Directed by Tex Avery
Distributed by
Written by Heck Allen
Country United States
IMDb profile

Screwball Squirrel is a 1944 animated film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Tex Avery. This is the first Tex Avery cartoon that featured the character Screwball Squirrel. The film centers around a chase between Screwball Squirrel and an simple but agitated bird dog named Meathead. The cartoon uses a great deal of cartoon violence and reflexivity at an insanely fast rate.

Distinct Techniques

Anti-Disney Animation: This cartoon is a great example of how much Tex Avery distanced his work from that of Disney. Since Disney was such a dominate force in the animation industry, it was important to have a different style to stand out. Rather commit to Disney realism and perfection, this film gives the impression of a very artificial world with a harsh reality.

  • Screwball Squirrel demonstrates this attitude by beating up a friendly, realistic squirrel named Sammy. Then he tells the audience that Sammy's cartoon wouldn't have been very funny anyway.
  • Screwball Squirrel is very cruel to Meathead for no other reason than to be entertaining. Rather than show a set of friendly characters, this displays a harsh reality.

Reflexivity: This short has numerous moments that show the artificiality of the animated medium. This distancing helps the audience laugh at cruel events in a very different animated world.

  • The music begins skipping during a chase scene, which effectively causes the characters to begin skipping between two poses. Screwball squirrel must go over to a record player and correct the problem for the cartoon to continue.
  • In order to find out what the future holds, Screwball Squirrel lifts up the corner of the picture to reveal a scene further in time.


This friendly Disney-realistic squirrel becomes the victim of the very Avery-like Screwball Squirrel.


Screwball Squirrel annoys Meathead by playing with his suddenly malleable nose.

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