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… My Favorite Blonde (1942)

We’ve got yet another Bob Hope comedy! This time, it’s the 1942 film that set out to prove that Bob Hope considered actress Madeleine Carroll “My Favorite Blonde!”

Coming Up Shorts! with… T.V. Of Tomorrow (1953)

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

(Length: 7 minutes, 7 seconds)

We are shown the many innovations of the television of tomorrow. Another funny cartoon, even if it is a little dated, as the technology ideas revolve around what TV was like back then. Of course, it throws in a joke about not being able to find much on, as it jokes about westerns being on everywhere (which wasn’t far from the truth not long after this short was created). I had a few good laughs seeing Tex Avery’s usual type of gags as he made fun of television, and certainly look forward to revisiting this one in the future! Only problem with this short is some audio issues at the very beginning of the short (they don’t prevent you from understanding everything, but you can tell there’s something wrong, just the same).

And Now For The Main Feature…

Everything is starting to look good for vaudevillian Larry Haines (Bob Hope). He’s part of an act with his penguin, Percy. Hollywood has come a-calling for Percy, and Larry has a job on that picture as Percy’s trainer. But things start to go awry when he meets Karen Bentley (Madeleine Carroll). She decides to go along with him to Los Angeles, which he doesn’t mind at first. But, then she starts acting a little crazy, which drives him nuts. What he doesn’t know, though, is that she is a British agent who needs to deliver a flight plan for American bombers to somebody in Chicago, but she is being chased by enemy agents. As he gets on a train, she pins the plans (contained in a scorpion medallion) on his coat and leaves, planning to catch up with him later. The enemy agents get on the train with Larry and intimidate him when he is in the club car (although he is able to get away before they can do anything further). After another train stop, Karen catches up with him and continues the trip to Chicago with Larry. When he changes his coat, she steals his luggage (to get the coat that had the scorpion pinned on it) and runs off. She goes to an apartment (with Larry following), where she discovers that an agent she was supposed to meet has been murdered. With Larry trying to take back his suitcase, Karen now has no choice but to tell him the truth. Although he is unwilling to accept it at first, he believes her when, upon trying to leave, a knife is thrown at him (and misses). Karen knows she needs to go on with the scorpion, but is unsure of how to get out of the apartment with the enemy agents lying in wait. Larry quickly gets an idea to stage a wife-beating incident in the hopes that they will get a police escort out of there (which they do). As the police escort them to jail, Larry and Karen decide to make up in a sickeningly sweet manner, which results in the police letting them go. Of course, the enemy wasn’t idle during that time, as they decided to call the police themselves and report the murder of the other agent, blaming Larry for it. With a new manhunt on for the two of them, Larry and Karen must stay on the run as they continue towards L.A. Can they make it in time to get the flight plans delivered, or will the enemy agents win out?

In the early 1940s, comedian Bob Hope had a bit of a crush on actress Madeleine Carroll, which he used to really talk up on his radio show. Figuring the free publicity would help her career, she asked to be on his radio show, and then he took things a step further by asking her to be in My Favorite Blonde. Of course, the film ended up spoofing some of the types of thrillers that Alfred Hitchcock was known for at the time (including the 1935 film The 39 Steps, which Madeleine Carroll had starred in). My Favorite Blonde turned out to be another hit, and one that started yet another series for star Bob Hope, with My Favorite Brunette (1947) and My Favorite Spy (1951) following.

I’ve had the opportunity to see this one many times over the last two decades, and it’s one I enjoy coming back to periodically! Bob is funny, as usual, with his quips providing much of the humor (especially those insulting his Road movies co-star Bing Crosby). And, speaking of Crosby, he makes the first of what would become many cameo appearances in Bob’s films (and causing Bob’s character to do a double-take). Of course, there are other fun moments, too, whether it be any of the times that Madeleine Carroll’s Karen changes her character in front of the enemy agents, all the while making Bob’s Larry think that she’s flipped her lid. Then there’s the moment on the train where the enemy agents just sit there in the club car, intimidating Larry (and all while not doing anything more than staring intensely at him). And, speaking of those agents, they are well-cast, with Gale Sondergaard continuing to show how good she is as a villainess in creeping others out. It’s not a spy movie, at least, not in the way most would think in an era where we have the likes of James Bond, the Bourne franchise, or any number of action films. Still, it’s an entertaining ride, and well worth giving a chance!

This movie is available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, featuring a new 2K master. The transfer looks pretty good, for the most part. There are some shots that don’t look as good (particularly some of the foggy scenes early in the movie), but I suspect a lot of that has to do with the limitations of the source elements used. It’s still a huge improvement over what was previously available, with most of the dirt and debris cleaned up, so I would definitely say it’s the best way to enjoy this movie!

Film Length: 1 hour, 18 minutes

My Rating: 9/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Nothing But The Truth (1941) – Bob Hope – Road To Morocco (1942)

Road To Zanzibar (1941)Bing CrosbyHoliday Inn (1942)

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