From A to Z-Z-Z-Z
From A to Z-Z-Z-Z is a 1954 animated cartoon short by Chuck Jones in the Looney Tunes (reissued as Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies in 1961) series. It was released by Warner Bros. on Oct. 16, 1954. Written by Michael Maltese and produced by Edward Selzer, it was animated by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Ben Washam. Voice actors Dick Beals, Mel Blanc, and Norman Nesbitt were uncredited. Sources are divided whether the uncredited teacher was voiced by Bea Benaderet
|From A to Z-Z-Z-Z|
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Written by||Michael Maltese|
|Music by||Carl Stalling|
|Animation by||Ken Harris|
|Layouts by||Maurice Noble|
|Backgrounds by||Philip DeGuard|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|October 16, 1954|
The short was nominated for "Best Short Subject, Cartoons" at the 1954 Academy Awards.
The cartoon begins with an exterior shot of an elementary school classroom. Through the windows, schoolchildren are visible at their desks. They are learning arithmetic by rote. The main character, Ralph Phillips, is bored with this lesson; on seeing a bird outside, he imagines that he is free to use his arms and legs to propel himself through the air.
Miss Wallace interrupts this daydream and sends Ralph to the blackboard to add a column of numbers. He is so intimidated by the problem, he fantasizes that the numbers come to life and laugh at him. He appears as a chalk drawing on the blackboard, sneaks toward the numbers and removes the line above where the sum should be; the numbers (having no support) collapse. A 5 suddenly stands up, using a 4 as a sword and Ralph fights it using the line as a weapon. Ralph sticks the line into the 5, defeating it. The other numbers get up and give chase. Ralph takes the capital D and Y from the alphabet row above and uses them to make a bow and arrow; he fires at an 8, destroying it. He then takes the dot from both the lowercase i and j and loads them into the i. He then uses the i as a weapon similar to a shotgun.
Back in the classroom, he finds the geography lesson tedious until the sight of a fish in an aquarium triggers his next daydream — as a deep-sea diver, without gear, who kills a shark which is guarding an immobilized submarine. He then lifts the submarine, allowing it to float freely to safety (on board is Miss Wallace dressed as a nurse; she holds up a sign reading, "Oh, thank you, thank you, Ralph!'). As Ralph is acknowledging this, an octopus tentacle grabs him around his throat; this turns out to be Miss Wallace escorting him by his shirt into the corner, for not paying attention during class.
This, however, does not stop him from turning the classroom into a boxing ring where he knocks out the champ. As he is celebrating this, the scene segues back into the classroom, where the boxing ring bell turns out to be the classroom bell. The children have all left for the day and Miss Wallace tells Ralph he may go too. As he is walking from the room, Ralph imagines himself as a striding Douglas MacArthur and repeats the general's most famous line: "I shall return."