Thursday 27 February 2020

The Booze Goes South

“Deeper in the mountains,” intones narrator Frank Bingman, “we come upon a revenue agent closing in on a notorious moonshiner...”

“...who soon learns he cannot escape the long arm of the law.”

At this point, the revenooer’s arm stretches in a visual pun, smashes the booze and the still, plunks a hat back onto the hillbilly’s head and wags his finger in criticism.

This may be the closest you get to a Tex Avery style scene in a Hanna-Barbera unit cartoon at MGM. In fact, one theatre manager wrote the Motion Picture Herald and remarked how MGM cartoons had “gone wacky” like the Schlesinger cartoons. Who wrote the cartoon is open to conjecture. Joe Barbera always left the impression he was responsible for stories and gags in his unit, but there were uncredited gagmen, too, including Pinto Colvig and Cal Howard.

The Goose Goes South was released April 26, 1941. Hanna and Barbera would soon exclusively toil on Tom and Jerry, despite good reviews for this short.


  1. Perhaps you should have given the actual release name of the short, Yowp: "The Goose Goes South". Beautiful stills from this scene.

  2. The Cliff Nazarro double-talking driver who ends up just off the coast of the Florida Keys also cements the Avery-Schlesniger connection here, though the more Harman-Ising Disney-esque animation touches mark it definitely as something that didn't come out of there.

  3. The hillbilly even looks like a refugee from Avery's A Feud There Was (1938).

  4. You don't reference the cartoon's title in your post: THE GOOSE GOES SOUTH

    1. This is what happens when you start a post and have to leave it two or three times to do other things.

  5. MGM cartoons did "go wacky" throughout the year 1941. The takes may not have been nearly as wild as Tex Avery would make them, but in "THE ALLEY CAT", for example, the title character leaps screaming with desire up in the air after the female indoor cat gives him the familiar come-on in a deep, cat-in-heat type voice, "come up and see me sometime!" That's probably as close as a Hugh Harman cartoon would come to Tex Avery but it paved the way for what is to come. I like to show that cartoon alongside "SOLID SERENADE" as a kind of before/after Tex Avery and how he effected the other animation units. Forgetting whose director credits are on the cartoons, I'd love to hear more about the people who did seemingly force gag material on Harman and Ising. Hugh Harman's cartoons, especially, started out slow but began speeding up to a fever pitch by the close of the cartoon, and this goes back to the actual HAPPY HARMONIES days. It is said that Hugh Harman was most delighted with his short, "PEACE ON EARTH", and that probably also goes for "THE BLUE DANUBE", so who was peppering the other equally lavish cartoons with slapstick gags? Hanna-Barbera cartoons for MGM always had a lot of gag content, going back to their directorial debut with the CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS series. I remember the action always looking as if it had weight behind it. Maybe it was all those shadow-and-lights effect that MGM animation was famous for.