Birth of a Notion

From Loonipedia

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Birth of a Notion is a 1946-animated, 1947-released Looney Tunes (re-issued as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodies, with the ending theme song still being that of the Looney Tunes) cartoon featuring Daffy Duck, as well as a dog named "Leopold" and an unnamed mad scientist. Director Robert McKimson used his "Barnyard Dawg" character design as Leopold, while the scientist is a caricature—both visually and vocally—of Peter Lorre. The title is a play on Birth of a Nation, but there is no other connection to that film.

Birth of a Notion is one of three shorts that had been scheduled for direction by Bob Clampett before he left Warner Bros. Cartoons; the other two were Bacall to Arms and The Goofy Gophers, both of which were finished by Arthur Davis. Mel Blanc voiced Daffy Duck, Leopold and Joe Besser Duck, while uncredited Stan Freberg voiced the mad scientist.


Daffy, not feeling like going to the trouble of flying south for the winter like other ducks, manages to con the rather simple-witted dog, Leopold, into letting him stay for the winter by pretending to have saved Leopold's life. Unfortunately, Leopold's master is a mad scientist (modeled after actor Peter Lorre) who needs the wishbone of a duck for his experiment.

Daffy, understandably, is not keen on this notion, but instead of finding another place to stay, he keeps trying to get rid of the scientist, while Leopold tries to save his master's life. At one point, Daffy throws a baseball bat at the scientist from behind, and Leopold grabs it in time to keep the impact non-lethal; however, his master misunderstands, taking the bat away and breaking it into many pieces with his bare hands, while quietly intoning "Don't you know that might make me very angry, and I would do terrible, horrible things to you!" before patting a terrified Leopold on the head and saying "I'm going to bed now, Leopold."

Daffy finally leaves, only to find himself going South involuntarily, thanks to another duck (with a Joe Besser-like voice and characterization) who kicks him on his way. On his flight, he is surprised to find he has company: Leopold, somehow aided by a fan strapped to his back, is flying south too, after hearing his master decide that maybe a dog's wishbone would work for his experiment.thumb|300px|right


  • When this cartoon aired on the now-defunct WB! channel, Daffy's attempt to stab the mad scientist in his sleep was cut.

Technical Errors[edit]

  • Several syndicated prints had the Blue Ribbon ending sequence replaced by Associated Artists Productions; see The Up-Standing Sitter for more info.


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