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The Hardship of Miles Standish is a 1940 Merrie Melodies short directed by Friz Freleng.

Title

The title and story are a play on the Longfellow poem The Courtship of Miles Standish.

Plot

Dissatisfied with the The Courtship of Miles Standish story as heard on the radio ("Ahhh fiddlesticks! That's not the way I heard it at all! Even if it did happen that way. It couldn't have happened that way!"), an old man tells his grandson the "true story" of John and Priscilla.

Set many years back in Plymouth in the year 1621 1/2, Elmer Fudd is messenger John Alden, sent to give Miles' love letter to Priscilla, in the form of a singing telegram. While delivering the message, however, her house is attacked by Indians, and John is the only one who can save her. The Indians were all easily defeated by John confronting them for breaking the glass window of Priscilla's house ("One of you folks gotta pay for that glass!"), causing the Indians, who all are afraid to pay for the broken glass window, to flee foolishly. Priscilla, impressed with John's heroism, dumps Miles for John, and affectionately kisses John repetitively, much to the latter's chagrin due to Priscilla's very elderly and unattractive appearance, as well as the fact that Miles actually wants to marry Priscilla.

Once the story is over, the old man remarks that if his story wasn't true, he wished to get struck by lightning ("If that ain't the truth. I hope lightning strikes me!"), and he did got struck by lightning, causing a huge damage in the house, while both the boy and his grandpa fortunately survived. The old man remarks "Maybe now, that's the way I heard it!", before jeering.

Caricatures

Availability

Notes

  • The short features the voice of Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer, who also performs the song "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby".
  • The narrator is based on the "Old-Timer" character from the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show.
  • The print of this short on The Golden Age of Looney Tunes LaserDisc had the 1940 ending card replaced with the 1947-48 Merrie Melodies ending card. However, the original ending exists on the Viddy-Oh! For Kids Cartoon Festivals tape.
  • Some of the montages of Native American Indians were reused animation from "Sweet Sioux" (1937) directed by Friz Freleng three years earlier.
  • At one scene when one Indian accidentally hit the arrow towards the Indian's head where the arrows fall off his head, the other Indian responded by silently mouthing the words "Goddamn, son of a bitch!", followed by the same Indian responding with a "Pardon me." This was a subtle gag meant to reference using curse words, as cursing was considered taboo by the Hays Code censors at the time.
  • The ending gag where the old man wishes to be struck by lightning if his story wasn't true would later be re-used in the endings of both "The Trial of Mr. Wolf" (1941) and "His Hare Raising Tale" (1951) when both Mr. Wolf and Bugs Bunny's respective stories aren't true, except that in the latter two cartoons instead of being struck by lightning they got run over by streetcars.
  • This cartoon is seldom seen on American television today due to Native American stereotyping.

Gallery

References

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Elmer Fudd Cartoons
1940 Elmer's Candid CameraConfederate HoneyThe Hardship of Miles StandishA Wild HareGood Night Elmer
1941 Elmer's Pet RabbitWabbit Twouble
1942 The Wabbit Who Came to SupperAny Bonds Today?The Wacky WabbitNutty NewsFresh HareThe Hare-Brained Hypnotist
1943 To Duck .... or Not to DuckA Corny ConcertoAn Itch in Time
1944 The Old Grey HareThe Stupid CupidStage Door Cartoon
1945 The Unruly HareHare Tonic
1946 Hare RemoverThe Big Snooze
1947 Easter YeggsA Pest in the HouseSlick Hare
1948 What Makes Daffy DuckBack Alley Op-RoarKit for Cat
1949 Wise QuackersHare DoEach Dawn I Crow
1950 What's Up Doc?The Scarlet PumpernickelRabbit of Seville
1951 Rabbit Fire
1952 Rabbit Seasoning
1953 Upswept HareAnt PastedDuck! Rabbit, Duck!Robot Rabbit
1954 Design for LeavingQuack Shot
1955 Pests for GuestsBeanstalk BunnyHare BrushRabbit RampageThis Is a Life?Heir-Conditioned
1956 Bugs' BonnetsA Star Is BoredYankee Dood ItWideo Wabbit
1957 What's Opera, Doc?Rabbit Romeo
1958 Don't Axe MePre-Hysterical Hare
1959 A Mutt in a Rut
1960 Person to BunnyDog Gone People
1961 What's My Lion?
1962 Crows' Feat
1980 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny
1990 Box Office Bunny
1991 (Blooper) Bunny
1992 Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers
2012 Daffy's Rhapsody
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