Big Heel-Watha (1944)
Directed by Tex Avery
I love how Avery’s characters can turn to the audience and say things like “In a cartoon, you can do anything.” Maybe someone should have warned the viewers of the protagonist they were about to meet. Screwy Squirrel was so brash and rude, it’s easy to understand why audiences couldn’t empathize with him the way they could with Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse. Screwy Squirrel was the kind of character who would tear up somebody’s ration book in front of them, which, during WWII, would have been like tearing up someone’s food stamps. Screwy Squirrel is an anti-hero, and audiences in the 1940s were not ready to side with a character like that. The easier character to like in this short is Big Heel-Watha, voiced by the wonderful Bill Thompson (Droopy, Mr. Smee in Peter Pan, Jock in Lady and the Tramp). He just has one of those great voices for animation.
Warning: This film contains many stereotypes that may be considered offensive. I am posting it because it is a product of its time and even though it should not be repeated, it should be viewed so as not to be swept under the rug of revisionist history.