SUMMARY: Having been rejected as his opening act, disgruntled magician swaps places with a conductor for The Great Poochini’s operatic performance.
WHY IT’S HERE: Among the many classics of the animation medium that Tex Avery created, ‘Magical Maestro’ might well be my favourite. Once it has quickly set up its situation (a rejected magician replaces the conductor to take his revenge on an opera singer using his wand for a baton), ‘Magical Maestro’ limits itself to just the image of a singing dog on a stage, with the onslaught of laughs coming from the numerous transformation he undergoes. The gags here are inventive, unexpected (aside from a few of the era’s typical racial stereotypes) and hilarious. One joke in particular is unique to Tex Avery’s cartoons. Knowing that hairs often got caught in film projectors if they were loaded wrongly, Avery adds in an artificial hair for several frames. After leaving it there just long enough to drive the projectionist crazy, Avery has the main character pluck it out himself and toss it aside. It’s my favourite joke in a cartoon full of contenders.