Screwy Squirrel decides to hijack this cartoon from his friend, Sammy Squirrel, who wanted to tell a sweet story about him and his cute woodland friends. Instead, Screwy Squirrel wants to make the cartoon a battle of the wits between himself and a bird dog named Meathead. Despite Meathead being solely a dog that chases birds, Screwy Squirrel goads him into chasing him. Meathead can't let the insults from Scewy Squirrel go by without that chase. Screwy Squirrel seems to have Meathead's number as Meathead ends up on the losing end time after time when he tries to catch Screwy Squirrel. Ultimately, Screwy Squirrel provides the answer to why he is always one up on Meathead.Written by
First appearance of Screwball/Screwy Squirrel. See more »
On the beached ship, Screwy paints a water/sky landscape on a placard to simulate the ship rocking by tipping the picture back and forth outside the porthole in order to make Meathead seasick. Watching Screwy, it is seen that he sometimes lifts the bottom of the painted placard above the bottom of the porthole window. However, when seen from inside the ship (where Meathead is), the view of the "water" (painted bottom of the placard) is unbroken. See more »
This was the first effort of Tex Avery to give us the character, "Screwy Squirrel." Reportedly, it was the answer to the popular Tom and Jerry cartoons at the time.
Man, this squirrel is a mean rodent, almost sadistic. His pleasure, apparently, is to torment this dog called "Meathead." This poor mutt takes a bad beating, time after time, and Screwy delights in doing whatever he can to him, followed by a sadistic laugh. I could see where that laugh could become annoying if you heard it often enough, but I don't remember much of it in the other SS cartoons I saw. I can also see why Screwy didn't become a hit, even though he was funny. As a leading cartoon character, he's just a little too nasty. However, Bugs Bunny inflicted a lot of pain on others, too, but they often - at least Elmer Fudd - started trouble. Plus, there was something lovable about Bugs. Here, this dog was just minding his own business when Screwy called him on the telephone and used some psychology to get him to come over.....only so he could abuse him. Now, that's mean!
As in most Tex Avery cartoons, the jokes are more adult-oriented and the director emphasizes, through another Thumper-like "Bambi" squirrel early in this cartoon, that is is not going to be a cute and fuzzy story. Avery once said he was "the anti-Disney" type and preferred his cartoons with an edge. Screwy beats up Thumper right away, just to emphasize the point.
Avery and his main writer, Heck Allen, also were good at having the main characters stop the story and talk to us - the audience - a number of times. That, or they would hold up a sign telling us something like, "Stupid, ain't it?" These "asides" to let us know what the characters are thinking are almost always clever and add to the cartoon's humor. I particularly thought it was neat when the character would comment that he knew all of this baloney that was happening on screen was just a cartoon anyway, so he'd make some wisecrack about "this cartoon this and that." Supposedly, this was the first time this sort of thing had ever been done in a cartoon. It must have really surprised audiences in the theater. That's how inventive Mr. Avery and Mr. Allen were with their animated short features. Their "Droopy" cartoons featured a lot of those "asides," too.
After watching this, I viewed two other "Screwy Squirrel" episodes and found them spectacular.
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