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A 1942 Merrie Melodies short subject directed by Chuck Jones, "The Dover Boys At Pimento University" or "The Rivals of Roquefort Hall" (or just "The Dover Boys" for short) is an animated parody of a series of early 20th Century juvenile fiction novels called "the Rover Boys". This was also Chuck's first attempt at making a cartoon that was actually funny -- unlike the cloying cuteness and Disney-like nature of his Sniffles the Mouse cartoons. It was also an early experiment with stylized, Limited Animation, as well as motion blurring, but because of this, it almost got Chuck fired -- he just barely managed to avoid the pink slip from his boss.
The Dover Boys were also used in an Animaniacs Slappy Squirrel Short, acting as musical narrators to Daniel Boone.
Unmarked spoilers abound.
- Action Girl: Rescue? Dora don't need no rescue!
- A subversion. Even though she effortlessly hurls Dan Backslide across the room when he tries to advance on her, she continues calling for Tom, Dick, and Larry to save her. And then she absconds with the Running Gag guy after the Dover Boys knock each other out, subverting their Big Damn Heroes moment.
- The Alcoholic:
Dan: "THEY DRIVE ME TO DRINK!" (Cue rapid shot-taking)
- Alcohol Hic: Dan, shortly after downing a dozen or so shots.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: At a certain public house, "a tavern of ill repute".
- Brick Joke: The old man in an old fashioned bathing suit who keeps popping up out of nowhere in the short to the tune of "While Strolling Through the Park One Day" goes off with Dora in the end.
- Cross Counter: A three-way one, delivered by each of the Dover Boys simultaneously to the other two Dover Boys.
- Damsel Fight-and-Flight Response: Spoofed, as it's the distressed damsel who seriously beats up the villain while calling for help. This is distressed?
- Dastardly Whiplash: Dan Backslide, coward-bully-cad-and-thief.
- Either or Title
- Expy: The Dover Boys are, of course, parody expies of Edward Stratemeyer's "Rover Boys," Dick, Tom, and Sam (and their schoolfellows, Larry, Fred, and Frank). "Dan Backslide" represents the villain of the books, Dan Baxter.
- Foreshadowing: When Dan kidnaps Dora as she's grasping a tree while counting for Hide-and-Seek, she rips the tree out of the ground without losing a beat or realizing she's being taken. As we later find, she's strong enough to tie Dan in a knot.
- Even earlier, at the tavern, Dan places a picture of Dora in front of a poster showing a muscled man. The picture, of Dora's face, covers the man's head. And we know how strong Dora really is...
- Fun with Acronyms: Pimento University. Pimento U. Good ol' P.U.
- The Gay Nineties: The setting of this short.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Dan Backslide uses a cigarette holder -- of course he must be a coward-bully-cad-and-thief.
- Great Big Book of Everything: The Handbook of Useful Information which informs Dan Backslide "How Best to Remove Young Lady from Tree (Fig. 1)."
- Hey, It's That Voice!: The narration is done by John McLiesh, best known for narrating the Goofy "How To" Classic Disney Shorts.
- Horned Hairdo: Dan Backslide has this.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: The Dover Boys drive Dan Backslide to drink. To drive the point home, he then goes over to the bar and does a baker's dozen shots in the span of about four seconds (with the barkeep knocking one back in the process).
- Insistent Terminology: Dan Backslide (coward-bully-cad-and-thief).
- Ironic Echo: Dora Stanpipe on being captured by Dan Backslide.
Dora: Help Tom! Help Dick! Help Larry!
Dan Backslide after being kicked, knocked, and tossed senseless by Dora Stanpipe several times.
Dan Backslide: HELP TOM! HELP DICK! HELP LARRY!
- Large Ham: Dan Backslide.
- Last-Second Word Swap: "...Dora Stanpipe! Dear, Rich DORA STANPIPE! HOW I LOVE HER ... father's money."
- Late to The Punchline: Wait... so Dora is the fiancee of all three of the Dover Boys?
- Limited Animation: Or, at least, extreme stylization.
- Lovable Jock: Tom
- Motion Blur: This short pioneered the use of the smear, in which the characters appear elongated for two or three frames as they zip from one pose to the next.
- No Indoor Voice: Dan Backslide.
- Standard Snippet: As might be expected from Carl Stalling -- the score is punctuated by a number of college and popular turn-of-the-century songs, (e.g., "Far Above Cayuga's Waters", "Sweet Genevieve," and "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree"). Another scene-setter, for the "tavern of ill-repute, is the 19th century Murder Ballad "Frankie and Johnny."
- Offhand Backhand: Dora to Dan, as she continues to call for help.
- Pity the Kidnapper
- Polyamory: As mentioned above.
- Purple Prose: The narration wonderfully parodies the frothy, cliché-ridden prose of the Edwardian boys' novel.
- Running Gag: The old man with the bathing suit and sailor hat. He gets Dora in the end.
- Straight Edge: The Dover Boys could easily qualify as a Gay Nineties variation.
- Too Dumb to Live: Even as she repeatedly Offhand Backhands her captor, she continues to bang on the door calling for help. A door that's visibly locked from the side she's on. She needs help, all right.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Dan Backslide announces his plan to steal a car with all the enthusiasm of someone about to steal the Statue of Liberty.
- With Catlike Tread: When Dan Backslide sees the Dover Boys hiding under his pool table, he shouts his dastardly plans at the top of his lungs. The boys, some two-and-a-half feet away, don't seem to notice:
"The Dover Boys! THEN DORA MUST BE ALONE AND UNPROTECTED!"
- And just outside, he follows up with "A runabout! I'll steal it! NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW!"
- ↑ If you have a problem with that, just watch the cartoon first. It's only 9 minutes long.