Wagon Heels

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Wagon Heels
Merrie Melodies (Porky Pig) series
Directed by Bob Clampett
Produced by Eddie Selzer (uncredited)
Story by Warren Foster
Voices by Mel Blanc, Robert C. Bruce
Music by Carl Stalling, Milt Franklyn
Animation by Rod Scribner
Manny Gould
I. Ellis
C. Melendez
Layouts by Thomas McKimson
Michael Sasanoff
Backgrounds by Thomas McKimson
Michael Sasanoff
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) 1945
Color process Technicolor
Language English

Wagon Heels is a 1945 Merrie Melodies short directed by Bob Clampett, a color remake of the 1938 Looney Tunes black-and-white short Injun Trouble. Because of its wildly stereotypical depiction of the Native American, it is seldom shown on television. All voices except narration are performed by Mel Blanc. In addition to the usual Native American stereotype music, Carl Stalling's underscore frequently plays segments of the American Civil War tune, "Kingdom Coming", even converting it to a minor key in one segment. "Oh! Susanna" is also heard repeatedly in the underscore.

Plot[edit]

The cartoon opens in 1849, with narration by Robert C. Bruce, over a spurious map showing a sliver of land on the Eastern Seaboard labeled "USA", with all land to its west labeled "INJUN JOE'S TERRITORY". Porky Pig is leading a wagon train to California and he must keep an eye out for the Herculean Native American "Super Chief", Injun Joe. The name is a play on the famous Santa Fe train run of the same name (a frequent reference in WB cartoons), and reinforced by each character spouting smoke and crying "Woo-woo!" like a steam locomotive, each time they say Injun Joe's name.

Porky and Injun Joe are repeatedly interrupted by a goofy bearded hillbilly named Sloppy Moe (a play on "Sloppy Joe"), who keeps repeating, "I know something I won't tell, I won't tell, I won't tell!" to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down. This goes on until Injun Joe corners Porky with tomahawk in hand, and Sloppy Moe sings his refrain once more. Injun Joe grabs him and demands, "What you know, Huh???", and Sloppy reveals his secret at last, "Injun... Joe... is... ticklish!", and proceeds to prove that by tickling the chief with his hands and beard. The Native American goes into a raucous laughing fit. Distracted, he backs off a cliff and falls deep into the ground, pulling the surface down with him, and causing the map seen at the beginning of the cartoon to stretch the "USA" sliver across to the west coast, so that it now reads "UNITED STATES of AMERICA" from west to east.

The cartoon closes with the narrator returning to lionize the cartoon's heroes, Porky and Sloppy Moe, and irises-out with Moe tickling the giggling Porky.

Availability[edit]

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