By Joshie Jaxon
Greetings, geek fans! October is upon us, and that means we’re all counting down to Halloween. Except my mom. She hates it. Seriously, I don’t know how we’re related. Personally, I don’t countdown to Halloween so much as the annual screening of Rocky Horror. It’s my favorite event of the year, that I look forward to for months. Some would call that sad, and they might be right, but only cause they’re comparing my life to their own. This season brings me joy, and I refuse to apologize for it. Anyhow, today’s post is on one of my favorite Looney Tunes, that doesn’t feature Daffy Duck. Side note, I found a new DVD today featuring something that’ll be fun to review. For now, let the geeks begin!
Halloween night, Witch Hazel’s house. We see her diploma from the Malevolent Order of Witches. She’s got bats in a birdcage, and is currently in the kitchen. Hazel is serving a dress of basic blue, nasty black hair, green skin, bloomers, a giant bosom and torso, coupled with stick-like legs. She’s still fierce. As she’s stirring her brew, she sings. A cup of arsenic, a spider, some glue. A lizard’s gizzard, an eel’s head or two. For little folk, some poison oak. Despite her lyrics, she clips some poison ivy from her “herbs”. We won’t fault her though. On the way back to the cauldron, she stops to look in the mirror. Magic mirror, on the wall, who’s the ugliest one of all? By his troth he will avow, there’s none that’s uglier than thou [her]. She breaks the fourth wall to say she’s dreadfully afraid of getting pretty as she gets older. Pretty! She then laughs her ass off, and bolts back into the kitchen, leaving bobby pins spinning in the air. I love that gag.
Outside we see a witch walking with a sack. It stops, pulls off its face to reveal that it’s Bugs Bunny in a mask. He said he likes the trick or treat racket, and wishes it were more than once a year. Back inside, Hazel is wishing she had guests. Cue the knock at the door. She answers the door and sees Bugs, who asks if she’s got any goodies for a Halloween witch. Witch? Hazel doesn’t remember seeing her at any of the union meetings. Oh, but isn’t Bugs the ugliest little thing? Ugly! Hazel rushes to the mirror, leaving more bobby pins in her wake, and asks the mirror again who is ugliest. The mirror looks at Bugs and gives Hazel the news. She was the ugliest, it’s true, but that creep is uglier than you [her]. Hazel freaks, but quickly comes up with a plan. Running back to the door, more pins flying, damn, Hazel got some strong weave game.
Darling! She exclaims, as she drags Bugs to the dining room. Hazel warns Bugs that’s she’s going to worn out all of her ugly secrets, then asks who undoes her hair. Bugs asks if she likes it, and Hazel says its positively hideous! Bugs said he did it himself. There’s nothing like a home permanent. Hazel says she’s being a bad hostess, and is going to get some tea and goodies. She runs out of the room with, you guessed it, more pins flying, tells Bugs to make herself homely. Bugs breaks the fourth wall and delivers the best read ever. “She may not be very pretty now, but she was somebody’s baby once”. Shade! In the kitchen, there’s several ingredients out. Pretty pills, beauty ointment, allure unguent, handsome oil, and de-uglifying something we can’t make out. We won’t question why she had these things in the house. Based on her earlier singing, you’d think it’d all be eye of newt type stuff. Anyhow, she brings the “tea” to the table, ready to dish.
Hazel tells Bugs it’s her own brew, and hopes she likes it. Bugs holds the cup up, and Hazel encourages her to drink it. Bugs says he’s gotta take off his mask first. He does, and when she sees his real head, she bolts out of the room. More pins spin in the air. I’m staring to think Hazel can’t really walk, and just runs all the time. Looking in her book there’s a recipe that calls for rabbit clavicle. We then hear Bugs saying his inner sense of danger tells him there’s something unhealthy about the atmosphere of the cottage, and begins walking for the door. He runs right into Hazel, who has a cleaver behind her back. He says he got trick or treating to catch up on, and bids her adieu. He runs, and she’s hot on his heels. Like any good victim in a horror scenario, he runs deeper into the house, and up the stairs. Here’s hoping he’s a virgin.
They run down the stairs, and Bugs runs past the magic broom closet. We know this cause it’s labeled. Who is that for? It’s Hazel’s house. She knows where her booms are. We the audience would be able to infer from context if she went in and then came out flying. Oh well. Hazel enters, and declares hi-oh Sliver, away! Get it? The broom is wood. It’s an older joke. They got it back then. Moving on. The broom takes off, and begins sweeping the floor. Oops. Bugs gets behind a wall and catches his breath, saying that she wants to do him serious hurt. A carrot lowers behind him, and he’s transfixed by it. Bugs starts chomping, and Hazel reels him in, and scoops him in a net. Dumb bunny!
Back in a room off the kitchen, Hazel is sharpening her cleaver. Bugs is bound from ankle to neck, watching. Hazel runs her finger along the edge and says its sharp enough to split a hare. Split a hare? She cackles her enjoyment at her own pun. More pins fly as she rushes to Bugs. In a signature Chuck Jones move, he’s got the big eyes thing going on, ears back, and we hear the violin. She winds up. Tears start to form in Bugs’ eyes. Hazel sniffles. Bugs is silently crying. She drops the cleaver, and starts blubbering. Bugs asks what’s wrong. She says he reminds her of Paul. He asks who Paul is. Her pet tarantula! I’ll assume he died. Like spiders should. Bugs does too, and tells her we can’t carry the torch for our loved ones forever, and to pull herself together. Um, wasn’t he the one who broke her? He walks on his toes to get her something to drink. He carries over the saucer and teacup in his mouth. Uh oh!
Hazel, still blubbering, grabs the cup without looking, and drinks it down. She’s instantly transformed into a curvy, stacked, beautiful, redhead. According to commentary, Hazel’s “pretty” look was based on her voice actress June Foray, who I adore. Anyhow, Hazel realizes what happened, and runs to the mirror. Bobby pins still fly, cause there are some things magic doesn’t change. She asks it once more who is ugliest of them all. Rawr! The mirror then tries to grab her, and chases her out of the house. More pins fly, as there’s still time in the cartoon, and you can’t beat a good sight gag to death. The spirit of the mirror gets on his flying carpet, and goes after her. This time she gets the right broom from the closet, and escapes into the night. Much like the end of Transylvania 6-5000, Bugs makes a phone call. He tells the operator she won’t believe it, but he just saw a genie with light brown hair chasing a flying sorceress.
Hope you enjoyed the October kickoff as much as I did. There will always be a fun level of nostalgia for these cartoons. More to come soon! Until next time, stay geeky, and keep gabbing!