The Movie Waffler Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1 | The Movie Waffler

Mike’s Strange Cinema Cavalcade - Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1
A collection of animated classics from Warner Archive.

Review by Mike Vaughn

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1

Everyone is probably at least familiar with the name Tex Avery. In his time, Avery was (and is still to this day) considered one of the founding fathers of animation, creating cartoons that were geared towards a more mature audience. Yes folks, you heard that correct. Years before Rick and Morty, South Park and even Ren and Stimpy, Avery was the OG in this genre. Tex boldly moved away from the cutesy kiddie fare being produced by Walt Disney and into more adult and at times even downright subversive material.

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1

In 1941 Avery made the move from Paramount to MGM, just as America was entering World War II, and did some of his best work while at the latter studio. During this time he created iconic characters like Droopy Dog and Screwy Squirrel.

Lately, Warner Archive has been rolling out their back catalogue of cartoons with multiple volumes of Popeye The Sailor Man (Vol 1-3 of the '40s era, with volume one of the '50s era to premier later this year). But while you wait on that, Warner has an incredible surprise up their sleeves with Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol. 1. The 'Vol.1' label clearly means the studio has plans to do more releases, and I am beyond excited by this. As you watch this set you can tell a lot of love went into it. Clearly Warner Archive wants to celebrate this era of cartoons and it has really rolled out the red carpet.

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1

First off, the company did a great job at selecting cartoons to showcase in this first volume, which spans from 1943-1951. Now let's talk about how the cartoons themselves look! One word - WOW! Avery utilised a healthy budget to bring lush colourful and stunning looking animation to life. Warner Archive has provided a restoration that really matches this colourful and fun style of art, and the cartoons look simply stunning. Honestly, everybody involved in this restoration should be incredibly proud of the work they did. The following Cartoons are included:

Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)

Who Killed Who? (1943)

Whats Buzzin Buzzard? (1943)

Batty Baseball (1944)

The Hick Chick (1946)

Bad Luck Blackie (1949) (First appearance of Spike/Butch the bulldog)

Garden Gopher (1950)

The Peach Cobbler (1950)

Symphony in Slang (1951)

Screwball Squirrel (1944) (First appearance of Screwy Squirrel)

The Screwy Truants (1945)

Big Heel Watha (1944)

Lonesome Lenny (1946)

Hound Hunters (1947)

Red Hot Rangers (1947)

Dumb -Hounded (1943) (First appearance of Droopy Dog)

Wags to Riches (1949)

The Chump Champ (1950)

Daredevil Droopy (1951)

During Episode Selection there is a nice feature where you can play all certain iconic cartoons one after the other. For example, Droopy has four cartoons and the menu gives you the option to play those altogether. That’s a very nice touch and again shows me that this label really thought this out.

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1

Overall, Warner Archive has provided over two hours of great Tex Avery animation, and it currently retails for only $21.99 on their website. I would have loved to have seen maybe a historical featurette or commentary on selected shorts but honestly, I am more than happy with this set overall. These cartoons are looking better than I think they ever have, and the price is certainly right. I'm overjoyed that this was put out and I cannot wait to review future volumes. Maybe even a special WWII themed collection of war time cartoons? Whatever the case may be, this is a set no cartoon fan should be without!

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Vol.1 is on blu-ray February 18th from Warner Archive.

Michael Vaughn is a rabid horror and cult fan who turned that love into a career. He is a writer, blogger and film historian and now author of 'The Ultimate Guide to Strange Cinema' which Shock Wave Podcast named their pick of the month, and Chris Alexander of Fangoria called “recommended reading.”

His other credits include Scream Magazine, Fangoria and websites like Films in Review and Bloody Flicks(UK). Please follow his Twitter @StrangeCinema65 and Instagram @gorehound_mike.