The title comes from the popular 1934 song "You Oughta Be in Pictures" by Dana Suesse and Edward Heyman.
Daffy wants to be the top star in the studio. To this end, he persuades Porky to resign from the Schlesinger studios to pursue a career in feature films as Bette Davis' leading man. Porky goes to Leon Schlesinger and asks to have his contract torn up. Schlesinger reluctantly agrees, and wishes Porky the best of luck. "He'll be back!" chuckles Schlesinger after Porky is out of earshot.
Porky spends the rest of the film trying to get into the lots and sets of an unnamed studio, with little success. After several failures (from convincing the security guard to let him in and dressing up as Oliver Hardy to gain access, until the guard gave chase) and inadvertently interrupting the shooting of a ballet film, he decides to see if Schlesinger will take him back. He returns to Schlesinger's office after frantically dodging his cartooned car in and out of "actual" Los Angeles traffic, only to see Daffy doing a wild audition to become the new star of Warner Bros. cartoons, openly disparaging Porky. Porky then takes Daffy with him to another room, where he beats Daffy up. After this, he hurriedly runs into Schlesinger's office to beg for his job back. Schlesinger, laughing heartily and saying "I knew you'd be back!", reveals that he didn't really rip up Porky's contract, and happily tells him to get back to work. Porky gladly thanks him and runs back into the animation paper that he was in when the short started. Daffy, still not quite having learned his lesson after being beaten by Porky, again attempts to persuade Porky to resign and work with Greta Garbo, only to get splattered with a tomato.
In a real-life parallel of the storyline, the short was Friz Freleng's first since returning to Schlesinger after a stint as a director at MGM's cartoon division. In fact, the cartoon homages Freleng's experience in moving to MGM.
Many staff members have cameos in this short:
Leon Schlesinger--appears as himself
Chuck Jones--one of the crowd rushing out during the lunch break
Henry Binder & Paul Marin--stagehands also calling for quiet. Binder is also the stagehand throwing Porky off the set
To keep the short on-budget, relatively few special effects were used to marry the animation and live action. Where possible, the crew simply took still pictures of the office background and had them enlarged and placed directly on the animation stand.
Because the animation unit did not have access to location sound recording equipment, all of the live-action footage was shot silent. The voices had to be dubbed in later (which is why most of them were dubbed by Mel Blanc, except Leon Schlesinger who dubbed his own voice).
Because it was made in black-and-white, the short appeared only occasionally on television. In 1992, the film was computer-colorized and became a regular part of the Cartoon Network rotation (though it was shown in black and white on the short-lived Golden Jubilee video collection in the mid-1980s and was shown in black and white on Cartoon Network's installment show "Late Night Black and White" and on Nickelodeon's "Nick At Nite" version of Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon).
Some non-US televised and video prints of the cartoon have the "DUBBED VERSION (C) 1997 WARNER BROS." disclaimer on the computer-colorized print of the cartoon at the beginning, due to a foreign-language dub track produced.
First Daffy Duck cartoon directed by Friz Freleng.
In 1994, it was voted #34 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.
On the Sunset Productions/Guild Films print the Leon Schlesinger Productions building sign is cut due to involvement with Warner Bros. This cut was made because Warner Bros. did not want to be associated with television back in 1955, when this cartoon was sold for television distribution. This scene has been restored in the computer-colorized version and on home video releases.
Shadow of a camera can be seen on wall, while Porky Pig beats up Daffy Duck for revenge, off-screen, just after returning to Warner Bros' animation studio and asks Leon Schlesinger of his contract.
Only in the computer-colorized version: An animator originally draws Porky Pig in black-and-white. In the next scene after the Termite Terrace employees rush out of the studio for lunch, Porky appears in color, resulting to a plot-hole on who (among the Termite Terrace crew) colored him at the last minute or how Porky got colorized.
You Ought to Be in Pictures 1940 (Color Version)
Porky Pig now leaving the Warner Bros. Studios
Live-action crew for YOU OUGHT TO BE IN PICTURES (1940). 1st row, kneeling: Michael Maltese (still in security guard uniform), Friz Freleng, Paul Collier, Paul Marron, Smokey Garner. 2nd row, standing: Jack Miller, Harold Soldinger, Johnny Burton, Henry Binder.