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A Sheep in the Deep

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A Sheep in the Deep
A Sheep in the Deep
Directed By: Chuck Jones
Maurice Noble
Produced By: David H. DePatie
Released: February 10, 1962
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Chuck Jones
Animation: Bob Bransford
Ken Harris
Tom Ray
Richard Thompson
Layouts: Corny Cole
Backgrounds: William Butler
Philip DeGuard
Film Editor: Treg Brown
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Music: Milt Franklyn
Starring: Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog
Preceded By: Wet Hare
Succeeded By: Fish and Slips
1962 02 10 A Sheep In The Deep Jones and Noble MM06:14

1962 02 10 A Sheep In The Deep Jones and Noble MM

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Lobby Card

A Sheep in the Deep is a 1962 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble.

This is the sixth short featuring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf, as well as the last cartoon featuring Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf to be directed by Chuck Jones. Their next appearance was in Woolen Under Where, released in 1963 and directed by Phil Monroe and Richard Thompson of the Chuck Jones unit. That was also the first of the last two cartoons featuring the characters to be written by Chuck Jones (the previous cartoons with these characters were written by Michael Maltese, who had already left for Hanna-Barbera in 1960).

Title

The title is a play on the 1897 song Asleep in the Deep.

Plot

Introduction: Like all Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf shorts, this one revolves around Ralph Wolf trying to steal the sheep which Sam Sheepdog is guarding. Like Ready, Woolen and Able, this short begins with a juxtaposition of how Ralph and Sam get to work. Sam wakes up at dawn and takes a leisurely stroll to work as Ralph sleeps in and the sun rises. Just as Sam reaches the punch clock and lifts his hair to read the time, Ralph's alarm clock goes off, triggering the conveyor system that he uses to get to work. A claw lifts his blanket, his bed tilts, dropping him into a trap door where he falls into the shower, after a second in the shower a spring below him engages, sending him into a towel and onto a roller skate. As he rides the roller skate down its rail and dries off with the towel, he is fed a slice of toast and coffee. Finally, he grabs his lunch from a hook and rides the roller skate out his front door, down the path, and punches into work before Sam. As always, the two merrily greet each other.

Sam and Ralph clock

Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf punching the time clock

1. Ralph begins with the straightforward approach of sneaking into the field and snatching a sheep. As he walks back, Sam drops a banana peel on which Ralph slips. Instead of falling immediately, Ralph slides around on the banana peel, and on his way back Sam snags the stolen sheep with a lasso. As Ralph continues to slide forward, he begins to say "Ooh, I'd like to..." only to hit a tree face-first.

2. This time Ralph digs a hole under Sam and out the side of the cliff face, and decides to try to snatch a sheep with a lasso in the same way Sam did in Ralph's last attempt. This is successful, but while Ralph is pulling the sheep up Sam leans over the edge and into Ralph's hole, where he glares at Ralph intimidatingly. Ralph innocently lowers the sheep down, but Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and hits him on the head, propelling him into a tree trunk. As Ralph climbs out of the tree trunk, he resembles a stack of pancakes.

Sam defeating the jack

Sam defeating Ralph's jack plan with a corkscrew.

3. Ralph's next plan is to tunnel under Sam, cut out a circle of earth around Sam with a saw, and jack that circle high into the air with a jack. Successful, Ralph ties a dinner napkin around his neck and prepares to steal a sheep. However, as he's doing this, Sam pulls out a corkscrew and removes the piece of earth that the jack is supporting, sending the entire chunk of earth crashing onto Ralph.

4. In Ralph's fourth attempt, he ties himself to a bunch of helium balloons and floats over Sam. Sam calmly pours a box of BB pellets into his mouth and shoots at Ralph's balloons with a blow gun. Ralph is left grasping on to a single balloon, but the knot on the balloon slips and Ralph is projected into Sam. Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and prepares to drop him off the cliff.

However, before that can happen, the punch clock whistle blows and Sam and Ralph head off for lunch. They enjoy their sandwiches and Sam shares his coffee with Ralph, then they have a smoke break.

They both walk back to the cliff, and as soon as the whistle blows to signal the end of lunch, Sam grabs Ralph by the neck and finally drops him.

5. Ralph's next plan is to build a large slide behind Sam and drop a cannonball down the slide. Sam casually points a large spring at the end of the slide, sending the cannonball back up the slide and into Ralph's dropped jaw. Ralph angrily walks away as the cannonball inside his tail weighs him down.

6. Ralph then attempts to use a record titled "Music to put sheep dogs to sleep by" to put Sam to sleep. This appears to be successful, and Ralph tests to make sure that Sam really is asleep, in much the same way as he tested to make sure Sam couldn't see him in Double or Mutton. After walking off, stealing a sheep and preparing to eat it, the sheep turns out to be Sam is disguise, also similar to Double or Mutton. However, the two of them continue to remove disguises.

  • Ralph turns out to be a sheep
  • Sam turns out to be Ralph
  • The sheep turns out to be Sam
  • Ralph turns out to be a sheep
  • Sam turns out to be Ralph

Finally, Ralph grabs the sheep by the neck, and the sheep turns out to be a stick of dynamite.

However, Ralph is saved by the bell when the punch clock whistles. Sam walks in off screen and extinguishes the stick of dynamite, saying "It's too close to quittin' time Ralph, let's pick it up there in the morning." The two amicably wish each other good night.

Censorship

A Sheep in the Deep Censorship

This smoke break scene was censored on CBS and the Cartoon Network

Two scenes were omitted from this short on ABC. The entirety of Ralph's second plan was omitted, and the entire lunchtime gag, where Sam holds Ralph over the edge of the cliff, the two leave to have lunch, and then return to drop Ralph off the cliff was omitted.

CBS and Cartoon Network left Ralph's second plan intact, but edited the lunch break scene to remove the brief shots of Ralph and Sam smoking. However, the part with Sam cleaning his pipe by tapping it on his foot was left in.

Trivia

  • This cartoon was also featured in Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (completed with new animation), but the segment was removed from later TV airings and the 2000s VHS and DVD releases due to time constrains. However Disney Channel aired the film in the 90's with this deleted scene intact. The 1983 VHS also has the scene intact as well.

Availability

As of 2014, this cartoon is not available on DVD. Although it was released on Looney Tunes Assorted Nuts laserdisc in the mid-1990s.

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