The Crazy Cartoons of Tex Avery and Their Enduring Influence on Animation

Rob Jaiven

Rob Jaiven has been an animation art collector and dealer for over 35 years. Many of the most famous pieces of animation art known to exist have been sold by his company Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles.
Instead of growing up and putting away his childish things, after years as a mathematician Rob quit the academic life, took those childish things out again and began his company. Suddenly in the early 1980's these childish things became fashionable and sought after. Cuckoo Comics & Collectibles continues to buy and sell the oldest, rarest and most desirable pieces of animation art. Rob also serves to educate collectors and is happy to answer questions and to talk about animation art with anyone who has an interest.
Rob Jaiven

Animation has always been a realm of imagination and creativity, and no one embodied these qualities quite like the legendary Tex Avery. Known for his zany, wild, and innovative cartoons, Tex Avery revolutionized the world of animation and influenced countless animators who came after him. In this article, we will explore the crazy cartoons of Tex Avery and their enduring influence on the world of animation, including the groundbreaking film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

The Tex Avery Legacy

Tex Avery, born Frederick Bean Avery in 1908, was a trailblazing animator and director who is most renowned for his work at Warner Bros. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). His unique approach to animation infused humor and surrealism in ways that had never been seen before. Avery’s work was characterized by exaggerated physical comedy, wacky gags, and an unapologetically absurd sense of humor.

Avery’s Crazy Cartoons

  1. “Red Hot Riding Hood” (1943): One of Avery’s most iconic cartoons, “Red Hot Riding Hood” takes the classic fairy tale and transforms it into a risqué, hilarious, and frenetic comedy. It introduced the character of the sultry and vivacious Red, a stark departure from the traditional Little Red Riding Hood, and set the stage for the creation of Avery’s signature style.
  2. “Droopy” Series: Avery also created the lovable and lethargic basset hound, Droopy. The Droopy cartoons are known for their deadpan humor and absurdity. Droopy became an endearing character to audiences and is still celebrated today for his nonchalant charm.
  3. “The Three Little Pigs” (1942): In this cartoon, Avery put his own twist on the classic fable. He turned the big bad wolf into a boisterous, helium-voiced character whose huffing and puffing were more comedic than threatening.

Influence on Future Animators

Avery’s work was groundbreaking, not only for its comedic innovation but also for the technical achievements that pushed the boundaries of animation. He popularized the use of “smears” (stretching characters’ shapes for comedic effect) and quick, exaggerated movements that later became hallmarks of animation.

Avery’s influence extended far beyond his own era. Many animators and directors who came after him were inspired by his approach to comedy and animation, and his influence is particularly evident in the work of the following individuals:

  1. Chuck Jones: Known for his work at Warner Bros., Chuck Jones was greatly influenced by Avery’s approach to physical comedy and character design. Jones went on to create iconic characters like Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
  2. Bob Clampett: Another animator at Warner Bros., Bob Clampett, embraced Avery’s irreverent humor and kinetic animation style, which can be seen in his work on cartoons like “Porky Pig.”
  3. Steven Spielberg: While not an animator, Steven Spielberg was influenced by Avery’s work and later used animation techniques in his live-action/animation hybrid masterpiece, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and the Avery Legacy

Released in 1988, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” was a groundbreaking film that blended live-action and animation in a way that had never been done before. The film’s success can be largely attributed to Tex Avery’s influence. The character of Roger Rabbit, with his exaggerated expressions and manic energy, paid homage to Avery’s style. The film’s director, Robert Zemeckis, and producer, Steven Spielberg, were both fans of Avery’s work, and they sought to capture the essence of classic cartoons while blending them seamlessly with live-action.


Tex Avery’s crazy cartoons have left an indelible mark on the world of animation. His unique brand of humor, innovative animation techniques, and unforgettable characters have influenced generations of animators and filmmakers. Avery’s legacy lives on not only in classic cartoons but also in groundbreaking films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” which continue to entertain and inspire audiences worldwide.

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