Daffy Doodles (1946)

Director: Robert McKimson
Animation: Robert McKimson, Manny Gould, Rod Scribner, Basil Davidovich
Layout and Backgrounds: Thomas McKimson and Michael Sasanoff
Voice Characterisation: Mel Blanc
Musical Director: Carl W Stalling
Cast: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig
Date of release: 6th April 1946

A villain is at large, someone is painting mustaches on all the advertising boards in the city. That someone is Daffy Duck, who proudly proclaims his compulsion to paint mustaches on posters advertising hoardings in verse:

“Science is some folk’s calling,
Others is piloting a ship.
My mission in life stated simply is…
A mustache on every lip!”

Daffy goes to great lengths to fulfill his affliction including a short where he manipulates an elaborate device of many drawing hands to paint mustaches on many advertising boards simultaneously. The frantic police set a trap for the “Mustache Maniac” in the form of Porky Pig holding an empty picture frame and posing as an advertisement. Daffy leaves a parcel with the word “Do not open until Xmas” on it. When Porky succumbs and he opens the box, Daffy leaps out and draws a luxurious mustache on Porky’s face. It was only the second watching where I noted that Daffy has effectively delivered himself! Clever that duck.

Daffy escapes down into the subway where he successfully paints mustaches on all the commuters traveling in a passing subway train.

There is a successful “camera turn” sequence where we follow Porky down the street, furious at Daffy’s antics and the “camera” swings to behind Porky who finds a collection of film posters including stars of the day such as Pete Lorre, Humphrey Bogart and Bugs Bunny, all with mustaches.

I check out a couple of prints of this a.p.p cartoon and concluded that colour palette for this cartoon is pretty limited. There is a certain art-deco charm to the city scape backgrounds they are really quite drab.

The highlight for this pretty poor cartoon is a sequence where Daffy complete his “masterpiece” by swinging on a window cleaners rope to paint a three story high mustache on the face of a model in a skyscraper advertisement. While he swings he recites the following:

“She was an acrobat’s daughter,
She swung by her teeth from a noose,
But one matinee, her bridge-work gave way,
And she flew through the air like a goose.”

Daffy swings down onto a rooftop, with a really peculiarly ineffective landing. He feigns drunkenness and when confronted by Porky threatens to commit suicide. Daffy leaps of the lend and lands on the ledge a couple of feet below, where Daffy has an ideal opportunity to paint another mustache on Porky’s astonished face. There’s a lovely loop on Porky chasing Daffy around the ledge of the building a couple of times, then in turn Duffy chasing Porky on a motorbike. The pair fall through a skylight and inexplicably end up seeing stars and rubbing their heads on the street below. Poor!

My favourite moment of the picture is during a chase in which Daffy repeatedly paints mustaches on Porky, Daffy stops at a corner and proceeds to paint a luxurious black mustache in mid-air. The gravity-defying black painted mustache, hangs in the air, until Porky runs around the corner, straight into it and ends up with yet another black mustache.

When Daffy is finally apprehended and brought before a huge bulldog of a judge he is acquitted by a jury of Jerry Colonna’s (a popular comedian of the day, famous for his handle bar mustache). A penitent Daffy swears never to draw another mustache again because he’s switched to beards instead. He quickly paints one on the judge and then paints the camera and brings the picture to a close of darkness.

Although this was the short picture debut of one of the finest animators of all time, Robert McKimson, it is not very enjoyable. Aside from a nice script, the scenery was drab and the gags few and far between.

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