Friday, 14 March 2014

Try Histerine

Warner Bros. cartoons made fun of pop culture for years (though, by the ‘50s, the gags were a little tired). This is from “A Gander at Mother Goose,” released in 1940. The big bad wolf is going through the usual scene when the pigs call a halt and hand him a bottle.

“Why don’t some of my best friends tell me these things?” shouts the wolf to himself, and glugs from the bottle as Carl Stalling plays “Little Brown Jug.”

The bottle of Histerine is a stand-in for Listerine, whose ad pitch reminded people even their best friends don’t tell them about bad breath. Other than the pre-Bugs Bunny eagle that says “Doc” and Jack Be Nimble sounding like a future wabbit, there sure isn’t much else to interest anyone in this cartoon. Even Sara Berner couldn’t be bothered to throw in a “Rally I am” in her Kate Hepburn impression as Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary. There’s a dog/tree gag and a bare butt gag for those of you keeping track of when Tex Avery used them.

Chuck McKimson gets the animation credit here but I suspect Irv Spence and Virgil Ross are in here, too.


  1. I wonder if this wasn't one of the very few gags Michael Maltese said he was able to get through the wall of the older Ben Harddawy-led Warner Bros. story department?

    Mike said in Joe Adamson's book that by keeping his notes, he was able to prove he was contributing gags that were simply not being forwarded to the the directors by the senior writers at Schlesingers right around this time (a move which kept him from being demoted back to in-betweening), and when Maltese finally got his first story credit at the start of 1941, it was with the Avery unit (and the gag makes a reappearance in the Maltese-Freleng "Pigs in a Polka" two years later.

  2. If our friends from Johnson & Johnson (which owns the Listerine brand nowadays) saw this...