I haven't done a cartoon-by-cartoon analysis of the contents of the next Looney Tunes DVD set yet, but I recently re-watched one of the cartoons that will be on the set, My Little Duckaroo (Chuck Jones, 1954), and found myself wondering once again why this cartoon turned out so poorly. It's one of those cartoons that just doesn't seem to work -- not for kids, not for adults. The problem is not that it borrows gags from "Drip-Along Daffy"; Jones and others did lots of great cartoons that were sequels to previous cartoons. But whereas the earlier cartoon is unstoppably hilarious, "Duckaroo" feels slow, static (most of the action takes place in one cabin) too weakly-written compared to Maltese's usual standard. The animation is a little stiff, with Daffy very slowly moving from pose to pose, and the ending is cruel and kind of depressing. Throw in Maurice Noble's over-stylized, distracting designs, like the magazine pages on Canasta's walls, and the whole cartoon is like a parody of a Chuck Jones cartoon, and not an affectionate parody.
There are a couple of other Jones cartoons from 1954-5 that are a bit like this; "Rabbit Rampage" is the obvious example -- another cartoon that's too slow, too talky, and has weak writing compared to the brilliant cartoon it's following up on. I guess you can see these cartoons as transitional works, Jones and his team moving toward the slower, less brash style they would use in the late '50s. But even with his new style, Jones would not sink as low as "Duckaroo" until the early '60s at least; "Deduce You Say" (1956) is another Daffy-Porky cartoon that's set mostly in one place and features Daffy unsuccessfully trying to capture a huge brute, but it's much, much funnier and better-written than "Duckaroo." Maybe "Duckaroo" just has the characteristics of a film made by people who knew they might be out of a job soon; that probably never produces anyone's best work.