Friday, 11 May 2012

Meow Wow!

Tex Avery Rule No. 586—animals are fooled by other animals’ really lame disguises.

Actually, the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM used this rule, too, but Tex did it with more panache. How about the scene in ‘Ventriloquist Cat’ where Spike pretends to be a sex-pot female cat? (Scott Bradley plays “Frankie and Johnny” in the background). Yes, it fools the male cat, who gives us a comparatively small Avery bulge-eyed take (we do get to see the veins in the eyes) before a bit of cycle animation and then a zoom out of the frame.

The scene gets even more ridiculous with the cat wooing Spike using a voice later associated with whiny ducks in Tom and Jerry cartoons (the duck was voiced by Red Coffey but Harry Lang may be the cat in this cartoon).

The animators in this cartoon are Avery’s standard threesome at the time: Walt Clinton, Mike Lah and Grant Simmons.


  1. The duck voice was earlier used in "The Alley Cat", (which was basically "Butch" wooing "Toodles", and being chased by "Spike" before all three got picked up by the Tom & Jerry series). This was by Hugh Harman. Kind of annoying sound for a cat. But I guess it makes sense, as to what they might sound like if they could talk. Like Astro/Scooby for dogs.

  2. Hanna-Barbera apparently liked the voice not only on their duck, but also on the cat, since they made it one of the two Avery cartoons to get the CinemaScope treatment (albeit with some strange color choices) after they replaced Fred Quimby as MGM's Cartoon studio supervisors.

  3. What is the name of the cartoon where the cat rips the top of the dog's head off (with ears on it) and wears it as a disguise? Then at the end, the dog catches up to the cat and rips his head's top off and shouts "Meow Wow!"???