Christopher P. Lehman
February 3, 2020 posted by Christopher Lehman

The “Cheater” Cartoons

In animation circles, a “cheater” is a cartoon consisting significantly of footage from earlier cartoons. Whenever theatrical studios made them, they cut costs on the production of the films. Cheaters typically had plots involving someone sharing memories of the past. Every time a memory would be announced, the old clip would appear. The memory-lane genre of cheaters includes these films:

Betty Boop’s Rise To Fame (1934), Jerry’s Diary (MGM, 1949), His Hare-Raising Tale (Warner Brothers, 1951), Life with Tom (MGM, 1953), Smarty Cat (MGM, 1955), Penny Antics (1955), This Is a Life (Warner Brothers, 1956), Assault and Flattery (Paramount, 1956), Hare-Abian Nights (Warner Brothers, 1959), Katnip’s Big Day (Paramount, 1959), Freudy Cat (Warner Brothers, 1964), and Pink-In (DFE, 1971).

Some cheaters had more imaginative plots. Max Fleischer’s The Adventures of Popeye (1934) reused scenes from previous Popeye cartoons to inspire a little boy (in live action) to overcome a bully. In Warner Bros. What’s Cookin’, Doc? (1944), old footage serves as a film Bugs Bunny submits for consideration of an Academy Award. In Cruise Cat (MGM, 1952) and Matinee Mouse (MGM, 1968), Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse see themselves on film in theaters. In Shutter Bugged Cat (MGM, 1969), Tom Cat studies old footage of himself in order to do better at catching Jerry Mouse, and some of the footage and soundtracks are played in reverse! I also admire how Harman and Ising made Bosko’s Parlor Pranks (MGM, 1934) by reusing animation from previous black & white Warner Bros. Looney Tunes!

And then of course there were the “Cheater Features”: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979), The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981), Bugs Bunny’s Third Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (1982), Daffy Dick’s Fantastic Island (1983) and Daffy Duck’s Quackbusaters (1988). These reuse the basic set-up of making new bridging footage to bracket old cartoons, the premise of the ABC-TV Bugs Bunny Show (1960).

Perhaps the ultimate feature length cheaters were the Fred Ladd colorized fiasco’s Mutt and Jeff Meet Bugoff (1973) and Hooray For Betty Boop (from 1976, aka Betty Boop For President).

One of the weirder cheaters from the television era was Popeye’s Testimonial Dinner (KFS, 1960), which has footage of other made-for-tv “Popeye” cartoons. And, of course, it recalls the theatrical cheater Popeye’s 20th Anniversary, but without the Hollywood celebrities–Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis–in the earlier film.

Popeye’s 20th Anniversary

Popeye may be tied with Tom & Jerry for the sheer amount of cheaters. They released several shorts that were simply edited down from the classic Fleischer two-reelers. Here’s a typical one:

Casper, The Road-Runner, The Pink Panther – no animation producer with a schedule to meet or a budget to make was beyond reusing older footage to fulfill his contractual obligations. Here are a few more favorite examples:

Casper’s Birthday Party

Zip Zip Hooray


Finally, say what you will about Woody Woodpecker, he never appeared in a cheater between 1940 and 1972. Then again, Walter Lantz found other ways to reduce costs in animation without resorting to cheaters.

I call upon the readers to remind me – in the comments below – about other cheaters I completely forgot about.


  • When I started watching Popeye cartoons seriously as a teenager in the seventies, I always felt cheated when they showed a cheater — with one exception. That was “Spinach vs. Hamburgers” (1948). Popeye’s nephews would rather eat hamburgers than spinach, so he recounts for them some of his adventures where spinach helped him save the day.

    One of these was from the cannibal cartoon “Pop Pie a la Mode (1945), which by the seventies had been taken out of syndication. In the clip, black natives with hypertrophied lips pound Popeye into a pancake and fry him in a skillet while singing about how much they love white meat. Once Popeye has his spinach, he pounds his chest and gives out a Tarzan yell before clobbering the cannibals into submission. Finally, Popeye sits on a throne and wears a crown while the cannibals bow obeisance before him, chanting “Salami! Salami! Baloney!”

    By that age I was already conscious that broadcasters had a long list of rules governing what I could watch on TV, and in the spirit of adolescent rebellion I resented it deeply. The old Popeye cartoons and their outrageous violence were proof that these rules did not always hold sway in the past. But the clip in “Spinach vs. Hamburgers” proved something more intriguing: that some old cartoons were never broadcast at all, were kept locked up in a vault somewhere and hence practically impossible to see.

    That cheap cheater in no small measure helped to spawn a lifelong fascination with early, rare and forbidden animation. Thanks to the Internet I finally did get to see “Pop Pie a la Mode” complete for the first time — just last year.

  • ADVENTURES OF THE ROADRUNNER – Wile Coyote studies film footage on a projector of his failures to improve his chances of catching the Road Runner.

    DEVIL’S FEUD CAKE – After Yosemite Sam goes to Hell, the Devil offers him a chance to save his soul by bringing Bugs Bunny down to Hell. Various clips are used to demonstrate his attempts to bring Bugs down.

    HARE-BREATHED HURRY – The Road Runner has sprained a Giblet, so Bugs Bunny fills in for him as the target of the coyote. Long shots of the chase are borrowed from various old Road Runner cartoons.

    • Hey,
      Don’t forget that footage from ADVENTUES OF THE ROAD RUNNER, mainly the catapult gag,
      was reused and rescored for the 1963 RR Cartoon TO BEEP OR NOT TO BEEP.

  • Also, various early color Merrie Melodies used animation cells from old B&W Looney Tunes, filled in with Color and slightly modified.

    DO FOR THE DO-DO is almost a direct color remake of PORKY IN WACKYLAND by coloring the B&W animation cells.
    SLIGHTLY DAFFY is almost a direct color remake of SCALP TROUBLE by coloring the B&W animation cells.

  • I guess that some of this would fall under the category of reused animation, but that counts as “cheating” as well, but “BOSKO’S PARLOR PRANKS” isn’t the only HAPPY HARMONIES cartoon in which LOONEY TUNES or MERRIE MELODIES scenes or bits of animation are reused. In “THE OLD PIONEER”, we get the hoedown scene from the MERRIE MELODIES title, “YOUNG AND HEALTHY” and, I could be wrong about this, but in “TOYLAND BROADCAST” you might get a toy or two that was introduced in “THE SHANTY WHERE SANTA CLAUS LIVES” and, even within the HAPPY HARMONIES series, those toys might be seen yet again somewhere in either “ALIAS ST. NICK” or “THE PUPS’ CHRISTMAS”, but I almost excuse Hugh and Rudy for “cheating” because there are so many tireless bits of amazing new animation throughout those lavish cartoons. I cannot pinpoint, here, but I dimly recall having plot synopsis of BOSKO cartoons that claim that animation was reused throughout the series. “BOSKO AND HONEY”, for example, might share some animation with “BOSKO AT THE BEACH” (I hope I have that title correct). Also, and this counts as cheating, in “MOUSE MENACE”, there is a sequence where a thug cat only known as Killer is hired to “wipe out that mouse” but, after the mouse cagily drops a bowling ball on the hit cat’s head, the scene of him preparing an elaborate trap and entering the room is run in reverse for effect, and it works because you were expecting something more obvious like the cat just falling to the ground with as loud a clatter as the bowling ball hitting him in the head. The scene ends with the mouse contentedly and smugly slamming the door and wiping his hands of the whole thing.

  • “What’s Cookin’, Doc?” was arguably the best cheater of the bunch. It takes almost five minutes before the first vintage clip is shown, and even when it does, it’s pretty short. And since it’s done in the context of Bugs screening why he should win the award, it doesn’t seem as blatant. Plus it has some fantastic animation in the new footage (such as Bugs morphing into the celebrities), which wasn’t always the case for the cheater cartoons.

    I also have a soft spot for “Hare-abian Nights”, even if it resorts to the usual “remember the time I…?”

  • George Pal’s “The Little Broadcast” (the Paramount one) was a “Cheater”, believe it or not. It reused footage from Dipsy Gypsy and Hoola Boola!

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh could be considered a cheater feature, taking the three previously released featurettes and adding linking material and a coda based on the last chapter of the books. Disney’s package features of the late forties follow the same format, only using material that was being worked for features before the war rather than previously released works. Other than that, Disney never really did cheater shorts; the closest thing was the color remake of Orphan’s Benefit, modernizing the character designs over the original animation and soundtrack. Like the Bugs Bunny Show, the Walt Disney Presents TV series showed the theatrical shorts with new linking footage. Later there were direct-to-video films that were edited from episodes of their animated spinoff series, like Hercules: Zero to Hero and Tarzan and Jane.

    • I just want to say I loved the Disney hour’s cheaters, especially when the connecting narrator was Ludwig Von Drake. Oh for a disc release of those!

  • Another cheater from Warner Bros. is FEATHER BLUSTER (1958), in which Foghorn Leghorn and Barnyard Dawg are old geezers with grandsons that look and act like them.

  • “Customers Wanted” may have the greatest justification for being a cheater in that apparently it was the cartoon made as the Fleischer Studio was headed out the door from the north end of Times Square and setting up studio operations in Miami. And sometimes the most interesting parts of the cheaters were the efforts put into the small sections of the new linking animation — Al Eugster’s unit riffed on Al Hirschfeld’s New York Times celebrity charactures for the celebrities used in “Popeye’s 20th Anniversary” and then went all angular on the stylizations of them at the end of “The Crystal Brawl” (featuring a very UPA-ish ‘take’ by Olive) a few years later, while “Hare-Abrian Knights” probably has the most elegant and fluid late 50s animation of Yosemite Sam, because it was the only time he wasn’t used by the Freleng unit, as Ken Harris borrowed him for use by the Jones Unit, while Chuck was off working on the Bell Telephone Hour TV specials.

  • Bacall to Arms was a “cheater”. So was “Dough for the Do-Do”. I suppose Avery’s “The Cat Who Hated People” is kind of a “cheater” too, isn’t it? I always wondered if Avery contributed to the “Porky in Wackyland” gags, and thus felt free to reuse them in “Cat”.

    • “Bacall to Arms” had scenes rotoscoped from “To Have and Have Not”; certainly a cheat, but not what the article is about. “The Cat Who Hated People” was all original footage, and while the gags are similar to “Porky in Wackyland” (and Avery certainly sat on the story meetings for that and likely made suggestions), since they are not reusing footage it doesn’t count. It is true that Avery would often reuse old gags, but always with a new twist.
      On that note, while Tex never did cheaters, two of his cartoons were reshot in Cinemascope by Hanna-Barbera in the late fifties.

      • Late reply, but Bacall to Arms reuses footage from She Was an Acrobat’s Daughter for most of the scenes inside the theater that doesn’t include the Wolf.

  • Clampett’s ”Tin Pan Alley Cats” used a lot of “Wackyland” footage,as well,colorized for the first time,along with clips from other earlier cartoons.

  • Koko’s Thanksgiving (1925)

  • Let’s not forget “Tweet Dreams” a Tweety & Sylvester ‘cheater’ from late 1959.

  • Even though both reuse animation from previous theatricals, it’s interesting to note that ‘Zip Zip Hooray!’ and ‘Road Runner A-Go-Go’ were instances of footage originally produced for television being reworked for theatrical release.

  • You didn’t mention the lamest of the four Tom and Jerry cheaters: SMITTEN KITTEN. This one just has Jerry’s little green devil going “Remember that time?” as if he was in a Family Guy episode. And the other three have decent endings. This one doesnt even try.

    • I’m sorry Mike I can’t agree with you on Smitten Kitten. It’s a good short, and reportedly animated by one guy: Ken Muse.

    • “Annnd what’s wrong with dames?”

  • I must bring up the most extreme example, the films of Joseph Lai, a producer who would buy the rights to Korean anime movies and TV shows, edit them together in a mishmash, redub them so there’s some (very vague) semblance of continuity, and release them as individual movies. His work straddles that great line between outsider art and utter fraud.

  • I’M IN THE ARMY NOW (1936) from Fleischer: Olive Oyl, impressed by the sight of a man in military uniform as she, Popeye & Bluto walk past an army recruiting center, gives our sailors all the more incentive to join up. Popeye & Bluto tell the Army recruiter about feats their feats (via separate photo albums) from their previous cartoons: “Blow Me Down” (1933), “Choose Your Weppins” (1935), “Shoein’ Hosses (1934) & “King of the Mardi Gras” (1935),

  • I consider THIS IS A LIFE? to be the best of the “cheaters” because 1) the new linking material is actually funny, and 2) the cartoon’s plot lends itself to a more natural use of clips than looking at a photo album or old movies.

  • we’re so used to the trope of characters looking at old photos as a segue to reused footage (they did it in sitcoms, too, like “leave it to beaver”), that it’s unusual to find characters looking at old photos as a segue to new footage. “the old grey hare” could easily have used its framework to be a cheater, but went the other way.

  • TORTOISE WINS BY A HARE starts with a recap of Bugs watching footage from TORTOISE BEATS HARE to set up a rematch with Cecil Turtle.

  • PENNY ANTICS is a double-cheater cartoon – its actually a remake of ANOTHER cheater cartoon, CUSTOMER’S WANTED!

    Famous had a “thing” for remaking older Fleischer Popeye’s!

    • Remaking Fleischer classics
      Was the smartest thing they did.
      The older films had the quality
      That by the Famous era had slid.

  • Perhaps those 50s Columbia comedy shorts that were built around footage from older ones(familiar to Three Stooges fans) were the closest live-action equivalent to the cheater cartoons, in theaters anyway.

    • Columbia would also take its old Screen Snapshots and shoot intro footage of Ralph Staub telling a modern star, “Hey, let’s look at some of these great old stars.”

  • Comparable to what sitcoms would later do with The Clip Show episode where a loose theme would tie these “flashback” scenes together with said flashes being clips from past episodes.

  • But wait – – -There’s more!

    I’m surprised nobody recalled “Trip For Tat” (1960), with the excuse for a plot of Granny taking Tweety and Sylvester along on a world tour (was this also remembered as the premise for “Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries”?). Virtualy everything is an old clip, including but not limited to leftovers from “A Pizza-Tweety Pie” and “Tree Cornered Tweety”. A few more cheaters would include “Mexican Cat Dance”(1963), using the entire opening sequence from Chuck Jones’s “Bully For Bugs”(1953) as its intro, “The Wild Chase” (1965), incorporating several old Chuck Jones Road Runner sequences, and “A Haunting We Will Go” (1966), desperately trying to build a Daffy and Speedy cartoon out of stock footage from “Duck Amuck” (1953) and “Broomstick Bunny” (1956). Even “Show Biz Bugs” (1957) might qualify as a class A cheater – lifting (without tracing) the entire finale sequence from Porky Pig’s “Curtain Razor (1949) and the ever-popular “Those Endearing Young Charms” off-note gag originated in Bob Clampett’s “Booby Traps” for Private Snafu and previously reworked into Yosemite Sam’s “Ballot Box Bunny” (1950), among others.

    Warner Brothers also had a number of additional shot-fotr-shot remakes not mentioned above. I’ve previously highlighted “Tick Tock Tuckered” (1944), Bob Clampett’s remake of “Porky’s Badtime Story” (1937) with the odd substitution of Daffy duck in the role of Gabby Goat (making no sense of a scene where the two are changing their clothes in a frenzy – as Daffy wears no clothes anyway!) “Wagon Heels” (1945) was Clampett’s nearly shot-for-shot remake of “Injun Trouble” (1938), with a terrific new ending. Chuck Jones’ “Little Orphan Airedale” (1947) could almost qualify as a direct remake of Clampett’s “Porky’s Pooch” (1941). And “Sioux Me” (1939) was a Hardaway-Dalton reworking into Indian territory of Tex Avery’s “Porky the Rainmaker” (1936), with a few of the original shots closely paralleled.

    Famous Studios would do some cheating other than Popeye. “Sportickles” (1958) was mostly compiled from old Screen Song/Kartune footage – including a boxing ring scene where the shot was obviously spliced in from the old stock rather than reanimated, as the paint on one character reveals drastic blending problems making each drawing appear streaky and blotchy compared to the others, in both cartoons.

    Also, lets not forget the use of stock wraparound footage between all three of the “Land of the Lost” installments. The initial cartoon and “Land of Lost Jewels” open and close with an identical minute and a half to two minutes of footage. “Land of Lost Watches” shortens up the intro with a storybook summation, but overlaps at least one shot produced especially for “Land of Lost Jewels”, and retains the stock ending. Giving credit where it’s due, however, Paramount released these titles with extra-long running times, so that the new footage added to each may in actuality have been the equivalent of a regular length cartoon of the day.

    And lets not forget a few more theatrical Popeyes. Though hinted at in the article above, no mention was made by name of “Popeye Makes A Movie” (redub of ‘Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves” and “Popeye’s Premiere” (redub of “Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp”). For that matter, no one mentioned the first Technicolor Popeye Cheater, “Spinach Packin’ Popeye” (1944), where Popeye gives blood at the blood bank, then loses a prize fight, and uses old clips from “Sinbad” and “Ali Baba” (with their original soundtracks) to prove that he’s still a strong guy. Also not mentioned was “Friend or Phoney” (1952), where Bluto, faking his impending death in a hospital bed, convinces Popeye that spinach is a killer with old clips from “Tar With a Star” and “I’ll Be Skiing Ya”, and to throw away his last can, leaving him defenseless as Bluto rises from the bed to get even. And, on the subject of shot-fot-shot remakes as cheaters, let’s not forget 1950’s “Riot in Rhythm” – actually a quite good complete Technicolor remake of the black and white “Me Musical Nephews” – one of Famous’s own early projects – with some bigger orchestration than the original under Winston Sharples’ direction. Also, again giving Famous credit where due, they had a clear opportunity to do another cheater in the opening sequences of “How Green Was My Spinach” (1950), with a montage of mock “theatrical” battles between Popeye and Bluto – yet instead of using more clips from old films, they “invented” a series of new battles masquerading as if they were clips! An odd move – which made a better picture.

    Television Popeyes, aside from the “Testimonial Dinner”, also weren’t immune from a few cheats. Jack Kinney pulled the same trick as the “Land of the Lost” cartoons whenever he decided (frequently) to have a time travel episode with Professor Whattaschnozzle. Every episode would begin with a nearly identical reuse of wraparound animation of the professor at a weird machine with a giant eyeball, and a hand that would extend out of the building on an endless telephone extender to capture Popeye at his home (who was always listening to the same jazzy recording of his theme song and saying, “I loves this classical music”) and electronically knock him out to be carried back into the machine. There was similar wraparound at the end to return Popeye to his home. That saved close to two minutes every episode. Then (alrhough the animation was new), there was the case of recycled plots. A previous author on this site observed that Kinney’s “Tiger Burger”, written by Cal Howard, reuses considerable material from Max Fleischer’s Animated Antic, “Bring Himself Back Alive” (1940), also written by Howard. Also, I will be spotlighting in a few weeks a script virtually lifted from Woody Woodpecker’s “Arts and Flowers” for reuse in Format Films’ “Take It Easel” for Popeye and Bluto (Brutus). No writer credit exists on the Popeye reel, but Homer Brightman may be the prime suspect for this thievery.

    If you want to talk about overuse of stock footage in the TV days, a champion of such
    practices would be Hal Seeger’s “Batfink”. It’s nearly impossible to find any of the 100 episodes that doesn’t reuse at least one or two shots (and sometimes more) from other episodes. How many times did we see the same shot of the Batillac emerging from the Batcave. Or hear and see Batfink delivering the same line from the roof of the car, “My supersonic sonar radar can help me”. Or see Hugo a Go Go peering through the same periscope in his observatory at Batfink, and stating, “Right into mine trap!” Or see the Battilac come to a halt with the same visible word sound-effect – “Screeech”.

    Getting back to theatricals, no one has mentioned the champion stockpiler of old footage – Paul Terry, It would take a textbook to catalogue all the reuses of animation in his cartoons – going all the way back to the Aesop’s Fables days. Favorite instances of mine of rampant reuse would include bullfight gags appearing in “Spanish Onions” (1930), followed by “The Bullfight” (1935), then transporting themselves all the way into Mighty Mouse’s “Throwing the Bull” (1946), with the same old primitive animation merely colored in. Or the “nested dolls” bomb gag that appeared three times within three years – in Gandy Goose’s “Peace Time Football” (1946), “Heckle and Jeckle’s “The Intruders” (1947), and the magpies’ “Gooney Golfers” (1948). Even “Peace Time Football” began from a cheat – lifting its best dialogue (about a radio insurance salesman with the disposition of a mortician playing on the football term, “Kick off. Kick off? Are you prepared to kick off?”, lifted entirely from 1940’s ‘Touchdown Demons”. And then there’s that brief moment when Terry’s classic volcano animation from Mighty Mouse’s “Krakatoa” (1946) has to double for Mt. Vesuvius in “Sunny Italy” (1951).

    In the category of Tecnicolor shot-for-shot remakes, Terry had those, too – in abundance. The fact of this has, however, been hidden to most viewers by the thoughtless actions of the CBS executives, who, believing that in black-and-white telecasts no one would be able to tell the originals apart from the remakes and would think the same film was being run twice, chose to scrap entirely the black ad white originals of many titles and deny them television screenings. A few closely parallel pairs still exist in the vaults. “The Last Indian”(1938) was remade shot for shot (including reuse of the original Dayton Allen soundtrack) as “The Wooden Indian” (1949) – with the exception of an extended sequence in the original using the animated Indian in a car run amuck careening through rear-production footage of a live-action thoroughfare – they couldn’t figure out how to redraw it in color, so they wrote a new ending sequence. “Mrs. Jones Rest Farm” (1949) reuses most of the footage from Farmer Al Falfa’s 1937 “Pink Elephants”. “The Covered Pushcart” (1949) recasts Gandy Goose and Sourpuss in the role of Farmer Al Falfa for a substantial shot-fot-shot refilming of “Trailer Life” (1937). “Mighty Mouse Meets Bad Bill Bunion” (1945) reuses substantial footage and a production number from “The Golden West” (1939). “Landing of the Pilgrims” (1940) retreads large portions of the first half of “The Mayflower” (1935). And the second half of “Dear Old Switzerland” (1944) is a digest version of “Swiss Ski Yodelers” (1940). I believe both versions of the film called “The Snow Man” (1940 and 1946) may also share footage (though the internet has everything loused up to compare this one, repeatedly misattributing the 1930’s Ted Eshbaugh film as the 1940 Terrytoon). While Gandy Goose’s “Spring Fever” (1951) uses no actual animation from its predecessor, it is basically a shot for shot modernization of 1938’s “Gandy the Goose”, the character’s premiere.

    And then there’s the ones CBS won’t let you see. “Eliza Runs Again” (1938) is presumably the origin of most of the footage of “Eliza On the Ice” (Mighty Mouse, 1944), with giveaway clues such as lifted gags from Tex Avery’s “Uncle Tom’s Bungalow’ from 1937, and thicker outline style indicative of animation produced in the 1930’s. The missing “The Village Blacksmith” (1938) also appear to be a direct parallel to 1952’s “Time Gallops On”, exhibiting the same thicker outlines. “The Stranger Rides Again” (1938) appears to be paralleled by “The Mysterious Cowboy” (1952). “Old Fire Horse” (1939) appears to be remade as “Smokey Joe” (1945). “Professor Offkeyski” (1940) reappears as “One Note Tony” (1947). “The Baby Seal” (1941) revives as “Flipper Frolics” (1952). “The Magic Shell” (1941) gets its feet wet again as “Seaside Adventure” (1952). “Good Old Irish Tunes” (1941), a Gandy Goose salute to the emerald isle, gets a classy Technicolor remake (wih a giveaway reference to the cartoon’s original title in the final lyrics) as ‘Songs of Erin” (1951), which will be featured in one of my articles in March. The only other missing black-and-white title I can’t find a parallel for in the Technicolor library is “Funny Bunny Business” (1942) – I wonder if it eventually got reworked into a Mighty Mouse.

    Even more minor studios were guilty of some cheating. One wouldn’t normally think of Ub Iwerks in the picture. But compare Flip the Frog’s “School Days” with the Comi-Color “Mary’s Little Lamb”, and you’ll find several scenes common to both cartoons. For that matter, let’s not forget Iwerks’ jaunt at Columbia pictures with “Skeleton Frolic” (1937) – a blatant restyling of Disney’s “The Skeleton Dance” (1929) with a few new sequences and dance steps. Columbia itself would recycle several scenes and sequences throughout its career – usually from its many newsreel cartoons or between its nearly-interchangeable string of Hollywood celebrity cartoons. Even Van Buren would pull a cheater or two on its musical numbers in Aesop’s Fables – Thunderbean DVD’s spotlighted a classic one where the same march number was animated against different backgrounds in both “Toy Time” (1932) and “Silvery Moon” (1933).

    Finally, there is my own personal “pet” peeve. “Orphan’s Benefit” wasn’t Disney’s only color remake. 1941’s “Lend a Paw” is in actuality nothing more than a modernization in color of 1933’s “Mickey’s Pal Pluto”. Yet this non-standout and routine remake won the Academy Award! What was the Academy thinking? Considering that Disney had two cartoons in the running that year (the other being “Truant Officer Donald”), wouldn’t it have made more sense to give the Oscar to the original episode instead of a remake – even if Disney was somehow buying the vote to get back at MGM for taking the statue with “The Milky Way” the previous year? And think of the other studio competition that got left in the dust – like nominees “Superman #1″ from Fleischer, and “The Rookie Bear” and “The Night Before Christmas” from MGM. This, I believe, was the ultimate disappointing “cheater” of all.

    • Geez, I think you might be over-think the similarities between “cheaters and remakes”. And I thought “Lend a Paw” (which didn’t really have any re-traced scenes) was rather good (although, maybe it won because of the dedication to U.S. Service Dogs). I thought the two conscience felt more defined in the remake.

  • “The Raccoons” even did clip show episodes. “Let’s Dance!” used clips from the three TV specials set to songs from “The Raccoons On Ice” and “The Raccoons and the Lost Star”. No songs from “The Christmas Raccoons” were used despite using clips from said special.

    The season 2 finale “Time Trap!” had Cyril Sneer and Pig Two going on a trip through time to undo the events happened in “Rumours!”, “Gold Rush!” and “Buried Treasure!”
    The season 3 finale “Games People Play!” had Cyril compete on a special Father’s Day edition of “Question of Your Life”, hosted by Dirk Dassie, where he answers questions the people he remembers give him, about what happened that time.
    Season 4’s “The Headline Hunter!” and Season 5’s “The Evergreen Election!” had them just talking about the past events.

  • Perhaps the worst cheater has to be “Mucho Locos,” made up of clips from those dire Daffy-Speedy cartoons, with a lame framing premise: “let’s pretend we’re watching Daffy on this broken TV.”

  • Three more cheaters come to mind.

    :Toy Town Hall” (1936) is one of Warner’s earliest outright clipfests. Virtually every musical number is an excuse to color in three-color palette something that had appeared within the last couple of years in two-strip.

    Then Paramount throws us two more cheaters in the Casper Series. “Ghost Writers” (1958) is a lame excuse for old clips from “Once Upon a Rhyme”, “To Bo Or Not To Boo”, and “Casper’s Spree Under the Sea”, all fully animated early titles, frameworked by a look inside the Paramount story department as two writers (in flat UPA style backgrounds and animation sharply contrasting with the clips) attempt to “write” the same stories we’ve already seen years ago.

    “Not Ghoulty” is perhaps the most creative of the Casper cheaters. Budget is saved by reusing an entire trial sequence from the opening of “Casper Takes a Bow Wow” as the framing opening, coupled with a flashback in court testimony of Casper’s blatant making friends with the human race by rescuing a child from a fire in clip from “Ghost of the Town”. But the last two thirds of the cartoon are all new. Casper receives a different sentence – a loss of ghostly powers until he proves himself by scaring someone. Usually, this wouldn’t seem a problem, with Casper’s usual talent of scaring people inadvertently. But by using the unusual setup of the “Ghost of the Town” clip, Casper is already accepted among the humans., who look to him for friendship and assistance, so scaring is going to be more difficult. To make matters worse, Casper’s friends start showing major disappointment in him when it seems he will no longer use special ghostly powers to rescue kittens out of trees, save a construction worker from falling from a skyscraper, etc. Casper faces the dilemma of how to meet his sentencing terms and restore his ghostly powers before he loses all his friends, and finally hits on an idea. At the ghosts’ haunted house, as they prepare for a scare raid, a human stranger knocks on their door. Seeing an easy practice target to try out their scare routines upon, the ghosts invite the stranger in, and knock themselves out to exhaustion shrieking, hollering, and dismembering themselves – with no effect whatsoever upon the visitor. After the ghosts lay collapsed on the floor, the stranger says, “Gentlemen, my card.” He hands a business card to the ghosts. One look at it, and the ghosts fly out through the walls in utter panic. The stranger’s face “falls”, revealing a mask, with Casper underneath, who is restored to transparency and his full ghostly powers. Realizing he hasn’t filed the audience in, he shows us the card, explaining that he had to scare somebody – the card simply reads “Ghost Exterminator”. While new animation for this short was often stiff and sometimes off-model, at least Paramount, for once, found a way to sneak in a clever new storyline under the tight budgetary radar now imposed upon them, through cutting a few corners with the old clips.

    • I remember first viewing Toy Town Hall, before I learned it’s lineage, and thinking, wow, they went all out on the musical numbers for this one ! I’d only seen “My Green Fedora” up to that point. As it is, it worked well as a reprisal of much of the work they’d done for 1935 while creating a cartoon that probably got a lot of showings near Christmas time. Almost certainly, it was a response to Harman and Ising’s Toyland Broadcast from 1934,

  • Dr. Lehman, thanks for the very nice post. I’m going through my BB collection (much improved since the release of the 80th Aniv Collection), and this info will certainly come in handy.

    Your banner image prompted me to ask a question that’s long been on my mind: Why would WB keep producing black & white lobby cards for colorized shorts? (Sorry if this is a totally noob question.)

  • I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this one, but Popeye’s “I’m in the Army Now” is DEFINITELY a cheater cartoon; they recycled three different clips from previous episodes. Betty Boop’s “Rise to Fame” is another one.

  • This would never be mentioned if I didn’t speak up…

    The Walter Lantz studios made ONE cheater, “Movie Phoney News” in 1938… It was in the style of an everyday 1930s theatrical newsreel! Not only did it contain no new animation, but also NO NEW MUSIC either! I have it on one of Jerry’s discs

  • Friz really loved doing cheater cartoons. That’s probably how he got around Budget Cuts of the 50s and 60s of WB

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