by E.O. Costello



Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



Alphabetical Listings

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / Q / R / S / T / U / V / W / X / Y / Z



A favorite wartime gag of Bob Clampett. A cards were a part of the gasoline rationing programs of World War II, and entitled the cardholder to the smallest available ration of gasoline. Larger rations were available for uses deemed vital to the war effort through B and C cards, among others. See Gasoline Rationing for more information.

In Falling Hare (Clampett, 1943), Bugs Bunny points with his carrot to an A Card as the reason the plane runs out of fuel.


Classic comedy duo consisting of Bud Abbott (né William Alexander Abbott, 1897-1974) and Lou Costello (né Louis Francis Cristillo, 1906-1959) who moved directly from burlesque to film upon signing with Universal in 1941. The pair went on to have their own radio show in 1942, where they presented their now-classic “Who’s on first?” routine.

A number of Warner Brothers cartoons feature Abbott & Costello parodies. Examples would have to include:

  • A Tale of Two Kitties (Clampett, 1942) featuring “Babbitt” and “Catstello” cats chasing the prototypical Tweety Bird.
  • A Tale of Two Mice (Tashlin, 1945)
  • Hollywood Canine Canteen (McKimson, 1946) featuring a brief bit with Abbott & Costello-like dogs
  • Hollywood Daffy (Freleng, 1946) shows dressing rooms for various stars of the day in a panning shot. Those of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are thin and fat, respectively
  • The Mouse-Merized Cat (McKimson, 1946)


A respected supplier of goods which have a marked tendency to backfire in a variety of ways, leading ultimately and inevitably to disaster. Contrary to what one might have reason to think, Acme was not invented by Chuck Jones. Amce does, however, remain inextricably linked with Jones; who used the brand name as a recurring gag over a period of years.

The first use of the Acme name in a Warner-released cartoon is in Porky’s Poppa (Clampett, 1938), in which the elder Pig orders a mechanical cow from the esteemed outfit, with the soon-to-be traditional chaos ensuing. Jones would not use Acme until The Good Egg (1939), in which he successfully employs an Acme toaster to hatch chicks. Incidentally, Acme is not an acronym. It derives from the Greek “akme” meaning “point” or “pinnacle”.

Among the more noteworthy uses of Acme, outside of Jones’ cartoons, is the Freleng cartoon Bugs and Thugs (1954), in which Rocky and Mugsy drive a 1952 Acme with California license plates. In the same cartoon, one can see an ad to change to Acme oil in a gas station. In The Up-Standing Sitter (McKimson, 1947), Daffy works for the Acme Baby Sitting Agency, whose motto is “Our sitters don’t lay down on the job”. The spider in Meatless Flyday (Freleng, 1944) uses Acme steel shotgun pellets coated in I.G. Farben Kandy Kolor to trap the fly.

Acme was widely used as a trademark in the Sears-Roebuck mail order catalogs for a variety of goods. The author owns a 1907 catalog listing Acme anvils for sale. Currently, “Acme” is the name of an animation industry standard for registration equipment.


While some consumer products have been with us for over a century -- Coca-Cola and Kodak come to mind -- advertising slogans and trademarks are usually retired fairly soon after their introduction. A catchphrase such as “Where’s the Beef?” may be in vogue for a brief period of time, only to be forgotten a few months later.

In many respects, Warner Brothers cartoons serve as time capsules, preserving products and slogans, once of public prominence, which have since all but vanished. Two cartoons in particular, Lights Fantastic (Freleng, 1942) and Billboard Frolics (Freleng, 1935) abound in references to then-current products and advertisements.

Products parodied in Lights Fantastic:

  • Underwood typewriters as “Understood”
  • Four Roses whiskey as “Four Noses”
  • Lucky Strike cigarettes, in the horse shoe sign with the Speed Riggs auctioneer spiel made famous on radio advertisements. See also Sold [to] American.
  • Chase and Sanbourn coffee as “Face and Sunburn”. The “It’s Dated” gag refers to a then-hot innovation about the dating and freshness of the coffee.
  • Maxwell House coffee as “Stucco House” with its “Good to the Last Drop” motto
  • Planters peanuts, seen both as the dancing Mr. Peanut and in the live action footage of New York City’s Times Square
  • Carnation tinned milk as “Darnation”, with the “contented cows” tagline
  • Old Dutch cleanser

Two references I have yet to identify with certainty are the cod liver oil gag and the “hieroglyphic” animated billboard, also seen in A Hare Grows in Manhattan (Freleng, 1947). The billboard may possibly refer to Ramses II Cigarettes. The long and short cigarette gag seen in Meet John Doughboy (Clampett, 1941) as well as a number of 1941-1942 cartoons from MGM, refers to Pall Mall cigarettes, specifically spoofing an ad in which two soldiers blithely compare the sizes of their cigarettes.

In Billboard Frolics, the products include

  • RCA with Nipper, its canine symbol
  • Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
  • Bon Ami cleanser with its “Hasn’t Scratched Yet” chick
  • Old Dutch Cleanser

Other slogans and/or products can be seen in various other cartoons as follows. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a representative sampling:

  • “Good to the Last Drop”, Maxwell House Coffee
    • Seen in Ceiling Hero (Avery, 1940) on a parachute
    • See also separate entry linked above

  • “China Clipper”, Pan American Airways
    • Rather “politically incorrect” gag seen in Ceiling Hero (Avery, 1940)

  • “B.O.”, Lifebuoy Soap
    • Several references, see separate entry linked above

  • Posters defaced in Daffy Doodles (McKimson, 1946) include
    • Elsie the Cow, Borden Dairy products
    • Campbell Soup Twin
    • Nipper the RCA Dog
    • Johnny the Phillip Morris Bellhop
    • Fisk Tires “Time to Re-Tire” ad with sleepy child and candle

  • “Men of Distinction”, Calvert Whiskey
    • Parodied in a “Frenchified” poster in Two Scents Worth (Jones, 1955)

  • “Ask the Man Who Owns One”, Packard Automobiles
    • Several references, see separate entry linked above

  • “Tattletale Grey”, Fels-Naptha Soap
    • Goofy Groceries (Clampett, 1941)
    • Ali Baba Bound (Clampett, 1940)

  • “The Pause That Refreshes”, Coca-Cola
    • Seen on billboard in Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (Jones, 1939)

  • “It’s        , two to one”, parody of Lucky Strike’s “With Men Who Know Tobacco, It’s Luckies two to one”
    • Seen as “Duckies” in Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (Jones, 1939).
    • Seen in The Major Lied Till Dawn (Tashlin, 1938) as a subtitle after eating spinach.

  • “So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed; So Smooth and Easy on the Draw”, Lucky Strike Cigarettes
    • Daffy Duck says this as “Danny Boy” in Book Revue (Clampett, 1946). See also separate entry, linked above

  • “Listen to It Fizz!”, Alka-Seltzer
    • Scrap Happy Daffy (Tashlin, 1943)
      • The reference by Daffy to sodium acetylsalicylate is a further spoof of the Alka-Seltzer ads of the day, which prominently mentioned this active ingredient.
    • Catch as Cats Can (Davis, 1947)

  • “Have You Had Your Iron Today?”, Ironized Yeast
    • The Goofy Gophers (Davis, 1947)
    • Variation in Screwball Football (Avery, 1939)
    • See also separate entry, linked above

  • “Does Your Tobacco Taste Different Lately?”, unverified, but may refer to Camel Cigarettes
    • Seen on billboard in Baseball Bugs (Freleng, 1946)
    • Closing gag of Herr Meets Hare (Freleng, 1945)
    • Variant used in Hook short Tokyo Woes (Clampett, 1946)

  • “Trade” and “Mark” the Smith Brothers, Smith Brothers Cough Drops
    • Appear coughing at each other in Smile, Darn Ya Smile (Harman/Ising, 1931)

  • “How are you fixed for blades?”, Gillette razors
    • Bugs asks this of the executioner in charge of the guillotine in Napoleon Bunny-part (Freleng, 1956). The studio was producing commercials for Gillette at the time of this gag.


Mythical place that shows up on signs in Foney Fables (Freleng, 1942).


Originally a tagline of Lou Costello, but spoken on many occasions by Bugs Bunny. Examples include Hare Force (Freleng, 1944) and A Hare Grows in Manhattan (Freleng, 1947).


Bugs Bunny’s nemesis in Case of the Missing Hare (Jones, 1942). A full-of-himself vaudevillian whose magic act follows the Bill and Bert Variety Dance Team.


New Mexico town which must have poor road signs, given all of the wrong left turns made there by Bugs Bunny. The earliest use of the gag identified by the author is in Herr Meets Hare (Freleng, 1945).


Labeled “The Singing Kid” in The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (Tashlin, 1937), Goatson is a caricature of performer Al Jolson.

(né John F. Sullivan, 1894-1956)

Fred Allen was an acid-tongued, nasal-voiced and baggy-eyed Boston comedian who starred on radio continuously from the early 1930s through the late 1940s. Probably best remembered today for his long-running feud with Jack Benny, which was played by both comedians strictly for laughs. Town Hall Tonight was his major radio program from the 1930s.

Allen is seen as a jack-in-the box in Toytown Hall (Freleng, 1936), imitated in an appropriately nasal voice by the Edward G. Robinson gangster in Thugs With Dirty Mugs (Avery, 1939), and caricatured as a fox signing “Swanee River” instead of the title song in The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos (Tashlin, 1937).


Longtime supporting actress on radio identified by Keith Scott as being the voice of the Katherine Hepburn-like Little Red Riding Hood character in Little Red Walking Hood (Avery, 1937).

(né Dominic Amici, 1908-1993)

Don Ameche played many roles in movies and on TV over the years, but is best remembered for the title role in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939). For years, Ameche was the butt of jokes about his alleged invention of the telephone. Little Blabbermouse in Shop, Look and Listen (Freleng, 1940), clearly impressed with a robotic card dealer that executes cheats, asks eagerly whether Ameche invented that, too.


One of the longest-running radio shows ever. Amos ’n’ Andy debuted in 1928 and ran continuously, in one form or another, clear into the 1950s. Although the show’s title characters were African-American, the leads were played by two white men: Freeman Gosden (who played Amos, Kingfish, and Lightnin’) and Charles Correll. In the early 1930s, the show was far and away the most popular on the air; some movie theatres even piped in the show, readjusting their schedules to do so.

The show is referred to in the Goopy Geer short The Queen Was in the Parlor (Harman/Ising, 1932), and at the end of Lighter Than Hare (Freleng, 1960) after Bugs tunes in to the comeuppance of Yosemite Sam of Outer Space.


Actor best remembered for his supporting role of Rochester, Jack Benny’s valet on The Jack Benny Show, which started out on radio in the 1930s and ran clear into the 1950s on television.

Anderson had a distinctive, raspy voice which can be heard in The Mouse That Jack Built (McKimson, 1959), for which the principal actors from the television series provided the voices for their animated counterparts. Anderson is also caricatured as “Winchester” in Malibu Beach Party (Freleng, 1940), driving the infamous Maxwell in Meet John Doughboy (Clampett, 1941), making a phone call to Benny in The Mouse-Merized Cat (McKimson, 1946), and as one of the 1,000 voices performed by the turtle in Curtain Razor (Freleng, 1949).


Totemic symbol of Warner Brothers cartoon mayhem. The earliest use of an anvil in an offensive or defensive role that the author has found is in A Tale of Two Kitties (Clampett, 1942), in which Robert Clamtett’s prototypical Tweety tosses the Lou Costello-like cat a rope, with anvil attached.

Interestingly, the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog from 1907 sold Acme anvils.


In It’s Got Me Again (Harman/Ising, 1932), two of the mice do a French Apache Dance on a piano keyboard. When Harman and Ising moved to MGM, they re-used this gag -- with practically the same animation -- in Toyland Broadcast (1934).


Great jazz trumpeter/vocalist with distinctive, gravelly voice and infectious high spirits; loved by music fans around the world. He can be seen in Clean Pastures (Freleng, 1937) as one of the modern angels along with Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford and Fats Waller. An Armstrong-like trumpeter can be seen sending a Waller-like cat “outta dis world” in Tin Pan Alley Cats (Clampett, 1943).


Carnival barker’s line when spinning a Wheel of Fortune. Catchphrase for Major Bowes, one version of which was “Around and around she goes, and where she stops nobody knows”. Bugs uses the phrase when switching drinks with a nonplussed Yosemite Sam in The Fair Haired Hare (Freleng, 1951).


Hit Broadway play made into a Warner Brothers film starring Cary Grant, directed by Frank Capra. Kitty Kornered (Clampett, 1946) contains not one, but two references to this film. One early on when the lush cat is seen tippling from a bottle labeled “Arsenic and Old Grapes”, and again at the very end, with the cats yelling “Charge!” in Teddy Roosevelt getup.


Advertising slogan for Packard automobiles. Seen on one of the signs used to advertise Bugs, who is for sale in Gumbiner’s Pet Store in Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (Jones, 1941).


Graceful dancer of the silver screen whose career spanned decades. Astaire is perhaps best remembered for the elegantly choreographed musicals of the 1930s in which he played opposite Ginger Rogers.

Astaire can be seen dancing with Rogers in what looks like rotoscoped footage in Malibu Beach Party (Freleng, 1940). Daffy mentions Astaire when singing to Leon Schlesinger in You Ought to Be In Pictures (Freleng, 1940).


Classic Warner Brothers gag in which a member of the audience appears to get up and interact with the characters on-screen. Examples include

  • Daffy Duck and Egghead (Avery, 1938)
    • Egghead shoots an audience member, posed by Tedd Pierce

  • Thugs With Dirty Mugs (Avery, 1939)
    • An audience member who has sat through the previous showing of the cartoon squeals to the cops about the next job to be pulled

  • Rabbit Every Monday (Freleng, 1951)
    • Yosemite Sam stops an audience member from leaving, so as not to tip off Bugs

  • Cinderella Meets Fella (Avery, 1938)
    • Cinderella comes up from the audience, where she had been watching the show

  • The Case of the Stuttering Pig (Tashlin, 1937)
    • The sourpuss from the third row saves the day

  • Hair Raising Hare (Jones, 1945)
    • A doctor answers Bugs’ seemingly panicked query as to whether there is a doctor in the house, triggering a classic example of his “What’s up, doc?” tagline

  • Cracked Ice (Tashlin, 1938)


Landmark animation Director whose unique style, perfected at MGM, was to become one of the most recognisable of the 1940s. Among others, McKimson, Jones, and the Hanna-Barbera team were all strongly influenced by Avery’s style of precision-timed, high-speed animation.

Avery started out drawing cartoons for North Dallas High School’s annual, The Viking. Upon his graduation from that school in 1927, he attended a summer course at the Art Institute of Chicago, hoping to improve his skill to the point where he could sell a cartoon strip to a local newspaper. While he reportedly enjoyed the studies; he dropped out after about a month, seeing little relevance to the kind of cartooning he wanted to do in the institute’s traditional life-drawing based curriculum. Not long afterward, Avery moved to Los Angeles, where he worked loading fruits and vegetables onto trucks.

Avery entered the field of animation in 1930 as an inker at Walter Lantz’s studio. After a while, he was in-betweening. Toward the end of his tenure at Lantz’s studio, Bill Nolan would reportedly hand over enough of his work to Avery that he was directing cartoons in all but name. Adamson credits him with timing animation on Towne Hall Follies (Nolan, 1935) and The Quail Hunt (Nolan, 1935). (Incidentally, Avery had been blinded in his left eye during some horseplay at the Lantz studio.)

In search of more money, and probably screen credit, Avery moved to Schlesinger’s studio in late 1935 where he replaced director Tom Palmer, with whom Schlesinger was generally dissatisfied. Avery was given a unit consisting of Robert “Bobe” Cannon, Bob Clampett, and Charles M. Jones, in addition to Virgil Ross and Sid Sutherland, both of whom Avery had brought from Lantz’s outfit. This unit was put in the original “Termite Terrace” Building on the Warner Brothers’ Sunset lot. As was standard for Schlesinger-produced cartoons, Avery was credited with “Supervision” rather than “Direction”, his name listed as “Fred” rather than “Tex”. (By all accounts, producer Leon Schlesinger considered nicknames undignified and his workers undeserving of the title “Director”.) This billing would not change for Avery until his move to MGM.

Avery and his unit can largely be credited with bringing the studio to life after several years of relatively bland and highly repetetive cartoons featuring such utterly forgettable characters as Buddy. To start, Avery and his unit succeeded in making Porky Pig, who had first appeared in I Haven’t Got a Hat (Freleng, 1935), a genuniely likeable character. In an environment of relative energy and enthusiasm, Avery and his unit tried to come up with newer and better characters, going on to create Daffy Duck as a foil for Porky in Porky’s Duck Hunt (1937).

Despite the fact that Avery and his unit had created the studio’s first truly appealing characters, Avery directed very few Looney Tunes: the black and white series which showcased the studio’s recurring characters. For the most part, Avery directed Merrie Melodies, which were produced in color, but which featured “one shot” characters exclusively. Consequently, Avery’s most widely recognised work from this time is a series of “spot-gag” cartoons spoofing the live-action Fitzpatrick Travelogue short subjects.

Tex Avery’s single greatest cartoon creation from his time at the Schlesinger Studio is undoubtedly Bugs Bunny. Bugs had not truly developed so much as appeared in various guises before Avery utilised the existing framework -- rabbit, rabbit being hunted, rabbit foiling hunter -- to create Bugs. Earlier cartoons had featured rabbits, who, for the most part, did little more than resemble Daffy Duck in voice and manner. The rabbit known as Bugs -- named after Director J. B. “Bugs” Hardaway -- changed appearance and character repeatedly from one short to the next, from one Director to the next. It is not until Avery’s A Wild Hare (1940) that Bugs Bunny’s distinct character, voice, appearance, and overall manner come sharply into focus. Avery cites the Disney short The Tortoise and the Hare (Wilfred Jackson, 1935) as an influence.

Ironically enough, it was a Bugs Bunny cartoon -- The Heckling Hare (Avery, 1941) -- which ended Avery’s career at the studio. The cartoon was supposed to end as follows. Bugs and Willoughby (the hunting dog who has been chasing him throughout the cartoon) fall through a hole overhanging a cliff, plummet through space screaming in terror for several seconds, brake to a sudden stop and land gently, then razz the audience by saying “Fooled ya, didn’t we?”. (This is the point where the cartoon now irises out, ending abruptly.) As planned and originally animated, the cartoon had Bugs and Willoughby fall through yet another hole, with Bugs crying out “Hold on to your hats, folks, here we go again!”: reportedly the punch line to a then-current joke of an off-colour nature. It is unclear whether Schlesinger was pressured by Jack Warner to cut the last line. At any rate, Leon and Tex apparently got into an argument over the cut and Avery was suspended, only to be fired (or forced to resign) soon afterward.

Avery was, at this time, also developing the first of the Speaking of Animals short subjects which used animated mouths superimposed on live-action animals. (The series was sold to Paramount in 1941.) Evidently, this only served to exacerbate Schlesinger’s already-tenuous working relationship with Avery. While the exact date of his departure varies from source to source, it most likely ocurred late in the summer of 1941.

Tex went on to blossom creatively at MGM through the 1940s and 1950s, with a long string of truly great cartoons to his credit. The work of these productive years includes The Blitz Wolf (1942), Bad Luck Blackie (1949), Magical Maestro (1952), and many others. There is a long series of cartoons starring Droopy, his most enduring character from the MGM years, several cartoons starring Red Hot Riding Hood, a sexy bombshell of a nightclub singer, created and artfully animated by Preston Blair, and a series of documentary-type cartoons with titles such as House of Tomorrow (1949), Car of Tomorrow (1951), and TV of Tomorrow (1953).

Avery returned to the Lantz studio in the 1950s where he worked on a few of the early Chilly Willy cartoons. Eventually he wound up directing television advertisements -- the last time he directed Bugs Bunny was for a Kool-Aid commercial. He is also credited with creating the roaches used in the commercials for Raid Insecticides.

Tex Avery died on August 26th, 1980, while working at the studio of his previous colleagues and rivals at MGM, William Hanna and Joe Barbera.

The author recommends the Joe Adamson book Tex Avery: King of Cartoons. The book is devoted solely to Avery and contains a substantial number of informative interviews with him, which include anecdotes about his days at the Lantz, Warner Brothers, and MGM Studios. Reference should also be made to John Canemaker’s recent Tex Avery which contains a wealth of drawings and model sheets from Avery’s MGM years.

Some reference footage of Avery survives from the 1930s and 1940s. Originally shot to provide animators with models of action, it shows Tex acting out scenes from Cross-Country Detours (1940) and playing the part of the little scarecrow in I’d Love to Take Orders From You (1936). Reference footage also survives of the stripper used by Avery as a model for the lizard shedding its skin in Cross Country Detours. A studio secretary named Trixie, who worked for Tex, posed as the Mae-West like deer in the same cartoon.

Tex provided a number of vocal characterizations during his career as a Director, most notably as the laughing hippo in Hamateur Night (Avery, 1938), the jolly walrus in The Penguin Parade (Avery, 1938), the laughing referee in Count Me Out (Hardaway/Dalton, 1938), and the rascally ghost in Ghost Wanted (Jones, 1940). In interviews conducted by Adamson, Avery states that he also provided the voice of Willoughby the hunting dog in the cartoons Of Fox & Hounds (Avery, 1940), The Heckling Hare (Avery, 1941), and The Crackpot Quail (Avery, 1941). Funnyworld #17 credits him as the spider in Meatless Flyday (Freleng, 1943); but this attribution seems rather unlikely for obvious reasons. The author believes that Avery may have provided the voice for the hippo who mocks the lion at the beginning of Hold the Lion Please (Jones, 1942).


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This page was originally maintained by Stephen Worth. Thanks to John K. for funding its production. Preserved by Kip Williams and restored in 2014 by Harry McCracken.
The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion is Copyright © 1996-1998 E. O. Costello. All rights reserved.