Another Looney Toon Question

Another “Joke that needs explaining nowadays”: further on in the video that I posted previously,

There’s a Bugs Bunny cartoon called “Falling Hair” (at 23:30), Bugs fights a gremlin on a military plane.

The plane ends up in a nose dive and stops just before it crashes into the ground. The gremlin looks at the audience and says 'Sorry folks, we ran out of gas" then Bugs looks at the audience and says “You know what it’s like with these ‘A Carts’” (I’m pretty sure he says “A Carts”). He then points at the side of the plane where there is a white capital A on a black background painted inside a square white box

I tried googling “A cart” and all that seems to come up is “ammo cart” which obviously isn’t applicable to the plane.

Since it’s the punchline of the entire cartoon, I’d think that it should be a pretty obvious and funny joke to the audience. Any ideas?

Its “A Card”, a gas rationing card used in WW2.

Rationing in the United States - Wikipedia.

Car stickers.

Yep, cards as others pointed out. Bugs however does point to a sticker that had to be added to your car so the gas station would know the limits you had too, your card had to be then marked or punched to show how much you had left for the week.

The “A” sticker is the most common of the WW2 gas ration stickers, and was issued to the general public and entitled the holder to four gallons a week.

And for the joke reference, regular cars in those days could do less than 15 miles per gallon.

That was is a classic.

Nailed it.

Thanks again everyone for your help.

If you didn’t know what an “A card” was you might not know that the purpose of gas rationing was not to save gas, there was plenty of gasoline; it was to save tires, because rubber was in short supply following the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies.

Which is to say, the absurdities of that cartoon were layered deep. Genius.

That’s also relevant to “Was this trip really necessary?” in Baseball Bugs (recontextualized).

The “4-F” joke in that cartoon also may require explanation for some.

How about Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life as the draft board head muttering “1-A, 1-A”?

When I watched these cartoons as a kid, I knew it had something to do with rationing for the war, but I didn’t know the details.

Wasn’t there another similarly themed cartoon, but instead of running out if gas, Bugs points to a lever and say “air brakes”?

And another joke that would require explaining now is when the gremlin says something like “It ain’t Vendel Vilke”. I had to Google that one.

Wendell Wilke was the losing candidate against FDR. I’m not quite sure of the joke itself except that maybe Wilke was fading into obscurity then?

In the late '30s, Wendell Wilkie was a well-known lawyer and corporate executive who was one of the leading public opponents of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He made the cover of Time magazine in 1939, which at the time was a pretty big deal. He was a moderate Democrat who became a moderate Republican, and the compromise candidate to run against FDR in 1940. After that, he was a leading voice for Lend-Lease aid to the UK and for repeal of the Neutrality Act, and served as a personal envoy for FDR. He was, in short, a very well-known public figure who was in the news a lot and turned up in a lot different places and contexts.

He also had kind of a funny, alliterative name.

I doubt Wilke faded into obscurity that quickly. From what I’ve read, the election of 1940 was very nasty, since Roosevelt was running for an unprecedented third term because of the national emergency (the impending war with the Axis powers). I believe one of Wilke’s campaign slogans was “No Crown for Franklin!”

I think “It ain’t Vendell Vilke!” just means “Yeah, I’m here, and you’d better believe it’s me!”

I get the feeling the line was pinched from some other movie or act, but I couldn’t say which one.

Ironically, both Wilkie and his running mate were dead by 1944. So Sam Rayburn would have been in line to be President had Wilke won.

Devil’s Feud Cake from 1963. It uses a lot of footage recycled from earlier toons including Falling Hare.

Nitpick: It’s Looney Tunes (as in songs), not Toons (as in cartoons). In their original form they each had at least one song (Merrie Melodies too, tho usually all of the musical shorts of later years were put into this latter category, such as Rabbit of Seville or One Froggy Evening)

I was wondering about that. Between replacing the Ws with Vs and the fact that the actor also seemed to be using a very different voice for that line than he did for the gremlin’s other dialogue, it made me think he was referencing a specific character or bit that would have been well known at the time but is now obscure.