Tex Avery (February 26, 1908–August 26, 1980) is simply one of the best animators of all time, and that’s not hyperbole. He’s also a personal favorite. He was “known for producing and directing animated cartoons during the golden age of American animation. His most significant work was for the Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, where he was crucial in the creation and evolution of famous animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel, George and Junior, and Chilly Willy.”
Here’s how one critic described Avery’s innovative approach:
Above all, [Avery] steered the Warner Bros. house style away from Disney-esque sentimentality and made cartoons that appealed equally to adults, who appreciated Avery’s speed, sarcasm, and irony, and to kids, who liked the nonstop action. Disney’s “cute and cuddly” creatures, under Avery’s guidance, were transformed into unflappable wits like Bugs Bunny, endearing buffoons like Porky Pig, or dazzling crazies like Daffy Duck. Even the classic fairy tale, a market that Disney had cornered, was appropriated by Avery, who made innocent heroines like Red Riding Hood into sexy jazz babes, more than a match for any Wolf. Avery also endeared himself to intellectuals by constantly breaking through the artifice of the cartoon, having characters leap out of the end credits, loudly object to the plot of the cartoon they were starring in, or speak directly to the audience.
One of his best known cartoons was called “The Shooting of Dan McGoo,” which debuted today, April 14, 1945, at least according to the iMDb (some sources give different dates).
The plot, such as it is, spoofs Robert W. Service‘s poem, The Shooting of Dan McGrew, “complete with a literal depiction of a man with one foot in the grave. But when Dan McGoo turns out to be Droopy, it turns into a Droopy-versus-the Wolf/Wolf-goes-ape-for-the-girl gagfest.” But the story takes place in a small Alaska bar, and there are a lot of great beer and booze references throughout the animated film.
But go ahead and watch it all unfold:
13 – The Shooting of Dan McGoo from dadada on Vimeo.