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Western Animation / Hunky and Spunky

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Hunky and Spunky is a 1938 animated short film (eight minutes) from Max and Dave Fleischer.

Hunky and Spunky are a mother and child burro somewhere in the southwest desert (Arizona or Mexico, if the saguaro cacti are any indication). Hunky teaches Spunky how to find water by kicking a saguaro over. Unfortunately, while Hunky is taking a nap under a rock, Spunky runs afoul of a mean prospector, who lassos Spunky and forces the burro to work as a pack mule. When Hunky realizes that her child has been kidnapped, she charges off to the rescue.

Part of the Color Classics series made by the Fleischers for Paramount. Six more Hunky and Spunky cartoons would follow. Spunky would later make solo appearances across several Famous Studios cartoons.



  • Hunky and Spunky (1938)
  • Hunky and Spunky in Always Kickin' (1939)
  • The Barnyard Brat (1939)
  • A Kick in Time (1940)
  • Snubbed by a Snob (1940)
  • You Can't Shoe a Horse Fly (1940)
  • Vitamin Hay (1941)


  • Ambiguous Gender: Hunky is female because Spunky calls her "mama". But Spunky? No telling. However, In later appearances across a few Famous Studios shorts, such as "Okey Dokey Donkey", Spunky is unmistakably male.
  • Balloon Belly: Played for Drama in "Snubbed by a Snob". After Spunky and a thoroughbred colt tease a bull, the colt takes a break by gorging on apples and drinking water until his belly reaches the ground. Spunky finds this hilarious until the colt wanders back into the path of the vengeful bull.
  • Beard of Evil: The prospector's big black beard helps mark him off as a bad guy from the start.
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  • Bratty Half-Pint: Spunky is quite good at getting in trouble.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The bull in "Snubbed by a Snob".
  • Disneyfication: Prominent with these Fleischer cartoons being In Name Only.
  • Fantastic Racism: The colt in "Snubbed by a Snob" is admonished by his mother for trying to make friends with Spunky, telling him not to associate with their kind. Later, the mother and Hunky scoff at each other when they call for their children but make amends when Spunky saves the colt.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: In "A Kick In Time", Spunky's hoof is caught on a track. Hunky literally arrives in the nick of time to save Spunky from getting ran over by a trolley car.
  • If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You: In "Vitamin Hay", Spunky hates the taste of Hunky's nutritious hay and leaves the barn in search of better-tasting food.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In "Snubbed by a Snob", Spunky teases a bloated colt and laughs when he has trouble walking. Spunky then sees the colt venturing near the bull they teased earlier, and his first instinct is to get him out of harm's way.
  • A Load of Bull: The bull in "Snubbed by a Snob".
  • Made a Slave: Spunky is lassoed by the prospector and turned into a pack mule.
    • The same thing happens to Spunky again in "A Kick in Time", when he is kidnapped and sold at an auction to an unfriendly Italian peddler.
  • Mama Bear: Mess with Spunky and Hunky will deliver an ass-kicking... a Literal Ass-Kicking, if you will.
  • Name and Name: "Hunky and Spunky"
  • Officer O'Hara: The Irish police horse Hunky meets while searching for Spunky in "A Kick In Time".
  • Psychic Link: Hunky doesn't hear Spunky crying, but instead has a vision in a dream.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Sort of: as seen in "Snubbed by a Snob", the horses don't like to associate with donkeys. But when the colt runs afoul of a bull, it's up to Spunky to save him.
  • Speech-Impaired Animal: Spunky can make a bray that sounds just like "mama".
  • Stubborn Mule: Being a little kid, Spunky has shades of this.
  • Tempting Apple: The prospector lures poor Spunky into a snare this way.
  • Those Two Guys: Hunky the Burro and her wayward child Spunky.
  • Weird Moon: The standard-issue gigantic moon as Hunky and Spunky walk away following the defeat of the prospector.

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