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Western Animation / Bacall to Arms

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"Bacall to Arms" is a 1946 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by an uncredited Bob Clampett (with additional work done by an also uncredited Art Davis).

The cartoon is set in a movie theater, various random gags occur with the audience, while a lecherous wolf makes a pass at a sexy movie usherette, gets slapped in the face, then settles down as the movie begins. After a short newsreel, the main feature is shown, To Have- To Have- To Have- a parody of the 1944 film To Have And Have Not, featuring "Bogey Gocart and Laurie Becool", which recreates and parodies scenes from the film. The wolf goes ga-ga over Bacall and he ends up interacting with the film itself. The final gag has the wolf grabbing a cigarette that was dropped in the film and jumps off the screen, and Bogie shoots him. He hands it to Bogie and it explodes, making Bogie don the likeness of "Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson" as he says, "Mah, oh mah! I can work fo' Mr. Benny nah!"

"Bacall to Arms" provides examples of:

  • Attack the Tail: Played for Laughs when the Warmer News lion (a parody of the MGM lion logo) howls in pain because right behind him, his baby is biting his tail while lighting matches under his feet.
  • Audience Participation: In-universe, Bogart interacts with a hippo in the audience, and the wolf ends up interacting with the on-screen film.
  • Blackface: A cigarette blows up in Bogart's face in the end, turning him into a caricature of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson.
  • Bowdlerization: The American TV version doesn't include the ending with the wolf happily puffing on the cigarette, getting shot dead by Bogey Gocart, and Bogey smoking the cigarette, it blowing up, and Bogey in blackface. This edit only applied to when the short aired on TNT. Cartoon Network and Boomerang air the short uncut.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: In a parody of To Have And Have Not, Humphrey Bogart lights Lauren Bacall's cigarette with a welding torch.
  • Credits Gag: The opening credits for the movie in this short. Also is a Freeze-Frame Bonus to read through the punny names of the cast and crew.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The films shown in-universe are all presented in black and white, while the normal cartoon world is presented in color.
  • Full-Body Disguise: In the newsreel, the married man thinks he has managed to successfully evade his mother-in-law by concealing his house, and tells a cow chewing on the "pasture" how he's outsmarted the mother-in-law. Unfortunately for him, the cow turns out to be the mother-in-law disguised in a cow suit!
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Laurie Be Cool's robe rises from the back up to her upper thighs when she whistles.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The characters in the film the wolf is watching are caricatures of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, referred to in the cartoon as Bogey Gocart and Laurie Becool.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: A newsreel in the film has a married man using a radar to warn him about an unannounced visit from his mother-in-law.
  • Pun-Based Title: On Lauren Bacall and the phrase Call to Arms.
  • Random Events Plot: The film is just a collection of gags and a vignette involving a wolf having the hots for Lauren Bacall.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The theater billing references actress Ann Sheridan.
    • The MGM lion logo is parodied early in the film.
    • When the mother-in-law finds the married man in the newsreel, she says "Don't you believe it!", a cultural reference to the distinctive jingle on the 1940s radio show Don't You Believe it!
    • The film "To Have- To Have- To Have-" is a parody of a 1944 Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall film To Have And Have Not, specifically the scenes where the two meet and the whistle scene.
    • Bogart unwittingly turns into an impersonation of actor Eddie "Rochester" Anderson for the ending gag, quipping "Mah, oh mah! I can work fo' Mr. Benny nah!", referring to Jack Benny.
  • Show Within a Show: The cartoon is centered around a wolf watching a caricature of a 1940's Bogart and Bacall movie.
  • Stock Footage: The opening animation of the audience constantly changing seats and a hippo shuffling through the seats is recycled from Friz Freleng's 1937 short She Was An Acrobat's Daughter.
  • Through A Face Fullof Fur: The wolf's face turns three colors with each whistle he gives to Laurie Be Cool: Pink, red, and purple. On the last whistle, it's a long one, as he causes a patron's toupee to blow off his head and land on the head of another. The wolf's face turns purple a second time when he whistles again.
  • Visual Pun: The Wolf is a literal personification of a wolf (1940's slang for a womanizer).
  • Wartime Cartoon: While the film was released after the end of World War II, it includes a wartime related gag involving "wartime inventions put to peacetime use" (namely, a radar to detect mother-in laws).
  • Wolf Whistle: Done big time by the wolf in the audience.