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"One of the most perfect cartoons ever made."
—Chuck Jones, praising his mentor's film.
"Bad Luck Blackie" was a 1949 animated cartoon produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Tex Avery. The short was voted the fifteenth-best cartoon of all-time in a 1994 poll of one-thousand animation industry professionals, as referenced in the book The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
The short involves an innocent little kitten being bullied by a cruel bulldog. After enduring his slapstick torment the kitten escapes into an alley, and meets a cigar-smoking alley cat with black fur. The cat offers to protect the kitten by crossing the dog's path and causing him bad luck whenever the kitten blows on a whistle. When the dog manages to thwart the black cat by painting him white, the kitten paints himself black and takes up the act of being bad luck. The rest of the short involves the Amusing Injuries that befall the cruel dog as the kitten uses his newly-found protection to his full advantage.
- Amusing Injuries
- Annoying Laugh: The dog has one, provided by Tex Avery himself.
- Anvil on Head: As well as several other heavy things, whenever the black cat crosses the dog's path.
- Balloonacy The cat uses a balloon to fly by the dog when he is up on top of a telephone pole.
- Bully Bulldog
- Cats Are Mean: Inverted. It's the dog that is.
- Cat Stereotype: It plays around with the idea of the bad-luck black cat.
- Cranial Eruption
- Dashingly Dapper Derby: Or Dastardly Dapper Derby, depending on how you look at the black cat.
- Everything's Cuter With Kittens
- Flower Pot Drop: A flowerpot is the first thing that falls on the bulldog's head. Larger and more unlikely objects soon follow.
- ISophagus: After the dog swallows the whistle, everytime he hiccups, the whistle blows and something falls on him. This sort of breaks the rules that the short had been following in the first place, as now its the whistle giving the dog bad luck, but with Avery shorts Rule of Funny is always being invoked.
- Jerkass: The bulldog.
- The Jinx: The black cat actually uses this to help other cats in need.
- Just Whistle
- Illogical Safe: Another heavy object that lands on the dog.
- Karmic Trickster: The black cat has apparently made a profession out of this.
- Killer Rabbit: When the kitten starts fighting back he becomes one, especially once he paints himself black.
- Kitchen Sink Included: (more likely a bathroom sink) Yet another heavy object that lands on the dog.
- Leitmotif: The traditional Scottish folktune "Comin' Thro' the Rye" is used to represent the black cat.
- My Card: The cat's card reads: "Black Cat Bad Luck Company. Paths crossed — Guaranteed bad luck"
- Passing the Torch: The cat gives the kitten his bowler hat as a symbol that he's now the new black cat in town.
- Pun-Based Title: The title was based on Boston Blackie, a popular radio show at the time.
- Early on in the cartoon, the kitten, hiding on a bookshelf, is squashed into book-shape; when the dog pulls the kitten out, we see the title, Kitty Foiled — a pun on the popular novel Kitty Foyle: The Natural History of a Woman by Christopher Morley.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The kitten
- Rule of Funny: The ending most of all.
- Shout-Out: The opening shot is a perfect recreation of the opening shot of the first Jasper and Jinx-er, Tom and Jerry short "Puss Gets the Boot."