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Hocus Pocus Powwow (Looney Tunes)

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Hocus Pocus Powwow (Looney Tunes)
Hocus Pocus Powwow.jpg
"Where's a quality when you need em?"
Series: Looney Tunes
Episode Number: 984
Air Date: January 13, 1968
Writer: Cal Howard
Director: Alex Lovy
Previous episode: "Fiesta Fiasco"
Next episode: "Norman Normal"
"Big Game Haunt"

Hocus Pocus Powwow is a 1968 Looney Tunes short directed by Alex Lovy. In this short, Merlin the Magic Mouse and Second Banana must make it past an Indian territory to get to their show, but an Indian named Lo tries to steal Merlin's hat for himself. It is one of the rarest Looney Tunes cartoons (alongside the 1969 version of "Injun Trouble") due to its low airings in syndication, inability to be restored to DVD, and not being sought in comparison of the cartoons from the classic era due to the low quality of the Seven Arts cartoons.

Why It's NOT a Powwow

  1. The short contains stereotypical depictions of Native Americans, particularly with Lo, who is depicted as incompetent and can barely speak intelligible words. This is also the reason why the cartoon was banned from syndication in US networks and hasn't been restored on HBO Max.
  2. Merlin fails to be funny, as with his other shorts, and the best gag he could come up with is a treadmill running on a background (which Lo calls a "portable warpath").
  3. Off-tune and uninspired music from William Lava.
  4. Poor animation and background designs, as with nearly every other short in the Seven Arts-era.
  5. The title card just reuses the title card images from "Speedy Ghost to Town", which is just showing how cheaply made the cartoon was.
    • Speaking of which, it might be entirely possible that the short is also just a rip-off of the aforementioned terrible short, as both shorts have two characters exploring a certain area, with one of the duo being easily replaceable with zero change for each shorts.
  6. Obnoxious use of sound effects, mostly from the Hanna-Barbera library.
  7. Awfully slow pacing, as it takes a part of the cartoon's time to make it to Lo's introduction.
  8. Second Banana is severely underused in this short (more so than the other Merlin shorts), and Second Banana could easily be removed or replaced with a different character for this short with practically no change.
  9. Larry Storch now voices Merlin and Second Banana over Daws Butler. Merlin's new voice is too rough, and he sounds more of an old person than an adult magician. Second Banana's voice is somewhat passable, as it attempts to imitate Butler's voice of Second Banana.
  10. Ridiculous plot twist ending, where the audience that Merlin performs to also happens to be Native Americans, and they all chase Merlin and Second Banana out while shooting arrows at them.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Larry Storch's voice acting is passable at best, minus Merlin.
  2. The tunes in William Lava's "Native American" music sound good at best. Additionally, the Merlin the Magic Mouse theme still sounds catchy.
  3. Lo has a nice design. In fact, despite him being an offensive Native American stereotype, he provides the most laughs in the cartoon, such as the rabbit and chicken out of the magic hat scene, the canyon fall gag, and the treadmill gag. Additionally, he even got his own merchandise at one point in the 1970s.
  4. Volus Jones provides some of the cartoon's best animation with Lo's legs wheeling in the air as he starts his runs, and his body spinning as he falls into the chasm.


[1] (info regarding Lo's brief merchandise, plus full cartoon)


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