directed by Friz Freleng
by Bill Chambers Napoleonic quickdraw Sam--who went by several aliases, such as Chilkoot Sam, Seagoin' Sam, and, most popularly, Yosemite Sam--was story man Mike Maltese's burlesque of the Missouri-born Isadore "Friz" Freleng, who appeared often as the butt of in-jokes in Warner cartoons, some of which Freleng himself made. Freleng subsequently became the character's custodian, and he was the only one foolhardy enough to give this most hostile and venal of Bugs Bunny's adversaries a solo outing, rising to the challenge not by neutering Sam, per se, but rather by identifying Bugs as essentially extraneous in their conflicts: Sam is already his own worst enemy. In Honey's Money, Sam plays a kind of Bluebeard who marries a rich widow to take advantage of her millions (his plans for the money include tearing down orphanages and old-age homes as well as dismantling the police force); one look at her gorilla features almost sends him out the door, but as soon as she mentions her bank account his wilted bouquet is not-so-subtly erect again. Unfortunately for Sam, "Honey" expects him to keep house and be a playmate to her overgrown son, Wentworth (one of Looney Tunes' patented sweet but not-so-gentle giants, voiced by child actor Billy Booth), whom Sam repeatedly schemes to murder, just to make life easier. At the end, suitcases in hand, Sam walks out on his new bride because his self-respect is worth more than material wealth...only to turn around because, no, it's really not. From concept to execution, Honey's Money is captivatingly perverse (or perversely captivating), though the corner-cutting animation--a harbinger of Freleng's '60s work in television--and inelegant shift in focus from Honey to Wentworth make Sam's first and last starring vehicle an uneven one at best. Alternate Audio (Blu-ray/DVD): CARTOONRESEARCH.COM editor Jerry Beck interviews the great June Foray, who used her "Marjorie Main" voice for Honey. Beck's geeky line of questioning about recording for Warner Bros. alas squeezes Honey's Money itself out of the conversation. Available on: Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection, Volume Three [Blu-ray]|Looney Tunes: Golden Collection, Volume Two (Running Time: 6:20)
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