Coming Up Shorts! with… Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2

Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.

Welcome back for another full post of Coming Up Shorts! This time, I’m again focusing on various cartoons from MGM that were directed by Tex Avery. The shorts I’m covering were all a part of the Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2. While the shorts have not been released in chronological order, those in this set were originally released theatrically between 1948 and 1955.

Here’s a list and quick plot description for each of the cartoons included in this set (for my comments on the individual cartoons, click on the title to go to my previous reviews):

Tex Avery Screwball Classics

  1. Little Rural Riding Hood (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)
    • The city wolf invites his country cousin to the city, but cannot stop him from chasing after girls.
  2. The Cuckoo Clock (1950) (Length: 7 minutes, 5 seconds)
    • A cat is being driven crazy by a cuckoo bird and tries to get rid of it.
  3. Magical Maestro (1952) (Length: 6 minutes, 31 seconds)
    • After a magician is thrown out by opera singer Spike (also known as “The Great Poochini”), he gets his revenge by taking the place of the conductor and using his magic wand to wreak havoc on Spike’s performance.
  4. One Cab’s Family (1952) (Length: 7 minutes, 56 seconds)
    • A pair of taxicabs raise their new son (with the hope that he will also be a taxicab), but he wants to be a hot rod.
  5. The Cat That Hated People (1948) (Length: 7 minutes, 1 second)
    • A black cat expresses his dislike for humans for the way he has been treated, and takes a rocket to the moon.
  6. Doggone Tired (1949) (Length: 7 minutes, 34 seconds)
    • A rabbit tries to keep a hunting dog from getting enough sleep.
  7. The Flea Circus (1954) (Length: 7 minutes, 1 second)
    • When a stray dog walks in on a circus of fleas, they all leave (except for Francois, the clown), and it’s up to him to bring more fleas back!
  8. Field And Scream (1955) (Length: 7 minutes, 9 seconds)
    • We follow American sportsman Ed Jones as he goes fishing and hunting.
  9. The First Bad Man (1955) (Length: 6 minutes, 35 seconds)
    • This short tells the story of Texas, circa one million B.C., where Dinosaur Dan laid claim to being the first bad man in Texas.


  1. Out-Foxed (1949) (Length: 8 minutes, 18 seconds)
    • A group of hunting dogs (including Droopy) are promised a steak if they can bring in a fox.
  2. Droopy’s Double Trouble (1951) (Length: 7 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • Droopy and his twin brother Drippy are tasked with taking care of a house (and keeping out strangers). Of course, Spike the dog (with an Irish accent, no less!) has to join in on the fun (as the “stranger” that they have to keep out).
  3. The Three Little Pups (1953) (Length: 6 minutes, 44 seconds)
    • Three little pups (including Droopy) take on a dogcatcher.
  4. Drag-A-Long Droopy (1954) (Length: 7 minutes, 34 seconds)
    • Sheepherder Droopy drives his sheep into cattle territory, and the Wolf (who owns a cattle ranch) tries to stop him.
  5. Homesteader Droopy (1954) (Length: 7 minutes, 31 seconds)
    • Droopy and his homesteading family find resistance from Dishonest Dan when they make a home in cattle country.
  6. Dixieland Droopy (1954) (Length: 7 minutes, 44 seconds)
    • Droopy plays Dixieland musician John Pettibone, as he tries to become famous.


  1. The Counterfeit Cat (1949) (Length: 7 minutes, 6 seconds)
    • A cat tries to pretend to be a dog to get the bird that Spike the dog is guarding.
  2. Ventriloquist Cat (1950) (Length: 6 minutes, 41 seconds)
    • A cat uses ventriloquism to play some pranks on Spike the bulldog.

Cartoons Of Tomorrow

  1. The House Of Tomorrow (1949) (Length: 6 minutes, 51 seconds)
    • We are given a tour of the house of tomorrow by the narrator.
  2. Car Of Tomorrow (1951) (Length: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)
    • We are shown the “cars of tomorrow.”
  3. T.V. Of Tomorrow (1953) (Length: 7 minutes, 7 seconds)
    • We are shown the many innovations of the television of tomorrow.
  4. The Farm Of Tomorrow (1954) (Length: 6 minutes, 32 seconds)
    • We are shown the “farm of tomorrow.”

Well, since the various Tex Avery shorts aren’t being put out on disc in chronological order, there isn’t much more that I can say about Tex himself than what I said when I reviewed Volume 1 of this series. So, I will confine my comments overall to the shorts included in this set. As indicated in the list above, this set contains more one-off shorts, some Droopy, some Spike (the bulldog), and the four Cartoons Of Tomorrow. As before, I consider the Droopy cartoons to be the most fun, since I have fond memories of growing up with them. They’re always guaranteed to give me a good laugh! I think I also remember the Little Rural Riding Hood and Doggone Tired shorts, but most of the rest were new to me through this set. Overall, it’s a fun continuation, with some cartoons just as good (if not better) than those in the first set!

All the shorts included in this set come from 4K scans of the best surviving preservation elements (since, as I mentioned before in my review of the first volume, many of the original negatives for MGM’s pre-1951 cartoons were destroyed in a 1965 vault fire). Compared to the first set, this one didn’t fare as well in overall quality in the transfers. Admittedly, most of the trouble seems to have been caused by the pandemic, which delayed the set (which I have heard was originally planned for a June 2020 release, or thereabouts, instead of the December 2020 release it got) with all the film labs and storage facilities being shut down (and thereby removing access to the film elements), and also resulted in the team that had done the earlier release and the Popeye sets being laid off. Further compounding the issue, they were still stuck with a release deadline which forced them to use some less-than-stellar transfers prepared for HBO Max. A lot more DNR (digital noise reduction) was used than would have normally been the case, resulting in too much grain being removed (and therefore, some of the detail). Now, for the most part, the average Joe (or Jane) probably won’t notice, as everything looks pretty good in motion (it’s just when you stop to pause the picture that things will look worse). Now, this isn’t a problem for ALL the shorts on the set, just a few. The majority are, for the most part, treated much better. There are a few that also had photoshopped titles, and there is a slight audio issue on the start of the short T.V. Of Tomorrow. Still, the set overall is quite nice, and even throws in an hour-long documentary on Tex Avery from 1988 as an extra. It’s only good, compared to the usual GREATNESS that we would expect from Warner Archive transfers, but it’s still better than you might see for other animated libraries.

Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The whole set has a runtime of two hours, twenty-nine minutes.

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2021) with… Nothing But The Truth (1941)

We’ve got another Bob Hope film today, and that would be his third pairing with actress Paulette Goddard, the 1941 comedy Nothing But The Truth!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Car Of Tomorrow (1951)

(Available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 6 minutes, 19 seconds)

We are shown the “cars of tomorrow.” This one is fun, as it shows different types of cars. Some car features work (in a literal way), and others backfire. But the gags come fast and furious (and, building off of The House Of Tomorrow, it even throws in one “mother-in-law joke”). There are a few jokes based on stereotypes that haven’t aged well, but it’s only one or two instances. I enjoyed a few good laughs with this one, even if it did just seem to be a series of gags with different types of cars.

And Now For The Main Feature…

Stockbroker T. T. Ralston (Edward Arnold) is in trouble: his niece, Gwen Saunders (Paulette Goddard), is trying to collect $40,000 for charity, and he has promised to give her $20,000 if she can raise the other half. Of course, he doesn’t want to keep that promise, and, behind her back, convinces everybody he knows not to donate. However, she has managed to collect $10,000, and turns to the one person he hasn’t talked to: the newly-hired Steve Bennett (Bob Hope). Gwen asks him to invest the $10,000 in something that will double her money in a quick period of time (without telling her uncle or anybody else where the money came from). Before Steve can do anything, his boss T. T. tries to get him to sell some bad stock. Steve is unwilling to do so, believing that honesty is the best policy. T. T. and his partners, Tom Van Dusen, a.k.a. “Van” (Leif Erickson) (who also happens to be Gwen’s boyfriend) and Dick Donnelly (Glenn Anders) decide to call him on the idea by betting him that he can’t the tell the truth and nothing but the truth for twenty-four hours. Steve takes up the bet, using Gwen’s money, since he figures he can win easily. With nobody allowed to tell about the bet, the three men decide to stay close to Steve to keep him honest (and try to force him to lie). He’s stuck going with them on T. T.’s yacht for the weekend, and, with their constant pestering in an attempt to get him to lie, he manages to insult almost everybody on the boat. To make matters worse, Dick Donnelly (who is married to T. T.’s daughter) also finds himself trying to avoid trouble, when his mistress, actress Linda Graham (Helen Vinson), comes on board, looking for the money that she had been promised would be put into her show. Since Dick had promised her that Steve would pay, she appeals to Steve by trying to tell him about the show (and, in the process, convincing some of the eavesdropping women that the two are an estranged couple). With everybody mad at Steve (including Gwen, whom he had fallen for), will he be able to win the bet, or will he tell a lie to get himself out of trouble (and lose all that money)?

Nothing But Trouble was the third and final pairing of Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Like the previous two films, it was based on another property, which first came about as a 1914 novel by Frederic S. Isham before being turned into a 1916 stage play by James Montgomery, and which was then made into a movie twice before (in 1920 and 1929). The basic story, that of somebody betting that they can tell the truth (and only the truth) for a set amount of time has been done many times, both on the big and small screen, so the plot itself is nothing new. What does matter is how well done it is, and I personally think that the cast of this film makes it work quite well here! We still have Bob Hope early in his career, when he did do more as a romantic lead (and did quite well here). Compared to her two previous outings with Bob Hope, actress Paulette Goddard is given a lot more to do as a comedienne, and she shines in that regard, providing just as many laughs as Bob! Edward Arnold, Leif Erickson and Glenn Anders are all fun as the trio trying to trip up Bob (while also keeping their own noses clean), and the rest of the cast is solid, too. While he doesn’t have a lot to do, actor Leon Belasco, who portrays the psychiatrist Dr. Zarak, manages to leave an impression, as he comments on everybody’s actions (mostly by referring to names of famous psychiatric cases he knew of in Europe). The film’s weak spot (for better or for worse) is black actor Willie Best as Hope’s servant, and all the black stereotypes that come with it (although at least he’s not scared all the time like he was in The Ghost Breakers). As I said, this is not a new concept story-wise, but it’s a well-done comedy, and worth seeing!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, featuring a new 2K master. Personally, I think the movie looks wonderful! The detail is improved over the old masters that were previously available, and the image has been cleaned up of dirt and debris! The only problem I have with this release (and sadly, it’s more of an issue than I wish it was), is that the movie is not uncut. I know there is some footage missing at about the hour mark (that had been present on an earlier DVD from Universal). According to a representative from Kino, the missing footage is not on any of the film elements available at Universal (who owns the movie), and may have been a scene cut in the U.S. (and therefore the footage may have been found for the DVD in elements from another territory). That’s the last I have heard on the subject, and I don’t know if anything further will be done about it. It’s disappointing, as it leaves us with a fairly obvious jump cut that takes away from some of the scene’s humor. Hopefully, that’s something that might still get fixed somewhere down the line, but, if it doesn’t, it certainly makes this release a question of whether you want better picture quality (for which it is recommended), or the entire film (for which I would be a bit more hesitant to recommend it).

Film Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

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List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Caught In The Draft (1941) – Bob Hope – My Favorite Blonde (1942)

The Ghost Breakers (1940) – Paulette Goddard

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) – Edward Arnold – Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

The Ghost Breakers (1940) – Bob Hope/ Paulette Goddard (screen team)