Thursday, 30 August 2012

Tex, I’ll Have the Ham and Eggs

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.


  1. Chuck Jones crafted Avery-style takes on a few occasions, most notably with the Earthquake Pills-sated Coyote in "Hopalong Casualty." So if Chuck had stayed in J.L.'s good graces a little longer he might have done another Road Runner ("Advise and Descent"?) with a bull and a cow drinking from a trough. RR zips past, knocking the trough and animals skyward. The trough drops back as a table which becomes garlanded with various cuts of meat. But Coyote (Obsessius withbirdius) ignores the beef and keeps on chasing RR.

  2. I must say, with that post title it is hard not to think of another Avery endeavour: "Hey, Maggie. How about some ham and eggs?"
    Sorry about that!