Created By: Random888August 28, 2012 Last Edited By: Random888September 16, 2012
Troped

Cartoon Bug Sprayer

Canister bug sprayer with hand pump

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Cartoon characters still use old-fashioned "flit gun" bug sprayers, in much the same way they still use Cartoon Bombs, Plunger Detonators, and Big Electric Switches.

Flit guns were in common use from about the late 1920s until the mid 1950s, which coincides almost exactly with The Golden Age Of Animation. While Golden Age cartoons with flit guns are just reflecting contemporary technology, it's their use of them which established flit guns as the Universal Cartoon Symbol For Bug Sprayer and they've remained so long after the technology became obsolete in the real world.

Advertising
  • The name "flit gun" is a Brand Name Takeover, referring to the insecticide company Flit. Flit rose to prominence in the early twentieth century due to a highly successfully marketing campaign. The campaign used humorous cartoons, drawn by none other than a pre-fame Dr Seuss, and spawned a popular Catch Phrase, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!" So successful was the campaign that, at one time, crop dusters were nicknamed "flying flit guns".

Film
  • In The Wizard Of Oz, the Cowardly Lion arms himself against the Wicked Witch with one.
  • In Animal Crackers, Harpo uses one at the end of the movie which knocks everyone out, including himself.
  • In Labyrinth, Hoggle uses one of these against flying fairies.

Live Action TV

Video Games
  • This is what your character uses in Donkey Kong 3, and also the Game And Watch game Greenhouse.
  • Lots of time management games that involve either farming or flower growing will invoke this trope when fighting off bugs. There are a bunch of them on www.bigfishgames.com.
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl: Mr Game and Watch uses a buy sprayer as one of his attacks.
  • In Legend of the Crystal Skull, Nancy must use one of these against wasps to gain access to a tree's fruit.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 28, 2012
    Medinoc
    That Tom And Jerry episode with the Mouse Exterminator cat.
  • August 28, 2012
    TonyG
  • August 28, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Animal Crackers (live action film) Harpo uses one at the end of the movie which knocks everyone out, including himself.
  • August 28, 2012
    sidereal
    In the first version of a ChickTract called That Crazy Guy!, Ms. Damien sprays the seat Suzie was sitting on using one after she heard Suzie has gonorrhea. In the current version on the site she uses a regular spraycan.

    (Edit link.)
  • August 28, 2012
    Kayube
    This is what your character uses in Donkey Kong 3, and also the Game And Watch game Greenhouse.
  • August 28, 2012
    Random888
    These are known in real life as "Flit guns", which is a Brand Name Takeover. They were in common use from about the late 1920s until the mid 1950s.
  • August 29, 2012
    Hello999
    Buggs Zapper carries one of these in Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego.
  • August 29, 2012
    azul120
  • August 29, 2012
    Random888
    Did you read the description? The Simpsons example is explicitly an aerosol can.
  • August 30, 2012
    Rognik
    Lots of time management games that involve either farming or flower growing will invoke this trope when fighting off bugs. No names come to mind at the moment, but there are a bunch of them on www.bigfishgames.com.
  • August 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • In Labyrinth, Hoggle uses one of these against flying fairies.
  • September 4, 2012
    KZN02
    Super Smash Bros Brawl: Mr Game and Watch uses a buy sprayer as one of his attacks.
  • September 5, 2012
    SharleeD
  • September 8, 2012
    nitrokitty
    I can't for the life of me remember in which one, but Captain Haddock uses an old style bug sprayer in one of The Adventures Of Tintin books.
  • September 14, 2012
    DracMonster
    Kinda Truth In Television here though - I work at a hardware store and we can still order these! We don't carry them but we've had special orders for them once or twice.

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