"One of the most perfect cartoons ever made.""Bad Luck Blackie"
was a 1949
animated cartoon produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Tex Avery
. The short was voted the fifteenth-best cartoon of all-time in a 1994 poll of one-thousand animation industry professionals, as referenced in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons
The short involves an innocent little kitten being bullied by a cruel bulldog. After enduring his slapstick torment the kitten escapes into an alley, and meets a cigar-smoking alley cat with black fur. The cat offers to protect the kitten by crossing the dog's path and causing him bad luck whenever the kitten blows on a whistle. When the dog manages to thwart the black cat by painting him white, the kitten paints himself black and takes up the act of being bad luck. The rest of the short involves the Amusing Injuries
that befall the cruel dog as the kitten uses his newly-found protection to his full advantage.
- Amusing Injuries: What the dog suffers for his cruelness.
- Annoying Laugh: The dog has two, provided by Tex Avery himself. The main one is a goofy belly laugh, but a couple times he also emits a wheezy snicker that predates Muttley. And at the very end, the kitten gives the same wheezy snicker.
- Anvil On Head: As well as several other heavy things, whenever the black cat crosses the dog's path.
- Balloonacy: The cat uses a balloon to fly by the dog when he is up on top of a telephone pole. What the dog gets after that is a lit bomb.
- Bully Bulldog: He gets his just deserts, though.
- Butt Monkey / The Chew Toy: The dog, all because of his bullying habits.
- Iron Butt Monkey: By the end of the short, he is still running... away from anything else that tries to fall on top of him.
- Cartoon Bomb: Guess who gets to have one blow up in his face.
- Cats Are Magic: At least when they're black.
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted. It's the dog that is.
- Cat Stereotype: It plays around with the idea of the bad-luck black cat.
- Cranial Eruption
- Cute Kitten: Ridiculously so, even.
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: Or Dastardly Dapper Derby, depending on how you look at the black cat.
- Determinator: Even with his bad luck, that dog just won't quit.
- Flower Pot Drop: A flowerpot is the first thing that falls on the bulldog's head. Larger and more unlikely objects soon follow.
- Good Luck Charm: Subverted. The dog has a lucky horseshoe for one confrontation, but when he tosses it over his shoulder, it somehow boomerangs and hits him on the head. Followed by three more horseshoes. And then the horse.
- iSophagus: After the dog swallows the whistle, every time he hiccups, the whistle blows and something falls on him. This sort of breaks the rules that the short had been following in the first place, as now its the whistle giving the dog bad luck, but with Avery shorts Rule of Funny is always being invoked.
- Jerkass: The bulldog.
- The Jinx: The black cat actually uses this to help other cats in need.
- Just Whistle: & the dog will suffer.
- Illogical Safe: Another heavy object that lands on the dog.
- Karmic Trickster: The black cat has apparently made a profession out of this.
- Killer Rabbit: When the kitten starts fighting back he becomes one, especially once he paints himself black.
- Kitchen Sink Included: Because Tex Avery, duh— although notably the invoking phrase doesn't come up.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The dog deserved every last bit of bad luck that was bestowed upon him.
- Leitmotif: The traditional Scottish folktune "Comin' Thro' the Rye" is used to represent the black cat.
- Made of Iron: The dog. Even with his staggering injury count, he doesn't die in the end (although he probably wishes he did).
- My Card: The cat's card reads: "Black Cat Bad Luck Company. Paths crossed — Guaranteed bad luck"
- Passing the Torch: The cat gives the kitten his bowler hat as a symbol that he's now the new black cat in town.
- Pun-Based Title: The title was based on Boston Blackie, a popular radio show at the time.
- Early on in the cartoon, the kitten, hiding on a bookshelf, is squashed into book-shape; when the dog pulls the kitten out, we see the title, Kitty Foiled — a pun on the popular novel Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman by Christopher Morley. Ironically, there was also made a 1948 Tom and Jerry cartoon called Kitty Foiled, made a year before this cartoon came out.
- Rule of Funny: The ending most of all.
- Shadow of Impending Doom: particularly visible at the end.
- Shout-Out: The opening shot is a perfect recreation of the opening shot of the first Jasper and Jinx-er, Tom and Jerry short "Puss Gets the Boot."
- Superstition Episode: It's a one-shot, but the short is about a kitten who enlists the help of a black cat to give bad luck to the bulldog that kept tormenting it.
- That Russian Squat Dance: One of the ways Blackie crosses the dog's path (and the one time we don't hear "Comin' Thro' the Rye").