Sunday, February 28, 2016


...sorry.  I've literally run out of headlines!  I need to go on a retreat or something.  Anyway, as David Letterman might quip, if he were a student of Looney Tunes, about Golden Yeggs he might say "Now there's your million dollar cartoon right there.  Straightforward, good vs. evil, slapstick..."  Of course, he was more of a Beavis and Butt-Head kinda guy.  Sure, Letterman interviewed Mel Blanc back in the day, but what did Mel ever do for him?  Damn little, if memory serves.
But if you are indeed a fan of complicated plots a la The Sixth Sense and what not, then Golden Yeggs is probably not for you.  In fact, there's probably damn few Looney Tunes with such a complex plot, but they find greatness in their own ways.  Now, sure, Golden Yeggs is kind of a variation on Friz's earlier Slick Hare.  There's the countdown, the threat of violence, the thrill of an impending deadline... but this time, it's not old softie Humphrey Bogart pulling the strings!


But before we get into all that, here's a Moment of Zen for you: a pig feeding a bunch of chickens!  I have this one on my portable device, and I found myself going back eight seconds and watching this scene over and over again.  I was just mesmerized by it, hypnotized even.  Porky Pig saying "Here, chi, uh ch-chi uh chi-chick!"  Now, I've recorded the clucking of chickens myself, and Golden Yeggs does indeed have some of the real deal in it.  But then, here comes Mel Blanc playing the panicked chicken.  Terrific.  Way to break the spell, guys.
And so, we find out what all the fuss is about.  There's a golden egg in the henhouse.  Capitalist dreams suddenly fill Porky's eyes.  He's struck it rich, or so it would seem.  Now the investigation begins.  Which of his flock produced the egg?  You know, everyone always gives credit to Shrek for really skewering the Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes of old... and to a lesser extent, the Hoodwinked! series.  WHAT ABOUT LOONEY TUNES?!!!  What about Foney Fables?  Am I the only one on this coast who's seen it?  Surely there's one or two of the original animators in a home somewhere, muttering about how they didn't draw Bugs Bunny, they drew pictures of Bugs Bunny.  They believe there is a difference.


Amid all the publicity... oh, right.  I forgot.  So, this new Hick Goose character, straight from an Art Davis Looney Tunes, is the one who actually laid the egg, but Hick Goose gives the credit to Daffy Duck, who's playing a regular black duck in this one.  All the chickens hail Daffy a hero, something Daffy's so not used to, but will gladly take credit for.  And so, a publicity campaign begins.  Newspaper headlines.  Cover of Life Magazine, no less!  Which, as it turns out, is read by the mob.  Mel Blanc's short mobster is reading the magazine, and says to his goons, "We're going into the poultry business."  Clearly this isn't the funny mobster of Bugs Bunny's The Unmentionables, but oh well.
I remember seeing the scene with Porky's bruised head as a lad, and not being able to internalize it all quickly enough.  Ah, the days before TiVo.  Porky's got a couple bucks in his hand for his troubles... a pig with hands that was feeding chickens.  The wonders never cease.  And so, a quick-cross fade later, and Daffy's being forced to lay golden eggs for the mob.
Of course, the mob aren't complete monsters.  After the initial round of holding a gun on Daffy, Daffy comes up with the idea that he needs a more pleasing setting in order to lay another golden egg.  And so, the mobsters move him to a place in sunny Beverly Hills, with a pool and everything.  Daffy's finally enjoying himself, floating there in the pool and sipping a drink.  But every paradise comes with a price, and soon the mobsters return, wanting that damn golden egg.  Daffy, lost in the moment, daydreaming of a bygone era, gives some half-assed reason why he can't be bothered with the filthy task at hand, and he goes right back to daydreaming.
Well, the mobsters soon take care of this indignity!  Nick, the tiny boss's big goon, fires a pool torpedo from his handgun and sinks Daffy's raft with a mighty screen-engulfing explosion.  Daffy uses the occasion to treat it like the sinking of the Lusitania.  Very odd, and if you're part of the ever-watchful Creepy Police, this might set off a few alarms in that direction.


It's the final, absolute last straw for Daffy with the mobsters.  And so, the final deadline is handed down: a golden egg in five minutes, or else... it's a compressed five minutes, obviously.  More like about two and a half in terms of screen time, but you get the idea.  And so, like Daffy and Porky trying to escape the hotel in Porky Pig's Feat, Daffy tries various methods to escape the hotel he's been moved to.  I believe this also informed Stephen King's thinking when he came up with the first story of Cat's Eye... love that messed-up '80s movie.
...okay, I've done the necessary stats.  So, depending upon your point of view, the final ultimatum either starts at 4:11 with the initial proposal, or it starts when Mugsy Rocky leaves the room at 4:27 and the hotel door slams.  I'm assuming that the five minutes ends after Daffy bashes the noisy clock to bits, and the three gangsters reappear in the extra-wide doorway that accommodates them all, which happens at 6:00 in the proceedings.  Therefore, it's a five minutes that either lasts 1:49 or 1:33.  Ah, the power of cinema.
"No egg?" asks the diminutive Mafia head.  Daffy gulps and says "Uh uh!"  This is why Mel Blanc is so revered as a Thespian, you see.
And now, that thin line between violence cartoonish and all-too-real gets crossed.  But to be fair, Daffy only gets the top feathers on his head shot off.  Again, not the cute, cuddly mobsters of The Unmentionables who eventually get turned into, or stuck inside of, a couple of cereal boxes.  Thinking he has crossed over into the next life, Daffy's eyes glaze over and turn into a circle with a tiny dot in the center, and we hear a Clampett "Boink!" sound.  Daffy looks and... how about that?  A golden egg!  Daffy, in his usual happy go lucky style, says "Just goes to show you!  You don't know what you can do 'til you got a gun against your head!"  The NRA should really hold that aloft as a great reason for the existence of guns, let alone gun ownership in general.  Frankly, the whole argument about the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, well, sure, it's got a Zen-ish quality to it and all, and the whole cut and paste aspect to it, repeating the "guy with a gun" part, but even the best of quotes get stale after a while.  I go back to the college admissions guy who told a group of us that he's just so sick of that Gandhi qoute... quote about being the change in the world.  What about his suffering at his job?  I mean, what?


Where was I?  Oh yeah.  While Daffy's Takeaway (c) from this Teachable Moment (TM) is that it's all about the gun, for the rest of us the Aesop's fable lesson is probably "Never take credit for an egg you didn't lay, especially a golden one."  Particularly in the modern era, even when this cartoon was made, when thoughts turn more industrial than ever.  Now sure, Rube Goldberg himself probably never invented a machine that contained parts such as a psychotic mobster with a gun and a golden-egg-laying fowl, which is where the mob comes in.  It's all about the money, right?  And when Daffy sees that room full of empty egg cartons, and the mobster tells him to fill them up, Daffy's eyes turn to either crosses or plus signs when he faints, depending on your perspective.
And now that I've finally turned off even my most fervent readers, I might as well bring up one of Friz's compilation movies that contains extra footage, probably The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie... HAH! Nailed it.  They show Daffy filling up those boxes and getting shot in the head.  Eventually, paramedics come to take an exhausted, traumatized Daffy away.  Someone asks Daffy if they can get him anything.  Daffy simply says "Get me a proctologist!"  Oh, these affairs just aren't for kids.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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