Monday, 31 May 2021

No Help From the Audience, Please

Tex Avery had “theatre audience” members interact with the action on the screen in a number of his Warner Bros. cartoons. One is Thugs With Dirty Mugs, where “Killer” starts outlining his robbery plan to his gang, but then a silhouette comes into view at the bottom of the screen. It’s the same thing that happens when someone in a theatre gets in the way of the projection; their shadow appears on the screen.

Killer stops and tells the silhouette audience guy to sit down until the picture is over.

Dissolve to the next scene of the police chief pacing. “I could trap that Killer if I could only get a tip off on his next job,” he says to himself. Suddenly the silhouette rises and waves a hat. He tips off the captain. “I sat through this picture twice,” he adds to solidify his veracity. The chief thanks him, rushes out the door, then comes back in, leans toward him, and says “You little tattletale!” as the shadow recoils. That ends the silhoutte’s part in the plot.

Jack Miller is the storywriter for this 1939, one of my favourite Avery cartoons at Warners. Danny Webb is Killer. The chief (and one of the henchmen) is John Deering.


  1. I would agree with you; this is one of Avery's best at WB, with a cartoon that moves along at a snappy pace and is loaded with funny gags. It's also a gleeful poke at the bread-and-butter of WB, the crime picture.

  2. This one is loaded with great gags. Hearing behind the interrogation door; " Take that you rat, and that and that and that " to see a police officer feeding a rat some cheese. Also a favorite of mine.