The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
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|The Great Piggy Bank Robbery|
|Looney Tunes/Daffy Duck series|
|Directed by||Robert Clampett|
|Produced by||Edward Selzer|
|Story by||Warren Foster|
|Voices by||Mel Blanc|
|Music by||Carl W. Stalling|
|Animation by||Rod Scribner
|Layouts by||Thomas McKimson|
|Backgrounds by||Philip De Guard|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
The Vitaphone Corporation
|Release date(s)||July 20, 1946 (USA)|
The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is a Warner Brothers Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short, produced in early 1945, and released in 1946. It was directed by Robert Clampett, and features Daffy Duck in Clampett's penultimate Warner cartoon, produced shortly before he left the studio. The short focuses heavily on monster references, dangerous criminals in town, and showing the criminals with a close-up face. The short was found frightening and scary for viewers. This has been considered controversial by The Vitaphone Corporation, and was banned from television broadcastinf throughout much of the world. However, this short had high ratings.
On a farm, Daffy waits for his new Dick Tracy comic book to the tune of Raymond Scott's song "Powerhouse". The mailman then arrives and he gets the comic book. To the tune of Franz von Suppé's Poet and Peasant overture, he sprints to a corner of the farm and reads it. Then, he wishes to become Dick Tracy and then knocks himself out by accidentally punching himself while imagining fighting criminals.
He then imagines himself to be "Duck Twacy, the famous duck-tec-a-tive." Ignoring a piggy bank theft crime wave, he goes into action when he learns that his own bank has also been stolen from his secure safe. He decides to call Duck Twacy and calls himself before remembering he is Duck Twacy. He calls a taxi to follow a car but it leaves without him, to which he replies 'Keeps them on their toes.' Daffy while looking through a magnifying glass at the pavement, at one point bumps into one Sherlock Holmes who is doing the same thing in the opposite direction, and tells him he is working on this side of the street.
Daffy's search leads him to a tram with Porky as the driver leading to the gangsters' not-so-secret hideout. He falls through a trapdoor when he rings the bell and follows footprints, even climbing up a wall making him think the culprit is the Human Fly, to a mouse-hole. He says the culprit is Mouse Man, however a huge humanoid mouse then comes out, and the scared Daffy tells him to go back in. He runs away but faces off against all the dangerous criminals in town (many of which are parodies of Dick Tracy's rogues gallery): Snake Eyes (spoof of B.B. Eyes who has dice for eyes), 88 Teeth (spoof of 88 Keys with piano keys for teeth), Hammerhead (a criminal with a hammer for a head), Pussycat Puss (a monochromatic version of Sylvester), Bat Man (an anthropomorphic baseball bat who is a name parody of the real Batman where DC Comics is now owned by WB), Doubleheader (a two-headed spoof of Tulza "Haf-and-Haf" Tuzon), Pickle Puss (a pickle spoof of Pruneface), Pumpkinhead (a criminal with a pumpkin for a head), Neon Noodle (a neon spoof of Frankenstein), Jukebox Jaw (a criminal with a jukebox speaker for a jaw and a turntable on top of his head), Wolfman (an anthropomorphic wolf criminal), Rubberhead (a pencil eraser-headed criminal), Ironman (a robot criminal), and a host of other unnamed grotesque criminals. He declares "You're all under arrest!" The villains then roar at our hero and the chase begins.
In one sequence, the bad guys are seen using well-known Dick Tracy villain Flattop's head as an airstrip with planes taking off. When Daffy is trapped against a wall, Rubberhead "rubs him out" with his head as an eraser but Daffy appears at the door. Pumpkinhead meanwhile moves in with submachine gun blazing. Daffy tosses a hand grenade directly to Pumpkinhead's head and he becomes a stack of pumpkin pies.
After being chased about, Daffy eventually turns the tables on the villains and traps them inside a hallway closet. He slams the door shut on them and eradicates the group with sustained fire from a Tommy gun.
He faces one last adversary, Neon Noodle (who survived because he is a mere neon outline with no physical "center" for Daffy to shoot), whom Daffy defeats by turning him into a neon sign that reads "Eat at Joe's" (a standard WB cartoon gag). He then finds the missing piggy banks, including his own. He begins to kiss his bank, but since he is dreaming he doesn't realize that he is on the farm again, kissing a real female pig. The plump yet slightly curvacious pig is rather smitten by Daffy since she believes he's trying to woo her with the barrage of smooches he plants all around her face. He wraps his kisses up with a peck to the cute pig's little nose. So in an elegant female voice she says "Shall we dance?" and lovingly kisses him right in the mouth. Now wide awake, Daffy wipes the kiss away disgustedly and runs away. The lady pig says "I love that duck!" and laughs.
Allusions and influence
- Daffy's early line about Dick Tracy, "I love that man!" and the pig's closing line, "I love that duck!" are references to a popular catch-phrase of the time, "Love dat man!", said by the character Beulah on Fibber McGee and Molly. Clampett would use the gag again in his next and final cartoon at Warner Bros. Cartoons, The Big Snooze.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Inside Plucky Duck," there was a segment called "Bat's All Folks" where a spoof of the criminal encounters has Plucky Duck as Bat-Duck encountering Jackster (a donkey parody of Joker), Puffin (a puffin parody of Penguin), Question Mark (a parody of Riddler), and Polecat Woman (a parody of Catwoman). In "New Character Day", there was a segment called "The Return of Pluck Tracy" where Plucky Duck is in the same role that Daffy had here. Here, Pluck Tracy had to rescue Shirley the Loon's aura (who is really Hatta Mari) from gangsters like Ticklepuss (based on Sloppy Moe from Wagon Heels), Soupy Man (an anthropomorphic soup can), Jack the Zipper (an anthropomorphic zipper), Boston Dangler (an upside-down Bostonian on a trapeze), Flatbottom (a naval criminal with a miniature battleship for a butt), Boxcars (a train conductor based on the Peter Lorre scientist), the Generic Thugs, Wolvertoon (a deformed version of Bugs Bunny), Millipede Pete (an anthropomorphic millipede), the Chorus Line Men, Tankenstein (a Transformers spoof who is a name pun on Frankenstein), and the other unnamed grotesque criminals.
- Daffy says "sufferin' succotash" while waiting for his Dick Tracy comic. This line would eventually become the catchphrase of Sylvester, who also has a lisp in his voice. Daffy has said this line in Ain't That Ducky, Baby Bottleneck and Hollywood Daffy and repeats it in three more cartoons: The Up-Standing Sitter, You Were Never Duckier and Daffy Dilly.
- In the scene in which Daffy is seen through a door in silhouette as Duck Twacy, his shadow briefly morphs into Dick Tracy's trademark profile.
- After Daffy shoots through the door with his Tommy Gun and the rogues' gallery of characters begin falling there is a brief shot of a very well endowed woman mixed in with the deck. This happens about halfway through and can only be appreciated fully by carefully going frame-by-frame during this sequence. A well hidden gag.
- An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold titled "Legends of the Dark-Mite" contains a sequence which heavily parodies the cartoon. Unlike when Daffy faces criminals which are parodies, here Bat-Mite faces actual Batman villains (namely Joker, Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Catman, Polka-Dot Man, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Killer Moth, Kite Man, Zebra-Man, and Tiger Shark). As an example, miniature Kite Man figures launch off the top hat of the Mad Hatter.
- When this cartoon aired on the Kids WB shows Bugs 'N Daffy and The Daffy Duck Show, the scene of Daffy locking all the criminals in a closet, blasting them with his Tommy gun, and all of the criminals falling out in rapid succession was cut for being too violent.
- This short was banned in most countries due to a parody of Dick Tracy's rogue galleries because it was frightening and scary for a lot of young viewers. However, it is available on the DVD The Essential Daffy Duck.
Animation historian Steve Schneider said of this picture:
|“||...Bob Clampett's forever priceless The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is clearly a work of the highest cinematic poetry, for prompting the film's manic hilarity are a sequence of images that remain among the most indelible in cartoon history.||”|
In 1994 it was voted #16 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.
Although this short was banned from UK and other countries television, it is available on the US DVD, The Essential Daffy Duck.
- Billy Ingram. "The Beulah Show". Retrieved 2006-09-15.
- Jerry Beck, ed. (1998). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. JG Press, Inc. ISBN 1-57215-271-0.
- Cartoon Network on Facebook