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Western Animation / The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

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"It's GONE! My piggy bank's been stolen! Oh, A-GOAH-NY, AH-GOAH-NIEEEEEEE! What'll I do, what'll I do? I know—I'll call Duck Twacy, the famous duck-tec-a-tive! That's it—I need Duck Twacy, hello? Yes, Duck Twacy speaking. Well, listen, duck—HEY! What's the matter with me—I'M Duck Twacy!"
— screwball Daffy Duck at his daffiest.

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery is a 1946 Looney Tunes short directed by Bob Clampett.

The central character of the cartoon is Daffy Duck. While reading his beloved Dick Tracy comic book, Daffy knocks himself out—upon which he enters a fantasy in which he is Duck Twacy, who has to investigate a conspicuous piggy bank robbery crime wave—if only because his own precious piggy bank was stolen.

What ensues is a very atmospheric parody of a typical detective movie, albeit peppered with typical mainstays of Bob Clampett's shorts, including strong emphasis on musical timing (timed to both the actions and the dialogue!), plenty of wordplay, dynamic background layouts, and some of the most bizarre, expressive animation displayed on the Silver Screen since the heydays of Fleischer Studios.

When Cartoon Network launched in October 1992, this was the third cartoon to air.

Received a sequel, of sorts, on an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, with Plucky playing the titular role. (It was made mainly to attempt to tie-in with the film adaptation with Warren Beatty) It's just as deranged as the short that inspired it.

"The Great Piggy Bank Robbery" provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of the Dick Tracy comics, and detective stories in general.
  • All Just a Dream: Though we're aware of this from the beginning, and it allows the ending gag to work perfectly.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Used twice in a row. First, Daffy looks like he's about to run out the door, but stops on a dime to call a taxi. Second, the taxi goes off without him. ("Keeps them on their toes!")
    • Used a third time when Daffy boards a trolley, driven by Porky Pig, to get to the gang's hideout—even though it only takes a second to reach it.
  • Bowdlerize: For early TV airings of the short (and on the defunct WB network), the part where Duck Twacy locks the mob in the closet and shoots them is cut.
    • MeTV, however, keeps the gag in in all its glory for rebroadcast on "Toon In With Me"
  • Bring It: Daffy is surrounded by a large group of villains and he takes a moment to freak out at exactly who is there, but after naming a few of these criminals he immediately regains his composure and shouts "You're all under arrest!"
  • The Cameo:
    • Porky Pig (donning a handlebar moustache) as the trolley conductor.
    • Sylvester as "Pussycat Puss".
    • Actual Dick Tracy villain Flattop with planes taking off from his head.
  • Chewing the Scenery: This being a screwball-era Daffy short directed by one of the biggest names in screwball animation, the duck is depicted at his most over-the-top, rarely conveying an action or emotion with anything below exuberant exaggeration.
  • Crashing Dreams: After finding his piggy bank and starts kissing it, Daffy wakes up to find he's kissing a real pig, who kisses him back, much his disgust.
    "I love that duck!"
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In his dream Daffy takes on an entire mob of criminals that have him cornered and wins. He actually mows down most of them with a machine gun.
  • The Dreaded: All the gangsters but especially Neon Noodle.
  • Deranged Animation: One of the craziest shorts ever made, not just by Clampett, but by the studio.
  • Detachment Combat: Or rather, Detachment Evasion— when the villains dogpile Daffy, his limbs and body wriggle out of the mass separately and then rejoin.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints: While Daffy/Duck Twacy is inside a house, he follows foot prints (using a magnifying glass) up a wall, across the ceiling and down to a rat hole. ("Nothing's impossible to Duck Twacy!")
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This is the first of several cartoons where Daffy is portrayed as a parody of a well-known character, and also the only one where he's actually competent note .
  • The Faceless: When the postman delivers Daffy's Dick Tracy comic, we're only shown his (very realistically rendered) human hands.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: While Daffy is surrounded by the criminals he tells them “You’re all under arrest!” before they roar at him and the chase is on. Subverted as Daffy not only survived, he beat every last one of them.
  • Follow That Car: Spoofed, as noted above under Bait-and-Switch.
  • Four Fingered Hand: The postman's hands— which looks weird because they're otherwise realistically drawn.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The dead gangsters as they fall out of the closet.
    • One who can only be spotted by freeze framing is a very busty woman.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Averted. Daffy can walk on walls and ceilings just fine.
    "Nothing's impossible to Duck Twacy!"
  • Head Blast: The villain Flattop can launch small airplanes from his head to attack Duck Twacy (flattop being a slang term for an aircraft carrier).
  • Hurricane of Puns: When Daffy encounters the mob.
    • "Snake-eyes! 88 Teeth! Hammer Head! Pussycat... Pussycat Puss! Bat-Man! Double Header! P-P-P-Pickle Puss! P-P-P-P-Pumpkin Head! Neon Noodle! Jukebox Jaw! Wolf Man! You're all under arrest!"
      • Bonus for an (unidentified) parody of the actual Dick Tracy villain "Flattop", who has airplanes launching off his flat head: It's a pun on both the villain's name as well as the term "flattop," meaning aircraft carrier.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Duck Twacy doesn't care about potential customers calling about their stolen piggy banks and dismisses their cases as beneath him, but things change once he finds out his own piggy bank has been stolen.
  • Kicking My Own Butt: While miming a fight, Daffy accidentally punches himself in the face hard enough to knock himself out, leading to the dream sequence that makes up the rest of the short.
  • Large Ham: This whole short is a classic example of Daffy really living up to his name!
  • Legion of Doom: The large mob membership.
  • Mouse Hole: Where Mouse Man resides in, the mouse hole being much, much smaller then the mouse living in it.
  • Neon Sign Hideout:
    • And if that wasn't enough, it has searchlights too!
    • AND Neon Noodle!
  • Not so Dire: When he's introduced, Duck Twacy appears to be interrogating a perp, saying that he's "gonna pin it on ya!" He is then revealed playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey (and cheating!).
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: When the gangsters pile into a closet after Daffy, he quickly escapes and shoots up their bodies with a Tommy gun. Daffy then opens the door, causing their bullet-riddled corpses to come tumbling out one after the other.
  • Piggy Bank: The short's plot revolves around Duck Twacy believing that his prized piggy bank was stolen, having previously received multiple calls about such crimes.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Duck Twacy does this before throwing a grenade at the villain Pumpkin Head.
  • Private Detective: Like his inspiration, Duck Twacy is a "famous de-tec-a-tive" who gets hired to handle various clients' mysteries.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack:
    • An instrumental version of the classic jazz song "Mysterious Mose" is used with the opening title card.
    • When Daffy is running from the mailbox with his comic book, a fast-tempo excerpt of "The Poet and the Peasant Overture" plays.
  • Pumpkin Person: Pumpkin Head (until Duck Twacy tosses a grenade at him, then he becomes Pile-of-Pumpkin-Pies Head).
  • Reveal Shot: When Daffy's dream begins, we see Duck Twacy in silhouette through the door of his office, pointing and growling, "I'm gonna pin it on ya, see? I'm gonna pin it on ya!" It then dissolves to inside his office, and we see he's blindfolded and playing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. (Playfully: "I'll pin it on ya or my name ain't Duck Twacy!")
    • Immediately after that, Daffy hears the phone ring and turns his head, revealing an eyehole in the blindfold.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Duck Twacy follows footprints to a teeny-tiny mousehole and deduces the criminal Mouse Man is inside. He shouts "Come on out, ya rat!" and a HUGE snarling rat-in-a-suit pops out looming over Twacy, who whimpers "*gulp*...go back in again."
  • Sherlock Homage: While searching for clues Daffy encounters Sherlock Holmes and quickly orders him to get lost, declaring, "I'm workin' this side of the street!"
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: After his piggy bank is stolen, Duck Twacy decides to call the famous detective... Duck Twacy. He holds a brief conversation before realizing that he had just answered his own phone call.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a reference to The Great Train Robbery.
    • The scene in which Duck Twacy announces to the criminals, "You're all under arrest!", was cribbed from a moment in RKO's Gunga Din when Sgt. Cutter (Cary Grant) does the same to a temple-full of Thugs. (No, real Thugs.)
    • This cartoon also homages the corpses falling out of the closet scene from Tex Avery's MGM Short Who Killed Who?, (which in turn was a reference to the ending of The Public Enemy (1931), although he made his version more grim—in context, Daffy Duck gunned down the bodies with a tommy gun through the door), not to mention the bodies fall much faster.
    • The animation of Daffy reading the comic book and saying, "I can't wait to see what happens to Dick Tracy!" is reused from the earlier Clampett cartoon, Farm Frolics, but it was a dog instead of Daffy.
    • One of the criminals Daffy encounters is an anthropomorphic baseball bat, which Daffy names as...Bat-man!
    • The first part of Daffy's dream reuses the "Pin it on ya!" gag from the earlier Tex Avery short Thugs With Dirty Mugs.
    • During said scene, his silhouette face briefly morphs into that of Dick Tracy.
    • Daffy's "I looove that man!" references the Catchphrase of Beulah, a character on radio's Fibber McGee and Molly (and later her own, eponymous spinoff show). The pig's line at the end also references the phrase, only there it's "Love that duck!"
    • Daffy's "Agony!" line is an in-joke referring to a common phrase spoken by Henry "Smokey" Garner, the Looney Tunes staff cameraman and projectionist.
    • The Pumpkinhead crook is unmistakably a reference to Jack Pumpkinhead from The Marvelous Land of Oz.
    • After Daffy goes to the Villains' Lair through the welcome mat, he remarks to the audience, "Was that trip really necessary?", a reference to a slogan regarding the rubber shortage during the '40s. (This was made during the Second World War, after all.)
    • One of the criminals, Neon Noodle, looks like Frankenstein's Monster. Another is an anthropomorphic wolf named Wolf Man.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!:
    (the mob roar at him like tigers)
  • Trap Door: The doormat in front of the villains' hideout is helpfully marked "trap door", but when Daffy steps to the side of it to ring the doorbell, he falls into another trap door.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Daffy beats Pumpkin Head by tossing a grenade at his head, resulting in it turning into a stack of pumpkin pies.


Video Example(s):


Pumpkin Pie Head

When Duck Twacy is under fire by Pumpkin Head, he uses a grenade to turn the gangster into a pile of pies.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PumpkinPerson

Media sources: