In the Center Ring (Part 19)

One of our past bloggers was nearly correct, when he observed that the circus escapades of Yogi Bear might be close to requiring a full article on their own. There were five such stories, produced in the short period of three or so seasons – plus a theatrical feature story, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear, which we will defer discussion of until coverage of features in general from assorted studios in a later chapter. To round out this week’s offerings, we’ll also discuss a Snagglepuss title which was inadvertently overlooked last week, and the first half of the circus output of an H-B star to whom we were introduced last week, but this time appearing in partnership with his usual co-star – Hardy Har Har.

First, the unfinished business of Snagglepuss. Thanks to a better set of general descriptions of episode plotlines, I have discovered that the feisty feline who popularized pink fur years before Friz Freleng’s Panther did in fact have his chance to appear in the big top as a circus headliner. This occurred in Jangled Jungle (9/23/61). While Snagglepuss is the big attraction for his alleged ferocity, a standard-model circus lion-tamer, Professor Cage-o, is taking all the credit. Cracking his whip, he repeatedly commands Snagglepuss “Up” and “Down”, making him climb on and off a colorful platform. His commands alternate with such speed, Snag’s eyes continue to bob from one position to the other, even when Snag is standing still. Snag complains that he wishes Cage-o would make up his mind, as Snag is beginning to feel like an elevator – “a yo-yo, even.” Cage-o’s next piece of equipment is a flaming hoop, which he orders Snag to jump through. “Exit to my doom, stage right”, narrates Snag in his traditional stage direction. Obediently, he leaps through the flames – emerging with the tip of his tail afire. Snag leaps for the nearest watering bucket, well-dousing his rear end to put out the conflagration. Cage-o puts his head in Snag’s mouth. Snag can instantly tell that Cage-o has changed brands of hair tonic. But when Cage-o announces that Snag will next be shot out of a cannon, the lion draws the line. “You can’t fire me – I quit!” With another stage exit, Snagglepuss vows to return to his old homeland – the jungles of Africa.

Stowing away in a lifeboat aboard a tramp steamer, land is soon sighted. Snag dives into the bay, and steps out on shore, presenting himself majestically in expectation of a hero’s welcome. Instead, a spear lands inches from his head, implanting itself into the bark of a tree. “The natives are in an ugly mood”, surmises Snag, as a hail of additional spears whizzes past his head. Snag climbs to a higher elevation for safety, but discovers he has not climbed a tree, but the neck of a giraffe. The giraffe bites, grabbing Snag by the tail. “Put me down, put me down” shouts Snag. The giraffe swings Shag by the tail, then lets go, flipping Snag headlong through the air. “Pick me up, pick me up!”, Snag counter-commands. The lion lands in a river, that appears to be crowded with floating luggage – but these alligator bags have teeth, and are very much alive. Snag races ashore, running chest-to-chest into a huge gorilla. Snag engages in a war of words versus grunts, in an attempt to obtain some royal respect from the simian. Instead, the gorilla outroars Snag, clearly indicating he is not impressed. Snag changes his stance as “king of the beasts” into a series of self-demotions. “Duke of the beasts? Count of the beasts? Beauty of the beasts, even?” The ape grabs up Snag, and carries him off bodily to a small ape in a baby bonnet, obviously Junior. Snag becones Junior’s plaything, the large ape pressing Snag on the tummy, repeatedly causing Snag to involuntarily utter the word, “Mama”. Then, the ape borrows a Tex Avery gag, winding-up Snag’s tail, and setting him off rhythmically clicking like a walking mechanical man. Finally, Snag meets a newcomer to the jungle – an ape-man, who wants Snag as his “oomba oomba’ – translation: lion-skin rug. Snag bids the jungle a hasty goodbye, jumping off a cliff into the sea, and not wasting time waiting for a ship to come along, but instead dog-paddling back to the states. The film finishes with Snag willfully returning to the big top to perform the cannon stunt. He blasts off – straight into one of the main poles of the circus tent instead of the net – but it’s still good to be back in home sweet home.

Yogi Bear’s circus encounters begin with a script placing him somewhat out of character. Instead of being the usual “government property” of Jellystone Park, The Runaway Bear (1/5/59) finds Yogi essentially cast in the role of Bongo, as a world-famous roller-skating bear in the circus. However, Yogi has had it with circus life, and is on the lam, attempting to make an escape from circus trainers and a bloodhound (standard model mutt who does not even get to utter the trademark “Yowp”). An interesting animation blunder is that the trainers and dog are depicted in shadowy silhouette in their first shot, as they pass in the background while Yogi hides behind a pole in full light in the foreground. Yet, in later shots, the entire background changes to full light – but the trainers and dog remain in blackened silhouette! Their day job must be in a coal mine. Yogi flees the circus grounds with some speed skating, and looks for “any old port in a storm” as a hideout. He happens upon the stately mansion of Colonel Packingham P. Putney, the world’s richest man, who seems to have everything – double-decker tennis court, dual swimming pools (one for each foot, shaped like giant footprints), a stable of king-sized cars, each with a little car for a spare in the trunk, and the world’s larges collection of big-game trophy heads. But the Colonel is not happy, as one game trophy has eluded him – a perfect bear head. Enter Yogi through the window. The Colonel thinks he is seeing thinks, and feels sick, sick, sick. But the conversational prattle of the skating Yogi quickly convinces him that the strange illusion is decidedly real. The Colonel’s first reaction is to grab a rifle and aim it at Yogi for a blast. Yogi ducks behind an easy chair, then, believing it to have been an accident, complains to the Colonel to be more careful, as he almost blew Yogi’s head off. The Colonel stops, realizing he almost made a boo-boo in spoiling his intended trophy, and decides to employ more subtle methods which will not mar Yogi’s noggin.

The colonel invites Yogi to the dinner table, on which rests a centerpiece of a large bowl of fruit. Yogi seats himself, while the Colonel goes to get a “surprise”. He rises on the other side of the table, armed with a bow and arrow, from which he launches a shot from behind the fruit bowl, aimed at Yogi’s heart. Yogi picks this moment to drop his napkin, and ducks below the tablecloth. The shot picks up a row of various fruits, then lands stuck into the back of Yogi’s chair. Upon seeing it, Yogi remarks with pleasure at the surprise, “Shish-kabob”, and grabs a candle from the table to toast it.

The Colonel employs other various methods of attempting Yogi’s demise. Coaxing Yogi to take a nap after dinner, on a bed with a guillotine headboard – but Yogi isn’t sleepy, and pulls the headlock out of its frame with his sheer bear strength as he rises. Taking Yogi’s “picture” with a tripod-mounted cannon – however, the Colonel pulls the rope on the firing pin too hard, aiming the cannon upwards instead of at Yogi’s chest, then has to knock Yogi out of the way and “take the bullet” to keep Yogi’s head from being spoiled. In a silly gag that gets a laugh even though it has no explanation, the Colonel reverts back to his shotgun, taking aim at Yogi’s torso as he stands in a doorway. Copycatting a similar gag from Daffy Duck’s “The Super Snooper”, Yogi becomes the target in an old arcade machine, which used to feature a bear which would pass from side to side, reversing direction if hit by a beam of light from the arcade gun. Instead of being hit by bullets, light flashes appear on Yogi, accompanied by the dinging bell of the arcade machine, and Yogi, rolling on his skates, reverses direction at every hit. Yogi finally makes it to one side of the doorway, briefly disappearing from view, then emerges, also carrying a shotgun. “Two can play at this game”, says the now-wiser Yogi. “Egad!”, utters the Colonel, who now finds himself being hit by beams of light, and reversing back and forth in a doorway. The Colonel tires of it, and raises a white flag above him to call a truce. He confesses to Yogi that he did it in attempt to obtain his missing perfect bear head for the empty plaque on the wall. Yogi proposes to the Colonel that they can make a deal. The plaque is modified to read “Yogi-type Bear”, with a large hole drilled in the center. The Colonel becomes content, his only problem being a need to remind Yogi to get back on the job. “Geesh, what a short lunch”, mutters Yogi, as he inserts his head in the plaque from behind the wall. “Anyhoo, this beats workin’ in the circus”, observes Yogi, as he assumes a blank stare to play statue for his work shift, for the iris out.

Apologies that most of the videos this week are unavailable for us to embed.

Hide and Go-Peek (3/23/59) – This story is framed by narration regarding a popular landmark of Jellystone – a rock formation known as Elephant Rock (lifting a similar framework used in Pluto’s “The Legend of Coyote Rock”), the center of which somewhat resembles an elephant’s back. The formation’s presence coincides with an unsolved mystery of the park – the disappearance of an escaped circus elephant, never to be seen again. In a flashback, said elephant busts out of a circus truck passing the front gate of the park. Two circus guards, armed with rifles, form a posse to pursue, and ask a ranger if he has seen an elephant. “What color?” asls the ranger in skeptical disbelief of the guards’ inquiry, “Striped? Checkered? Polka dot?” “Everybody’s a comic”, remarks one of the guards at receiving no help. The guards “can’t see the elephant for the trees”, as the elephant hides in plain sight, holding only a few measly twigs on his trunk and front feet. Then, the elephant seeks a better hiding place – in Yogi Bear’s cave. An elephant is not ideally proportioned to hide under a bed, and when Yogi rises from slumber, he hops out of bed to fall six feet to the cave floor. “I don’t remember that step, nor do I recollect no elephant under my bed. I gotta quit havin’ nightmares in the daytime.” The elephant speaks up, informing Yogi that he’s not dreaming, and tries to convince Yogi to hide him from the cruel circus guards. But Yogi thinks this story is too “big, big, big” to keep under wraps, and sets off to inform the ranger, and perhaps “pick up a loose reward or two.” The elephant prevents this, by sucking Yogo back into the cave with a vacuum inhale from his trunk. “Is this rough stuff necess-ess-sary?”, complains Yogi. “Wait’ll you see those guards clobber me. That’s real rough stuff”, notes the elephant. The conversation of the guards passing in front of the cave finally convinces Yogi the elephant is sincere, as he hears the men contemplating giving the elephant a few “ka-knocks on the noggin”.

Yogi stands in the cave doorway to block the guards’ entrance. When asked if he has seen an elephant, Yogi sarcastically responds with the same gag as the ranger, “Striped? Checkered? Polka dot?” “How ‘bout that? A bear comic”, remarks one of the guards. The guards are temporarily bluffed, and the elephant thanks Yogi for saving his life. Until the guards spot a set of the elephant’s footprints, leading right back to “that smarty-alek bear’s cave.” “Head for my secret exit”, Yogi instructs the elephant. A rock slab opens in the rear cave wall like a hinged garage door, which Yogi closes behind them. Yogi tries to provide the elephant with a hiding place, by pushing him with great effort up into a tree. “But elephants don’t climb trees”, says the pachyderm. “There’s always a – first – TIME”, says Yogi under the strain. Two more repetitions of the “Striped? Checkered? Etc.” line get worked into dialogue to the guards, one from a ranger, one from Yogi. The first elicits the comment, “This bit just won’t quit”, and the second is interrupted by the irritated guard’s “Never MIND!” The guards point their rifles at Yogi, giving him “three” to tell them where the elephant is. They find out quicker than that, as the elephant falls from the tree, directly on top of them. The elephant speeds off, with Yogi bringing up the rear, as the guards open fire. “All right, boys, break it up. No bear hunting in the park”, announces the approaching ranger. “Bear hunting? We was elephant hunting”, retort the guards. Yogi stops, turning his rear end to the ranger, blackened with buckshot. “Do I look like elephant, I ask you?” “All right, boys, let’s go quietly”, instructs the ranger, making an arrest of the guards, as Yogi smiles to the camera. The elephant is never seen again, and the bear keeps the secret of the mystery, as the camera reverts back to the present, and the view of Elephant Rock. “A strange story”, closes the narrator. The topmost boulder of the formation slowly turns to the camera, revealing it is the head of the real elephant, hiding in plain sight among the other rocks. “And true, too”, the elephant giggles, for the iris out.

Stranger Ranger (11/2/59) is a return vehicle for the titular character of a prior Huckleberry Hound episode, “Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie”. Willie is a playful – and stupid – gorilla, who doesn’t know his own strength. (Sounds like a character description for Magilla – except Willie never says anything but “Eek eek”.) He escapes from a circus truck of the “Armand and Daily Circus” that has broken down outside the park. This conveniently coincides with Ranger Smith departing for a fishing vacation, informing Yogi that a substitute ranger will be arriving immediately to “keep an eye on you.” As Yogi takes his afternoon nap so as to be fresh to greet the new ranger, Willie curiously barges through the door of the ranger station, acquires a hat and shirt from inside, and stomps through the back door of the station, wearing the upper half of a ranger’s outfit. He then marches into Yogi’s cave, and when Yogi awakens, he finds Willie sleeping under the covers beside him in bed. “The new ranger, sleeping on the job?”, thinks Yogi. Yogi awakens Willie, informing him that there is a matter of privacy, and orders him “Out, out, out!” Instead, Yogi is flung bodily out of the cave, smashing face-first into a tree. Some people can’t take a joke, thinks Yogi. Deciding he’s gotten off on the wrong foot with the new authority, Yogi greets Willie when he awakens and emerges from the cave. Yogi piles on the compliments about Willie being the “strong, silent type”, even admiring how he is the only ranger to have thumbs on his feet. But flattery will get you nowhere with Willie. As Yogi extends a paw for a friendly handshake, Willie playfully tosses Yogi a country mile into the lake.

Yogi discovers Willie in some decidedly un-ranger-like behavior. For one, moving in on Yogi’s racket, by stealing a tourist’s picnic basket. “Any ranger who would steal a picnic basket would think nothing about bribing a bear to keep him quiet”, states Yogi aloud, giving the hint to Willie to hand over a chocolate cake from the basket. Instead, Yogi’s nose is grabbed, and he is twisted into a combination of spiral and pretzel-knot, exiting the scene walking on his only free appendages (his fingertips), observing that he can’t stand a sorehead. More suspect behavior finds Willie stealing a tourist’s book of marches, lighting them one by one, and carelessly tossing them on the ground. Yogi confronts him, demanding that he put the matches out. Willie complies, by grabbing Yogi, and smashing him repeatedly against the ground to smother the matches’ flames. Finally, a police search begins in the park for the missing gorilla, with a patrol car advising the tourists to evacuate. Yogi races to tell the new ranger of the development, but finds Willie lounging under a tree, directly below a poster with his picture announcing a $1,000 reward for his capture. The evidence is unmistakable that Willie and the ranger are one and the same. Yogi decides to cash in on the reward. The final scenes find Yogi calling from the trees to the police below. “Don’t shoot. Everything is under control.” Willie carries Yogi in one arm, brachiating through the treetops with his free limb. “As soon as he gets pooped, I’ll bring him in’, hollers Yogi, as he instructs Willie to take another “Once around the park.”

Biggest Show-Off on Earth (3/20/61) – Another Bongo-style beginning, as a circus bear escapes from a railway train, ad disappears into the park. This bear (Elmo) is a big brute in a circus cap – but something of a dead-ringer for Yogi in a bad, snarling mood. As Yogi and Boo Boo sleep inside their cave, Elmo slips in, and changes hats with Yogi, then disappears. As circus guards track footprints to the cave, they mistake Yogi for Elmo, conking him out with a blow from a “rubber pacifier” mallet, then carrying him back to the circus train. Boo Boo, who slept through the whole incident, rises to search for Yogi, and finds him locked inside the circus train as the train starts to move. Boo Boo slips between the bars to join his friend, and Yogi, finding himself wearing the circus cap, remarks “Instead of running away with the circus, the circus is running away with us.”

Despite Boo Boo’s homesickness for Jellystone, Yogi can’t resist the appeal of the sawdust life, when the ringmaster opens his cage, and orders him to participate in the circus parade. Yogi beats a bass drum, while Boo Boo gets saddled with the job of carrying it. Yogi is shown his star billing on a poster on the circus tent, billed as performing “Death-defying feats”. This does not scare him, the gleam of stardom still in his eyes. Boo Boo still persists in reminding him that Jellystone must be missing them in their absence. Actually, Boo Boo is quite wrong. Ranger Smith has his hands full, as what he thinks is Yogi devours the contents of a picnic basket in broad daylight. He orders Yogi to drop the food, and receives an unexpected snarl in the face, then a powerful bear-hug, and a flip that stuffs him bodily inside the picnic basket. Reaching out one hand to a ranger phone mounted on a tree, Smith calls for reinforcements, proclaiming Yogi a “rogue bear.” Back at the circus, Yogi has his paws full too, as he discovers the details of Elmo’s act. First, a high-diving leap into a Sparkletts’ size water cooler jug. Yogi lands with his head in the jug and shoulders on the rim of the bottle. “And they said it couldn’t be done”, he states underwater. Next, a unicycle ride down a loop-do-loop ramp. The ringmaster can’t understand why “Elmo” is frightened, after performing this act 100 times.

“You’d think I’d remember a little thing like that?” stammers Yogi. The ringmaster cautions not to put on the brakes, but Yogi instinctively does so, just as he reaches the top of the inverted loop. He drops like a stone headfirst onto the sawdust floor. “I know, I know. Don’t put on the brakes”, he responds to the ringmaster’s “I told you so” stare. Finally, Yogi faces being blasted out of a cannon. He takes reassurance in the ringmaster’s statistics that, with 170 million people in the country, not one person was reported injured last year from being shor out of a cannon. The blast misses the net and shoots Yogi through the big top roof. Meanwhile, despite calling out of the police and national guard, Elmo has escaped a park dragnet, and shows up at the circus grounds. Fed up with forest life and the pursuit, the snarling Elmo passes Yogi, then reaches down to reclaim his old circus cap, and replace Yogi’s traditional hat. Yogi finally decides the time has come to go home. When he and Boo Boo approach the park, they are met by the wail of police sirens, as militia, state troopers, and other enforcement agencies approach. Yogi sees this as a welcoming committee, and calls attention to himself, greeting the oncomers with open arms. He is mobbed, hogtied, and shackled (in action all placed offscreen, depicted only by sound-effects and dialogue to keep within budget. Friz Freleng would be proud.) As Yogi rests in a holding cell (which looks conspicuously like the same train interior background, flipped in reverse), Boo Boo encourages Yogi from outside the bars that the 60 day sentence will go fast. Yogi responds that that isn’t the center of his concerns. “There’s talk about selling me to a circus! Oh, boy!”

Acrobatty Yogi (9/23/61) – Yofi’s old girlfriend Cindy (in one of her rare appearances in the original series, in early design of Huckleberry blue) has joined the circus as a skating bear. Yogi sees her picture on a circus truck passing the park, and the love-bug bites him, hearts appearing in his eyes. Heading-off the trucks around the next hill, Yogi leaps on a truck tailgate, and runs away with the show.

At the circus grounds, Yogi searches for Cindy in the cages, but instead is clobbered by a gorilla’s paw. Cindy appears, roaming freely outside the cages, and is unimpressed by Yogi’s show-off attempts to clown around. She is even unmoved by Yogi’s reminder of his affection for her, when he shared a picnic basket with her – something he’s never done with anyone else. Yogi believes the only way he can impress her is to join the show. At that moment, the ringmaster and circus owner spot Yogi. They wonder if Yogi can be trained to perform “Charlie’s old act”, then bow their heads and place their hats over their hearts, as they remember “Good ol’ Charlie. Yogi is hired, but trained into obedience at whip point – a lesson that Yogi says he’ll remember faithfully. The ringmaster provides Yogi with a chair, which Yogi soon learns (with a whip crack) is not for sitting. And on how to move it back and forth. Yogi can’t imagine why anyone would pay to see him move a chair around, but the ringmaster assures him he’d be surprised. The night of Yogi’s debut arrives, and Yogi is sent in to do his “chair bit” – into a cage of snarling lions. “Use the chair”, shouts the ringmaster. “What chair?” responds Yogi, as the lions have already bitten off everything of it except the seat back. Yogi dashes for the cage bars, easily breaking through them, and commenting “You never know your strength until you’re chased by a lion.” One of the lions also escapes through the bars. Yogi climbs to a trapeze platform, assuming the lion can’t climb. He guesses wring, as the lion appears on the platform behind him. Yogi swings across the arena on the trapeze, but the lion outraces him to the opposite platform, awaiting him with open mouth. Yogi swings back, and somehow winds up on the tight wire. So does the lion, inching out to meet him, and vibrating the wire violently. Everyone yells for Yogi to jump, as a circle of guards hold a round net below him. “What else could I do?” says Yogi, as he takes the dive. He crashes right through the hoop, leaving a silhouette-hole in it. Yogi’s head rises through the hole, as he sarcastically remarks, “Paper hoop. Very funny gag. It’s a killer.” Cindy, now impressed, affectionately remarks, “Yogi, you were wonderful.” Yogi yaps back Cindy’s words in parroting tones, then adds. “I mighta been seriously killed.” The roar of the lion is heard behind him, and Yogi beats a retreat for the circus exit. Soon, he is back at Jellystone, but the lion is still in pursuit. Boo Boo stands to greet him at the cave entrance, but Yogi grabs his buddy, pushing him inside, and slams the cave door in the lion’s face. Yogi and Boo Boo are last seen partially under the covers of their bed, as Boo Boo complains that it’s too early for hibernating. As the sound of the lion’s roar persists outside, Yogi states that there’ll never be a better time, and he and Boo Boo pull the covers over their heads, for the iris out.

To finish this week’s offerings, we’ll take a preliminary dip into the circus careers of Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har, beginning with Smile the Wild (10/8/62). Jingling Brothers’ circus offers a reward for the return of Wildo the Wild Man, escaped from the show. Lippy and Hardy, in desperate search for their next meal, spot the headline. Lippy sees it as their meal ticket, but Hardy can’t understand, seeing as they don’t have the wild man. “We do now”, says Lippy, plopping a mop-head onto Hardy’s own for a shaggy wig. The accessory makes Hardy a near-dead-ringer for Wildo, who also has a long nose, and wears a spotted fur leotard similar to Hardy’s natural fur. Hardy doesn’t like it, but is dragged by Lippy to the circus grounds. Hardy is pawned-off to Mr. Jingling as Wildo, while Hardy utters half-hearted recitations of “Grrr. Snarl. Arf.” Mr. Jingling is concerned that Wildo isn’t wild anymore, but Lippy puts some life into him, by jabbing Hardy in the rear end with a pin. Hardy shouts loudly in pain, and races around upside-down on the ceiling. Mr. Jingling is so impressed with Lippy’s handling of Wildo, he hires Lippy as Wildo’s trainer. Hardy is placed in Wildo’s cage, but doesn’t like the raw meat bones he is served for dinner. Lippy promises to scrounge up some real food for Hardy, leaving the cage door unlocked. Hardy busies himself trying to memorize his snarls for the evening performance, fearing that he is bound to fluff his lines. Along comes the real Wildo, deciding to return after all, and standing in the open doorway of the cage. “I ask for food and Lippy sends me a mirror”, Hardy observes. He also becomes rather imprssed that he really does look like a wild man in his “reflection”. Hardy and Wildo repeat the old Marx Brothers mirror routine, matching each other’s moves and gestures, Wildo even mouthing Hardy’s snarls – until Wildo adds a new syllable – “Grunch.” “I don’t remember saying ‘grunch’”, notes Hardy, and investigates the mirror closer. As he stares into Wildo’s face, Wildo painfully grabs Hardy’s nose. The startled Hardy flees past Wildo out the cage door, just as Lippy returns with a food tray. Wildo greets Lippy inside the cage, and brutalizes him, judo flipping Lippy out the door. Lippy wonders why Hardy didn’t like the food. The real Hardy appears to spot Lippy outside, but Lippy, thinking Hardy has really turned wild, darts back inside the cage, locking the door to keep Hardy out. He finds the real wild man still waiting inside, and realizes there’s been a miscalculation on his part. As the sounds of the battle rage from inside the cage, Hardy knows Lippy is in trouble. Grabbing one of the bones he was given at supper, Hardy charges the cage door, breaking it in. He engages in battle with the wild man to allow Lippy opportunity to escape, Wildo and Hardy exchanging repeated head-blows with bone and club. Mr. Jingling arrives, and is amazed by the sight of two wild men in mortal combat – a terrific new act. Lippy is hailed and given credit for the discovery, and Lippy declares to Hardy that their fortune is made. Hardy is too busy to appreciate it, with “other things on my mind”, as he endures repeated clobbering from Wildo, which will remain a part of his performance, and can only end the film with his usual moans of “Oh, dear, oh, my.”

Film Flam (10/22/62) switches more of its focus to Lippy. Our heroes travel as tourists to Hollywood, or “Flickersville”, as Lippy calls it, though all that Hardy can think of is the smog. On a bluff of being pals with Elvis Parsley, Lippy easily obtains entrance to a movie studio, and is soon entering a closed set in search of autographs, with Hardy tagging along. Inside, a circus film is in production, with a ringmaster and an actor in a lion suit receiving instructon for a violent scene in which the ringmaster is supposed to “mop the floor” with the lion. Grabbing the fake lion by the tail, the ringmaster flips and slams the lion back and forth forcefully upon the cage floor. The director calls “Cut”, and demands more violence. But the lion-actor calls it quits. “I came to Hollywood to be a star – not a punching bag.” The director states he’ll finish the scene with the “stand-in over there”, pointing to Lippy behind the floodlights. Lippy is impressed that he has broken into show business so quickly, and does an impression of Katherine Hepburn as he comments at so wanting to be in pictures – really. The scene is repeated, the ringmaster this time adding a high overhead twirl of Lippy, followed by a climactic super-slam to the pavement. The director still isn’t satisfied, and personally demonstrates what he thinks of as violence. The overhead twirl and slam was okay, as the director repeats it upon poor Lippy. But the director adds foot stomping, pouncing with all his might upon Lippy’s prone back. In Popeye fashion, Lippy retorts, “I has had enough, and enough is too much.” Lippy shows what real violence is, serving up a taste of the director’s own medicine upon the director. Security finally gives Lippy the boot off the studio lot (a continuity error finds Hardy already outside the studio gate), as Lippy is flung into a trash can reading “Keep Hollywood clean.” Lippy decides to break out of show business instead of breaking in. However, an unexpected turn of events has the director and studio execs reviewing the rushes, and deciding that Lippy is the greatest screen discovery for violence yet. The director pursues Lippy and Hardy down the streets leading out of Hollywood, offering Lippy a contract. Lippy agrees to sign on one condition – that there be no more lion tamers to push him around. The director agrees. Lippy finds himself on a snazzy jungle set, in another production, with Hardy for some reason alongside. However, while the director promised no lion tamers, he didn’t say anything about a trigger-happy lion hunter. Our story ends with Lippy and Hardy fleeing and dodging a hail of gunfire on the set, with Hardy remarking, “That’s show biz.”

NEXT WEEK: More Lippy and Hardy, together with the modern stone-age family.