Radio Station’s homage to Tex Avery (1980)

This one is new to me. Back around 1980 there was a radio station (KTNQ) in L.A. branded “10-Q.” Apparently they commissioned a 30-second TV spot animated in the style of Tex Avery. Reader Mike Clark sent it in to us, saying:

“The animation was dead-on to Tex’s style and I taped a copy off the air on Betamax. Lately I’ve been dubbing the old Betamax tapes to DVD and found the 10-Q spot. Please share it with your readers.”


  • Luke Shea

    Some of the individual frames do a decent job of imitating Tex, but the fluidity of motion just isn’t there. And the overall direction, staging, and communication is well below Tex levels. Tex was zany, but…why would there be seventy more fox-things under the hood of the car, and, even if there’s a good explanation for that, why is it funny? Still, it’s a better Tex Avery impression than I’ve ever gotten from any other radio station. Can’t blame a cartoon-makin’ brother for trying.

  • http://ulimeyeranimation.blogspot.com Uli Meyer

    That was terrible! I can’t even begin…

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com Gagaman

    Haha if by dead-on he means copying scenes by eye then yeah. Still cute though, if maybe a little too close to the original toons for it’s own good.

  • Clint H

    Like the top comment said, there were some decent imitations of Tex, but the smoothness of the animation is gone. At least we got some good music out of it.

    Am I the only one who thinks that classic rock should the soundtrack for every cartoon nowadays?

  • uncle wayne

    That’s astounding that they’d spend that much money on a radio station ad. And, wow….what copying!!

  • Rob T.

    I suspect some of that animation (some of “Red’s” moves”, at least two of the wolf gags) was actually traced from various Avery cartoons. I also thought the “multiple wolves in the car” gag was the funniest and most “Avery-esque”.

    (Asking where the wolves come from is like asking where the anvils come from that fall on the bulldog in “Bad Luck Blackie”. One interviewer actually asked Avery that question, and Avery couldn’t tell him to save his life. As John K. put it when discussing the cartoon in question, “Cartoons can completely convince us of impossible, illogical things…if they are highly structured and logical in their illogical premises. And the more fun they are, the less time we will have to stop and say ‘Why, that’s impossible!’” Maybe this means the faux-Avery commercial wasn’t fun enough to be convincing.)

    • Luke Shea

      I love that John K. quote. I think the problem here is that the impossible, illogical thing was not structured or logical in its illogical premise. An anvil falling out of nowhere is still funny, because pain is always funny. We don’t have to understand the origin of the anvil to get that. I’m not really clear what the gag with the critters under the hood is supposed to be saying.

      And it asks us to take a lot more non-logic in stride. I can swallow an anvil of mysterious origin. But why would the wolves be under the hood? How could they see the attractive lady from under the hood while it is closed? How does a crowd of critters popping out from under something further the “This Lady Is Hot” gag? The last time I saw an attractive woman from inside a car, a pile of men identical to me did not pop out from under the hood. I can identify with the eyes-bulging-out wolf. The pack-of-wolves-crammed-inside-places-usually-reserved-for-automotive-parts metaphor just doesn’t hold up.

      I guess I can handle physically illogical things. It’s illogical narrative that bothers me. The gag doesn’t communicate. Like you say, though, I might not care if the rest of the spot were funny enough to hold it together.

      That said, we’ve now though harder about this clip than ANYONE ELSE IN HISTORY! I feel like we’ve all grown a little closer through that experience. Ha ha

    • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

      I totally agree that it’s often useless to over analyze a cartoon. To paraphrase Roger Rabbit, anything can happen, but only if it was funny.

      However, Bad Luck Blackie does exhibit a classic Avery formula, that of a simple idea taken to ridiculous lengths. If you buy that a black cat crossing your path brings bad luck the rest is easy. The primary action happens in a construction site and it’s a sink and flower pot at first, even an anvil could be at a construction site. After that Avery lets his imagination run wild. Once the premise is set, you have to build on it in unexpected ways, or it’s not funny.

      The commercial was OK, I preferred the original gags to the copied ones.

  • opimus

    10-Q You’e welcome.

  • http://llumpychildren.tumblr.com/ Charlie Judkins

    Homage, or rip off??

  • Rooniman

    Doesn’t seem to hold a candle to Tex, but I guess compared to every other Avery attempt *cough*WackyWorldofTexAvery*cough*, it’s not too bad.

  • Pedro Nakama

    10 Q was in the late 70′s in Los Angeles. 10 Q was featured in the 1977 Ron Howard film “Grand Theft Auto.”

  • Jim Korkis

    Boy! I am REALLY old. I wrote about this commercial in MINDROT #19 (The Tex Avery Memorial Issue) published in November 1980. When was the last time anyone went to their bookshelves to pull down old, obscure magazines for research? (That same issue had an article on Hal Seeger by some guy named Jerry Beck. Wonder what ever happened to him?) Here is a brief excerpt from what I wrote:

    “Radio Staion KTNQ (1020 on the AM dial) is a ‘soft rock” station and in the early months of 1978, it flooded the local television stations with a highly intriguing animated commercial that seemed to be an homage to legendary Tex Avery. A full page advertisment featuring a screen from the commercial appeared in the L.A. Times April 16,1978. The last time the commercial was seen on television was May 1978.

    “I contacted Avery by phone on April 25, 1978 and he laughed, ‘You’re a smart kid that you know that those are my characters. But, no, I didn’t do that sloppy commercial and MGM is so big that they wouldn’t sue a local place like that.’ Actually, it was probably more likely that MGM was totally unaware that their characters were appearing in the local commercial. Avery went on to to describe the commercial as ‘crude’ and did not wish any credit or recognition for it.

    “Contacting the radio station proved to be of little value. The employees had no idea how the commercial was developed and the public relations person could only volunteer the information that she seemed to remember that the film might have been made by a company called Star Films. The station had no address or phone number listed for the company and my search proved futile using my limited resources like Directory Assistance.

    “By the way, if you look closely, the license plate on one of the wolves’ car reads ’4 Tex’ so I assume this was done not as a rip-off but a loving homage with limited budget and talent.”

    • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

      Thank YOU, Jim Korkis!

      Let me use this opportunity to once again plug your fantastic book, The Vault of Walt (at amazon.com). Everyone reading this should buy it.

      Also, for West Coast animation fans, Jim will be in Anaheim at the Crowne Plaza Hotel July 13-16 as a guest speaker for the NFFC/Disneyana convention and then the following week, he’ll be a guest speaker at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco Saturday July 23 talking about Walt Disney and Outer Space.

    • Gerard de Souza

      Thank you. I’ve been waiting 30 years to see this since that very issue of Mindrot (Tex memorial issue; he’d just passed away IIRC)

    • Iritscen

      So we’ll never know who actually made it? Strange….

  • http://thisisonlya.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Hey, they were trying. In 1978, who else was even trying?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I’ll give them credit for that. Also, thanks to Korkis for the extra two cents on his attempt to find who was behind this as well. You can say at least whomever it was, they were trying.

    • ShouldBeWorkin’

      Agreed. While I will never say the art of animation over the years has become easier, the realization of animation certainly has.
      (That’s why I think one year [instead of 3 or 4 year] Animation college courses can be acceptable nowadays)
      Consider the time; 1978.
      It was a herculean effort to realize even the most limited cel animation compared to what we can do with a four year old computer in our basement cameraless.
      The accessabilty to film or even video was expensive.
      There were no complete DVD compilations. No ripped QT videos to slide around. The equpiment to analyze it was expensive. So maybe they had one print of a Tex cartoon. They’d need a moviola or a flatbed like a steenbeck to really study so they can scrub back and forth. And you don’t want to wreck your expensive print.How about shooting a pencil test and waiting for it to return from processing? No photoshop for the bgs. Money for camera time. And if there is a technical mistake you live with it or pay $$ to fix it. Let’s not forget the multiple passes for that effect on the logo that is 10 minutes of work in After Effects today. Let’s say it was even a shop of 20 personnel. They could be doing allnighters wearing multiple hats.
      They’re in a catch 22; if it looks real good, folks say the swiped animation; looks inaccurate and folks say they did a bad job.
      Today the learning and realization of animation is so accelerated one has to appreciate what they had to go through however good or bad it is.
      It’s why I have an appreciation for that underground drug-referenced Looney Tune cartoon of the same era.That took commitment on the artist. It’s easy to say we could do better now.
      Looks to me like a labour of love.

  • http://ryuuseipro.blogspot.com/ John Paul Cassidy

    Hey, look at it this way; it still looks much better than what Filmation did with the character at the time!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/OriginalGagBonkerss OriginalGagBonkers

    I dont know if I should consider this as a homage or an insult to Tex, but it was an alright ad so to speak. Whenever they try to make an homage to the golden age of cartoons there are two things that can happen.

    1. It doesn’t try very hard enough to make it feel like the original.
    2. The people who are doing it are not getting it right.

    In most cases its both reasons. However at least this was decent enough to look at rather than the horrible Son of the mask and Wacky World of Tex Avery. Which are insults to the legendary cartoonist. Also, its obvious that they reused a gag from Little Rural Riding hood in this. Hence the wolf shoving his hands into his mouth and they end up coming out of his ears.

  • optimist

    Good grief, the crits here…it’s a flipping 30 second spot for a local radio station, not a theatrical short! What do you think their budget and deadline was for this? Not very much, I can tell you. I would also guess that whoever the animators were, they weren’t veterans of MGM. Give them a break. Different times. Might as well have been the stone age.

  • Tom Minton

    I asked Tex Avery about this very commercial during the time frame when it was airing, wondering how whoever did it got access to his vintage MGM stuff, which, as others have noted, was then far from readily available. Tex shrugged and said “Aw, they probably just traced off an old 16mm print!”

  • RODAN

    Hmmm…NOT BAD YA’LL!
    Knowad I mean?

    Aaaawhoooooo!!!! BANG-BANG-BANG!!!
    Woof woof woof!!!!!

    Crazy Ya’ll!

  • http://www.tjrmusic.com TJR

    I remember seeing this on TV back in the day!

    What a hoot to see it again after all these years.

    To everybody knocking this: It’s an ad for a radio station first and that’s it’s priority. I can’t think of any other radio station of the time that put this much effort into a TV spot. Like that “How to book your Disney cruise” film with Goofy. It’s better than you have any right to expect it to be.