Wagon Heels

Wagon Heels

Wagon Heels is a 1945 Merrie Melodies short directed by Bob Clampett, a color remake of the 1938 Looney Tunes black-and-white short Injun Trouble. Because of its wildly stereotypical depiction of the Native American, it is seldom shown on television nowadays. All voices except narration are performed by Mel Blanc. In addition to the usual Indian stereotype music, Carl Stalling's underscore frequently plays segments of the American Civil War tune, "Kingdom Coming", even converting it to a minor key in one segment.

Plot summary

The cartoon opens in 1848, with narration by Robert C. Bruce, over a spurious map showing a sliver of land on the Eastern Seaboard labeled "USA", with all land to its west labeled "INJUN JOE'S TERRITORY". Porky Pig is leading a wagon train to California and he must keep an eye out for the Herculean Native American "Super Chief", Injun Joe. The name is a play on the famous Santa Fe train run of the same name (a frequent reference in WB cartoons), and reinforced by each character spouting smoke and crying "Woo-woo!" like a steam locomotive, each time they say Injun Joe's name.

Porky and Injun Joe are repeatedly interrupted by a goofy bearded hillbilly named Sloppy Moe (a play on "Sloppy Joe"), who keeps repeating, "I know something I won't tell, I won't tell, I won't tell!" to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down. This goes on until Injun Joe corners Porky with tomahawk in hand, and Sloppy Moe sings his refrain once more. Injun Joe demands, "What you know???", and Sloppy reveals his secret at last, "Injun... Joe... is... ticklish!", and proceeds to prove that by tickling the chief with his hands and beard. The Indian goes into a raucous laughing fit. Distracted, he backs off a cliff and falls deep into the ground, pulling the surface down with him, and causing the map seen at the beginning of the cartoon to stretch the "USA" sliver across to the west coast, so that it now read "UNITED STATES of AMERICA" from west to east (the "of" is in very small type and may be hard to discern on some screens).

The cartoon closes with the narrator returning to lionize the cartoon's heroes, Porky and Sloppy Moe, and irises-out with Moe tickling the giggling Porky.

References in popular culture

See also

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