Friday, 1 February 2019

Avery Self-Censors

A “Censored” sign doesn’t really censor the gag in Tex Avery’s Slap Happy Lion. We know what the mouse is going to do.

It’s hard to catch in this fuzzy screen grab but light flashes on the safety pin for added emphasis.

Here are a few frames from the take. Avery doesn’t waste time at MGM. There are 15 drawings, one frame each, going from a lion sitting in a normal position to hunching down in anticipation, then rising up flapping his tongue before shooting out of the water. That’s less than a second. Then it’s on to the next gag.

Ray Abrams, Walt Clinton and Bob Bentley animated this 1947 release. Irv Spence did the model sheets as far back as July 1945.

By the way, I’ve just noticed that the late Ronnie Scheib’s essay on Avery in the Peary book The American Animated Cartoon (1980) has been republished on line. If you haven’t read it, you should. It is on this web page.


  1. Likewise, Film Comment's legendary animation issue from 1975 is available for free online reading here:

  2. Showing a "censored" sign(?) can look cool; also "bleeps" in audio (including the nautical sounds in Spongebob Squarepants' "Sailor Mouth".