Detention Hall Blues

(c) 1995 Albert Chen with Yischon Liaw

             The original intent of this cartoon proposal was to create a cartoon that was reminiscent of “golden age” cartoons. To this end, we opted to create a cartoon that would not be dialogue driven. Instead it is hoped that classical music would be used throughout the cartoon along with sound effects and segues. It is hoped in this way that the cartoon will appeal to all ages rather than simply a select group or demographic.

             We tried to avoid gags using military hardware such as guns and bombs, but used alternate equipment instead (Such as bulldozers instead of tanks etc.). The violence used to create the gags are rather over the top, so we did not see any problems usually associated with violence worries by parental groups. Introduction

             We believe this idea to be original, yet not deviant, the humor to be ageless, and the character development evident even in the absence of dialogue. We also believe that there is a lot of potential for variations on the theme including the use of Rube-Golberg experiments and other antics.


             The story deals with two children in detention hall for whatever reason. (We may presume that they are there because of their antics in the introduction: writing the credits on the blackboard.) The boy is a good hearted child with normal yet precocious behavior fitting an elementary school student. The girl is cast to be a little more mischievous and diabolical. The detention hall is supervised by a teacher who sleeps throughout the cartoon except to mete out punishment. There is a seemingly random character of a cow that provides fresh air to the cartoon in the form of a “random” continuity gag.

             The cartoon opens in the hall just as detention is beginning. The teacher writes the only rule that is indicated: “QUIET!” on the board.  Then he proceeds to fall asleep. It is the boy’s intention to be a good kid and get through the detention, but the girl has other plans. In an effort to create trouble, she begins making faces at the boy. (Note: She wears a feather in her hair, and he has an apple on his desk.) He tries to ignore her, but gives in and giggles. A HUGE hammer comes crashing down on him in punishment for not being “QUIET!”. This hammer is exaggerated when crushing the boy but returns to a mallet size when we see it in the teacher’s hand.

             The second scene opens with the girl scribbling a note to the boy and sending the message by way of paper airplane. The airplane hits the boy in the head and sticks there. Upon opening it he finds her making fun of him. He crumples the paper up and throws it back at her. For some reason though, it has a lot more force than just paper. We find out that he accidentally wrapped his apple into the paper before  throwing it. The girl retaliates by throwing a number of pencils like throwing stars. The pencils only pin the boy, but just as he is relieved, he is hit by a book, a desk, and then amazingly enough, a cow. The cow sends the boy through the wall. There is a pause, and then we hear heavy machinery being started. The boy drives a bulldozer through the wall carrying along the cow. He chases the girl, and like a buzz saw, he cuts off half of the teacher’s desk. Amazingly the teacher remains asleep. The bulldozer chases the girl until she retaliates with a steam shovel. With the shovel, it looks as she is going to grab the bulldozer, but instead, she scoops out a hole in front of the fleeing bulldozer.

             The bulldozer falls into the hole with its treads still spinning. A battered boy manages to climb out of the hole grunting and groaning. After he gets out of the hole, he turns back around and helps the cow out of the hole too. The cow is dazed for a bit but soon clears its head. Up until now it has behaved like a cow. At this point the cow is very angry and walks anthropomorphic ally to the steam shovel where the girl is getting out. He grabs the girl by the shirt and bops her one in the eye before stalking away on its hind legs. The girl looks at the camera in surprise.

             In the third scene, the boy and the girl are in pitched battle behind barricades of desks throwing things at one another. In the midst of this battle, the girl holds up her hand and stops all the action. She then walks off past the teacher, past the boy, out of the classroom, across the field, onto a road, catches a bus goes to the countryside, finds a farm, enters the pasture, and bops the same cow back in the eye for revenge. The cow, now behaving like a cow and grazing, looks very surprised. The girl then retraces her steps back into the classroom back to a bored boy who is waiting for her to return to resume their battle. She gets back into position and the action starts again. The boy looks at the camera in mid-battle and simply shrugs.

             In the final scene, we start with the sleeping teacher. The kids run into the room from the left, the girl chasing the boy and run around the teacher a few times, then exit right. The kids come back in from the right and exit left with the boy chasing the girl. They reverse the situation a moment later and come in from the left again. Just as they pass the screen though, the girl trips and falls to the ground. The boy, stops and checks to see if she is okay. He helps her up and she brushes herself off. As he is helping her she surprises the boy by punching him in the eye for no apparent reason except that they are rivals. A big “cat fight” ensues.

             The fight stops twice briefly. The first time is the boy strangling the girl and shaking her around. The second is the girl holding the boy down and hitting him repeatedly. When they finally stop, the boy has the girl in a choke hold and she starts turning blue. At this point, she reaches up into her hair and takes the feather that has been there the entire time, and tickles him in the ribcage. He lets go and tries not to laugh. He is of course unsuccessful and lets out a giggle, exactly like the one at the beginning of the cartoon. As a result, the hammer comes crashing down on him again. The children give the camera an “oh well” look and the cartoon ends.