Porky’s Railroad 1937

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Warner Brothers

This cartoon short came from the talented animators at “Termite Terrace” on the Warner Brothers lot back in the 1930s. My reviewed version came from Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 4, Disk 2.

Porky Pig (voiced here by artist extraordinaire Mel Blanc) is the engineer of an outdated, ready for the scrap heap 2-2-2 steam locomotive named “Toots”.  His nemesis becomes the sparkling new “Silver Fish” (a reference to Burlington’s Pioneer Zephyr). Porky winds up getting challenged to a race with the much faster streamliner.

As seen in the above screen capture, this cartoon was colorized in 1968 (but they did rather a sloppy job of it). Still, the original B&W version is nice and crisp, so let’s take a look at a railroad parody from the golden age of cartooning.

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The determined engineer urges his coal-burning locomotive on, in pursuit of the front-running Silver Fish.

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The animation opens with engine #515, a 4-4-2, racing along with the 30th Century Limited. In a 3/4 view, compare the original cel with a “colorized” screen cap from 1968. Blurry, huh?

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In stark contrast is Porky’s freight train wheezing along.

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Lots of gags follow. First, Porky has only a candle in the firebox and uses pepper to “sneeze” his engine forward. When the train reaches a yard, the freight cars all take different tracks, then join back together.

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At Portis station, Porky’s train has a meet with the 30th Century, just clearing the passenger train as it roars by.

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The next encounter is with a couple of cows. One snootily chewing its cud, the other a mad bull!

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All too soon, Porky gets the bad news his obsolete steamer is to be retired via stock ticker/telegram. Switches are thrown and signals set to stop (dig that crazy patchwork of track outside the towerman’s window!).

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Here comes the streamliner! Piloted by a smiling bulldog, The Silver Fish (complete with fish fins, fore and aft) races along the track.

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Before he realizes it, Porky finds himself in a race (similar to a scene from a 1934 movie, The Silver Streak).

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The Silver Fish has a big lead, but is stopped at a drawbridge for a tug boat. As it waits, a Mae-West-fish flirts with the streamliner. As the train speeds off we get a good rear 3/4 view of the fins and tail.

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At the drawbridge, Porky encounters the S.S. Leon, busts through the gate and over the fore-deck of the ship. In doing so, he manages to pick up lots of nautical paraphernalia including a deckhand determinedly rowing a lifeboat.

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Remember that mad bull? He’s still sore about Porky pulling his tail. As Toots and train pass by, Mr. Bull makes kindling of Porky’s train and sends Toots soaring above and ahead of the Silver Fish.

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The winner! As a reward, Porky is made engineer of the Silver Fish, using it to haul what’s left of Toots to the scrap yard. (There’s that crappy colorization job again.)

Lots of gags left off this review (so you’ll have to watch it yourself – I’m pretty sure it’s on YouTube somewhere). What’s fun about this cartoon is all the references to other old-time train operations. Check it out!

Here’s what IMDb has to say about Porky’s Railroad:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029429/

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:
Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com.

THE END

 

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About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
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