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The Shooting Of Dan McGoo

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.

From the outskirts of town, the camera pans into the entrance of the Malamute Saloon, where at the entrance they advertise “Beer.”
Then the shot moves to the right to reveal another, smaller door for “Short Beers.”
Inside the bar.
Inside, the pianist was doing his part, surrounded by mugs of beer and discarded or broken bottles and glassware.
After we’re introduced to Dan McGoo, who in reality is Droopy, we then meet his paramour, Lou, and afterwards it cuts to the bar where the wolves bellied to the bar all give a wolf call.
Drink up.
Someone yells for a beer, and the bartender fills up a mug behind the bar, then flings it down the bar to whoever ordered it, taking a hilarious route along the bar.
Lookout, curve ahead.
Uh, oh. Stop sign.
Coming through.
Can I go now?
Wait, cocktail pedestrian using the crosswalk.
Go, finally it’s our mug’s turn.
Requisite beer “on the house” gag as they scramble to the roof.
Then one of Avery’s most famous cartoon characters, Lou, takes the stage and all hell breaks loose.
Eventually beer makes a final appearance about a minuted before the ending.

But go ahead and watch it all unfold:

13 – The Shooting of Dan McGoo from dadada on Vimeo.

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