Thursday, April 27, 2006

Averyana

Here are some rare Tex Avery MGM cartoons that are currently YouTubeified:

Avery's first cartoon at MGM, "Blitz Wolf" (1942) re-tells the story of the Three Little Pigs with the wolf as Hitler. (The wolf, by the way, is voiced by the great Bill Thompson -- voice of Droopy, Wallace Wimple on "Fibber McGee and Molly" and Jock in Lady and the Tramp.) No one had ever done a mainstream theatrical cartoon this grown-up before, not even Avery; it combines Disney-bashing (always a favourite Avery theme) with current events, fourth-wall breaking, a relentless pace and even an eerie anticipation of the events of three years later (a scene shows Japan being literally blown up). My favourite gag is the one where Avery freeze-frames over what would otherwise be a naughty line in the song "You're in the army now," but the bit that got the biggest laugh when I screened it for a an audience was the gag where a drooping gun is revived with a bunch of pills -- sort of a Viagra gag before there was Viagra.



"Uncle Tom's Cabana" (1947) is a cartoon you won't be seeing on television any time soon, though the racial stereotyping isn't on a "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" level. Contains the funniest erection joke in cartoon history (involving the villain, Simon Legree, and a cash register).



And, finally, no controversy involved, that all-time Avery favourite "Bad Luck Blackie":

3 comments:

Mr. Semaj said...

I downloaed "Uncle Tom's Cabana" more than a year ago. Like with most cartoons of the time featuring Black caricatures, this wasn't really racist at all. A lot of the same gags could've easily been applied to a White caricature. Other than that, the cartoon itself is unremarkable. The only real highlight was the chase towards the end.

"Blitz Wolf" was shown on Toonheads in a WWII edition in 2000. The cartoon was pretty funny, but not as funny as "Der Fueher's Face", which incidentally beat the former for the 1943 Short Subject Oscar.

"Bad Luck Blackie" is an old favorite. The funniest parts involved the dog's guffawing at the kitten's expense, and of course, the events leading up to his demise.

jorge garrido said...

Dude, Blitz Wolf owns Der Fuereher's Face. That's probably the funniest Disney cartoon I ever saw, but Blitz Wolf completely demolishes it.

The best gag in Uncle Tom's Cabana was where Tom is being killed by Dishonest John again and again and the ittle buy doesn't bleieve him. But it suffers from a dumb ending and Red's performance isn't sexy enough.

npetrikov said...

I have to agree with jorge. If "Der Fuehrer's Face" won the Oscar, it did so by cashing in on the Spike Jones furore. Giving the lyric "Aryan-pure Supermen" to Hirohito was a nice touch, though.