Sunday, April 9, 2017

Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement

Premiered April 1, 1980.

Three Easter/Spring-themed cartoon shorts starring some of your favorite Looney Tunes characters!

With Easter approaching, the pressure is on for hens, since Easter is peak egg producing season. Foghorn Leghorn tells his employees they need to speed up production so they have enough eggs for the holiday. Foghorn puts extra pressure on Miss Prissy, who hasn't laid a good egg in months.  She keeps laying oddly-shaped eggs.

This changes when she lays a golden egg!  She thinks it's bad news and tosses it down a hill.

Nearby, Daffy Duck and Sylvester are hungry and scrounging for food.

When they decide to steal an egg from a chicken coop, they wind up stumbling on the golden egg.

This creates a conflict between Daffy and his feline "pal," because they both have dreams of using the egg to gain riches.

Elsewhere, a chocolate factory in Mexico is producing Easter candy.  The factory's owners hire Daffy to guard the chocolate from the local mice.  The town's mayor collects all the money the people have in an attempt to buy chocolate bunnies for the kids.  Daffy takes the money, but he sends the mayor away without any candy.

When all hope seems lost, Speedy Gonzalez, fastest mouse in all Mexico appears on the scene and is determined to save Easter for the children.

But Daffy takes his duty as security guard seriously and pulls out all stops to defeat Speedy.

In the special's final short, as winter turns to spring, Daffy flies north with a flock of ducks.  But Daffy's tired of the same old routine and decides to try a different method of migration.

He tries hitch hiking and skiing, but gets nowhere.  Daffy eventually finds a horse and decides to ride it up north, but the horse is not on board with this idea.

J.A. Morris says:
Longtime readers of this blog know that we're huge fans of classic Warner Brothers cartoons and that Daffy was a big part of our childhood.  However, this Easter special is a big step down in quality from the earlier Daffy shorts.

It's worth noting that when Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement premiered on NBC, the network also aired The Daffy Duck Show as part of its Saturday morning lineup.  This show mostly consisted of cartoons produced in the 1960s by the Depatie-Freleng company that also featured Speedy Gonzalez, Foghorn Leghorn and Sylvester shorts.  NBC did not have the rights to air Bugs Bunny cartoons, which is why everyone's favorite "Wascally Wabbit" doesn't appear in this special.

The positive part of this is that in Bugs' absence, we get to see Daffy interact with characters like Sylvester and (briefly) Foghorn Leghorn, something rarely seen in the classic shorts.
The show opens with Daffy talking to his animators, a nice (if obvious) call-back to the classic "Duck Amuck" cartoon.  It's a fun bit (Daffy calls the animator a "Van Gogh of vandalism!") but ultimately it just makes you notice that this Easter special is inferior.

The two Easter-themed shorts were entertaining and the Speedy toon made me smile a bit (especially Daffy's encounter with a vat of chocolate), and Mel Blanc does a nice job with all the voices.  The last short deals with duck migration and has nothing to do Easter.  It's the weakest portion of the special.  However, this special isn't a "forgotten classic" by any means.  Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement rarely made me laugh, but it's generally enjoyable and fans of Daffy and the other characters will want to seek it out if they haven't seen it.

This special is available on DVD.  It can be found on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 6.

Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement is mildly entertaining, especially the Speedy short, and nicely animated.  I'm giving it a marginal endorsement for Looney Toons fanatics, but it's not likely to become a part of anyone's annual Easter viewing.

J.A. Morris' rating:

2 and a half Easter Eggs.

RigbyMel says: 

As J.A. Morris, says this special was produced by the Depatie-Freleng company, which also produced things like the classic 1970s Dr. Seuss specials featuring the Lorax and the Cat in the Hat as well as the Pink Panther cartoons.   Unfortunately, their work with Looney Tunes characters is not generally characterized as being classic at all.  In fact, many cartoon historians cite the Depatie-Freleng era as the nadir of Looney Tunes production.    I think I am inclined to agree with that school of thought.

To my eye,  Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement feels like a cheaply animated rehash of things that had been done better previously.  The timing seems off and the music cues are nowhere near as cleverly deployed.  It even sounds like Mel Blanc is phoning in his voice characterizations a bit.  It's not utterly awful, but it really does not stand up well when compared to the classic Looney Tunes shorts.

It's nice to see Daffy and pals cutting up Easter-style on screen, I just wish the production values and scripting were up to classic standards.

RigbyMel's rating: 

1 and a half Easter Eggs.