Friday, 19 July 2019

Buggy Auctioneer

A glum tobacco bug spits out a radio catchphrase (and tobacco) in Crazy Cruise, written by Mike Maltese and begun by the Tex Avery unit, which then became the Bob Clampett unit.

“We are able to hear it by means of our super-sensitive microphone,” says narrator Bob Bruce and a cut-out of a hand holding a mike is shoved into the scene.

Suddenly, the bug goes from a chewing sound to a tobacco auctioneer’s spiel, ending brightly with “Sold to an American!” before spitting out some chaw and carrying on with his lazy chewing.

This is one of many parodies of the Lucky Strike cigarette routine that began on radio in 1937 when two tobacco auctioneers appeared on commercials, ending their indecipherable sales babble with “Sold American!” (Luckies were made by the American Tobacco Company). They began on the “Lucky Strike Hit Parade” but may be better known for their work on the Jack Benny radio show until 1951 when American Tobacco retired them (possibly in a money-saving move).

Variations on the “Sold American!” catchphrase were used in other Warners cartoons, as E.O. Costello’s Warners Cartoon Companion website shows.