Destructible Man, that formidable blog devoted to cinematic dummy violence, has initiated a blogathon for March focused on identifying animal dummy deaths. The proprietors there, the Flying Maciste Brothers, have invited others to make their own posting contributions, with the rule that comedies should be avoided (comedy pet dummy shenanigans being too easy a target I suspect – otherwise it might end up nothing but Ace Ventura caps).
I’ll confess it was a bit of a conundrum at first – all the possibilites I thought of didn’t seem to involve the dummy actually “dying”. I finally hit on a sentimental favorite – Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan was wont to carve up a fair few rubber animals in his day, none so happy-smile producing for me as his epic tumble with a crocodile in Tarzan and His Mate. It’s an oldie but a goodie, and I hope not too obvious to make mention of.
|Maureen O’Sullivan, aka Jane Parker, has jumped into the water to avoid a menacing snake in a tree. Pretty much instantly, this croc slips into the water to have a heart-to-heart with her. I lost count of how many jungle critters took a run at Jane in this flick, and that is no small part of its appeal. This may be the only shot of a real croc in the whole sequence.|
|She calls up to Johnny, and we get The Yell. He’s on his way!|
|Jane tries to swim away but is intercepted by Wally Gator..er.. Wally Crocodile. This is, as every giddy consumer of the complete That’s Entertainment! DVD set knows, the same MGM tank that Esther Williams cavorted in a decade or so later, totally sans crocs. The first dummy, a full scale one, makes it’s appearance.|
|Now we go to double exposure, Jane swimming alone in her tank overlaid with a second exposure of a miniature model croc flitting about.|
|Full scale model again, and its a mechanical one – it spins and spins and spins like a self-basting chicken on the world’s fastest rotisserie.|
|Johnny hits the water. He really does show off those Olympic champion swimming skills, he gets a few seconds of screen time just to show how fast he can motor across the water surface.|
|Boy meets dummy. Fill in your own joke.|
|Jane, hearing over the loudspeaker that Adult Swim is over, gets out of the pool. Tarzan stays behind for protracted dummy wrasslin’.|
|I imagine this is all meant to be thrilling, but I suspect that then as now it just looks like fun. Wild Waves park should consider installing a wicked-fast rotating croc dummy feature, the kids’d dig it.|
|More double exposure, as the mini-puppet croc appears to attack real life Johnny.|
|Full on puppet action! Ride ‘im, naked GI Joe doll! Or is “action figure” the politically correct term?|
|Dummy death time. The full scale model takes a stabbing.|
|Blood packs! We have blood packs! The blood cloud eventually expands to encompass both actor and dummy. Tarzan emerges from the water unscathed.|
OK, that’s my dummy death contribution. Macistes can stop here, because I’m about to break their two rules: A dummy death from a comedy, and a dummy that has no violence perpetrated on it at all.
|There is no way I’m letting this topic go by without basking in the reflected glory of the greatest rubber shark evah.|
|Who would want to repel this shark? Love it, take it to your bosom. Stop punching it in the snout Batman. It’s adorable, damn it!|
|Who were those redneck talk show characters John Candy and Joe Flaherty did on SCTV? They’d always end by blowing up their guest and declaring that they “Blowed up good!” Well this shark doesn’t blow up good – it blows up great.|
Lastly, a dummy that suffers no dummy violence at all, unless you count being dumped on a table in front of Claude Rains violent. This is virtually a throwaway, but its always been one of my favorite cinematic animal dummys, from The Adventures of Robin Hood:
|There’s no violence against the deer, seeing as how it’s already dead and all, but that doesn’t mean it can’t dole out the violence! Robin casually lays out a couple of guards just by swinging that bad boy around. As Joe Bob Briggs might call it, Deer Fu!|
|Sure, it’s all jaunty smiles and dummy deers now, but it’ll all come to bloodshed soon enough. Thankfully, this proud animal carcass is not desecrated.|