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Injun Trouble (1969, Looney Tunes)

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Injun Trouble (1969, Looney Tunes)
Injun Trouble.jpg
Ouch. That's not all a very good way to end the Merrie Melodies classic era.
Series: Merrie Melodies
Episode Number: 1000
Air Date: September 20, 1969
Writer: Cal Howard
Director: Robert McKimson
Previous episode: "Bugged by a Bee"
Next episode: "Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol" (revival-era)


Injun Trouble (not to be confused with the Porky Pig short of the same name from 1938 directed by Bob Clampett) is a 1969 Merrie Melodies short directed by Robert McKimson. In this short, Cool Cat drives into an Indian territory and experiences the culture of the natives. It is the last Merrie Melodies short and last Looney Tunes-related short in the Golden Age of Animation. Despite the cartoon's negative reception, it is considered to be one of the rarest Warner Bros. cartoons (and one of the rarest Looney Tunes cartoons alongside "Hocus Pocus Powwow") due to its low airings in syndication and not being sought in comparison of cartoons of the classic era due to the poor quality of Seven Arts cartoons, as well as its stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans.

Why This Short Is Trouble

  1. This short relies heavily on the usage of Native American stereotypes throughout the short, perhaps even more so than "Hocus Pocus Powwow". Needless to say, this got the cartoon banned from syndication in US networks (only having aired once in US networks on The Merrie Melodies Show in 1972) and also prevented its restoration on HBO Max.
    • One of the Native Americans, as well as his horse's lines are, word-for-word, "Injuns always yell like that when they mad!/That is an Injun, they always yell like that when they're mad."
  2. The plot is perhaps one of the most boring imaginable, and there's no concise goal for the short: Cool Cat gets lost in a Native American territory and tries to head to the town of Hotfoot. However, unlike Merlin the Magic Mouse, who often has a good reason for heading to different areas each cartoon, it is unknown why Cool Cat even wants to head to Hotfoot in the first place, let alone making the town seem more of a plot device than anything else.
  3. The pacing is very slow.
  4. Awful animation, as with almost any other Seven Arts cartoon. The backgrounds also suffer from dull and washed out colors (although the short is yet to be restored). Notably, animation is constantly recycled, particularly since the majority of the cartoon relies on Cool Cat being in his dune buggy and final costs being cut due to the Seven Arts cartoon studio being closed.
  5. While Larry Storch is passable as most of the characters, the voice he uses for the Native American maiden is rather poor and unconvincing.
  6. Obnoxious use of Hanna-Barbera sound effects as with the other cartoons in the Seven Arts-era. For example, when a Native American paints a stripe on his teepee in one scene, it makes a "poof" sound effect; the studio did not have access to a paintbrush sound at the time because of extremely poor budgets.
  7. Compared to his previous cartoons, Cool Cat is barely even funny and does not steal the spotlight. The best gag that Cool Cat can do in this short is "cutting out" of the saloon after the outlaw from "Fistic Mystic" (Gower Gulch) tries to blast Cool Cat after losing a game of poker with the former.
  8. Nonsensical ending, where Cool Cat cuts an outline of himself to leave the saloon into a somewhat-fittingly white void. In addition, his (and the series') last line, "So cool it now, you hear?", is barely even memorable.
  9. This cartoon ended the Golden Age era of Merrie Melodies, as well as Robert McKimson's career on the series on a less-than-great note.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Larry Storch does a passable effort on voicing Cool Cat and the other characters, except for the maiden.
  2. Background artist Bob McIntosh offers a distinctive color style.
  3. A couple of the Native American gags are decent -- the smoke signal by stenograph, and the Groucho Marx imitator.
    • Once Cool Cat leaves Native American territory and enters Hotfoot, Bob McKimson shows that he's still an efficient director. For example, the horse doctor gag is kept non-verbal.
    • The "Topless Saloon" earns some belly laughs and gives the cartoon a contemporary touch.
    • The final gag, while nonsensical, is a somewhat clever fourth-wall break like in the studio's heyday.
  4. William Lava's music is (surprisingly) more lively than most of his 1962-66 cartoon work. This was his final cartoon he worked on, ending his career on a fairly high note. In addition, the Cool Cat theme is still catchy.

Controversy

Due to its stereotyping of Native Americans, it has not been seen on widespread television or home media release. Due to its rarity, it is sometimes considered lost media due to the fact that it is often sought out by fans since the short was created during the later golden ages of Warner Bros., and some people consider it as one of the rarest cartoon shorts Warner Bros. made, even more so than the infamous and notorious Censored Eleven and the World War II cartoons which were produced during the series' heyday, owing to the general unpopularity of the Seven Arts-era cartoons.

Most of the reasons why this was banned could be on how racially "offensive" the nature of this short is, much like other shorts involving Native Americans, such as "Crosby, Columbo, and Vallee", "Sweet Sioux", the 1938 version of "Injun Trouble", "Scalp Trouble", "Sioux Me", "Mighty Hunters", "The Hardship of Miles Standish", "Saddle Silly", "Slightly Daffy", "Wagon Heels", "A Feather in His Hare", "Nothing but the Tooth", "Tom Tom Tomcat", "The Oily American", "Horse Hare", "Hocus Pocus Powwow" and "The Door".

  • It is likely that the cartoon's MPAA certificate is #22095[1], but due to the low quality of the only circulating copy for this cartoon, the number cannot be seen well on the opening credits.

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