Posted: November 27, 2001
PEEPING PENQUINS is aobut the dangers of curiosity, and is something of a curiosity in itself. It opens on a view of an explorer's cabin at the South Pole. Clearly posted on the front door is a For Rent Sign, with the added remark, "Restricted neighborhood." The camera pans over to a group of four penguins waddling along in another of those marvelous Stereoptical background scenes showing various mounds of snow receding into the distance.
The penguins come to the site of the cabin, and slide donw a small cliff to get a closer look. At that moment, a mother penguin waddles by and sings a song, warning them that "Curiosity killed a cat." During the course of the song, one of the young penguins throws a stove pipe in her direction jsut as he says, "So it isn't so wise to snoop..." Her own curiosity getting the best of her, she sticks her head inside and gets the stovepie stuck on her head for a moment, then pulls herself free, then continues with her warning.
The little penguin on the rook waves her on and laughs. He dives down the chimney and the other three follow. Once inside, they are attracted to all sorts of interesting devices such as a cooper kettle with a swinging handle, and phonograph turn table, a pepper shaker, a scuttle of coal, a box of matches and a rifle. Interestinly, there are signal flairs placed on the mantle above the fireplace. The one penguin who is curious about the pepper shaker sneezes as he approches it, and the force of his sneeze pushes the pepper shaker away from him. Another penguin is curious about the the matches placed at the hearth, and thinks it is something to eat. When he manages to stike the head, he drops it into the box, and the rest of the matches catch fire. Then the penguin playing around the rifle sets it off, and a pellet hits the mantel support, and the signal flairs fall onto the burning mathches, set them off inside the cabin. After a wide experience of ducking the flairs, all four penguins ride one of the flairs up the chimney, and are deposited into the snow. Collecting themselves in thej presence of the mother penguin, they cross their hearts, promissing never to be curious again. Then a mound of snow moving along catches their attention and rises up revealing that it is a polar bear, which scares them off into the horizon.
Another entertaining short regardless of the little morale lesson attempted. There were good uses of the Steroptical backgrounds once again.
But the signal flair sequence does not seem as well handled since there is no real feeling
the flashing fireworks effects which this sequence cries for. Fleischer Studios had achived similar effects in their black and white cartoons, so this time around the effect seems a flat and deminishes the full impact and potential of the sequence.
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