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Western Animation / Self Defense...For Cowards

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Self Defense...for Cowards is a 1962 animated short film (eight minutes) directed by Gene Deitch.

It's a parody of instructional films, centering on how to avoid fights in bars. The narrator cites evidence that the number of bar brawls has been increasing, and offers various strategies for cowards to avoid getting pummeled. Techniques include: high-pitched screaming, going limp, eating garlic in order to fend the other person off with your breath, laughing like a hyena, and bringing a bigger friend to the bar.


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Tropes:

  • Always a Bigger Fish: One tactic suggested is to bring a bigger friend for the bar. This is illustrated in the cartoon by the protagonist sitting next to his buddy, an ape-like monster whose knuckles drag on the ground.
  • Instructional Film: A parody of instructional films, instructing the viewer how to avoid bar fights.
  • Laughing Mad: One of the tactics is laughter. In the film, the protagonist starts to cackle insanely, causing the bully to back away.
  • Limited Animation: Mostly drawn on plain, featureless backgrounds, as was true of most animation of that era.
  • Lovable Coward: The protagonist as drawn is a generically meek fellow who is well aware that he is a coward and seeks only to avoid getting punched.
  • Narrator: British character actor Arthur Treacher voices a totally serious narrator listing the various ways to avoid getting into bar fights.
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  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Suggested as another way to avoid bar fights. The narration specifically states not to scream too low as that may be misinterpreted as an invitation to combat.
  • The Shrink: Another tactic is to get the aggressor to start talking about why he wants to fight. This gets represented on screen as the aggressor lying on a stereotypical shrink's couch while the coward acts as the shrink.
  • Visible Odor: Garlic repels bullies. This is shown as lines of Visible Odor emitting from the coward's mouth and making the bully cringe. The narration warns to exercise caution with this tactic as it will repel everyone.
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