Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Avery, Tex

Working name from 1941 of US animator (and occasional voice actor) Frederick Bean Avery (1907-1980); earlier he was credited as Fred Avery. TA is best-known for his formative work on Bugs Bunny (whom he also gave the catchphrase "What's up, Doc?"); other characters he created or radically developed include Chilly Willy, Daffy Duck, Droopy, Screwy Squirrel (aka Screwball Squirrel) and, based on the characters George and Lenny in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men (1937), George & Junior. Most of his significant career was over by 1956; thereafter he spent over two decades making commercials before spending the last year or so of his life with Hanna-Barbera. But his earlier career – at Universal/Walter Lantz (1930-1935), Warner Bros. (1936-1941), Paramount (1942) and most notably MGM (1942-1955) – glittered. More than any other animator he was responsible for that stream of Animated Movies which glorified in eschewing realism for the sake of Surrealism; because his approach did not require painstaking detail-work and hence colossal financial resources, it is arguable he had a far greater influence on the subsequent development of the animated short than, for example, the Disney studio. Frequently, too, his gag-packed cartoons contained jokes designed specifically for adults: the title of Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) is sufficient exemplification (the wolf in this short is briefly homaged in The Mask [1994]). Above all, he championed animation as a medium in itself rather than an illusion of life: in his cartoons events generally occurred within a Landscape bounded by four straight lines, the characters being often perfectly aware they were animators' creations. [JG]

Frederick Bean Avery

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.