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… Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)

Well, I’m a little late (by about a week) in talking about this movie (considering one of the film’s stars was featured last month), but let’s get into it anyways! I’m talking, of course, about the 1948 film Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy!

Coming Up Shorts! with… The House Of Tomorrow (1949)

(Available as an extra on the Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection or as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 Blu-ray or DVD from Warner Archive Collection)

(Length: 6 minutes, 51 seconds)

We are given a tour of the house of tomorrow by the narrator. A very fun cartoon, as we see what types of contraptions that Tex Avery visualized for the future. Of course, there’s a running gag about the unwelcome “mothers-in-law” (which may be overdone just a little). Some aspects are dated, in between how it treats housewives, plus the image of the bikini-clad girl (possibly looks like Virginia Mayo, but I’m not 100% sure) for the “tired businessmen.” Apart from those issues, it looks like a lot of fun (just don’t start asking questions, or you’ll have a toilet plunger thrown at you)!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Advertising executive Jim Blandings (Cary Grant) lives in an increasingly cramped apartment in New York City with his wife Muriel (Myrna Loy) and their daughters Joan (Sharyn Moffett) and Betsy (Connie Marshall). One morning, their lawyer and friend Bill Cole (Melvyn Douglas) comes over to talk with Muriel about remodeling the apartment, but when Jim hears the $7000 price tag, he rejects the idea completely. At work, he is given a new advertising account that one of his colleagues had failed to satisfy. While looking over some of his colleague’s previous ideas, he sees an ad for a home in Connecticut, and decides to look into it. He and Muriel become enamored with the place, but the real estate salesman, sensing a golden opportunity, misrepresents the place (and sells it to them for more than it’s worth). Bill quickly figures out they paid too much for less than they were told, but, they want the house more than anything, so Jim decides not to push against the idea. They turn to a few experts to see what improvements can be made to the house, but every one of them suggests tearing it down and starting fresh. So, that’s what they do (although they get in trouble with the owner of the mortgage for not asking him first). Further troubles arise as they try to get the house designed like they want but within a decent budget. And then, of course, there’s all the difficulties (and rising costs) that come about as they try to build it. Plus, they’re evicted from their apartment before the house is complete. With all these problems (and an advertising campaign that Jim is struggling to put together while he focuses on the house), will he be able to stay sane, or will they lose everything?

Eric Hodgins, at one time a vice president of Time, Inc., originally tried to build his dream house (in 1939), but the costs skyrocketed from the estimated $11,000 up to $56,000 at completion. After two years, he was bankrupt and forced to sell his home. But he wrote an article on his experiences entitled “Mr. Blandings Builds His Castle” for Fortune magazine in 1946. This article was turned into a novel that same year, and it was quickly picked up for a movie by David O. Selznik. With the funds from the movie rights, Eric Hodgins tried (and failed) to buy back his house. But, back to the movie, David O. Selznik planned to use it to pair up Cary Grant and Myrna Loy (who had worked together previously in two movies), hoping to make them the next (Spencer) Tracy and (Katharine) Hepburn. That didn’t happen (as this was the last film that Cary Grant and Myrna Loy made together), but it was pretty well received by audiences and critics.

While I’d heard of this film before, I can’t say as I’ve ever really had the chance to see it. But, it’s a comedy, it stars Cary Grant, and it also stars Myrna Loy! That was enough of a combination for me to want to see it (especially when the Blu-ray was announced, but more on that in a moment)! Having finally seen it, the movie turned out to be even better than I would have imagined (and I imagined it would be good)! The story overall is fun, and the comedy certainly makes it better! I admit, I get a few Green Acres vibes here (you know, the 1960s sitcom), in between the dishonest real estate salesman, the broken down house, and even the doorknob on the closet! Plain and simple, this one was a good time, and one I look forward to revisiting periodically! So, if you get the chance to try it, do it! You won’t regret it (just make sure somebody is there to get you out of the closet)!

This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray features a new transfer from a 4k scan of the original nitrate camera negative. As I said, this was my first time seeing it, but I would say this new Blu-ray is a typical Warner Archive release. In other words, it’s a WONDERFUL transfer, with great detail and clarity! The picture has been cleaned up of all dust and dirt and other debris. Throw in two radio productions of the story, both of which feature Cary Grant (with one featuring Irene Dunne and the other featuring Cary Grant’s then-wife Betsy Drake), and I’m sold on this release! So, if you want to see this movie looking its best, this is the way to do it!

Film Length: 1 hour, 34 minutes

My Rating: 10/10

*ranked #9 in Top 10 Disc Releases Of 2021

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

Notorious (1946)Cary GrantRoom For One More (1952)

Song Of The Thin Man (1947) – Myrna Loy

Ninotchka (1939) – Melvyn Douglas

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