Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Jesse: Your dog's great-great-grandfather was drunk all the time. He beat his dog wife and sent his children to work in a grist mill while he swilled bathtub gin and bet on the horses. It wasn't just him either. Back in the day all dogs were totally out of control, so much so that people kept them more as prisoners than pets. Why? I have no idea. I do know that gangs of roving dogs and unemployed dockworkers would often engage in fisticuffs for hours on end, with crowds of young boys gathering to cheer on whichever side struck their fancy. If you're interested in the subject read Dreiser's An American Tragedy, a searing look at a young widow and how her kind-hearted attempts to reform a pair of rough-and-tumble dog toughs drags her closer and closer to an eventual doom.

Anyway, this is a cartoon short from the period which tries to assuage the fears of the day by portraying the drunken dog as a soft, clumsy buffoon. A Mickey Mouse like figure finds the dog passed out on his front steps. The dog follows him begging for change, and to escape the problem the mouse engages in a series of tricks at the dog's expense, convincing him that he's invisible, that his hat is made of steak and finally, that he's won a free cross-Atlantic trip on a deluxe steamer (the Boozitania). It's actually a boxcar headed for Missoula, Montana. The dog realizes this too late and ends up howling mournfully as the train chugs out of town, leaving the mouse to doff his cap and do a little jig, glad to be free of the houndly menace.

Lisa: This is not dogs, is it?

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