Posted By Art Baxter

Avery portrait

Tex Avery - February 26, 1908 – August 26, 1980

Frederick "Tex" Avery was the Anti-Disney. Avery took the homespun sweetness of Disney and not only turned it upside down but pulled it inside out. He was unsentimental and he was a smartass. A classic American smartass. His cartoons were rude and vulgar. His characters exhibited unapologetic lecherous, gluttonous  and violent behavior. He warped reality and was ironic before anyone knew what that was. His cartoons are among the finest ever made. He was an alcoholic who alienated himself from his family. He was blind in one eye.

The cartoons are uproariously hilarious and are just as funny today as they were in the 40s. They've aged well. Made for world weary adults who liked to laugh at the wrong things, they were ultimately spoon fed to a generation of children every afternoon on television.

Avery was a perfectionist and worried about every single cartoon he made. The gag was paramount and the story just a framework for them to hang. He created "Bugs Bunny" and had a hand in many of the other Warner characters. "What's up Doc?" was an expression from his high school days. Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones were his apprentices. He left Warner Bros. after his cartoons were censored and eventually went to MGM where he produced his finest work. His characters at MGM were generally nameless except for "Droopy" the dog and "Screwy Squirrel". The lascivious antics of his "wolf" and "girl" characters at MGM made the glands swell.

After he left MGM, he went to the Walter Lance studio and created "Chilly Willy" but he felt burt out. He went to work in advertising doing TV commercials where his best bits were removed by ad execs. Often he held court to the new generation of animators who were raised on his cartoons. He died just as people were beginning to know just who the hell he was and appreciate his genius.

Check out a Tex Avery cartoon today for his 100th birthday!

Warner Bros.
• Thugs with Dirty Mugs (1939)
• A Gander at Mother Goose (1940)
• A Wild Hare (1940)
• The Heckling Hare (1941)
• All This and Rabbit Stew (1941)

• Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
• What's Buzzin' Buzzard? (1943)
• Screwball Squirrel (1944)
• Happy-Go-Nutty (1944)
• Swing Shift Cinderella (1945)
• The Shooting of Dan McGoo (1945)
• Wild and Woolfy (1945)
• Uncle Tom's Cabaña (1947)
• King-Size Canary (1947)
• Bad Luck Blackie (1949)
• Little Rural Riding Hood (1949)
• Daredevil Droopy (1951)
• Drag-a-Long Droopy (1954)

TEX AVERY: KING OF CARTOONS by Joe Adamson.1975.
TEX AVERY: THE MGM YEARS 1942-1955 by John Canemaker,1998.
PORTRAIT OF TEX AVERY documentary, 1988.

Wolf & Girl

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