Friday, 24 January 2020

Wooden Shoes Are Xylophones

Jerry’s magic pencil can create all kinds of things, even if they don’t make much sense. Then again, Pencil Mania is a Van Beuren cartoon, so it doesn’t have to make sense.

Jerry shaves wood off his pencil to create wooden shoes. Then he grabs Tom’s hat (and pulls his nose for no particular reason), touches it with the pencil and out come some kind of bird.



The birds play “Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Dog Gone?” with their bodies. The shoes sound like xylophones. The birds, for added Van Beuren incongruity, wear hats and smoke cigars.



I don’t know the name of the tune that opens this cartoon when Tom and a cow whose portrait he is painting are dancing. The cow vanishes very early in the cartoon.

John Foster and George Stallings get a “By” credit with the music, as usual, under the superintendence of Gene Rodemich.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Brainstorm

A mangy cat wants to eat, but all there is in the kitchen is a puny, emaciated bird. But then he sees this:



Then the cat gets a brainstorm. Naturally, since this is a Tex Avery cartoon, the word is used literally.



What’s the brainstorm? Back to the bottle.



This truth in advertising sets up the plot of one of Avery’s fan-favourites, King-Size Canary, released in 1947. Heck Allen supplied gags; Bob Bentley, Ray Abrams and Walt Clinton are the animators.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

It Beats Being a Dentist

For someone who played a lazy guy, Edgar Buchanan worked an awful lot.

Buchanan will be remembered as Uncle Joe, movin’ kinda slow at the junction, along with a cast of seasoned character actors on Petticoat Junction starting in 1963 to when CBS purged rural shows in 1970. But prior to being cast, he appeared in an estimated 150 TV episodes, in addition to several dozen movies. Buchanan seemed tailor-made for western and country-set shows but his real-life background was in a far different sphere.

Prior to acting, Buchanan was actually Dr. W. Edgar Buchanan. The story is told in this article in the Salt Lake Tribune of November 5, 1963.
Easy-Going Edgar Buchanan Enjoys the Hard Cash
By Richard O. Martin
Tribune Staff Writer
Dr. Edgar Buchanan hasn't pulled a tooth for about 26 years. He's been too busy daydreaming, hunting, fishing, golfing, telling tall tales — and acting.
It's difficult for him to say which of these hobbies he enjoys the most. Although acting happens to be the way he earns a living and has proved to be most profitable, he generally manages not to let it interfere too long with his other pleasurable pastimes.
"I WAS JUST naturally born lazy," says the veteran actor, who discarded his dentist's drill after 10 years of practice in Eugene, Ore., to begin a new career in show business at the age of 34.
"I'm a heck of a dreamer, but don't get the idea that I'm an itinerant loafer," he says.
"I try to make it pay off when I can," he added.
His casual approach to living stems from the fact that he is doing exactly what he has always wanted to do. He doesn't consider acting work.
Nevertheless, he is a skilled craftsman, an inventive performer who always contributes a little extra something to whatever role he happens to play.
IN VIEW OF Mr. Buchanan's avowed laziness, he seems born for the new character he is creating this season on Petticoat Junction (Ch. 5, 7 p.m., Tuesdays), the new comedy series created by Paul Henning, the creator of The Beverly Hillbillies.
PLAYING THE part of daydreaming, cat-napping Uncle Joe — a major supporting character for Bea Benaderet in her starring role as rural hotel proprietress Kate Bradley — is a happy case of type-casting, says the carefree actor.
"Uncle Joe spends half his time dozing away in a wicker rocker on the front porch dreaming up big ideas," he says.
"The only trouble is, he never quite gets around to putting his plans into operation. When he does go into diction he's an hour late and-a dollar short.
"I'M A LOT like that. One of my biggest get - rich - quick schemes was the big strawberry deal, after World War II.
"I got involved with a farmer in the San Fernando Valley, where we were going to make a fortune glowing strawberries.
"After selling 90,000 baskets a season for five years I wound up $7,500 in the hole."
Fortunately, for the nation's economy as well as Mr. Buchanan's, he has stuck to acting. His earnings from more than 150 television shows and 80 feature films have enabled him to enjoy retreats at his ranch in Hidden Hills and his resort home at Lake Arrowhead, Calif., where he can hunt, fish, golf and daydream to his heart's content.
Here’s a syndicated newspaper story that appeared July 12, 1964 (with the accompanying stock photo).
Ed Buchanan Is Happy in Uncle Joe Role
By HANK GRANT
I WAS watching the "Petticoat Junction" cast going through its paces at General Service Studios. Edgar Buchanan, in his role of bumbling Uncle Joe, was convincing Kate (Bea Benaderet) she could get rich if she'd turn her hotel into a honeymoon haven, particularly with the couples he'd be marrying after his appointment as justice of the peace.
To the press agent accompanying me, I noted that Edgar seemed to be getting bigger and bigger roles in the series and a stagehand, obviously an old-timer, retorted: "What do you expect? Edgar's the biggest scene stealer of them all and I was working with him when he stole his first scene over 20 years ago!"
I mentioned this compliment to Edgar. Chuckling in his fascinatingly peculiar, raspy voice, he said, "Some folks have poor memories or maybe they remember only the good things. As a matter of fact, the first picture I did was 'Tear Gas Squad' back in 1939. The critics said it hit a new low for Class C films."
Despite Edgar's modesty in acknowledging his first film effort as a "bomb," he has indeed been a scene stealer in more than 80 feature films and some 150 TV shows. Famed producer-director George Stevens, who sometimes films 20 takes of a scene before he's satisfied, once asked a star to watch Buchanan work and learn something. "There," said Stevens, pointing at Edgar, "is a man with a natural instinct for acting, a gift of timing his every word and gesture almost as if he'd written the script."
Buchanan has no "star" aspirations, being completely happy as a character actor. Not that he isn't now nor hasn't ever been a star. About eight years ago, he was the title star in the "Judge Roy Bean" TV series.
"That," he recalls, "was a fun show. We made about 40 of those half hours at an average of three a week, for $15,000 per show, peanuts, compared to today's going price of $50,000 per half-hour show. I went from being a star in that show to being a featured player in the Hopalong Cassidy series. Made no difference to me, being a star or a featured player.
"Being an actor is all I've ever really wanted. You knew, I was a dentist in Oregon, didn't you? (I didn't know.) Yes, I was a dentist, my father was a dentist and my wife Mildred was a dentist. We got married before we even graduated from dental school.
"Mildred and me, we've got a fine 17-year-old boy who wants to be an actor and why not? Sure beats being a dentist. I was getting a game leg standing on my feet all day. I was getting fat too because who wants to exercise when he stands all day?
"I'll tell you what I tell my son: There's no trick to being an actor if you appraise ail your good features in the same cold light with your bad. I was a character actor at 20, playing elderly roles even then, because I was a slow talker and I had this gravel voice that killed the chance of my ever being a romantic leading man.
"The object of acting is to appear like you're not acting—living the part as they say. Well, the hardest part comes first, seeing your true self, not the irresistible face you imagine you see in the mirror, and projecting that true self in every role you play. There never was any good acting come out of anyone who was concerned about how he looked."
I asked him what he thought about his looks.
"Well," he rasped with a twinkle in his squinting eyes, "I'll just have to confess that my wife says I'm the handsomest man to ever walk on a stage and anyone who calls my wife a liar has got to fight me!"
Petticoat Junction wasn’t full of huge laughs. It was mildly amusing and a little contrived, but it filled the screen for a half hour a week with people you wouldn’t mind knowing if they were real. Many years later, Linda Kaye Henning—the producer’s daughter who was cast as the youngest daughter—insisted the cast really was like a family. It came across on the screen. In an era where there was more and more social unrest, a calm, bucolic programme appealed to many Americans.

Buchanan suffered from spinal fluid problems for a number of years and died not long after a brain operation in 1979 at the age of 76.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Tex is Finally Coming

To the right you see a frame from Daredevil Droopy (1951). Kind of murky. Oh, it’s also a frame you don’t see in some versions of the cartoon because it’s been censored.

Well, finally, it appears this and the remaining works of director Tex Avery during his days at MGM will get a better showing on home video. Daredevil Droopy is one of 19 Avery cartoons that will be released on Blu-Ray in the first volume of a Tex Avery set by the Warner Archive.

They will be made from 4K scans (reduced to 1080p). I can only presume, since I haven’t actually seen what the cartoons will look like, that they’ll be sharp and pristine.

As someone who really likes almost all of Avery’s cartoons, I’m quite happy just to have them restored and available. I am not obsessed with chronological order. I’ve been watching cartoons on TV for more than a half century and they don’t follow some linear time frame. (If it weren’t for animation historians, people wouldn’t know what the chronological order would be anyway). I am not obsessed with bonuses; they’re a nice extra, but I just want to watch the cartoons.

I can only presume again they won’t be full of DVNR. See the frame below from Car of Tomorrow for an example (this will not be on the first volume).



It’s hard to pick a most favourite out of the cartoons on the first set. Red Hot Riding Hood may have been the most publicised Avery cartoon of its day. There are four of the five Screwy Squirrel cartoons. I’ve always liked the early detective spoof Who Killed Who? And I think many fans would rank Bad Luck Blackie among Avery’s best.

There’s still lots of great Avery to come in future volumes. Example?



Oh, right, you can read more about the set on Jerry Beck’s site.

The Bone Ranger

Anyone reasonably familiar with Terrytoons could tell some changes had been made if they watched The Bone Ranger, a 1957 release. Backgrounds were now sketches with variations on one colour. Instead of constant saxophones, a steel guitar and even a viola made appearances to augment the action. Characters had a thick ink line.

Gene Deitch had arrived to shake up the studio and make the cartoons look more modern, despite the same animators, background artists and storymen (augmented with a few hires from UPA). How much of an influence he had on this cartoon, though, is unclear.

The Bone Ranger has an ending which doesn’t remind you of anything in an old Heckle and Jeckle cartoon. A junkyard dog named Sniffer spends the entire cartoon chasing after a bone for his daily meal. He finally achieves his goal. As he’s about to chomp down on it, there’s a sound. There’s a slight eye movement.



Cut to an emaciated whimpering Chihuahua.



The annoyed mongrel tries to shoo him away, but the forlorn Chihuahua licks his leg in friendship.



Sniffer gives in and gives the little dog his bone, sighing in resignation and using his tail as a belt to indicate his stomach is empty.



The hungry dog toddles off. He turns to head into the distance and the background changes colour from brown to blue as Phil Scheib’s orchestra plays a simple and suitable string arrangement.



Scheib does a fine job scoring and arranging this short, which was originally released in Cinemascope. Connie Rasinski directed.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Injun Joe's Secret

Injun Joe is ticklish, reveals the goony western character who “won’t tell” all throughout the cartoon. Then he tickles Injun Joe, who twists and flops into all kind of positions, including inside a stump.



The iris begins to close, but no! The cartoon isn’t over. “Do-um some more,” the coy, giggling Indian (Billy Bletcher) asks the bearded westerner, who indulges. A few more similar tickle drawings and the cartoon ends for sure.



This is Injun Trouble, a 1938 cartoon from Bob Clampett which features two types of animation. One is the stretchy, floppy kind, and the other is fairly realistic when a horse gallops in a cycle.

Chuck Jones and Izzy Ellis get animation screen credits but I imagine Bobe Cannon, John Carey and Norm McCabe worked on it as well.

Carl Stalling fills the soundtrack with his western/rural favourites, including “Jubilo,” “Sun Dance” and, for the prospector/scout/whatever he is, “The Old Apple Tree” on a sweet potato.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre: Emergency Numbers

Log Driver’s Waltz may be one of the most popular cartoons to come out of Canada, but that’s not what this post is about.

That cartoon was the creation of John Felix Weldon, a mathematics grad from McGill University in Montreal who won an Oscar in 1979 for the short Special Delivery. But that’s not what this post is about, either.

Weldon spent 33 years at the National Film Board, worked on more than 50 films and animated more than 20. One of them is was Emergency Numbers, made in 1984.

We hope you enjoy it. The very short cartoon is today’s entry in Tralfaz Sunday Theatre.

Double Benny

Celebrities aren’t always the way they’re portrayed in movies, on TV and in the papers. We’ll skip giving you some examples, other than one.

Jack Benny played Jack Benny on the radio. But he didn’t really play Jack Benny. He played a fictionalised person named Jack Benny and shared a few things with the real Jack Benny. Is it a wonder some people really thought Rochester worked for him?

Columnist Jack O’Brian of the Hearst syndicate kind of touched on the idea of two Bennys in his weekend feature story of May 18, 1952. It was accompanied by the Sam Berman drawing of Benny; a little amusing as it was done as publicity art for NBC in 1947, but Benny was working on CBS in 1952. I wish I had a better copy of it. Not all of the funny lines are by O’Brian. The one about “an older sister named Florence” came from at least two Benny radio shows, one guest starring Al Jolson. And, no, the Orpheum circuit didn’t go as far north as Nome.

Scrooge—With String Attached
BY JACK O’BRIAN

ARE there two Jack Bennys?
If there are, Jack prefers that we only know one of them wan enough to recognize publicly.
One of than was born in the little Illinois metropolis of Waukegan. The one we don't know was patted on the bottom and squealed, “Hello, folks,” in the year 1894. The other flunked his arithmetic daily by asserting that now makes him 10 years of age.
The one we know best may not be exactly cheap, but, as his friend George Burns says, Jack has it figured out this way: “If you can't take it with you, why get in the habit of carrying it around?”
Jack wasn't actually an only child. He had a younger sister named Florence. Today, he has an older sister named Florence.
As a young Waukegan blade, Jack wasn’t always destined for the footlights. He once had visions of becoming a banker. His doctor told him to quit when he still was last a teller. Seems Jack got ulcers counting other people’s money.
The snooty small town life was fractured for Jack by World War I. He felt he was really too young to go into service in 1917 but his father didn't. His father also was head of Jack's draft board.
During Jack's first months in the Navy he was given no opportunity to practice or perform on his beloved fiddle. But he did gain experience at a specialized craft that has proved financially handy to him ever since: He was made a laundryman, third class.
He was given instructions how to perform under fire, which later came in handy at the Academy Theatre on 14th St., credited with having the toughest audience of any vaudeville house in the world in those days, including the Orpheum in Nome.
Striding with outward confidence to the center of the stage of this temple of mayhem, Jack uttered his classic ad lib, “Hello, folks,” and promptly was struck with a barrage of catcalls and boos and a small bonanza in perishable vegetables.
The crescendo rose to deafening proportions whereupon Jack took the first of his long pauses that now are part of his trademark. As the boos and rubble began to subside, Jack looked at his watch, saw his scheduled time had elapsed and in flight delivered the second and last ad lib of his life. “Goodbye, folks,” he said.
In 1926 romance struck Jack in the expected Benny fashion. A pretty salesgirl at the silk stocking counter in the May Co. department store waited on him and let drop the bulletin that employes and their relatives received 20 percent off on anything in the store. Jack immediately proposed marriage.
The wedding took place in 1927. Jack presented a strange picture of extreme ecstasy, walking down the aisle with fiddle under chin playing the Wedding March.
In his broadening career as a vaudeville and musical comedy star, Jack naturally became a topic of Broadway chatter. Fred Allen got to know him well and decided Jack was misunderstood.
“Jack isn’t cheap,” Fred said. “He just has short arms and carried his money low in his pockets.”
The Allen-Benny friendship soured into a mutually profitable feud.
When talk came to movies, Jack chattered off to Hollywood, where he discovered ultimately that to win an Oscar for acting you must appear in very serious pictures. Thereupon he appeared in “The Horn Blows at Midnight.” It was made as a comedy but on completion wag a very serious picture indeed.
To this day Jack can’t figure out why he didn't win an Oscar, for no grimmer film ever befell a performer.
When Jack invaded the Columbia Broadcasting System with the biggest financial coup in radio, a multimillion dollar capital gains deal, reporters naturally demanded comment, “Do they really have free parking at CBS?” was all he said.
Now up to his gagwriters’ ulcers in TV. Jack can't wait for color. It will, he said, at last give the public a first gander at his baby blue eyes. They once were described as being “bluer than the thumb of an Eskimo hitch hiker.”
Now about this problem of age—Jack’s own stubborn age of 39:
The records of the Barrison Theatre in Waukegan list a violinist in the pit orchestra with the same name on its 1909 payroll. This would mean that Jack scraped along in, the house band four full years before he was born. Jack thinks this is evidence that he always was ahead of kids his age in Waukegan.
“Salisbury & Benny” was the first public billing of a vaudeville team containing the person of our man. This was in 1911, or, according to Jack's claims based on that 39-year-old birthday this past Feb. 14, one year BEFORE birth.
“Big, apparently for his age—Five-feet-ten—Jack appeared at the Palace Theatre on Broadway in 1914—at the age of four! HIS reckoning.
Still using Jack’s timetable: He was catapulted from his mother’s arms into the U.S. Navy at the age of five, appeared at the Palace for the first time “in one,” meaning a solo comedy spot, at the age of ten, and was married at 14, and went to Hollywood when he was 16. This was in 1929, though Jack disclaims any connection between his arrival in Beverly Hills and the 1929 depression.
That's the Jack Benny we know from stage, radio, TV and films.
The other Jack Benny is another gent entirely, of course, a fellow of 58 who is proud of his years and the fun and satisfaction of entertaining so long and so well.
When he speaks of Rochester at Christmas and flips: “I don't know what to get him. He has nothing,” he is the other cheerful phony Jack Benny. Actually, Rochester has just about everything—a beautiful home, race horses, a $10,000 racing car.
The attractive qualities of Jack Benny were appreciated by the soldiers in World War II and the Korean fracas. He has kept on the move for and with them all over the U. S. and Canada, Africa, Italy, the Middle East, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia and the South Pacific.
Last Summer, he turned down $250,000 worth of bookings, including one at his beloved Palace, to entertain our troops in Korea.
Modest as he is, he probably will blush and disclaim these last few paragraphs. That’s one time when Jack really is tight as heck—when we try to pry from him anecdotes about his nicer, careful hidden side.
But we know you, Jack Benny. Take off the Scrooge’s mask. You may be funnier that way, but you're nicer this way—the real way.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Babo and a Flashlight Battery

The Fleischer brothers began making sound Screen Songs in 1929, so it’s perhaps no surprise the first cartoon voice actors of note in New York City were singers. But you’ll never see the names “Billy Murray” or “Margie Hines” on a title card on any Fleischer cartoons. People who provided voices simply didn’t get their names on the screen in the 1930s and, for years, Mel Blanc on the West Coast was generally the only person who got credit until the ‘50s rolled around. Even then, the successors to the Fleischer studios only rarely (and likely contractually) gave voice credits; Frank Gallop’s name in There’s Good Boos To-Night (1948) is one.

Fans of cartoons actors are left baffled by the identity of many of the people who stepped up to the mike at animation studios on the East Coast. Several actors, however, did get a little bit of newspaper press and a few lived long enough to be interviewed by animation historians.

Here are a couple of newspaper pieces about three actors. I haven’t a clue whether Toby Deane worked in theatrical cartoons, but we know that Lionel Wilson worked at Terrytoons under Gene Deitch and provided all the voices for the imaginative Tom Terrific TV cartoons. This first story is from the Radio and TV column of the Syracuse Post-Standard of August 14, 1956. It reminds us a very flourishing commercial animation business was in New York. You can read more about Wilson in this post.
Cartoon Voices Have Interesting Persons Attached
By PEG SIMPSON

A tiny, hidden corner of the TV world is occupied by a group of actors who busy themselves out of nobodies. These thespians are the ones who give life to the pencil sketches which charm viewers of video’s animated cartoon commercials.
Two members of the cartoon-voice fraternity were seen last week in featured roles in the Lyric Circus production of “Girl Crazy.” Petite blond Toby Deans has the distinction of owning the voice of Dottie Doeskin, the M&M peanut, Mr. Kruger of beer fame, and the glow worm (or bubble boy) on the Babo can, among others.
Lionel Wilson, who played Toby's husband in the presentation, has done many Ivory Flakes characters along with Crisco, Viceroy cigarette, and other commercials.
Both Toby and Lionel pursue regular, successful careers in showbusiness in addition to having built up quite substantial careers in this end of the recording business. Each can handle the voices of either sex and any age.
“That's the strange part of this business,” Wilson laughed. “A mature woman may come up with the perfect little boy voice while a man oftimes handles a little girl voice better. In fact a girl frequently does an old man’s voice better than a male actor can. I've done them all and so has Toby.”
While the pair appear to get a big kick out of being the anonymous voices behind a cartoon, each has his own philosophy about, having a job which leaves him nameless.
Lionel likes the anonymity. He has two separate, distinct careers. On one hand, he records voices. On the other, he's an actor in TV, radio and stage. He keeps the careers apart deliberately that one job doesn't reflect upon the other.
Toby, however, has welded her jobs. Primarily a club singer, she uses her many voices and stories about them in her act. She feels the identification helps her establish contact with her audience—most of whom watch TV commercials at one time or another. She's had as much success with this idea as Lionel has had his philosophy.
Just keep an ear cocked during the next cartoon commercial you see--the voice you hear belong to a couple of former Lyric Circus stars.
Another one of Deitch’s favourites was Allen Swift. He was incredibly busy with commercial work but Deitch brought him in to provide voices at Terrytoons and then later on the Tom and Jerry cartoons he made for MGM. Since someone will mention it if I don’t, Swift was also one of the Total TeleVision stock company. We’ve written about Swift’s career in this post and again in this post. Here’s yet another newspaper article from one of the syndication services, dated April 6, 1959.
Man of Many Voices Finds TV Profitable
NEW YORK (WNS)—Allen Swift is the most listened-to man in television: you may not see him, but not an hour goes by in the whole broadcasting day that you don't hear his voice.
Swift, you see, is the man who does all those odd voices for the commercials. He may be a cigarette, a pencil, a duck, an electric shaver, a bottle cap or a ballplayer ... and each time one of his voices comes at you in a commercial, Swift can say with satisfaction:
“Well, I just made myself another $35.
CONSIDERING he has 400 commercials being used on radio and TV right now, this 35-year-old New Yorker has good cause for satisfaction.
Even though his face never appears on the screen, he ranks as one of TV’s highest paid performers. Which is nice going for a fellow who started his TV career as the voice of “Howdy Doody.”
“Actually I started at the age of 8,” Swift explained in his own natural baritone voice. “I went to the movies and saw Maurice Chevalier and Zasu Pitts in a triple feature or something, and when I came out I discovered I could do the Chevalier and Zasu voices.
“DID THEM well enough so that I got a lot of attention from the family—and I liked it. So I was a mimic from that time on.”
Swift, who's a happy-faced, blue-eyed fellow with thinning brown hair, is really more actor than mimic. He doesn't just imitate voices; he makes them up. “Say an advertising agency calls me in and says they want to do a talking pencil, I try to figure out how a pencil would sound if it could talk.
“And of course I try to make the voice entertaining.”
BECAUSE SWIFT is blessed with an extraordinary range— he can go from base to falsetto in two syllables—he's never had any of his voices identified as belonging to the same man.
“I really don’t think I’ve ever repeated a voice,” he says. “Because you never get the same character speaking.”
That means Swift is the owner of some thousand different voices. He’s done 2,000 commercials, the voices for “Terrytoon” cartoons, and five years of radio soap opera.
Sometimes Swift’s voice can be heard offering competing products. For instance, he’s been eight different brands of cigarettes and two different kinds of electric razor.
SWIFT HAS little trouble with such items. But sometimes the non-existent characters he has to speak for stump him.
“Have you ever tried being a flashlight battery that sees the light?” he asked. “The biggest problem is trying to be serious about the voice. There’s something very funny, even though it’s my living, about deciding whether a pencil with an eraser talks slower than a pencil with a metal case, But it makes all the difference to the people paying for the commercials.”
There are so many other names that lie in the weeds of obscurity. For every Jackson Beck and Mae Questel there are an Arthur Kay and Cecil Roy. And who was that raspy guy who turned up in Gene Rodemich’s Van Beuren cartoons? Maybe some day we’ll see some new research to answer the many questions about people who deserve to be better known by animation fans.

I Like Him. He's Screwy.

There’s an old saying about not counting chickens before they’re hatched. How many people actually count chickens these days, I’m not sure, but that’s beside the point.

To the right, you see a chicken. One chicken. We can count it because it’s hatched.

To the left, you see a washed out frame from the cartoon Uncle Tom’s Cabaña (1947). It’s not any cartoon. It’s a cartoon that carries some racial baggage, but that’s also beside the point.

It’s not any cartoon because it’s a Tex Avery cartoon. For I don’t know how long, fans of his work at MGM have been hoping for some kind of release of all his Metro cartoons by the current rights holders, Warner Bros. I’m among them. I love an awful lot of Tex’s cartoons. I even like Screwy Squirrel, though Tex insisted he did not. You may have noticed I post frames from a Tex Avery cartoon once a week here.

Well, it appears something is happening, judging by this purposely-vague video.


So is this a full Avery set? (It looks like only one disc). Is it just the old Droopy set un-DNVR’d for Blu-Ray, or will we get great shorts like Bad Luck Blackie and Magical Maestro? Will scenes be cut (or, in the case of Uncle Tom’s Cabaña or Half-Pint Pygmy, whole cartoons omitted)? I’d rather not speculate.

We will get the answers next Tuesday. I’ve waited all this time. I can wait some more. At this point, Jerry Beck has confirmed the disc you see in the video is a first volume. I can do no better than to suggest you keep an eye on his Animation Scoop site for accurate and timely information. For now, we’ll avoid chicken-counting.