For Scent-imental Reasons

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For Scent-imental Reasons
Looney Tunes (Pepé Le Pew) series
For Scent-Imental ReasonsTitle.jpg
The title card of For Scent-imental Reasons.
Directed by Charles M. Jones
Produced by Eddie Selzer
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Ben Washam
Ken Harris
Phil Monroe
Lloyd Vaughan
Layouts by Robert Gribbroek
Backgrounds by Peter Alvarado
Distributed by Warner Bros. and Vitaphone
Release date(s) November 12, 1949
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7:00
Language English

For Scent-imental Reasons is a Warner Bros. Looney Tunes (reissued as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodie in the beginning, with the original Looney Tunes ending title sequence.) short released in 1949. It was directed by Chuck Jones, written by Michael Maltese, and featured the characters Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat (all voices were done by Mel Blanc). It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It is the first ever Chuck Jones directed cartoon to win this award from the Academy.

Plot[edit]

A man is riding his bicycle through Paris. He arrives at his shop, a perfume store. After peering into the store and sniffing, he immediately becomes scared and runs away. He shouts out in a panic and runs up to a gendarme for assistance. The gendarme agrees to help the man out of his predicament and looks into the shop and it is revealed that Pepe Le Pew, a smelly skunk, is inside the store, smelling the various types of perfumes and singing to himself in French. The gendarme looks horrified and speaks in his French accent about the "terrible odor," which is implied by brownish "fumes" emanating from Pepe Le Pew's tail, then runs away as quickly as he can.

The perfume store owner cries out that he will now be bankrupt. He then notices a black female cat (not named in this short, the black cat character is later identified in Carrotblanca as Penelope Pussycat) rubbing against his legs saying "Le mew, Le purr." The shop owner picks up the feline and flings her into the store, ordering her to "Remove that skunk, that polecat pole from the premises. Avec!". As is part of the running gag of how a female black cat is believed by Pepe to be "le femme skunk fatale", a bottle of white dye spills from a desk and runs down the head, back and tail of the cat. (Other shorts have her accidentally getting white paint from her head to the tip of her tail through its being spilled on her, squeezing under a freshly painted fence or railing, or on occasion, by painting the skunk-like stripe deliberately to avoid abuse from humans who do not like stray cats.) Pepe Le Pew immediately sees her and mistakes her for a skunk.

The female cat smells Pepe's odor and immediately tries to run away, chased by Pepe. As she attempts to wiggle free as Pepe tells her things such as: "it is love at sight first, no?" and "we will make beautiful music together." Just before Pepe tries to kiss her, she breaks free. She climbs into the sink in an attempt to wash the stripe and the smell off but is unsuccessful. She runs to a window and tries to open it, but it is stuck. She finally takes refuge inside a locked glass cabinet, much to Pepe's chagrin. Pepe first tries to lure her out sweetly, then demands that she come out of the cabinet. She refuses, indicating that it is due to his odor. Pepe Le Pew signals "Me?" to which the female cat angrily agrees. Pepe Le Pew becomes saddened and finally realizes his stupidity, pulls out a gun and holds it up to his head, then walks out of sight and fires the weapon, presumably killing himself. This scene was edited out for many years, (see Censorship for details), but later restored. Panicked, the female cat rushes out to save him, only to run directly into Pepe's arms. He says to her: "I missed, fortunately for you," and begins attempting to kiss her once again. The chase continues until Pepe finds her on the windowsill and says that she is trying to prove her love for him by committing suicide, but that he will save her. Pepe grabs for her, but she slips through his arms. Pepe then calls out: "Vive l'amour, we die together" and steps off the window ledge. The female cat falls into a barrel of water under a rainspout, while Pepe lands in a can of blue paint.

When Pepe climbs out he is blue, and he sees the ragged-looking, sneezing wet cat beside him with the white skunk-like stripe washed off and does not recognize her. He asks if she has seen a "beautiful young lady skunk", then wanders off to find her. As he calls out to his "lady skunk", the soaked black cat watches his muscular blue form walking away and her heart begins to pound. When Pepe goes back into the perfume shop to look for the female skunk, he hears the door shut and the lock behind him. When he turns, he sees the drenched female cat leering at him and begins to panic, realizing that he is now the victim of love. She drops the key to the lock down her neckline as the startled Pepe says "Oh, No!" and runs away. As Pepe runs as fast as he can, the female cat follows using Pepe's familiar hopping pace. The short ends with Pepe telling the audience: "You know, it is possible to be too attractive." while continuing to run from the feline.

Censorship[edit]

  • When this cartoon aired on ABC's "Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" and the British channel ITV, the entire sequence where Pepe tries to coax the cat out of a glass case is cut because near the end of the gag, Pepe puts a gun to his head and pretends to commit suicide (off-screen) when the cat mimes that she's rejecting him because of his stench.
  • In addition to the above cut, ABC and ITV also edited the scene where Pepe tries to save Penelope from jumping, only to have her slip from his hands. Pepe then turns to the camera, salutes, and says, "Vive l'amour! We die together." The "We die together" line was cut on ABC and ITV.
  • On Cartoon Network, in addition to the first ABC cut, a later line to suicide is edited out before Pepe and Penelope go out the window (Pepe's line about the cat committing suicide to prove her love to him). Cartoon Network had shown "For Scentimental Reasons" uncut until December 2003, where it was shown edited that year (and later in 2004, 2009, and 2010). However, all subsequent broadcasts after December 7, 2011 have had both references to suicide reinstated.

Availability[edit]

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