Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Cellbound

Go To

One of the Tex Avery MGM Cartoons from 1955, co-directed by Michael Lah. Set mostly in the "Sing-Song prison", it features a jailbird (voiced by Paul Frees with an Oirish accent) who, after years of arduous digging, manages to escape from his cell and sneaks aboard a train, hiding inside an old TV. The plan goes terribly wrong, though...

It is Avery's last cartoon for MGM, which he co-directed with unit animator Michael Lah.note  If such things interest you, a model sheet for the cartoon can be found here.


The short features examples of:

  • Captivity Harmonica: The prisoner's playing it in the beginning.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Of all the places the prisoner pops up after digging his way out a second time he ends up coming out in the Warden's living room, just as he's putting the television set down.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: A prisoner uses a spoon to dig his way out, taking him twenty years to do so.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The warden has a few moments of this when watching the prisoner on TV.
    (after the "boxing match" ends with a KO) "That's a fixed fight if I ever saw one."
    (upon seeing a screen declaring the horse racing has been cancelled due to rain) "Hm. Sunny California."
  • Eat Dirt, Cheap: As he digs his way out with a spoon, the prisoner suddenly notices the guards coming, and with no time to go to the window without being caught, he has no choice but to eat the dirt.
  • Advertisement:
  • Exploding Calendar: The years rapidly floating towards the camera to signify the passage of time.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Nobody ever notices the gigantic mountain of dirt right outside the prisoner's window as he digs.
  • Fauxtastic Voyage: The prisoner acting out the TV programs can be seen as a variant of this.
  • Here We Go Again!: The prisoner's second escape attempt leads him back to the same TV, this time in the warden's living room.
  • Irony: Of the tragic kind. The whole reason the prisoner's escape failed was because, while making small talk to quell the warden's suspicions, he randomly mentioned an "anniversary"... thus prompting the warden to remember the forgotten wedding anniversary and hastily buy the TV.
  • Jaw Drop: One heck of a jaw drop when the prisoner realizes where the TV ended up.
  • Master of Disguise: The prisoner is one (and somehow has his disguises in his cell), which helps him keep up the charade in the TV.
  • Advertisement:
  • Not So Stoic: The po-faced jail warden goes into an incredibly goofy dance when watching the "concert" on TV.
  • One-Man Band: The prisoner ends up becoming this for sake of a "TV concert".
  • Stand-In Portrait: The prisoner's antics inside the TV.
  • Verbed Title
  • Villainous Breakdown: The prisoner after he ends up back inside the warden's TV at the end.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: The prisoner's disguises.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Spike would have to average over 10,200 spoonfuls every second, working continuously to reach 6,500,004,395,632 in twenty years.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: