Friday, 12 June 2015

Warners Gags Travel East

You know how Wile E. Coyote used to draw a tunnel or a landscape, the Road Runner would zip into the picture as if it were real, but when the coyote did it... well, sure, you’ve seen it countless times.

I’m too lazy to look up when Wile E. did it for the first time, but I know his debut cartoon was in 1949. But three years earlier, the same gag was used in the Terrytoon “The Tortoise Wins Again.”

And you’ll remember the closing gag in Tex Avery’s “Tortoise Beats Hare” (1941). It’s classic Avery; he used it at the end of “The Blitz Wolf” at MGM. Bugs contemplates whether he’s been tricked by the turtle. A gaggle of turtles pop up and chime the Mr. Kitzel catchphrase “’s a possibility!” The same thing happens in this cartoon, except the turtles use Kitzel’s other catchphrase “Mmmmmm...could be!”

John Foster received the mandatory story credit.


  1. Avery used the painting gag in JERKY TURKEY ('45), but you probably knew that.

  2. The cartoon you might be talking about is _Fast and Furry-ous_ (1949)

  3. There was even a live action use of the gag, in an episode of "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (In this instance, though, nobody went into the painted tunnel.)

    1. It was also done in live action in the 1979 film The Villain, which had other "traps" taken straight from Road Runner cartoons, like the "Villain" trying to drop a huge boulder on "Handsome Stranger", only to have it land on himself.

    2. Oh yeah, forgot all about "The Villain," with Kirk Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger - which was very much like a live action Road Runner cartoon for the most part, and even used the "Merrily We Roll Along" theme.

  4. Yeah, Devon. I imagine it predates the Avery short but I don't know where it first appeared.

  5. Other Avery gags reused in Terrytoons:

    The ice vending machine that works like a one-armed bandit in "Uncle Tom's Bungalow" turns up in the Mighty Mouse cartoon "Eliza on the Ice". (And really the MM cartoon's premise of the chase being staged like a race was lifted from "Uncle Tom's Bungalow" as well.)

    And the bit with the steam cabinet in "Lonesome Lenny" (with the dog's head not shrinking) turns up in the Heckle & Jeckle cartoon "Pill Peddlers".