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Cartoon Culture

Cartoons and Brew


Animator Dan Meth is hosting his second annual Drinking and Drawing event in both New York City and Portland Oregon next Wednesday (Amid and I participated in the first such event in Portland last year and it was a blast).

The sad truth is that alcohol was the vice of choice for many of our animation heroes of the 1930s, 40s and ’50s. And of course, drinking made its way into the cartoons themselves, dating back way before Prohibition was lifted. Scrappy, Buddy, Woody Woodpecker and Betty Boop (to name a few) all made cartoons with beer gags – or about making beer itself. Matthew Hunter recently compiled this clip reel of drinking gags from early 30s Warner Bros. cartoons:

Even the Flintstones did a special Busch Beer promotional episode. Perhaps it’s no surprise that there is a beer in Germany called “Animator” (Hacker-Pschorr Animator) — and there’s even a wine in Europe featuring Goofy on the label (label below)!


But honestly, I don’t think any character drank more than Magoo:

The Drinking and Drawing events commence January 23rd at 8PM. In New York it’s happening at the M1-5 Bar in lower Manhattan (52 Walker St. @ Church St.). To participate in NYC you need to RSVP: savemeaplace ( at ) frederator (dot) com. In Portland it’s being held at the Someday Lounge 125 NW 5 Avenue. RSVP to cascadesiggraph ( at ) gmail (dot) com by January 22nd at noon.

  • How about the many animated beer ads? Some that come to mind (and available on YouTube): Piels (Bob and Ray), Hamm’s (the bear), and a couple for New England’s Narragansett. (Dr. Seuss did beer trays for the latter beer.)

  • Baltimore’s Natty Boh had a great series of animated spots:

    check out Draw Me A Boh and several others

    the voice in the first one definitely sounds like Daws Butler, to me.

  • Pedro Nakama

    That sound’s really cool. Portland is a unique city that has a lot of micro-breweries. Too bad we can’t do something like this in LA.

  • i’m going to try and make the NY one and am trying to get the word out too.

  • Tom

    Man, if only I was back at Portland and not at school.

  • Robert Schaad

    There were a slew of excerpts from animated beer commercials on the History Channel series/episode American Eats:Beer (check for rebroadcasts). They looked to be some of the TV spots that wound up on the recent Thunderbean comp (which as usual is excellent).

  • This reminds me of the commentary you did with June Foray for The Unexpected Pest. I seem to remember her mentioning at the end that alcohol was a major factor in Chuck Jones’s creative process (in a half-joking sort of way).

    Yeah, Platform was kind of frustrating, because there were so many alcohol-related activities in the evening, and I’m 19…
    Aw, well.

  • Quite a few regional Piels imitators were on TV in the 50s. In New Orleans (pre-Katrina), the old Jax brewery, then a shopping center, had a small exhibit on Jax beer, including a loop of animated commercials in the Bert & Harry vein, starring Anne Meara and McLean Stevenson. I suspect the agency for these ads must have been in Chicago.

    On a tangential note, “Animator” follows the fashion of giving dobbelbok beers names that end with “-ator.” Because the extra strong beers were first brewed by monks to break their Lenten fasts at Easter, the first commercial version was called “Salvator.” My Babelfish translation of Hacker-Pschorr’s website suggests they had a doppelback as far back as 1820, but no indication when it got the name. Thus, other doppels have names like “Celebrator,” “Optimator,” “Consecrator,” and even “Incinerator,” “Kaffinator,” “Lancastrator,” “Terminator,” and, yes, “Re-Animator.” As a homebrewer, when I get around trying that style, I want to call it “Wallygator” or “DarthVator.”

  • Man, another Gandhi caricature! Anyone know what short that’s from?

  • the Gandhi caricature is from “Goopy Geer”(1932).

  • Thanks Jerry! You Rock!