Obvious visual puns in cartoons can be real groaners. The people at Famous Studios (Paramount) treated them like they were really funny, which made them really unfunny.
And then there’s Tex Avery.
Originally, Tex and his writers put a pun on the screen then made fun of it. After a while, he let the audience take it for what it was.
Here’s one from “One Cab’s Family,” a remake of sorts of Friz Freleng’s “Streamlined Greta Green” (1937) with Avery-style gags. It would be an eye-roller in a Famous cartoon, but Avery lets it zoom by so far, you don’t have time to groan.
Junior the Aspiring Hot Rod is hopped up on ethyl. Here he comes (in perspective) at a pig and chicken grazing on the country road. Notice the contented look on the pig’s face, then the pain and shock in the next drawing. These are all on ones.
After a brief pause, the plate drops back down. So do the pig and chicken. Sort of.
The camera starts moving in for a close-up before the eggs have even landed to quicken the gag. Then, on to the next one.
Walt Clinton, Grant Simmons and Mike Lah are the animators. Rich Hogan and Roy Williams (Disney) get story credits.