Tuesday 27 December 2022

Laff at This One

Once upon a time, there was a radio show called “Hobby Lobby,” where host Dave Elman would bring on people with unusual pastimes or accomplishments. Also once upon a time, director Norm McCabe and the writing staff at the Leon Schlesinger studio decided to parody it.

Some of the gags in Hobby Horse-Laffs (1942) are telegraphed. Some are weak. Maybe the most surreal one is when amateur magician Chutney Giggleswick (voiced by Kent Rogers as Richard Haydn), where he promises to make a fish bowl (including the fish and the cloth covering it) disappear.

McCabe has his animator move the magician's fingers and arms around a lot, otherwise the character would just be standing there.

The gag? You might have seen this coming. The magician disappears.

The body-less suit lifts the cloth. Chutney's head is in the bowl, with the fish staring at him. He looks at the empty suit and says "A fine magician you are!"

Tubby Millar gets the writing credit for the blah effort. McCabe seems to have had Millar and Don Christensen as his writing staff. Cal Dalton was picked for the rotating animation credit; John Carey, Izzy Ellis and Vive Risto were also in the unit. Robert C. Bruce is the narrator and a rube mail deliverer, while Mel Blanc continues to be ubiquitous in a number of roles.

McCabe’s other 1942 cartoons were Who’s Who in the Zoo (another spot gagger), Daffy’s Southern Exposure (one of McCabe’s best), Gopher Goofy (needs overly polite gophers), The Duckators (pretty good propaganda short), The Impatient Patient (Daffy anarchy) and The Daffy Duckaroo (fun Daffy song, war message spoils end).


  1. Best gag in this cartoon is the "Ochestra" gag - really gives Carl Stalling a workout! "Now, all together!"

  2. Hans Christian Brando2 January 2023 at 17:47

    In 1994 or so I was visiting a friend working at Warner Bros animation (which was in Sherman Oaks at the time, adjacent to the Galleria), and there was Norm McCabe still at it.

    1. He worked on Animaniacs, didn't he? It seems to me he didn't retire until late in life.