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… The Pajama Game (1957)

Apparently, I’m going to just keep plugging along with Doris Day’s filmography this year, as we’ve got another one of her films! This time, it’s her 1957 musical The Pajama Game, also starring John Raitt. So let’s get through another short first, and then head on down to the stage to hear from our Host and Narrator!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Droopy’s Double Trouble (1951)

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

(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). In general, the fun of this cartoon is in watching Spike deal with the constantly switching Droopy/Drippy and how they react to his presence. I’ve been watching this cartoon for a long time, and I can’t deny that it still holds the same charm (and humor!) after all this time. Still one worth revisiting!

And Now For The Main Feature…

(Host): I figured it out!

(Narrator): You figured it out?

(Host): …

(Narrator): Well, did you?

(Host): … No.

(Narrator): Good. I was worried you were about to start in with a (poorly done) musical number for my return. (Aside to audience) And when I say “poorly done,” I mean him, not the movie. (Normal voice) The story for The Pajama Game comes from the novel 7 1/2 Cents by Richard Bissell, which was turned into the hit Broadway musical The Pajama Game…

(Host): Never mind that. Let’s get on with the story!

(Narrator): Fine. Have at it.

(Host): To start off with, the workers at the Sleeptite Pajama Factory are demanding a raise of 7 1/2 cents from their boss, Myron Hasler (Ralph Dunn), but he refuses to budge! He hires a new superintendent, Sid Sorokin, as played by Frank Sinatra –

(Narrator): WAIT A MINUTE!!! I’m sorry folks, but he’s working with the wrong information. The original plan for this movie was to keep the Broadway cast more or less intact, but it was required by the producers to have a big movie star as one of the leads. They had hoped to have Frank Sinatra as the male lead, with plans for Janis Paige to reprise her role from the Broadway show. Supposedly, Frank turned the role down (or was unavailable), and so they got Doris Day as the female lead, dropping Janis Paige and bringing in John Raitt. Whew. Now, let’s back to things with the RIGHT information.

(Host): Alright. He hires a new superintendent, Sid Sorokin AS PLAYED BY JOHN RAITT (glares at the Narrator).

(Narrator): Hurry Up!

(Host): (Singing) Can’t waste time, can’t waste time…”

(Narrator): (Covers up Host’s mouth and addresses the audience) Sorry, folks. That one’s on me. I should have known better with him. (Pulls hand off Host’s mouth) Going to behave now?

(Host): Sure. What choice do I have? Now, where was I? Oh, yes. While trying to help fix some machinery, Sid ends up shoving a lazy employee out of the way. Deciding to fake an injury, the employee runs off to tell the grievance committee from the union. The leader of that grievance committee turns out to be Catherine “Babe” Williams (Doris Day), whom Sid immediately takes a shine to. Babe’s co-workers also sense that Babe feels the same way, but she tells them that she’s (singing) “Not at all in love”

(Narrator): (Covers up Host’s mouth again) I thought we covered this.

(Host): (Mumbling through Narrator’s hand) OK. (Narrator pulls hand away). Well, Sid tries to ask her out, but she turns him down, worried about how she is a worker, and he is management. But, when the company picnic comes around, he’s persistent enough that they start going out anyway. Things go well for a time. However, Myron Hasler’s refusal to compromise with the union about the 7 1/2 cent raise results in the workers trying to slow things down. When Sid forces everyone back to work at normal speed, Babe decides to sabotage the machinery to slow things down. When she openly admits to it, Sid has no choice but to fire her. Later, he tries to make it up to her, but she refuses to see him. Sid tries to reason with Mr. Hasler, but he refuses to budge. So, Sid decides to try looking at the books. However, they are kept under lock and key, and Mr. Hasler’s secretary, Gladys Hotchkiss (Carol Haney), has the key. So, he opts to take her out (but openly admits beforehand that he wants the key). She suggests going to a place called (tango music starts) “Hernando’s Hideaway! Olé!” (Music stops as trapdoor opens up underneath the Host. He looks down, looks back up to address audience.) Darn it. I pressed my luck too far. (Falls down through trapdoor, which closes immediately after.)

(Narrator): Well, he’s gone, for a moment. Back to the story, Sid gets Gladys drunk, but then he sees Babe come in. While he tries to hide from Babe, Gladys decides to give him the key. Babe sees the two of them, and comes over to warn them that Gladys’ jealous boyfriend (and factory foreman) Vernon “Hinesie” Hines (Eddie Foy, Jr.) knows about them, and is out looking for them. Sid tries to explain, but she leaves immediately. After trying to make sure that Gladys has a ride home, Sid goes off to look at the books for the factory. Will he be able to find something that allows the union and Mr. Hasler to compromise, or will the workers go on strike?

(Narrator walks offstage as the Host walks back on)

(Host): I see he finished the story during the brief moment I was away. So, let’s down to what I think of this movie. I will readily admit, this was a movie that, for some reason, I had no initial interest in (and I’ve never seen it performed on stage, either). The biggest reason I saw this movie was the presence of leading lady Doris Day, combined with the fact that it is a musical. And, much to my surprise, it ended up being a movie that I enjoyed! The music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross turned out to be quite fun and memorable (and I was taken aback to hear the song “Hey There,” which I’ve heard a version of on an oldies radio station that I’ve listened to for a number of years). I will admit to having a number of the songs stuck in my head, and, as much as I now like them, that’s not a bad problem to have! I do admit that I find actor John Raitt to be one of the weak points of the film, as his performance doesn’t quite work for me (it’s not completely terrible, but it’s still rather weak compared to the rest of the cast). Doris Day is, as always, in fine voice and does well with her character (even if she was a newbie to the show compared to most of the original Broadway cast brought in for the movie). I’m not quite as fond of the dancing, but you’re also talking to somebody who prefers the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and some of the other earlier dancers (and the choreography that they were working with). Still, this one was a movie that I enjoyed, and I would certainly recommend it highly!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The new Blu-ray uses a 4K Scan of the original negative. It’s another one that was originally done in the problematic WarnerColor process (much like Mister Roberts), and the restoration crew made plans to use other elements in case the original negative wasn’t up to snuff. However, it turned out to be in better shape than they thought, and the new transfer looks wonderful! The detail is there, the color is there, and the restoration team has my greatest admiration for all the work they continue to do with Warner’s holdings (so yes, give the Blu-ray a try)!

(Narrator): (walks back onstage wearing a pair of Sleeptite pajamas and carrying, over several trips, a microphone, some sound equipment, a music player and a portable chair)

(Host): What’s all this?

(Narrator): I figured that you’re bound and determined to start singing and dancing, so I grabbed some equipment. Just don’t expect this to happen that often.

(Host): (Grinning broadly) you mean this is my (Narrator nods and starts up the music) “Once-a-year day!” (Sound fades away as invisible soundproof walls descend around the stage, while the Host continues singing and dancing without noticing)

(The Narrator sits down in chair and sets up a sign, with the words only visible to the audience. The sign says “What? You didn’t expect me to let you suffer as well, did you?”)

(The glass breaks from all the singing and dancing around)

(Narrator): Oh, well. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” (Gets up and starts singing and dancing with the Host)

Film Length: 1 hour, 41 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Love Me Or Leave Me (1955)Doris DayBilly Rose’s Jumbo (1962)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) – Eddie Foy, Jr.

As an Amazon Affiliate, this site gets a small percentage for every purchase made upon using one of the Amazon links, even if it’s not the movie I linked to (and it’s at no extra cost to you). If you like what I’m doing with the blog, please consider using them so that I can continue to do more!