Shrunken Cinema/Termite Terrace/The Awful Orphan

From Eccentric Flower

The Awful Orphan

1947

Summary: An obnoxious dog tries to get Porky to adopt him.

Director: Chuck Jones

Writer: Michael Maltese

Featuring: Porky Pig.

Onreel

0:16 Sound cue under titles: "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby."

0:37 Sound cue: "Forty-Second Street."

0:44 Charlie the dog with the crowd around him is meant to invoke a New York City street hawker, a plague which persists to this day. (That said, I think this sequence is the only one in the cartoon where the dog actually amuses me.)

1:20 Sound cue during the "canary" arrival: "Listen To the Mockingbird."

1:32 "I d-d-ddistinctly told them to send me a canary, n-n-not a monster." Clearly he has never met Tweety.

2:43 Porky appears to have some very Picasso-like nudes on his wall.

2:45 Sound cue when Porky has been placed in the chair in a smoking jacket: "Home Sweet Home."

2:57 Sound cue: "Rock-a-Bye Baby," of course. This sequence has been cut during some airings of this cartoon by the squeamish.

4:38 Another surprisingly cubist or surrealist work of art on the wall (there's a third one later). I wouldn't have expected that of Porky's tastes.

4:47 Sound cue: "I'd Be Lost Without You."

5:18 One source says Charlie's "How do you do?" here is meant to evoke the "Mad Russian" shtick of character actor Bert Gordon. (In case the sound cues and the accent and the Russian uniform weren't enough ....)

5:20 Sound cue (there were also hints of it as Porky dashed off with the package): "Song of the Volga Boatmen." The kick-dancing, though, is a different Russian folk cue. (My favorite use of it is combined with the "Chicken Reel" in The Big Snooze.)

6:07 Sound cue: "Puddin' Head Jones." Charlie is looking at old-fashioned stereograms, where the two slightly different images are combined, via the viewer, to appear to be a three-dimensional image.

7:08 Sound cue: "Let the Rest of the World Go By."

Offreel

The disadvantage of attempting to look at all these cartoons comprehensively is that I have to watch the ones I find personally dislikeable as well (see also Tweety comment above). Cartoons starring Porky Pig, who bores me, are already not especially high on my list unless Daffy is making his life miserable in them; but watching Charlie the Dog accomplishes the feat of making me sympathetic for Porky. Sending that dog to Siberia is too good for him. Still, I'm sure some people like Charlie, and you'll find his cartoons itemized in the Lost and Found.

The prototype of Charlie (called "Rover") appeared in a Bob Clampett cartoon called Porky's Pooch, and Chuck Jones did not significantly change anything in the formula other than renaming the dog for the five cartoons he did with essentially the same plot as the Clampett cartoon - the final two without Porky, as they were after the end of the 1940's when no one knew who Porky was anymore.

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