Pig Race 2000

Sorry, the whole of PORKY’S ROAD RACE isn’t on YouTube, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you this Loony Tune by Frank Tash(lin) is the Warners 1937 animated version of DEATH RACE 2000. Tricked-out cars causing mayhem with tacks and glue and grease…

For some reason, it’s not just that, though, it’s a race of Hollywood caricatures

WC Fields is paired with Edna May Oliver, which might have been a good casting idea for a feature; Laurel & Hardy power a car jack with a see-saw; a very poor Charlie Chaplin, envisaged as a long thin chap in white trousers; Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh, but in a car.

Some of the references are quite obscure:

I guess this is meant to be George Arliss, Leslie Howard and Freddie Bartholomew?

And here’s one that required actual research:

Definitely John Barrymore. In a car called Caliban. Pursued by a woman in a car called Ariel (with an aerial). The first source I checked was baffled, as Barrymore had never appeared onstage in THE TEMPEST. But they did identify the woman as Elaine Barrie, his wife at the time. It turns out he’d played the part on the radio, as part of a 1937 series called Streamlined Shakespeare. I don’t know if a recording survives, but here’s Twelfth Night. Anyway, that seems like a moderately obscure set of references even for 1937. It’s a cartoon that needs annotated.

Of course, as in the other DEATH RACE 2000, there’s a Frankenstein, but instead of David Carradine it’s, naturally enough, “Borax Karloff.”

The concept overall is weird, there aren’t really any good jokes, and Tashlin’s fanboy side is charming but when he did gags about film technique rather than about movie stars, he was funnier. The closest thing to that is the disclaimer at the start, which starts great but fizzles out, but hey, at least it starts great.

Aaaaaaaaaand thanks to @GearGades on Twitter, here’s a link to the full toon:


5 Responses to “Pig Race 2000”

  1. There were a lot of caricature-driven toons. Warner did plenty more, most notably the ones set in Hollywood night spots. “Hollywood Canine Canteen” presented celebrities as dogs.

    Vague approximations of Fields and Oliver were matched in a Van Beuren toon, “Cupid Gets His Man”. Everybody did Frank Sinatra, always as scrawny and sometimes in rivalry with a laid-back Bing Crosby.

    From Disney, “Mickey’s Gala Premiere” was almost wall-to-wall celebrities; “Mickey’s Polo Team” pitted the Disney characters against a bunch of Hollywood stars (Clark Gable wiggles his ears and arouses Clarabell Cow); “The Autograph Hound” had Donald Duck doing bits with several stars, and “Mother Goose Goes Hollywood” was exactly that.

    Columbia sometimes deployed mobs of caricatures, including these two … things …


  2. I’ve seen a bunch of these and usually like them. But I’m not looking at the Columbia ones until I’m fully caffinated.

  3. One of the Warners cartoons cast Sinatra and Crosby as roosters. Frankie may make the chicks swoon, but Bing induced a frenzy of ovultaion.

  4. Ha! I’ve still only braved one of the Columbia toons. Urgh!

  5. Waaah — Baby Durante! My eyes!

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