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Western Animation / Porky's Railroad

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Porky's Railroad is a 1937 Looney Tunes cartoon, directed by Frank Tashlin and starring Porky Pig.

Porky is working on a railway with his old fashioned steam engine named "Toots" when he receives a message that he's being replaced by a new engineer and his streamlined Silver Fish train. Porky unwittingly challenges the engineer to a race to decide who keeps the train route, and he immediately takes up the offer.


  • 13 Is Unlucky: "Toots"' coal car has the number 13 1/2 painted on it.
  • The Alleged Car: Porky owns an incredibly old fashioned (even for the late 1930's) steam engine named 'Toots' that is so pathetically slow that a snail is shown outrunning it. Its boiler is powered by a measly candlestick.
  • Art Deco: Frank Tashlin's love of the style is embodied by the streamlined Silver Fish Locomotive.
  • Art Evolution:
    • When it was first released, the animation was in black and white.
    • In 1967, the redrawn version was released and the short was in railroad and Toots was red.
    • In 1992, the computer colorized version was released, and Toots was colored dark bronze and dark green.
  • The Big Race: In the second half of the short, whoever can beat Silver Fish will win.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Anyone familiar with Morse Code will notice that when a message is being sent to Porky, the Morse Code heard is saying to write (Leon) Schlesinger (then-producer of Looney Tunes) for a picture of Porky.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Porky wins the race against Silver Fish by sheer dumb luck and acquires his train, but his steam engine is completely destroyed, and Porky is planning to sell its remains to the scrapyard without a second thought.
  • Bowdlerization: Nickelodeon airings (the original black and white, the redrawn colorized version, and the computer-colorized versions) cut the scene where the Silver Fish races by a woodpile and a little black man is revealed, referring to a racially offensive saying (see "Visual Pun" below for what it means). Notably, MeTV’s Toon In with Me, an anthology series known for showing its cartoons uncut, also removes this scene.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Porky briefly talks to the audience about how his old train could beat the Silver Fish in any race. Unfortunately, the Engineer overhears him and takes it up as a legitimate challenge.
    • Averted in the polish translation of cartoon featuring on VCD titled "Bugs Bunny and friends" where Porky (defending his train) speaks directly to Silver Fish Engineer.
  • Brutish Bulls: Porky encounters one in the early half of the short. The bull in question has ruffled, pink fur (atleast in 1967 version), nose ring, and throughout the entire short has the angry expression. He later appears at the climax, accidentally helping Porky win the race while trying to hit him.
  • Bully Bulldog: The engineer of the Silver Fish is the bulldog and the unpleasant jerk.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Early in the cartoon, Porky annoys a bull blocking the railway (assuming it was a cow he shooed away earlier) and scrams once he realises his gaffe. Later on, Porky is losing badly to the Silverfish train, just when the bull (still bitter over Porky yanking his tail) spots his train and charges him, unwittingly sending the train flying through the air fast enough to get ahead of the Silverfish and win.
  • Cool Train:
    • The Silver Fish, a very slick and super fast streamlined train. It resembles streamliners such as the Milwaukee Road Class A. Most of the streamliners could reach speeds of 100mph.
    • Averted with Toots, the broken down old 2-2-2 Pioneer type that was considered an outdated relic by the 1880s, let alone the 1930s.
    • To a lesser extent, the slick looking locomotive we see in the opening.
  • Determinator: During the race, Porky was determined to win no matter what obstacles come to him.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The bull attacks Porky's train just because he earlier in the short pulled his tail.
  • Epic Fail: When Porky's train is climbing up a mountain, its going so slow that a snail is seen outrunning them.
  • Eye Poke: The Silverfish engineer does this to Porky after accepting his challenge to race.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The opening has a majestic looking locomotive (described in caption as "The 30th Century Limited the Railroad's Crack Train") chugging fast to the tune of "California, Here I Come", making it seem like this is going to be Porky's train...only for it to dissolve to Porky and his dinky, barely functional steam engine. The captions rub it in by saying its "The 15th Century Unlimited - also a crack train. Everything cracked - including the engineer."
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: It quickly becomes clear in the climatic race that Porky's old steam engine has no chance of beating the blindingly fast Silverfish train. It takes the help of an angry bull Porky encountered earlier to turn the tides.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Midway in the picture, Porky is mourning over how he'll have to sell his old steam engine due to the new Silverfish train taking over his route. In the ending, when he's defeated the engineer in a race and acquired his Silverfish train, it pans to the utterly destroyed remains of Porky's steam engine, which is marked to be hauled to the scrapyard.
  • Jerkass: The Silver Fish engineer is an arrogant bully who wastes no time rubbing Porky's situation in his face by mocking his train. What makes him a bigger jerk is that Porky had just congratulated him on getting his job.
    • The cow at the beginning of the episode, who doesn't care that she is laying at the traintracks, while Porky is in a hurry.
    • The bull, who at the cartoon climax attacks Porky's train, only because he pulled his tail.
  • Just Train Wrong: Lets start with the fact that Porky is using a lone candlestick to power his steam engine and go from there...
  • Kick the Dog: After Porky loses his job due to the new streamlined Silverfish train taking over his route, its engineer pulls up to rub the situation in his face by mocking his train. Even more rude considering that Porky had just congratulated him on getting his job.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Although the bull wasn't the main antagonist, but thanks to Porky encountering him earlier, he rammed into the back of Toots, causing the train to jump forwards past Silver Fish and land on the finish line, allowing Porky to win the race (Toots is completely destroyed from the impact, though).
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: When the Silverfish train is forced to stop at a drawbridge, a fish with the likeness of Mae West pops up to swoon at the sight of it.
  • Oh, Crap!: After mistaking a bull for a cow, Porky soon realized the bull bellowed angrily at him before he got onto Toots and sped off into the distance.
  • Pepper Sneeze: Porky uses a pepper shaker near Toots' boiler to make it sneeze and thus get it up to speed.
  • Public Domain Animation
  • Punny Name:
    • "Toots" is a play on an onomonopeia of a trains whistle and an old fashioned slang term for a ladyfriend.
    • The guy who sends the pink slip to Porky is named I. Fuller Cinders.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Porky is saying goodbye to Toots, he sobs "Parting is such sweet sorrow..."
    • A boat with the name S.S. Leon is seen at the drawbridge, referring to Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger (who in real life apparently owned a fancy yacht). The morse code message being sent to Porky has a secret message mention Leon as well.
  • Slower Than a Snail: Porky's old clunker of a locomotive slows to a crawl while attempting to climb up a mountain, to the point a snail is seen outpacing them.
  • Standard Snippet:
    • "California, Here I Come" plays in the opening."
    • "I Wish I Was In Dixie" plays during the woodpile gag.
    • "Don't Give Up The Ship" is sung by a sailor whose rowboat gets stuck on Porky's cargo.
  • Stock Footage: The opening train is reused animation from Friz Freleng's Streamlined Greta Green.
  • Super-Speed: The Silver Fish moves at blinding speeds, leaving a gale of wind wherever it goes.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: The Silverfish engineer is a jerk, but he isn't doing anything wrong—its not his fault that Porky is using a hopelessly outdated engine and isn't moving on with the times.
  • Visual Pun: Of the unfortunately racist, dated variety. During the climatic race, the Silverfish train zips by a woodpile, blowing it away and revealing a monkey resting underneath it, referring to the now-antiquated phrase "nigger in a woodpile".
  • What a Piece of Junk: "Toots", Porky's old train, is basically a piece of scrap iron that should've been retired ages ago. The Silver Fish engineer outright mocks it as this. Porky responds in turn that he could beat him with his old train anyway, but it quickly becomes clear how outclassed his train is in an actual race against the Silver Fish.
"Say, what is that? A percolator on a roller skate?"