The Great Piggy Bank Robbery
is a 1946 Looney Tunes
short directed by Bob Clampett
, voted no. 16 on Jerry Beck's The 50 Greatest Cartoons
list, and a member of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes
The central character of the cartoon is Daffy Duck
. While reading his beloved Dick Tracy
comic book, Daffy knocks himself out -— upon which he enters a fantasy in which he is Duck Twacy, who has to investigate a conspicuous piggy bank robbery crime wave —- if only because his own precious piggy bank was stolen.
What ensues is a very atmospheric parody of a typical detective movie, albiet peppered with typical mainstays of Bob Clampett
's shorts, including strong emphasis on musical timing (timed to both the actions AND the dialogue!), plenty of wordplay
, dynamic background layouts, and some of the most bizarre, expressive animation
displayed on the Silver Screen since the heydeys of Fleischer Studios
Suffice to say, it's one of the finest entries in the Looney Tunes
series, and indisputably one of the best shorts in the Daffy Duck
series. It has also earned recognition from people in the animation industry, including Ren and Stimpy
creator John Kricfalusi
. who cited it as his all-time favorite cartoon short.
Tropes employed in this short include:
- Affectionate Parody: Of the Dick Tracy comics, and detective movies.
- All Just a Dream: Though we're aware of this from the beginning, and it allows the ending gag to work perfectly.
- Bait and Switch: Used twice in a row. First, Daffy looks like he's about to run out the door, but stops on a dime to call a taxi. Second, the taxi goes off without him.
- "Keeps them on their toes!"
- Used a third time when Daffy boards a trolley, driven by Porky Pig, to get to the gang's hideout—even though it only takes a second to reach it.
- Bowdlerize: For early TV airings of the short (and on the defunct WB network), the part where Duck Tracy locks the mob in the closet and shoots them is cut.
- The Cameo: Porky Pig makes a cameo as a trolley driver
- Chewing the Scenery/Milking the Giant Cow: Daffy.
- Deranged Animation: One of the craziest shorts ever made by the studio.
- Detectives Follow Footprints: While Daffy (Duck Twacy) is inside a house, he follows foot prints (using a magnifying glass) up a wall, across the ceiling and down to a rat hole.
- DVD Commentary: John Kricfalusi provides an interesting commentary for the short on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2, pointing out how the cartoon influenced his style and how obsessively he's studied it since he first watched it.
- Follow That Car: Spoofed, as noted above under Bait and Switch.
- The Golden Age of Animation
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Averted. Daffy can walk on walls and ceilings just fine.
- "Nothing's impossible to Duck Twacy!"
- Hurricane of Puns: When Daffy encounters the mob.
- "Snake-eyes! 88 Teeth! Hammer Head! Pussy Cat—Pussy Cat Puss! Bat-Man! Double Header! P-P-P-Pickle Puss! P-P-P-P-Pumpkin Head! Neon Noodle! Jukebox Jaw! Wolf Man! You're all under arrest!
- Bonus for an (unidentified) parody of the Dick Tracy villain "Flattop" who has airplanes launching off his flat head: It's a pun on both the villain's name as well as the term "flattop," meaning aircraft carrier.
- Neon Sign Hideout - And if that wasn't enough, it has searchlights too!
- Legion of Doom: The large mob membership.
- Not So Dire: When he's introduced, Duck Twacy appears to be interrogating a perp, saying that he's "gonna pin it on ya!" He is then revealed playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
- Piggy Bank
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Duck Twacy does this before throwing a grenade at the villain Pumpkin Head.
- Private Detective
- Public Domain Soundtrack: An instrumental version of the classic jazz song Mysterious Mose is used with the opening title card.
- The scene in which Duck Twacy announces to the criminals, "You're all under arrest!", was cribbed from a moment in RKO's Gunga Din when Sgt. Cutter (Cary Grant) does the same to a temple-full of Thugs. (No, real Thugs.)
- This cartoon also homages the corpses falling out of the closet scene from Tex Avery's MGM Short Who Killed Who?, although he made his version more grim (in context, Daffy Duck gunned down the bodies with a tommy gun through the door), not to mention the bodies fall much faster.
- The first part of Daffy's dream reuses the "Pin it on ya!" gag from an older Tex Avery short "Thugs With Dirty Mugs".
- Trap Door: The door mat in the hideout says trap door, but when Daffy rings to door bell away from it, he falls into a trap door.
- White Gloves: The normally gloveless Daffy dons a pair in this short.
- Write Who You Know: Clampett was a huge fan of comics, and apparently based Daffy's excitement for his issue of Dick Tracy off of his own love of the medium.