the most finely honed script. Here, the emphasis is placed on language as Bugs and Daffy run through a series of complex dialogues in the grand tradition of Abbot and Costello's 'Who's on next' routine. As a long term Daffy fan, I have always been delighted by the hunting trilogy because it is consistently Daffy who gets all the best lines (the famous "Pronoun trouble" being one of the all time classics) and does most of the work. Bugs plays the role of cool manipulator while Elmer, as always, is the befuddled dupe. Part of what makes the hunting trilogy so much fun is that Daffy and Elmer pose so little threat to Bugs that he is basically just kicking back and having some easy laughs. Elmer falls into every trap that is laid for him but it is poor old Daffy who comes off worst, being shot in the face again and again, his beak ending up in more and more ridiculous positions. It all builds to the inevitable climactic declaration "You're despicable". As intricate an example of Chuck Jones's impeccable timing as you'll come across, 'Rabbit Seasoning' is a true classic.
DIR: Tex Avery

SUMMARY: Having been rejected as his opening act, disgruntled magician swaps places with a conductor for The Great Poochini's operatic performance.

WHY IT'S HERE: Among the many classics of the animation medium that Tex Avery created, 'Magical Maestro' might well be my favourite. Once it has quickly set up its situation (a rejected magician replaces the conductor to take his revenge on an opera singer using his wand for a baton), 'Magical Maestro' limits itself to just the image of a singing dog on a stage, with the onslaught of laughs coming from the numerous transformation he undergoes. The gags here are inventive, unexpected (aside from a few of the era's typical racial stereotypes) and hilarious. One joke in particular is unique to Tex Avery's cartoons. Knowing that hairs often got caught in film projectors if they were loaded wrongly, Avery adds in an artificial hair for several frames. After leaving it there just long enough to drive the projectionist crazy, Avery has the main character pluck it out himself and toss it aside. It's my favourite joke in a cartoon full of contenders.
People who added this item 35 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3
DIR: Jack Kinney

SUMMARY: Goofy, in his George Geef everyman role, decides to quit smoking but quickly gives in to temptation.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'No Smoking' is a surprising cartoon for an anti-smoking stance in a 1950s still rife with smokers both onscreen and off. In truth, though it is assuredly an anti-smoking cartoon, 'No Smoking' soft-peddles the message, focusing instead on the comedic potential of a man who will do anything to get his hands on a cigarette, cigar, pipe or anything he can use to smoke. This approach avoids preachiness but ensured that the cartoon was rarely shown on modern day TV, except in a slightly altered version which climaxes with Goofy denouncing smoking forever, instead of cheerfully puffing away on an exploding cigar, happy to be back in the world of smokers even at the expense of literal smoke damage. Pinto Colvig, the voice of Goofy, had been a long time smoker and was suffering from lung disease at the time this cartoon was made. He died of lung cancer in 1967, one year after Walt Disney himself died of the same condition.
People who added this item 128 Average listal rating (98 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.3
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: The Duck Season/Rabbit Season battle begins in the first of Chuck Jones's beloved Hunting Trilogy.

WHY IT'S HERE:The first entry in Chuck Jones's celebrated hunting trilogy, 'Rabbit Fire' opens with the familiar declaration "Be vewy, vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits". So begins the famous battle between Bugs and Daffy over whether its Rabbit Season or Duck Season. While the following cartoon 'Rabbit Seasoning' boasts a better script on paper, 'Rabbit Fire' is probably more gut-bustingly hilarious. Jones's direction is typically impeccable, which proves most crucial in the early scenes in which Bugs tricks Daffy into admitting it's Duck Season by changing his argumentative "DUCK SEASON" TO "WABBIT SEASON", thereby coaxing Daffy into also changing and setting himself up for a beak-altering shooting. It's an old gag given new life by Jones's fast pacing and Mel Blanc's hysterical voice characterization ("DUCK SEASON, FIRE!!!"). Blanc excels himself here, especially in a jaw-dropping scene in which he voices Daffy attempting to imitate Bugs and vice versa. It's a flawless example of why Blanc is such an irreplacable actor

The ultimately anti-hunting subtext of the hunting trilogy is clear in Elmer's revelatory confession "I'm a vegetarian, I just hunt for the sport of it". It makes it all the more satisfying, then, when it is Elmer who gets a comeuppance at the climax rather than Daffy. 'Rabbit Fire' is a wonderful cartoon that proved so popular it spawned a classic trilogy.
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Bugs Bunny finds his home at threat by a building site and its bullying construction worker.

WHY IT'S HERE:Chuck Jones's 'Homeless Hare' is a fantastic example of a simple premise made brilliant by great writing and genius direction. Pitting Bugs Bunny against a bullying construction worker, 'Homeless Hare' takes place on the oft-used setting of the building site but there's nothing hackneyed about these antics. Jones infuses Bugs's heckling with exceptional timing, increasing the hilarity of the gags significantly. "Hercules" the construction worker is a great foil for Bugs and there's also a diminutive assistant who steals every scene he's in with his deadpan performance. While Jones will always be best remembered for his more inventive shorts, he always also had a knack for infusing the traditional heckling and chase cartoons with a new energy and inventiveness. 'Homeless Hare' is an excellent example of this. Jones takes what could have been very standard fare in the hands of another director and manages to fashion a mini-classic.
People who added this item 37 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Friz Freleng

SUMMARY: Daffy Duck is wrongly credited with laying a golden egg but his pride is short-lived when his is kidnapped and told at gunpoint to repeat the trick.

WHY IT'S HERE:Friz Freleng's 'Golden Yeggs' is a lovely cartoon. A modern take on the 'Goose that Laid the Golden Egg' tale which implicates the mafia, 'Golden Yeggs' involves Daffy all too happily accepting the falsehood that he laid a golden egg and enjoying the fame it brings. That is until he is kidnapped by gangsters and forced at gunpoint to repeat the phenomenon. Featuring staple Warner Bros. gangster Rocky in his first appearance and a cameo by Porky Pig in his oft-filled role as farmer, 'Golden Yeggs' owes its success to Daffy. His attempts to exploit a situation, quickly leading to a desperate attempt to escape the peril of his own making, results in some genuinely exciting action as he races against the clock for his life. Freleng shows his oft-ignored talent for timing in some fast-paced gags but 'Golden Yeggs' also demonstrates how thrills in a cartoon can be just as important as laughs. The viewer desperately roots for Daffy, resulting in far more than an audience simply waiting for the next gag.
DIR: Robert Cannon

SUMMARY: Gerald McBoing-Boing is a little boy who cannot speak in words but instead communicates through sound effects.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Gerald McBoing-Boing' is a classic cartoon based on a Dr. Seuss story and told in verse. The title character is a little boy who speaks in noises instead of words. With its blank beige backdrops and storybook-style character designs, 'Gerald McBoing-Boing' saw UPA proudly flaunting their purposefully reductive approach and it proves that, far from diminishing effect, the UPA house style can work wonders. Just watch the atmospheric scene where Gerald tries to board a train. A well deserved winner of the Best Animated Short Oscar, 'Gerald McBoing-Boing' remains not only the best-loved of all UPA shorts but also one of the best-loved and most critically acclaimed short animations of all time.
People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Bugs Bunny helps Playboy Penguin return to the South Pole.

WHY IT'S HERE: Chuck Jones's '8 Ball Bunny' is a terrific sequel to the excellent 'Frigid Hare'. It's the second of two shorts which feature a cute character who came to be known as Playboy Penguin. 'Frigid Hare' had played out as a traditional chase film but '8 Ball Bunny' widens the scope, presenting us with an epic road movie in which Bugs must travel across half the globe in order to return the penguin to the South Pole. Along the way he gets into numerous scrapes and continuously encounters a caricature of Humphrey Bogart in 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre'. Although it was probably a wise choice to retire Playboy Penguin after just two appearances, both the cartoons that feature him are brilliant and, with its epic adventure story, '8 Ball Bunny' stands out as the best of the two.
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: When Tom is crushed to death by an upright piano, he is allowed back to earth for one hour, during which he must get Jerry to sign a certificate of forgiveness or otherwise face an eternity in Hell with a satanic bulldog.

WHY IT'S HERE: One of the most ambitious Tom and Jerry cartoons in terms of its sumptuous look, 'Heavenly Puss' is also caught between sentimentalism and darkness. On the one hand, the idea of turning the usual chase into a chase for forgiveness which ultimately teaches Tom the value of Jerry is an idea dripping with moralistic saccharine. One the other hand, actually killing Tom, ramping up the stakes by adding a satanic bulldog into the mix and throwing in a joke about a bagfull of drowned kittens counterbalances this considerably. The result is a unique and beautiful cartoon that showed the Tom and Jerry franchise was still not in danger of running out of ideas.
People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
DIR: Robert McKimson

SUMMARY: A cat pursues a humming bird but repeatedly falls victim to the sadistically inventive punishments of a dog.

WHY IT'S HERE:Robert McKimson's 'It's Hummer Time' is a gorgeous and extremely inventive cartoon that expands on the usual bird-cat-dog chase formula by incorporating sadistically pre-prepared punishments on the dog's part. Like many Spring/Summer based cartoons ('Swallow the Leader', 'Springtime for Thomas' to name but two), 'It's Hummer Time' is beautiful to look at, filled with uplifting bright colours. The plot pushes the whole thing into the realms of the classic as predictable spot gags are hysterically punctuated with unpredictable follow-ups in which the insistent dog drags the cat kicking and screaming to punishments that have been carried out so frequently in the past that the cat has named them all ("Oh no, not the thinker!"). There's also a pleasingly cyclical nature to the plot in which the cat begins and ends the cartoon as a bird bath. 'It's Hummer Time' was remade the following year as the infinitely inferior, over-complicated 'Early to Bet' which comes nowhere near recapturing the magic of this unique cartoon.
People who added this item 196 Average listal rating (148 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.3
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Elmer Fudd pursues Bugs Bunny into a production of 'Barber of Seville' and their chase becomes entangled with the show.

WHY IT'S HERE:Chuck Jones's 'Rabbit of Seville' lives in the shadow of his other, more famous musical masterpiece 'What's Opera Doc', which also stars Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Nevertheless, 'Rabbit of Seville' is still a very famous and acclaimed cartoon, despite the misleadingly half-hearted non-pun of the title! Executed with typical skill, 'Rabbit of Seville' relies heavily on the genius direction of Chuck Jones as he flawlessly choreographs the animation of Bugs and Elmer's confrontation with the music from 'The Barber of Seville'. Bugs memorably creates his own lyrics in an early scene that culminates in a truly horrific gag with a carelessly brandished razor! After the early lyric based scenes, not another word is spoken until Bugs' cocky, one word denouement. Instead, the action focuses in on the marriage between the music and the animation, all of which is superbly realised. The best moment is the increasingly frantic chase scene towards the end in which Elmer and Bugs continually turn the tables on each other with bigger and bigger weapons. 'Rabbit of Seville' has rightfully passed into legend as a masterpiece and is fondly remembered by even those who have little interest in animation history. I'm sure most kids of my generation (when Warner cartoons were still being regularly shown on TV), if asked to sing a lyric from 'The Barber of Seville', would reply with "Welcome to my shop, let me cut your mop, let me shave your crop"!
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Daffy Duck terrorises Porky Pig, the latest contestant on his cruel and unusual radio game show.

WHY IT'S HERE:Since I first saw it at a very young age, I've always found Chuck Jones's 'The Ducksters' to be one of the funniest cartoons I've ever seen. This is largely due to Michael Maltese's hilarious script but, as always, Jones displays extraordinary timing in bringing it to the screen. A spoof of radio quiz shows, 'The Ducksters' is a deliciously sadistic film in which Daffy Duck's host terrorizes Porky Pig's contestant with impossible questions and horrendously violent penalties. The timing of both the verbal and physical antics is impeccable, leading up to a thoroughly satisfying finale with the iris closing on a fantastic climactic Daffy line. Rarely discussed or praised, 'The Ducksters' is a childhood favourite of mine and a cartoon very dear to my heart. It's both rib-ticklingly witty and delightfully violent, which just about amounts to the perfect combination for this cartoon fanatic!
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Daffy Duck casts himself as lead in an all-star swashbuckling adventure film.

WHY IT'S HERE:Chuck Jones's 'The Scarlet Pumpernickel' is something a bit special. Starring Daffy Duck, this ripping yarn casts several Warner Bros. favourites in a take off of 'The Scarlet Pimpernel'. It's a joy to see these rarely coinciding characters (including Porky Pig, Sylvester, Elmer Fudd, Henery Hawk and Mother Bear) interact with each other and the roles bring out the best in some of the characters. Porky Pig relishes the chance to play the villainous Lord High Chamberlain while Sylvester hams it up gloriously as the Grand Duke. At the centre of it all, of course, is Daffy, spectacularly blundering the role of romantic hero ("parting is such sweet stuff") as he strives to emulate Errol Flyn. The story is framed by the frantic Daffy we all know and love pitching his script to unseen studio boss J.L. J.L's demanding expectations lead to the grisly and memorable finale in which a spent Daffy commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. 'The Scarlet Pumpernickel' was an exciting all-star experience when I was a kid and it remains a remarkable piece of work when I witness it as an adult. It manages to be funny while still masterfully tapping into the spirit of the adventure stories it spoofs
DIR: Robert McKimson

SUMMARY: Bugs is pitted against two hillbillies, leading to one of the most memorable musical climaxes n cartoon history.

WHY IT'S HERE:Robert McKimson's 'Hillbilly Hare' is probably the director's best loved short and I'd have to concur with the majority. 'Hillbilly Hare' is an absolutely fantastic piece of work and one of the few Robert McKimson cartoons which really stands up alongside the best work of his contemporaries. Pitting Bugs against a couple of stereotype hillbillies, 'Hillbilly Hare's' first half features some decent heckling but the halfway mark is the turning point as Bugs drags up and uses his sex appeal to tempt the two hillbillies into a square-dancing rehearsal. This leads to an extended climactic square-dance sequence which is one of my favourite routines in cartoon history. The success of this sequence is down to several contributors. Writer Tedd Pierce has written a fantastically funny set of lyrics which are delivered with astonishing comedic brilliance by Mel Blanc in one of the highlights of his long and distinguished voice-over career. McKimson creates the perfect visual accompaniment for this astonishing sequence. While 'Hillbilly Hare' might take a few minutes to really get going, its extended musical climax is one of the greatest moments in cartoon history. It never fails to have me roaring with laughter and it elevates the cartoon to the status of a true classic.
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.5
DIR: John Hubley

SUMMARY: When the Fox and Crow's musical double act is broken up by Fox's lofty aspirations to conduct a symphony orchestra, his old partner accidentally sabotages the act by switching his baton with a magician's wand.

WHY IT'S HERE: The second UPA short and their second contract-fulfilling Fox and Crow film, 'The Magic Fluke' gained the fledgling studio its second Oscar nomination. It's not hard to see why. Although the UPA directors did not want to be making a series of cartoons with recurring characters, their begrudging agreement to make a handful of Fox and Crow shorts resulted in some extremely inventive material that transcended the usual 'funny animal' setup.

What sets the Fox and Crow shorts apart most is the inconsistency of the characters. Rather than develop characters with recognisable characteristics, UPA cast the Fox and Crow in different roles and gave them different personalities with each film, meaning that they were more like visually recognisable live-action actors. This opened up the possibilities of what could be done with the duo, even as it undermined their star potential. 'The Magic Fluke' has a novel idea at its centre and emerges as a wildly entertaining piece but ultimately it also feels stylistically indecisive. The concept of a conductor's baton switched with a magician's wand is an excellent idea which results in some wonderful sequences but the central concept sits uneasily in the hip urban setting in which it is placed. A few years later Tex Avery stole the idea for his cartoon 'Magical Maestro' but he placed it in a more fitting context and had enough faith in the notion to let it carry the entire cartoon. That film was a masterpiece. 'The Magic Fluke' was, by comparison, a great little curio.
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 6.9
DIR: Robert McKimson

SUMMARY: A cat eagerly awaits the arrival of a flock of migrating swallows.

WHY IT'S HERE: Robert McKimson's 'Swallow the Leader' is a wonderful cartoon which achieves most of its appeal through some gorgeous brightly coloured layouts and a fresh setup. A hungry cat eagerly awaits the arrival of a flock of migrating swallows. What follows is essentially a spot-gag cartoon in the Road Runner tradition but it is so gorgeous to look at that even the most predictable of jokes is glorious to take in. The whole thing builds up to a fantastic finale in which the birds attack the cat en masse, which showcases McKimson at his best. From its clever double-pun title to its uplifting brightness, 'Swallow the Leader' is a joy to behold and while I am sure there are many who consider it a run-of-the-mill spot-gag cartoon, I have a special place in my heart for this lovely visual feast.
People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 6.8
DIR: Pete Burness, John Hubley

SUMMARY: Shortly after taking out a life insurance policy, the near-sighted Mr. Magoo inadvertently wanders onto a building site.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Trouble Indemnity' was the first of several Oscar nomintations for Mr. Magoo, the near-sighted old codger whose terrible eyesight got him into many deadly situations to which he was invariably oblivious. Although you couldn't get away with this sort of humour now, the Magoo shorts are lovingly made and do not come across as mean spirited. This very early entry into the series is the greatest of all Magoo shorts, in which he takes out a life insurance policy and then wanders onto a building site. It continues to confirm the dry wit of the UPA cartoons and features one of the best happening-in-the-background jokes I've seen in any medium.
People who added this item 13 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.9
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: While his owner is out for the evening, Tom decides to have the boys round but their party disrupts Jerry's sleep.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Saturday Evening Puss' is a fantastically lively Tom and Jerry cartoon, brought to life by a great jazz score. The big part that the music plays here is just one of a handful of things that make this cartoon so notable, quite apart from the fact that it is excellent in its own right. One noticeable difference here is that Tom and his cat friends have no real intention of pursuing Jerry, they just want to have a party and only respond to Jerry when he tries to break it up so he can sleep. Perhaps the most notable thing about 'Saturday Evening Puss' however, is that it is the one and only cartoon in which you get to see the face of Mammy Two-Shoes, Tom's owner who is usually portrayed only from the legs down. When Jerry alerts her to the fact that there is a wild party going on in her house, she races back home at 100mph. One of the shots of her running down the road provides a glimpse of her face, although it is only visible for two frames and when the cartoon was made no-one would have envisioned that audiences would ever be able to pause the film to see it. As a kid, me and my brother used to sit trying to pause it at the right moment on our video recorder but with frame by frame skipping buttons it is now a simple process to see what was once one of the best kept secrets in animation history - Mammy unmasked!
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
DIR: Jack Hannah, Charles A, Nichols

SUMMARY: Morris is a moose who just cannot seem to grow but he has normal sized antlers. When he meets a normal sized moose with tiny antlers, the pair quickly learn that two heads are better than one.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Morris the Midget Moose' is the sort of effortlessly charming one-shot short that the Disney studio seemed to be able to do in their sleep at this stage. Telling the story of a pair of freak moose who challenge the head moose Thunderclap together, 'Morris the Midget Moose' tells its story quickly but crams such cinematic expertise into 8 minutes that it feels like a much more expansive tale. Like 'Lambert the Sheepish Lion', a cartoon that makes a natural pairing with this one, 'Morris the Midget Moose' plays out like a lovely children's book brought to life.
People who added this item 28 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
Motor Mania (1950)
DIR: Jack Kinney

SUMMARY: Goofy portrays (among other characters) Mr. Walker, a mild-mannered everyman who undergoes a transformation when he gets behind the wheel of a car, becoming the Hyde-like Mr. Wheeler.

WHY IT'S HERE: An ingenious little cartoon about Road Rage decades before that term was coined, 'Motor Mania' is the first cartoon to star a redesigned version of Goofy in his Everyman phase. The Goofy Everyman cartoons were a risky experiment that paid off, turning out to be some of the wittiest of all the Goofy shorts. Apparently based on an idea that Walt Disney himself came up with, these shorts place Goofy in the shoes of an everyday person, tackling some of the issues that cinema-goers themselves would recognise from their own lives. Goofy was usually given the name George Geef in these shorts. In this one he portrays Mr. Walker, who turns into the demonic Mr. Wheeler when he gets in a car, although the Geef version of Goofy cameos as a neighbour who apparently doubles as narrator. With a focus on road safety, 'Motor Mania' could have been preachy but instead it opts to put comedy first and its prominent message second, making for a useful but very funny cartoon which attested to Goofy's continued versatility.
People who added this item 5 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
DIR: Friz Freleng

SUMMARY: When Captain Yosemite Sam's sole crew member escapes while his ship is in dock, he tricks Bugs Bunny into replacing him. But he gets more than he bargained for when Bugs repeatedly sinks his ship.

WHY IT'S HERE: Friz Freleng had shown what a deft hand he was at directing Bugs and Sam in a running gag short with the previous year's 'High Diving Hare'. Though not as brilliantly economical, 'Mutiny on the Bunny' continued this trick by basing a whole cartoon around how many times Bugs can sinks Sam's ship, always culminating in the same shot of a ship going down and followed by Sam noisily patching up his ship in the dock. This is a cartoon I remember being on TV very regularly when I was young and that image of Sam mending his scuppered seacraft is indelibly burned into my mind, as I'm sure it is for so many others of my generation.
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
DIR: Tex Avery

SUMMARY: A cat being pursued by a vicious bulldog hides in a box of magic tricks and discovers a ventriloquist device that allows him to throw his voice, allowing him to continually fool the dog as to his whereabouts.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Ventriloquist Cat' is not the first cartoon to use voice-throwing as the main concept for its gags but it is by far the funniest. Tex Avery once again gets the best out of a repetitive concept with pitch perfect timing, as a cat repeatedly fools a dog into thinking he is somewhere else. The jokes are great but the trump card here is the 'meow-meow' sound effect which comes out of the cat's mouth, which is so incessantly flat and annoying that it becomes cumulatively hilarious.
People who added this item 20 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 8
Cue Ball Cat (1950)
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: Tom and Jerry play out their old rivalry across the pool table.

WHY IT'S HERE: Another in the series of sporting themed Tom and Jerry shorts, 'Cue Ball Cat' keeps up the high quality, again showing how Hanna and Barbera could seemingly take any sport and wring every last possible gag out of the set-up. Seeing Tom and Jerry take each other on over the pool table may sound limiting as it confines the action to such a small space but balls, racks, cues, chalks and even the pool hall drinks dispenser are made full use of for maximum laughs.
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Hubie and Bertie convince Claude Cat that he is seriously ill.

WHY IT'S HERE:I've always been a big fan of black comedy so it's hardly surprising that Chuck Jones's Hubie and Bertie cartoons are amongst my favourite Warner creations. These fantastic shorts tackled such dark subjects as mental illness and attempted suicide but 'The Hypo-chondri-cat' is the grimmest of all, focusing on the big one; death itself. Pitted against their regular rival Claude Cat, a neurotic mess of a feline, the sadistic mice set about convincing him that he is fatally ill. This results in a terrific, nightmarishly surreal scene in which Claude visualizes himself being pursued by surgical equipment as he listens to Hubie and Bertie preparing to operate. When he comes round again is when the cartoon gets really cruel as the mice convince a terrified Claude that he didn't survive the operation. It's all very macabre but also hilarious in a deliciously sick way. The cartoon ends on a peaceful but troubling note with Claude still totally unaware he's not dead. With such dark subject matters, it's hardly surprising Hubie and Bertie didn't catch on with a 40s and 50s audience but these cartoons remain incredibly interesting and entertaining forgotten classics that give us a glimpse into the darker side of Warner animation. Riot!
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (14 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.6
Canned Feud (1951)
DIR: Friz Freleng

SUMMARY: Sylveser finds himself trapped in the house with only canned food and no can opener.

WHY IT'S HERE:Friz Freleng's 'Canned Feud' is a wonderful solo Sylvester cartoon. I always preferred Sylvester either on his own or paired with anyone but Tweety and this is one of his finest solo performances. Warren Foster's script has the inspirational twist of making a cat and mouse cartoon where the mouse is the bad guy. Sylvester does nothing to deserve the emotional and physical pummeling he gets in 'Canned Feud' and that somehow makes the experience all the more delicious. We share in Sylvester's desperation as he finds himself locked in the house for a fortnight with only canned food to eat, only to discover that a smug mouse has taken the only can opener. Like many of Freleng's best cartoons, 'Canned Feud' is extremely high-energy. Rather than start out slightly worried and build into a frenzy as the cartoon progresses, Sylvester starts at frenzy and builds to complete mental collapse. It's a classic performance by the cat, a masterclass in the art of animated physical comedy. A few fairly standard jokes are given new life by virtue of Sylvester's crazed desperation and there are tons of brilliantly original gags too. The axehead joke is one of my all-time favourites, so beautifully simple and perfectly timed. 'Canned Feud' is a Freleng masterpiece: a hysterical, frantic, claustrophobic study of obsessive desperation and unnecessary cruelty that just pulsates with energy. Up there with Freleng classics such as 'Yankee Doodle Daffy' and 'Kit for Cat'.
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 7.6
DIR: Tex Avery

SUMMARY: When a New York hipster arrives at the gates of Heaven, neither St. Peter nor Noah Webster can accurately interpret his strange manner of speaking.

WHY IT'S HERE: One of Tex Avery's most ingenious animated shorts, 'Symphony in Slang' owes its success chiefly to a brilliant script by Rich Hogan which plays on popular slang of the era to create a series of visual puns that interprets phrases like 'Cat got your tongue' and 'Born with a silver spoon in my mouth' completely literally. The design and animation here is limited, with many of the gags being presented as still images, and whether this approach was a stylistic choice, a financial requirement or an attempt to emulate the success of the UPA studio (as even Disney were doing at this stage), it works perfectly for this material. Both a great historical record of 50s slang and a gateway into wordplay, 'Symphony in Slang' is one of the cleverest of Avery's MGM cartoons.
People who added this item 33 Average listal rating (25 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: A Western parody pitting Daffy Duck, the cowboy hero, against villain Nasty Canasta.

WHY IT'S HERE:Of all Chuck Jones's brilliant genre spoofs featuring Porky Pig and Daffy Duck, 'Drip Along Daffy' is one of the best loved and is only dwarfed by the classic duo of 'Robin Hood Daffy' and 'Duck Dodgers in the 24th ยฝ Century'. A hilarious parody of Westerns, 'Drip Along Daffy' finds Daffy all too willingly taking on the role of cowboy hero. A bewhiskered Porky, we are informed by a caption, is the comedy relief. This proves to be somewhat of a misnomer as it is in fact Daffy who provides the majority of the laughs as his heroic posturing is quickly diminished by his trademark buffoonery and a frightening encounter with villain Nasty Canasta. Despite some impeccably timed physical comedy, the biggest laughs in 'Drip Along Daffy' come from the verbal gags, a particularly on form Mel Blanc nailing every line with hysterically accurate observation. I find myself particularly floored every time by Daffy's disbelieving "You wouldn't dare", as he witnesses Nasty Canasta's horrifyingly toxic drink being mixed. 'Drip Along Daffy' is another typically classy Jones film which shows exactly why he's such a treasured director. Porky's final line is the icing on the cake.
People who added this item 10 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Hubie and Bertie eat so much cheese that they become suicidal, setting a chain of death-wish events in motion.

WHY IT'S HERE: I once showed Chuck Jones's 'Cheese Chasers' to my friend Amy, who remarked that it was the strangest cartoon she'd ever seen! Part of the masterful but lesser known Hubie and Bertie series, which more often than not tackled darker subjects than most cartoons, 'Cheese Chasers' takes suicide and mental illness as its subject and runs with its unique premise to create an exceptional and exceptionally black film. Having eaten more cheese than they can stand in the space of one night, the mice Hubie and Bertie decide there is nothing left to live for and therefore they should commit suicide. This one little event throws off the natural order in the animal kingdom to the extent that a cat and a dog also long for death by the cartoons end. Subverting the usual chase formula so that each character runs away from the character they would usually be trying to catch, 'Cheese Chasers' is a unique and absolutely wonderful cartoon. Just witnessing how disturbed each animal is by the twisted turn of events is enough to equally disturb the viewer while also provoking plenty of laughter. 'Cheese Chasers' is a highlight in the too often overlooked Hubie and Bertie series, perhaps only topped by the even blacker 'The Hypo-chondri-cat'.
People who added this item 12 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: Friz Freleng

SUMMARY: Tweety is pursued by two rival cats during one icy winter day.

WHY IT'S HERE:I'm not the biggest fan of Friz Freleng's generally quite repetitive Tweety and Sylvester series of cartoons but 'Putty Tat Trouble' is definitely an exception. This is partially due to the fact that this short was regularly shown at Christmas and is therefore linked to some warm and cosy memories of childhood but it's also because 'Putty Tat Trouble' is undoubtedly one of the best Tweety and Sylvester cartoons. It is the presence of a scraggy orange cat as a rival for Sylvester that really gives 'Putty Tat Trouble' a shot in the arm. Rather than just having a bulldog occasionally wander in and clobber him, Sylvester is pitted against an equal force in terms of brains and brawn. This sets in motion a high speed pursuit/tug of war that continues throughout the whole cartoon which makes for a pacier experience than the usual pattern of blackout gags. For the most part, Tweety is little more than a baton being passed from cat to cat, a motive to trigger off a brutal war between the two felines. With its attractive snowy scenery and speedy narrative, 'Putty Tat Trouble' is a lovely cartoon to look at and the furious pace (which only breaks for a cutesy conversation between Tweety and a toy drinking bird) means that any weak or predictable gags aren't so problematic because we move so quickly onto the next one. 'Putty Tat Trouble' improves upon a rapidly wearing formula simply by throwing in an extra antagonist, a decision which results in a fast-moving, exciting and funny cartoon.
People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (9 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 7.4
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: Baby Bear atttempts to show his Pa how much he loves him with an elaborate and humiliating Father's Day display.

WHY IT'S HERE: The lesser discussed by largely hilarious Three Bears series directed by Chuck Jones drew to a close in monumentally funny style with 'A Bear for Punishment'. A very simple premise makes for an hysterical cartoon. It's Father's Day and a reluctant Papa Bear must sit through his family's attempts to honour him in more and more violent or humiliating ways. This culminates in a ridiculous variety show which climaxes with a bizarre tableau in which the Three Bears assume the roles of Washington, Lincoln and the Statue of Liberty. As well as the ample laughs, 'A Bear for Punishment' also offers a slightly tragic angle as we witness the Baby Bear's unconditional love for his Pop contrasting with Papa Bear's genuine violent contempt for his son. As well as being a triumph of timing and an ability to draw riotous comedy out of an essentially plotless cartoon, 'A Bear for Punishment' is especially notable as a performance piece, with voice artists Billy Bletcher, Bea Benederet and Stan Freberg giving the most remarkable performances they ever gave as these characters. 'A Bear for Punishment' is a fittingly uproarious finale to an under appreciated series.
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (22 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
DIR: John Hubley

SUMMARY: A retelling of the classic ballad 'Frankie and Johnny', in which Frankie's trial for murder plays out in a rhythmic manner.

WHY IT'S HERE: UPA's 'Rooty Toot Toot' was their most stylised cartoon yet. Based on the ballad 'Frankie and Johnny', 'Rooty Toot Toot' is a courtroom drama in verse. The script is good but the animation is the clincher, filling the scenario with a unique energy that could only come from UPA. With daring character design and radical use of colour (dull greys and browns dominate, often set against themselves but also juxtaposed with vibrant reds), 'Rooty Toot Toot' is an astonishing masterpiece which continued to thrust UPA into the critical spotlight.
People who added this item 46 Average listal rating (29 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: In a parody of 'The Three Musketeers', Tom must guard a lavish banquet table from Mouseketeers Jerry and Nibbles.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Two Mouseketeers' is one of the most famous Tom and Jerry shorts and was popular enough to spawn a short Mouseketeer series, including 'Touche Pussy Cat', which became the duo's final Oscar-nominated cartoon. 'The Two Mousketeers' managed to win Tom and Jerry their penultimate Oscar but it has since become one of their more derided films, usually described as a lesser replay of 'The Little Orphan' or familiar action with a new hat on. Personally, though it did beat two superior shorts to the Oscar (Disney's 'Lambert the Sheepish Lion' and UPA's 'Rooty Toot Toot'), I still think 'The Two Mouseketeers' is a lovely cartoon and the period setting is more than just window dressing, with some fun jokes about language and a particularly ferocious guillotine-based climax.
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.3
DIR: Robert McKimson

SUMMARY: The father of a lazy possum disguises himself as a hunting dog in an attempt to scare his son into doing chores.

WHY IT'S HERE:Robert McKimson's 'Sleepy Time Possum' is yet further proof that McKimson is an underrated director. A very, very funny cartoon, 'Sleepy Time Possum' pit's a chronically lazy possum against his wily father, who disguises himself as a hunting dog in order to scare his son into doing his chores. The ensuing battle is full of hilarious gags executed with a deft timing McKimson is rarely given credit for. For a cartoon based around the concept of laziness, 'Sleepy Time Possum' is full of energetic set pieces and frantic chases. The ending is unexpected and entirely satisfying. For those who write McKimson off as an inferior director, 'Sleepy Time Possum' should be part of the required viewing.
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 6.2
DIR: Robert Cannon

SUMMARY: George tells his nephew Johnny about how a pair of 'wonder gloves' transformed him from a janitor to a champion prizefighter.

WHY IT'S HERE: Robert Cannon's 'Wonder Gloves' is one of the great underrated shorts in the UPA canon. Beautifully rendered in bright colours and thick black lines, 'Wonder Gloves' opens with a man finding his nephew playing with a pair of boxing gloves he's discovered in a trunk. He warns his sceptical nephew that the gloves are 'dynamite' and that they made him a prizefighting champion. As he begins to narrate his story, the narration immediately drops out and we are treated to a balletic pantomime of the tale in which not a word is spoken. It's typical of the unusual approach taken by UPA to each and every short and it works fantastically.
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 7.9
Chow Hound (1951)
DIR: Chuck Jones

SUMMARY: A dog uses a kidnapped cat and mouse in an elaborate scheme to obtain food... but he takes the scheme too far.

WHY IT'S HERE:Chuck Jones's 'Chow Hound' is a legendary cult classic, renowned for its extremely dark plot (from a beautiful script by Michael Maltese). It would make a great double bill with Jones's equally dark 'Fresh Airedale' since both cartoons feature villainous dogs mercilessly exploiting innocent cats. The main difference is that in 'Chow Hound' the villain actually gets his comeuppance in a gruesomely unforgettable final twist. To say too much more about 'Chow Hound's' plot would be to spoil it but special mention must go to the exceptional characterisation that Jones teases out of even the most minor of players. All three of the cat's unwitting shared owners are brilliantly rendered without the audience ever seeing their faces, a little mouse steals every scene he appears in and the villainous dog is a truly despicable and genuinely threatening presence. 'Chow Hound' is thoroughly deserving of its cult status and will remain in any viewers mind long after the chilling iris out.
People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Johann Mouse (1952)
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: Set in Vienna, Johann Mouse tells the story of a mouse called Johann (Jerry) who is mesmerized by piano music, and the cat (Tom) who learns to play the piano in order to exploit this.

WHY IT'S HERE: For the course of about a decade, Tom and Jerry owned the Oscars, winning the Animated Short Oscar seven times, including a run of four consecutive years. 'Johann Mouse' marked the last time the cat and mouse duo won the Oscar. Although some Tom & Jerry fans dislike it for its slower pacing and different approach, 'Johann Mouse' is an absolutely wonderful cartoon. Transplanting the duo to Vienna, the cartoon is based on the music of Johann Strauss and is told in a storybook style, complete with a narrator. It trades in the usual wham-bam slapstick antics for a slow, considered musical story which is pitch perfect. The scene in which Tom learns to play the piano is a classic belly laugh.
People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.7
DIR: Wilfred Jackson

SUMMARY: A little house struggles to adapt as its idyllic life is disrupted by progress.

WHY IT'S HERE: Narrated by Sterling Holloway, as so many of Disney's shorts from this era were, 'The Little House' is interesting for several reasons. Chief among these is the place it holds in the small subgenre of personified inanimate object films. There were several of these shorts around in this era, with cars being a favourite object to breathe life into (Disney's own 'Susie the Little Blue Coupe' came out the same year as 'The Little House') but 'The Little House' is significantly different in that a house is such a cumbersome, rooted object to make into a character. Fortunately, this is turned into a plus point, as the story (based on the children's book by Virginia Lee Burton) relies on the fact that the house cannot move and must remain in one spot as the world progresses around it. There is a very conservative, anti-progress feel to this short, the like of which Disney is frequently and erroneously accused of surreptitiously including. There is nothing subtle about this though, as the cartoon ends by openly stating that the best place to find happiness is in a little house in the country.
People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 6.6
The Oompahs (1952)
DIR: Robert Cannon

SUMMARY: A family of brass instruments come to conflict when their son Orville wants to play hot jazz with his friends instead of classical.

WHY IT'S HERE: In a parody of 'The Jazz Singer', Robert Cannon's 'The Oompahs' follows the story of a family of brass instruments. Papa the tuba wants his son Orville to play classical music but Orville wants to express himself his own way and falls ill in his depressed state. The message is an old one but the modernist style sees UPA taking another defiant step further into minimalism. Had 'The Oompahs' been made by Disney they would undoubtedly have given the musical instruments human features (as they had done so memorably in 1935's 'Music Land') but UPA opt to make the characters nothing more than floating versions of the instruments they represent, moving cumbersomely around the frame but somehow still capturing the essence of each character.
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (18 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Rabbit's Kin (1952)
DIR: Robert McKimson

SUMMARY: Bugs Bunny and hs nephew take on the bizarre, obsessive Pete Puma.

WHY IT'S HERE:Robert McKimson's 'Rabbit's Kin' is an extremely memorable cartoon entirely because of the villain, Pete Puma. A popular character despite the fact that he only appeared in this cartoon (he was later revived as the Looniversity janitor on 'Tiny Toon Adventures'), Pete Puma is hilariously voiced by Stan Freberg. Freberg's unique voice characterisation is at once hysterically funny and somewhat disturbing. Pete Puma sounds like a desperate junkie searching for his next fix. Bugs' heckling in this cartoon is distinctly underwhelming, based entirely around the old "How many lumps do you want?" gag but this marginalisation of Bugs seems to be entirely intentional in order to throw the spotlight more prominently on the frighteningly odd antics of Pete Puma. Once experienced, Stan Freberg's unique vocal performance will be with you forever. Just witness the horrendously troubling drag scene for proof! All in all, 'Rabbit's Kin' could have been a dull cartoon if it weren't for its bizarre one shot villain. As a script, it would read as lacklustre. As a performance piece, its fantastic.
People who added this item 82 Average listal rating (53 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Neighbours (1952)
DIR: Norman McLaren

SUMMARY: Two neighbours live peacefully side by side until a single flower blooms between their properties and they fight to the death over who is the rightful owner of it.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Neighbours' is a classic anti-war film by Norman McLaren which uses the rare technique of Pixilation. Pixilation is a process in which live actors are used as stop-motion objects to disorienting and creepy effect. McLaren's pacifist short portrays the escalating war between two neighbours over ownership of a flower. In the process of this war the pair destroy themselves and everything around them. One particularly controversial scene in which they kill each other's wives and children, was originally removed from the film but reinstated when the film became popular again during the Vietnam war. Hard-hitting in its directness and unsettling in its eerie animation techniques, this classic short oddly won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. While it has often been argued as to whether it actually qualifies as animation or not, the satirical drama of 'Neighbours' is no more documentary than the Antipodean soap that shares its name!
People who added this item 6 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8
DIR: Tex Avery

SUMMARY: Spike the dog gets a job looking after the house of a hibernating bear. The problem is that the bear is violently opposed to noise and Spike happens to have an exploitative rival.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Rock-a-Bye Bear', for my money, is one of the most gut-bustingly hilarious cartoons Tex Avery ever directed. Though not generally considered among his classics, 'Rock-a-Bye Bear' still makes me roar with laughter every time I see it. Similar in theme to the classic Tom and Jerry short 'Quiet Please', 'Rock-a-Bye Bear' features a dog trying desperately not to wake up a violent-tempered hibernating bear. The bear, who apparently can't stand noise, is actually one of the loudest characters ever animated, a classic comedy contrast that Avery exploits to characteristic extremes. This cartoon also features the most successful example of a gag that Avery would return to again and again in other cartoons, in which a character is forced to run backwards and forwards to a safe hiding place in order to let out a loud noise. Avery made cartoons with greater technical flourishes and more unusual moods but 'Rock-a-Bye Bear' is perhaps the quintessential example of his skill for comedic extremes.
People who added this item 25 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 5.4 IMDB Rating 6.1
DIR: Anthony Rizzo

SUMMARY: The United States Government's public information film about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'Duck and Cover' has become something of a cult artefact, chiefly because of its ridiculous assertion that getting under a desk and covering your head with your hands will make a significant difference in an atomic explosion. Very little of this 9 minute short is actually animated but notably the poster boy for the Duck and Cover campaign is Bert the Turtle, whose retraction into his shell in the face of danger could only have been bettered as a metaphor for hiding your head in the face of facts if they had used an ostrich as the symbol of their campaign. 'Duck and Cover' is amusing in a way but also chilling in its uselessness, a theme explored hauntingly in the 80s animated feature 'When the Wind Blows'. It is also notable for its uncompromising obliteration of a monkey, which is played twice in the opening moments.
People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (7 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
DIR: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

SUMMARY: When Jerry teams up with a canary that Tom is trying to eat and the two take sanctuary in a very tall bird house, Tom takes to the sky to catch him.

WHY IT'S HERE: 'The Flying Cat' is another Tom and Jerry cartoon with a simple concept but which works wonderfully thanks to some very funny antics. In fact, my brother and I used to particularly wait for this cartoon to come round on TV as we found it so funny. Like so many chase film series before it, the Tom and Jerry series would occasionally base a whole plot around putting a particular obstacle in Tom's way and then having him try to overcome it. 'The Flying Cat' shows that Hanna and Barbera were masters at this, finding and using every last gag without resorting to timeworn routines as Friz Freleng's Sylvester and Tweety cartoons so often did.
People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.7
Ben and Me (1953)
DIR: Hamilton Luske

SUMMARY: The story of Amos the mouse, an unknown historical figure who played a large part in the career of Benjamin Franklin.

WHY IT'S HERE: Disney's 'Ben and Me' is a terrific two-reeler short that began a run of 20 minute featurettes in which Disney did some of their best work of the 50s and 60s. Based on Robert Lawson's children's book of the same name and starring (of course) Sterling Holloway as the voice of Amos, 'Ben and Me' benefits greatly from having the extra room to breathe and not attempting to cram its story into a seven minute runtime. It may seem questionable to base a story around crediting an important historical figure's entire life's work to a mouse but 'Ben and Me' is playful and tongue in cheek enough to pull it off, even when it does go so far as to portray Benjamin Franklin as something of a jerk in his treatment of Amos. The short, oddly enough, was nominated for an Oscar not in the Best Animated Short category but in the Best Short Subject - Two Reeler category.

As an animation fan, particularly of the animated short, I have found a disappointing dearth of literature on the medium. Having loved the '1001' series of books, I always hoped that maybe this rich source of filmmaking might be tapped into to produce a book collecting some of the essential animated shorts out there. Finally I thought 'Well, no-one else is going to do it' and decided to put together my own list. Although the complete list is already compiled (but subject to change should new notable animated shorts come out in the meantime), I have decided to publish it in chunks of 50, giving me time to write comments for each title, and so that anyone who wants to attempt watching all the films has time to do so. This is not meant to be a definitive list but a list of 1001 animated shorts that, whether for historical significance, innovation, artistic excellence or just sheer entertainment value, demand to be seen by all fans of this underrated and exceptional medium.

Part 6 covers the years 1949 - 1953, including: The final Oscar wins for Tom and Jerry as the series heads towards wind-down; a clutch of classics from the thriving UPA studio; the beginning of Goofy's everyman series; the continued brilliance of Warner Bros. and Tex Avery's MGM shorts; the controversial 'Neighbours' by Norman McLaren and the Disney two-reeler 'Ben and Me' are strangely nominated for Oscars in non-animation categories.

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