Unnatural History (film)

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Unnatural History
Merrie Melodies series
Directed by Abe Levitow
Story by Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Ed Prentiss
Music by Milt Franklyn
Animation by Ben Washam
Keith Darling
Richard Thompson
Layouts by Bob Singer
Backgrounds by Bob Singer
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) November 14, 1959
Color process Technicolor
Language English

Unnatural History is a 1959 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Abe Levitow, with a story by Mike Maltese. The cartoon is made up of blackout gags with no real story tying them together, similar to many cartoons directed by Tex Avery.


Professor Beest Lee (a pun on "beastly") narrates over clips of animals and their quirky behavior. Scenes include:

  • Kissing porcupines
  • A rabbit (Bugs Bunny as John) sent into space and returning with an alien wife and kids.
  • An orangutan that saws a hole in the ceiling of his cage to pull down a fridge full of food
  • A beaver literally "damming" (cursing) a river
  • A man who proclaims to an entertainment agent his dog can talk whereas all the dog's answers are "ruff", particularly for the answers to the top of a house (roof), the owner's name (Ralph) and the greatest baseball player (Ruth). When the agent throws them out, the dog picks himself up, dusts himself off, and declares to his owner: "Maybe I should've said DiMaggio?"
  • A groundhog who uses advanced technology to predict the weather
  • A mouse that scares an elephant but is then scared by a tiny elephant (in a throwback to Punch Trunk)
  • A hen that lays cube-shaped eggs, to the chagrin of another hen ("Showoff!")
  • A dog patiently waiting on the front porch for his master that hasn't been home in three years, then browbeats him when he finally returns at the cartoon's end (the master turning out to be Beest Lee himself).
  • The classic "trained pigeons" gag (used previously in Curtain Razor and Show Biz Bugs) in which the trainer's pigeons, when released from their cage, fly past the table of miniature obstacles and out the window.
  • A hospital room with a dog who, underneath his bandaged leg, has a cat latched on and won't let go
  • A chameleon that can blend into different unicolor screens but cannot bring himself to attempt a multi-color plaid screen: ("I can't do it!! I CAN'T do it!!!")

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