Warner Brothers cartoons* are filled with references to characters, catch phrases, and references to then-popular topics that haven’t lasted. Modern viewers need footnotes, or maybe pop-ups like in “Pop up video”, to understand them. We;ve discussed this many times on this Board before. I first noticed it as a kid when there were all these odd references to World War II in the 1940s cartoons “You know how it is with these ‘A’ cards”, says Bugs Bunny when he (and the gremlin) are saved from flaming death when their airplane doesn’t crash into the ground, having run out of gas. The line explains their running out of gas by referring to the gas-rationing “A” sticker. A history lesson in the final gag line of a cartoon.
There were lots of those things – Draft Dodgers, metal drives, hoarders (the Evil Queen “banned” cartoon Coal Black and the Seven Dwarves is hoarding tires and food, so you know she’s Evil), and the like.
Caricatures of then-famous actors was another thing. Today it’s easy to pick out Clark Gable and W.C. fields and James Cagney and Jimmy Stewart. But then there are all those more obscure stars In “Jungle Jitters” (another banned cartoon) the Queen sees the hero as Clark Gable (that’s obvious) and as another caricature that’s obviously a Hollywood Heartthrob, but I would have known it was Robert Taylor. In “The Hardship of Miles Standish” it’s obvious that Priscilla and Miles Standish are supposed to be famous actors, but it’s not obvious who they are (Edna May Oliver and Hugh Herbert, it turns out). and so on.
Sometimes a character is a parody of a popular radio character, but we don’t remember them – or even the radio show – anymore. In the aforementioned “Jungle Jitters”, the hero is a bumbling salesman (a dog-human) who is a caricature of Elmer Blurt, played by al Pearce. His catchphrase – “Nobody home – I hope, I Hope, I Hope” showed up in a lot of Warner Brothers cartoons. Foghorn Leghorn’s personality, catchphrases, and style – the whole act, in fact, was a blatant ripoff of Kenny Delmar’s Senator Claghorn from the popular Allen’s Alley radio show.