Chow Hound
Directed byCharles M. Jones
Story byMichael Maltese
StarringMel Blanc
Music byCarl Stalling
Animation byKen Harris
Phil Monroe
Lloyd Vaughan
Ben Washam
Layouts byRobert Gribbroek
Backgrounds byPhillip DeGuard
Color processTechnicolor
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
June 16, 1951
Running time
6:36
LanguageEnglish

Chow Hound is a 1951 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes animated short directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese.[1] The short was released on June 16, 1951.[2] The voices are performed by Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet and John T. Smith.

Unlike many Warner Bros. cartoons featuring cats, such as Sylvester, as the antagonists of their targets (such as birds) and dogs serving to discourage their behavior, Chow Hound uses a different formula, wherein a large bulldog is the merciless bully, and a frightened cat, along with a mouse, are both his hapless victims. In the film, the bully is a con-artist who forces the cat to serve as his accomplice in a series of scams. The bully's main motivation is gluttony. Once his overeating habits render him obese, sick, and unable to defend himself, the cat turns the table and tortures him in revenge.

Plot

A large bulldog bullies two unwilling parties—a frightened cat, whom the dog refers to as 'Stupid' three times in the short, and a tough-talking mouse—into various scams to obtain dinner from various residences. The bulldog himself repeatedly punishes the cat for (so the dog believes) consistently coming back with stolen meat but no gravy. The scheme involves the dog, who forever complains that he is "starving," using the cat to pose as the pet for three residents and an exhibit at a municipal zoo. The cat poses as (in order of appearance):

He then starts to complain that "week in, week out, it's the same thing; it's too slow!" He then sees a sign advertising a reward for lost animals and gets a sinister idea: holding the cat hostage, the dog accurately anticipates that the cat's "owners" will post rewards in the newspaper. "I've got plans for you!" the dog snarls at the cat.

The bulldog reads the missing animals article in the newspaper for the addresses of the owners as he prepares to execute his big scam (telling his cat comrade "C'mon stupid; this is the payoff!"). The bulldog returns the cat to each of his masters, collects the reward and then reclaims his cat by means of a trick-bed. The dog, gloating that he is now "set for life" and will "never be hungry again," uses his ill-gotten gains to purchase a butcher shop, where "acres and acres" of meat hang from the ceiling.

The final scene takes place at a "dog and cat hospital". The bulldog's gluttony has gotten the better of him, as his overindulgence on meat has rendered him grossly obese and unable to move a muscle. After two doctors diagnose "a distinct case of overeating" and depart from the operating room, two visitors march in: the cat and the mouse. The cat—speaking for the only time in the film—menacingly says, "This time, we didn't forget the gravy." The nervously-perspiring dog repeatedly mutters "no" but is helpless to stop them as the mouse jams a large funnel into the dog's mouth and smiles as the cat begins force-feeding the dog a dangerously unhealthy amount of gravy from an institutional-sized canister as the picture irises out over the sound of the dog gurgling, with the cat and mouse finally getting their revenge against their canine tormentor.

Reception

Animator Eric Goldberg writes, "This is one of my all-time favorite Chuck Jones cartoons for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it may be the darkest film he ever made... Talk about a morality play! I don't think I've ever seen comic retribution played out with such devilish, and deserved, relish. A masterpiece."[3]

Home media

Chow Hound is available (uncensored and uncut) on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 6, disc 4, and on Blu-ray Disc (presented uncensored and in 1080p high definition) as part of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1, disc 2.

References

  1. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 224. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 100–102. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry, ed. (2020). The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes Cartoons. Insight Editions. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-1-64722-137-9.