Sunday 5 March 2023

Type O Gag

Is a gag from Tex Avery’s Uncle Tom's Cabaña left over from the war?

The cartoon was released in 1947, but trade ads a couple of months before V-E Day (May 8, 1945) announced it was going into production.

We see animation of Simon Legree. Narrator Uncle Tom tells the theatre audience “First thing he do was go for dem bloodhounds.” Legree opens a door marked “Blood Hounds.” Uncle Tom adds “But dey was busy.”

Avery cuts to a group of hounds giving blood.

Normally, this would seem like an ordinary pun, but Scott Bradley plays “Columbia, Gem of the Ocean” at the end. That always seems reserved for patriotic scenes, like donating blood to help win the war. Perhaps it was still considered patriotic in 1947.

Heck Allen came up with some Red-Wolf gags with Avery, with the animation by Walt Clinton, Ray Abrams, Preston Blair and Bob Bentley. I’ve speculated that Will Wright may the one playing Uncle Tom, doing an impression of Andy, as in “Amos ‘n’.”


  1. Eric O. Costello5 March 2023 at 09:00

    The cartoon was released in July of 1947, so it's conceivable (barely) that it might have been in the very early stages of production on V-J Day (it's more probable that the cartoon started production early in 1946, a few months after the war ended). That said, blood drives, March of Dimes, and the like were regarded as patriotic, community-based things, so that probably explains Bradley's choice of music.

  2. "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean" was apparently the American answer to "Rule, Britannia" and was used as an unofficial national anthem.

  3. Similarly, Tom narrates how their new nightclub was raking in the dough...and Uncle Sam was getting his share. That's the only pop culture reference I can remember where taxes were depicted as a good thing.

    1. Eric O. Costello6 March 2023 at 13:18

      That might depend on how you score "Spirit of '43," the Disney/Donald Duck short on the subject of taxes.