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The Scarlet Pumpernickel
The Scarlet Pumpernickel Title
Directed By: Chuck Jones
Produced By: Eddie Selzer (uncredited)
Released: March 4, 1950
Series: Looney Tunes
Story: Michael Maltese
Animation: Phil Monroe
Ben Washam
Ken Harris
Lloyd Vaughan
Layouts: Robert Gribbroek
Backgrounds: Peter Alvarado
Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By: Mel Blanc
Bea Benaderet (uncredited)
Music: Carl Stalling
Starring: Daffy Duck
Elmer Fudd
Porky Pig
Henery Hawk
Sylvester
Melissa Duck
Mama Bear
Preceded By: The Lion's Busy
Succeeded By: Homeless Hare
The Scarlet Pumpernickel07:08

The Scarlet Pumpernickel

The Scarlet Pumpernickel is an animated Warner Bros. Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released in 1950, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. The cartoon was released at the same time as Cinderella, an animated feature film produced by Walt Disney. Although the title (invoking a type of bread instead of a flower) is a pun on The Scarlet Pimpernel, the Pumpernickel is given a portrayal closer to that of Robin Hood: after Daffy fails to perform a stunt, he mutters that "I'll have to check with Errol," and a costumed appearance more like Zorro, with cape, mask and sword, none of which the Pimpernel used. His alter ego the "Nobleman disguise" is, however, more in line with wealthy English fop Sir Percy Blakeney of the Pimpernel fame. In 1994 it was voted #31 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.[1]

Storyline

The cartoon is a story-within-a-story. Daffy Duck is fed up with comedy and wants to try some more serious roles. He offers a script to the Warner Bros. executive "J.L.", called The Scarlet Pumpernickel, which he wrote himself (under the name "Daffy Dumas Duck." As Daffy reads the script to J.L., the cartoon cuts away to various scenes and then back to J.L.'s office. Each time, Daffy announces a page number. By the cartoon's end, the script has exceeded 2 thousand pages (movie scripts much in excess of 100 pages were usually rejected as too long back in those days). In this script, the clumsy Scarlet Pumpernickel (Daffy) must save the Fair Lady Melissa from being married to a man she does not love, the Grand Duke (Sylvester) under the Lord High Chamberlain's (Porky Pig) orders. Melissa loves Scarlet, but her happy mood is extinguished in a heartbeat when the Chamberlain orders her to "keep away from that masked stinker". The Chamberlain gets a brilliant plan and decides to marry Melissa to the Grand Duke in exchange for killing the Scarlet Pumpernickel. Toward the end, the Grand Duke and the Scarlet Pumpernickel engage in an intense duel, but no conclusive ending is given as to who ultimately wins the battle. Daffy, as the scriptwriter, overdoes the ending as an unlikely series of random and accelerating natural disasters, including skyrocketing food prices (most notably "kreplach").

Production details

  • This is notable among Looney Tunes shorts for its unusually large cast of "star" characters (which, in addition to Daffy, Porky, and Sylvester, includes Elmer Fudd, Henery Hawk and Mama Bear from Jones' Three Bears series). The only well-known characters to not star in this cartoon (among those that had been in cartoons already) were Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam (Foghorn was exclusive to Robert McKimson, the latter two were used mainly by Friz Freleng). Barrier, Michael. Audio commentary for The Scarlet Pumpernickel on disc two of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1. Two major precedents were 1943's A Corny Concerto, directed by Tweety's creator Bob Clampett, which featured Bugs, Elmer, Porky, and arguably a younger Daffy in a parody of Disney's Fantasia, the other was 1947's Crowing Pains, directed by Robert McKimson, which featured Foghorn Leghorn, Barnyard Dawg, Henery Hawk and Sylvester.
  • This cartoon is Henery Hawk's second appearance in a Daffy Duck cartoon, after 1948's You Were Never Duckier - notable for being the first "transitional" Daffy cartoon (from "screwball" to a greedy, self-centered character), the first cartoon in WB's own TV packages (cartoons released 8/1/1948 or later) to be released, and the first such cartoon to be reissued (only one of five without credits).
  • This is only one of three cartoons that Melissa Duck stars in (the others being 1953's "Muscle Tussle" and the late 1980s cartoon short, "The Duxorcist"). She is Daffy's girlfriend in both. She has survived, however, and has become a regular on Baby Looney Tunes, the 2002 series that tells about the childhood of the Looney Tunes characters.
  • This short was one of the few times that Mel Blanc voiced Elmer Fudd, who plays the role of an innkeeper here. Elmer was usually voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan, but since the character had only one line of dialogue, Mel Blanc was told to go ahead and imitate the Bryan's voice for the character. Blanc did not like imitating, however, believing it to be stealing from another actor.Michael Barrier. Audio commentary for The Scarlet Pumpernickel on disc two of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1.
  • This is one of the few cartoons that are set on the Warner lot in Burbank, California, and is also one of the few cartoons that have numerous references to the Warner Bros. co-founder, Jack Warner, who is called J.L. in this short (as is normally done in the WB cartoons when referring to the studio chief).
  • The cartoon was reissued as a Merrie Melodies "Blue Ribbon" classic. The original opening rings were replaced, but like the other later "Blue Ribbon" reissues (1956 onward), the original opening credits were intact. The "Blue Ribbon" opening rings are the ones featured on the DVD release, however, there are still prints with the original opening rings.
  • This is the only Chuck Jones-directed Porky/Sylvester cartoon in which the latter speaks. In the cartoons where Porky and Sylvester explore spooky settings (Scaredy Cat, Claws for Alarm, and Jumpin' Jupiter), Sylvester is a mute (additionally like this cartoon, Scaredy Cat also features a suicide gag that is often censored on TV).
  • In this cartoon, Daffy's middle name is revealed to be Dumas, but Bugs said his middle name is Sheldon in The Looney Tunes Show.

Censorship

The ending of the cartoon after Daffy pitches the scene in which the price of food skyrockets (where Daffy acts out the suicide of The Scarlet Pumpernickel) is almost always edited on television, but in different ways:

  • On ABC and the syndicated run of The Merrie Melodies Show, there is a frozen shot of the outside of the office at the point where Daffy shoots himself in the head so that the viewer doesn't see him actually doing it then cuts back to the interior of the office where Daffy says, "It's getting so you have to kill yourself to sell a story around here" before passing out again.
  • On Nickelodeon, the scene is edited similarly to ABC's and the Merrie Melodies Show edit, but superimposed over the suicide gunshot visual is a repeat shot of the outside of the office, shown in reverse (whether or not this was a mistake is unknown).
  • Cartoon Network once edited out the suicide gag by irising out after Daffy asks "Is that all?" when the cartoon aired as part of the channel's "50 Greatest Cartoons of All Time" marathon. Every other print after that edited the scene by freezing on the shot of the kreplach costing $1000 and once Daffy says, "Is that all?", it jumps to Daffy's "It's getting so you have to kill yourself to sell a story around here" line that ends the short, making it obvious to even the most naive viewer that something was edited.
    • On a July 13, 2012 installment of Cartoon Network's Looney Tunes Show (not the sitcom, the anthology show of actual Looney Tunes shorts from the 1930s to the 1960s), the cartoon was re-edited. The suicide part was still cut, but it was cut the same way it was on the channel's "50 Greatest Cartoons of All Time" marathon (read: the cartoon ends after Daffy says, "Is that all?!"), only instead of an iris-out, it's a fade-out followed by the "That's All Folks!" card (thus answering Daffy's question very surreptitiously). As of 2014, the 2013 edit is the version that airs whenever Cartoon Network airs its Looney Tunes block and is also the version that airs on Cartoon Network's sister channel, Boomerang.

Availability

References

  1. Beck, Jerry (ed.) (1994). The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1,000 Animation Professionals. Atlanta: Turner Publishing.
Daffy Duck Cartoons
1937 Porky's Duck Hunt
1938 Daffy Duck & EggheadWhat Price PorkyPorky & DaffyThe Daffy DocDaffy Duck in Hollywood
1939 Daffy Duck and the DinosaurScalp TroubleWise QuacksNaughty Neighbors
1940 Porky's Last StandYou Ought to Be in Pictures
1941 A Coy DecoyThe Henpecked Duck
1942 Conrad the SailorDaffy's Southern ExposureThe Impatient PatientThe Daffy DuckarooMy Favorite Duck
1943 To Duck or Not to DuckThe Wise Quacking DuckYankee Doodle DaffyPorky Pig's FeatScrap Happy DaffyA Corny ConcertoDaffy - The Commando
1944 Tom Turk and DaffyTick Tock TuckeredDuck Soup to NutsSlightly DaffyPlane DaffyThe Stupid Cupid
1945 Draftee DaffyAin't That DuckyNasty Quacks
1946 Book RevueBaby BottleneckDaffy DoodlesHollywood DaffyThe Great Piggy Bank Robbery
1947 Birth of a NotionAlong Came DaffyA Pest in the HouseMexican Joyride
1948 What Makes Daffy DuckDaffy Duck Slept HereThe Up-Standing SitterYou Were Never DuckierDaffy DillyThe Stupor SalesmanRiff Raffy Daffy
1949 Wise QuackersHoliday for DrumsticksDaffy Duck Hunt
1950 Boobs in the WoodsThe Scarlet PumpernickelHis Bitter HalfGolden YeggsThe Ducksters
1951 Rabbit FireDrip-Along DaffyThe Prize Pest
1952 Thumb FunCracked QuackRabbit SeasoningThe Super SnooperFool Coverage
1953 Duck AmuckMuscle TussleDuck Dodgers In The 24½th CenturyDuck! Rabbit, Duck!
1954 Design for LeavingQuack ShotMy Little Duckaroo
1955 Beanstalk BunnySahara HareStork NakedThis Is A Life?Dime to Retire
1956 The High and the FlightyRocket SquadStupor DuckA Star is BoredDeduce, You Say
1957 Ali Baba BunnyBoston QuackieDucking the DevilShow Biz Bugs
1958 Don't Axe MeRobin Hood Daffy
1959 China JonesPeople Are BunnyApes of Wrath
1960 Person to Bunny
1961 The Abominable Snow RabbitDaffy's Inn Trouble
1962 Quackodile TearsGood Noose
1963 Fast Buck DuckThe Million HareAqua Duck
1964 The Iceman Ducketh
1965 It's Nice to Have a Mouse Around the HouseMoby DuckAssault and PepperedWell Worn DaffySuppressed DuckCorn on the CopTease for TwoChili Corn CornyGo Go Amigo
1966 The AstroduckMucho LocosMexican MousepieceDaffy RentsA-Haunting We Will GoSnow ExcuseA Squeak in the DeepFeather FingerSwing Ding AmigoA Taste of Catnip
1967 Daffy's DinerQuacker TrackerThe Music Mice-TroThe Spy SwatterSpeedy Ghost to TownRodent to StardomGo Away StowawayFiesta Fiasco
1968 Skyscraper CaperSee Ya Later Gladiator
1980 The Yolk's on YouThe Chocolate ChaseDaffy Flies NorthDuck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century
1987 The Duxorcist
1988 Night of the Living Duck
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 Blooper Bunny
1992 Invasion Of The Bunny Snatchers
1995 Carrotblanca
1996 Superior Duck
2003 Attack of the Drones
2004 Daffy Duck for President
2012 Daffy's Rhapsody
Porky Pig Cartoons
1935 I Haven't Got A HatGold Diggers of '49
1936 Plane DippyAlpine AnticsThe Phantom ShipBoom BoomThe Blow OutWestward WhoaFish TalesShanghaied ShipmatesPorky's PetPorky the RainmakerPorky's Poultry PlantPorky's Moving DayMilk and MoneyLittle Beau PorkyThe Village SmithyPorky in the North WoodsBoulevardier from the Bronx
1937 Porky the WrestlerPorky's Road RacePicador PorkyPorky's RomancePorky's Duck HuntPorky and GabbyPorky's BuildingPorky's Super ServicePorky's Badtime StoryPorky's RailroadGet Rich Quick PorkyPorky's GardenRover's RivalThe Case of the Stuttering PigPorky's Double TroublePorky's Hero Agency
1938 Porky's PoppaPorky at the CrocaderoWhat Price PorkyPorky's Phoney ExpressPorky's Five and TenPorky's Hare HuntInjun TroublePorky the FiremanPorky's PartyWholly SmokePorky in WackylandPorky's Naughty NephewPorky in EgyptThe Daffy DocPorky the Gob
1939 The Lone Stranger and PorkyIt's an Ill WindPorky's Tire TroublePorky's Movie MysteryChicken JittersPorky and TeabiscuitKristopher Kolumbus Jr.Polar PalsScalp TroubleOld GloryPorky's PicnicWise QuacksPorky's HotelJeepers CreepersNaughty NeighborsPied Piper PorkyPorky the Giant KillerThe Film Fan
1940 Porky's Last StandAfrica SqueaksAli-Baba BoundPilgrim PorkySlap Happy PappyPorky's Poor FishYou Ought to Be in PicturesThe Chewin' BruinPorky's Baseball BroadcastPatient PorkyCalling Dr. PorkyPrehistoric PorkyThe Sour PussPorky's Hired HandThe Timid Toreador
1941 Porky's Snooze ReelPorky's Bear FactsPorky's PreviewPorky's AntA Coy DecoyPorky's Prize PonyWe, The Animals - Squeak!The Henpecked DuckNotes to YouRobinson Crusoe Jr.Porky's Midnight MatineePorky's Pooch
1942 Porky's Pastry PiratesWho's Who in the ZooPorky's CafeMy Favorite Duck
1943 Confusions of a Nutzy SpyYankee Doodle DaffyPorky Pig's FeatA Corny Concerto
1944 Tom Turk and DaffyTick Tock TuckeredSwooner CroonerDuck Soup to NutsSlightly DaffyBrother Brat
1945 Trap Happy PorkyWagon Heels
1946 Baby BottleneckDaffy DoodlesKitty KorneredThe Great Piggy Bank RobberyMouse Menace
1947 One Meat BrawlLittle Orphan Airedale
1948 Daffy Duck Slept HereNothing But The ToothThe Pest That Came to DinnerRiff Raffy DaffyScaredy Cat
1949 Awful OrphanPorky ChopsPaying the PiperDaffy Duck HuntCurtain RazorOften an OrphanDough For The Do-DoBye, Bye Bluebeard
1950 Boobs in the WoodsThe Scarlet PumpernickelAn Egg ScrambleGolden YeggsThe DuckstersDog Collared
1951 The Wearing of the GrinDrip-Along DaffyThe Prize Pest
1952 Thumb FunCracked QuackFool Coverage
1953 Duck Dodgers In The 24½th Century
1954 Claws for AlarmMy Little Duckaroo
1955 Jumpin' JupiterDime to Retire
1956 Rocket SquadDeduce, You Say
1957 Boston Quackie
1958 Robin Hood Daffy
1959 China Jones
1961 Daffy's Inn Trouble
1965 Corn on the Cop
1966 Mucho Locos
1980 Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century
1996 Superior Duck
2004 My Generation G-G-Gap
Elmer Fudd Cartoons
1940 Elmer's Candid CameraConfederate HoneyThe Hardship of Miles StandishA Wild HareGood Night Elmer
1941 Elmer's Pet RabbitWabbit Twouble
1942 The Wabbit Who Came to SupperAny Bonds Today?The Wacky WabbitNutty NewsFresh HareThe Hare-Brained Hypnotist
1943 To Duck or Not to DuckA Corny ConcertoAn Itch in Time
1944 The Old Grey HareThe Stupid CupidStage Door Cartoon
1945 The Unruly HareHare Tonic
1946 Hare RemoverThe Big Snooze
1947 Easter YeggsA Pest in the HouseSlick Hare
1948 What Makes Daffy Duck?Back Alley Op-RoarKit For Cat
1949 Wise QuackersHare DoEach Dawn I Crow
1950 What's Up Doc?Rabbit of Seville
1951 Rabbit Fire
1952 Rabbit Seasoning
1953 Up-Swept HareAnt PastedDuck! Rabbit, Duck!Robot Rabbit
1954 Design for LeavingQuack Shot
1955 Pests for GuestsBeanstalk BunnyHare BrushRabbit RampageThis Is A Life?Heir-Conditioned
1956 Bugs' BonnetsA Star is BoredYankee Dood ItWideo Wabbit
1957 What's Opera, Doc?Rabbit Romeo
1958 Don't Axe MePre-Hysterical Hare
1959 A Mutt in a Rut
1960 Person to BunnyDog Gone People
1961 What's My Lion?
1962 Crow's Feat
1980 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 Blooper Bunny
1992 Invasion Of The Bunny Snatchers
2012 Daffy's Rhapsody
Sylvester Cartoons
1945 Life with FeathersPeck Up Your Troubles
1946 Kitty Kornered
1947 Tweetie PieDoggone CatsCatch as Cats Can
1948 Back Alley OproarI Taw a Putty TatHop, Look and ListenKit For CatScaredy Cat
1949 Mouse MazurkaBad Ol' Putty TatHippety Hopper
1950 Home Tweet HomeThe Scarlet PumpernickelAll a Bir-r-r-rdCanary RowStooge for a MousePop 'Im Pop!
1951 Canned FeudPutty Tat TroubleRoom and BirdTweety's S.O.S.Tweet Tweet Tweety
1952 Who's Kitten Who?Gift WrappedLittle Red Rodent HoodAin't She TweetHoppy Go LuckyA Bird in a Guilty CageTree for Two
1953 Snow BusinessA Mouse DividedFowl WeatherTom Tom TomcatA Street Cat Named SylvesterCatty CorneredCats A-Weigh
1954 Dog PoundedBell HoppyDr. Jerkyl's HideClaws for AlarmMuzzle ToughSatan's Waitin'By Word of Mouse
1955 Lighthouse MouseSandy ClawsTweety's CircusJumpin' JupiterClaws for AlarmA Kiddies KittySpeedy GonzalesRed Riding HoodwinkedHeir-ConditionedPappy's Puppy
1956 Too Hop to HandleTweet and SourTree Cornered TweetyThe Unexpected PestTugboat GrannyThe Slap-Hoppy MouseYankee Dood It
1957 Tweet ZooTweety and the BeanstalkBirds AnonymousGreedy For TweetyMouse-Taken IdentityGonzales' Tamales
1958 A Pizza Tweety PieA Bird in a Bonnet
1959 Trick or TweetTweet and LovelyCat's PawHere Today, Gone TamaleTweet Dreams
1960 West of the PesosGoldimouse and the Three CatsHyde and Go TweetMouse and GardenTrip For Tat
1961 Cannery WoeHoppy DazeBirds of a FatherD' Fightin' OnesThe Rebel Without ClawsThe Pied Piper of GuadalupeThe Last Hungry Cat
1962 Fish and SlipsMexican BoardersThe Jet Cage
1963 Mexican Cat DanceChili WeatherClaws In The Lease
1964 A Message to GraciasFreudy CatNuts and VoltsHawaiian Aye AyeRoad to Andalay
1965 It's Nice to Have a Mouse Around The HouseCats and BruisesThe Wild Chase
1966 A Taste of Catnip
1995 Carrotblanca
1997 Father of the Bird
2011 I Tawt I Taw A Putty Tat
Henery Hawk Cartoons
1942 The Squawkin' Hawk
1943 Flop Goes the Weasel
1946 Walky Talky Hawky
1947 Crowing Pains
1948 You Were Never DuckierThe Foghorn Leghorn
1949 Henhouse Henery
1950 The Scarlet PumpernickelThe Leghorn Blows at Midnight
1951 Leghorn Swoggled
1952 The Egg-Cited Rooster
1955 All Fowled Up
1961 Strangled Eggs

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