Of the four cartoons Tex Avery made at the Lantz studio, ‘The Legend of Rockabye Point’ is my favourite. Other Tex fans make a case for ‘Crazy Mixed Up Pup’ the second Avery cartoon released by the studio. It’s okay, but a couple of things spoil it for me. The character design is downright ugly in places. The facial features tend to be small and not helped by the thicker ink line at Lantz. And the crazy flag gag starts to become predictable.
Tex went for wild drawings like his team at MGM gave him and the most successful in ‘Pup’ is probably the fight between Sam (acting like a dog, thanks to a transfusion of dog plasma) and his pet Rover (who is acting like a dog again; the effects of human plasma having temporarily worn off). There is a cycle of 12 drawings on ones. Take a look at them in order.
Avery only had a team of three credited animators—Don Patterson, La Verne Harding and Ray Abrams—at Lantz. Reader M. Yorston informs me the scene is by Abrams.
After Avery left the studio, Walter Lantz brought back Alex Lovy to direct. Lovy was handed all of Avery’s characters, and there weren’t many. There was Chilly Willy and his dog/polar bear antagonist, and there were Sam and Maggie. Lantz wanted continuing characters so he could see them in merchandise, so Lovy turned Sam and Maggie into a series. It limped along with three uninteresting cartoons. Sam and Maggie, like almost all of Avery’s characters after leaving Warners, existed solely to accommodate Avery’s gags, which were the real stars of his cartoons. Without Tex Avery, there was no need for a Maggie or Sam.