“Dixieland Droopy” (released 1954) is a cartoon where Tex Avery and writer Heck Allen mix together some old plot standbys—obsessive/compulsive behaviour, fleas and Droopy. The latter is the most puzzling as the main character in this cartoon is a jazz conductor wannabe named John Pettibone. Why Droopy was stuck in a part against character type is curious.
It’s hard to get excited about the fleas, only one of whom is an actual character and only at the end of the short, so the only thing worth watching are bits of really funny animation and the attempt at stylised characters and backgrounds.
The characters are by Ed Benedict and although he once grumpily denied he had a discernible style, you can’t miss Ed’s work if you look at the ice cream truck driver.
You’ll see in the drawing above that background artist Joe Montell (perhaps from Benedict’s layouts) includes a Clinton furniture store, named for animator Walt Clinton.
Here are some of the other characters. The dancing monkey and the dancing ice cream truck (which crashes into a brick wall) are the funniest parts of the cartoon.
Avery uses sound as a gag, too, muffling the fine Dixieland music when the jamming musical fleas are in a pipe or behind a door. And when Droopy gets slowed by some tar, the music slows down, too.
Mike Lah and Grant Simmons are the other credited animators.