Tex Avery

Friday, July 1st, 2011 Horrorthon Posts

Fred “Tex” Avery (1908-1980) is probably my favorite animator of all time. He created Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck before leaving Warner Brothers (after a Jack-Kirby/Stan-Lee-style dispute with Leon Schlesinger) to set up his own shop at MGM, where he made 63 cartoon shorts between 1942 and 1955.

The 63 MGM Tex Avery cartoons (which are like a holy grail to me, for reasons I’ll explain) contain 16 that star Droopy, the diminutive basset hound who’s one of the triumverate of Avery/MGM characters whom the French have actually had printed onto commemorative stamps (the other two being the sexy red-haired singer “Red”—the basis for Jessica Rabbit—and the sex-crazed, eye-popping Wolf who follows her around).

Turner (who owns MGM) put out a laserdisc box set of all 63 Avery cartoons (which I actually held in my hands in a record store in the mid-eighties, but did not buy, because I didn’t have a laserdisc player, because nobody did) that’s out of print like all laserdiscs. There were two VHS collections (“Tex Avery’s Screwball Classics” and “Tex Avery’s Screwball Classics 2”) which had a measly eight cartoons each; my then-roommate and I watched those to death back 20 years ago. But nothing on DVD! Absolutely nothing. All I had, all I could have, was my memories of watching after school on my friend Alan’s blurry color TV, and dozens of crappy, disorganized YouTube copies from VCRs all over the world.

I mentioned that the French have a special reverence for Tex Avery. A year ago I began reading about the mysterious “Intégrale Tex Avery”—a professional-grade bootleg DVD set containing the entire contents of the 25-year-old laserdiscs. (They transcoded from the PAL discs, which have more scanning lines.) Getting a hold of these mythical five DVDs was not easy or fast…but I did it. Click this link to behold a sight I’ve imagined for years: the exquisite title cards to all 63 MGM Averys:


If I could invite you all over right now to watch, I would!