Jack Benny wasn’t the first person to have some fun with the city of Azusa. Benny’s train-call of “Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga” made it into a number of cartoons (sometimes voiced by train-caller Mel Blanc) but before that, Azusa appears in the background of one of the low points of Warner Bros. animation, “Buddy’s Day Out.”
The background drawing (the artist is unknown) feature oil wells and storage tanks, so I presume the oil industry was alive in the extremely rural Azusa when this cartoon was released in 1933.
This inept cartoon was directed by Tom Palmer, who was soon fired and joined fellow ex-Disney buddy Burt Gillett in New York City at the Van Beuren Studio. Palmer’s stint at the Leon Schlesinger studio was a fiasco. If you can actually sit through “Buddy’s Day Out,” you can be thankful it isn’t longer. The obvious edits in the soundtrack leave you with the impression parts of it were cut out before it hit theatres, thus inflicting less of it on thankful theatre patrons.
Palmer is immortalised in an inside gag in the background. As Buddy and Cookie continue to drive along the road in Azusa, a side-road heads to Palmer’s place, with a sign thoughtfully helping anyone who wants to go there and tell him what they think of his cartoon.