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Western Animation / Bartholomew Versus the Wheel

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"Bartholomew Versus the Wheel" is a 1964 Merrie Melodies short directed by Robert McKimson.

A young boy (voiced by Leslie Barringer) tells the story of how his dog Bartholomew developed a seething hatred towards wheels after his tail gets run over by a scooter. As he grew bigger and bigger, he took the wheels off of more and more vehicles.

When Bartholomew tries to take an airplane wheel, however, he gets sent to a desert country where there are no wheels to chase due to everyone riding on animals. Back in America, the owner and the entire town try to look for the dog, who hitches another airplane ride the same way he came to the desert country. The town celebrates his return, and Bartholomew had grown to like wheels, and begins to hate what dogs are supposed to hate - cats.

It is the second short to use the abstract WB intro and outro from Chuck Jones' "Now Hear This".


"Bartholomew Versus the Wheel" provides examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Of the people in the desert country, the narrator says they didn't look at Bartholomew, they didn't pet Bartholomew, and some of them didn't wear clothes.
  • Art Shift: Unlike other Looney Tunes shorts, this short uses a more simplistic style based on the art of James Thurber.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The male desert natives' dialogue. They say about Bartholomew, "Ooh la mongrah!"
  • Cats Are Mean: The boy's cat is particularly cruel towards Bartholomew, stealing his food and performing a trick better than him. The tables turn at the end of the short, though.
  • Determinator: After Bartholomew fails to get an airplane wheel the first time, the narrator notes the dog never gives up. He tries again and suffers for his refusal to back down.
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  • Enmity with an Object: Getting his tail run over by a scooter makes Bartholomew develop a hatred of wheels.
  • Freudian Excuse: Bartholomew's tail got run over when he was just a puppy.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Bartholomew taking a wheel off the scooter that actually injured him could be considered fair, but he immediately follows this up by attacking some other kid's toy train and continues on from there.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After his awful behavior at the start of the short, the cat literally gets scared to pieces by the much larger Bartholomew.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: The only wheels Bartholomew doesn't chase are the dogcatcher's wheels.
  • Not Me This Time: When everyone begins looking for the missing Bartholomew, an angry mob is shown hassling the dogcatcher (who, according to the narrator, insisted he had not seen the dog).
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: In the end, Bartholomew gets back at the cat and smiles in satisfaction over it.
  • Serial Escalation: As he grows up, Bartholomew goes after bigger and bigger wheels. Finally, he goes after an airplane's wheel, which proves to be his undoing.
  • Tender Tears: Bartholomew when seeing a poster of America and getting homesick.