Week of Cartoons – Day 2: The Best of Marvin the Martian

March 24, 2008

marvin01.jpgFROM JASON’S SECRET BASE ON THE RED PLANET — Okay, so I’m cheating. There were only ever five original shorts made starring Marvin the Martian, so a “best of” list is really damned stupid.

Marvin was created by (who else) Chuck Jones in 1948 for Haredevil Hare, which I dislike intensely because the prototype for Marvin’s voice is horrid. It’s a stupid, almost meek voice — not the superior nasal condescension we’ve come to love. You can still watch that episode on YouTube, but I refuse to post it here.

Marvin’s never named in the old shorts; he was supposedly called Commander X-2 around Warner Brothers but his name changed when the company decided to start marketing him in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He had instant appeal to kids like me, who were obsessed with outer space and serialized sci-fi.

Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century

Here it is, right at the top — the absolute best Marvin cartoon, and the only one starring Daffy Duck (and Porky, for that matter). The rest star Bugs Bunny, but I think Daffy’s righteous rage is awesome.

The Earth’s supply of Illudium Phosdex, the shaving cream atom, is dangerously low. It’s up to Duck Dodgers to go to Planet X and claim its resources in the name of Earth. The only problem is that Mars sends a certain conquerer as well.

Incidentally, the Martian flag is a red circle on a white background. This proves conclusively that Martians are Japanese. And at 5:53, is that an interociter?

Hare-way to the Stars

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This is the one that gives Duck Dodgers a run for its money. Bugs wanders into a rocket by accident and gets blasted to an Escher-esque world of glass pyramids, antennas, and zig-zagging red space platforms. By a stroke of good timing, he interrupts Marvin just as our Martian legionnaire is getting ready to use Illudium PU-36 to destroy the Earth (it’s blocking his view of Venus).

Apparently, Martians are very long-lived, because Marvin says he’s been working on PU-36 for 2,000 years.

This episode is all about futurist concept art depicted in a very 1960s World’s Fair style. It also features the just-add-water aliens on scooters, which is a priceless sequence.

Mad as a Mars Hare

Astro-rabbit Bugs Bunny is tricked into exploring the surface of Mars and runs into a stubborn native who doesn’t want the red planet befouled by Earthlings. Marvin gets the drop on Bugs but accidentally misfires his time-space gun, mutating Bugs into a Hulk bunny.

The Hasty Hare

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General E=mc² sends Marvin with Commander K-9 on a mission to bring back one live Earth creature to Mars. Bugs Bunny is once again his target and succeeds in the first minute or so in making Marvin say, “You have made me very angry!”

How Buck Rogers can you get, you ask? Well, Marvin and K-9 break out the ACME straight jacket-launching bazooka.

Also, I just want to point out that at the end, when Bugs offers to sell a flying saucer with only 3 billion miles on it, that means the ship has traveled 0.00051 light years. Of course, at its closest, Mars is only 36 million miles from Earth (or 250 million miles at the greatest gap in the planets’ orbits). That means that theoretically Marvin’s ship could have gone from Mars to Earth 83 times already.

YouTube Cinema: More Bugs Bunny cartoons

March 4, 2008

FROM JASON’S BLAG-O-METER — Well, you asked for it. Our post on The Best of Bugs and Yosemite Sam continues to get mad hits, and I figure we should give the people what they want.

Bugsy and Mugsy

When two bank-robbing gangsters use Bugs Bunny’s apartment as a hideout, Bugs decides to toy with them until the coppers arrive.Friz Freleng gets credit for creating Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales, Porky Pig, Tweety, and Sylvester, but Rocky is one of the best. In this short, Bugs is used almost just a catalyst for Rocky’s Al Capone-ish quirks and diction (“Turn it on, the radio.”) I also love how the Looney Tunes world seems to persistently remain in the 1930s even as Freleng directed for Warner Bros. into the 1980s.

The way Bugs Bunny plays Bugsy and Mugsy against each other — whispering into the ears of each so they fight — has always reminded me of that early passage in The Hobbit where Bilbo does the same to the trolls to rescue the party of dwarves.

Rabbit Hood

“Arise, Sir Loin of Beef. Arise, Earl of Cloves. Arise, Duke of Brittingham. Arise, Baron of Munchausen. Arise, Essence of Myrrh, Milk of Magnesia, Quarter of Ten.”

Here’s further proof that Bugs Bunny is a dick. The Sheriff of Nottingham (who doesn’t hold a candle to Alan Rickman) is just trying to do his job and gets the tar knocked out of him for his dedication to the crown.

Transylvania 6-500

Count Bloodcount hasn’t a chance against his rabbit guest after Bugs learns a couple of magic words, and Bugs totally spawn-camps the vampire into submission.

Ali Baba Bunny

Bugs always uses his opponents’ greed against them. While Daffy is busy trying to steal Ali Baba’s treasure and fending off the guard, Hasan, Bugs tries to wash his hands of the situation calmly. It seems like Bugs became more and more apathetic to wealth and possessions as Chuck Jones aged.