Friday, June 19, 2020

Looney Tunes: A Bear For Punishment

Premiered October 20, 1951.

One morning, in the cave of the Three Bears, Papa Bear Henry (Billy Bletcher) wakes up in foul mood.  

Henry lightens up a bit when Mama Bear (Bea Benaderet) reminds him it's Father's Day and gives him a present.

In honor of the occasion, Mama and Junior Bear (Stan Freberg) prepare breakfast in bed for Henry, in spite of the fact that he hates eating breakfast in bed.  Breakfast turns into a disaster due to Junior's clumsiness.

For the next Father's Day "event," Junior offers to give Henry a shave, with a very scary looking razor.

Next up, Mama and Junior insist that Henry sit by a warm fire and read a book.  Junior prepares a pipe for Henry...

...which results in another Father's Day disaster.

Finally, Junior and his mother present a Father's Day pageant for Henry.  Junior reads a poem dedicated to his father.

Mama performs a song-and-dance number for Henry.

None of this appeals to Henry.

The show closes with a march, which culminates in Mama and Junior (forcibly) dressing Henry up as the Statue Of Liberty.

J.A. Morris says:
There's not much of a "story" to speak of in A Bear For Punishment.  It's basically a series of accidents that victimize Henry on Father's Day, when all Papa Bear wants is to be left alone.  However, when a cartoon is directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese, you don't necessarily need much of a story to make it entertaining.

A Bear For Punishment is full of great site gags and excellent voice acting.  Billy Bletcher, Bea Benaderet and Stan Freeberg are perfectly cast in their roles.  Bletcher is especially great as Henry, his anger and disgust are palpable.  

Speaking of voice actors, this is one of the few classic Looney Tunes shorts that doesn't feature the voice of Mel Blanc.  It's also worth noting that this was the last Warner cartoon of the "classic" era to feature the Three Bears.

If you're curious about the title, the phrase "a bear for punishment" is an archaic variation of "a glutton for punishment."

There aren't that many movies, specials or episodes that focus on Father's Day and it's always nice to find one.  A Bear For Punishment is very funny and will be enjoyed by all fans of Looney Tunes and Chuck Jones.  Fathers who couldn't care less about Father's Day will especially enjoy it. 

J.A. Morris' rating:

3 Father's Day ties

RigbyMel says: 

A Bear for Punishment is an enjoyably loony Father's Day cartoon.  

As J.A. Morris mentions above, there are some wonderful sight gags. For example,  Papa Bear appears to turn into a literal "heel" when he realizes that Junior and Mama are trying to celebrate Father's Day with him.   

Note "Kinsey Report" book with pink cover on the floor by Papa Bear's bed.  Also note that his bed appears to be part of a Model-T Ford. 
Poor Papa bear would much rather sleep in and/or read his copy of the Kinsey Report (again, a great blink and you'll miss it sight gag), but Junior and Mama have increasingly elaborate plans to celebrate the day.  The song and dance number that culminates with fireworks at the end is hilarious. 

Chuck Jones and company do a great job of contrasting Papa Bear's frustration with Junior's (and to a lesser extent Mama Bear's) steamroller-like testaments to their devotion, which makes for a very entertaining and silly animated short.   

RigbyMel's rating: 


3 and a half Father's Day ties