The Early Worm Gets the Bird



Directed By: Fred Avery
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Released: January 13, 1940
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Jack Miller
Animation: Robert Cannon
Backgrounds: John Didrik Johnsen (uncredited)
Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By: Mel Blanc (uncredited)
Berneice Hansell (uncredited)
Margaret Hill-Talbot (uncredited)
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Mama Blackbird
Baby Blackbird
Disgruntled Blackbird Brother
Bird in Bed
Preceded By: Porky's Last Stand
Succeeded By: Africa Squeaks
The Early Worm Gets the Bird - 1939 - Merrie Melodies

The Early Worm Gets the Bird - 1939 - Merrie Melodies

The Early Worm Gets the Bird is a 1940 Merrie Melodies short directed by Tex Avery.


Mammy Blackbird is tucking her three children into bed. One little bird named Willie pulls out a copy of a book titled The Early Bird Gets the Worm and starts reading. Mammy scolds him and warns that if he tries to catch that worm that the ol' fox will catch him. Willie isn't frightened by his mother's warning and sets his alarm clock so he can have a worm for breakfast. The next morning, he sneaks out of house and tracks down the worm. The little worm turns out to be quite the smartaleck and leads Willie on a chase. This attracts the attention of the fox who catches Willie and starts to make himself a blackbird sandwich. The worm saves the little bird by siccing an angry bumblebee on the fox. The fox's bottle of ketchup shatters on his head, and the fox runs off thinking he is bleeding to death. The worm and bird make amends and Willie hops back into bed just as Mammy comes in to wake him up. While his brothers both ask for worms for breakfast, Willie replies that he doesn't want any worms. "Neither does I, Mammy!" exclaims the worm.


  • The cartoon was reissued twice, once in the 1943-44 season, evident from red background blue target rings, and once in the 1952-53 season, evident from red background green target rings, with the THE END end title.
  • The cartoon fell into the public domain in the United States in 1969 when United Artists, successor to Associated Artists Productions, failed to renew the copyright in time.
  • This cartoon hasn't aired on American television since the 1960s due to heavy black stereotyping. Despite this, it is not one of the Censored Eleven.


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