Looney Toons: “Porky’s Hero Agency” (1937)

8 min.; dir. Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones

A colorized version from 1967 can be viewed here: https://archive.org/details/porkysheroagencyredrawn

This delightfully bizarre short begins with a young Porky Pig reading a bedtime story from a Greek myths book. He’s apparently reading the story of the Gorgon, who turned everyone she looked at into stone and was only prevented from changing every Greek into a statue by a vanquishing hero. He falls asleep wishing he could be a hero and dreams of being transformed into Porkykarkus, apparently a nod to the stage persona Parkyakarkus that was used by comedian Harry Einstein – this is one of many topical references that are stuffed into this short. Porky is hired by the Emperor Jones to sneak into the Gorgon’s statue factory, where she uses her “marvelous photographic eye” to petrify her subjects, and to steal the “bring-em-back-alive” syringe that she wears around her neck. We see the Gorgon, a lanky old lady in an Egyptian-ish headdress and a parody of a popular 1930s radio character called Lizzie Tish, hard at work. Porky dawns the appearance of a idealized male statue to trick and seduce the Gorgon, and he is able to retrieve the needle. He the sets out on the run, turning statues back into living men and women, and even animating a temple (a “Shirley Temple”) along the way. He is apprehended the Gorgon, who orders him to open his eyes, but he awakens at that moment only to realize it is actually his mother, rousing him from sleep.

This description does not do justice to the wild creativity on display in this cartoon. It is a must watch, with cameos by the Three Stooges, Popeye’s arms, the Discoboulos, and the creators themselves.

More: https://looneytunes.fandom.com/wiki/Porky%27s_Hero_Agency


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