This week’s entry in our Saturday Morning Cartoons series looks at another animated Thanksgiving feast, this time from the zany crew at Warner Bros.: a Porky Pig/Daffy Duck pairing that finds Daffy at his goofy best.
Like the Tom and Jerry Thanksgiving ‘toon we featured last week, Tom Turk and Daffy wasn’t released anywhere near the holiday upon which it centers–it was actually released in February 1944, two days before Valentine’s Day.
The character of Tom Turk was introduced in this cartoon, and would appear later in 1949’s Holiday for Drumsticks, again co-starring Daffy (with a hungry hillbilly standing in for Porky).
Everyone knows that Mel Blanc was the voice of both Daffy and Porky (though it’s worth noting that Blanc actually served as Porky’s second voice; the character’s distinctive stutter was originated by Joe Dougherty).But did the turkey sound overly familiar to you? That could be because the voice of Tom was performed by Billy Bletcher, who is perhaps best known for his Disney roles–most notably, he voiced Mickey’s nemesis Pete as well as the Big Bad Wolf (1933’s Three Little Pigs). But Bletcher’s distinctive voice found him work with several other animation studios in Hollywood: he starred as the original Spike the Bulldog (Tom and Jerry) and Barney Bear for MGM; he was the villainous Pincushion Man in Ub Iwerks’ trippy ComiColor short Balloon Land (1935); and he performed a number of other roles at Warner Bros., including Owl Jolson’s stern papa in I Love to Singa (1936) and another Big Bad Wolf in the 1944 Bugs Bunny short Little Red Riding Rabbit.
Interestingly, the story for this cartoon is not credited to one specific writer, but instead to “The Staff.” The cartoon’s director, the great Chuck Jones, worked most closely with two studio writers throughout his Warner Bros. career, Tedd Pierce and (especially) Michael Maltese; it’s unclear which of them contributed exactly what to this cartoon (though both are credited as writers on the IMDb entry for the short).
Tom Turk and Daffy was not included on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection releases on DVD, nor has it yet been released through the ongoing Platinum Collection Blu-ray sets. The only DVD release of the cartoon appears to be a standalone 2012 Porky Pig DVD collection, Looney Tunes Superstars: Porky and Friends–Hilarious Ham.