Weekday cartoons were rare when I was growing up. You’d come home from school, sit through some show, and maybe – maybe – you got a cartoon. Although I’m not sure this one was in the regular rotation.

Fading cultural reference: the Wolf says “Tain’t funny, McGoo,” which was a reference to a catchphrase on “Fibber McGee and Molly.” Wasn’t funny there, either. The voice of the wolf and the bartender: the amazingly ubiquitous Paul Frees, who at this very moment is narrating the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland from beyond the grave. As for Red, animation fans know she appeared in several Tex-Avery directed shorts. She wasn’t rotoscoped; she was just bad that way. (A kind follower on Twitter informed me that she was based after live action footage, which makes sense.)

 

46 Responses to Afternoon Cartoon

  1. DryOwlTacos says:

    “Weekday cartoons were rare when I was growing up. You’d come home from school, sit through some show, and maybe – maybe – you got a cartoon.”

    Goodness, cartoons after school made going to school worth it! On the local channels in my old hometown, there were solid cartoons from about 3:30 till the Huntley-Brinkley Report.

    The sampler hanging just inside the saloon says “Noisy, is’nt it?” Old-skool cartoon animation, like embroidery, is not accomplished in a keystroke, so HOW does it get by with such a typo (especially when subsequent similar gags were correct)? Sorry to be pedantic, but dang!

  2. DryOwlTacos says:

    And somewhere, Robert W. Service is rapidly rotating, having received no royalty.

  3. RLR says:

    Service may have gotten beauxned on the royalty, but he received opening credits.

  4. Patrick says:

    The only time footage of Red was reused in Tex Avery was in the cartoons “Swing Shift Cinderella” and “Red Rural Riding Hood.” The song and animation were the same for Red on both cartoons. The other three (“Red Hot Riding Hood”, “Wild and Woolfy”, and “The Shooting of Dan McGoo”) all had original songs.

    My favorite rendition of the Wolf was the Southern/Hillbilly Wolf, voiced by one Daws Butler. He would later go on to voice a certain Southern-accented, polite, blue hound who shared part of his name with a Mark Twain character. He was only used in three cartoons, two of which using triplet clones of Droopy, and the other using a billy goat.

  5. GuyfromNH says:

    Cultural shock I guess… seeing the name of the town called “Coldernell” or something like that… how did that get pass the censors? Too funny….

  6. “Weekday cartoons were rare when I was growing up. You’d come home from school, sit through some show, and maybe – maybe – you got a cartoon.”

    My mother only wished that the occasional cartoon was on. Let’s see, after As The World Turns, The Edge of Night, and Match Game (Rayburn!) were finished, school was out and it was all our domain! Cap’n Mitch on KTXL CH40, and Solid Gold Heroes (featuring the Marvel Comics 10 minutes series, Rocket Robinhood, etc…). As we refined our TV standards, Gilligan’s Island, The Partridge Family, The Brady Bunch, and Hogans’ Heroes filled out the afternoon.

    The mornings were fortified with Speed Racer, The Banana Splits, Looney Tunes, Woody Woodpecker, Hannah Barbera, Flintstones, Jetsons – woooh! I am spent.

    The Shark jumping moment arrived in 1980. Cap’n Mitch had a call in game, called TV POWW (worst.game.show.ever http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08JwB2XQ3zM ) The caller basically played Pong by yelling POWW into the phone to control the gameplay, while watching the action on TV. Hey – forerunner of Remote Desktop! Saddly the good Cap’n was later spelled by an assistant, Squabby Bobby.

    When did I ever read, play, do homework, play baseball, deliver newspapers? I guess 24 hours lasted a little longer back then. And to think that my parents had to deal with seven of us!

  7. roger h (bgbear) says:

    Is that a painting of the mayor of Coldernel over the bar?

  8. Jody Morgan says:

    [Daws Butler's wolf] was only used in three cartoons, two of which using triplet clones of Droopy, and the other using a billy goat.

    Four, actually; he was also the villain in Sheep Wrecked, featuring Droopy as a sheepherder. (“Now there’s a right purty leg o’ lamb.”) It’s a shame Michael Lah didn’t keep using him, as he was a far funnier character than Droopy’s other antagonist at the time, Butch.

  9. jeischen says:

    What a great cartoon! Kids don’t know what they’re missing these days. The Simpsons are great but give me Tex Avery every time. And I’m continually amazed at the depth of knowledge of Bleat readers. Trivia buffs or cartoon freaks?

    John, I had the same after-school line-up. “I Love Lucy” and “Gilligan’s Island” over and over. Then we got “The Brady Bunch” for a change of pace. Cartoons were for Saturdays. On Sundays, after Mass, we had an hour of Laurel and Hardy and Warner Brothers cartoons. My dad loved Laurel and Hardy. Occasionally we had The Three Stooges. And why don’t movie theaters show cartoons before the feature anymore?

  10. tbrosz says:

    Tex Avery is a god.

    That’s all, folks.

  11. hpoulter says:

    And the voice of Red – and other Tex Avery/MGM animated sexpots and Bobby-soxers?

    The wonderful Bea Benadaret. From the telephone operator ( Gertrude Gearshift) on the Benny program, to Blanche Morton on George and Gracie’s show, to Betty Rubble, to Kate on Petticoat Junction, and along the way playing innumerable cartoon characters for Warner and MGM – what a great broad.

  12. DensityDuck says:

    “Are you happy, taxpayers” …? ERROR 204 REFERENCE NOT FOUND

  13. jason says:

    There’s nothing better than a good Tex Avery….but this one is utterly inferior to his WB “Red” cartoons in every aspect other than where it is an exact carbon-copy ripoff of them.

  14. JDB says:

    the Wolf says “Tain’t funny, McGoo,” which was a reference to a catchphrase on “Fibber McGee and Molly.” Wasn’t funny there, either.

    After reading that, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it but I’m glad I did!

    I recall that cartoon and remember enjoying it as a youngster. But I probably enjoyed it more as an adult. There are enough modern laughs but it is the period humor fascinates and enchants me. Coldernell? Classic.

    I’ve been watching a lot of Preston Sturges on DVD lately and the “adult” humor and gentle ribbing of servicemen in his films and this cartoon are in stark contrast to more recent Hollywood depictions of same. Fun fact: Servicemen reportedly stood in the aisles at some showings of “Hail The Conquering Hero” because the shows were sold out and they wanted so badly to see the film.

    I still hear “Fibber McGee & Molly” quite often on Oswego, NY’s NPR station. Beside FMcG & M, there are other great comedies, dramas, etc., on a nightly basis.

  15. Patrick says:

    I almost forgot about “Sheep Wrecked.” I always thought the Southern Wolf was a lot funnier than Butch. Butch was too predictable, and didn’t always have the funniest of lines. The only time he was even remotely funny was when he was given the Irish accent.

    I remember when I had XM Radio I’d sometimes listen to the Radio Classics station, where they played a lot of the shows from the Golden Age of radio: Abbott and Costello, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Shadow, The Great Gildersleeve, etc. That was what radio was built for, not the dreck that comes spewing out of the speakers today.

  16. Kim says:

    I can’t believe there are so many Tex Avery fans here! I ADORE Droopy! : D Bought a DVD of all the Droopy cartoons and they make me laugh every time.

    Oh Wolfie, oh wolfie – I thought the animation on Red was done really well, and man did they get away with a lot of stuff back then.

    Of course, if these cartoons were shown before movies, they would have to be funny on many levels for the kids AND the adults.

    Geeze, is there anything we DON’T have in common around here? : D

  17. Nancy says:

    I giggled and snickered…and shared the link. I love Droopy!

  18. Jody Morgan says:

    Trivia buffs or cartoon freaks?

    Speaking just for myself, cartoon freak. Serious cartoon freak.

    One more note about “The Shooting of Dan McGoo”: The original print had a couple of gags about a certain wartime shortage; you can see the relevant screenshots about halfway down this page: http://www.cartoonresearch.com/mgm.html

  19. Warren says:

    Wow–thanks, John Davey. That TV POWW link led me to a wonderful memory of my youth in Raleigh, North Carolina: Barney’s Army. That’s Lileks-level preservation right there.

  20. Ryan W. Mead says:

    Tex Avery reused the “Coldernell” gag in “I’m Cold,” the first cartoon starring Chilly Willy he directed for Walter Lantz.

  21. Queeg says:

    Ah, Droopy…’tis bliss just to hear him say “I’m happy.” His cameo in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was the highlight of a movie that seemed quite impressive at the time. Funny how that movie seems so stale in the CGI era, while the old Tex Avery ‘toons are as fresh as ever.

  22. Charles says:

    Patrick, you left off the hilarious “Uncle Tom’s Cabana” (1947) from your list of Red dancing girl cartoons. It was the last time that Preston Blair animated her; as you say, the last cartoon in the series, Little Rural Riding Hood (1949), recycles Preston Blair’s animation from an earlier cartoon.

    James, I have to respectfully disagree: I don’t think that was Paul Frees doing the wolf’s voice in this cartoon, because this film’s production time coincides with the time Paul Frees spent in the army during WWII. This same gruff voice was used for years, right up to 1946′s Northwest Hounded Police, all while Frees would have been unavailable. He eventually did end up providing many voices for MGM in general (Dick Lundy’s Barney Bear) and Tex in particular (the Tomorrow spot gag pictures), but I don’t think this film could be one of them. (no matter what Wikipedia says..!)

    Tex Avery made the best cartoons. They don’t make ‘em like they used to… sigh.

  23. Charles says:

    One more trivia note seems worth mentioning: the old expression used for a funny sight gag in the film, “the drinks are on the house”, originated from where I’m writing from: Vancouver, Canada.

    There was a turn-of-the-century hotel here called The Gold House, where guests would be entitled to a complimentary free meal and drink. After you registered with the front desk, you would mosey up to the bar in the foyer and give your ticket, testifying that “the House” was covering your drink.

    Journalist Robert W. Service picked up the expression when he passed through here on his way north to cover the ’98 gold rush.

  24. Dora Standpipe says:

    If anyone here really likes golden age cartoons, then you will get my screen name.

  25. Brian Lutz says:

    If anyone here really likes golden age cartoons, then you will get my screen name.

    Yeah, although it took a minute to remember exactly which one it was (Dover Boys) but I did recognize it.

    As for Tex Avery stuff, there’s a nice little website at http://wwww.texavery.com that has a bunch of screen grabs, wallpapers (at 1024×768 resolution, which should give you some idea how old the site is) and other stuff for Avery fans. If I had to pick a favorite Avery cartoon, I’d have to go with Bad Luck Blackie though.

  26. Ross says:

    Dora–you’re back! Wait, I’ll come to you. But how?…Say, a runabout. I’ll STEAL it! NO ONE WILL _EVER_ KNOW!!!
    As I said after seeing your name with your last comment on The Bleat, I think “The Dover Boys” is easily one of the best Chuck Jones(or anybody @WB) made. Do-yourself-an-injury funny and years ahead of its time visually.
    Personally, that’s kinda how I feel about the WB/Tex Avery debate, generally. While the Wolfie ‘toons are great, and “Magical Maestro” still makes me lose bladder control(the Hawaiian War Chant & moves even got into a stage performance of “Mele Kaliki Maka/Xmas On Xmas Island” I did), Avery got even more repetetive after he went to MGM(although their budgets let him refine those old gags into a science). Meanwhile, the boys at Termite Terrace kept pushing their limits, despite the shoestring budget Schlesinger ran the unit on. And they still(once they’d confused & frightened him out of the bullpen and into benign neglect) came up with stuff like “Rabbit Hood” and the Bugs/Daffy “hunting trio”. Amazing.

  27. Lileks says:

    No need to respectfully disagree – if I’m wrong, give it to me! Both barrels! But if I’m wrong, blame imdb – they credit Frees as the Bartender and the Wolf. Not to say imdb isn’t wrong – but that’s where I got my info. In this case, given your know-how, I’m inclined to inch over to your side on the matter.

  28. Richard Bj says:

    My Mom used to say “’tain’t funny, McGee” all the time; I had a vague knowledge of the source. When I listen to F.M.& M. now I chuckle every time I hear it.

  29. Jessie says:

    Let’s see, the network censors would have approved a cartoon with jokes about . . .

    public execution
    public child execution
    hard liquor
    gambling
    cheating at gambling
    burlesque
    postal-/columbine-style group shooting
    posthumous binge drinking (necralcoholism?)
    erotic ass-shaking

    . . . as children’s programming? Wow. That’s damn impressive, is what that is.

  30. Brian Lutz says:

    There’s an autobiographical book that Chuck Jones wrote called “Chuck Amuck” that tells all sorts of tales about Termite Terrace and the shenanigans that went on in the place (the upshot of which was that the management of the place was so completely and totally clueless as to have basically no idea what anyone actually did there.) It also includes a bunch of stuff about the development of some of the characters, some of the more notable cartoons (it contains the complete scripts of a couple of his more notable works) and various tips on design. Definitely worth picking up

    As for the WB stuff, I’ve always been mostly a fan of the Roadrunner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons. I even based a quarter-long research paper assignment for one English class on a comprehensive failure analysis of some of the Coyote’s various Roadrunner catching schemes. When I presented it to the class at the end, I defined the audience as an Acme lawyer addressing a group of disgruntled coyotes in traction, and made up a bunch of signs that they had to use if they wanted to say anything. I somehow even managed to get a B on the assignment, in spite of the fact that I abused the heck out of the requirements.

  31. Stoutcat says:

    Shoot, the very beginning of this great cartoon reminded me that there’s a Spike Jones song that ends with a gruff voice (Doodles Weaver?) saying “A bunch of the boys were whooping it up!” and then the tag end… Wish I could remember what it was.

  32. Patrick says:

    I didn’t know about Uncle Tom’s Cabana because I think it’s one of those “Censored 11″-type cartoons that have been forever banned due to heavy stereotyping and/or violence.

    I looked at that website, with the two images from Dan McGoo of the Wolf offering cigarettes versus the necklace, and the sign outside the saloon. I’ll have to check the Droopy DVD I’ve got to see if it has the edited version, or the original.

    Did anyone else catch that the packaging of the cigarettes offered by the Wolf (if you went to the site) looked like Lucky Strikes?

  33. rivlax says:

    My afternoon fare was “Howdy Doody” and “Two-Gun Playhouse,” a local (Augusta, GA) offering featuring Lash LaRue and other B-western stars. I remember one Friday when Buffalo Bob said “Howdy Doody” would be coming to us in “living color.” I was excited all weekend, ran home from school on Monday and turned on the TV. “And now, in living color, the “Howdy Doody” show,” intoned the announcer. OK, OK, get to it. Then the show came on …. in black and white. I didn’t know you needed a special TV to see color. One of my first major life disappointments.

  34. Mike Gebert says:

    Frees is not only the voice of the Haunted Mansion, he’s the voice of George Washington in the Hall of Presidents. From which I think one can only draw one conclusion.

    And any 50s or early 60s movie that was shot overseas is bound to have Frees turn up looping dialogue sooner or later. Some movies like Gigi or A Time to Live and a Time to Die, he’s practically the voice of every bit part.

  35. “If anyone here really likes golden age cartoons, then you will get my screen name.

    Posted by Dora Standpipe on January 27th, 2009.”

    Dear, Rich, Dora Standpipe. How I love her! (Father’s Money)

    Unhand her Dan Backslide.
    You coward, Bully, Cad and Thief!

  36. Allan Blackwell says:

    But the Narrator is the wonderful Voice of Doom, John Dehner.

  37. TeeOc says:

    Tex Avery is indeed part of the Animation Trinity(Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett are the other two, at least in the Warners universe.) I’m a Screwy Squirrel man myself…

    This got past the network censors because it was originally made for movie theaters, not TV, altho’ I get your point. I have given up watching any pre-1965 WB short on broadcast TV anymore, they are shredded beyone belief.

    Narrator was not Paul Frees..John Dehner, I can see that.

  38. John M. Hanna says:

    Wow. Back when cartoons were actually funny. This beats “Family Guy” any day. (Of course, a static shot of a hamster running on an exercise wheel is funnier than “Family Guy”.)

  39. DensityDuck says:

    Still not sure what the “are you happy, taxpayers” thing was about.

  40. DensityDuck says:

    This site is interesting, but not particularly illuminating:
    http://www.cottet.org/avery/avdrop.en.htm

  41. Tony Dickson says:

    Paul Frees also provided the voice for Toshiro Mifune at least twice (“Grand Prix” and “Midway”), and he went on to provide the voice of Hans Blix, U.N. weapons inspector.

  42. Patrick says:

    Droopy actually said “Hello, all you happy taxpayers.” while playing the slot machine in the back of the bar. I checked the Big Cartoon Database for some info on this cartoon, and it was released March 4, 1943. Of course, this was during the War, and the reason behind his greeting to the audience is that the cartoon was released two weeks before taxes were due.

    During World War II, taxes had increased in order to pay for the war, and Congress had passed a bill that initiated four days for citizens to pay their taxes: March 15th, June 15th, September 15th, and December 15th. This was before the taxes were withheld from your paycheck. Taxes weren’t withheld until 1945. There were two Donald Duck cartoons that covered this matter: “The Spirit of ’43″ and “The New American Spirit” or words to that effect

    Here’s a bit of more trivia concerning this particular cartoon: This was the first cartoon in which Droopy was actually given the name “Droopy.” In the previous cartoon “Dumb Hounded”, in which he is a Canadian Royal Mountie on the hunt for escaped convict Joe Wolf, he was given the name “Happy Hound.” After the popularity of that cartoon, he was renamed “Droopy Dog” when “McGoo” was released. “Dumb Hounded” was the one where he popped up everywhere the Wolf tried to go to hide, always saying “Hello, Joe” in that depressed voice. When Joe Wolf finally ends up back in jail, he ponders as to whether or not there could have been more than one Droopy, and then the camera pans to the hallway of the cell block/hotel, showing hundreds of Droopys, all saying “What do you think, brother?”

    I’m probably the youngest of the group here, but I remember coming home from school right at 3:05, which was when TBS (which was more locally-based at the time than they are now) aired an entire one-hour block of Tom and Jerry, WB, and other MGM cartoons. I can also remember when they aired a two or three-hour block of same cartoons, along with Three Stooges and Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts early in the morning, before I had to go to school. The latter occurred when I was in Kindergarten/First Grade; the former occurred when I was in Fourth/Fifth Grade.

  43. rivlax says:

    Does anyone remember “Pow Wow the Indian Boy” who “loved all the animals in the woods”? Mucho Boomer cred if you can tell what show he was on.

  44. Dora Standpipe says:

    The Droopy collection has the edited version of this cartoon without the cigarettes. I was very disappointed.

    (Loving all the Dora Standpipe lines!)

  45. Allan Blackwell says:

    A pal and I still sing the Pow Wow the Indian Boy theme when
    we are stomping through the woods. Was on Captain Kangaroo, right? Oh, and I still hate Tom Terrific. Just had to blurt that.

  46. Patrick says:

    Brian Lutz wrote: There’s an autobiographical book that Chuck Jones wrote called “Chuck Amuck” that tells all sorts of tales about Termite Terrace and the shenanigans that went on in the place (the upshot of which was that the management of the place was so completely and totally clueless as to have basically no idea what anyone actually did there.) It also includes a bunch of stuff about the development of some of the characters, some of the more notable cartoons (it contains the complete scripts of a couple of his more notable works) and various tips on design. Definitely worth picking up

    If you have the Looney Toons Golden Collection Volume 1 on DVD, watch Disc 2, Bonus Features, Toon Heads: The Lost Cartoons. You will be treated to a showing of some of the lesser-known cartoons, like Private Snafu, Mr. Hook, and a home movie of Termite Terrace, which showed that a typical day at Termite Terrace was anything but typical. I think one of the funniest parts was when it showed Clampett, Jones, and a couple of other animators dressed in drag, imitating the ladies who worked in the ink and paint department.

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