Monday Morning Inspiration: Tex Avery

The word genius is thrown around a bit too frequently nowadays (admittedly, I’m guilty of it myself), but true animation geniuses the caliber of director Tex Avery are few and far between. A 1988 documentary about the man, which I’d never seen, has turned up on YouTube. While it covers familiar ground, it’s a well done tribute that reminds one why Tex was such an incredible director. It also includes interviews with some of Tex’s colleagues who aren’t seen often in documentaries, such as Heck Allen, Mike Lah and Ed Love, as well as commentary from Joe Adamson, June Foray, Chuck Jones and Mark Kausler. I’ve compiled the entire film into a playlist below.

(via Animation ID)


  • Drew Smith

    Sigh, back in the days when BBC2 was good.

  • Brad Constantine

    I heard mention that Tex lost the sight in one of his eyes during a studio prank gone wrong. Jerry, Do you know what happened to good ‘ol Tex?…

  • chris robinson

    you’re a fuggin genius Amidi!

  • Jules

    It happend at the Lantz studio in the early 1930′s. Someone was throwing a pushpin across the room, Tex turned his head and caught the pin in one eye. Tex mentions it in Joe Adamson’s “Tex Avery: King of Cartoons” book.

  • Micah Baker

    Great stuff! Thanks for posting that. Ah! good old Avery.

  • http://www.pixeltoon.com/blog/ Gina Kamentsky

    Thanks for posting this!! what a great way to wrap up a day animating.

  • http://www.dilid.com/virgilio_peach Virgilio Vasconcelos

    Pure. Gold. Thanks a lot for this post!

  • http://incoherent-thought.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    Thanks Amid for posting that.

    A side note: Anyone recognize the fellow re-shooting Tex’s pencil test for Mark. It was David Koenigsberg, who’s lovely profile can also be seen in Ren and Stimpy’s Dog Show.

  • http://geritopiablogspot.com GeeVee

    Never seen this before. Thanks for the posting.

    The innocent “disneyfied” squirrel near the top of the first segment looks most certainly from Preston Blair, as it’s the same design and skipping sequence from his classic Walter Foster book.

  • Nicolas Martinez

    “In a cartoon, you can do anything!” Tex was without a doubt a genius.

    It was very interesting with the one part with Mark Kausler reshooting a scene from “Screwball Squirrel”. Pencil tests are fun to watch.

  • http://www.anikey.nl Anikey

    Yes thanks for posting it enjoyed it very much.

  • Bill Field

    It’s hilarious that none of the powers that be- “Got it”. They just scratched their heads all the way into the history of animated shorts. That opening from Screwy Squirrel says it all.Tex created SCREWBALL as opposed to lowercase “screwball” from live action, which hardly scratched the surface compared to what animation could achieve with it- Tex left the Caps Lock on-24/7-SCREWBALL- see?

  • Galacticaguy

    Thanks for posting! I have part of this on a videotape somewhere. It was on PBS when I recorded it.

  • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin

    There was another BBC documentary called Disney, The Fairy Tale Years or something like that which i’d love to find. It sounds like the same narrator too. Included footage of Eyvind Earle painting the Sleeping Beauty backgrounds. I have a filthy copied VHS copy stored in a box on the other side of the planet somewhere but would be ridiclously appreciative if someone knew where I could view it on the net. Or buy it.

    Also, not to sound pervy, but is there somewhere I can see the full lizard stripper reference? I mean on the net, not a quiet room somewhere. In fact, it does sound pervy. Question stands though.

  • http://none David Bunch

    I have this docu myself – on professional VHS tape straight from Turner Program Services. A true story…

    Back in early 1991, I first heard about this docu, seems someone the wife worked with had seen it early one morning on TNT. I called Turner Broadcasting in Atl and got ahold of a very nice young woman in programming. Seems they had just pulled the docu from rotation and she was getting ready to place the 3/4 in. tape back into the archives.

    I basically begged, pleaded, etc. for some sort of price to have that transferred to standard VHS. She said it probably wasn’t possible, that just wasn’t done. But she took down my name and address, just in case she got the OK, and she’d mail me a price and an order code or something. This was in late April of ’91.

    A month went by, no word. I finally called Turner back in mid May, spoke to someone else in programming and she said the woman I had originally spoken to no longer worked there, and had no idea what documentary I was referring to. Case closed, I thought.

    Then one day, late summer, the postman drops off a puffy envelope. Curious, I hadn’t ordered anything. Went to the mailbox and the package was from TPS, Atlanta Ga. Jusding from the thickness, I called out to the postman, about 4 doors down, to wait.

    I asked him to sign and date the envelope as to the delivery date. He agreed. Inside the envelope was the tape I have. The postage was standard book rate. The date of delivery? Aug. 26, 1991. Exactly 11 years from Avery’s death date. And there was nothing else inside the package…no letter, no invoice, nothing.

    My Twilight Zone moment….

    • Joanne

      Hi David,
      An amazing account! I’ve been trying to get hold of that documentary for ages without any success. I just stumbled upon this forum by chance. I’m doing some work with my students on Tex Avery and would love to be able to show the film to them. I had been trying to obtain the BBC documentary on Tex Avery by John Needham from 1988 but I have just hit dead ends. Would there be any chance you could make a copy of the VHS you have for me so I could share it with my students?

  • Rich Hallsworth

    This is a fantastic resource! I’m currently writing my dissertation on Avery and how his cartoons relate to adult audiences, and this is a wealth of knowledge, thanks!