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October 2019
My Top Ten Daffy Duck CartoonsWelcome one and all to my next countdown of cartoons! This time we’re going back much further, from SpongeBob back into the Golden Age of Animation, for a countdown of my personal top ten picks for the best cartoons of Daffy Duck.I grew up with the Looney Tunes. Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Sylvester, and many others, they were all a big part of my childhood, thanks to my father being a big fan of the classic cartoons and having many tapes of the gang from Warner Bros.Like I said before with my SpongeBob countdown, I’m not really in the business of creating “best of” lists, but I decided to try and throw my hat into the ring and offer my own, personal opinions on the character and his filmography.Also, like before, this was a hard list to work out! I ended up having to come up with an “honorable mentions” section just to mention some cartoons that I really liked but found unable to put into the official countdown. (And even then, there are cartoons that I still love but had to ax from the honorable mentions as well… so please, don’t be bothered if you read this whole writeup and don’t find a choice cartoon here.)So with all of that being said… let’s dive into this countdown, and see what that wise-quacking little black duck has to offer us.Number Ten: "The Ducksters" (1950)Daffy Duck and Porky Pig have starred in a variety of cartoons together over the course of the 30s, 40s and onward, but has their rivalry ever been as sadistic as in this cartoon? Porky is a contestant on the radio quiz show Truth or AAAAAHHH!!! (Based on the popular radio show of the day, “Truth or Consequences”.) Daffy is the merciless host, putting the stammering pig through hell in the name of making Porky “pay the penalty” for missing questions, taking too long to answer, or whatever other infraction the black duck can think of. While Porky ultimately is able to turn the tables and give Daffy his comeuppance, this is definitely one of Chuck Jones' crueler cartoons.It’s anarchic mayhem in the most Looney Tunes manner possible, and yet there are still some distinct touches of Chuck Jones’ style in this cartoon. Daffy is very much a screwball prankster in this cartoon, running rings around Porky for much of the runtime of this feature, and yet he does underestimate his victim at a few crucial moments – in particular whenever Porky actually loses his temper and threatens violence against Daffy. (Though that doesn’t stop Daffy from plugging his sponsor at one point, like any good radio shill of the day would )Expressions play a very funny role in this cartoon, to go along with the liberal application of mallets to heads, dynamite, and other forms of over-the-top abuse inflicted on either contestant or M.C. Just look at Daffy’s face when Porky gets a ridiculously obscure question right. That expression of stunned shock, followed by his eyes darting to the answer sheet, is every bit as sidesplittingly funny as any bit of scene-chewing bouncing around. (“No coaching, please!”) The jokes in this cartoon work on two levels, being both physical and verbal humor aplenty - as well as just fitting quite well to the characters. Porky can't get the easy questions right because of his stutter, and even when he wins, he loses. Daffy can run rings around Porky at first, but ultimately sows the seed for his own downfall. In many ways this cartoon foreshadows many of Jones' later cartoons with these two later down the line. Regardless, "The Ducksters" is still a gleeful bit of dark fun. Number Nine: "Duck Soup to Nuts" (1944)In this cartoon from Friz Freleng, Daffy is once again being hunted. Unlike the usual expectation, his pursuer is not Elmer Fudd but Porky Pig – and Daffy is even less intimidated by the pantsless pig than he is of the regular Looney Tunes hunter, and brother does it show in this cartoon. Daffy pretty much runs circles around Porky from the instant the stuttering would-be sportsman arrives on the scene. Not frightened at all by Porky’s gun, Daffy instead badgers him with boasts of how he is no ordinary duck (he even flashes his contract with Warner Bros at one moment!) and in short order winds up chasing the pig around a rock.Poor Porky seems outwitted at every turn. Perhaps the crowning moment of this is in a hilarious sequence where Daffy tricks Porky into believing that he’s an eagle. When the pig is about to jump off a tall tree to “prove” it, the brief look of triumph that Daffy gives the audience is delightful. The conclusion of the cartoon is familiar, being based on a joke from a much earlier cartoon by Tex Avery ("Daffy Duck and Egghead") but the use of it is quite richly expanded on here - when Porky is finally about to shoot Daffy, the duck's tearful family suddenly shows up to say their goodbyes. Daffy's farewell to his children - with such names as Cecilia, Sylvester, Lathrop and Stanislaus, all hysterically pronounced by Daffy's lisp - is delightfully over-the-top, and Porky's embarrassed and guilty response just adds to the laughter. Of course, the whole maudlin scene is just another trick, and Porky comes back a-blasting away when he learns he's been had, but as a whole "Duck Soup to Nuts" is a fine demonstration of how far Daffy's cartoons had come since the earliest days of the character. Number Eight: "Daffy Doodles" (1946)Robert McKimson is often overlooked (or perhaps, rather, looked down on) among the directors of the Warner Bros. cartoon unit. His cartoons don’t have the mania and energy associated with Bob Clampett, or the wit and style we think of with Chuck Jones. But his first cartoon with Daffy Duck and Porky Pig sizzles and immediately catches one’s attention.Daffy is a prankster who is defacing billboards and other signs by drawing mustaches on every face. (And on others’ faces too; nobody is safe from that paintbrush!) Porky is the police officer out to catch him. From this simple, zany premise comes a flood of gags, as the wacky black duck leads the poor stuttering pig on a chase through the subway, up a skyscraper and through the offices in the building. Daffy is just having a great time all the way through (even singing “She Was an Acrobat’s Daughter” when he swings to and fro to paint one billboard), but his zaniness is surprisingly amiable; he even helps to save Porky when the latter nearly falls off a ledge.Ultimately, Porky manages to drag Daffy before a judge (“Be magnanimous – after all, you might be a fiend yourself someday,” Daffy pleads), but the duck winds up acquitted by a jury of mustached men. One last zinger at the very end, wherein Daffy gives up mustaches for beards, closes out this delightful display of madcap humor from Bob McKimson. In some ways, perhaps it’s understandable that critics have been hard on McKimson’s cartoons; after an opening act as impressive as this one it's hard to follow up on that kind of hilarity! But I have a soft spot for the man’s work with Daffy, and definitely think that this cartoon is definitely a highlight for the madcap phase of the character’s history.Number Seven: "Yankee Doodle Daffy" (1943)This cartoon by Friz Freleng is one of the most energetic Daffy / Porky teamups that I can think of. In this one, Porky is a showbiz agent who just wants to take his golfing vacation, but on the way out of his office ends up cornered by Daffy. The madcap waterfowl badgers Porky on behalf of his client, a silent and rather weird duckling named Sleepy LaGoof. (Daffy’s initial pitch ends with, “one might go so far as to say, he’s mediocre!” Daffy is far too generous.)The central joke of this cartoon is a simple one, but it unleashes a barrage of hilarity throughout. Daffy launches himself into an onslaught of performance antics to talk up his client, ranging from playing the banjo to impersonating Carmen Miranda. (To say nothing of a grand finale wherein he juggles, rides a unicycle and does acrobatics – all at once!) All the while Porky cringes and tries to get away from the manic duck, but at every turn is effortlessly pursued and chased back to his office by Daffy. Finally, fed up, Porky agrees to see what Sleepy can do… and the final joke of the cartoon hits us as we finally see that Daffy’s frantic showmanship is all for nothing.“Yankee Doodle Daffy” (the title, by the way, being a reference to a hit musical film of the time) is a delightful cartoon in a number of ways. Daffy’s sheer enthusiasm and boundless energy make a hilarious contrast to Porky’s mounting frustration and desperation to just catch his flight already; the contrast between the two characters offers plenty of fodder for jokes and humor as the poor pig squirms before Daffy’s salvo of antics. (Sleepy stays in his seat through all of this, slurping a lollipop, occasionally holding up signs to comment on Daffy’s goofiness. The sheer nonchalance of the little duckling is itself funny in contrast to Daffy.)Music also plays a very important role in this cartoon as well. Daffy belts out a variety of tunes in this one, be it from his Carmen Miranda impression, or a frantic performance of I’m Just Wild About Harry, or a rapid-fire recitation of The William Tell Overture as he chases Porky down a fire escape and back into the office. Mel Blanc delivers at every turn in his voice work as Daffy just for conveying the sheer nonstop mania of the waterfowl’s performance. This is a Daffy Duck who well and truly deserves his moniker. All in all, this is a superbly constructed cartoon, bringing together characters, timing and music to create a comic delight.Number Six: "Nasty Quacks" (1945)Of the directors who worked at Warner Bros. and made cartoons, sometimes it seems like Frank Tashlin gets overlooked, especially in regard to the long-running argument over whether you prefer Chuck Jones or Bob Clampett. And that’s a damned shame, because Tashlin made some very funny (and compared to the other Warners directors, surprisingly risqué) cartoons, especially when his cartoons starred Daffy Duck. “Nasty Quacks” is a standout of his work with the little black duck during his “wacky” phase.Daffy has rarely been as chatty as in this cartoon. After a mock-storybook opening (wherein Daffy – the pet of a spoiled little girl – grows up so fast he chides the narrator to slow down), Daffy unleashes a nonstop barrage of prattle at the breakfast table about his antics from the night before. What makes this funny (besides the stonefaced scowl of the girl’s hulking father) is how Daffy adds countless spoonful after spoonful to his coffee; he takes a sip, grimaces, adds one more spoonful, and then drinks blissfully. The obnoxiousness of Daffy’s character in this scene is so over-the-top that it becomes funny instead of just grating.The father wants to get rid of Daffy, and proves to be quite a formidable foe compared to the duck’s usual antagonists. He is huge, and practically radiates hostility towards Daffy. He’s also clever; when all his other efforts to get rid of Daffy fail, he just goes and buys his daughter a new duckling, which works like a charm. (Daffy’s expression of blank dismay, as he sees how quickly his owner has left him out to dry – “You can have the bed my old duck used to have” – is brilliant.)This cartoon is also a standout to me because, like several of Tashlin’s cartoons, it differs from other Warners features due to a frank awareness of the erotic. The father nearly lures Daffy to his doom at one point with perfume and the call of a female duck. Also, the finale of the picture, in which Daffy makes his rival duckling grow up – and discovers that she’s a bombshell – is a real stunner, especially given the final punchline of the cartoon. You just can’t picture this kind of stuff in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.Number Five: "Rabbit Seasoning" (1952)Speaking of Bugs Bunny…The second cartoon in Chuck Jones’ “hunting trilogy” with Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck, this one is probably the most famous of the three cartoons, and with good reason. I weighed this one against its predecessor, “Rabbit Fire,” and finally decided that I found this one the winner by a close margin.Daffy lures Elmer to Bugs’ rabbit hole to shoot him. Unfortunately for the duck, Elmer is too dim to even realize that Bugs is actually a rabbit, and in his angry haste to try and get Bugs shot by the hunter, Daffy himself winds up on the receiving end of a blast of buckshot… many, many times. Sometimes Daffy realizes at the last second what is coming (“not again,” he squeaks to the audience in one sidesplitting example) but usually he remains blissfully unaware that he’s set himself up to be blasted once more.It’s a masterful usage of both wordplay and imagery. One may not readily imagine the words “pronoun trouble” providing fits of laughter, but Daffy’s haughty tone, and his supremely smug glance to the side, never fails to be hilarious. Mel Blanc does some of his finest work in this cartoon, providing hilarious material as both the increasingly desperate, frustrated Daffy, and the near-unflappable and assured Bugs. The “Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” exchange early on is excellent proof of this, but just as hysterical is the sequence where Bugs fools Elmer by dressing as a pretty lady, and a fuming Daffy Duck tries to expose the ruse. Dialogue and animation come together nearly perfectly to bring us a delightful set of laughs.Number Four: "Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century" (1953)Chuck Jones made a series of cartoons casting Daffy Duck in parody roles of various hero characters. In “Drip-Along Daffy” he was a parody of the Western hero. In “Deduce, You Say” he was a spoof of Sherlock Holmes. And so on and so forth. But of all of the parody hero roles that Daffy wound up in, perhaps none is more memorable or popularly known thanDUCK DODGERS! IN THE TWENTY-FOURTH AND A HALF, CENTURY!!!*ahem*In this sendup of the Buck Rogers pulp sci-fi hero, Duck Dodgers is recruited by Dr. I.Q. Hi to locate the uncharted world of Planet X, as it is the last known source of the dwindling resource “Eludium Phosdex”… otherwise known as the shaving cream atom. Dodgers prepares a rocket for launch, with his sidekick the Eager Young Space Cadet (Porky Pig) at his side. After a few mishaps along the way, Dodgers and the Cadet arrive on Planet X and claim it for Earth… just in time for it to also be claimed by Marvin the Martian. (“Isn’t that lovely?”)What follows is a hilarious battle of wits – or lack thereof – as pretty much all of Daffy’s efforts to get the best of Marvin result in the duck being shot or disintegrated (and reintegrated by the Cadet). Finally, the climax has Daffy employ his ultimate secret weapon against Marvin, and the Martian responds in kind: the exchange of explosives utterly ruining Planet X. Daffy / Dodgers triumphantly declares himself the victor, to which the Cadet (hanging onto the last small fragment of the planet) wryly observes “Big deal”. In the context of the cartoon’s release during the Cold War, the satirical point is pretty stinging. Such a victory is clearly not worth winning at all, and only an egotistical loon like Daffy might think otherwise.Besides its satirical plot and hilarious gags (my personal favorite being when the Cadet presents Marvin with a stick of dynamite as a present - "Happy b-b-birthday, you thing from another world you!") this is a cartoon that has some wonderful imagery in it. The rocket ships are right out of the pulp magazines of the day, but there's also one or two brilliantly surreal sights as well; in particular the gigantic eye that examines Dodgers as he strides into I.Q. Hi's tower. (Speaking of imagery... one might look at the Earth of this cartoon, with buildings atop towers that stretch into space, and may wonder if The Jetsons was at all influenced by this XD.) Whatever the case, animation and dialogue come together in fine form with this cartoon, definitely one of Chuck Jones' best. Number Three: "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" (1946)One of Bob Clampett’s most famous and beloved cartoons, this parody of Dick Tracy and detective comics has Daffy Duck at his most zany and manic. In the frame story of this madcap cartoon, Daffy is an obsessive fan of Dick Tracy comics, and accidentally knocks himself out in his enthusiasm over the latest issue. He has a dream in which he is the great detective “Duck Twacy” and it’s at this point that the cartoon REALLY slams into high gear.Daffy / Duck Twacy is bombarded with phone calls about stolen piggy banks, but turns them all down, at least until his own piggy bank is stolen. He sets out to find the culprits responsible, prowling for clues (shoving Sherlock Holmes out of the way at one point) and riding a trolley to the gangster’s hideout… which is helpfully marked by a large neon sign. Once inside, he runs into a horde of grotesque gangsters who would do Chester Gould himself proud: Snake Eyes, who has dice in place of eyes; 88 Teeth, with piano keys in his jaw; Double Header, Pussycat Puss, Wolf Man, and many more.(Shoot, we’re not even getting into Neon Noodle… watch out for that guy! XD)Almost any description of this cartoon that I can give will fall flat in comparison to the actual animated feature itself. “The Great Piggy Bank Robbery” blazes with imagination, pelting the viewer with sight gags, puns and wordplay, splendid musical timing (to both the actions and dialogue), and some of the most delightfully bizarre, expressive animation to ever come out of a Warner Bros. cartoon. This is Bob Clampett at his best.Number Two: "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" (1950)One of Chuck Jones’ greatest uses of Daffy as a parody-hero character, this cartoon works as a twofold spoof. First of all, it begins with a hilarious skewering of the studio system, as we open with Daffy hysterically pleading with J.L. (the studio boss) for a chance to do something other than comedy. Daffy has the perfect script in mind – and he should know, he wrote it!From there, we dive into the delightful tale of the Scarlet Pumpernickel – a daring swashbuckler (played, of course, by Daffy himself) in Merry Old England, who is love with the fair lady Melissa and facing the evil Lord High Chamberlain (Porky Pig, of all characters) and the Grand Duke (Sylvester the cat). The parody of swashbuckler characters like Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel works so well in this cartoon because Chuck Jones treats the cartoon characters almost like they’re real actors – you recognize Sylvester and Porky, but also see Henery Hawk and Mama Bear get walk-on cameos… or Elmer Fudd in the role of a bumpkin innkeeper. XDThere’s real affection at work in this cartoon, with some glorious design and detail in its setting. (A particularly effective touch, that’s also quite funny for Melissa’s panicked reactions, is the duel between Daffy and Sylvester – the shadows on the wall of their flailing swords might almost be at home in an actual swashbuckler film of the era!) The dialogue, by Michael Maltese, is also first-rate, containing some spectacularly over-the-top and eminently quotable lines.(“So, Melissa, trifle with me, eh, milady?” Delivered with gleeful relish by Sylvester as the Grand Duke. This is still quoted in my house now and again. )Ultimately, while Daffy may have written himself into a corner with the “ending” (or lack thereof) for his story, this cartoon is Chuck Jones at the height of his abilities as a director. “The Scarlet Pumpernickel” is the first in what would be a very successful series for Jones, casting Daffy as a wannabe hero in a variety of settings. But in this first installment, I really feel that he hit the bullseye with this smart and stylish spoof of the swashbuckler genre....And now, before the number one spot, let's have some honorable mentions. Cartoons that I feel are worthy and enjoyable outings for the maniacal black duck, even if they don't quite reach the same level of import as the others here. Honorable Mentions: "Daffy Duck and Egghead" - A remake of his earlier cartoon "Porky's Duck Hunt," in this one Tex Avery improved on the original in just about every way. The first color cartoon for Daffy, this feature is still funny decades later. Here, Daffy is being hunted by Elmer Fudd-lite Egghead, and the little black duck runs circles around his dopey, bland pursuer. A highlight of the feature, and definite star-making moment for Daffy, is his rendition of "The Merry-go-Round Broke Down" which must have cemented him as a truly looney character to audiences of the day. The ending (in which Daffy is arrested by ducks out to return him to the funny farm, but turn out to be just as screwy) is quite funny too. This cartoon is in some ways more "historically important" than "essential viewing," but Avery's penchant for fourth-wall-breaking zaniness and crazy humor are in fine form here for fans of classic animation."You Ought to Be in Pictures" - In some ways this might be more of a Porky Pig cartoon than a Daffy one, but it’s still important to count this one. Set during lunch break at the Warner Bros. studio, Daffy convinces Porky to seek a career in live-action features... as Daffy wants to be the top cartoon star in Porky’s stead. While Porky gets up to various misfortunes on the live action backlot, Daffy goes to the office of Leon Schlesinger to try and pitch his talent to him. (Schlesinger’s disinterest to Daffy’s song and dance number is magnificent.) Finally Porky returns to the cartoon studio, tapes up his contract, and then gives Daffy his comeuppance. Charming and funny, “You Ought to Be in Pictures” makes for a creative mix of animation and live-action, and an entertaining little story all on its own."Porky Pig's Feat" - A sadly little-known cartoon from Frank Tashlin, this rapid-paced gem has Daffy and Porky trapped in a high-rise hotel with no way to pay their bill after Daffy lost their money in a craps game. Much of the cartoon's energy comes from the startling back and forth of Daffy and Porky versus their foe, the hotel's massive, monocle-wearing manager. This is an astonishingly crafty and adaptable foe for the duo, and he never falls for the same trick twice. Rarely have Daffy and Porky been as expressive as when backing up into their room under a pile of luggage, grinning to hide their abject terror. Add in a stunning final gag with Bugs Bunny making a surprise appearance, and you really have a cartoon that deserves to be more widely known and appreciated. "Boobs in the Woods" - While Chuck Jones took Daffy and Porky into parodies of various genres through the 50s, Bob McKimson in his cartoons took the duo in a more basic direction; essentially having the duck and pig as a vaudevillian duo, trotting out their familiar personalities in a variety of skits. This is one of the best cartoons to come out of that formula, as the simple premise – Porky goes to the woods to try and paint, fish and relax, while Daffy makes his life hell – leads to a ton of great gags. (My personal favorite? Daffy trying to badger Porky about what licenses he has... only to be stymied when Porky has one for every insane question that the duck throws at him. XD) Of course, Porky ultimately gets the best of Daffy, but there's lots of laughs to be had along the way. Again, while McKimson's cartoons are never as remembered or praised as those by Jones, Clampett or even Freleng, ones like this allow the characters a chance to branch out into other aspects of comedy. It makes them seem more "real" or at least more flexible. "Tick Tock Tuckered" - One of Bob Clampett's best pictures, this feature has Porky and Daffy as workers who have a bad habit of oversleeping and coming in late. When warned that the next time they're late will be the very last time, the duo try their best to get a good night's sleep... and of course, everything conspires against them, ranging from noisy cats to a defective shade, to a thunderstorm indoors. Daffy's expressions throughout are comic gold: when the moon shines in his eye, Daffy's face is one of pure malevolence as he takes a rifle to shoot the offending object - when the moon pops like a balloon, Daffy's rage immediately turns to disbelief. The cartoon is a parade of gags in fine Clampett tradition, though it can't really be a Daffy Duck cartoon as such, hence why it's not in the top ten... but all the same, it's a delightful feature to watch, with an ending that brilliantly pulls the rug out from under the viewer, courtesy of Porky Pig being the one to provide the very last bit of action. "The Wise Quacking Duck" - This cartoon from Bob Clampett undoubtedly gives us Daffy Duck at his daffiest. Facing Mr. Meek’s attempt to cook him for dinner, Daffy unleashes such anarchy and mayhem until the viewer has no choice but to laugh. Highlights include Daffy pretending to be decapitated by hiding in a haystack and shaking ketchup everywhere; dropping an egg from above via a “secret bombsight” and providing sound effects for about a dozen war movies in the aftermath; and doing a fan dance before getting in the oven. The one drawback to this picture is Mr. Meek himself, a guy so wimpy and henpecked as to make Porky Pig look absolutely macho. Fortunately, Daffy’s sheer manic energy is able to carry this lackluster costar through to the finish line, making for a fine parade of laughs."Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" - The third and final entry in Chuck Jones’ trilogy of hunting cartoons is a wonderful finish. Taking place during wintertime to visually shake things up, Daffy once again tries to set Elmer on Bugs, but as ever the rabbit is one step (or even several steps) ahead, and all that Daffy gets for his efforts are several shotgun blasts to the face. The humor is as finely-tuned as it could get for a cartoon here: the bizarre ways that Daffy’s beak gets rearranged after each blast; the glorious nonchalance with which Bugs can display a sign (“Goat Season Open” XD) for each of Daffy’s exclamations; and Elmer’s sheer patience in going along with nearly every twist and turn in the whole situation. “More bwiefing?” the would-be hunter asks after yet another of Daffy’s efforts goes awry, and the duck takes him aside to try yet again. Finally, after getting blasted for the umpteenth time, Daffy just can’t take it, and has one of his greatest moments in the form of a completely maniacal freak-out as he implores the (honestly worried looking) Elmer: “Shoot me again! I enjoy it! I enjoy the smell of burnt feathers, gunpowder, and cordite! I’m an elk, go on shoot me, it’s elk season! I’m a fiddler crab – why don’t you shoot me?! It’s fiddler crab season!” It’s a testament to this cartoon’s quality that after *this* moment, there’s still two great gags left that keep the ending from being a letdown. (The major reason that this isn’t on the countdown as opposed to “Rabbit Seasoning” is just because I think Elmer might be a little too passive and Bugs a little too in-control at all times. Still one of Chuck Jones’ best though.)And now, after those honorable mentions, let's get down to business. My personal pick for the best Daffy Duck cartoon would have to be... Number One: "Duck Amuck" (1953)I’m sure you all saw this one coming. XDIn many ways, it is hard for me to even figure out a good angle to approach this cartoon with. What can I say that hasn’t already been said before, by people much more qualified than me? Nevertheless, I shall give it my best shot. Daffy Duck leaps onscreen, dressed and ready to perform in a swashbuckler cartoon… but to his surprise discovers that the scenery behind him has vanished. He asks the animator to do something, and the animator (portrayed through various tools like a pencil, paintbrush, and so on) draws in scenery – for a farm. An annoyed Daffy tries to oblige him by changing costumes to fit the new location, but his patience runs thin as the animator keeps changing the background… and then escalates into messing with Daffy himself. Mel Blanc does some of his finest work ever here, capturing Daffy's descent from confusion, to annoyance, to rage, desperation, and finally screaming hysteria. It's a veritable tour-de-force of a performance, all in seven minutes or less. Daffy just can’t catch a break. He winds up erased, redrawn, loses his voice, has it replaced with random sound effects, and more. The entire medium of animated cartoons gets taken apart in glorious fashion, as at one point or other everything from background to color, sound synchronization and photography play Daffy false, and the poor duck gets more and more worked up as all he can do is just react helplessly to the latest indignity heaped on him by that capricious animator…“Who is responsible for this?! I demand that you show yourself!!” the well and truly demented duck rages at the end of the cartoon, and then we see Bugs Bunny at the animator’s desk, chuckling as he quips “Ain’t I a stinker?” It’s the final zinger in a cartoon that well and truly deserves its reputation as one of the most brilliant and memorable works of Western animation of all time. Chuck Jones began his career at Warner Bros as someone seen as lacking a sense of humor, and good for mostly making cutesy cartoons, but as his career progressed, he well and truly blossomed into a master of the craft. “Duck Amuck” is a cartoon that may not be as manic or wild as Bob Clampett’s best work, but once seen it is never forgotten, always proves memorable and entertaining on return. It also puts Daffy Duck in the unique position of giving us a character who is still recognizable to us even when he’s no longer a duck, or a voice, or whatever else. That, I feel, is truly something special and worthy of consideration. And there you have it, folks. My top picks for the very best cartoons, about that crazy darn fool duck. Did you like it? Hate it? Any pictures of his you wish I had covered, or felt had left out? Sound off and let me know in the comments....
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