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Western Animation / Gold Diggers of '49

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Gold Diggers of '49 is a 1935 Looney Tunes short, starring Porky Pig and Beans the Cat (with Beans getting top billing). It is notable for being the directorial debut of Tex Avery.

The plot is set in 1849, at a run down western town called Goldville. We're introduced to Kitty the Cat, who finds out her boyfriend, Beans, has gone out prospecting for gold and becomes ecstatic and confident he'll find it. Meanwhile, Beans has literally dug through an entire mountain, and with the pull of a convenient roulette lever, a pile of gold falls out. Beans runs back to town to tell everyone about the gold he's found, prompting many of the townsfolk to follow him out there, including a (curiously oversized) Porky Pig. They head out to the mountains and try to find more gold, but trouble arrives as a bandit comes along and steals Porky's bag...

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Tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: Even though the cartoon is set in 1849, Porky owns a gasoline powered car, something that wasn't invented until 36 years later. Also, the newspaper Kitty reads mentions Warner Bros., which wasn't founded until 1918.
  • Annual Title: The year 1849 is mentioned in the title.
  • Artistic License – Physics: A fire is lit under water.
  • Big Eater: Porky is portrayed as an extremely overweight adult in this cartoon, and in both the beginning and ending, he wolfs down a very large sandwich.
  • Bowdlerization: When this cartoon aired on Nickelodeon, the following scenes were cut:
    • All the scenes with the Chinese laundrymen joining the rush to mine for gold (including a scene where they become blackfaced and do an impression of Amos 'n Andy after getting blasted with car exhaust).
    • The scene of the bad guy getting shot in the rear end, only to reveal he has a washtub covering his butt.
      • It should be noted that Cartoon Network (which also has a long history of editing out racist stereotypes, blackface, and gun violence) aired this cartoon uncut (both the black and white version on their Sunday night installment show Late Night Black and White and their colorized version on installment shows like The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs and Daffy, and The Acme Hour, though it should be noted that even though this short was uncut, it didn't air frequently).
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This cartoon is nowhere as wild as Tex's later cartoons. Although some of his early hallmarks pop up here and there, the short more or less feels like the Disney-esque shorts that Warner Bros was trying not to do anymore due to Harmon and Ising leaving Warner Bros and taking Bosko with them and Buddy proving to be a bland disaster.
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    • Porky is portrayed as a deep-voiced adult (and voiced by Joe Doughertynote  rather than Mel Blanc) and as a sidekick to Beans, and Kitty the Cat is his daughter.
  • Forty-Niner: The cartoon is set in 1849 and features gold diggers.
  • Genki Girl: Kitty the Cat, Beans' girlfriend, is absolutely euphoric at the idea of Beans finding gold.
  • The Hero: Beans the Cat, who is the gold prospecting, gun-slinging protagonist of the cartoon.
  • Looney Tunes in the '30s: One of the milestone cartoons, if only because it's Tex Avery's directional debut.
  • Motion Blur: Beans' car becomes this once he dumps alcohol as fuel into it.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: A barbershop quartet is singing "Sweet Adeline" when Beans announces that he's discovered gold, and they run off midverse. Subverted when they return to finish the song before running off again.
  • National Stereotypes: The cartoon features Two Chinese men travelling by riksha. When Porky's car passes by the smoke changes these two Chinese people's skin color into those of two Afro-American men, who proceed to reference lines of characters from "Amos N Andy", which was a very popular radio show of the day.
  • Shout-Out/Pun-Based Title: The plot is based on the California Gold Rush, and the title is a play off the Busby Berkeley musicals Gold Diggers of 1933 and Gold Diggers of 1935.
  • Something Completely Different: This was the first Warners' cartoon that showed flashes of a more absurd and sarcastic comedy style that would set them apart from their competition as the years rolled on.
  • Specific Situation Books: Beans finds an old book on how to find gold. The book has only one phrase inside: "Dig for it!"
  • Super Speed: Beans uses a bottle of alcohol in his car to give it enough speed to catch the bandit and grab Porky's bag (and drag Porky himself back to town along the way).
  • Twist Ending: Beans gets Porky's bag back in exchange for Kitty's hand in marriage, believing it was a bag of gold Porky had. Porky then reveals that it wasn't a bag of gold, but his lunch.

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