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The Great Animation Director from the Golden Age of the Hollywood Cartoon

JOHN CANEMAKER
FOREWORD BY WILLIAM HANNA
INTRODUCTION BY CHUCK IONES
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TEX AVERY: THE MGM YEARS,1942-1955
Text by John Canemaker
Foreword by William Hanna
lntroduction by Chuck Jones

ex Avery is considered the most impor-
tant influence on Hollywood studio car-
toons after Walt Disne;r The career of
this legendary director; who created
Bugs Bunny Daffy Duck, and Droopyl
among others, spanned fifty years and
took him to most of the major cartoon studios, includ-
ing Walter Lantz, Warner Bros., MGM, and Hanna-
Barbera. fl His formative years were at Warner Bros.,
where, in the mid-1930s, his innovative directorial spark
dazzled and inspired colleagues such as ChuckJones,
Bob Clampett, and Frank Tashlin, all of whom went on
to become industry stars themselves. Avery had a long

tenure at MGM'S cartoon unit where his h'rgh-octane,
uninhibited, joyously cartoon-y ideas flowered into
some of the greatest (and funniest) animated film
shorts ever made. Avery's body of work during the
Golden Era of the Hollywood cartoon is a creative
legacy that continues to impact contemPorary direc-
tors of animation and live action, in feature films such
as Who Framed Roger Robbit and lhe Mask, as well as

in television. !f Although warmly admired as a film
genius by colleagues in the industry and adored by the
international cartoon cognoscenti, Avery never shared
in the tremendous expansion of the animation industry
into television or feature films in a studio of his own,
nor did he own the licensing/merchandising rights to
the cartoon characters he created and brought to vital
life. fl Homage is at last paid to Tex Avery in this vol-
ume, a bright, beautiful work that caPtures the crazi-
ness and wild parody that were Avery's trademark.
Original storyboards, character sketches, and animation
cels highlight the career of this important artist, who
created sixty-five classic films and numerous unforget-
table characters in his fourteen-year stint at MGM.
Alex
ruerY
The MGM )ears, 1947-1 955

text by )ohn Canemaker
foreword byWi liam Hanna
I

i ntroduc[ion by Chuck Jones

?8
TumerPublishing,Inc.
ATLANTA
Copyrght @ 1996 byTurner Publ shing, lnc.

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No part ofthe contents ofthis book may be reproduced or util zed n any form or by any means,
electronic or mechan cal, inc uding photocopy ng, recording, or by any information storage and retr eval system,
wthout the written consent of the publrsher:

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Canemakeq John
Tex Avery/text by lohn Canemal<er; foreword by W ll am Hanna;
nlrodrcLior b, Cl^uc o^e<.
p. cm.
ISBN 51436-29 l-2 (a <. paper)
.AveryTex, l9O8 2.Animators United States Bography.
LTitle.
NC t755.U52A9233 t996
79 |.43'0233'497 dc2O
lBl e6 88 3
CIP

Publ shed byTurner Publ shing, nc.

A Subsidtary olurner Broodcasttng System, /nc.
l05OTechwood Drve, N.W
At anta, Georgia 303l8

Distributed byAndrews and MclYee
A Universal Press Syndicote Company
,1900 Main Street

Kansas City, M ssour 641 2

FrstAmercanFdtion l0 9 I 76543)

Pr nted n Hong Kong
eontents
-

Foreword bf Wl]llam Hanna 7

Introductron by Chuck Jones B

Text byJohn Canemaker t0

The MGM Years, 947-1955
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MGM Filmography 719

Bibliography 773

Credits and Acl<nowledgments 774

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We are extremely grateful to the distinguished
animation historian Pierre Lambert, who wrote
the text and assembled the visual materials for
this volume in its original French edition,
published by Demons & Merveilles in 1993.
The American edition, with an entirely new text,
is closely based on the layout of that seminal
work.

Turner Publishing, Inc.
I

7

Foreword
byWx XXN&rrn &d&nxnm
Ride-sharing to work during World War II was an earnest civilian attempt to conserve gas rations

and assist with the national war effort. There were several people working at MGM living in the San
Fernando Valley at the time, and a few of us decided to make the daily trip to work across the Santa
Monica Mountains together. Of the handful of folks who joined our little car pool unit every day,
only Tex Avery and I owned cars. Every morning, one of us set out and picked up the other and then
made the rounds collecting passengers.
Any ride with Tex Avery, of course, was a cinch to be one of side-splitting hysteria. Tex's back seat
humor was as spontaneously zany as any of his wildest cartoons, and often lot racier. Tex exerted a
a

tremendous professional influence over my career in animation. He was looked up to by just about
everyone in the industry and was held in high regard as an exceptionally gifted animator and direc-
tor. Although he was only a few years older than me, he had already established himself as a kind of
prodigy in our business with his distinctive style of exaggerated timing and his direction of frenetic
madcap Merrie Melodies cartoons earlier at Warners. Like a lot of other pioneers in the cartoon busi-
ness,TexAveryremained for manyyears akind of unsunghero in ourbusiness to just about everyone
except his colleagues. But to me, he is one of the biggest personalities in cartoon folklore that ever
lived.
I admired Avery for his phenomenal sense of timing that, along with his imaginative flair for wild
gags, combined to make his cartoons among the funniest ever produced. Whenever time permitted,
I would take theopportunity to run one of Avery's latest cartoons and study it on the Movieola, frame
by frame, in order to hone my own skills in timing.
One of the best assets that the Hanna-Barbera Studio ever produced for Joe Barbera and me was
the opportunity to reunite with many of the veteran producers and animators with whom we had
workedbackatMGM. BothTexAveryand Friz Frelengjoined us atH-B as directors of Saturdaymorn-
ing cartoon shows, and the reunions with these guys, I'll tell you, really helped keep the creative
excitement of this business as vivid for me as it was when I was a kid back at Harman-Ising.
When the end finally came for my old friend and past mentor on August 26,t98o, it marked not
only the passing of a great pioneer in animation but signaled for me the passing of an era.

6irt l+"^'r^
Introduc|on
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It is difficult to be profound, analytical, or discerning about the art of Tex Avery-because profun-
dity tends to interrupt laughteq and this is a poor trade, indeed. Avery was a genius.
As one of his group of animators at Warner Bros. in the late r93os, I was as ignorant then of his
genius as I suppose the apprentices of Michelangelo were oblivious to the fact that theytoo were work-
ingwith genius.In spite of myintellectualweakness, thebrilliance of TexAvery didpenetrate the husk
of my self-assured ignorance, an ignorance that encases most twenty-year-olds. Yes, in spite of
myself,I learned from him the most important truth about animation: Animation is the art of tim-
ing, a truth applicable as well to all motion pictures. And the most brilliant masters of timing were
usually comedians: Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Langdon-and Fred "Tex" Avery.
However,learning a truth and being able to apply it to your own professional life can be the dif-
ference, as Mark Twain put it, between lightning and the lightning bug.
Averywaslightning. Just as unpredictable, as surprising, as spectacular as lightning-with one dif-
ference: Unlike lightning, Avery was funny. So, you will have to bear with me and imagine funny
lightning. Impossible? Well,listen: Through using that funny lightning he infused life into a rabbit
named Bugs Bunny; a self-serving, slightly insane duck named Daffy; and a sadly lisping hunter named
Elmer Fudd who, disastrously and fruitlessly (for reasons known only to himself) continually pur-
sued this unappetizing duo.
And then the Avery lightning struck the entire travelogue genre and drove it whimpering off the
screen with marvelous ridicule; when Avery's polar bear finally replied to the film's narrator, "I don't
care what you say-I'm cold," the echo from the travelogue must have been, "I don't care what you
say-I'm old-hat."
Oh,lightning doesn't care where it strikes. But with Avery the lightning flashed in and out of the
primal porridge of cute cartoons (sadly including mine), and out sprang a Crackpot Quail, a Haunted
Mouse, a very, very Red Hot Riding Hood, a Satyr-Maniacal Woll and a small Droopy, a canine cross
between Michael fordan and Albert Einstein with a voice like a cooing dove. Dove? How about a 900-
pound king-size canary? And the world's smallest half-pint pygmy?
A pygmy done by a giant? To slip metaphors again, yes-and for good reason. If I am going to
thank Tex Avery for what he taught me, I must deal with something more stable than lightning; hence
the image of a giant. What that giant taught me was this:

l-You must live what you caricature. You must not mock it-unless it is ridiculously self-impor-
tant, like the solemn, live-action travelogues of the r93os.
2-You must learn to respect that golden atom, that single-frame of action, that lz4th of a sec-
ond, because the difference between lightning and the lightning bug may hinge on that single
frame.
3-You must respect the impulsive thought and try to implement it. You cannot perform as a direc-
tor doing what you already know, you must depend on the flash of inspiration that you do not
expect and do not know.
4-You must always remember that only man, of all creatures, can blush, or needs to, and that if
you are in the trade of helping others to laugh and to survive by laughter, then you are privi-
leged indeed.
5-Remember always that character is all that matters in the making of great comedians, in ani-
mation or in live-action.
6-Keep always in your mind, your heart, and your hand that timing is the essence, the spine, the
electrical magic of humor-and of animation.

Of course, never once did anyone hear pronouncements such as these from Tex Avery-he was not
one to pontificate-but for all of us who worked with him and beside him, the message was loud and
clear: by his example he taught us. I would have imitated him, I suppose, if I had had the remotest
idea of how to go about it, but since imitation of TexAverywas impossible-others tried and failed-
I found to my pleasure and surprise that the rules I extrapolated applied equally well to all humor
and all character animation. So there was still plenty of room for me to seek my own way.
Robert Frost once defined the word "poet" as a gift-word; you cannot give it to yourself. So, Tex,
for all of us, all over the world, we who have laughed so uproariously with you salute you, and for all
of us in animation, who owe you so much, I happily and at long last have the privilege of telling the
world that you are an artist and a genius, gift-words both.
Perhaps Raphael Sabatini said it best in the opening lines of Scaramouche:"He was born with the
gift of laughter and a belief that the world was mad."

ClfuKbrue$.

Circa 1936: (from left) Virgil Ross, Sid Sutherland,
Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett.
I

t0

TexAvery l90B-1980
byj*&xnx ffims")ffimm$qmr
Two weeks before he died on August 26,l98o, Tex Avery was working as a "gag man" at the Hanna-
Barbera Studio, developing an animated television series for a character called "Cave Mouse".l It was
an ignominious coda to the fifty-year career of a legendary cartoon director who had created Bugs
Bunny and Daffr Duck, and who is considered to be the most important influence on Hollywood
studio cartoons after Walt Disney.
Long gone were Avery's formative years in the mid-r93os at Warner Bros., home of the inimitable
Bugs and Daffr, where his innovative directorial spark dazzled and inspired colleagues, such as

Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Frank Thshlin, and set the tone for animation at that
studio and for the Hollywood cartoon in general. Gone, too, a longer tenure at MGM where Avery's
high-octane, uninhibited, joyously cartoon-y ideas flowered into some of the greatest (and funniest)
animated film shorts ever made. Avery's body of work during the Golden Era of the Hollywood car-
toon is a creative legacy that continues to influence contemporary directors of animation and
live-action.
But at age seventy-three, Avery was a sad figure, plagued in his last years not only by cancer, but
also by private demons. He admitted to feeling "burned out" as an artist, to having "a difficult time
believing in himselt," and unable to know if his famed wild humor "is funny anymore."2 A young
admirer at Hanna-Barbera found the modest, slow-moving old man "bewildered by the new ani-
mation business," and "frustrated working on stuff he was not terribly proud ot," yet grateful "that
he had a job and a place to go to work in the morning."s
On the day he collapsed at Hanna-Barbera, Avery was driven to the hospital by William Hanna,
co-owner with ioe Barbera of the world's largest television animation studio.a Avery's current
employers were, ironically, his former rivals when the three men directed theatrical shorts at MGM.
At St. Joseph's Memorial Center in Burbank, California (where, coincidentally, Walt Disney died of
the same disease fourteen years earlier), Avery could look across the street to the Disney Studio's main
lot, the physical manifestation of the empire Walt Disney created from cartoons. Unlike Disney or
Hanna and Barbera, Avery never shared in the tremendous expansion of the animation industry into
television or feature films in a studio of his own, nor did he own licensing/merchandising rights to
the cartoon characters he created and brought to vital life. Acknowledged film genius he may have
been, but for all of his career, Tex Avery was a modestly paid worker for hire.
Although he was warmly admired by his colleagues in the industry and adored by the international
cartoon cognoscenti, the pervasive laughter found in his films was often absent in his personal life.
Avery remained solitary and enigmatic man, alienated even from his family. He died alone, and his
a

obituary notices (mostly in film trade papers) were small and perfunctory.
I

On NewYear's Day 1928, a robust, enthusiastic young Texan just a month short of his twentieth birth-
day drove a few friends from Dallas to Los Angeles.s For the trip back, the group had to find a substitute
driver because Fred Avery had fallen in love with Hollywood and decided to stay.
Frederick (later Tex) BeanAverywas born February 26,19o8, in the small mid-Texas town of Thylor,
the elder son of MaryA. Bean and George W. Avery, a house designer and builder.6 The Averys were
distant blood relatives of Daniel Boone and the notorious fudge Roy Bean of Langtry, Texas, whose
outrageous sense of West-of-the-Pecos justice was matched by his gallows humor: a prisoner was often
assured that before being hanged he would receive afair trial.' The Lone Star State is home to many
a tall tale about bigger-than-life events and extraordinary folk characters such as Pecos Bill, who tamed
a cyclone by riding it like a bucking bronco, and dug the Rio Grande River just to quench his thirst.

SurelyFredAvery's unbridled,wild-and-woollysense of the absurd andhis fondness forvisualhyper-
bole stemmed from his roots "as a true, old time Texas boy."8
Inrgz6,Avery graduated from North Dallas High School, where annually he had filled the school
yearbook (TheViking)withhumorousandawkwardlydrawncartoonsofschoolactivities.Thehusky
youth also enjoyed athletics, fishing, and shooting sports; a lifelong love of duck hunting was initi-
ated at Dallas's White Rock Lake, which he once claimed was Daffr Duck's birthplace.e
Avery haunted the offices of local newspaper cartoonists looking for work and received only sug-
gestions that his drawing talent might improve with more art training. Obediently, he enrolled in a
three-month summer course attheArt Institute of Chicago,but quit after onlya monthbecause"They
gave me all kinds of life study but what good is that to a cartoonist? It made me tired, so I quit. Then
I camped on the trail of all the well-known [comic] strip artists in Chicago, but you can guess the
encouragement I got from them. So back to Dallas I came."l0
After he had settled in Los Angeles, Avery worked from late in the evening until four in the morn-
ing, loading fruit and vegetable crates on the docks, and sleeping on the beaches. "You would be
surprised how warm and soft a beach is after working all night. And that's when I'd get a lot of prac-
tice drawing. I'd sketch everything that came my way (if I wasn't asleep)."l1
("I sent it everywhere.")12 but received only rejections. A kid at the
He tried to sell a cartoon strip
beach saw Avery's 'toon "scratchings" and told him of the nearby Charles Mintz animation studio.
"I literally camped at that studio," recalled Avery, until he was hired for a few months as a cel inker
and painter. Next he found a similar position at the Walter Lantz Studio, which in r93o was produc-
ing for Universal Films twenty-six shorts a year that starred now-forgotten characters such as Oswald
the Rabbit and Pooch the Pup.
Avery"worked up into in-betweens"; that is, he became an animator's assistant and drew sequen-
tial sketches between a character's main (or extreme) poses. In the early thirties "Disney raided the
whole West Coast for talent. And the three-quarters of us who were left knew nothing of animation.
We had just been in-betweening."13 Up to that time, Avery claimed to have "no interest" in becom-
ing an animator; he saw his time at Lantz as merely a stop-gap job until his comic strip was sold. "But
I kept on getting nothing but rejects, so I said,'Well, I'm going to try animation. This is the coming
thing.'And then I really worked hard at it."14
"Tex was considered a good animator and that was all," animator Leo Salkin told animation histo-
rian Charles Solomon. "Not a great animator in the sense of the Disney animators, which was the basis
of all comparison."ls However,Avery's career possibilities expanded due to the laziness of Bill Nolan,
who shared directorial duties with Walter Lantz. Nolan was a transplanted New York animation
pioneer whose "relentless search for ways to make life easier for himself"16 led him inryz4to simpli-
fythe design of Felix the Cat. The basic shapes Nolan devised-circles for heads and bodies, and tubes
for arms and legs-led to so-called "rubber hose and circle" animation, which was easy and quick to
draw, and funny, and copied by all the studios until Disney's improvements in draftsmanship became
the industry standard. At Lantz's in Hollyr,rrood, Nolan's "increasing disenchantment with the busi-
ness of animation"led him to pass on his half of the studio's output to fledgling animator FredAvery.
According to animation historian Joe Adamson, "It wasn't unusual for Nolan to hand Avery three or
four minutes of a picture ... and just let him gag it up any way that occurred to him. Sometimes one
or two of the other office gagsters would hang around Avery's desk and trade non sequiturs until he
had enough ideas to fill the [film] footage."17
Avery's penchant for wild visual gags, irreverent humor, and breaking the invisible barrier between
characters on the screen and moviegoers in the audience originated at Lantz's.

In one ofthese instances Avery had decided to have a bear stripped naked by this rene-
gade swarm of bees but was stuck for a good reaction. There were the old standbys: the
double take and screaming exit or the coy blush. But Tex asked the group, "What do you
think the audience would least expect this bear to do?" . . . Then Tex answered his own
question: "How would it be if they chew the fur off this bear, and then he looks right up
at the audience and says,'Well, whaddaya know about that?"'It was unexpected enough
to shock the animators into laughter, and it went on to do the same to theater audiences.l8

In the spring of 1933, Avery visited his family in Dallas for the first time since leaving for Los Angeles
lrve years earlier. In a full-page "Local Boy Makes Good" piece
in the Dallas Morning News the young
Texan enthusiastically spoke about the "lucky breaks" that led him to become an animator, and
explained all of the production processes in making animated cartoons. His description of"gag meet-
ings" is of particular interest, demonstrating how Avery's working methods in seeking material for
visual gags had their origins at the Lantz studio, as well as specific absurd comic imagery that
appeared in variations throughout his career.

". . . when each man comes to gag meeting [sic] he has on hand all the gags he can think
of to suggest laughs for the next picture. Everybody in the office force passes on the gags
to be used and we're a pretty hard bunch to please, because we always have more than we
need...
An example of these gags was a bullet scene. It was a western and as usual the hero was
shooting it out with the villain. The hero shot his gun and the villain shot his. There was
a cut and the next scene showed a little bullet and a very large one running towards each
other in mid-air. The little bullet saw the big one, squealed weakly and ran back into the
barrel of the hero's gun. All of that was supposed to be good for a laugh.le
I

t3

"It was unique," said Leo Salkin of Tex's visual humor. "Nobody did stuff like that then."2O In the
News article, the twenty-five-year-old Avery is pictured pencil-thin mustache above a confi-
with a

dent smile, and a full head of dark hair topping a high, wide forehead. He is dressed in debonair
"Hollywood" style in a high-collared shirt and ascot, and is described as wearing "a broad silver ring
with'Tex'engraved on it. ... It seems that as usual the Californians have dubbed him'Tex."'21
In a photo taken during the same 1933 period, of the full Lantz studio crew posing outdoors in the
Los Angeles sun, Avery is easily found-his large and deeply tanned face beams with health and ener-
gy, and he looks very young and happy. The erstwhile beach bum and failed comic strip cartoonist
had reason to be happy. He was making a living (about s75 a week)22 in the city that he would always
prefer to Dallas, and had found a way to use his drawing talents as an animator/idea man in a grow-
ing and exciting entertainment medium.
Avery's debut as a director happened abruptly when the indolent and bored Bill Nolan "simply
turned over two of his pictures to him and said,'Do them."'23 Joe Adamson identifies these films as
The Quail Hunt and The Towne Hall Follies,"both made just before Tex left for Warner Bros., and
both flaunting the kind of dementia he pioneered over there, which was to shake up the entire car-
toon industry."2a
Avery eagerly dived into directing, and years later admitted why: "I was never too great an artist.
I realized there at Lantz's that most of those fellows could draw rings around me. ...I thought Brother!
Why fight it? I'll nevdr make it! Go the other route! And I'm glad I did. My goodness, I've enjoyed
that a lot more than I would have enjoyed just animating scenes all my life."25
The five years at Lantz profoundly affected Avery's life not only professionally, but also personal-
ly. There he met his future wife, Patricia Johnson, a former actress and movie extra who tired of being
chased around desks by casting agents and sought sanctuary working in the Lantz ink and paint
department.26
One day at the studio, an incident occurred that Avery said, years later, "made me feel the anima-
tion business owed me a living." A group of " crazy gagsters that would attempt anything for a laugh"
enjoyed shooting spitballs from a rubber band at each other's heads. When one of them, Charles (Tex)
Hastings-who, according to Avery, "had actuallybeen kicked in the head by a horss"-substituted
a steel paper clip for a paper wad, Avery lost the sight in his left eye.27
His permanent handicap-the ultimate nightmare for anyvisual artist-changed him. Before the
accident he had several girlfriends and was said to be conceited about his hefty physique, which he
kept trim with exercise, jogging, or playing volleyball at Santa Monica beach. The loss of his eye chal-
lenged his self-esteem, and he let his weight go.28 "He was always conscious of that fake eye," says
veteran layout artist Bob Givens. "Kind of paranoid about it. Always kind of turned away from you.
[Though] nobody could tell which was the fakel'2e He became less expansive, more closed, and
focused on the insular world he was creating in animation. In many an Avery short, a placid scene is
unexpectedly and violently altered by unexplained, unseen, and/or uncaring forces; audiences' expec-
tations are often abruptly altered. Animation historian Michael Barrier also detects an awareness of
life's perilousness in the "general coldness of Avery's fi1ms."30
A dispute over money atLantzled Avery to seek employment at Warner Bros. in mid-r935, where
the twenty-seven-year-old boldly sold himself as a director of long experience to producer Leon
I

t4

Schlesinger, who agreed to try him on one film. "Looking back," Avery admitted years later, "I don't
know why or how Schlesinger gambled on me. Evidently he was quite desperate."3l
Avery became the third fuIl-time director on Schlesinger's staff (along with Friz Freleng and Hal
King). Because of space problems, he was placed in a separate, small wooden-frame building in the
middle of the Warner lot and assigned four animators, two of them eager-beavers who had been with
Schlesinger for couple of years, but were slightly younger than Avery, Charles M. "Chuck" Jones and
a

Bob Clampett. "They were tickled to death," recalled Avery. "They wanted to get a'new group' going,
and'we could do it,'and'Let's make some funny pictures.' It was very encouraging and a wonderful
thing to step into. . . . We worked every night-Jones, Clampett, and I were all young and full of ambi-
tion. My gosh, nothing stopped us!"32
'Avery was a genius," wrote Chuck fones in r98o. "I was as ignorant of his genius as I suppose
Michelangelo's apprentices were oblivious to the fact that they too were working with genius. In spite
of that intellectual weakness on my part, Avery's brilliance penetrated the husk of my self-assured
ignorance, the ignorance that encases most twenty-year-olds." 33

Recently, fones remembered how "enigmatic" and "shy" Avery was, "and how much he needed to
be stroked, a lot more than most people. Yet he was very miserly in the way he kept to himself--that
closeness, a shellfish quality Tex had about him."3a
Avery's self-contained animation unit (dubbed "Termite Terrace") became a laboratory for the
development of his ideas about what an animated cartoon should be. What he learned working on
the Warner cartoons from 1935 to r94z would be extended and brought to its fullest fruition when he
moved to MGM (t942-r954). His accomplishments at the latter studio will be discussed (and illus-
trated) in detail in each of the following chapters.
Both at Warner Bros. and later at MGM, Avery relentlessly pursued laughs, first by increasing the
pace of the cartoons, which eventually were streamlined to breathtakingly speedy levels. Avery's first
Warner cartoon, Gold Diggers of '49 (ry5) convinced Schlesinger to keep him on because the slight-
ly faster presentation of the silly gags made the film seem funnier than those by the studio's two other
directors. "I started that faster trend," Avery said. "We started filling in more gags. Prior to that they
felt you had to have a story. Finally we got to where the'story' was just a string of gags with a'topper.'
I found out the eye can register an action in five frames of film." Avery layered visual gags (good and
bad, with usually nothing in between) one on top of the other like a filmic Dagwood sandwich, extend-
ed them, and held them together by sheer manic, primitive energy. "Give me an opening and a closing
and thirty gags and I'll make you a cartoon," he once bragged to animator Michael Lah.3s
The shy, soft-spoken Avery brought brashness, abrasiveness, and an adult sensibility to Warner
films. Using parody and satire, he constantly pulled the rug out from under audiences by reversing
their expectations regarding the laws of physics or by turning hoary and hallowed fairytales into
Rabelaisian sex-and-violence romps. In Cross-Country Detours (r94o), for example, one of Avery's
parodies of boring live-action travelogs and documentaries, alizard"sheds her skin" by performing
a Minsky's-perfected striptease worthy of Gypsy Rose Lee.
"I tried to do something I thought I would laugh at if I were to see it on the screen, rather than
worryabout'Will ten-year-old laugh at this?"'Averytold JoeAdamsonyears later."Because we could-
a

n't top Disney, and we knew he had the kid following, so we went for adults and young people."36
l5

Avery wanted animation that was as different from Disney as Dixieland is from Beethoven. And he
reveled in the difference, once bragging "I did things Disney wouldn't dare to do."37
Throughout the r93os, Walt Disney attempted to convince audiences of the "reality" of his film
world and characters byseeking to create a so-called"illusion of life."Averywent in the opposite direc-
tion by celebrating the cartoon as cartoon, exploring the medium's potential for surrealism; he never
let audiences forget theywere watching an animated film. His modernism harks back to animation's
earliest days, particularlythe impossible antics of Felixthe Cat, in whose films "appearance is the sole
reality." Felix's visual gags-removing his tail and using it as a baseball bat or fishing pole, for exam-
ple-are visual gags proper for a "world of creatures consisting only of lines," where, as theorist Bela
Belazs put it, "the only impossible things are those which cannot be drawn."38 With unabashed glee,
Avery disassembles and reassembles his characters, destroys them and immediately brings them back
to life.
Avery redesigned Porky Pig, created Daffy Duck (first seen in Avery's Porlcy's Duck Hunt GgZz)),
and gave Bugs Bunny his definitive personality. Before Avery took on the character in A Wild Hare
(r9+o), Bugs Bunny had appeared in four films and "was just Daffr Duck in a rabbit suit,"3e a wild,
aggressive, screwball character. A Wild Hare is considered to be the first true Bugs cartoon; it is the
film thatestablishedthe cool, in-control personalityof the"cwazywabbit"through thewayhe moved
and spoke. Avery's coining of the now-famous Bugs catch phrase "\Nhat's up, Doc?" was based on a
remembrance of youthful smart talk at North Dallas High.
Avery thumbed his nose at personality animation, the bulwark of Disney animation's "believ-
ability,' once stating "I've always felt that what you did with a character was even more important
than the character itself. Bugs Bunny could have been a bird."a0 But Avery's art depended upon
Disney's rules regarding illusory, naturalistic draftsmanship and rendering, and codified principles
of motion that brought weight, solidity, and believability to cartoons of the sound and color era. As
Ronnie Scheib writes: "For Avery's mind-wrenching reversals, inversions, and violations of physical
and psychological laws are only possible if these laws exist. Gravity, cause and effect, logic, subjec-
tivity, personality, all the Disney-incorporated processes must weave their web of expectations, their
dream of continuity, to set the stage for the violent shock of awakening that shudders through an
Avery cartoon."al
In his use of extreme animation-the wild "takes" with which characters register surprise by
stretching or coming apart in extraordinary ways-Avery emphasized the process of animation (a
series of sequential drawings) by foregrounding their sheer cartoony-ness. Avery's reflexivity con-
stantly reminds audiences of the director's presence. Characters depart from the narrative ("Hey, that
wasn't in the script!"), interact with moviegoers represented by silhouetted shadows, and walk in front
of title cards the better to read them. Signs appear and comment on the action ("Gruesome, isn't it?"),
and after a particularly groan-inducing gag an ear of corn might sprout. Narrative-destroying and
distancing devices include characters who run so fast they skid off the film frames into limbo, or draw
their own props and settings. At MGM, an Avery character once stopped the show to pluck a "hair"
that was seemingly stuck in the film projector's gate.
"This sort of self-aware reflection on his medium infected the rest of the Warners schoolj' notes
film critic J. Hoberman, who cites its culmination in Chuck |ones's Duck Amuck in 1953, and: "ani-
I

6

mator-turned-director Frank Thshlin [who] carried Avery-style gags into those live-action Jayne
Mansfield and Jerry Lewis features whose astonishingly lumpen modernism found their most recep-
tive audience behind the shades of Jean-Luc Godard."a2
"Tex was one of the most enigmatic people anyone has ever known," comments Chuck Jones on
Avery's working habits. "He was very secretive about his own work. He loved to present an idea, say,
'This is what I'm thinking about Porky Pig.'Then he'd milk you Ifor gags] and make notes in tiny
writing, hundreds of them. Next thing you knew about any gag would be it would show up in a pic-
ture."43 Colleagues also noticed the intensity of his focus during the creative process. "\Vhen he first
came over Ito Warners]," said Jones, "he was much jollier. He got more intense as he went along. When
he started drawing an idea, he stayed with it until he was sure he had it." His steadfast concentration
bordered on obsession and often took precedence over bodily functions, according to Jones. Once
Avery postponed urinating so long he was hospitalized and a catheter had to be used to empty his
bladder.aa
To director Friz Freleng, who claimed to have "learned a lot from Tex's humor" that "influenced
my thinking about cartoons," Avery was "the most insecure director I'd ever seen at that time. Always
afraid of being fired. When he used to leave his desk, he'd carry an exposure sheet Ia timing chart]
with him, so if he met Schlesingeq it would seem like he was working. He was thatinsecuret"4s
Avery's DetouringAmerica (1939) and A Wild Hare (r94o) were the first two Warner animated shorts
to be nominated for Academy Awards, which raised the cartoon film industry's opinion of the
Schlesinger studio considerably and brought attention to Avery. But the director apparently was then
interested in inching sideways into live-action films. In the summ er of r94r, Avery and Schlesinger
argued over Avery's desire to make a series of live-action shorts of animals speaking wisecracks with
animated mouths, which led to the director being punished with an eight-week layoff. The "Speaking
of Animals" shorts were eventually released by Paramount, with the determined Avery directing the
first three, before a dispute with his partners over money led him to sell his interest in the series. Years
later, Avery spoke of his enr,y of Frank Tashlin, who made a transition from cartoons to live-action:
"He went much further in this gag business than we ever did," he said with grudging admiration.ab
Working on the studio lots at Universal, Warners, and MGM, Avery loved to watch the making of
live-action westerns and musicals. HeckAllen, Avery's storyman for twelve years at MGM, said that
Avery "has been, all his life, a frustrated live-action director, and he would have been a great one."47
In September 7941,, the thirty-three-year-old Avery quit Warners to start work at MGM. There, at
Hollyrarood's grandest and wealthiest studio, he reached his apogee as a director by intensifring the
pacing and exaggeration of the cartoons and elaborating on themes, character types, and humor that
he first explored at Warners. Avery's fragmented, violent, frenetically paced 'toons came to mirror
the energy and mindset of America as it went to war.
A series of updated fairytales are among his most memorable cartoons-Red Hot Riding Hood
(tg+l), Swing Shift Cinderells Gg+s), Uncle Tom's Cabana Og+l), Little RuralRidingHood (1949)-in
which a curvaceous human showgirl/singer excites a licentious Wolf to extraordinary extremes of
ardor (in terms of both passion and the animation drawings used to express it). The closest to a star
character Avery created at MGM was the deadpan pooch Droopy, who, for all his understated anti-
heroism, consistently and magicallybests his rivals. However, the quintessential Avery character may
be Screwy Squirrel, Droopy's opposite: an abrasive, quicksilver, short-lived (five films) maniac, who
in his first appearance mugs an effete cuddly Disney-esque squirrel and then proceeds to assault the
audience's expectations regarding the film's narrative structure.
During his fourteen years at MGM, Avery created sixty-seven cartoon shorts, several of them mas-
terpieces of the genre, such as Northwest Hounded Police Q946), Slap Happy Lion Gg+z), King Size
Canary Q947),and Bad Luck Blackie Q949),films whose thin narratives exist as springboards for the
director's brilliant fantasias on paranoia, control, survival, and the film medium itself.
At MGM, Avery felt under pressure from several quarters. In order to make his uninhibited films,
he spent considerable time and effort thinking of ways to avoid offending the Hays Office censors
(the implication that there was bestiality in the sexyWolf/Riding Hood 'toons particularly distressed
them). That he was able to make his adult-oriented cartoons at MGM, the bastion of conservative
family value s (TheWizard of Oz,the Andy Hardy series, et cetera), was a subversive act of admirable
proportions. Avery also had to patiently explain many of his films'gags to producer Fred Quimby, a
humorless ex-salesman who once warned he would "not stand for any of thatWarner Brothers row-
dyism in our cartoons!"48
There was also, according to storyman Heck Allen, "a very competitive feeling" between Avery and
the directing team of MGM's successful "Tom and Jerry" series, William Hanna and Joe Barbera. "Tex
always felt, and Ithink he was correct, that Bill and loe were the darlings of Fred Quimby's eye. And
that favoritism rankled quite a bit."ae As with his peers at Warners, Avery's directorial style influenced
Hanna and Barbera, which is evident in the faster pacing and more aggressively outlandish gags found
in the Tom and |erry films after his arrival at MGM. Ironically, seven of Hanna and Barbera's series
won AcademyAwards for MGM, while Avery's shorts won none.
As always, Avery put a great deal of pressure on himself. Although he enjoyed bouncing ideas off
good ol'boy Heck Allen (who later wrote western novels), Avery was essentially (as Allen put it) "the
original one-man band." Unassisted, Avery dreamed up plots and gags, drew small, rough story-
sketches for Allen to follow up on, and layouts for the animators and background painters. He timed
the action, supervised the voice track recordings (sometimes demanding up to thirty takes on a line
of dialog), and even provided a fewvoices himself.When he sawthe animation penciltests,he"would
want a lot of changes," recalled animator Michael Lah. 'And, my gosh, even when the animation was
on cels, he would cut frames on the Movieola, to get the effect he wanted!"50
Lah also noted that Avery, who was "very sensitive about failure," would even go to the theaters
where one of his shorts was playing to "see how it went over."S1 Avery's intense perfectionism and
dedication to his career took a toll on him and his family, which now included a son, Tim, born in
ry47 anda daughter, Nancy, born two years later. He took a year off and later admitted: "Oh, I got too
wrapped up in my work. I tried to do everlthing myself. . . . I attempted to put so much on paper,
the way I saw it and the way I wanted it, pinning it right down to the frame, that it required a lot of
work-saturdays, Sundays-to keep up to schedule. . . . it got too rough for me."s2 The pressures
were still there when Avery returned to MGM in October t95r. "When you're making theatrical car-
toons," he reflected years later, "you're using about a half million of somebody's big fat dollars every
year. And you feel that you've got to give them something. If you make a weak one, you feel, my gosh,
you're letting the studio down."sJ
Voice actor Daws Butler, who began working for Avery in 1953, remembered Avery as "very ner-
vous, his fingernails were down to the quick." As a director "he was very picky . . . he was fussy. He
would rehearse a scream about five or six times and then when you did 'em, you'd do six or seven
more. ... he was very sensitive and very knowledgeable. He knew to a great extent what he was look-
ing for, and when you did it he would buy it."sa Butler confirms the closed quality of Avery's
personality that Chuck Jones described as "shellfish." "He didn't like talking about himselfi' said Butler.
"His modesty was legendary. I'd go to lunch with him because I loved the man and it was embar-
rassing because I'd be doing all the talking and Tex would just be sitting there. I'd say,'What did you
do before you came to MGM?'He'd say,'Oh, I did a cartoon."'55
Avery felt squeezed by the limitations of the gag machine format he had long ago mastered, its
redundancy and lack of emotional resonance. "Tex began feeling like he was burning out," recalled
Michael Lah.s6 "He didn't have any more space. He used it up." Lah recalled Avery's oft-repeated
remark: "I've done it all a hundred different ways. I'm burned out. I iust don't think the stuff is funny
anymore."
Costs were rising in the film industry in the early fifties, and audiences were dwindling. There was
the steadyencroachment of television, plus government antitrust legislation, which broke up monop-
olistic studio-owned theater chains that had guaranteed film distribution. The result was a downsizing
of shorts production. Budgets tightened, which affected the look of animated cartoons: characters
and backgrounds became simpler in design, animation more limited in its motion and expressiveness.
Avery's MGM unit was eliminated in t954.Hannaand Barbera survived three years more, and then,
sensing opportunity instead of a threat in television, they began their phenomenally successful ven-
ture producing for the new medium. Avery, however, immediately joined the Walter Lantz studio as

a director, where his career had begun almost twenty-five years earlier. Lantz's would be the last stu-
dio to produce theatrical cartoons when it finally closed its doors in r972.It held on with the lowest
budgets in the business and a craftsmanship that was "pretty crappy:'57 as Avery himself admitted.
For Walter Lantz, bringing back the now-renowned director was a coup, and he offered Avery a salary
plus a percentage of the box office. But Avery quit within a year after directing only four shorts (two
with ChillyWilly Droopy-like penguin), unhappywith the work and his contract. A lawyer alert-
a

ed him that his percentage came "off the bottom not the top. By the time all the charges went in, why,
my goodness, there was nothing left," said Avery. "I'm not sharp at those things."s8
"I was left out in the cold after twenty years of directing cartoons," said Avery with a self-pity not
evident in his uncompromising hard-edged cartoons.5e "The spark was still there, but it was hard to
keep up," noted Michael Lah.60 "Finally in the end he decided to take a rest, to get away from all this."
Lah brought Avery to Cascade, a small Hollywood studio where for two decades he freelanced as
a director of television commercials. Avery said he enjoyed making sixty-second commercials com-
pared to six-minute shorts because "you make'em in two weeks and you're through! No problem,
no sweat. You can do a minute in a day, time it, get your voices, give it to an animator. And in three
weeks you'll see it on film!Without all that pressure."6l
Most of the young ad agency executives were unfamiliar with (or indifferent to) Avery's past glo-
ries; once, when asked to direct Bugs Bunny for a series plugging Kool-Aid, he suffered the indignity
of being asked if he knew how to draw the famous rabbit. "I think that's when I started making it
I

t9

clear just who created Bugs Bunny."62 His anonymity was occasionally pierced by distinctive Avery-
isms, such as the wild"takes" of cartoon cockroaches in a successful series of ads for Raid insect spray,
and bythe awards his commercials sometimes garnered, including a Television Commercials Council

Award in 196o.
But Avery found that his former freewheeling use of sexual and racial stereot)?es was restricted
on television; a series of spots using a Mexican mouse (the "Frito Bandito") received complaints that
the character was racist. Even more puzzling to the aging director were objections regarding the vio-
lence in his old films when they were seen on television or at the occasional film festival. "I've read
and heard . . . [complaints about] 'This guyAvery. Gee whiz! He killed people!' . . .I was thinkingof
funny cartoons, and all of a sudden this guy calls me a killer. Then I look back and I think,'Yeah, I
did take that fella's head off."'63
In t97o, Bob Givens ran into Avery at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. "He got arrested for drunk
driving, so he had to do ten meetings [as part of his sentence]. ... Somethingwas bothering him."6a
In fact, Avery's personal world was crumbling. His careerism had long estranged him from his fam-
ily. Near forty when his first child was born and at the peak of his creative powers at MGM, Avery
was more devoted to nurturing his work than to parenting his children or encouraging them, par-
ticularly his "artistic" son Tim's interest in portrait painting and photography. Then, on January 21,
t97z,the family was shattered by the premature death of Tim, who died of "heroin-morphine intox-
ication" through "intravenous administration of [an] overdose" at the age of twenty-four.6s
The Averys divorced soon after, and Tex moved into a small apartment in North Hollywood.
Michael Barrier sawAvery during this period and remembers him as "a very sad figure. His kid killed
himself, his marriage was breaking up. I could smell liquor on his breath the morning I met him at
Cascade."66
On Novemb er 2L, 1974, Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, and Chuck Jones were each awarded the annual
Annie Award by their peers in the Hollywood branch of ASIFA, the international animation organi-
zation.|une Foray, the vocal artist who provided voices in Avery's Car of Tomorrow (t95t) and One
Cab'sFamily (1952),askedAveryto drawa caricature ofhimself forpublication in theAwardbrochure.
He came up with a parody "Tex Model Sheet" with himself as a bald, short-legged, pudgy Droopy-
like character. The drawing demonstrates most of his trademark directorial flourishes, including
"slight" exaggeration on takes (Avery's body parts unhinge), "cute" props (bombs, hatchets, and
anvils), Avery shattering like glass "after hit on head," and so on.
The sprightly sketch betrays none of the personal angst he was feeling, but in conversation with
Foray, Avery expressed resentment toward other directors who he felt had stolen his style: "He said,
'so many people are riding on my back.' He was very upset that people were copying his type of work."

At the same time, he was reluctant to accept praise for his film accomplishments, claiming that "with-
out his writer [Heck A]len] he would be nothing." Overall, Foray found Avery "very introspective"
and "rather sad, probably because of his son."
Inry76 Dan Mclaughlin, chair of UCLAs animation program, brought Avery to the university for
a screening of his films. The audience was packed with students and fans, and Avery, according to
Mclaughlin, "was very gracious, very modest. He told stories about his career. I said he was famous
in France, and he said he had heard something about that. He seemed not too happy a guy, low-keyed,
I

7A

genial, but beaten down."Avery apparently had stopped drinking, for when offered a celebratory drink
after the show he refused, saying, "He wasn't doing that any more, indicating he used to drink pret-
ty good."67
Texas-born Sara Petty, then a twenty-nine-year-old independent animator, met Avery at the UCLA
show and subsequently received numerous phone calls from the famous director.

He was so excited to meet someone who lived near Dallas. He started phoning me, called
every six months, late at night. Pronounced my name "Say-rah" and I always wondered
when I answered the phone, who's this? One of my relatives from Texas? He said he was
just calling his fans-I found out he only called female fans apparently-and wanted to
chat for a while: "Thlk about what are you working on, what I'm working on." The call was
always such a jolt. Sitting there working late at night on my film Furies j9771and to have
Tex Avery phone! He seemed heartbreakingly lonely. I remember his vulnerability. We'd
have thirty-minute conversations. He would run it. He would listen and then end it, "Well,
I should 9o."68

At Hanna-Barbera-where he worked for the last three years of his life developing gags and charac-
Koala-Avery put a sign that read "Sun City" on the door to his small office, which
ters, such as Kwicky
he shared with veteran animator Chuck Couch. The office became a mecca for the studio's young
artists who were thrilled to be working with the great Tex Avery. "Tex liked holding court with the
youngsters," recalled one of them, Mark Evanier. "He felt he could contribute valuable inspiration,
education. They groveled at his feet. His sad side was not shown at work. He walked in the door in
the morning, was not paid a lot, but was treated like a god, given gifts, et cetera. He didn't take the
job seriously. He figured he earned his money just by showing up each duy"ut
"Even in his advanced years and frail condition he was practically a one-man production compa-
ny in himself," recalls designer/writer Scott Shaw: "He designed his own storyboards and model sheets

[which were] exhaustively specific and funny as any I've seen. Tex was a gentleman, but never seemed
worried about hurting anyone's feelings over a rejected gag . . .he'd make a pinched face as though
smelling rotten eggs and exhale a long"Phewww!" as he shuffled the submitted gag to the bottom of
the stack. Tex . . . knew exactly what he wanted; it was almost as if he'd already made the cartoons in
his head and was merely following an elaborate, if intangible, instruction sheet."70
Despite years of success, to the end of his life Avery remained unsure of himself and his accom-
plishments. A personal anecdote will illustrate the point: in t977, as animation editor of Millimeter
magazine, this author received a letter in an envelope illustrated with a hand-drawn and colored Bugs
Bunny screaming "Help!" It was from Tex Avery.
In the handwritten letter, Avery politely complained that the writer of a recent article in the mag-
azine had implied Avery was a stop-motion (or puppet) animator, and he would appreciate a

clarification: "You know how this type of comment spreads thru Isic] the cartoon industry. It will
lower my beat-up image as a cartoon director-producer. I have just completed a script on a wild-ass
animation-live action feature for the big screen. I don't want to walk into a producer's office as a stop
motion animator!"71
Avery maintained an insecure view of his image and reputation that bordered on the bizarre.
Everyone in the animation industry in ry77 knew who Tex Avery was, and the significance of his
I

2l

achievements. Even then, many considered him to be the greatest director of the Hollywood short
cartoon. Wherever he hung his hat, be it Termite Terrace, MGM, Lantz,or Hanna-Barbera, Avery's
brand of pacing, exaggeration, stream-of-conciousness gag structures, and funny drawings pro-
foundly influenced his colleagues. But his exhilarating freedom of expression also extended the
creative horizons of animation beyond the studios he toiled in; even Disney's short films of the r94os
and los benefited from an Avery-esque quickening ofpace and cartoony gags.
To this day his directorial style and outrageous humor continue to be borrowed and/or ripped off
and incorporated into contemporary animated and (thanks to computers) live-action films. Observe
the "homage" to Avery-esque pacing, imagery, design, and general philosophy regarding animation
in Wo Framed Aladdin Gggz), the television series Ren
Roger Rabbif (1988), the Genie sequence in
6stimpyandAnimaniacs,thelive-actionfeature TheMask(995),andnumerouscomputer-enhanced
television commercials. Babe,the:1995 feature about a talking pig, is nothing if not a high-tech descen-
dant of Avery's "speaking of Animals" series.
AtAvery's funeral in LosAngeles in r98o, a eulogistnotedthatAvery"was aleaderwho neverestab-
lished a studio, never tried to do anything but make good films," a filmmaker who never won an Oscar,
"yet he attracted followers and fans the world ovet'72 One attendee at the service recalled that "with
the exception of some of the Disneypeople,virtuallyeveryone in animationwas there.Almost every-
one had worked with him or felt they were, in patt, a student of his."73

Nearlytwo decades after his death, the name"TexAvery" is receivingthe kind of recognition from
the general public that is afforded the likes of Walt Disney and Chuck fones. One reason is the tech-
nological revolution-television, video cassettes, and laser disks-that has saturated baby boomers
with animation for the last twentyyears, and has keptAvery's work and name before the public. Cable
services, such as The Cartoon Network, as well as syndicated broadcast television, have also played
apart.Currently, DIC Entertainment plans to produce "Tex Avery Theater," a television series of new
six-minute animated shorts in a half-hour package in the "zany'Avery style ". . . in homage to the
late, greatWarner Bros. animator."T4Avery-specific merchandising-characters on pins and maque-
"limited edition" animation art, and books-which has been exploited for years in
ttes, original and
France where Avery is a revered-name filmmaker, is catching on in America. Film retrospectives con-
tinue at cinematheques, art film houses, and museums, while videos of Avery's Warner, MGM' and
Lantz shorts are available in video stores; a recent laser disk set of the complete Avery MGM cartoons
sold out.
Like a mythic Texas cowpoke who dies in the saddle, Avery kept working to the very end. For years,
he ran with a torch of creativity that ultimately set fire to an aesthetic expansion of character anima-
tion, the art form that one observer has called "American cinema's unique contribution to twentieth
century art."7s The personal creative flame of the driven and insecure Avery finally did burn out; but
considering its intensity, he managed to sustain it for an amazingly long and productive period.
Best of all, Tex Avery made us laugh all along the way.
I

72

Notes

l. Variety,9l3l8O. 39. Leo Salkin interview by Charles Solomon.
2. Michael Lah interview TexAvery. TV documentary, 40. Adamson, p. 162.
Turner Broadcasting/Moondance, t 988. 41. Scheib, Ronnie. "Tex Arcana: The Cartoons of Tex
3. Mark Evanier interview with IC,2l2ll96. Avery!' The American Animated Cartoon, editedby Gerald and
4. William Hanna interview with IC, 2126196. Danny Peary, NewYork: E.P. Dutton , 1980, pp. I 10-27.
5. The Dallas Morning News, 412133. Feature Section, 42. f. Hoberman, The Village Voice, 7 I 13 I 7 8.
p. 3. "Stars of the Animateds and How They Grow" by Dorothy 43. Chuck jones interview.
Guillot. I am grateful to Mark Kausler for providing this docu- 44. ibid.
ment. 45. Friz lreleng interview with Charles Solomon, circa
6. NancyAvery Arkley interview with lC, 2126196. t987.
7. Interview with Heck Allen by foe Adamson. ?er 46. Adamson, p. 164.
Avery: King of Cartoons, p. 144. a7. ibid., p. 148.
8. ibid. a8. ibid., p. 130.
9. Sara Petty interview with JC,2126196. 49.ibid.,p. t47.
10. Dallas Morning News. 50. Leonard Maltin. Of Mice and Magic. New York:
l f. ibid. McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1980. p.296.
12. |oe Adamson. Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, New 5 1. Michael Lah.
York: Popular Libr ary, 197 5, p. 1 55. 52. Adamson, p. 1 80.
I J. lDlO. s3. ibid., p. 198.
14. ibid. 54. Daws Butler interview with Charles Solomon, circa
i 5. Leo Salkin interview with Charles Solomon, circa 1987.
1987. )f. lDlc.
16. Adamson, loe. The Walter Lantz Story. G.P. Putnam 56. Michael Lah interview with Charles Solomon, circa
Sons, NewYork, 1985, p. 38. 1987.
17. Joe Adamson , King of Cartoons, p. 92. 57.Adamson,p. I97.
18. ibid. 58. ibid., p. 198.
19. The Dallas Morning News. 59. ibid.
20. Leo Salkin interview. 60. Michael Lah interview with C.S.
2 i. ibid. 61.Adamson,p.198.
22. Leo Salkin interview. 62. ibid.
23. Adamson, p. 93. 63. ibid., p. 1 93.
24. ibid. 64. Bob Givens interview.
l). Aoamson, p. _t55. 65. Certificate of Death-County of Los Angeles,
26. Nancy Avery Arkley. Registrar, Recorder/County Clerk. Amendment of Medical
27. Adamson, p. 157. and Health Section Data, #7097-0l0176,March I,1972.
28. Nancy Avery Arkley. 66. Michael Barrier interview.
29. Bob Givens interview with IC, 1l15/96. 67. Dan Mclaughlin interview withlC,3l5l96.
30. Michael Barrier interview withlC,3l5l96. 68. Sara Petty interview with JC, 2126196.
31. Adamson, p. 160. 69. Mark Evanier interview.
32. ibid. 70. Scott Shaw. Droopy #1, Dark Horse Comics,
33. Los Angeles Times,813ll8O. October 1995.
34. Chuck fones interview with IC,2l7 196. 7l. Tex Avery letter to John Canemaker,4l28l77.
35. Michael Lah. 72. John Canemaker. "TexAvery." Cartoonist Profiles,
36. Adamson, p. 187. March 198i.
37. The Boys from Termite Terrace, TV documentary, 73.1bid. Quote from Charles Solomon.
cBS, 1975. 4. The Hollywood Reporter, 1123196, p. S-40.
7

38. Bela Balazs. Theory of the Filrn. New York: Dover 75. Time. November 9, 1992.'Aiaddin's Magic" by
Publications, 197 O, pp. 19 1 -93. Richard Corliss, p. 76.
26

exAvery announces his irrepressible presence even before the opening titles for The BlitzWolf appear,
f
giving audiences a taste of the iconoclastic, is-nothing-sacred? humor they can expect for the next thir-
I
I teen years. Leo the Lion, MGM's regal live-action logo, roars as usual, but this time his head tosses are
edited into repeated jump cuts in order to synchronize with the MGM orchestra playing "Hold That Tiger!"
In The BlitzWolf, the second Avery-directed MGM short but the first to be released (on August zz,t94z),
Texgoes to war not onlyagainst aWolf dressed in Hitler drag, but also cartoon clich6s, fairytales, and Disney's
pictorial logic and illusionism. Almost all of Avery's anarchic trademarks are in this exuberant,loud, gag-
filled war epic. The film begins as a parody of Disney's Three Little Pigs (t93), but moves quickly into a
successive gag-mode as Sgt. Pork and his porcine brothers battle (with the most phallic weapons in the free
world) to save Pigmania. The enemy is the perpetually unnamed Wolf who will appear in numerous shorts
to come; here, he is a mustachioed storm trooper with a German accent, a fastidious monster who crosses
mudholes on the battlefield by delicately lifting his armored tank as if it were a steel petticoat.
In an earlyscene, Sgt. Pork (the practical pig) digs a trench as TheArmyNow!"
his brothers sing"You're In
At the end of the lyric"You'll never get rich by digging a ditch,"Avery freezes the action (including dirt tossed
in mid-air) for forty frames! This is Avery winking at the audience as he would many times hence, bringing
them in on the process of animation and making it clear that they are watching a cartoon.
He further distances his characters from the narrative when they break out of their roles to directly address
the audience; for instance, the villainous Wolf who challenges us to "Go on and hiss! Who Cares?" Signs appear
and comment on the action; for example, after a pig's house is blown away, a "Gone with the wind" sign
remains, then the camera pans to a second sign that comments on the previous comment: "Corny gag, isn't it?"
In Avery's world, a line of crazylogic is followed to extreme conclusions: a "scream bomb" forms a mouth
and loudly shrieks, an "incendiarybomb" gives the Wolf/Fuehrer a hot-foot, a Good Humor truck ding-a-
lings its way through an exploding battlefield, a group of enemy bombs are overcome (literally) by viewing
a pin-up in Esquiremagazine.
The pace is brisk in BlitzWolf but not as fast as it would soon become. Avery's over-the-top exagger-
The
ation is, however, definitely there, for example, in a behemoth of a bomber (a "B-19 and Ll2") flown by a
heroic pig, and certainly in the never-ending camera pan of a Priapean artillery gun-a visual comment on
the virility of the forces of good, and another opportunity to stick a sign on the gun's long barrel half-way
through: "Long darn thing, isn't it?" The BlitzWof was nominated for an AcademyAward, but lost to Disney's
Der Fuehrer's Face.
MGM short (released August 29, r94z), seems tame by comparison.
The Early Bird Dood lt,Avery's first
The bird chases worm/cat chases bird "story" is a holdover from Avery's Warners days where, despite narra-
tive interruptions by gag incongruities, the plot dominated the film. At MGM, Avery's rapid-fire gags would
soonbetheplotofmostofhisfilms. EarlyBirdcontainsafewAveryreflexivedevices:abirdandwormchase
is halted when the characters stop to admire a poster advertising the very film they are in. "I hear it's a funny

cartoon," says bird. "I hope it's funnier than this onei' replies worm, and the chase resumes. Elsewhere, a "slow"
sign brings the frenetic chase to a slow-motion crawl until a "resume speed" sign appears; also, the charac-
ters take a short beer intermission at a bar. The worm sounds like Lou Costello, a popular comedian in the
early forties who played a put-upon fatty, but this is a minimal nod toward personality animation. Avery is
more interested in visual gags, such as a delightful one where a character peeks under a pond as if it were a
rug. At the finale, the director's darker side comes to the fore when bird-who-eats-worm is in turn devoured
by cat. Of course, a sign appears immediately and insincerely saying, "Sad ending, isn't it?"
I

27

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The Blitz WoIf The Blitz WoU
Director: Tex Avery (August 22, 19 42) Original Cel Painting - 26.7131-7 cm.
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Irven Spence, Ray Abrams, and
4
Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley The Blitz WoIf
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
Nominated for the Oscar for Best Animation
Drawing.
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

2
The Blitz Wolf
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7 I 31.7 cm.
I

29
I

30

5

The Early Bird Dood It
Director: Tex Avery (August 29, 1942)
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Irven Spence,
Ray Abrams, and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

6

The Early Bird Dood It
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

Di.ected bq

TEXAYERY
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he Wolf is back in Dumb-Hounded (released March zo, 1943), this time as an escaped con-
vict on the lam. During a jail bust-out, Wolf is isolated by the glare of searchlights and strikes
a quick succession of six-frame frozen poses-attitudes of anxiety-predicting the more dar-
ing "takes"-violent expressions of surprise-that Avery will perfect in ones that soon follow The
cause of his anxiety is a bloodhound on the jailbird's trail:
low energy, slow-moving, overweight,
a
sad-sack of a pup named Droopy, who debuts in this first of his sixteen Avery-directed shorts. "Hello,
all you happy people," he drawls morosely to the audience. "You know what? I'm the hero." Unlikely
though that seems at first glance, Droopy does heroically appear wherever the Wolf hides. How he
manages it is a mystery, particularly after Avery's breathtaking and hilarious collapse of time and space
when the Wolf frantically escapes. In Dumb-Hounded, in about ten seconds tops, the Wolf dashes
down a fire escape into a waiting cab, drives a scooter to a train that crosses the country, changes to
a ship that leaps across an ocean, bounces down the gangplank in a clanking jeep to a waiting air-
plane that flies to the North Pole where a horse gallops with him to an isolated log cabin. Of course,
Droopyis waiting, offering a bland admonishment ("I said,'Don't move.'"). Averynow has theWolf
escape backwards retracing his route in double-time!
We cease to be astonished by Droopy's unexplained appearances even before he lethargically con-
fides, "I surprise him like this all through the picture." But he always surprises the Woll and what
continually delights us are Wolf's variations on paroxysms of surprise: eyes telescope out of his head,
tongue waggles spastically, his body strikes mid-air rigor mortis poses, the stripes on his convict uni-
form alternately twirl, spin, and undulate like a psychedelic barbershop pole.
InRedHotRidingHood(releasedMay8, 1943),one ofthe most celebratedofAvery's fractured fairy-
tales, the Wolf's apoplectic fits express uncontrollable sexual lust and desire. The film's traditional
opening halts abruptly when the characters (Wolfl Red Riding Hood, and grandma) rebel against the
old-fashioned retelling of the story ("Every cartoon studio in Hollywood has done it this wayj' says
Red.). The put-upon unseen auteur agrees to stage it in "a new way," and the scene switches from a
Euro-Disney forest circa r8oo to the corner of Holl;.wood and Vine in Los Angeles, 1943. The Wolf is
nowthepersonification of atailored (top hat andtails) Hollywoodkeptman/playboywho drives mile-
long convertibles; grandma is a martini-swilling, man-hungry clotheshorse who lives in a penthouse;
and little Red hasbeen transformed from a runtybrat into a curvacious,long-leggedAnn Sheridan/Rita
Hayworth clone who demurely strips and belts tunes in a Sunset Boulevard nightclub.
The animation of Red has a marvelous verve and sensuality thanks to Preston Blair, a great char-
acter animator formerly of Disney, wh ere in Fantasia Q94o) he made Mickey Mouse tread water and
crocodiles and hippos trip the light fantastic. Red's design is borrowed from caricatures of "inno-
cently sexy" females drawn by Fred Moore, a Disney animator. "Freddie Moore girls" were simple,
animatable designs constructed of sensual, pear-shapes, and the type found its way into Disney's 1940s
films, starting with Fantasia's "centaurettes."
For the most part, Blair's animation of Red's song-and-dance performance is admirably graceful
and full of life. An attempted upper torso undulation misses the mark by making her shoulders appear
grotesquely dislocated, but the moment passes and Blair snaps Red into a variety of vivid attitudinal
poses. For example, Red's actions matching the song's variations on the word "daddy" range from an
imperious social deb's"I saythere, fah-therl"to a farmer's daughter/Moonbeam McSwine-like"Hey,
Paw!" to a baby-voiced "Daaa-deeee!" complete with childish finger-twirling of her skirt and all the
incestuous implications the portrayal and the word tacitly hold.
I

33

The Woll in animator Ed Love's hilarious, perfectly timed animation, becomes a metaphor of lust
as well as Avery's meditation on all the ways an erect penis can be implied without actually drawing

one. Wolf's sexual heat is all consuming: his entire body stiffens, his eyeballs enlarge greatly and the
pupils pop out, he bashes himself on the head with a mallet, and employs a Rube Goldbergian machine
to assist in whistling and applauding Red's act.
The film is of its politically incorrect time, when blatant sexual objectification and harassment of
women was taken for granted, as was the American male's prejudice against older women who aggres-
sively act upon their own sexual needs. When Grannie (a long-limbed Charlotte Greenwood type)
turns the tables on the Wolf, he expresses revulsion and horror by jumping through a window.
The only thing the moral guardians of Holllwood's Hays Office objected to was the implication
of bestiality in the film's finale, which Avery agreed to change. According to the original work drafts,
Granny marries the Wolf in a shotgun wedding, with Red sitting in the seat of an anti-aircraft gun
pointed at Wolf's back. Cross-dissolve to the nightclub where Red is again performing her act.
Grannie ntzzles and kisses the still-distressed Wolf as they watch, while their three baby wolves pound
the table and whistle like daddy used to. (In the final approved version, the Wolf shoots himself, but
his ghost continues to ogle, whistle, and pound tables.)
In Who Klled Who? Avery mercilessly spoofs film noir and every mystery/horror movie clich6,
from the ultimate dark and stormy night-with endless rain, thunder, lightning, and screams as the
camera trucks slowly toward a forbidding mansion-to a properly labeled victim and suspects, assort-
ed ghosts, and even a scarlet "Red Skeleton." A lumpy over-the-hill detective is confounded in his
pursuit of the murderer by his own ineptness and nonstop gags, such as a closetful of tied and gagged

butlers who tumble out one on top of the another, pausing only for one of them to comment in a
ferry Colonna voice, 'Ah yes! Quite a bunch of us, isn't it?" before continuing to fall.
ln One Ham's Family (August 14, 1943), Avery seeks laughs using by-now familiar narrative dis-
ruptions: "stop" signs and props with labels that comment on the character's actions, such as a large,
wrapped "sucker!" and characters who break out of their roles to speak directly to the audience. "I
crash and bang him like this all through the picture," says an obnoxious piglet, the nominal star of
this minor effort by Avery. It is interesting to note how open the director is to using even the most
ancient of cartoon gags in hopes that their accumulation and here-and-gone presentation will gen-
erate a laugh or two: for example, a welcome mat resting on the tip of a hungry Wolf's tongue, or a
large character appearing from behind a thin tree that (in real life) could never conceal his girth.
In What's Buzzin' Buzzard (November 27,7943),Avery pushes the discomfort of wartime food
rationing to its furthest psychological point when two scrawny and starving vultures attempt to can-
nibalize each other. The timing of the bird's murderous mutual assaults is as sharp as their knives,
hatchets, and meat slicers. The film allegedly was MGM-cartoon-short producer Fred Quimby's least
favorite, even after it was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress Film Collection.
I

34

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Dumb-Hounded
Director: Tex Avery (March 20, 1943)
Production No. 92
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, lrven Spence, Ray
Abrams, and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
This first rnodel sheet of Droopy and the
Wolf was crcated in March 1942.
The character proportions and attributes
were specified in the most minute detail
and served as reference for the animators.

B

Dumb-Hountied
Cel Painting 26.7131.7 cm.
I

35
I

36

9

Dumb-Hounded
Cel Painting - 30/40 cm.
Pronrotional lllustration.

t0
Dumb-Hounded
Original Cel Painting 26.7131.7 cm.

I

Dumb-Hounded
Cel Painting and Background - 30/45 cm.
Promotional lllustration.
I

37
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2
Red Hot Riding Hood
Director: Tex Avery (May 8, 1943)
Production No. 93
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, and
Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Cel Painting and Airbrushed Background
Document recreated at the studio during the
screening ofthe film and offered to famous
Holllmood columnist Jimmy Starr.

t3
Red Hot Riding Hood
Frames from the 35mm film.

t+
Red Hot Riding Hood
Original Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
From an animation drawing created by
Preston Blair.

l5
Red Hot Riding Hood
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3I.7 cm.
From animation created by Preston Blair.

t4

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Red Hot Riding Hood
\\ratercolor backgrounds painted by
f ohnny lohnsor.r.
I

43
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17

Who Killed Who?
Dirc'ctor: 'fcx Ave ry ( f unc I 9, I 943 )
Production No. 94
Story: Hcck AIlen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrarns, and
Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

B

I{ho Killed Who?
Original l\,fodel Sheet - 26.7140.7 crn.
Model sheet of thc policc inspector.
I

45

l9
Who Killed Who?
Original Animation Drawings -
eacn 26./ tJ t./
cm.
Excerpt of the skeleton walking,
animated by Ed Love.

20
Who Killed Who?
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 cm.

))
Who Killed Who?
Cel Painting - 26.7145 cm.
I

46

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I)irector: Tex Aver.v (Ar"rgust 14, 1943)
Procluction No. 97
Storv: l{ich Hogan

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..'-:.i I Anirrrtion: F,d [-ove, Ra1'Abrarrs, and
'.-, Preston Blair
r\,lusic: Scott Bracllcy
/\ r'
Producer: Fred Quinrbv - IVIGM
Original t\nimation I)rarving (Scene No. l8)
26.7 l3I .7 cnt.

)1
One Hortt's Fantily
Clel Paintinq - 26.7131.7 ctn.
47
I

48

25 25
One Ham's Family One Ham's Family
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm. 0riginal Animation Drawing
Publicity Illustration. (Scene No. 39) - 26.7162.4 cm.

27
One Ham's Family
Original Animation Drawing
(Scene No. 39) - 26.7 I 31.7 cm.

STOP

26
49

28
What's Buzzin' Buzzard
Director: Tex Avery (November 27,1,943)
ProductionNo. I19
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 26.7 131.7 cm.

29 and 30
What's Buzzin' Buzzard
Cel Paintings - each 26.7 131.7 cm.
I

50

79

30
52

very created one of animation's greatest personalities, Bugs Bunny, but ironically he was always
more interested in what a character could do rather than who they are. In Avery's distanced direc-
torial style, characters are not the stars of his films-Avery is. His various pigs, wolves, dogs, and
cats exist mainly to bounce gags off of. Yet Avery kept trying to come up with a character who might appeal
to the public and could be merchandised like Bugs Bunny, or the successful Tom & Jerry, characters by the
rival MGM unit run byWilliam Hanna and Joe Barbera. In Avery's character search, several came and quick-
lywent,suchasthedestructivepigletin OneHam'sFamilyandthetwoviciousfeatheredscavengersin'A/hat's
Buzzin' Buzzard. (All three disappeared after one film.) Miss Red lasted longer, but in her pictures she most-
ly sang, jiggled, and was chased. The Wolf offered some variety playing an amorous swain or incompetent
villain, and was usually paired with passive Droopy, who had an understated appeal and enjoyed the most
staying power of any of Avery's MGM characters. (He even made it into comic books.)
On April L,L944,Avery unleashed an April Fool's joke on the world. In the short Screwball Squirrel,he
introduced Screwy Squirrel, who was two degrees of separation on the insanity scale from Daffo Duck,
another of Avery's "discoveries" when he was at Warners. Within a year Avery directed fo:ur Screwy shorts,
indicating that perhaps Avery felt this character might be The Great Bugs Hope. Avery's resistance to tra-
ditional personality animation and narrative subverted those hopes. In fact, the first thing Screwy does in
his debut film is beat the hell out of a fuzzy Disney-like squirrel whose fondest wish is to be in a "cute" car-
toon. Next, Screwy mugs the audience's expectations, calling attention to the process of animation in gags
that are often brilliant, funny, and surprising. For example, a recording of the soundtrack's music sticks
and its repetitions impede a chase; Screwy lifts the side of the screen like a page in a book in order to pre-
view the film's next scene; in a take, six heads appear on Screwy to register surprise. In Happy-Go-Nutty
(lune 24, 1944), Screwy escapes from an insane asylum in his own loony way: opening a cell door before
stepping outside to saw the bars, then scaling a steel fence next to a wide-open gate. Props appear as need-
ed strictly for laughs; for example, after multiples of Screwy appear, so does a garbage can for the disposal
of "extra squirrels." During a chase, Screwy and his pursuer come to a divide in the road and split into three
pairs on three separate roads; theypause, reverse themselves, join together, and as one pair chase each other
down a single road. During another chase, the dog on Screwy's trail goes one way, but his nose wanders off
his face and continues sniffing in the opposite direction. Screwy whacks the nose with a mallet, and the
punched-out proboscis, crying in pain, dashes back to hide shivering in fear under the dog's muzzle. The
gags pile on so fast as to disorient the viewer; one-upping the audience reaches an extreme point when the
characters enter a darkened cave and loud sounds are heard but nothing is seen. "Sure was a great gag," says
Screwy striking a match. "Too bad you couldn't see it."
Screwy shows up in Big Heel-Watha (October zr, 1944) as a sort of guest star to the title character, another
one-film wonder described by the narrator with distaste as "a flat-faced, pigeon-toed, knock-kneed, blubber-
headed tub of lard." The film is filled with odious ethnic stereotfpes about American Indians and insensitive
jokes about their culture."singin'in the Rain'plays during the entrance of"Chief Rain-in-the-Face,"who speaks

to his people in a series of "ughs"; the tribe uses war paint made by "Fax Mactor [sic] of Holli,ruood"; Heel-
watha can only talk when he holds his pendulous nose to one side, and so on ad nauseum.
Batty Baseball (April zz, 1944) is so eager to begin, it skips the opening credits until a character reminds
the unseen director he missed "the lion's roar and all that stuff." In Disney's 1946 omnibus feattre Make
Mine Music, the "Casey at the Bat" section owes its exaggerated caricatures of ballplayers, their gyrations
and over-reactions, to Avery and his earlier short.
I

53

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ScrewbaII Squirrel
Director: TexAvery (April 1, 1944)
Production No. 107
Story: HeckAllen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
This first model sheet of Screwball Squirrel
was drawn by Claude Smith in December 1942

3)
Screwball Squirrel
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 cm.
54

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33

33 35
ScrewbaII Squirrel SuewbaII Squirrel
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm. Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 crr..
This first model sheet of the dog Meathead Generic cartoon,
was drawn by Claude Smith in December 1942.

5a
Screwball Squirrel
Original Animation Drawing (Scene No. 2) - 26.7131.7 cl:,:r.

34
I

55

35

36
Screwball Squirrel
Original Animation Drawings -
each26.7l3l.7 cm.
Taken from an animation sequence by Ed Love.

37
ScrewbaII Squirrel
Original Animation Drawings -
each26.7l3I.7 cm.
Taken from an animation sequence by Ed Love.

38
Batty Baseball
Director: Tex Avery ( Apr il 22, 19 aa)
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 26.7131.7 cm.

39

Batty Baseball
Cel Paintings - 26.7131.7 cm.
36
I

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40
Happy-Go-Nutty
Director: Tex Avery (lune 24,1944)
Production No. 132
Story: HeckAllen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 30140 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

4l
Happy-Go-Nutty
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet of the squirrel
drawn in luly 1943.
50
I

a)

4)
Happy-Go-Nutty
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.

43
Happy-Go-Nutty
Cel Paintings and Background - 26.7131.7 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

44
Big Heel-Watha
Director: TexAvery (October 21, 1944)
Production No. 1 15
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet of the lndian Heel-Watha,
drawn by Claude Smith.

45
Big Heel-Watha
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
I

62

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64

crewy Squirrel is back for better andworse in The Screwy Truqnt (fanuary B, 1945), as is the
dog who chases him, this time as a truant officer. Avery makes the dog's occupation quite obvi-
ous when that character holds up an identification sign, and (extending his conspiratorial
communication with the audience) he next holds a sign that reads "Shhhh." Focusing sequentially
on the sneakiness of the truant officer hound's personality, Avery plays with variations on the old
cartoon gag of a bulky form disappearing behind slender trees; here, he dispatches parts of the dog,
each in their turn, between the thin trunks of two trees: first his hat, then his head, using his ears as
legs, next his torso, and finally the tail boinks past.
There are numerous references to wartime shortages: "Technicolor Red" has left the Little Red
School House and "gone to war," and a missing character is said to be working at Lockheed. The dog
and his nose are once again separated, and after getting smacked (this time by a golf club) it (again)
retreats under its owner's m:uzzle, as in Happy-Go-Nutty. During a chase the dog's foot has a blow-
out, one ofthe funnier narrative-disrupting gags that Avery, ofcourse, extends further: the character
happens to carry a spare foot in the trunk in his rear end. Another gag brings new meaning to cause
and effect: after an anvil clobbers the hound, the rising bump on his head assumes the shape of a red-
hot anvil. And when the hound grabs Screwy's tail and it becomes a lengthy fur piece with no squirrel
attached, the cause is revealed to be a wheel containing "5oo yards of phony squirrel tail" (with a sign
commenting "Long darn tail, wasn't it?").
At one point the film is interrupted by a confused wolf chasing an equally confused Little Red
Riding Hood, both unaware that they are in the wrong movie. (Averywill repeat this idea in his next
short The Shooting of Dan McGoo.) Screwy uses the situation-borrowing another movie's plot-as
a further place to hide from the truant offlcer: he becomes granny. For a finale, Scrervy shuts down
the film "for the duration" (one of several war references) because he has measles, and immediately
little red spots appear on the "The End" sign.
Three of Avery's funniest 1945 shorts-The Shooting of Dan McGoo (March 3, 1945), Swing Shift
Cinderella (August 25,1945), and Wild andWoolfy (November 3, 1945)-hang strings of gags on clas-
sical narrative frameworks from which Avery deliriously departs. Each film features his little repertory
company of Droopy, the Wolf, and the Girl (formerly Red, whose name changes in each film). Dan
McGooisbased on"The Shootingof DanMcGrew" from Spellof theYukon andOtherVersesbyRobert
W. Service, and Avery delights in literal illustrations of cornball lines, such as a character "with one
foot in the grave" sidling up to the bar with a tombstone and plot attached at the end of one leg, or
the announcement that"the drinks are on the house,"which empties the saloon when customers rush
to the snow-covered roof for a snort. The drinks, at one point, take on a life of theil svln-2s "113f-

fic": skittering along curves on a highway of a bar, they pause at a stop sign to wait for bumptious
beers and a dainty martini to cross before speeding on.
The effect of booze on the Wolf offers spectacularvisual fun with a verbal punchline: after he swal-
lows a slug, the fiery liquid first makes its way through a diagram of the Wolf's insides, throat to
tummy. When it lands in his stomach, his eyes enlarge and fill with tiny red lines. The drawing style
is still in medical textbook mode, but soon changes to pure abstraction, as the Wolf morphs into a
fiery comet that shoots to the ceiling and loops around several wood beams before descending to the
floor, from which the Wolf bounces up in his familiar shape to confront the bartender: "This stuff's
been cut!"
I

65

"The Lady Known As Lou," (sexy Red again) performs a Preston Blair animated song, this time
with tributes to all branches of the armed forces. Wolfie responds as wildly as eyer; at one point howl-
ing like the animal he is, his costume changes rapidly to the uniforms of the U.S. Army, Navy, and
Marines. Laid-back Droopy attempts to frustrate Wolf's ardor throughout and also drops audience-
disorienting non sequiturs, such as "Hello, all you huppy taxpayers!" Swing Shift Cinderella begins
with the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood (in her little tough-kid-from-Brooklyn persona) running
past the opening title before realizing they are in the wrong movie. Wolf studies the title and then
dismisses the brat, for Cinderella is, he says, a "babe" he'd like to meet alone. Dressed as a Hollywood
wolf, he does meet her and, even in her humble sackcloth, finds her (to put it mildly) desirable. After
aviolent coughing fit, he levitates to a tree branch on which he flips around several times, then kicks
himself in the head for a while. There is an older, tipsy fairy godmother who fancies the Wolf, and
another sexF song and dance in a nightclub where the food and drinks are so expensive that "easy
terms" of payment can be arranged. The title anticipates the film's ending when Cinderella leaves the
nightclub in order to make the "Lockweed [sic] rz o'clock shift." Thinking she has escaped the Woll
Cinderella (a.k.a. Rosie the Riveter),who speaks like Bette Davis, discovers she is in abusfull of horny
factory-worker wolves. In Wild andWoolfy (story by HeckAllen who later wrote western novels) the
triangle of Droopy, Woll and Girl are transferred to a shoot 'em up wild west setting, where a high
speed posse chase takes up most of the screen time; besides Droopy, the only thing that slows the
Wolf down is a fork (as in eating utensil) he runs into in the road.
Avery's departures from reality needed parameters to rebel against, especially in the area of draw-
ing and principles of animation. The sequential animation drawings for Jerky Turkey (April 7, 1945)
of the Jimmy Durante-ish lead character in his boxer shorts show the high-quality drawing ability of
Avery's animators and their attention to classical draftsmanship, rules of perspective, retention of vol-
umes, and so on. The model sheet and animation sketches of the pilgrim (a recycled design of
Heel-watha) also pays heed to the principles of motion codified at Disney's, such as anticipation,
stretch-and-squash, easing into and out of an action, follow-through, arcs, exaggeration, and staging.
I

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67

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48

49
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50 5l

46
The Screwy Truant
Director: TexAvery (January 13, 1945)
Production No. i36
Story: Heck AIlen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, and
Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Animation Drawings
(Scene No.24) - each26.7131.7 cm.

41
The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Director: Tex Avery (March 3, 1945)
Production No. 137
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

48 and 49

The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Original Cel Paintings - each 26.7 131.7 cttt.
Two successive phases of the
transformation of the Wolf into a
soldier and then a marine.

50and5l
The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Original Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.

5)
The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
I

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lerky Turkey
Director: Tex Avery (April 7, I 9a5)
Production No. 138
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Animation Drawings -
each 2b.7/J1.7 cm.
Taken from an animation sequence
of the turkey by Ed Love.

54

Jerky Turkey
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet of the pilgrim drawn by
Claude Smith in February 1944.

55
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Jerky Turkey
-
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Cel Paintings each 26.7 131.7 cm.
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lerky Turkey
Original Animation Drawings -
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Swing Shift Cinderella
Director: Tex Avery (August 25, 1945)
Production No.14l
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Prestor.r Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7110.7 cn.
Model sheet of the Wolf and the fairy
godmother, drawn by Claude Smith
in May 1944.

59 67
Swing Shift Cinderella
Original Ccl Paintings - each 26.7131.7 cm.

63

Swing Shift Cinderella
Original Cel Painting - 26.7131 .7 cm.

Swing Shift C;na"rrii,
Origir.ral Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 cn.
Taken from an animation sequence by Preston Blair.
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WiId and Woolfy
Director: TexAvery (November 3, 1945)
Production No. 142
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams, Preston Blair,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

oo
Wild and Woolfy
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Claude Smith in May 1944.

67
Wild and Woolfy
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.

68

Wild and Woolfy
Original Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

69

Wild and Woolfy
CelPainting 26.7131.7 cm.
80
I

82

enny in Lonesome Lenny (March g, 1946) is a parody of the childlike bruiser in Of Mice and
Men who doesn't know his own strength. A mountainous dog with a valley where his brain
should be, Lenny muses that all he wants "is a lit-tul friend to pet and to play with," while uncon-
sciously crushing bones to dust and crunching a tin food dish into a useless shape. His last little friend
"don't move no more," he says pulling from his pocket a bent and decidedly dead mouse. Screwy
Squirrel arrives as the new playmate and proceeds to make Lennie suffer for his friendship-radi-
cally reducing the dog's huge bulk in a steam cabinet (a large head on a tiny body), and then, with
the aid of alum, the opposite: shrinking Lennie's head to the size of a pimple on his big bod (as the
soundtrack speeds up to match the rate of the head's reduction). Lennie gets in his licks, too-hit-
ting Screwy with a boxing glove that contains not only horseshoes but an entire horsel The madness
stops briefly when Lennie and Screwy punch time clocks and break for lunch. "strong union," com-
ments the squirrel. Avery ends his series of shorts starring the admirably obnoxious Screwy by killing
him off; in the end, like Lennie's former mouse playmate, he don't move no more. Except to hold up
a sign reading "Sad ending, isn't it?" as we iris out. Bye, bye, Screwy. We hardly knew ye.
A suave, Charles Boyer-voiced, tuxedoed rooster promises a country hen (who sounds like
Katharine Hepburn) "more clothes than you've ever dreamed of " in The Hick Chick (hne t 5, 1946).
After driving her in a limo to the big city, he forces her to wash and iron tons of clothes in his huge
laundromat. The efforts of her boyfriend (a Mortimer Snerd look and sound-alike) to rescue her
makes the feathers fly in outlandish cockfights. The most audacious sight gag occurs when the vil-
lainous rooster jumps inside the supposedly severed neck of the hick rooster and they fight unseen
in the hick's belly, which distends and bounces around the screen. Must be seen to be believed.
A date of "9124144" on The Hick Chickmodel sheet reveals that the film was planned almost two
years before it was released. This sheet, and others designed by Claude Smith, capture the spirit and
fun of the final animation, and were no doubt an inspiration to Avery's animators. The designs offer
more than a hint of the personalities of the characters through economy of line, simple and highly
animatable shapes, and details regarding costumes, posture, and props.
Avery begins Northwest Hounded Police (Augtst 3, 1946) quietly (as he often did), before relent-
lessly building the pacing and the wild gags. The opening shots are stills (and therefore economical
from an animation point of view), relying on written gags to forward us into the kinetic meat of the
film. The cartoon opens on an island prison not unlikeAlcatraz,here called'Alka Fizz Prison,"where
"No Noose is Good Noose." The camera moves into the interior and pans past the warden's office
and the room next door, which contains a hospitable sign beckoning us to "Come in and have n 5s31"

in an electric chair!
Finally, we come upon our comic villain the Wolf, who, in order to escape from prison, does what
any self-respecting cartoon would do: he takes a pencil and draws a door. To avoid the warden's eye,
he twinkle-toes around the outline of the door frame of the jailer's office. Once he's outside, all hell
breaks loose on the soundtrack: sirens, drums, trumpets, NOISE! The Wolf hesitates for the sake of
yet another corny sign gag: he places a "Vacancy" sign on the prison wall. Perhaps he is slave to some
ancient, buried politeness that was drummed into him by Mama and Papa Wolf (or perhaps as a hope-
lessly anal-retentive type he compulsively needs to bring everything to closure). Sgt. McPoodle
(Droopy) of the Mounties is soon on his trail (riding a miniature blue horse), and relentlessly shows
I

83

up on land, underwater, in the air, wherever Wolf tries to hide. Wolf's attempts at evasion are ever-
imaginative and over-the-top: in a humble log cabin, for example, his slamming of dozens of doors
prefigures |oan Crawford's ridiculous opening of multiple window sashes' blinds, curtains, etc., in
Torch Song(1953), her brief return to MGM.In this film,Wolf runs awayso fast from Droopythat he
skids off the film frames into a milky white limbo, then back into the next scene inside a movie the-
ater, where guess-who appears on the screen.
Avery revisits the premis e of Dumb-Houndedfromthree years before, but here the design is slick-
er, the timing sharper, the Wolf 's wonderful takes more wild. For Droopy is literally everlwhere: hiding
in an egg in an eagle's nest atop a mountain; breaststroking with a school of tuna at the bottom of
the sea; even at the North Pole, he is holed up in a snowball that scores a direct hit on Wolf's head.
Droopy's mild greetings ("Boo!" or "Hello, |oe.") are, despite their bland predictability, always guar-
anteed to send the ever-surprised Wolf way over-the-top (to our delight). His prison garb's stripes
take on a multicolored pinwheel and barber pole shape-shifters that match Wolf's
life of their own as

extreme emotional takes. Finally, his body parts break completely apart for the ultimate Avery take.
Avery gave a couple of bear characters a whirl in a few films: George (big, slow and dumb) and
|unior (short, quicker, and less dumb) dress in rooster and worm suits to attract a plump hen they
hope to eat in Henpecked Hoboes (October 26, tg46). They remove a rival real rooster by attaching
him to a rocket that zooms to the North Pole, and he spends the rest of the movie struggling to get
back to the barnyard and come to the hen's rescue. Avery has fun imitating D.W Griffith: cutting
back and forth between the returning rooster and the bumbling bears.
I

84

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85

70
Lonesome Lenny
Director: Tex Avery (March 9,1946)
Production No. 143
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

7l and72
Lonesome Lenny
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 crr,.
I

86

73_75
Lonesome Lenny
Cel Paintings - each26.7131.7 cm.

76
Lonesome Lenny
Cel Painting - 32140 cm.
Publicity Illustration.
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77 79

The Hick Chick The Hick Chick
Director: Tex Avery (June 15, 1946) Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Production No. 144 Model sheet drawn by
Story: Heck Allen Claude Smith in September 1944.
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair,
and Walter Clinton BO
Music: Scott Bradley The Hick Chick
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 cm.
Cel Paintings - eac626.7131.7 cm.

8l
78
The Hick Chick
The Hick Chick
Original Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 crr,.
I

90

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N orthwest Hounded Police
Director: Tex Avery (August 3, 946)
1

Production No. 145
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets of Droopy and the Wolf
drawn by Claude Smith in November 1944.

83

Northwest Hounded Police
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7140 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

B4
Northwest Hounded Police 84
Cel Paintings - each 26.7131.7 cm.
97

85
Northwest Hounded Police
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

86 and 87
N or thw est Houn de d Polic e
Original Animation Drawings -
eacn zb.,/t51./ cm.

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Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

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Henpecked Hoboes
Director: Tex Avery (October 26,1946)
Production No. 148
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams, Preston Blair,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3L7 cm.

90
Henpecked Hoboes
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets of George and funior drawn by
Irven Spence in fanuary 1945.
Bums Awaywasthe film's first title.

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Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

93 and 94
Henpecked Hoboes
Original Animation Drawings (Scene No. 2) -
26.7131.7 cm.

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98

eorge and funior are back in Hound Hunters (April n,
ry47) and Red Hot Rangers (May 3,
ry+z); in the former short they are dogcatchers who dress as one big dog and gingerly try
to avoid having their privates sniffed by real dogs. The scatological implications return when
the bears dress as a big fire hydrant.
In the latter film, the bears are forest rangers trying to stamp out a persistent childlike, anthro-
pomorphic flame. Avery continues to beat up on cute Disney-ish characters; in the end the flame dies
and (of course) plays a harp on its way heavenward.
African Americans appear infrequently in Hollywood live-action films and cartoons of the peri-
od, and when they do they fill minor roles as stereotyped "darkies." Avery often used a black face as

a sight gag; after an explosion in Henpecked Hoboes, for example, a character is turned into a soot-

faced pickaninny. In Uncle Tom's Cabana |uly r9, rg47) , a black man is the title character, but he is
(

designed as a typically gross caricature of an African American with thick lips taking up the lower
half of his face. Uncle Tom is amiable and slow, not too bright, poor, elderly (and therefore sexless).
Remus-like, he is a dreamer and a fabricator of tall tales for children. (Disney's feature Song of the
Southwas released the year before.) The film opens in the middle of a plantation (natch), with Uncle
Tom telling a group of children about the time in the big city when he prevented foreclosure on his
tiny cabin (located in the middle of looming skyscrapers). The landlord, pointy-eared Simon Legree,
"rolling in dough," "two-faced," "a low-down snake," and so on. Tom decides
is literally depicted as
to transform his cabin into a nightclub and hires Little Eva (sexy Red, now living on a Tara-like plan-
tation atop a skyscraper) to sing and dance. As she swings a version of "Carry Me Back to OldVirginny"
to a sell-out crowd, Legree runs through a gamut of Wolf-like lust and erection metaphors; in one, a
cash registertraypops outof his groin spillingcash.Abattlebetween Tom andLegree follows inwhich
the black man is, among other things, blown up, sawed in hall fed to alligators, and tied to a railroad
track. He survives all these assaults like a proper cartoon, and finally tosses Legree and the Empire
State Building into the ocean. That a black man could best a white one (and in such a phallic way)
was a conclusion that would not be allowed to stand. In the final scene, Tom is killed bylightning as

a punishmentfor lyingabout his past, and his exit floating to heaven is less than dignified as his large
bareass leads the way.
Avery's efforts in ry47 are salvaged by that year's last two films, which are among his finest and
funniest. Slap Happy Llon (September zo, 1947) strings a gaggle of hilarious sight gags together on a
thin framework about a former king of the jungle reduced to being a nervous wreck due to a mouse
phobia. The lion's roar of domination in his prime (seen in flashbacks) and the reactions of his jun-
gle neighbors are consistently and wonderfully over-the-top. In one gag, he roars himself inside out;
in another, so exerted is the lion's effort to top his previous macho noise, his mane stretches and rips
from his head to become a skirt (as seen in six animation drawings here). After each aural attack, a
zebra is frightened out of its stripes, four scared snakes morph into tires that skid down a road, a kan-
garoo jumps into its own pouch and disappears, and so on.
Kng-Size Canary (December 6, 1947), considered by many to be one of Avery's masterworks, is
the classic catlmouse/bird/dog survival conflict carried logically, perfectly to an absurd conclusion.
Abottle of plant food called Jumbo-Gro is forced into a tiny, scrawny canaryby acat hoping to bulk
up the bird to a size that will appease his considerable hunger. The prey, however, becomes so huge
n

it looms over the cat, whq in order tci maintain a balance of powen irnbibes the elixir himself. Dog
and mouse get into the enlargementact and a ehaee of Ga-rgantuan mqnsters ensues througfr a city,
over Boulder Dam, the Grand Carryon, and atop the Rocky Mountains. FinaJly, cat and mouse are
poised toe tc toe miles abwe a basketball-sized earth.
r00

rt

95
Hound Hunters
Director: Tex Avery (April 12,1947)
Production No. 151
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
Preston Blair and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
95
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

96
Hound Hunters
Original Animation Drawing - 26.7131.7 cm.

97
Hound Hunters
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets of George and lunior drawn by
Irven Spence in April 1945. Hound Hunters
was produced under the title What Price
Fleadom, which later became the name of a
1948 cartoon.

9B

Red Hot Rangers
Director: Tex Avery (May 3, 1947)
Production No. I 50
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
Preston Blair, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets of George, Junior, and the
i51st6 { little flame, drawn by Irven Spence in
96 February 1945.
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Uncle Tom's Cabana
Director: TexAvery (July 19, 1947)
Production No. i52
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: llay Abrams, Preston Blair,
Robert Bentley, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradle).
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGIVI
Original Model Sheet 26.7140.7 cm.
l\4odel sheet of Ur.rcle Tom drarvn by
Walter Clinton in Novembe r 1945.
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Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.

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Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet of Simon Legree drawn by
Walter Clinton in 1945.
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Director: Tex Avery (September 20, 1947 ) Cel Painting - 26.7 131.7 crr,.
Production No. 154
Story: Heck AIIen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet of Flagada the lion, drawn
by Irven Spence in lrlly 1945.

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Original Animation Drawing
(Scene No. 44) - 26.7131.7 crr'.

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Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm
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Original Animation Drawings - 26.7131.7 cm
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King Size Canary
Director: TexAvery (December 6, 1947)
Production No. 156
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn January 1946.

t20
King Size Canary
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
I

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King Size Canary
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm.
Publicity illustration.

t2)
King Size Canary
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
|6

very's interest in matters of size swings widely from the gigantic to the minusctle. Wat Price
Fleadom (March zo, 1948), the first of three shorts featuring fleas, is a buddy film in which
a dog and his flea enjoy a close (a very close) relationship. Avery's penchant for pushing things
to extremes here inadvertently exposes the latent homosexuality in most Hollywood buddy flicks.
Homer the flea and his unnamed dog are men of the road (hoboes), a pair of loners who share every-
thing, from food to sleeping together to affectionate kisses. Tiue to buddy film format, their cozy
arrangement is broken up by a female flea, and the dog is devastated. ("He's the best flea I ever had!")
In the end the pair are reunited: Homer returns to his dog friend, with wife dutifully in tow, as well
as their umpteen Homer look-alike kids. Its a rather crowded arrangement, but what the hell: the
boys are back together again.
Avery remains in the realm of the teeny-tiny with Half-Pint Pygmy (August 7, 1948), a last ditch-
effort to make something out of the dumb-bear duo George and funior. Their lumpish re-design is
a mistake, making them look more generic and nondescript than before. The design of the pygmies
confirms the mindset of many white filmmakers of the period, i.e., that Africans and African
Americans all look alike. Some of the gags are standard-issue racist; for example, a pygmy enticed
from his hiding place by a slice of watermelon!
With Little'Tinker (May r5, 1948), the story of a cute skunk whose attempts to find interspecies
love is thwarted by body odor, a softer, more sentimental Avery peeks through the usual hard-edged
gag-fests. Though he dismissed them as "cutey-cutey," films like Little'Tinker, One Cab's Family (May
t7,r95z), Little Johnny Iet (Aprih 8, 1953), and Dixieland Droopy (December 4, 1954) have, underneath
the nonstop gags, a surprisingly sincere affection for the characters and an empathy for their predica-
ments. The skunk finally does find love with another skunk, a warm and fuzzy ending unusual for
Avery. However, the main set piece of the film is a very funny parody of crooner Frank Sinatra circa
1948, who was a big MGM star at the time, and the passionate avidity of his female "bobbysoxer" fans.
In the hopes of attracting a bunny lovet the skunk disguises himself in a "Frankie suit," affording an
opportunity for gags aplenty about the skinny frame of the popular crooner (his body disappears
behind a thin microphone stand, a feather on a scale outweighs him, he sings while receiving blood
plasma intravenously, et cetera). The erotic effect of his laid-backperformance on abevyof ladybun-
nies is an unleashing of female sexual heat to rivalAvery'sWolf: innocent-looking Disney-ish rabbits
swoon while bashing each other with mallets (and with each other), squeeze a bare tree so hard it
sprouts leaves, and so energizes an elderly rabbit she cartwheels out of a wheelchair, flips into the air
screaming in orgasmic pleasure, and dives directly and happily into a burial plot with a tombstone
labeled "Oh, Frankie!"
Lucky Ducky (October 9, ry48) is dedicated "to those duck hunters who leave at dawn with loaded
gun and return home late and loaded."Avery's fondness for duck hunting (which had its roots in his
Dallas, Texas, boyhood) first showed up on the screen at Warner Bros. in Porky's Duck Hunt (rgZZ),
which marked the debut of DaffyDuck. Here a tinymallard with a diabolical laugh and super-strength
(able to lift a motorboat out of the water and bash it back and forth with ease, able to tie rifles into
pretty iron ribbons, and so on) makes sport of two stupid duck hunters, who are George and funior
types now re-designed as hounds. One of Avery's most memorable sight gags occurs during a chase
when the characters suddenlv discover they have lost their rainbow colors and are now black and
t7

white. Wandering back a ways, they find a demarcation line and aiign explaining "Technicolor ends
here."
Avery finishes the year with The Cat That Hated People (November zo, t948) concerning a put-
upon pussy who has become misanthropic because of mistreatment by people "who are no darn
good." At one point the cat is stuffed into a milk bottle, an image that recalls Avery's belief that, in
order to get a laugh, animation must go far beyond live-action and anything a human actor can do.
"You couldn't possibly do that with Charlie Chaplin," he once told animation historian Joe Adamson,
"get him in a milk bottle." When the cat rockets himself to the moon for some peace and quiet, the
surreal anthropomorphic moon-critters he encounters are so loud and abusive, he yells "Fore!" and
swats himself with a golf club back to earth.
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What Price Fleadom
Director: (March 20, 1948)
Tex Avery
Production No. i59
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Robert Bentley, Gil Turner,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Gil Turner
and Walter Clinton in May 1946.

t24
What Price Fleadom
Cel Painting - 26.713I.7 cm.

t25
What Price Fleadom
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Gil Turner
and Walter Clinton in May 1946.
I

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Little'Tinker
Director: Tex Avery (May 15, 1948)
Production No. 164
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons,
Walter CIinton, and William Shull
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheets - each26.7l4O.7 cm.
Model sheets drawn by Louie Schmidt
in lune 1946.

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Merry Christmas and A Ducky New Year
Original watercolor illustration for MGM's 1948
greeting card, depicting a caricature of Tex Avery
and signed by several of his colleagues. The same
year Tex Avery directed Lucky Ducky, a cartoon
about duck huntine.
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Half-Pint Pyg*y
Director: Tex Avery (August 7, 1948)
Production No. 169
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Louie Schmidt, William Shull, and
Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheets - 26.7/40.7 cm.
Model sheets drawn by Louie Schmidt.

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Half-Pint Pyg*y
Cel Painting - 30/40 cm.
Publicity Illustration.
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Half-Pint Pygmy
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm
Publicity Illustration.

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Half-Pint Pygmy
Original Cel Painting and Background -
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Half-Pint Pygmy
Original Cel Painting - 26.7 131.7 cm.

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Original Poster - 80/120 cm.
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rECHNlc0 L0n Lucky Ducky
Director: TexAvery (May 15, 1948)
Production No. I 64
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Louie Schmidt, Grant Simmons,
Walter Clinton, and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Louie Schmidt
in March 1947.

137

Lucky Ducky
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

l38and 139
Lucky Ducky
Original Model Sheets - each26.7l4O.7 cm.
Model sheets drawn by Louie Schmidt
in March 1947.
t29

t40

140
The Cat That Hated PeoPle
Director: Tex Avery (November 20, 1948)
Production No. 171
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Louie Schmidt, William Shull,
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Louie Schmidt.

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The Cat That Hated People
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l..7 cm.

142
The Cat That Hated People
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.
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t37

ad Luck Blackie (fanuary zz, t949) may well be Avery's masterpiece, a classically structured
narrative about superstition and karma that confidently progresses the situation and gags to
an inevitable absurd conclusion. A tiny cat is tormented by a large bumptious bulldog with
a sinister wheeze and Sydney Greenstreet guffaw that Avery himself recorded. A final cruelty-a
mousetrap hidden in a bowl of milk-makes us keenly anticipate the dog's comeuppance. Retribution
arrives in the form of a black cat who offers the white kitten his services as a harbinger of bad luck.
Henceforth, whenever the kitten is in danger, he need only blow a whistle and the black cat (to the
tune of "Comin'Through the Rye") walks, sashays, trots, gallops and, in one instance, performs a

Russian folk dance in front of the dog. As a result, objects fall out of the sky and crash on the pooch's
head in increasingly alarming sizes. The unseen force sends earthward and targeted for the doggie's
cranium everlthing from a flowerpot to a grand piano, a steel safe to a horse. Avery stretches the
premise when white paint changes the color of the avenger cat and therefore the luck of the kitten.
The kitten comes to the rescue by applying black paint to himself, and head-bonkings continue. In
a further twist, the dog accidentally swallows the whistle, and his hiccups now rain trouble on him-
self as falling objects from the uncaring karmic force increase in size to steamroller, bus, airplane,
and finally ocean liner. The kitten is changed by the experience and not for the better. His lost inno-
cence is seen in his maniacal grin and heard in his diabolical wheezing laugh, the same as the
bulldog's at the beginning of the picture.
Droopy and the Wolf go south of the border to compete in bullfight in Senor Droopy (April 9,
a

1949), which features excellent and plausible animation of a number of magical gags. In one, a giant
bull disappears into the cape of the confident matador Wolf, who, like a magician, waves the cape to
produce an egg, from which the bull re-emerges. In another bit of conjury, Wolf compresses a door
through which the bull ran into several smaller and smaller doors, eventually throwing a tiny rec-
tangular shape on the ground. This is a mistake: the shapes reyerse in size and re-open as a cellar door
from which the enraged bull emerges. Placid Droopywins the bullfight when he gets "mad" and uses
his casual super-strength to fling the huge bull back and forth, around, and out of the stadium (see
animation drawings here). His "prize" is a live-action Latin American woman named Lina Romay,
who smiles absently as she pets the cartoon pooch.

Picturedisoneofthegagsin TheHouseofTomorrow(lune11,1949),aboutfuturehomeimprove-
ments when automation would supposedly make life easier. An electric shaver with arms, touted as

able to "remove everything" obviously goes too far. Most of the film's gags are cautionary, and the
supposed conveniences look either dangerous or silly. The most whimsical gag concerns what hap-
pens after the door closes on a refrigerator: as suspected, a tiny man in a derby, overcoat, and Dr.
Natural beard skitters in and turns off the light. MGM's tighter production budgets for the cartoons
are evident in the short's limited animation and the use of live-action. The sinister encroachment of
television is hinted at and will be the subject of its own "futuristic" short four years hence.
In DoggoneTired(luly3o,r94g) a rabbit induces insomnia in a hound dog so that he'll be too tired
to hunt him in the morning. Avery, master comedian that he is, spends considerable screen time at
the beginning setting up the premise: the overly lively dog is admonished repeatedly by the hunter
to "get a good night's sleep." The rabbit uses everything from water drips to light and noise to pre-
vent the dog from sinking into the arms of Morpheus.
The first of a number of pairings of Droopy as foil to the dog Spike begins with Wags to Riches
(August 73, t949). Droopy is the sole beneficiary of a fortune left by the late Master he shared with
I

t33

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Spike, who was left nothing in the will. However, a clause stipulates that if Droopy dies everything
goes to Spike. Thus encouraged, Spike attempts numerous times to murder Droopy; here he offers
a lethal cigar, which will backfire spectacularly on the duplicitous dog.
In Little Rural Riding Hood (September r7 1949), the last and arguably best of Avery's Wolf/Red
sex romps, the fun lies in the behavioral contrast between a visiting country wolf and his cousin in
the big city. The former is an excitable buck-toothed denim-clad clod who resembles Disney's Goofr,
and whose voice, in fact, was supplied by Pinto Colvig, the voice of Goofu. The city cousin is a tuxe-
doed ultrasophisticate with a honey-smooth Ronald Colman voice, who attempts to violently repress
his rube cousin's lustful outbursts during a nightclub show-a re-use of Preston Blair's animation
of Red's sleek song and dance from Swing Shift Cinderella.
The four drawings of Red above show not only what was exciting the wolf, but the technology
behind her appearance. After the lines of each of Blair's hundreds of original sequential drawings
were "cleaned up" and details added, an anonymous inker traced Red's image onto clear sheets of cel-
luloid acetate (known "cels"). Note the use of different colored inks, which lends a softness to the
as

design that using merely black ink would not. Next, on the reverse side of the cel, an "opaquer" care-
fully pushed thick paint of appropriate colors within the inked outlines. Currently both of these
tedious tasks are slowly being phased out by computers, which can scan in imagery from original
animation drawings (still made by hand for the most part) and digitally add the color.
The heroine of the title is a skinny, gawky hillbilly gal who uses her feet and toes eloquently to under-

score dialogue and handle props. Unprepossessing though she maybe to our eyes, to the goofr country
I

I

134

wolf (and in the finale, to the sophisticated city wolf as well), she is a babe-eroticism personified.
Waiting to surprise her in granny's bed, the country wolf works himself into a mini- frenzy using a
blanket as a surrogate Red while he repeats a lust-filled mantra: "I'm a-gonna chase her, and catch
her, and kiss her, and hug her, and love her, and hug her, and love her, and. . . ."
The silly and hilarious chase is interrupted by the arrival of a telegram from the city wolf touting
the beauty of city women over their rural counterparts. An enclosed photograph of a voluptuous show-
girl (the familiar Red once again) triggers numerous wild takes from the over-sexed country wolf,
including his body parts breaking apart and his eyeballs expanding to giant orbs that cover the length
of his body. The fickle rube speeds to the city so frenetically that his jalopy is reduced by friction to
mere atoms; he enters his cousin's high-rise apartment house using his buttocks as stumpy legs.
The appearance of chorine Red singing and high-kicking in a nightclub brings on another round
of country wolf's lusty fits and takes, which the cool city cousin represses violently, usually with a
large baseball bat or mallet. In one memorable scene, the countrywolf literally makes an ash of him-
self: dragging on a cigarette until his entire snout is burned and falls as ash on the table.
In Rural Red,the repressor/aggressor roles reverse when the city wolf drives his wornout cousin
back to the country and happens to take a gander at Rural ("Kiss me, mah fool!") Red. Now it is Mr.
Cool who snorts with desire. Now it is his body parts that fly apart (the center cannot hold), and he
literally gives her the big eye. For beauty is, obviously, in the eye (a giant one, too) of the beholder.
Droopy and Spike are back in separate films: in Outfoxed (November 5, D49), the understated
underdog outwits a cool, mannered British fox (a Ronald Colman voice again), while in Counterfeit
Cat (December 24, 1949) Spike wars with a cat who has a nasty habit of irritating dogs by tearing
their scalps off; pictured is a mild multi-orb take.

t43
Bad Luck Blackie
Director: Tex Avery (lanuary 22, 1949)
Production No. i75
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Louie Schmidt, William Shull,
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 26.7140.7 cm.

144
Bad Luck Blackie
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheet drawn by Louie Schmidt
in December 1946.

t45
Bad Luck Blackie
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

t46
Bad Luck Blackie
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.
I

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Senor Droopy
Director: Tex Avery (April 9, i949)
Production No. 185
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Bob Cannon, Preston Blair,
Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheets - each26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets drawn by Louie Schmidt
in December 1946.

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Senor Droopy
Original Animation Drawings -
each 26.7 l3l .7 cm.

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The House of Tomorrow
Director: Tex Avery (lune I I, 1949)
t52
Story: Rich Hogan and |ack Cosgriff
Senor Droopy Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Original Animation Drawings - and Walter Clinton
each26.7l3l.7 cm. Music: Scott Bradley
Taken from different phases in an Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
animation sequence. Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.
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Doggone Tired Doggone Tired
Director: Tex Avery (June 30, 1949) Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 crr,.
Production No. 190
Story: Rich Hogan and |ack Cosgriff
Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 crn.
Model sheet drawn by Louie Schmidt.
I

t42

156

r56
Wags To Riches
Director: Tex Avery (August 13, 1949)
Production No. 196
Story: Rich Hogan and Jack Cosgriff
Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

57 and I 58
Little Rural Riding Hood
Director: Tex Avery (September 17 ,1949)
Production No. 192
Story: Rich Hogan and Jack Cosgriff
Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Panoramic Layouts - each26.7l80 cm.
The characters sketched in red pencil indicate
animation placement against the background
setting.

159
Little Rural Riding Hood
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
t43
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Little Rural Riding Hood
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animation to the background.

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Little Rural Riding Hood
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
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163 and 164

Out-Foxed
Director: Tex Avery (November 5, 1949)
Production No. 187
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah, Grant
Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheets - each 26.7140.7 cm.
Model sheets of Reginald Fox and dogs.

t65
Out-Foxed
Original Animation Drawing
(Scene No. 61) - 26.7 l3l .7 cm.
t48

166

The Counterfeit Cat
Director: Tex Avery (December 24, 1949)
Story: Rich Hogan and Jack Cosgriff
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
fl pike and the cat team up again in Ventriloeluist Cat (May 27, r95o), represented here by a cou-

\ pf . of the sight gags. Spike (or what's left of him) clings to a kite after a firecracker explosion,
V a retread of a gag in Senor Droopy in which a bull tears through a cape leaving a gaping hole
andthe matador around the edges. Avery adds a nice touch when a duck leisurely glides through the
kite's hole oblivious to Spike and his predicament. In the second illustration, after yet another explo-
sion, the cat helpfully reveals to the audience what has embarrassed Spike so.
The Cuckoo Clock(lune ro, r95o) begins as a Poe parodywith a terrified cat in a spookyUsher-like
house, and segues into visualizing clich6s that reveal the cat's agitated state, such as "there was a ring-
ing in myears" (ears turn into bells),"I keptblowing mytop" (his pate pops repeatedly),"I felt myself
going to pieces" (one-by-one his body parts fall off). In Poe's Tell-Tale Hearr, it was the imagined beat-
ing of the old man's dead heart that pushed the narrator over the brink; in Avery's film "It was the
cuckoo!" a mindless cross-eyed bird in a clock, that drives the cat cuckoo and beyond.
In Gorden Gopher (September 3o, r95o) and The Chump Champ (November 4, r95o), Avery's
dilemma-trying to come up with variations on gags he has used umpteen times in other shorts-
is apparent. By r95o Avery had directed films for fourteen years, and his brand of visual humor had
become iconographic and predictable. Movie audiences knewthat if a character hits an anvil, he will
shatter; a gun won't shoot until it is pointed at the gun-carrier; when a character steps into an empty
street, he will be knocked down by a car that wasn't there a second before; if an explosion occurs in
or near a character's body, we will see through the body's shards while the character looks perplexed,
and so on. Avery's challenge was to make these gags slightly varied and surprising in the set-up or
the final pose. That he succeeded in doing so more often than not is a credit to his creative ingenu-
ity, and most of his shorts are marked by deft direction in their superb pacing and the timing and
delivery of individual gags.
The Peachy Cobbler (December 9, r95o) is very funny in its take-no,prisoners, vitriolic attack (once
again) on cozy fairytales and Disney's alleged sentimentality. A poor old shoemaker and his wife (so
decrepit and palsied they shake constantly and violently) give their last crust of bread ("Whole wheatl"
sobs the narrator) to a tree full of birds, who happen to be magic elves in disguise. While the shaky
goody-goody twosome sleep, the elves decide to surprise them and launch into a series of gags about
repairing shoes. Avery also throws in a dance concert performed by the elves inside of various
footwear: wooden shoes do a clog dance, ballet slippers perform on point, clodhoppers kick into a
hoedown, and a pair of strutting suede boots striptease down to fuzzy bedroom slippers. The old
cobbler and his wife celebrate the surprise repairs by shedding their shakes to swing into a brief,
frenetic jitterbug.
I

t5l

l67and 168

Ventriloquist Cat
Director: Tex Avery (May 27 , 1950)
Production No. 208
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradiey
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings and Backgrounds - 26.7131.7 crr,.
I

t57

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t69
169

The Cuckoo Clock
Director: TexAvery (June 10, 1950)
Production No. 174
Story: Rich Hogan
Animatior.r: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet 26.7140.7 cnt.
Model sheet of the cuckoo drawn March 1948.

t7a t])
The Cuckoo Clock
Cel Paintings - eaeh 2o.7/31.7 cm.
I

t53

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t74

114 and 175
The Chump Champ
Director: Tex Avery (November 4, 1950)
Production No.213
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings - each26.7131.7 cm.

]3
Garden Gopher
Director: TexAvery (September 30, 1950)
Production No.21l
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Model Sheet - 26.7140.7 cm.
I

I

t55

tl6
The Peachy Cobbler
Director: Tex Avery (December 9, 1950)
Production No.217
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Layout - 26.7131.7 cm.
Pencil drawing by Ed Benedict to indicare
placement of animation against background.

t77
The Peachy Cobbler
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.

t
t
I

t58

PA (United Productions of America) was a studio that incorporated elements of modern
art into animation. Their fresh style, personified by Gerald McBoing Boing, which won a

rg5rAcademyAward, consisted of flat two-dimensional designs, poster-bold coloring, and
limited, economical animation. The UPA look was emulated by most of the cartoon industry, includ-
ing MGM. Avery welcomed the change for budgetary reasons-the new economical style was cheaper
than full animation or naturalistic design and rendering. He also felt streamlined character designs
and simple backdrops made the gags "read" better. However, with the removal of Disney"illusion of
life" believability, something was lost. The plausibility of Avery's impossible world, which depended
on weight and solidity to fully create its surprises, was compromised.
Spike and Droopy carry this year for the most part, sometimes together, sometimes solo. In Cock-
A-Doodle Dog (February ro, r95r), a desperate-for-sleep-Spike tries to silence an insanely compulsive
rooster's ultra-annoying crow, and finally succumbs himself to madness. Avery's rooster is a magi-
cal bird upon which no harm falls, not unlike Chuck Jones's The Roadrunner, another feathered
creature that does-what-it's-gotta-do unaware of the murder-inducing effect it has on others. When
Spike saws a box into single pieces of wood, the rooster survives to pop its head out of a knot hole
and crow again; later the bird nonchalantly takes a chomp out of a bomb Spike has disguised as an
apple and finds it delicious. The disbelieving dog imitates said chomp, and the snack blows up in his
mouth, Ioosening his big square white teeth, which fall to form an igloo on his tongue.
with animation's capacity to make the impossible plausible and funny. For
As usual, Avery has fun
example, Spike draws a door on his stomach and waits to bop the bird, who (of course) opens the
graphite door and enters the nonplused canine. In another scene the pair sneak backward toward
each other, and when their feet touch the sneak continues up into midair, the paws of the dog and
the claws of the rooster providing their only support as they ascend. After a midair take, Spike swings
a club only tohit himself and becomes the shape of a stricken dive-bombing airplane, hitting and
skidding on the ground, an up-ended crumpled dog-like flying machine.
Dare-Devil Droopy (March 3r, r95r) and Droopy's Good Deed (May 5, r95r) pit both dogs against
each other in redundant competitions, Spike attempting to best Droopy in underhanded ways that
always backfire. Spike is driven mad again tn Droopy's DoubleTrouble (November r7 r95r), which offers
both Droopy and his identical twin brother Drippy, a tough dog from the wrong side of the tracks
who possesses super-human strength. Spike is a bum with a brogue seeking a handout, who is
promised food and gentle treatment by Droopy; however, look-alike brother Drippy violently pre-
vents Spike from getting either.
The new limited animation and simplified design of Avery's cartoons is apparent in The Car of
Tomorrow (September zz, t95t), a dull listing of mostly motionless sight gags (a plunging neckline
for a woman's car "revealing the entire fan" and a "rear-end bustle") . Symphony in Slang (June 16,
r95r) is also selective in its motion and highly stylized, but decidedly more successful. A jive-talking
Danny Kaye type who has died and gone to heaven tells the story of his life in hep-cat lingo to St.
Peter and a confused Noah Webster, who literally visualize his words and familiar expressions, such
as "I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth" (an infant makes with a stainless steel grin), "I was
beside myself with anger" (twins sit next to a red-faced personification of rage labeled "anger"), and
so on.
t59

It is reminiscent of the literalizations seen in The Shooting of Dan McGoo. But here, the new
design-flat, angular, simplified, and imaginatively colorful (very UPA) has taken over. In his direc-
tion, Avery alternates fully animated characters in certain scenes with absolutely still drawings in
others. The opening, for example, is merelytwo paintings of clouds as the camera trucks in closer to
the Pearly Gates. Within the cartoon, three scenes concerning the hero's girlfriend contain no motion,
nor do they need it. The throwaway visual gags are obvious but enough for a chuckle: "Her dress fit
her like a glove" (a red cocktail dress with a flair of four fingers and a thumb in back), "Her hair was
done up in a bun" (a Big Mac wrapped around ponytail), "she had good-lookin'pins" (standing on
a

two safety pin legs, one open for an attempted elegant pose). TWo drawings are used to illustrate "Cat
got your tongue."
The pictorializations are fun in their obviousness:'A tear ran down my cheek" (a tiny teardrop
sprouts legs and trots-hoofbeats on the soundtrack-down a man's face), "Mary was going around
with an old flame" (a walking bonfire with top hat and cane strolls with Mary on his fiery arm into
a nightclub), "I heard it from the grapevine" (vine leaves morph into whispering lips).
I

r50

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Cock-A-Doodle Dog
Director: Tex Avery (February 10, I 95 I )
Production No.2l8
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Layout (Scene No. 43-45) - 26.71120 cm.
Panoramic pencil drawing by Ed Benedict
to relate animation to background.
I

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Cock-A Doodle Dog
Cel Perintings - each 26.7/131.7 cm.

tB0
Cock-A-Doodle Dog
Original L;ryout (Scene No.22) - 26.7150 cnt.
Pencil drawing by Ed Benedict
to re latc animatiot.t to background.

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Dare-Deyil Droopy
Director: Tex Avery (March 31, 1951)
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm.
t63
I

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l84and 185

Droopy's Good Deed
Director: Tex Avery (May 5, 195l )
Production No.222
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cn't.
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Symphony In Slang Symphony In Slang
Director: TexAvery (June 16, 1951) Original Gouache Background
Production No. 226 (Scene No. 16) - 26.7 131.7 cm.
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, t90
and Walter Clinton Symphony In Slang
Music: Scott Bradley
Layout (Scene No.72) 26.7131.7 cm.
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Pencil drawing to relate animation to background.
Original Gouache Background
(Scene No. 8) - 26.7131.7 cm.
9l
r88 Symphony In Slang
Symphony In Slang Layout (Scene No. 54) - 26.7131.7 cm.
Pencil drawing to relate animation to background.
Original Layout (Scene No.8) 26.7/31.7 cm.
Pencil drawing to relate animation to background.
I

t76

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197

Car Of Tomorrow
Director: Tex Avery (September 22, 195l)
Prodr,rction No. 236
Story: Rich Hogan
Animatior.r: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott 13radley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 26.713iL7 cm.

93

D ro opy's D o uble Tr ouble
Directur: TexAvery (November 17, 1951)
Procluction No. 238
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
N{uslc: Scott Bradle),
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Paintings and Original Background -
each 26.7/31.7 cm.
The second Droopy, on the desk, cloes not
belor.rg in this scene.

94
D ro opy's D ouble Trouble
Cel Painting - 32.7131.7 cm.
I

78

scorned magician wreaks havoc on the great baritone Poochini (Spike) in Magical Maestro
(February 9, 1952). During a concert, rabbits and assorted props appear and disappear as

the singer gamely tries to focus on his performance, which itself changes each time a dif-
ferent costume pops on and off him. This short contains one ofAvery's most famous (and notorious
gags): a hair seemingly caught in the film projector's gate. The hair twitches annoyingly for a couple
of scenes in the lower left side of the screen, until Poochini stops singing and casuallyplucks and toss-
es it away. The gag is perfectly set up, and the movement of the hair quite realistic (it slides out of
frame a couple of times before getting "caught" again); so real is the gag that conscientious projec-
tionists in theaters around the country complained to MGM about being duped. A label was then
slapped onto each film can warning that the "hair" in the film is not real and should be ignored.
The generation gap is explored with deft humor, warmth, and sentiment but not sentimentality
in One Cab's Family (.May ry, r95z).
An anthropomorphic taxi cab and his spouse discover that not
only does their son refuse to join papa's bourgeois occupation, but he is a hot rod with a "fox-tail,
hopped-up motor, double end pipes, dual carburetors and oversized valves." The young rebel-with-
out-a-cause is a r95os speed-mad juvenile delinquent, a constant worry to his parents who fear he
may also be into drugs when they find him "filling up with ethyl!" In the end, junior saves dad from
a train crash by sacrificing himself (emulating Pinocchio's proof-of-love). In turn, emergency surgery
saves the kid's life and mom and dad are pleased when he dutifully dons the cab "uniform." However)

underneath the make-over the souped-up carburetor and twin pipes remain. Moral: what the old
folks don't know won't hurt 'em.
"r HArES NorsE!"bellows theworld's loudestbearinRock-A-ByeBear(lulytz,t95z) to Spike whose
job it is to ensure peace and quiet. The bear hibernates in a cave located within the bedroom of his
middle class, lace-curtained, suburban house. A Droopy-like pup, who is after Spike's job, tries to
shatter the tranquillityby sticking Spike with a pin, hitting him with a hammer, putting a firecrack-
er on his tongue, and so on. To preyent the bear from hearing the various screams, yelps,
explosions-and, in one case, a belch when he is fed milk and burped like a baby-Spike runs each
time to a faraway hillside to let out the painful noise. Although personality was not one of Av.ery's
major concerns, he was careful to maintain consistency regarding Droopy's character by not choos-
ing him for the role of Spike's tormentor. Droopy,like Bugs Bunny, does not react without cause, and,
being naturally sweet-tempered, does not exhibit jealousy nor initiate cruelties except in self-defense.
I

179

A,U ETRO . OO LDW ril -'}IAYE R

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t95
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t96

r95 t96
Magical Maestro Magical Maestro
Director: TexAvery (February 9, 1952) Cel Paintings and Original Background
Production No.233 (Scenes No. 17,19,20,29) - each26.7l3l.7 cm.
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton.
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.
I

tBl

r98

97 98
Magical Maestro Magical Maestro
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3I.7 cm. Cel Painting ar.rd Background - 26.7 131.7 cm.
Publicity illustration.

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200

t99
One Cab's Family
Director: Tex Avery (May 17,1952)
Production No.234
Story: Rich Hogan and Roy Williams
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Poster - 80/120 cm.

200
()ne Cab's Family
Cel Paintings and Original Background
(Scene No. 59) - each 26.7131.7 cm.

20 I

One Cab's Family
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
I

8,+

no

)47
One Cab's Family
Ccl Paintings and Original Background
(Sccne No.47) - each 26.713L7 cnt.

)43
Rock A-Bye Bear
I)irector: TexAverv (Julv 12, 1952)
Productron No. 239
Storr': Ricli Hogan ancl Hc'ck Allen
Anirnation: l\lichael Lah, (irant Sinrmons,
ernd Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Brerdley
Produccr: Frecl Qurrnbv MCiNI
(iel Parntrng 26.7131.7 cnt.
t86

B-29 bombing plane in Little lohnny let (Aprih 8, 1953) is a World War II combat vet with a
Purple Heart who can't get a job because of the switchover to modern jet planes (he has only
propellers). Basically, this is a re-hash of One Cab's Familr, a son (born a jet) is rejected by
his father,who is then rescuedbythe kid. Butinthis film andtwo that follow-TV ofTomorrow(June
6, ryfi) and The Three Lixle Pzps (Decemb er 26, t953)-there is a tacit fear and resentment regard-
ing technological change that perhaps reflects director Avery's concern about his own work and career
at the time. The Papa jet complains of feeling "burned out," a phrase that Avery used to describe him-
self to a colleague. Attempts to adapt to changing graphic styles in the animation industry, television's
insidious encroachment, the diminishment of the market for theatrical cartoons, and the possibili-
ty that one might have had a distinguished past but no future (as obsolete as a prop plane) are hints
of personal concerns that weave through Avery's films during his final years at MGM.
In TV of Tomorrow,television is a technological threat to real life pleasures and experiences. Even
the thrill of fishing in the great outdoors (one of Avery's favorite sports) will be replaced by a visual
simulation confined within four walls. The banality of television-represented by a generic black-
and-white live-action cowboy shoot 'em up-infects every channel and even the first broadcast from
Mars. In The Three Little Pups, which reaches back to The Blitz WoIf for a parody re-take on Three
Linle Pigs, the dogs avidly watching television and ignoring the Wolf and the film's plot. "Humph!
Television!" snorts the Wolf derisively. Fifty-five-year-old Avery shows signs of burnout when he re-
uses hoary old gags, such as the bulky Wolf sneaking behind thin trees, and relies heavily on dialog
for humor. The distinctive slow drawl of the Wolf was voiced by voice actor Daws Butler, an Avery
discovery; ironically, Daws's drawl would soon gain fame on television as Hanna-Barbera's
Huckleberry Hound in a series noted for its maximum dialog and minimal animation. In general,
Avery's films hint at his unhappiness regarding change: in Johnny Jef the smog is briefly blown away
from Los Angeles, returning the city to the clear air and bright sun that Avery enjoyed when he first
came to the city to begin his career twenty-five years before.
t87

204
TV Of Tomorrow
Director: Tex Avery (lune 6, 1953)
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7 131.7 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

205
Little lohnny Jet
Director: TexAvery (April 18, 1953)
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michaei Lah, Ray Patterson,
Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Backgrounds: Iohn Didrik Johnsen
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting - 26.7 /31.7 cm.
IBB

206

206
The Three Little Pups
Director: Tex Avery (December 26,1953)
Production No. 269
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Backgrounds: Vera Ohman
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting and Background - 26.7131.7 cm.
Publicity Illustration.

241 2tA
The Three Little Pups
Original Model Sheets - each 26.7 131.7 cm.
Model sheets of the Wolf and Droopy.
I

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t92

very's ambivalence trying to adapt to the new UPA-influenced graphic style is apparent in
the way his later films swing from flat character and set designs, as in Billy Boy (May 8, 1954)
and Farm of Tomorrow (September 18, 1954), to
fullel more realistic renderings in the back-
grounds of Drag-A-Long Droopy (February zo, t954) and Homesteader Droopy (|uly ro, 1954). The
direction of both Drag-A-Long and Homesteaderhas a lot of fun and verve; Avery and scriptwriter
Allen obviously enjoyed reworking familiar Wild West turf again, this time the grazing land wars
between cattlemen (represented by the Wolf) and sheep herders (Droopy), and (in the latter film)
pioneer settlers staking a land claim.
In contrast, Avery's distinctive direction is barely evidentin Farm of Tomorrow, a uniformly bor-
ing, flat catalog of mechanization jokes. Hewas apparentlydefeatedbylame jokes such as:What does
science get when it crosses an owl with a billy goat? Answer:A hootenanny. Billy Boybrings back the
lethargic, slow-talkin' Wolf and pairs him with one of Avery's cute, compulsive tiny terrors. This time
it is a baby goat who eats everything. In his first entrance, he gets down to business and devours a
carpet, sofa, wallpaper, curtains, reduces a globe of the earth to an apple core, and munches the Wolf 's

overalls and most of his right arm. Naturally, Avery pushes the situation to the limit: the goat even-
tually devours the moon.
Finishing out the yeartwo more flea stories that feature music prominently and are among
are
Avery's most sparkling and charming films: The Flea Circus (November 6, ry54) and Dixieland
Droopy (December 4, 1954). The former is a backstage love story at a "Cirque des Fleas" in Paris where
a Droopy-voiced clown is rejected by Fifi, the tempestuous, self-absorbed star of the show. The audi-
ence uses magnifring glasses to watch the fleas (represented as tiny dots) go through their paces: a
dot swallows a sword, a bunch of dots perform acrobatics, a dot plays the piano, and so on. The crowd
goes wild when Fifi and her high-kicking chorines perform a Busby Berkeley number:

Applause, applause!
Vociferous applause
From orchestra to balcony
Could mean a raise in salary.

The performance ends for good when the fleas see a dog wandering backstage and pile on the hap-
less pooch. He runs to a nearby pond to drown his troubles and all the fleas perish, except for the
clown who rescues Fifi. Theymarryin Notre Dame Cathedral (the happycouple are seen as two dots,
one with a tiny trailing veil, moving down the church aisle's red carpet). Soon, Fifi is pregnant; at the
hospital the nervous father-to-be is a dot pacing back and forth and puffing on cigarette butts. So
many children are born that they repopulate the circus, save the owner from ruin, and go on with
the show!
In Dixieland Droopy, one dog's dream of conducting a Dixieland band at the Hollywood Bowl leads
him to practice, practice, practice with a recording. A shot at the big time actually happens when "Pee-
Wee Runt and his All Flea Dixieland Band" jump aboard his rear end. Droopy (called John Pettibone
in the film) now practices with a real band (he conducts his rear end), and several music/motion gags
follow. For example, during a chase the music slows down as Droopy gets stuck on a tar road, or is
completely silenced when he passes by a hospital. The bouncy Dixieland music is infectious (no flea
pun intended) and Avery matches its bounce and liveliness with extraordinarily deft direction.
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Pencil drawing by Ed Benedict to relate animation
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Drag-A-Long Droopy
Director: Tex Avery (February 20,1954)
Production No. 27 I
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michacl Lah, Ray Patterson,
Robc.rt Bentley, Grant Simmons, and
Walter Clinton
Designer: ohn Didrik Johnscn
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Music: Scott 13radley
Producer: Fred Quimby MCIM
Original Clouache Background by
lohn Didrik Johnsen (Scene No. I)
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Original Layout (SceneNo.40) 26.7/31.7cm.
Pencil drawing by Ed Benedict to relate animation
to background.

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Original Cel Painting and Background -
26.7 131.7 cm.
I

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Billy Boy
Director: TexAvery (May 8, 1954)
Production No.272
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MCM
Original Layout - 26.7131.7 cm.
Model sheet of Billy and the Wolf.

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Original Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cm.
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Ct'l Painting and C)riginal (louache Background Director: -lex A\.ery (Novernber 6, 1954)
(Scene No. 2) 26.7131.7 cnt. Production No. 280
Story: Heck AIlcn
)B Animation: Niichael Lah, Robcrt Bentler,,
Homesteader Droopy Clrant Simmons, and \{alter Clinton
Backgrouncls: Joe Ivlontcll
Director: Ter Ar.ery ( lulv I 0, I 954 )
lvlusic: Scott Braclle,v
Production No. 276
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Story: Heck Allcn
Original i\{odel Sheet 26.7131.7 ctt.
Animatior.r: Michacl Lah, Robert tsentlcy,
i\lodel sheet of NIiss Fifi drawn ir.r luly 1952.
Grant Silnmor.rs, and Walter Clir.rton
13erckgrounds: john Didrik f ohnsen
N{usic: Scotl Ilradley
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Proclucer: Fred Quimbv MGM Dixieland Droopy
(icl Paintirig '26.7131.7 cm. I)irector: Tex Avery (l)ecember 4, 1954)
Publicity Illustrartior.r. Story: Heck Alle n
Anirration: lvlichael Lah, Grant Simmons,
)19 andT)0 irncl Waltcr Clinton
The Farnt Of I'onorrow l3ackgrounds: Joe Montell
Music: Scott tsradlev
Director: Tcx Avery (Septenber I 8, 1 954)
Proclucer: F'red Quinby - MC}\,I
Production No. 278
Cel Painting - 26.7131.7 cn1.
Story: Heck AIlcn
Animation: Michael Lah, Robert Bentley,
Grant Simmor.rs, ancl \\ralter Clinton
Backgrouncls: Joe Montell
lVlusic: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby MCiM
Cel Paintings - cach 26.7/31.7 cn.
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y the time the following pictures were released, Avery had left MGM and was directing at the
Walter Lantz Studio. Below are fifteen tiny story-sketches drawn byAvery for one of the four
Lantz pictures he directe d: Chilly Willy in the Legend of Rockabye Point (1955). The hurried-
ly rendered little sketches, while not particularlywell-drawn, brim with vitality and would have been
inspiring to animators. As directorial doodles, they are models of clarity in suggesting the staging of
visual gags, in suggestions of personality, and even comic timing. Chilly Willy, a penguin once
described by Joe Adamson as "Droopy with a tuxedo," does not appear in the drawings, but an Avery
bear and bulldog do. The film is another variation on Deputy Droopy and Rock-a-Bye Bear andwe
can clearly see from the actions and poses in the story-sketches familiarAvery ideas for slapstick gags
and surreal cartoon notions.
Pictured later are three of the better sight gags in Field and Scream (April3o, 1955), another mun-
dane catalog, this time of fishing and hunting gags. The "nude" dog is a retriever "so smart he's almost
human"; the two drawings of a fish attacking a man's head is a warning against pinning fishing lures
on one's hat; in a dozen sequential drawings, a wounded mallard bails out of his own carcass and
lives to give a triumphantrazzberry to off-screen gun-mad hunters.
The First Bad Man (April 3c, rg54) is another Heck Allen tall Texas tale and another weak effort.
Narrator Tex Ritter takes us back to Dallas circa One Million B.C. when rustlers rode dinosaurs and
eyeryone lived inside of rocks. The first prehistoric jail chipped from stone is seen in a layout draw-
ing; not seen is the first bad man who, loincloth and all, is still inside today waiting (with a small
dinosaur) for parole.
Deputy Droopy (October 28, t955), co-directed by Michael Lah (an Avery animator since 1949), is
a re-do of Rock-A-Bye Bear from three years earlier: two cowpokes try to quietly steal gold from a
sheriff's safe. Loyal Deputy Droopy, though tied up, gives the would-be thieves nonstop pain, forc-
ing them to run to a hill outside of town in order to Iet out their assorted "Yipes!" screams, and yells.

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Variations include yelling into milk bottle and releasing the captured sound later on the hill, phon-
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ing in the pain, and switching a calm head for an agitated about-to-scream head. The timing of the
gags is sharp and funny, and Deputy Droopywould have been a fine ending to Avery's career at MGM.
His final effort, however, is a disappointing work, Cellbound(November 25, 1954), in which he again
shared co-direction credit with Michael Lah. In Cellbound, a prisoner uses a spoon for twenty years
to dig himself out of jail and ends up in the warden's television set where he is forced to pretend to
be all the performers on every channel. The frenetic "performance" of the desperate prisoner play-
ing all the parts eventually drives him insane. The short has few funny moments, and is half-baked
in its execution with an overall exhausted feel.
Cellbound can be seen as a metaphor for Avery's career and emotional state at the time. The dates
of the prisoner's incarceration-seen in a calendar montage as 1934 to 1954-nearly match (to with-
in one year) the span of Avery's directing career from its beginnings at Warners (1935) to its end at
MGM. By that time, Avery was a prisoner of his past successes: with each film he felt an intense need
to maintain his reputation as a director. Insular and driven, he kept his own counsel, working essen-
tially alone, a compulsive micro-manager whose control of all aspects of a production led to creative
exhaustion and self-doubt.
In Cellbound, the prisoner digs himself out of jail and briefly tastes freedom, but soon is trapped
within a television box. Similarly,Averyleft MGM and immediatelywentto Lantz for a single unhap-
pyyear. Given the changes in the industry it was only a matter of time before television would become
his ultimate destination. He would escape one "pri5en"-1hs lreadmill of turning out repetitious gag-
Iilled theatrical shorts-only to end up in another, the limited formats and restrictive creative range
oftelevisioncommercialsandTVseries. Inlittlemorethan adozenyears,TexAverydescendedfrom
the exuberance, playfulness, and boastful confiden ce of The BlitzWolfto the despair, mechanization,
and madness of Cellbound.
I

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223 225
Field And Scream
Director: Tex Avery (April 30, 1955)
Production No.284
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton 2)6
Backgrounds: Iohn Didrik Johnsen
Music: Scott Bradley Field And Scream
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Cel Paintings - each 26.7 131.7 cm.
Cel Paintings - each26.7l3l.7 cm. Different stages of an animation sequence.
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The First Bad Man
Director: Tex Avery (September 30, I 955)
Productior.r No. 286
Story: He ck AIIe n
Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
Grant Simmons, and Waltcr Clinton
Backgrounds: lohn Didrik Johnsen
Music: Scott Bradley
Narrator: Tcx Ritter
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Original Layout (Scene No.3) 26.7/31.7 cm.
Pencil drawing to relate animation to background.

7)B and)79
DepLtty Droopy
Dircctor: Tex Avery and Michael Lah
(October 28, I 955)
Production No. 288
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse,
Lewis Marshall, Michael Lah, Ray Pattersor.r,
and Walter Clinton
Designer: Vera Ohman
Music: Scott Bradley
Produccr: Fred Quimby - M()M
Original Cel Paintings - each 26.7/31.7 cm.
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230
Cellbound
Director:
Tex Avery and Michael Lah
(November 25, 1955)
Production No.291
Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse, Michael Lah,
and Irven Spence
Backgrounds: Vera Ohman
Models: Ed Benedict
Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Cel Painting and Original Gouache Background
(Scene No. 4) each 26.7131.7 cm.
I

219

MGY Fi lmography
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THE BLITZ WOLF WHAT,S BUZZIN, BUZZARD THE SHOOTING OF DAN McGOO
Director: Tex Avery (August 22, 1942) Director: Tex Avery (November 27 , 1943) Director:Tex Avery (March 3, 1945 )
Story: Rich Hogan ProductionNo. ll9 HrooucUon l\o. lJl
Animation: Ed Love, Irven Spence, RayAbrams, Story: Rich Hogan Story: Heck Allen
and Preston Blair Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
Music: Scott Bradley and Preston Blair and Preston Blair
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Nominated for the Oscar for Best Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Animation Drawing.
SCREWBALL SQUIRRET JERKY TURKEY
THE EARLY BIRD DOOD IT Director: Tex Avery (April l, 1944) Director: Tex Avery (April 7, 1945)
Director: Tex Avery (August 29, 1942) Production No. 107 Production No. 138
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Heck Allen Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Irven Spence, Ray Abrams, Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abralns, Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams,
and Preston Blair and Preston Blair and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby MCM

DUMB-HOUNDED BATTY BASEBALL SW/NG SHIFT CINDERELLA
Director: TexAvery (March 20, 1943) Di rector: Tex Avery ( April 22, 1,9 44) Director: Tex Avery (August 25, 1945)
Production No. 92 Story: Rich Hogan Production No. 141
Story: Rich Hogan Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Irven Spence, RayAbrams, and Preston Blair Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams,
and Preston Blair Music: Scott Bradley and Preston Blair
Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quirnby - MGM
HAPPY-GO-NUTTY
RED HOT RIDING HOOD Director: TexAvery (June 24, 1944) WILD AND WOOLFY
Director: TexAvery (May 8, 1943) Production No. 132 Director: Tex Avery (November 3, 1945)
Production No.93 Story: Heck Allen Production No. 142
Story: Rich Hogan Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams, Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, and Preston Blair Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair,
and Preston Blair Music: Scott Bradley and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
BIG HEEL-WATHA
WHO KILLED WHO? Director: Tex Avery (october 21,1944) LONESOME fENNy
Director: Tex Avery (lune 19, 1943) Production No. I 15 Director: Tex Avery (March 9, I 946)
Production No.94 Story: Heck Allen Production No. 143
Story: Heck Allen Animation: Ed Love, RayAbrams, Story: Heck AIlen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, and Preston Blair Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair,
and Preston Blair Music: Scott Bradley and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
THE SCREWY IRUANT
ONE HAM,S FAMILY Director: TexAvery (January 13, 1945) THE HICK CHICK
Director: Tex Avery (August 14, 1943) Production No. I 36 Director: TexAvery (lune 15, 1946)
Production No.97 Story: Heck Allen Production No. 144
Story: Rich Hogan Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, and Preston Blair Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair,
and Preston tslair Music: Scott Bradley and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
I

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NORTHI4/EST HOUNDED POLICE LITTLE'TINKER WAGS TO R/CHES
Director: TexAvery (August 3, 1946) Director: TexAvery (May 15, 1948) Director: TexAvery (August 13, 1949)
Production No. 145 Production No. 164 Production No. 196
Story: Heck Allen. Story: Heck Allen Story: Rich Hogan and iack Cosgriff
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair, Animation: Robert Bentley, Grant Simmons, Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
and Walter Clinton. Walter Clinton, and William Shull Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM

HENPECKED HOBOES HALF-PINT PYGMY LITTLE RURAL RIDING HOOD
26,1946)
Director: TexAvery (October Director: TexAvery (August 7, 1948) Director: TexAvery (September 17,1949)
Production No. 148 Production No. 169 Production No. 192
Story: HeckAllen Story: HeckAllen Story: Rich Hogan and lack Cosgriff
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair, Animation: Louie Schrnidt, William Shull, Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
and Walter Clinton and Walter Clinton Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM

HOUND HUNTERS LUCKY DUCKY OUT-FOXED
Director: TexAvery (Apr1l12,l9 7) Director: TexAvery (May 15, 1948) Director: TexAvery (November 5, 1949)
ProductionNo.151 ProductionNo. 164 ProductionNo. l8T
HeckAllen
Story: Story: Rich Hogan Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair, Animation: Louie Schmidt, Grant Simmons, Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah,
and Walter Clinton Walter Clinton, and Preston Blair Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM

RED HOT RANGERS THECATTHAT HATED PEOPLE THE COUNTERFEIT CAT
Director: Tex Avery (May 3, 1947) Director: Tex Avery (November 20, 1948 ) Director: Tex Avery (December 24, 1949)
Production No. 150 Production No. 171 Story: Rich Hogan and lack Cosgriff
Story: Heck Allen. Story: Heck Allen Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair, Animation: Louie Schmidt, William Shull, and Walter Clinton
and Walter Clinton Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
YENTRIIOQUIST CAT
UNCLE TOM'S CABANA BAD LUCK BLACKIE Director: TexAvery (May27,\950)
Director: Tex Avery (Jttly 19,1947) Director: Tex Avery (January 22, 1949) Production No. 208
Production No. 152 Production No. 175 Story: Rich Hogan
Story: Heck Allen Story: Rich Hogan Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Animation: Ray Abrams, Preston Blair, Animation: Louie Schmidt, William Shull, and Walter Clinton
Robert Bentley, and Walter Clinton Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
THE CUCKOO CLOCK
SLAP HAPPY LION SENOR DROOPY Director: Tex Avery (June 10, 1950)
Director: TexAvery (September 20,1947) Director: TexAvery (April 9, 1949) Production No. 174
Production No. 154 Production No. 185 Story: Rich Hogan
Story: Heck Allen Story: Rich Hogan Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Animation: Bob Cannon, Preston Blair, and Walter Clinton
and Walter Clinton Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley and Walter Clinton Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM GARDEN GOPHER
KING SIZE CANARy Director: Tex Avery (September 30, 1950)
Director: TexAvery (December 6, 1947) THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW Production No. 211
Production No. 156 Director: TexAvery (lune 11,1949) Story: Rich Hogan
Story: Heck Allen Story: Rich Hogan and Jack Cosgriff Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Animation: Ed Love, Ray Abrams, Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
and Walter Clinton and Walter Clinton Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
THE CHUMP CHAMP
WHAT PRICE FLEADOM DOGGONE TIRED Director: TexAvery (November 4, 1950)
Director: TexAvery (March 20, 1948) Director: Tex Avery (lune 30, 1949) Production No. 213
Production No. 159 Production No. 190 Story: Rich Hogan
Story: Heck Allen Story: Rich Hogan and Jack Cosgriff Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Animation: Robert Bentley, Gil Turner, Animation: Bob Cannon, Michael Lah, and Walter Clinton
and Walter Clinton Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
221

THE PEACHY COBBLER ONE CAB'S FAMILY THE FARM OF TOMORROW
Director: TexAvery (December 9, 1950) Director: Tex Avery (May 17 , 1952) Director: TexAvery (September 18, 1954)
Production No. 217 Production No.234 Production No. 278
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Rich Hogan and Roy Williams Story: HeckAllen
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Robert Bentley,
and Walter Clinton and Walter Clinton Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Backgrounds: Joe Montell
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
COCK-A-DOODLE DOG ROCK-A-BYE BEAR
Director: TexAvery (February 10, i95l) Director: Tex Avery (luly 12,1952) THE FLEA C/RCUS
Production No.218 Production No.239 Director: Tex Avery (November 6, 1954)
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Rich Hogan and Heck Allen Production No.280
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Story: Heck Allen
and Walter Clinton and Walter Clinton Animation: Michael Lah, Robert Bentley,
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Backgrounds: Joe Montell
Music: Scott Bradley
DARE-DEVIL DROOPY LITTLE JOHNNY JET Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Director: TexAvery (March 31, 1951) Director: Tex Avery (April 18, 1953)
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Heck Allen DIXIELAND DROOPY
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson, Robert Director: TexAvery (December 4, 1954)
and Walter Clinton Bentley, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Story: Heck Allen
Music: Scott Bradley Backgrounds: lohn Didrik Johnsen Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley and Walter Clinton
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Backgrounds: Joe Montell
DROOPY'S GOOD DEED Music: Scott Bradley
TV OF TOMORROW Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Director: TexAvery (May 5, 1951)
Production No.222 Director: Tex Avery (lune 6, 1953)
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Heck Allen FIELD AND SCREAM
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson, Robert Director: Tex Avery (April 30, 1955)
and Walter Clinton Bentley, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Production No.284
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley Story: Heck Allen
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton
SYMPHONY/NSIANG THE THREE LITTLE PUPS Backgrounds: John Didrik Jotrnsen
Music: Scott Bradley
Director: TexAvery (June 16, l95l) Director: Tex Avery (December 26, 1953)
Production No.269 Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Production No.226
Story: Rich Hogan Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson, Robert THE FIRST BAD MAN
and Walter Clinton Bentley, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Director: Tex Avery (September 30, 1955)
Music: Scott Bradley Backgrounds: Vera Ohman Production No.286
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Music: Scott Bradley Story: Heck Allen
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
CAROF TOMORROW Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton
DRAG-A-LONG DROOPY Backgrounds: John Didrik Iohnsen
Director: Tex Avery (September 22, 195l)
Director: Tex Avery (February 20, 1954) Music: Scott Bradley
Production No. 236
Production No.271 Narratoi: Tex Ritter
Story: Rich Hogan
Story: Heck Allen Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and Walter Clinton Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson, Robert
Music: Scott Bradley Bentley, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton DEPUTY DROOPY
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Backgrounds: John Didrik Iohnsen Director: Tex Avery and Michael Lah
Music: Scott Bradley (October 28, 1955)
DROOPY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Production No.288
Story: Heck Allen
Director: Tex Avery (November 17, l95l)
Production No.238 BILLY BOY Animation: Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse,
Director: Tex Avery (May 8, 1954) Lewis Marshall, Michael Lah, Ray Patterson,
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons, Production No. 272 and Walter Clinton
Story: Heck Allen Backgrounds: Vera Ohman
and Walter Clinton
Animation: Michael Lah, Ray Patterson, Robert Music: Scott Bradley
Music: Scott Bradley
Bentley, Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Music: Scott Bradley
MAGICAL MAESTRO Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM CELLBOUND
Director: Tex Avery (February 9, 1952) Director: Tex Avery and Michael Lah
HOMESTEADER DROOPY (November 25, 1955)
Production No.233
Director: Tex Avery (fuly 10, 1954) Production No.29l
Story: Rich Hogan
Production No.276 Story: Heck Allen
Animation: Michael Lah, Grant Simmons,
and walter Clinton. Story: Heck Allen Animation: Ed Barge, Kenneth Muse,
Animation: Michael Lah, Robert Bentley, Michael Lah, and Irven Spence
Music: Scott Bradley
Grant Simmons, and Walter Clinton Backgrounds: Vera Ohman
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
Backgrounds: Iohn Didrik Iohnsen Models: Ed Benedict
Music: Scott Bradley Music: Scott Bradley
Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM Producer: Fred Quimby - MGM
223

Bibliography

Adamson, Ioe. Crafton, Donald.
Avery: King of Cartoons.
Tex Emile Cohl, Caricature, and Film.
NewYork: Popular Library, 1975. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Lambert, Pierre
Story.
The Waber Lantz Le Cartoon A Hollywood.
NewYork: G.P. Putnam Sons, 1985. Paris: Editions Seguier, 1988.

Bardazzi,Giannalberto. Jones,Chuck.
Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. Chuck Amuck.
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. NewYork: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1989.

Benayoun, Robert. Peary, Gerald, and Danny Peary, eds.
Le Mystere Tex Avery. The American Animated Cartoon.
Paris: Editions de Seuil, collection Point-Vigule, 1988. NewYork: E.P. Dutton, 1980.

Patrick.
Brion, Maltin, Leonard.
Tex Avery: Les Dessins. Of Mice and Magic.
Paris: Editions Nathan, 1988. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980.

Canemaker,lohn. Rosenbaum,]onathan.
The Animated Raggedy Ann (t Andy. "The Hollywood Cartoon, Tex Avery."
NewYork: Bobbs Merrill, 1977. Film Comment, Jan./Feb. 1975.

t;X:;:^fi,tl1lf,,,
B"1o," rh" Ani*otion B"gi*:, ,n, or, of warner Bros. Animation.
The Art and Lives of Dkney Inspirational Sketch Artists. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988.
NewYork: Hyperion Press, 1996.
Solomon, Charles.

Felix:TheTwistedTaleo7th,wo,ld,,-M*tFo^ou,Cot:""I*+::i!{::{,,,i3;:"i,eHistoryofAnimation.
NewYork: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1996.
Thomas, Frank, and Ollie lohnston.
Disney Animation: The lllusion of Life
Treasures of Dkney Animation Art. NewYork: Abbeville Press, 1981.
NewYork: Abbeville Press, 1982.

Winsor McCay: His Life and Art.
NewYork: Abbeville Press, 1987.
I

724

Credits and Acknowledgments

Pierre Lambert, who assembled the illustrations, would like to thank feanne and Mike Glad for
generously making available numerous original documents from their collection. He would
also like to thank Mark Kausler, Paul Jenkins and Timothy Luke of Christie's East, Dana
Hawkes and Francie Thomas of Sotheby's, as well as ferry Muller and Howard Lowery.

fohn Canemaker, who wrote the text, gratefully acknowledges the help of the following people
in his research and preparation of this material: William Moritz, Tom Sito, Nancy Avery Arkley,
Chuck Jones, |une Foray, William Hanna, Ginger Robertson, ferry Beck, Sara Petty, Scott Shaw,
Gary Lah, Bob Allen, Bruce Allen, Dorothy Allen, Ioe Adamson, Lou Garnier, Michael Barrier,
Bob Givens,lackZander, Sody Clampett, Mark Evanier, Don Dougherty, Steve Leiva, Dan
Mclaughlin, Adrienne Tytla, Marja Dail, Bob Casino, Ieff Kurtti, Bill Littlejohn, and in particu-
lar the contributions of |oseph |. Kennedy, Charles Solomon, Mark Kausler, and Albert Miller.
He especially thanks Pierre Lambert, who produced the French version of this book, for his
generosity, kindness, and encouragement.

Unless otherwise credited below by number, the illustrations in 88: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
this book come from the collection of Pierre Lambert. 90: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
1-3: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 93-94: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
6: Christie'sEast,NewYork; 95; Sotheby's,NewYork;
7: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 97-99: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
l2: Christie's East, NewYork; 102-103: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
14: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 107-111: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
l7: Christie's East, New York; 1I3-114: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
l8: Collection the Glad Family Trust; I 16: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
19: Collection Mark Kausler; 118: Collection Mark Kausler;
22-23: Collection the Glad Family Trustl 119: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
26: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: I23: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
3l: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 125-127: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
33-34: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 129-130: Collection the Glad FamilyTrust;
36-37: Collection Mark Kausler; 133-136: Collection the Glad FamilyTrust;
38: Christie's East, New York: 138-140: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
41: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 144: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
44: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 146-149: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
46 (below): Collection the Glad Family Trust; 152: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
47: Christie's East, New York; 154: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
48-51: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 163-164: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
53: Collection Mark Kausler; 169: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
54: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 173: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
56-57 (above) : Collection the Glad Family Trust; 187- 191: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
58-62: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 193: Collection Howard Lowerv:
64: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 195- 196: Collection the Glad Family Trusrl
65: Christie's East. NewYork: 199-200: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
66: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 202: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
68: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 207 -210: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
70: Collection the Glad Familv Trust: 21.2-21,4: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
79: Collection the Glad Family Trustl 221: Collection the Glad Family Trust;
81-82: Collection the Glad Family Trust; 227-230: Collection the Glad Familv Trust.
86: Collection the Glad Familv Trust:
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

John Canemaker is an internationally
recognized animaton animation historian,
and writen The author of five other books
and more than 100 essq/s and reviews for
major periodicals, Canemaker chairs the film animation
program at New York University He has animated sev-
eral short films of his own, and designed and directed
animation sequences in Peabody Award-, Academy
Award-, and Emmy Award-winning films.

Chuck Jones was recendy awarded an honorary
Oscar for his contributions to the field of animated
cartoons. He is known worldwide as the director
responsible for numerous classic cartoons, three of
which also won Oscars. Among the famous charac-
ters he created over the years are The Road Runnen
Wile E. Coyote, Pepe LePew, and Michigan J. Frog.

William Hanna, along with Joseph Barbera, pro-
duced the Academy Award-winning Tom and
Jerry
series for MGM, and in 1957 they formed their own
company to produce animation for television. Among
their well-known characters are Huckleberry Hound,
Yogi Bear; and the Flintstones.

OTHER BOOKS OF INTEREST FROM TURNER PUBLISHING:
Ihe 50 Greotest Cortoons, edited by Jerry Beck
Ihe Flintstones, by T. R. Adams
My Life in 'toons, by Joseph Barbera

Published by Turner Publishing, lnc.
A S-ulsidiry of Turner Brcadiasting System, Inc.
1050 Techwood Drive, N,W
Atlanta, Georgia 30318

Distributed by Andrem and McMeel
A Uriv-ersalPress Syndicate Company
4900 Main Street
Kansas City Missouri 54112

Author Photo: J@ Henson
jrcket Design: Michael J. !1!rlsh
Printed in Honq Kons
tsBN: t-57036-t9t-2 -

TURNER PUBLISHING. INC.
ATLANTA

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The Great Animation Director from the Golden Age of the Hollywood Cartoon

JOHN CANEMAKER
FOREWORD BY WILLIAM HANNA
TNTRODUCTION BY CHUCK JONES
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