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Hunky and Spunky (1938) - RARE

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Published on Oct 6, 2010

This short was the third Fleischer cartoon nominated for an Academy Award. It is also the first in a series of eight cartoons produce from 1938 to 1940 starring the mother and son donkey team, Hunky and Spunky. This one opens with a nice Stereoptical pan of a western plain somewhere in Colorado. Mother Hunky is instructing Spunky on the instincts and habits of donkeys such as the braying laugh, and how to get water from a cactus. Mother Hunky takes a nap in the shade, leaving Spunky to frolic with a bunny. Meantime, an evil looking prospector with a sunburned nose comes along carrying his pack on his back. He sees the young donkey running around free, and sets a trap using an apple inside a noose, and ropes Spunky into slavery. Hunky has a dream that Spunky has been taken away, and runs after the prospector who is using her son as a pack animal. Once atop the mountain, Hunky pulls a tug of war with the prospector over her baby. The prospector falls backward into a junk pile, and grabbing a piece of wood starts to hit Hunky, when she kicks him with her hind legs. The evil prospector lands on a far away butte, and hunky then kicks is cabin over to him. Mother and son are happy to be reunited, and go off into the sunset. It is a treat to see this cartoon in Technicolor, as I have seen it. There are some moments of cuteness, but it is not as outstanding as some of the others in the sereis. I don't find the donkey characters to be terribly appealing, and I am puzzled as to why this particular short was selected for an Oscar when Fleicher produced other shorts that same year that were better. It is also amazing that these characters appeared in seven more films, almost claiming the Color Classics as their own series.

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