A Sheep in the Deep

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A Sheep in the Deep
Merrie Melodies (Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog) series
A Sheep in the Deep.png
Title card from A Sheep in the Deep
Directed by Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble (co-director)
Story by Chuck Jones
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Milt Franklyn
Animation by Tom Ray
Ken Harris
Richard Thompson
Bob Bransford
Layouts by Corny Cole
Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard
William Butler
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) February 10, 1962
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6 minutes and 10 seconds
Language English
Preceded by Ready, Woolen and Able
Followed by Woolen Under Where

A Sheep in the Deep is a 1962 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble and released by Warner Bros. Pictures featuring Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. Mel Blanc provided for the voices of all the characters in this cartoon, however, like all Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf shorts, this short is mostly composed of visual gags.

That is the sixth short featuring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, as well as the last cartoon featuring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf to be directed by Chuck Jones. Their next appearance was in Woolen Under Where, released in 1963 and directed by Phil Monroe and Richard Thompson. This was also the first cartoon featuring the characters to be written by Chuck Jones (the previous cartoons with these characters were written by Michael Maltese).

Plot[edit]

Introduction: Like all Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf shorts, this one revolves around Ralph Wolf trying to steal the sheep which Sam Sheepdog is guarding. Like Ready, Woolen and Able, this short begins with a juxtaposition of how Ralph and Sam get to work. Sam wakes up at dawn and takes a leisurely stroll to work as Ralph sleeps in and the sun rises. Just as Sam reaches the punch clock and lifts his hair to read the time, Ralph's alarm clock goes off, triggering the conveyor system that he uses to get to work. A claw lifts his blanket, his bed tilts, dropping him into a trap door where he falls into the shower, after a second in the shower a spring below him engages, sending him into a towel and onto a roller skate. As he rides the roller skate down its rail and dries off with the towel, he is fed a slice of toast and coffee. Finally, he grabs his lunch from a hook and rides the roller skate out his front door, down the path, and punches into work before Sam. As always, the two merrily greet each other.

Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf punching the time clock

1. Ralph begins with the straightforward approach of sneaking into the field and snatching a sheep. As he walks back, Sam drops a banana peel which Ralph slips on. Instead of falling immediately, Ralph slides around on the banana peel, and on his way back Sam snags the stolen sheep with a lasso. As Ralph continues to slide forward, he begins to say "Ooh, I'd like to..." only to hit a tree face-first.

2. This time Ralph digs a hole under Sam and out the side of the cliff face, and decides to try to snatch a sheep with a lasso in the same way Sam did in Ralph's last attempt. This is successful, but while Ralph is pulling the sheep up Sam leans over the edge and into Ralph's hole, where he glares at Ralph intimidatingly. Ralph innocently lowers the sheep down, but Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and hits him on the head, propelling him into a tree trunk. As Ralph climbs out of the tree trunk, he resembles a stack of pancakes.

Sam defeating Ralph's jack plan with a corkscrew.

3. Ralph's next plan is to tunnel under Sam, cut out a circle of earth around Sam with a saw, and jack that circle high into the air with a jack. Successful, Ralph ties a dinner napkin around his neck and prepares to steal a sheep. However, as he's doing this, Sam pulls out a corkscrew and removes the piece of earth that the jack is supporting, sending the entire chunk of earth crashing onto Ralph.

4. In Ralph's fourth attempt, he ties himself to a bunch of helium balloons and floats over Sam. Sam calmly pours a box of BB pellets into his mouth and shoots at Ralph's balloons with a blow gun. Ralph is left grasping on to a single balloon, but the knot on the balloon slips and Ralph is projected into Sam. Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and prepares to drop him off the cliff.

However, before that can happen, the punch clock whistle blows and Sam and Ralph head off for lunch. They enjoy their sandwiches and Sam shares his coffee with Ralph, then they have a smoke break.

They both walk back to the cliff, and as soon as the whistle blows to signal the end of lunch, Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and finally drops him.

5. Ralph's next plan is to build a large slide behind Sam and dropping a cannonball down the slide. Sam casually points a large spring at the end of the slide, sending the cannonball back up the slide and into Ralph's dropped jaw. Ralph angrily walks away as the cannonball inside his tail weighs him down.

6. Ralph then attempts to use a record titled "Music to put sheep dogs to sleep by" to put Sam to sleep. This appears to be successful, and Ralph tests to make sure that Sam really is asleep, in much the same way as he tested to make sure Sam couldn't see him in Double or Mutton. After walking off, stealing a sheep and preparing to eat it, the sheep turns out to be Sam is disguise, also similar to Double or Mutton. However, the two of them continue to remove disguises.

  • Ralph turns out to be a sheep
  • Sam turns out to be Ralph
  • The sheep turns out to be Sam
  • Ralph turns out to be a sheep
  • Sam turns out to be Ralph

Finally, Ralph grabs the sheep by the neck, and the sheep turns out to be a stick of dynamite.

However, Ralph is saved by the bell when the punch clock whistles. Sam walks in off screen and extinguishes the stick of dynamite saying "It's too close to quittin' time Ralph, let's pick it up there in the morning." The two amicably wish each other good night.

Edited versions[edit]

This smoke break scene was censored on CBS and Cartoon Network

Two scenes were omitted from this short on ABC. The entirety of Ralph's second plan was omitted, and the entire lunchtime gag, where Sam holds Ralph over the edge of the cliff, the two leave to have lunch, and then return to drop Ralph off the cliff was omitted.

CBS and Cartoon Network left Ralph's second plan intact, but edited the lunch break scene to remove the brief shots of Ralph and Sam smoking. However, the part with Sam cleaning his pipe by tapping it on his foot was left in.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cooke, John (2006 revision). "Censored Looney Tunes: S". Censored Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Looney.GoldenAgeCartoons.com. Archived from the original on December 9, 2006. 

External links[edit]