His Bitter Half

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His Bitter Half
Merrie Melodies (Daffy Duck) series
Directed by I. Freleng
Produced by Edward Selzer
(uncredited)
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Ken Champin
Virgil Ross
Arthur Davis
Gerry Chiniquy
Layouts by Hawley Pratt
Backgrounds by Paul Julian
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) May 20, 1950
Color process Technicolor
Running time 6 mins
Language English

His Bitter Half is a Merrie Melodies animated short produced and copyrighted in 1949 starring Daffy Duck. Released May 20, 1950, the cartoon is directed by Friz Freleng. The voices are performed by Mel Blanc.

Both His Bitter Half and Freleng's 1962 Yosemite Sam short Honey's Money have a similar plot: a fortune-seeking bachelor marrying an ugly mean widow, whose true personality is revealed only after the wedding, and, after forced to do backbreaking housechores, being made to care for her child, introduced (to both the main protagonist and the audience) only after the marriage is legalized. The child in both shorts is named Wentworth; here, Wentworth is a normal sized brat who causes trouble, with Daffy suffering the consequences of his son's actions. (In Honey's Money, Wentworth is completely innocent, his giant weight causing trouble for Sam, who tries to get rid of him to keep the money for himself.) The differing personalities of the two Wentworths results in different executions for each cartoon.

Plot[edit]

Daffy learns that a "refined, lady duck" with an income is seeking someone to marry. After the requisite courtship and marriage, Daffy looks forward to a life of luxury. However, the woman—an oversized lady duck whose personality is as domineering as her size—immediately orders Daffy to do the housework; when Daffy objects, his bill is slapped off his face. After an afternoon of exhausting tasks, he is startled by the appearance of Wentworth, a rambunctious duckling whom Daffy wants nothing to do with.

After being scalped playing cowboys and Indians, Daffy, after being shown the bank book, is made to take Wentworth to the amusement park. There, Daffy tries his luck at a shooting gallery, but each time the duck takes a shot, Wentworth uses a slingshot to bean the back of the barker's head; eventually, the angry barker socks Daffy. His disgusted wife assumes that Daffy is "fried to the gills" and orders him to bed, since he's got to help Wentworth shoot off fireworks on the Fourth of July. The holiday begins with Daffy taking the brunt of a fireworks mishap, followed by Wentworth disguising himself as a lit firecracker. Daffy, wanting to teach the brat a lesson, thinks he's found him and begins to discipline him—only to see the disguised Wentworth racing by, just seconds before the firecracker explodes.

The woman duck then demands that Daffy take Wentworth to the zoo. Despite a threat from his wife to pluck every feather from his body, Daffy stands his ground, "No zoo.". He then walks out through the door with packed suitcases in hand, retorting, "Nobody's going to tell this little black duck what to do!" His body (below the shoulders) has been stripped clean of feathers, just as his now ex-wife had promised. He doesn't look back.

Further reading[edit]

  • Friedwald, Will and Jerry Beck. "The Warner Brothers Cartoons." Scarecrow Press Inc., Metuchen, N.J., 1981. ISBN 0-8108-1396-3.

References[edit]

External links[edit]