Remember Tex Avery

As we head into this heatwave (west coast)/hurricane (east coast) weekend, we pause to take note of the passing of Tex Avery 31 years ago today. (Click on obituary above to read how Variety reported it).

I never met Avery, but by sheer coincidence I attended his funeral and memorial service. I was living in New York at the time, but came into L.A. that fateful week to attend Cinecon (where I’ll be hanging out once again next weekend). Everybody who was anybody – from Hanna and Barbera, to Chuck, Friz and Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Virgil Ross and probably the whole Termite Terrace crew – was there. I don’t remember much of the details, except that the tone was serious and somber. I was personally thrilled to see so many veteran animator luminaries in one place – but it was obviously not a place to network…

But enough about me. Let’s take a moment to remember Avery today. Click the images below to enjoy some of Avery’s work, starting with his first directorial credit, Gold Diggers of ’49.

Tex Avery was a superb cartoonist, animator and filmmaker; a timing genius, a brilliant gagman and above all, an innovator. Chronologically, after Fleischer and Disney, Avery changed the face of popular animation. His influence over Warner Bros. cartoons, and later at MGM, defined what the Hollywood cartoon would be world famous for – and his influence still felt today in the biggest TV series and feature films.

“Incredible, ain’t it?”






  • http://likelylooneymostlymerrie.blogspot.com/ Steven Harley

    Nice Tex Avery obituary. When the Warner cartoons in the 1930′s weren’t doing so well (1933-35) Tex Avery helped a lot by making better gags and everyone else was inspired by him, and then the cartoons got better. Thanks Tex.

  • http://www.hobsonanimation.com Kevin

    Tex Avery was a genius at creating such surreal and zany cartoons.

    My favorite ones he directed are “King-Size Canary” and “Blitz Wolf”.

  • JuanL07

    Tex Avery is the reason I got into animation, he has always been a big influence on me, as a cartoonist and later as an animator, even when they try to town my animation down I still manage to get some sort of “Avery take” in my work. I still get big laughs out his greatest cartoons. It’s no wonder Bugs Bunny, Droopy and that black cat from “the ventriloquist cat” (does he have a name?) are my favorite cartoon characters.

    Miss Glory
    All This and Rabbit Stew
    Hollywood Steps Out
    The Ventriloquist Cat
    Symphony in Slang
    Droopy’s Double Trouble
    The Peachy Cobbler

    are some of my all time favorites
    he was… IS a GENIUS

  • http://www.gavinscartoons.com Gavin

    I wish Tex was still with us. We need more of his animation humor in cartoons today.

  • http://www.theindependentanimator.com/ The Independent Animator

    As mentioned above, Tex inspired many people to go into animation. I remember the first time I looked at a Tex Avery “take” as a kid and thought, “Wow, you can do THAT with a drawing?!”

    Personally, my style rarely reflects Avery’s work, but I often go back to his cartoons to remind myself that animation truly knows no limits.

    I really wish I could’ve met that guy!

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog Michael Sporn

    Nice job, Jerry. This is a great post.

  • http://youtube.com/user/Mesterius1 Mesterius

    Thanks for this post! You can never pay enough tribute to such a legend (and genius) of the animated art form.

    (…and, as an aside, it’s kinda nice to hear that both Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones attended the funeral, despite their personal differences/conflicts. It’s nice to see people put those conflicts away to gather for something more important.)

  • http://smomotion.com :: smo ::

    he will always be my favorite!

  • http://yowpyowp.blogspot.com Yowp

    Tex’s takes are just one element that make his theatrical cartoons so much fun. He combines corn, the expected and the unexpected, all of it happening before you know it.

    He sure had some hardships in his life but he managed to live into a time when animation fans knew who he was and appreciated his life’s work.

  • Manny

    Tex is the shit. He took Lacan’s theories into the cartoon world and made awsome history. This prude climate today needs him so bad. Very bad.

  • http://classiccartoonreviews.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Pozega

    Wow, just when i started watching through my Tex Avery Laserdiscs last right! I’m going to do a marathon of them today in his honor!

    Also, why don’t you post the theme song for “The Tex Avery Show” here (no, not that horrid “Wacky World of Tex Avery” cartoon, i mean the show that reran the REAL cartoons of Tex Avery)? The Link is below.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynTnc7N7DsA

  • http://artnote.blog.com Stephen

    Tex was one of a kind. His cartoons are madcap delights.

    I’m always surprised at how bad MGMs cartoon poster art is. These weren’t done by someone from the department, I assume?

    • Bill

      I agree, but I’m still thrilled to have a one-sheet of “Red Hot Riding Hood”.

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    I always consider Tex Avery to be my favorite cartoon director. I loved watching “Tex Avery Show” on Cartoon Network years ago. It helped me shape my love of animation.

    Nice post, Jerry.

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

    My memory of the sad event connects with Amid’s post. I was at the Ottawa Festival when I heard the news. I approached Prescott Wright, one of the festival directors and suggested that they make a mention of his passing at the evening screening, but he said they didn’t want to bring such a sad note to the festival. It really pissed me off. I chalked it up to a general anti-Hollywood bias at international festivals. (Let me add that all my other dealings with Prescott Wright were of the highest order, and this was uncharacteristic of my experiences with him).

    My Favorite Avery toons:
    Plane Dippy
    I Love to Singa
    A Wild Hare
    Tortoise Beats Hare
    Red Hot Riding Hood
    Northwest Hounded Police
    Ventriloquist Cat
    King-Size Canary
    Drag-A-Long Droopy
    Bad Luck Blackie
    Little Rural Riding Hood

  • uncle wayne

    A great salute. And i can remember like it was yesterday when i bought this (great) book. The year OF the book!!

  • http://www.coveringthemouse.com Kurtis Findlay

    People always call Chuck Jones a genius, but seldom do people recognize Tex Avery’s genius.

    • Rod Araya

      Right, they both were true geniuses by their own merits. Chuck brought new dimensions to the so-called ”rational cartoon humor”, while Tex changed the humor in cartoons, leading to the slow but noticeable decline of ”everyman” characters (such as Mickey and Popeye) and the rise of more ”screwball” characters (such as Daffy and Bugs, which were developed by Tex himself).

      R.I.P., Tex.

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

      Avery is the one who introduced the edgier sense of humor to cartoons, and Jones learned from him. Chuck Jones deserves all his accolades, but he overshadowed Avery because he was so good at promoting himself. I’m glad Jones was so available, I wish Tex had learned that from him. Of course he would have gotten more attention had he not passed before the rediscovery and new appreciation of classic Looney Tunes.

      • hackermonster

        True True Master Segal and may i add that one cartoon character by the name of Drupy was totally into Aikido for sure just look at his moves always with the flow and strong stands like a root. Wish you made some nikio cartoon moves.

  • tonma

    God bless Tex.

  • Autumn

    There will never be another Tex.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/learning2anim8 JD

    Thanks for remembering Tex. He made the cartooniest cartoons ever! The combination of his vision and the wonderful artists that made it happen were dynomite!

    BTW, Hulu has a collection of Tex Avery shorts. Here’s the link.

    http://www.hulu.com/the-wacky-world-of-tex-avery

    Thank you Tex!

    • http://stanleystories.blogspot.com Frank Young

      Er, this is a link to those gut-clenchingly bad abominations called “The Wacky World of Tex Avery,” made for TV in the 1990s. Don’t watch these, anyone, please! Spare yourself the pain…

      The real Tex Avery is one of the great film-makers of the 20th century. Nobody messed with the medium of film more (and had more fun doing so) that Avery.

      Many of the 1930s Lantz cartoons that Avery animated and gagged are up on YouTube. Check out “Chris Columbus Jr.” in particular…

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/learning2anim8 JD

        Sorry about that. I agree. Check out the classics.

      • Bill

        I agree as well, and I worked as a production coordinator on those WWofTA cartoons!

  • Clint H

    Love that King-Sized Canary cartoon! Tex was truly a genius.

  • bob kurtz

    again,jerry,a terrific post. thanks.

  • Annie Mation

    I paid my respects to the man today by making a pilgrimage to his grave. God bless Tex Avery.

  • dbenson

    Somewhere, Tex Avery is smiling down upon us — and reaching for an anvil, safe, or steamboat that will fall faster than gravity in a sublimely timed deflation of hubris.

  • david

    Tex is a true cartoonist.

  • Dean

    I felt the need to write something here as well, although I really have nothing to say that hasn’t been already said on this thread.

    It’s funny after many, many years a lot of the cartoons that stuck with me I later found out were done by Tex Avery. I think it’s more surprising because a lot of these didn’t even have big name characters.

    Cartoons like Bad Luck Blackie, the Cat who Hated People, One Cab’s Family, Billy Boy, etc.

    I have the Droopy collection and the Woody Woodpecker DVDs, but they really need to release a collection with all of Tex’s work from MGM (at least). I’m willing to pay for the double-dips if they feel the need to include cartoons already released. I’d just like to have them in a neat set.

  • Joseph McBride

    I had only ten minutes to write that obit for Variety. The news of his death came over the wire just before our deadline. Fortunately, I had recently heard Tex Avery give a half-hour reminiscence of his life when he received an award.

  • mike schlesinger

    Jerry, I was part of that funeral bunch, remember? We ended up in a Cinecon hotel suite and Hugh Harman drew Bosko (or in your case, Goopy Geer) on the flyleafs of all our brand-new copies of OF MICE AND MAGIC. What a weekend.

  • Bill

    I got to meet Avery at his office in H-B. Although I had Joe Adamson’s book in my car, I was told he hated the cover and I shouldn’t bring it in. I should not have listened. But I still got a couple of swell items signed.

  • Pez

    Jerry I would like to see a Nice dvd or Blu Ray that could be called the complete tex avery from Warner Brothers
    That could be released along side a complete Tex Avery MGM set that would be similar to the LD set from oh so long ago. (still watching those and sharing them with those less fortunate BTW)

    Or a dvd that had both Warner and MGM toons that were all directed by Tex would be cool. Even if it was not complete it would be fun to watch his style evolve over the decades. To bad you could not include “the Legend of Rock-a-Bye Point”.

    I think that “The Legend of Rockabye Point ” is one of Avery’s greatest masterpieces. Consider the budget limitations alone put on him in 1955. Most cartoons had slowed down by that time and the stylized design usually meant stiff animation. His genius prevails in that film making it in my opinion one of the top 10 cartoons of all time.

    Thank you Tex for all you did for animators today.

  • http://www.hansgrotz.blogspot.com Hans Grotz

    “from Hanna and Barbera, to Chuck, Friz and Bob Clampett, Bill Melendez, Virgil Ross”
    All them in the same place????!!!!!!!Oh,boy!!!