Miss Cud the school teacher hosts a talent show with her pupils:
- Beans the Cat, a mischievous kitten
- Porky Pig, a stuttering piglet
- Oliver Owl, a very snobby and wise owl
- Ham and Ex, two twin dog brothers who engage in gossip
First, Porky Pig recites Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride", but with his excessive stutter causing him to recite his part with incredible strain and sweat. Though he mixes it up at first, Porky points to offstage students to provide sound effects for his next recital, "The Charge of the Light Brigade", using the underside of a turtle's shell for a drum and falling light bulbs for gunfire. As Porky is in the middle of the poem, the children whistle and cat-call which makes several stray dogs burst into the schoolhouse and chase poor Porky out.
Next, Little Kitty attempts to recite "Mary Had a Little Lamb". She is so nervous that she forgets a couple of lines, even confusing snow for corn flakes, and then proceeds with the rhyme but gradually speeds up her voice to a high pitch. Throughout her performance, she is fidgeting and crossing her legs in a way to suggest she urgently needs the toilet. She reaches the end of the rhyme as she makes a hasty exit to the school outhouse.
Ham and Ex sing "I Haven't Got a Hat". During this performance, Oliver Owl haughtily refuses to share a bag of candy with Beans. After Ham and Ex's performance, Oliver goes up for his piano recital. Beans, still angry about Oliver's snobbery, decides it is time for payback and sneaks a stray cat and dog into the piano. Their commotion creates a virtuoso performance of Franz von Suppé's Poet and Peasant overture to riotous applause. When the animals jump out of the piano, with the cat chasing the dog rather than vice versa, the audience believes that Oliver's playing was all a ruse and boos his performance. Oliver, humbled and vengeful, covers Beans in green ink from his pen, causing Beans to fall off his ladder and launch a pail of red paint onto Oliver. Caught in the same predicament, they make amends and shake hands.
- This is the debut appearance of Little Kitty, Beans, Ham and Ex, Oliver Owl, and Porky Pig.
- Struggling against other animation studios, Warner Bros. were desperate to find a character as successful as major studios' mascots, such as Disney's Mickey Mouse, Fleischer Studios' Betty Boop and Felix the Cat, and so Friz designed several potential characters.
- The short was inspired by the Hal Roach Our Gang live-action shorts.
- Porky was named after two childhood friends of Friz Freleng nicknamed Porky and Piggy.
- Many of the characters in this short were given their own shorts, to see if they were good recurring characters, but WB particularly focused on Beans, to no avail, as Porky's stuttering kept stealing the show, successfully. Due to Porky's popularity, several of the other Warner Bros. cartoon directors, such as, Frank Tashlin, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, decided to focus on Porky Pig, and Porky became the next major star of the Warner Bros.
- Beans and Oliver don't speak in their first appearances.
- This is the 100th Warner Bros. cartoon short to be released.
- The song "I Haven't Got a Hat" was written by Buddy Bernier and Bob Emmerich.
- The end scene where both Beans and Oliver Owl get splattered in green ink and red paint respectively emphasizes the fact that this was a two-strip Technicolor cartoon, with only red and green hues. At the time, the three-strip process with blue hues added was exclusive to Disney for use in cartoons. This contract ran out in the fall of 1935, and WB released their first three-strip Technicolor cartoon, "Flowers for Madame", in November of that year, even though the curtain titles were retained.
- This may be the earliest cartoon to show a character desperate to use the bathroom.
- Catalog of Copyright Entries
- Schneider, Steve (1988). That's All, Folks! : The Art of Warner Bros. Animation. Henry Holt and Co, page 43. ISBN 0-8050-0889-6.