Odor-able Kitty (1944)

Article 4777 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-9-2015
Directed by Chuck Jones
Featuring the voice of Mel Blanc
Country: USA
What it is: Warner Brothers Cartoon

A put-upon cat hits upon a scheme to keep his nemeses from tormenting him; he disguises himself as a skunk to scare them off. However, complications arrive when he ends up attracting the amorous attentions of a real skunk…

This marks the cartoon debut Pepe Le Pew, and even though his name is Henry here and he’s given a backstory that would be abandoned in later entries (he’s already married with children), it’s pretty much the same character. He’s also a secondary character here; the main character is the cat who disguises himself as a skunk. Unlike the other Pepe Le Pew cartoons, the cat disguised as a skunk also emulates the smell of a skunk by rubbing himself with limburger cheese, and it is that smell that ends up attracting the skunk. Actually, the attraction by smell may explain one of the odder aspects of this cartoon; whereas the cats in the other cartoons of the series are clearly female, the protagonist in this one is definitely male, and it doesn’t say much for Pepe’s ability to discriminate that he mistakes him for a female, perhaps the smell threw him off. At any rate, it’s a pretty amusing cartoon, though I think some of the later cartoons in the series would nail down the routine better. Keep your eyes open for a fake cameo from Bugs Bunny in this one.

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