Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Cartoon a Day: Here Today, Gone Tamale

Directed by Friz Freleng

For a long time, Speedy Gonzales was a victim of political correctness taken to the extreme. Some claimed that he was a negative stereotype of Mexicans. Yet when he was pulled from the air by Cartoon Network, who had exclusive broadcast rights to his cartoons beginning in 1999, the fans cried out. They learned that Speedy is a hero to many Latin Americans. He's certainly always been a favorite of mine.

"Here Today, Gone Tamale" features a group of Mexican mice starving due to a cheese famine when a boat full of cheese rolls into port. Sylvester the cat guards the ship, so Speedy is called in to get the cheese. There are plenty of great gags here, though the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" ending is a bit disappointing and abrupt.

This is also another great example of beautiful Looney Tunes background art. Both the scenery of the port and layout of the ship use some very creative elements. Just check out the interesting depth of field used in the background of the above shot.

Though I've never thought that Sylvester quite gelled as a great nemesis for Speedy like he did with Tweety, this is still a fun offering from the fastest mouse in all Mexico.

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