Merry Dog

TItle

Debuted in 1933

8 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: Pooch the Pup goes to see his girlfriend, but a hungry husky follows him to her house. The husky poses as Santa and offers to take both of them on a sleigh ride but his disguise gets spoiled and they see who he really is. Pooch and his girlfriend fight the husky and the real Santa shows up to save the day.

Fun Fact: Pooch was the first recurring cartoon character from the Walter Lantz studios, preceding Woody Woodpecker (by 8 years) and Chilly Willy (by 20 years).

My thoughts: I was totally unfamiliar with Pooch the Pup before seeing this cartoon, so I thought the bad guy in this short was a wolf. Fortunately, the internet clued me in to the fact that it’s supposed to be a husky. There are some funny gags in this short, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to this character, which makes the whole thing a little flat.  He’s pretty interchangeable with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and actually, there are a couple of Oswald shorts that were originally written for Pooch. The basic plot of the short follows the basic plot of lots of shorts from this era – hero woos girl, bad guy tries to steal girl, hero gets the best of bad guy and wins girl in the end. They just threw some snow on the ground and added Santa into the mix to make this a Christmas short. I give this one a solid rating of ‘meh’ as it has no big highs and no big lows.

Home security

When your door is warning people away, your security system is not playing around.

Wolf & Santa

You don’t often see people steal Santa’s actual beard.

Bad touch

Bad touch, Fake Santa! Pooch, why are you okay with this?

2 mouth Santa

I have to think that the few moments in which Santa has two mouths and three noses are just a mistake. Or he’s a mutant.

Individual Superlative: Don’t Eat Your Problems – The cat that’s been plagued by mice comes out at the end with giant belly, presumably full of mice.

Want to Watch it? Merry Dog is available on YouTube.

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Toyland Premiere

TitleDebuted in 1934

9 minutes

Plot in 3 Sentences: Santa gets a telegram from Oswald that everything is ready for the Toyland Premiere parade, but he discovers his Santa suit has been eaten by moths. His elves save the day with some quick thinking and they fly to the city for the big parade and then dinner with celebrity guests. Laurel and Hardy pretend to be a dragon in order to get some of Santa’s chocolate cake, but Santa calls out the army of toys and together, they foil their plans.

Fun Fact: This was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit’s first cartoon in color.

My thoughts: I had never seen this short before and it’s not hard to see why it doesn’t get a lot of airplay, since there are several elements to this one that would be considered offensive to modern audiences. Although Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (an original Walt Disney character who became the property of Charles Mintz and Universal in 1929) appears in this short, he is only a minor character. The celebrity guests that are gathered to celebrate Santa’s arrival feature some pretty easily recognizable faces, but I don’t imagine a lot of contemporary audiences are going to recognize Johnny Weismuller and Lupe Velez. The plot of this one is pretty thin, even for a cartoon short, but its early use of color is interesting, especially when you note that it mostly features shades of blue and red.

This top-hatted elf can put "painting Santa's butt" on his resume.

This top-hatted elf can put “painting Santa’s butt” on his resume.

All I want for Christmas is for these terrifying balloons to go away.

All I want for Christmas is for these terrifying balloons to go away.

Even Frankenstein's monster seems to be a little uncomfortable with this.

Even Frankenstein’s monster seems to be a little uncomfortable with this.

Oh yeah, the roller skate machine gun would be a big hit with modern parents.

Oh yeah, the roller skate machine gun would be a big hit with modern parents.

Individual Superlative: Most Confused Political Correctness – The original ending involved Laurel & Hardy getting covered in chocolate frosting, making it look like they were in blackface. This was (as you may imagine) removed in recent years, although Eddie Cantor still appears in full blackface throughout the dinner segment.

Want to Watch it? Toyland Premiere is available on DVD (in the Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection) and is available on some online animation sites.