Sunday, September 1, 2013

Porky the Wrestler: Minor but Meaningful Sports Shenanigans Welcome Mel Blanc to the Avery Universe

1/9/1937 (according to the Grand Cartoon Database, IMDb and most other Internet sources)

Porky Pig 101 (WHV 5-DVD set)

An as-good-as-it-gets version of this cartoon can be seen HERE (thanks for providing this, Devon Baxter!)

Avery and his unit continue to coast (but do so well) in this unaccountably rare and fairly minor cartoon. One deeply inspired sequence, worthy of a Jacques Tati, and an early vocal appearance by Mel Blanc--soon to finalize the Termite Terrace Dream Team with his great voice work and wit--makes this cartoon worthy of the name of Fred Avery.

This is one of the earlier Schlesinger cartoons to have been censored. One scene, or shot, was removed sometime in the 1940s. No one knows exactly why. Popular speculations include racial material (which seems unlikely, as racial stereotypes were vibrantly alive in the '40s) and a topical celebrity or sports caricature that no longer made sense, when and if this cartoon was reissued.