|Directed by||Chuck Jones|
|Written by||Tedd Pierce|
The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall (better known as simply The Dover Boys) is a 1942 Merrie Melodies cartoon produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions and directed by Chuck Jones. It was released by Warner Bros. on September 19, 1942. The cartoon is a parody of the Rover Boys, a popular juvenile fiction book series of the early 20th century. Jones would later remark that The Dover Boys was the first cartoon of his he found to be funny. In 1994, the cartoon was voted #49 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.
The three Dover Boys - Tom, Dick and Larry (a play on both the Rover Boys' names "Tom, Sam and Dick" and the generic reference "Tom, Dick and Harry") - are having a day out with "their" fiancée, "dainty" Dora Standpipe (a play on the name of the eldest Rover's fiancée "Dora Stanhope").
The Boys are called upon to rescue Dora when she is kidnapped by stock villain "The Nefarious" Dan Backslide (a play on the name of the Rover Boys series villain "Dan Baxter"), the "former sneak of Roquefort Hall", whose feelings for Dora are summed up in his comment, "How I love her! ... (father's money!)" Backslide takes Dora to a remote mountain cabin, but discovers that despite appearances, Dora is anything but "dainty"; she proceeds to give him quite a beating while still acting the damsel in distress - crying for help and pounding on the door and on Backslide - to the point where Backslide is also crying out for help from Tom, Dick and Larry.
When the Dover Boys (finally) arrive, they proceed to lay a few punches on the barely conscious Backslide before managing to knock each other out as Backslide collapses to the floor beneath their swinging fists. Dora is then escorted away by an odd man in a sailor suit who was a running gag throughout the cartoon, appearing periodically to interrupt the story by walking up, jumping in place, and moving on (to the tune of Ed Haley's "While Strolling Through the Park One Day"); he and Dora repeat these movements as they walk (and hop) off into the sunset.
The Boys are from Pimento University ("good ol' P.U.") and from time to time lapse into their "alma mater", sung to the tune of George Cooper and Henry Tucker's "Sweet Genevieve" ("Pimento U., old sweet P.U.", etc.)
The Dover Boys represents some of Jones' first stylistic animation. It is a radical departure from some of the more Disney-esque animation previously created by Chuck Jones. The short utilizes a technique called "smear animation," in which motion is depicted by literally smearing characters from one pose to the next. This method has been criticized by some for being a form of limited animation, however the end result is a very distinct, artistic technique for exhibiting motion.