Thugs with Dirty Mugs



Directed By: Fred Avery
Produced By: Leon Schlesinger
Henry Binder (uncredited)
Released: May 6, 1939
Series: Merrie Melodies
Story: Jack Miller
Animation: Sidney Sutherland
Film Editor: Treg Brown (uncredited)
Voiced By: Mel Blanc (uncredited)
Fred Avery (uncredited)
Danny Webb (uncredited)
John Deering (uncredited)
Music: Carl W. Stalling
Starring: Flat Foot Flanigan
Killer Diller
Bank Clerk
Annoyed Mobster
Audience Member
Secret Agents
Preceded By: Porky and Teabiscuit
Succeeded By: Kristopher Kolumbus Jr.
1939-05-06 Thugs With Dirty Mugs (MM)

1939-05-06 Thugs With Dirty Mugs (MM)

Thugs With Dirty Mugs (A.A.P

Thugs With Dirty Mugs (A.A.P. Print)

Thugs with Dirty Mugs is a 1939 Merrie Melodies short directed by Fred Avery.


The title is a play on Warner Bros.' 1938 feature film, Angels with Dirty Faces.


Gangster Killer Diller goes on a bank-robbing spree and the police attempt to apprehend him.



  • The WB airing of this cartoon cut the part where one of the robbers hits a bank teller (who taunts them with "I'm going to tell-ell!") in the back of the head during one of their heists. Also cut was the police chief yelling "Take that, you rat!" and then feeding cheese to an actual rodent.[1]
  • According to Canadian animation historian Gene Walz, this short was banned from being released in Winnipeg, Manitoba back in the 1930s for glorifying criminal behavior and showing Killer Diller being punished like a schoolkid (by being shown in prison writing "I've been a naughty boy" several times on a blackboard with a prison-striped dunce cap on his head) rather than an adult, which the censors thought wasn't "sincere." It should be noted that the Hays Code in America had a similar rule about not glorifying criminals or criminal activity in movies, but animated shorts such as this one were exempt from this rule.[2]


  • The lead character is a caricature of Edward G. Robinson.
  • Similar to Tex Avery's later MGM crime/detective-oriented cartoon, Who Killed Who?, the ostensible plot is secondary to a fast and furious series of gags.
  • The blackboard writing punishment Killer Diller receives at the end of the cartoon would later be popularized by The Simpsons as a running gag during its opening sequence.
  • This short marks the first color Warner Bros. cartoon to open with "WARNER BROS." and "Present" in a banner on the original opening titles. But since the original credits were cut for Blue Ribbon reissues, the original opening rings have not been seen since 1944.
  • This short was re-released in 1944, cutting out the specific production credits. However, on eBay in 2007, there were about 40 Tex Avery title cards for sale, many long believed lost due to these reissues, and one of them was from "Thugs with Dirty Mugs". The finding of the original titles came a little too late, as the short had already been restored and had its audio remastered for DVD release in 2005. The version containing "Thugs with Dirty Mugs" on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 3 is the Blue Ribbon version, the first Blue Ribbon to credit Schlesinger to be present on a restored DVD.[3]
  • According to the episode of Toonheads, "Gangster Toons", this cartoon marked the ultimate in gangster film parodies.




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