31 Days in April?
Daffy Duck Hunt is the epitome of cartoon genius, where art and ideas seamlessly gel together to form a living, laughing entity that steals viewers' interest and never gives it back. It is a mirthful monster that delights in devouring tickle bones, draining watcher strength through rib-cracking cackling, and stimulating the pleasure centers of the brain into an addictive response by needing to take it all in again.
Porky and Daffy team up for this gleefest. Porky is duck hunting with his faithful, unnamed dog during one April day. (Duck hunting season in April? Only in cartoons.) Using a duck call, he gets the attention of Daffy, who arrives in an oversized decoy (brilliant!) and disembarks like some manic soldier ready to do battle.
Daffy is intrigued by the hunter, and decides to make sport of him. He empties the shotgun shells of pellets, and then proceeds to tease Porky into firing wildly at him. In true cartoon fashion, Porky rapidly fires at least a hundred rounds from his shotgun at the swooping, diving duck. And misses by a mile. Shortly after, Daffy again goads Porky into blasting him by donning a dress and singing a ditty inviting a French adventure. Watch the annoyance on Porky's face, as well as that of his dog while they exchange glances. Once again Porky fires and misses, throwing down his gun in frustration and stammering to his dog to, "Ge-ge-ge-go get him!"
One thing these old Warner Bros. cartoons does with utmost accuracy is present emotion. Through eye movement and vocal inflection of the characters, the audience is left in no doubt what the characters are feeling. Daffy's mania, and Porky's frustration play off each other beautifully, wittily. After Daffy allows Porky's dog to bag him, the action switches to Porky's immaculate house with a kitchen shinier than any constellation in the sky. This environment is clearly too antiseptic for the unrestrained duck, and his attempt to leave is thwarted by the dog who tricked him. Not one for succumbing to orders, or any sense of order, Daffy brings noisy chaos to this world of Porky Pig, who's resting upstairs as all hell breaks loose below his floorboards.
The comic genie is released from the bottle and grants Daffy three wishes for chaos. Porky's plan for a quiet afternoon is irrevocably shattered by Daffy as the manic duck goads the dog, who sounds remarkably like Andy Griffith, into becoming his unwitting partner in disharmony.
The final confrontation in this short is ever so sweet. An angry Porky, ax in hand, approaches his dog menacingly by the deep freeze unit. The dog is quickly praying for a miraculous reprieve from imminent beheading owing to Daffy's manic manipulation. A will lies on the floor next to him. As Porky opens the freezer to check on Daffy's presence, the duck's voice can be heard yelling, "Whoa Donner! Whoa Blixen! Whoa Prancer!" Daffy then bounces out of the freezer clad in a red Santa suit and begins to sing "Jingle Bells" with extreme enthusiasm. His tone is infectious, and Porky with his dog join in. In a delightful moment of charcter continuity, Porky stammers the words in song. And as he does so his eyes alight on a beaming calendar set on the wall which flashes the month April (which features 31 days.) Quickly realizing he's been taken for yet another ride by the irrepressible duck he angrily grabs him, strips him of the suit, and holds him on the floor with the intent of cutting his head off with the ax. Daffy, however, outsmarts him in the end, and the short fades to black.
The voice characterizations by Mel Blanc are as flawless as ever. Porky's stammering is deliciously delivered. Daffy's hyper dialogue with its hint of drool is simply perfect. And the dog, with his conflicting demon and angel, is a real character in his own right.
There are little touches which are just perfect. Like the deep freeze unit which sounds like ten Noreasters. The defrosted Daffy singing and basting himself in the oven pan. Daffy lying in the tall grass in supreme contentment. The ax in the dog's fur. Porky's bellowing from the top of the stairs. Porky's singing. Daffy's gapped teeth.