Thursday 3 December 2015

Tex's Pet Shop

Tex Avery and his writer, Heck Allen, treat us to some old puns and gags to start off Lonesome Lenny, the 1946 farewell appearance of Screwy Squirrel.

The story opens in the P.U. Pet Shop. Apparently, “P.U.” isn’t just for university names in cartoons. (To show you the budgets MGM was playing with, the birds and fish in the store window are animated. Such in an establishing shot would be deemed an unnecessary expense at other studios).

You know the rest of the gags. The dog/tree gag. In this case, the dog is stupid. (Scott Bradley plays “If I Only Had a Brain” on the soundtrack).

The spits/Spitz gag.

The multiplying rabbit gag. The camera pans past the rabbit cage then pans back for the punch-line. The rabbits here look like the ones in Avery’s great “Magical Maestro” released in 1952. (Bradley puts a snippet of “Ten Little Indians” in the background).

The Hollywood wolf gag. Wolfie seemed to find his way into a lot of Avery cartoons in the ‘40s (then was reborn in the ‘50s as a slow, Southern wolf who was the basis for Huckleberry Hound).

With the preliminaries out of the way, Avery finally gets down to business and Screwy soon appears.

Walt Clinton is now part of Avery’s usual unit of Ed Love, Preston Blair and Ray Abrams.

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