Hunky and Spunky
Hunky and Spunky are fictional characters, appearing in the series of animated short subjects produced by Fleischer Studios for Paramount Pictures from 1938 to 1941. Filmed in Technicolor (three-strip), the series revolves around a mother burro and her son.
Hunky is a mother burro and Spunky is her young son. The initial film, titled Hunky and Spunky, takes place in the Old West, where a prospector attempts to make Spunky into his pack animal. Hunky and Spunky was nominated for the 1938 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).
Fleischer Studios went on to produce six more cartoons featuring Hunky and Spunky: Always Kickin' (1939), The Barnyard Brat (1939), A Kick in Time (1940), Snubbed by a Snob (1940), You Can't Shoe a Horsefly (1940), and Vitamin Hay (1941). The series ended in 1941 with Vitamin Hay.
After Famous Studios succeeded Fleischer Studios in 1942, they revived the Spunky character alone for three cartoons in their Noveltoons series, Yankee Doodle Donkey (1944), Boo Kind To Animals (1955) and Okey Dokey Donkey (1958), with the latter featuring a simplified drawing style.
A positive contemporary review of Hunky and Spunky in Film Daily praised the short for introducing "funny new characters", and stated that the short's device of having the animals speak in "donkey talk" "will amuse the kids" 
|Title||Original release date||Summary|
|Hunky and Spunky||June 24, 1938||Hunky is a mother burro and Spunky is her young son. This story takes place in the Old West, where a prospector attempts to make Spunky into his pack animal.|
|Hunky and Spunky in Always Kickin' (first of two Hunky and Spunky shorts in the Max Fleischer Color Classic series)||January 27, 1939||Hunky is teaching her son Spunky how to kick properly. She has him practice with a mattress propped against a tree. Spunky befriends a family of birds who are building a nest. Spunky copies their design and builds a nest of his own. Although he is a donkey, he tries to imitate the birds in flight and falls out of his nest. A vulture kidnaps the baby bird from the nest and Spunky follows them. Spunky uses his newfound kicking abilities to send the vulture packing and return the baby bird to its parents.|
|The Barnyard Brat (only Max Fleischer Color Classic short featuring Hunky and Spunky)||June 30, 1939||Spunky throws a temper tantrum and proceeds to make things miserable for the animals on the farm despite Hunky's efforts to calm him. When the animals take matters into their own hands and begin to torment Spunky for his behavior, Hunky comes back to save her son.|
|A Kick in Time (second and final of two Hunky and Spunky shorts in the Max Fleischer Color Classic series and final Max Fleischer Color Classic series short)||May 17, 1940||Spunky is kidnapped and sold at an auction to a cruel Italian peddler. It's up to Hunky to save him.|
|Snubbed by a Snob (first of three Max Fleischer Hunky and Spunky Color Classic shorts)||July 19, 1940||A young horse says hi to little donkey Spunky. But the horse's mother pulls him away, saying she doesn't associate with that kind. Spunky makes a few more overtures, and eventually they set off on a chase, running across a bull from time to time. The horse stops to eat a lot of apples and drink far too much water; this leaves him too bloated to move much at all. The two continue to anger the bull, which gives chase; Spunky saves the colt, and they all live in harmony.|
|You Can't Shoe a Horse Fly||August 23, 1940||Hunky and Spunky are settling in for a nap, but a horse fly sees them and sees dinner. After battling the fly for a while, the youngster enlists mom's help. But the fly is merely stunned, and rallies a new attack, this time with friends. Hunky eventually kills the lot of them.|
|Vitamin Hay (final of three Max Fleischer Hunky and Spunky Color Classic shorts)||August 22, 1941||It's time for lunch, and Spunky (the baby donkey) is expected to feed on healthy (and awful-tasting) Vitamin Hay. He resists, and wanders out of the barn to look for more interesting things to eat.|
- (July 1, 1938). Review of Hunky and Spunky. Film Daily, Vol. 74, No. 1, p. 4
- Hunky and Spunky at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original February 6, 2015.
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