Thursday 13 August 2015

A Tail Of One Gag

“If you take a big bite out of any one thing,” Paul Terry opined in 1970, “that’s plagiarism and you’re a thief. So, we used to have a saying, John Foster and I, ‘Never steal more than you can carry.’”

Foster was the story chief at Terrytoons through the ‘30s and ‘40s. In one of his cartoons, he borrowed the old paint-a-scene-on-something-the-good-guy-runs-through found a few years earlier in Tex Avery’s Jerky Turkey (but popularised later by Wile E. Coyote). Here’s another familiar one in Felix the Fox (1948).

Dimwit the dog chases Felix into some bushes. The drawings tell the story.

If you’re an Avery fan, you’re saying “Hey, wait a minute!” and know what cartoon Foster “carried” this from.

It’s from The Screwy Truant, released in 1944.


  1. Quoth Mr. Terry, "Originality costs money!"
    (OK, I made that up...)

  2. Back in the 80s the mall in my hometown had one of those little kiosks that showed a cartoon for a quarter. The cartoons were usually old Terrytoons, and one was a spot-gag cartoon which began with some scientists looking through a telescope at "heavenly bodies," but of course they were actually ogling a pretty woman. The gag had been filched from a WB or MGM cartoon, I don't recall which one, but I knew I'd seen it done before, and better.