87. Porky’s Romance – Frank Tashlin

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SUMMARY: Porky attempts to woo Petunia Pig but finds that the course of true love never runs smoothly.

WHY IT’S HERE:Frank Tashlin’s ‘Porky’s Romance’ opens with a special pre-credits announcement: “Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing Leon Schlesinger’s new Looney Tunes star, Petunia Pig”. Petunia introduces herself in a routine not dissimilar to the nerve-wracked recital that shot Porky Pig to fame in ‘I Haven’t Got a Hat’. Just how seriously the studio took Petunia’s potential is unclear but, if she was intended to be a new cartoon superstar they didn’t give her much of an opportunity to endear herself to the audience. In ‘Porky’s Romance’, Petunia is cruel, selfish, idle and greedy and, while this may not have been beneficial for the character’s longevity, it is extremely beneficial for the cartoon. ‘Porky’s Romance’ is a great and handsome piece of work in which Porky goes through an emotional roller coaster which even includes a suicide attempt when his proposal to Petunia is turned down. While Porky spends most of the cartoon being dumped on by everyone, he finally gets the last laugh in one of the most satisfying final moments in any cartoon. ‘Porky’s Romance’ is a film that aims to make audiences laugh, cry and wince in equal measure as we empathise with the nightmare of Porky’s heartbreak and then the even more horrific glimpse at the possibilities of married life (a slightly sexist representation by today’s standard but this was the 30s!). Tashlin’s talents as storyteller and crafter of characters is much in evidence but, despite turning up in a few more cartoons, Petunia never got to be that new cartoon star. That title was snatched from her just two cartoons after ‘Porky’s Romance’ when Tex Avery’s ‘Porky’s Duck Hunt’ introduced a certain little black duck with a penchant for scene-stealing.

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