Thugs with Dirty Mugs

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Thugs with Dirty Mugs
Merrie Melodies series
Thugs with Dirty Mugs title card.png
Title card from the 1944 Blue Ribbon reissue
Directed by Tex Avery
Produced by Leon Schlesinger
Story by Jack Miller
Voices by All uncredited:
Tex Avery
Mel Blanc
John Deering
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Sidney Sutherland
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) May 6, 1939
Color process Technicolor
Running time Approx. 8 minutes 5 seconds (original film, including title card w/technical credits)
Language English

Thugs with Dirty Mugs is an eight-minute animated cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series produced by Leon Schlesinger, released to theaters by Warner Bros. on May 6, 1939. It was directed by Tex Avery, written by Jack Miller,[1] and animated by Sid Sutherland, with musical direction by Carl W. Stalling.

Its subject matter (movie gangsters) is a parody of Warner's famous cycle of crime films starring such actors as James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, George Raft, and Edward G. Robinson. The title derives from the studio's 1938 acclaimed feature film, Angels with Dirty Faces, which starred the first two. It is similar to Avery's later MGM crime/detective-oriented cartoon, Who Killed Who?.

Plot summary[edit]

The film takes place in the fictional New York town of Everyville, which is home to a vast total of 112 banks.

The title card and technical credits are followed by introductions of the two lead characters: "F.H.A. (Sherlock) Homes" as police chief "Flat-Foot Flanigan with a Floy Floy," and "Edward G. Robemsome" (a caricature of Robinson) as notorious gang leader "Killer Diller." After these introductions, Killer and his gang are seen robbing every bank in the town in numerical order (except that they skip the 13th bank out of superstition) — with the newspaper Telegraph Post reporting the criminals' every move, and even declaring that they have robbed 87 banks in a single day. Despite the criminals' predictability and their endless sight gags (in which Killer does everything from causing one bank to behave like a casino machine to picking up a pay phone and inserting his gun into the speaker, resulting in the operator shrieking in terror and giving him lots of coins), the police are unable to arrest them. However, after so much bafflement, Flanigan himself gets help from an unlikely source: a man in the front of the theatre who had been sitting through the whole picture; he tells him that Killer is making plans to go to the estate of Mrs. Lotta Jewels at 10:00 in the evening. While Killer and his gang are spending time in said estate, listening to "The Lone Stranger" on radio, Flanigan and his men find the criminals and fire at them. Thus, Killer is captured, convicted, and given a long sentence — which is revealed to be a prison term in which he must write "I've been a naughty boy" on a blackboard one thousand times, much like schoolkids of that era. The imprisoned Killer blows a raspberry as the cartoon irises out.

Production notes[edit]

In 1944, this short was re-released as one of the first entries in the "Blue Ribbon" collection, whose policies required that the original credits be cut. However, the original title card for this film has been known to survive: it was auctioned off on eBay in 2007, along with many other original title cards of Tex Avery WB cartoons, from a lot saved by Avery himself, that were cut away from their respective films due to Blue Ribbon reissuing (which, in addition to that of Thugs, also included those of I Only Have Eyes for You, Cross-Country Detours, Fresh Fish, The Mice Will Play, Circus Today, The Early Worm Gets the Bird, A Feud There Was, Johnny Smith and Poker-Huntas, I Love to Singa, Wacky Wildlife, Don't Look Now, Little Red Walking Hood, Daffy Duck and Egghead, The Isle of Pingo Pongo, The Bear's Tale, Of Fox and Hounds, A Day at the Zoo, and A Wild Hare).[2] This occurred two years too late for the film's Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD re-release, which came about in 2005.

The gag where Flanigan says "I'm gonna pin it on ya" only to be revealed playing a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey is later reused in the Daffy Duck cartoon, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery.


The cartoon was banned in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1939, because censors "felt the film was just an excuse to show criminal activity."[3]

DVD release[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. p. 87. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2. 
  2. ^ TEX AVERY ORIGINAL TITLES at Jerry Beck's Cartoon Research "Original Titles" Page
  3. ^ Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America by Karl F. Cohen — Google Boeken

External links[edit]

Thugs with Dirty Mugs at the Internet Movie Database