Thursday 15 June 2023

The Old Basket Gag

Tex Avery tries out “magic tricks gone wrong” gags in Hamateur Night and Believe It Or Else, both released by Warners in 1939.

Here’s the one from Hamateur Night. Note one of Avery’s silhouettes (Egghead in this case) in the first frame.

Swami River commands Egghead to come out.

“Usher, give this gentleman his money back.”

In Believe It Or Else, the gag is sawing Egghead in half. It may be the funnier of the two magic-trick gags.

It’s still a crime that neither cartoon has been released on a home video format, outside of laser discs years ago. These are two of Avery’s more solid cartoons at Warners, though I can’t say I’m escited about the animation of Swami River in the scene above.

Paul J. Smith gets the revolving animator credit, with Jack Miller handed the story credit.


  1. It also appeared on many of the bargain bin " 300 Greatest Cartoon " compilations on VHS. You know the drill. Slow speed, bad prints, all Public Domain.

  2. HAMATEUR NIGHT is one of my favorites. have had a very nice 16mm print for years.