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Design for Leaving is a 1953 Looney Tunes short, re-released as a Merrie Melodies Blue Ribbon, and was directed by Robert McKimson and stars Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd.

Title

The title is a parody of the 1932 Noel Coward comedy play, Design for Living, and the 1933 Gary Cooper film based upon it.

Plot

Daffy is a fast-talking door-to-door salesman from the ACME Future-Antic Push Button Home of Tomorrow Household Appliance Company, Inc. Daffy visits Elmer Fudd at his house and says that Acme has authorized him to install, at no cost, a complete line of ultra-modern automatic household appliances (on a 10-day free trial). Elmer tries to speak but is repeatedly interrupted by Daffy, who grabs Elmer by the arm and escorts him to a bus to take him to the office. Despite Elmer's protests (even saying he has his own car), Daffy puts him on the bus, which unknown to Elmer has a sign on the back that reads "Duluth Express Non-Stop".

Later that day, Elmer returns to his house (hitching a ride in a truck from the Duluth Van and Storage Co.). Daffy greets Elmer at the front door and welcomes him to his new future-antic push button home. Elmer sees that his house is different and asks Daffy what he's done, but Daffy quickly pushes a button and a machine removes Elmer's hat and coat. Daffy then guides Elmer to a massaging chair. Elmer likes it at first, but Daffy pushes a button and Elmer receives an aggressive massage, which dazes him. The chair then automatically puts a cigar in Elmer's mouth and lights it, but the smoke activates a robot fire extinguisher from another room which douses Elmer with a bucket of water. Daffy states that the extinguisher is very sensitive to heat and probably needs adjusting, then guides Elmer into the kitchen. Daffy encourages Elmer to bask in the kitchen's "treasure trove of work-saving appliances" and demonstrates a new knife sharpener which ends up destroying the blade on one of Elmer's knives. Undaunted, Daffy points out the garbage disposal, which is revealed to be a pig which is housed under the kitchen sink.

Daffy then shows Elmer the "main control panel" which operates all of the new appliances. Daffy pushes a button marked "Wall Cleaner" and a robotic device emerges to clean the walls but it removes Elmer's wallpaper instead (humorously removing the outer clothing from a portrait painting in the process). Daffy tries to adjust the device but he adjusts it the wrong way and it starts removing the plaster. Daffy quickly deactivates it, then asks Elmer if he is tired of looking at his dirty windows, and when Elmer says "Well, I...", Daffy summons a machine which covers Elmer's window with bricks, and says that he'll "never have to looks at those dirty windows again". Elmer becomes angry, telling Daffy that he is "burning up" which again activates the fire extinguisher and Elmer is doused with another bucket of water ("I tried to warn you!"). Daffy tries to continue the demonstration, but Elmer objects, saying that something bad happens to him whenever Daffy pushes a button. So Daffy agrees to let Elmer push a button. Elmer spots one, saying in his distinct voice, "I think I'll push this wed one." Daffy stops Elmer, shouting, "No, no, no, no, no! Not the WED one! Don't EVER push the WED one!" Elmer pushes another button that reads "Burglar Alarm" ("Well, I'll push this one then.") and a mechanical dog comes out of the wall and bites him.

Daffy then takes Elmer into a bedroom and shows him a device which will automatically tie a neck tie (from the options of Bow, Four-in-hand, Five-in-hand, False Granny, Windsor, Smindsor and an unlabled option). Daffy tries to demonstrate it but the machine puts Elmer in a noose ("Help! Get me down!"). Daffy shuts off the machine and casually refers to the noose as the "Alcatraz Ascot" as if it were a type of neck tie (the unlabled option). Elmer is exhausted, telling Daffy that he wants all of the "push-button nonsense" removed and tries to go upstairs and take an aspirin, but cannot do so because his stairway has been removed. Daffy confidently boasts that there is no need to walk up stairs in a push-button home, and uses an elevator-like device to bring the "upstairs (to the) downstairs". Elmer seems impressed but asks what happens to the downstairs, and Daffy (saying "Say, that's a good question! What do you say we find out?") raises the upstairs which shows that everything downstairs has been destroyed.

Elmer asks if there is "any more cwever gadgets to demonstwate, Mr. Smarty Salesman?", and when Daffy says no, Elmer makes a phone call but the conversation is inaudible. When Elmer hangs up there is a knock on his front door and a large crate is brought inside. Elmer opens the crate and starts the motor, telling Daffy about his new "future-antic push-button salesman ejector" which grabs Daffy by the shoulders and wheels him out of the house, kicking him repeatedly (it was done as revenge from Elmer). With Daffy gone, Elmer remembers the red button and wonders "what that wed button is for?" He pushes it and a display reads "IN CASE OF TIDAL WAVE" (though what use this would be in Minnesota is anybody's guess). A hydraulic lift raises his house high into the air. Elmer looks out of the front door and Daffy flies by in a helicopter and delivers the final punch line, "For a small price, I can install this little blue button to get you down!".

Gallery

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Availability

Notes

  • Daffy reprises a salesman role that he previously played in "Daffy Dilly" (1948), "The Stupor Salesman" (1948) and "Fool Coverage" (1952).
  • When Elmer encounters the "Hat and Coat Remover", he says "Hey, what is this?", but his lips only move to the word "hey".
  • The Blue Ribbon reissue, despite labeling itself as a Merrie Melodie, retains the Looney Tunes opening and closing themes.

Censorship

  • The ABC version of this cartoon cuts out the brief shot of Elmer getting hanged by the neck by his necktie-tying machine (with Daffy referring to the setting as the "Alcatraz ascot").[1]
  • Some syndicated versions cut out the part where Elmer notices that his staircase is missing just as he's about to go upstairs to take an "aspwiwin".[1]

References