9 surreal Looney Tunes shorts that are not like the rest
Feast your eyes on these wonderfully weird and wacky cartoons.
While Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts always take certain liberties with reality, some stretch the boundaries farther than others. The beauty of cartoons is that things like gravity and logic don't have to apply!
But sometimes animators took things in strange new directions with incredibly absurd results. Here are nine Looney Tunes shorts that stand out from the usual Bugs and Daffy fair because of their zany or bizarre qualities.
1. The Girl at the Ironing Board (1934)
This black-and-white short starts off normally. Men and women working at a laundry sing while they iron clothes and sharpen collars. But at night, when the workers have left, the clothes come alive. A man and a woman drop off their laundry at the same time and take a liking to each other, but instead of following them, we see what happens to their clothes! Naturally, the couple's clothes also fall in love. The sentient outfits dance and sing while combatting a villainous garment who twirls his bowtie mustache. The cartoon features many strange sequences including two parent pajamas changing the diaper of their baby onesie.
2. Streamlined Greta Green (1937)
Long before Pixar came out with Cars, Warner Bros. released a cartoon with anthropomorphic automobiles. They dance together, box at intersections and go to filling station diners to drink fuel. The world is certainly a little out there but the most bizarre parts of this short are the faces on the vehicles, with their wide, headlight eyes.
3. Fresh Fish (1939)
This short is set up as a mock educational reel, a common theme for cartoons that didn't use any popular characters. This one immediately sets itself apart because it takes place almost entirely underwater and thus has a flickering, dreamy quality to mimic the flow of water. A narrator lists a wide variety of marine life, like a starfish who wants to be in motion pictures and an electric eel that can light up its own neon sign. The most unique animal, a two-headed fish, repeatedly asks the annoyed narrator about seeing Mr. Ripley, presumably to be featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!
4. Dog Gone Modern (1939)
This short revolves around two dogs who unwittingly enter a model home of the future. An automatic sweeper robot zooms around cleaning any mess, an "electric dishwasher" is more like a carwash for dishes, and a napkin-folding machine tangles up one of the dogs in a knot. But the weirdness really starts with the piano. Two robot hands play the keys while an assortment of instruments like horns and flutes pop out and play their parts. To top it off, three mechanical heads spring out and sing in unison. They look like ventriloquist dolls on springs and add a bit of a carnival air to an otherwise congenial cartoon.
5. A Gander at Mother Goose (1940)
As the title suggests, this short is a satirical take on the famous nursery rhymes of Mother Goose. Jack and Jill, Little Miss Muffet and the Three Little Pigs all make appearances, with typical Looney Tunes zaniness. But the funniest and strangest portrayal is of Humpty Dumpty, who falls from the wall but only shows one crack!
6. Wacky Wildlife (1940)
Another parody educational short, the narrator of this cartoon takes viewers on a journey through the animal kingdom. It stands out for its realistic renderings of the animals — even when they're doing something comical, like a dainty deer gulping loudly from a pond, or a horse and cowboy running in place. The oddest part is a sheep showing some skin as the narrator says "There's nothing like a good leg of lamb."
7. The Trial of Mr. Wolf (1941)
This cartoon sees the Big Bad Wolf finally face the consequences for his misdeeds in court. But while on the witness stand, the wolf spins a tale of Little Red Riding Hood as a tough, motorcycle-riding con-artist and Grandma as a maniacal hunter especially fond of wolf furs. It's one of the stranger Looney Tunes fairy tale parodies and is all the better for it.
8. Bug Parade (1941)
A third cartoon framed as an educational reel, this one is about the wacky antics of bugs. There are plenty of jokes about ants, bees, snails and caterpillars, but the weirdest segment by far is the one about flies. The narrator relates how a fly's two large eyes are really "composed of thousands of smaller eyes." The accompanying visual is nothing short of surreal, like something out of a Dali painting.
9. The Hypo-chondri-Cat (1950)
It's probably the most widely seen on this list as it's one of the best Hubie and Bertie cartoons, but that doesn't mean this short isn't downright delightfully mind-bending. When the two mischievous rodents find out the cat chasing them, Claude is a hypochondriac, they use it to their advantage. Not only do they convince him he's turning different colors but they pretend to perform surgery sending Claude into a strange, colorful hallucination complete with a far-away, echoing version of Bertie's "yeah-yeah, sure-sure." Though the diabolical duo torment Claude in most of their outings together, this cartoon takes the weirdness up a notch.