GenreFamily, Animation, Short Music directorCarl Stalling WriterDave Monahan LanguageEnglish
Release dateAugust 2, 1941 (1941-08-02) CastMel Blanc, Robert C. Bruce Similar moviesMerrie Melodies movies
Aviation Vacation is a 1941 Warner Bros. cartoon in the Merrie Melodies series. It was directed by Tex Avery, with story by Dave Monahan and musical direction by Carl Stalling.
This is one of the cartoons that Warner would occasionally produce that featured none of its stable of characters, just a series of gags, usually based on outrageous stereotypes and plays on words, as a narrator (Robert C. Bruce) describes the action. In this case, the story concerns a small airplane taking its passengers on a world tour. Some excerpts:
The plane, as well as its shadow, are remarkably flexible. The plane takes off like a bird, running and jumping and flapping its wings. The plane's shadow, seen from above, dodges ground-level obstacles.
The plane passes Mount Rushmore, which is seen to include the two major candidates from the 1940 election, Franklin D. Roosevelt ("For Democrats") and Wendell Willkie ("For Republicans").
In Ireland, an Irish tenor (in rotoscoping) sings "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling", while a (cartooned) stray hair keeps appearing in the frame, as if stuck in the projector. The Irishman abruptly stops singing and yells at the top of his lungs to the projectionist, "Hey, you, up there! Get that hair out of here!" (This joke was later reused in Avery's cartoon Magical Maestro (1952)).
In "Darkest Africa", natives are listening to jungle drumbeats which are used for communication. One native asks another what the drums are saying, and the second native (illustrating the age of this kind of joke), responds, "Boop-ditty, boop-ditty, boop-boop-de-boop!"
Also in Africa, a native is using a blowgun, and is revealed that he was merely aiming at a practice target. His target calls him a "terrible shot".
A group of ostriches hide their heads in the sand. Another ostrich arrives, perplexed, wondering where everyone went.
A series of cocoons opens up, all of them producing beautiful butterflies, except for a weak and scrawny one: "Well, I've been sick!"
The cartoon ends with the plane lost in fog while returning to New York City. When the fog finally clears, the plane is discovered to be attached to a carousel ride, and as it circles, "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" is playing. In this unique instance for a WB cartoon, the Looney Tunes theme segués into the Merrie Melodies theme at iris-out.