GOLD DIGGERS OF ’49 (1935)
Article 5223 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Tex Avery
Featuring the voices of Billy Bletcher, Joe Dougherty, Bernice Hansen
What it is: Early Warner Brothers Cartoon
Beans the Cat discovers gold and the Gold Rush is on. However, when a villain steals a bag belonging to Porky Pig, Beans must catch him if he wants to marry Porky’s daughter.
I HAVEN’T GOT A HAT introduced Porky Pig to the world. However, he wasn’t the one originally pegged for cartoon stardom; the powers that be thought that Beans the cat, also introduced in that cartoon, would be the big star, and he gets top billing here with Porky in a secondary role. The title is a parody of a series of musicals from the era with similar titles; gold diggers were women trying to marry rich men, but here, they’re prospectors. For an early Warner Brothers cartoon, this one is not too bad; a couple of the early gags did make me laugh, though some of the later ones fall flat. It also has a couple of politically incorrect gags, including one in which a couple of Oriental stereotypes are turned into black stereotypes after being covered with smoke. I attribute some of the success to the creativity of director Tex Avery, who keeps the action moving at a brisk pace. Talking animals make up the main fantastic content, though we do have a bit of science fiction; assuming the cartoon takes place in 1849, what’s the automobile doing here? There’s also some bizarre experiments in cross-breeding or genetic manipulation as well, unless you can think of another explanation as to why Porky Pig has a kitten daughter.