Review: The Shooting of Dan McGoo (1945)

>> Saturday, November 10, 2007

USA/C-8m./Dir: Tex Avery/Wr: Heck Allen/Cast: Bill Thompson (Dan McGoo), Uncredited (Lady Lou), Uncredited (Wolf)

Animation’s craziest director, Tex Avery, produced perhaps the most supremely sauce-soaked short in cartoon history with The Shooting of Dan McGoo. This parody of the popular Robert W. Service poem, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” takes place in the frozen North of Coldernell, Alaska, where the population of 324 (and dropping) keep themselves warm by downing colossal amounts of beer and beating each other senseless. Only one patron refrains from taking part in the boozing and roughhousing--Dan McGoo (played by Avery’s most popular character, Droopy), a tough hombre with an eye for the saloon’s showgirl Lady Lou (Avery’s familiar redheaded showgirl). Into the bar enters a dangerous looking Wolf, who buys drinks for the house and ogles the McGoo’s gorgeous lady love. When the interloper tries to snatch the girl and run off, he infuriates McGoo. Of course, anyone who has spent any portion of their youth watching cartoons knows it is never a good idea to make Droopy mad.

Like most of Tex Avery’s work, The Shooting of Dan McGoo is very thin on plot, but true Avery fans watch his shorts for the gags rather than the story. Avery developed an “anything-for-a-laugh” style at Warner Brothers, which came into full bloom when he moved to Fred Quimby’s animation department at MGM. The Shooting of Dan McGoo is actually a loose remake of an Elmer Fudd short that Avery produced at Warner Brothers, Dangerous Dan McFoo. However, the MGM remake is faster, funnier, and much more firewater-filled. The alcohol gags fly by fast and furiously in this cartoon--from customers drinking on the roof when it’s announced that the drinks are on the house to barflies’ ghosts continuing to drink after they have been shot. The Shooting of Dan McGoo is one of Tex Avery’s very best shorts, and fans of both animation and booze movies should find it to be madcap fun.

Drinks Consumed--Beer and whiskey

Intoxicating Effects--Brawling, physical violence, and destruction of property

Potent Quotables--WOLF: (to bartender): Straight whiskey. (After downing the drink, the Wolf shoots to the ceiling like a Roman candle.) This stuff’s been cut!
MCGOO: Whattya want for 10 cents? Gasoline?
WOLF: ‘Taint funny, McGoo. What corny dialog.

Video Availability--Available on DVD as part of the box set Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection (Warner Brothers). It can also be viewed in its entirety below.

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Although this short features numerous canines drinking themselves silly, cats are no slouches when it comes to downing the sauce. Watch Felix the Cat tie one on in Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee (1928).


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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

All text including the title "Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide" Copyright William T. Garver

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