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Detouring America is a 1939 Looney Tunes cartoon short (8 minutes). It was directed by Tex Avery.

It's a parody of the short travelogue films that were commonly shown in American movie theaters of the era. An avuncular, upbeat narrator typical of travelogue films of the day leads the audience on a tour of the USA, from New York to the West Coast, stopping at places including the Florida Everglades, West Point, Yellowstone National Park, a Sioux reservation, and the California redwoods.

All of this, of course, is simply an excuse for Tex Avery sight gags.


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Tropes:

  • Adventurer Outfit: The scientist searching for malaria mosquitoes in the Florida Everglades has the typical tan linen outfit with pith helmet.
  • Binocular Shot: How a prairie dog finds the one tree on the prairie that he and his fellows can pee on. Interestingly, shown correctly as one circle rather than the far more common two-circle shot.
  • Born in the Theater: The narrator's last line addresses Mr. "Butterfinger", the man climbing the Empire State Building. The narrator asks him, "Would you like to say a word to your friends here in the audience?"
    Mr. Butterfinger: "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!"
  • Bowdlerization: Two scenes are cut on Cartoon Network and Boomerang airings of the short due to ethnic stereotyping:
    • A poor, black hitchhiker at the North Pole, singing "Carry Me Back to Ol' Virginny", and an Eskimo obliges by literally carrying the poor, black man all the way to the Virginia state line.
    • Although the Native American segment is not removed entirely (there had been rumors that it was, but those were disproven), only one scene from the segment is cut: An Indian mother dealing with the dopey, oversized, adult son she's carrying on her papoose.
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  • Eskimo Land: Naturally there's an igloo in Alaska.
  • Mockumentary: Present in Unbuilt Trope form, as it's a parody of short travelogues.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: Parodied. "All states depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual states, either Democratic or Republican, is purely coincidental."
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Lot of racist humor in this short. See "Bowdlerization" above.
  • Visual Pun: Several. The "rolling plains" of Texas are depicted as plains that roll like waves. A Sioux "snake dance" is shown as, well, snakes dancing.
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