The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is a 1946 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon directed by Bob Clampett.[2] The cartoon was released on July 20, 1946, and stars Daffy Duck.[3]

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
The Great Piggy Bank Robbery Lobby Card.PNG
Directed byRobert Clampett
Produced byEdward Selzer (uncredited)
Story byWarren Foster
StarringMel Blanc
(all voices)
Music byMusical Direction:
Carl W. Stalling
Orchestration:
Milt Franklyn (uncredited)
Edited byTreg Brown (uncredited)
Animation byRod Scribner
Manny Gould
C. Melendez
I. Ellis
Uncredited animation:
Fred Abranz[1]
A.C. Gamer (effects)
Layouts byThomas McKimson
Backgrounds byPhilip DeGuard
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
  • July 20, 1946 (1946-07-20)
Running time
7:35
LanguageEnglish

The short is Clampett's penultimate Warner cartoon, produced shortly before he left the studio.

PlotEdit

On a farm, Daffy awaits his new Dick Tracy comic book to the tune of Raymond Scott's song "Powerhouse." The mailman then arrives, delivering the comic book. To the tune of Franz von Suppé's Poet and Peasant overture, he sprints to a corner of the farm and begins reading it, noting how much he "love(s) that man!." At one point in this issue, Dick Tracy is fighting Noodlenose. Imagining what it would be like to be Dick Tracy, he knocks himself out with his own fist.

While unconscious, he dreams he is "Duck Twacy, the famous de-tec-a-tive." He dismisses a series of calls asking about stolen piggy banks as too inconsequential for him, suggesting the callers had been too reckless, until he finds that his own piggy bank has been stolen from his safe. He decides to call Duck Twacy (at one point having a phone conversation with himself) before he realizes he himself is Duck Twacy. He calls a taxi to follow a car without him, just to keep the bad guys on their toes.

Daffy's search leads him to cross paths with Sherlock Holmes, then onto a streetcar (driven by a mustachioed Porky Pig in a silent cameo) leading to the gangsters' not-so-secret hideout. He falls through a trapdoor when he rings the doorbell, and follows footprints, even climbing up a wall (which makes him think that the culprit might be the Human Fly) to a mousehole. He concludes that the culprit is "Mouse Man," demanding, "Come out of there, you rat!"—whereupon a huge, muscular, and angry mouse emerges, and towers over him. Gulping in fear, Daffy timidly tells him to go back in again, and so he does. He runs away, but is surrounded by all the dangerous criminals in town (many of which are parodies of Dick Tracy's rogues gallery),[4] and consisting of:

  • Snake Eyes – (spoof of B.B. Eyes, who has dice for eyes)
  • 88 Teeth – (spoof of 88 Keys, with piano keys for teeth)
  • Hammerhead – (a gangster with a hammer for a head)
  • Pussycat Puss – (a cat gangster who bears some resemblance to Sylvester)
  • Bat Man – (an anthropomorphic baseball bat who is a name parody of the comics character Batman)
  • Doubleheader – (a two-headed baseball player spoof of Tulza "Haf and Haf" Tuzon)
  • Pickle Puss – (a pickle spoof of Pruneface)
  • Pumpkinhead – (a gangster with a jack-o'-lantern for a head)
  • Neon Noodle – (a neon spoof of Frankenstein's monster)
  • Jukebox Jaw – (a criminal with a jukebox speaker for a jaw and a turntable on top of his head)
  • Wolf Man – (a wolf gangster)
  • Rubberhead – (a pencil eraser-headed gangster)

...and a host of other unnamed grotesque criminals. He then, with a certain lack of tactical sense, declares "You're all under arrest!" The villains then roar at our hero and the chase begins.

In one sequence, the bad guys are seen using well-known Dick Tracy villain Flattop's head as an airstrip with planes taking off. When Daffy is trapped against a wall, Rubberhead "rubs him out" with his eraser head, but Daffy immediately reappears. Pumpkinhead moves in with submachine guns blazing. Daffy tosses a hand grenade directly to Pumpkinhead and he becomes a stack of pumpkin pies.

As most of the villains jump to trap him in a closet, Daffy squirms out, slams the door shut on them, and eradicates the group with sustained fire from a Tommy gun. He opens the door, and the bullet-riddled bodies fall like dominoes. Neon Noodle (who survived because he is a mere neon outline with no physical "center" for Daffy to shoot) sneaks up on Daffy and tries to strangle him. Daffy defeats him by turning him into a neon sign that reads "Eat at Joe's" (a standard WB cartoon gag).

Daffy then finds the missing piggy banks, including his own. He begins to kiss his bank but, since he is dreaming, he does not realize that he is on the farm again, kissing a real female pig. The plump-yet-curvaceous pig is rather smitten by Daffy since she believes he is trying to woo her with the barrage of smooches he plants all over her face. He wraps his kisses up with a peck to the cute pig's nose. In an elegant female voice, she asks, "Shall we dance?" and lovingly kisses him right on the mouth. Now wide awake, Daffy wipes the kiss away disgustedly and runs away. The lady pig then remarks, "I love that duck!," and laughs.

ReceptionEdit

Animation historian Steve Schneider writes, "Banners and bouquets to the great Bob C. for this still-astonishing melange of ultra-silliness and film noir. He creates a realm where stylizations feed into the fugue states so beloved of the director, where animation's capacity for compressing and distending space and time (and bodies!) is stunningly realized, where terror and hilarity are shown to be natural bedmates, and where the whacked-out visions come so fast and thick that the thing seems to anticipate MTV by forty years."[5]

Allusions and influenceEdit

LegacyEdit

Animation historian Steve Schneider said of this picture:

...Bob Clampett's forever priceless The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is clearly a work of the highest cinematic poetry, for prompting the film's manic hilarity are a sequence of images that remain among the most indelible in cartoon history.[7]

Animator John Kricfalusi (creator of Ren and Stimpy) called The Great Piggy Bank Robbery his favorite cartoon: "I saw this thing and it completely changed my life, I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen, and I still think it is."[8]

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery was the first of several cartoons in which Daffy Duck would do a parody of a well-known character, but the only one in which he was actually competent. In other take-offs, such as The Scarlet Pumpernickel, he was somewhat buffoonish, though still able to intimidate the bad guys. But, in later stories such as Stuporduck, Boston Quackie, Robin Hood Daffy and Deduce, You Say? (in which he played "Doorlock Holmes"), Daffy was hopelessly outmatched.

In 1994 it was voted No. 16 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Animation Breakdowns #13". Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 169. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  3. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 70–72. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Schneider, Steve (1988). That's All, Folks! : The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Henry Holt and Co. p. 83. ISBN 0-8050-0889-6.
  5. ^ Beck, Jerry, ed. (2020). The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons. Insight Editions. p. 78. ISBN 978-1-64722-137-9.
  6. ^ Billy Ingram. "The Beulah Show". Retrieved 2006-09-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b Beck, Jerry (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Turner Publishing. ISBN 978-1878685490.
  8. ^ Kricfalusi, John (2004). Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 DVD commentary for the short The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (DVD). Warner Home Video.

External linksEdit