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Cartoon Hell #4 – “Along Came A Duck”

January 17, 2008

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

God Help You If A Duck Comes Along and You’re Unprepared!

 Today’s entry sounds a bit like the third line of a dirty joke, after the priest, minister, and rabbi are seated at the bar, then along came a duck.

 Really, the title isn’t setting you up for an story of wizardry and wonder in the far east. If a friend of mine said, “So I was sitting there, and along came a duck…..” I wouldn’t immediately yell, “Shit man, don’t leave me hanging, then what happened? What did the duck do? I bet it quacked, tell me it quacked!”

Stamped and approved by the Kaiser himself!

 The first thing I noticed upon loading this film is that I don’t recognize the title card. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of “Official Films” before, though you can’t beat a title that immediately encourages you to ask, “officially what?” I’m sure it spits in the face of all things unofficial, but I’d like to know who exactly they’re representing.

 Tiny tots are the most dangerous tots of all.

 And in addition to that, this isn’t just some random official cartoon, no sir, it’s part of the “Tiny Tot” cartoon series, which set me up for the most condescendingly treacly entertainment possible. This is the sort of cutesy production that would make the people at Golden Books vomit on their “Hang In There” kitty cat sweatshirts.

 They actually found a way to make duck food non-kosher.

 The film starts out with an Aryan poster-child appropriately feeding a small group of white ducks. Even in black and white, we can assume that they’re also blue eyed and believe Canadian Geese must be purged from the continent.

 A conscientious objector flees from the uber-child, and he follows, ready to do what it takes to maintain order.

 Before he can silence the duck, he hears a noise somewhat like what I imagine James Earl Jones politely burping must sound like, or the fart a really old sofa covered in plastic would make if it had intestines.

 Do frogs have nipples? I can’t tell if this drawing is inaccurate in that regard.

 He pops his head through some branches and yells the sort of thing inarticulate three year olds normally yell, to which the standard adult response is, “Uh hu, yes, that’s nice honey, why don’t you go play.” The frog seems to understand him, and says “You like that old duck don’t you? Well I’ve got lots of ducks back at my apartment, why don’t you come with me and we’ll pet them together?” The frog pronounces everything in a low, musical, syncopated rhythm, and I couldn’t stop imagining him say, “I…. have…. three baaaaaaalls.”

 The frog proceeds to weave an intricate tale of mystery and deception which answers the question a child would not be able to ask with the proper clarity: “How did you meet that duck?”

 “One day I was playing around the old swimming hole all by my self.” If you were to give Tom Waits the task of voicing a frog, I think it would sound eerily similar to this character. This does not inspire my trust in the frog in the slightest.

 I think it donned on the frog that it’s drinking rank pond water.

 Yes, the frog was indeed alone, doing the most obscene frog expectoration witnessed on film. I went and rewound this section several times to catch the perfect frame to indicate just how oddly lewd this moment looked.

 This picture will haunt me until the cold claw like grip of death pulls me from this mortal coil.Ever wonder what hot erotic stuff is happening to a duck under the surface? Ummm, yeah, me neither.

 Ducks come along, and the frog decides to single out the young duck on the end of the line and tickle it provocatively on the ass. The expression the duck initially makes doesn’t exactly seem to be one of displeasure, and as they chase each other through the water, their behavior seems more like interspecies flirting than anything else. It’s a scenario we can all relate to, who hasn’t been tickled on the taint by an amphibian once or twice?

 You didn’t realize frogs had that kinda lung capacity? Aint you ever heard a frog scream?

 The ongoing game of grab-ass culminates with the frog quite literally blowing the duck, leaving it tangled in the undersea foliage.

 This frog would have been an Olympic contender if it hadn’t been the year they started testing for opiates.

 Once he reaches the lily pad, the frog notices bubbles rising from the pond but no duck, and realizes that he has inadvertently doomed the duck to a watery grave. His response is to swim out to the duck in a fashion completely inappropriate to a frog. I’m no expert on styles, but I think he’s doing the breast stroke, which is pretty god damn unbecoming.

 For a pack of cigarettes a frog will stab pretty much anyone you point out.

 In an act of froggy evolution, he realizes he will need to use tools for the task of freeing his love, and he employs a nearby fish bone with great success. You’ll know the frog revolution has come when you look down and find you’ve been gut-shanked with a fish bone by a frog wearing a beret.

 Doin the butt! Everybody now!

 Pushing the duck to shore, the frog rolls the duck over a log, and I chose to include a freeze frame taken at the most suggestive possible moment. Where is my head at when I appear to be deliberately singling out frames for cheap laughs? Somewhere sweaty and fun I would hope.

And how do you know when CPR succeeds on a duck? Why when it quacks of course! And oh how this duck quacks, for a duck’s quack is it’s way of celebrating life, unless it’s a demand to crumple up bread and spread it evenly over a shallow water.

 Your child is so squeezably soft!

 Where’s the first place you check for a missing duck? Under the other duck, obviously, it’s where ducks often go missing. Mother Duck’s panicky response is understandable, no one suspects their young to be led astray by butt-tickling toads. She soon spots the resuscitated child on the shoreline, and rushes to its aid, the frog hopping behind a tree to hide.

 The duckling is given a stern duckly talking to, in which the frog is quite specifically sold out for his misdeeds. Mother duck pulls the frog out of his hiding place and drags him back to the area where the other ducks have congregated. The twist is that they intend to thank him as a group, and in no way rend him apart with their savage beaks.

 Oh good, I didn’t miss the dancing…

 And of course the whole thing ends in dancing. Why must black in white cartoons always have a dancing denouement? Were audiences in the 30’s not satisfied unless cartoon animals danced to a jazzy tune? Were there cartoons that ended without them and audience members started screaming, “What the fuck, they didn’t do the Lindy Hop or the Charleston or nothing, I want my money back!”

 The group returns to the water, and they all laugh at the frog’s apparent lack of buoyancy relative to a duck. They all share an even bigger belly laugh once the frog returns to the surface in an oddly Thundercats-style moment.

 “If you don’t believe me, ask her!” The frog says when the flashback has faded and they’re left with the sour taste of the present. Seeking some confirmation of the phantasmal tale from his waterfowl friend was perhaps a mistake. The duck quacks, since after all, it’s a fucking duck.

 The story concludes before the frog can recount how the hideous offspring of their forbidden love had to be drowned in a bucket by a horrified Farmer John later that year, probably since the cartoon was running long.

 UNPC Moment:

 I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cartoon character touch another cartoon character in the bathing suit area the way it’s done in “Along Came A Duck”. It’s really, supremely odd looking.

 Rating: Humorously Bad

 Everything about this story is a little off kilter, and the way characters are animated is often funny for completely unintentional reasons, as is often the case with cartoons that are designed to be dull kiddie content. It’s worth watching for the frog voice-over alone.

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2 comments

  1. Sounds like this video could be used to illustrate how “bad touch” is still bad even when someone tells you it’s ok.

    See kids, just because the frog saved the duck doesn’t make the bad touch ok. And because the little duck never told his/her parents they grew up with deeply ingrained emotional scarring resulting in the drug use and child abuse.


  2. Shouldn’t this be called “Along Came a Frog”? Really, the duck was just minding her (his???) own business. Something about a Frog Coming Along really hints at the insidious nature of this beast.

    And I’d like to launch into how cartoon producers don’t think that kids can think for themselves, and of COURSE they’ll be entertained with flashy frog antics, but really, I loved the Thundercats too…



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