shown at the Strand Theatre in New York on 9/28/36.
Other dates given are 10/3/36 or 12/28/1936 (according to IMDb, which has proven itself, ahem, a mite unreliable)
Looney Tunes Golden Collection,
Vol. 5 (Warner Brothers DVD 112172)
You can watch a nice black-and-white print of this cartoon HERE. If you're not familiar with this cartoon, please watch before you read--thanks!
In popular entertainment, lightning always attempts to restrike. If Movie A, Song A, or TV Series A proves a success, a rehash is always urged by the highers-up. Apparently, thus was the case with Avery's earlier picture, Porky the Rainmaker. In this case, it was willingly done, and the results show a strong step forward in Avery's skillset as a cartoon film-maker.
Curiously, a completely unrelated (and more formally inventive) cartoon, The Village Smithy, separates this sequel from its forebear. It may have taken time for enthusiastic audience response to reach the Schlesinger office.
This is another early Avery effort that has been restored, and is in lovely visual and audio form on the fifth Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD sets. In each of his early cartoons, Avery makes an obvious, conscious effort to step up the pace--to cram more into an animated cartoon than Hollywood had ever done.
Avery's goals can be seen as a refinement of the Fleischer Studios', in their pre-Hays Code peak of 1930-34. Those cartoons are stunningly crammed full of content. An 8 minute cartoon might actually contain 25 to 30 minutes' worth of material. Actions overlap, sometimes to a maddening degree, in the Fleischer cartoons of this brief but potent period. The philosophy seems to have been: throw something in, repeat, throw something else in on top of that, and one of those might get a laugh.
Avery was conscious that the content be coherently presented. Off-the-cuff (or off-the-wall) humor was keen, but it had to add to the stakes of the narrative, and its inherent comedy. A focused attempt to make a cartoon's pace faster, faster, and thus fuller of sheer consumable material drives Avery's early Warner Brothers cartoons.
Milk and Money's opening shot is very similar to its prequel's...
Two symbiotic relationships are quickly set up: Porky's to the work-horse...
This injury-to-the-ass has beneficial tidings for the farmwork. Getting the noodge to the keester causes high-speed, high-precision plowing...
Avery must have really liked this character design. The pointed ears are made even more wolf-like in the 1947 model.
These echoes (and pre-shadowings) of characters, gags and concepts run rampant through Avery's animation career. I'll hop out of this rabbit-hole and get back on track...
It's the old yada-yada--mortage is due... pay up by specific time or lose the farm. It rather ruins Poppa Pig's workday...
The more upbeat Porky fights back: "B-b-b... brighten up, pop... b-b-brighten up!" (And the film exposure does so.)
Thus. a new career in dairy delivery dawns on our porcine protagonist.
Enter a little topical humor.
Avery enjoyed this D. W. Griffith-school cross-cutting, as narrative threads inexorably weave. Meanwhile, back on the job, Porky runs out of milk, and finds a screwball way to replenish his stock:
Porky is, in essence, self-fired. We cut to the dejected, unemployed pair, bitterly aware that they have failed in a moment of crisis. They pass a race track...
|"I've got him going!"|
|"W-w-w-well, I'll b-b-be j-j-j-j-jiggered!"|
(click to enlarge)
We learn that Hank Horsefly isn't only partial to equines!
Milk and Money is, in every way, a major improvement on Porky the Rainmaker. The difference in sophistication, timing and confident presentation are startling. In Rainmaker, Avery experiments with new ideas. Here, he perfects them, and gets back on track with his heroic attempts to speed up Hollywood cartoons.
Avery will go from strength to strength over the next 18 months. Next, it's a return to the Technicolor world of Merrie Melodies...
Up next: Don't Look Now!