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Film / You Ought to Be in Pictures

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"You Ought to Be in Pictures" is a groundbreaking Looney Tunes short from 1940 directed by Friz Freleng made during The Golden Age of Animation. Though not the first to do it, it's widely considered to be the film that perfected the art of making cartoon characters interact with live-action actors, a special effect that had had several failed starts during The Silent Age of Animation and would only be surpassed 48 years later with Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

The plot of the short follows Porky Pig and Daffy Duck, who are Animated Actors that reside at the cartoon studio "Termite Terrace". During lunch time, Daffy, wanting to become the star of the studio and usurp Porky's fame, tricks Porky into tearing up his contract with Leon Schlesinger and leave to try and make it big on his own in another studio. Hilarity, naturally, ensues.

"You Ought to Be in Pictures" provides examples of:

  • As Himself: Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger.
  • Attention Whore: The reason Daffy wants to get Porky out so that he can take his place and rise in popularity.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: This short includes one of the rare moments where Porky Pig gets angry, and gives Daffy a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: This is the first cartoon to toy with Daffy's more devious glory-obsessed side, attempting to usurp Porky's then-role as the studio's big star. While Daffy would remain a loveable screwball for a few years after, he would slowly evolve into a more ambitious and egomaniacal character, with his role as a conniving show business antagonist intensified in the likes of fifties cartoons such as Show Biz Bugs.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Certain objects, such as the Stage 7 door and Porky's torn-up contract, as well as the flurry of papers Porky pulls out of the wastebin, become hand-drawn cartoon objects when the 'toons need to manipulate them. The scenes in which the live actors physically interact with the 'toons are also noticeably blurrier (most of the shots otherwise have them acting against still photographs) due to the double-exposure to make the magic happen.
  • Creator Cameo: Numerous Looney Tunes staff made cameos in this film:
    • Producer Leon Schlesinger appears As Himself in the cartoon.
    • Among the staffers running out of the studio for lunch are directors Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett.
    • Writer Mike Maltese appears as the studio security guard (although his voice is dubbed over by Mel Blanc).
    • Animator Gerry Chiniquy plays the studio director who calls for the stage to be quiet (although like with Mike, his voice is dubbed over by Mel Blanc). Staffers Henry Binder and Paul Marin make cameos, and Henry is the stagehand who throws Porky off the set.
  • Double Take: Porky Pig does this when the guard says "So I can lose my job." At first Porky nods, but then he shakes his head.
  • Fish out of Water: The primary reason for Porky's troubles at the film studio. First of all, he does not know that you cannot simply enter a film studio unannounced and start work, which results in him making an enemy with the studio guard. When he does manage to sneak in, he does not know where to go, resulting in him wandering around a number of sets and sound stages and causing problems, much to the staff's displeasure.
  • Flanderization: This is the very first time Daffy was depicted as a selfish and greedy schemer, beginning his Flanderization into the money-grubbing, egotistical Butt-Monkey he was characterized in several later cartoons.
  • Ill-Timed Sneeze: After sneaking into a studio, Porky sneezes so loudly that he disrupts the set, prompting the people inside to throw him out.
  • "I Want" Song: Daffy gets one in which he begs Schlesinger to give him a larger role. He does this to sate his ego.
  • Nice Guy: Defied with the security guard. Porky was hoping he would be this, but the guard openly admits "I'm not a nice guy".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: At one point, Porky pretends to be Oliver Hardy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Porky gives an offscreen one to Daffy near the end. He's covered in bandages the next time we see him.
  • No Smoking: Porky briefly passes by a "No smoking" sign.
  • Oh, Crap!: Porky during a Double Take with the guard.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Porky disguises himself as comedian Oliver Hardy using a wig, mustache, and hat. It works at first, until the guard realizes Hardy already entered.
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: From the Trope Namer.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Friz allegedly based the events of the short off of a real life event where he briefly left the Warner Bros. cartoon studio to work at MGM. However, they barred him being creative with his artistic choices, and the only work he got there was on the schlocky The Captain And The Kids shorts, which he absolutely loathed. As soon as his contract expired, he went right back to Leon's studio, using this real life event as the basis for this cartoon.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: A milestone in the technique. However, due to a low budget, there are only a handful of shots where the toons actually appear in the same shot as the live actors. Said budget is also why all the characters, including the live action characters except Schlesinger, are dubbed over by Mel Blanc.
  • Tear Up the Contract: Subverted. Leon tears up some random papers to make Porky think he's tearing up his contract. When Porky returns, Leon reveals that he never tore up the contract and Porky is free to get back to work.
  • Titled After the Song: From the 1930s song "You Oughta Be in Pictures", which is even used as the short's opening theme.
  • Toon: Daffy and Porky are both cartoon characters who interact with humans.
  • Unprocessed Resignation: When Porky goes into Leon's office to resign, Leon seemingly tears up his contract and tosses it in the trash. After Porky leaves, however, Leon turns to the audience and says "He'll be back." Sure enough, after Porky returns to ask for his job back, Leon tells him he never tore up the contract.
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: when Porky tries driving into Warner Bros. lot and is confronted by a security guard.
    Guard: Who do you think you are, driving through here like that?
    Porky: Why, I'm P-P-P-Porky Pig.
    Guard: Oh, so you're Porky Pig? (Porky nods) And you wanna go in there? (Porky nods) And you want me to be a nice guy and let you go in there? (Porky nods) So I can lose my job? (Porky starts nodding, then catches what he just said and shakes his head) Well... I'm not a nice guy! And I'm not gonna let you in! And I'm not gonna lose my job! But I am gonna throw you out!