Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Tex's Missing Gag

There’s a gag you likely won’t see if you stumble across Tex Avery’s Happy-Go-Nutty on the internet. You might even notice there’s been a cut and can probably guess what the missing gag is.

Meathead the dog paints a bomb like it’s an apple. Screwy eats just like an apple. Well, if he can do it, Meathead thinks he can do it. Wrong. It turns into a bomb.

Yeah, it’s the old blackface gag. Scott Bradley plays “Swanee River” in the background (he even uses a banjo) while Meathead adopts a raspy Rochester voice.

This kind of gag wasn’t original with Avery. You can find it in Wheeler and Woolsey’s Diplomaniacs (1933). Avery kept using these blown-up/blackface bits periodically; there’s one in Garden Gopher (released in 1950).

Is this Ed Love’s animation? He worked on it, along with Preston Blair and Ray Abrams.


  1. The same effect is also done in Lucky Ducky (1948) in such a way that you almost had no idea that the aftermath of the explosion was cut.

    1. Yup! I still have a lovely color 16mm print of LUCKY DUCKY with that gag intact. I acquired it from Mark Kausler something like 35 years ago.

  2. Sure looks like Ed's animation to me, Yowp. Sho 'nuff!

  3. Clampett used it twice as the end gag while Avery was at Warners, in 1939's 'Jeepers Creepers', and in his first color cartoon two years later, "Goofy Groceries". But Friz probably had the funniest (albeit still un-PC) use of it when he transformed Sylvester's disguise as a Swedish maid into Rochester in "I Taw A Puddy Tat".

  4. The same gag was also used in Warner's " Bacall To Arms ". At the end when Bogart grabs the cigarette, it explodes, then there he is in black face saying: " My Oh My, Now I can work for Mister Benny ".

  5. There's TWO in "Droopy's Good Deed" - when Spike is struck by lightning ("way down upon the Swanee..."), and again after the cabin burns down around Spike (Droopy: "Hey, Blackie, any more babes in there?")

  6. I Misspoke - There's THREE! When Spike "spikes" the old man's tophat with a bomb, then shoves Droopy out of the way to collect the reward, the bomb goes off and transforms the old man and Spike into Uncle Tom and his friend!

  7. You know, when you think of it, MGM cartoons in general liked to use blackface gags an awful lot. In fact, two such gags are what is keeping the TOM AND JERRY GOLDEN COLLECTION from completion, and the best of these is the gag in "MOUSE CLEANING" only because it refers to the live action comedian who calls himself Stepin Fetchit. Another such gag occurs in "MOUSE IN THE HOUSE"; I believe it is an aftermath of Tom poking his head into the lit stove with a match? Someone will have to clear that one up for me with a check of the print found on GOLDEN COLLECTION, VOL. 1.