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Western Animation / The Fox and the Crow

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Fauntleroy Fox and Crawford Crow, in a scene from the 1942 short Toll Bridge Troubles

A series of animated short subjects created for Columbia Pictures by their Screen Gems cartoon outlet. The shorts are centered around the eponymous characters, Fauntleroy Fox and Crawford Crow.

The first film in the series, The Fox and the Grapes (based on the eponymous Fable from Aesop), was directed by ex-Looney Tunes veteran Frank Tashlin, and was an experimental short in using a classic "blackout gag" format: this makes it feel like a woodland precursor to Chuck Jones' later Road Runner cartoons—Jones even cited that short as an influence on his series! The short's plot established the relationship between the duo, with the dim-witted Fauntleroy going about his business, only for the crow to decide to pester him for the sake of it.

After this, the series branched out to become a more standard-issue gag series, lasting for several more shorts. When United Productions of America (UPA) took over cartoon production for Columbia, they did three Fox and Crow shorts out of contractual obligation before retiring the characters for good to concentrate on their own creations, like Mr. Magoo and Gerald McBoing-Boing.

Curiously, the series didn't run particularly long in theaters, but it was popular enough to be adapted into a hit comic book series by DC Comics, which ran for an impressive 20 years. Of note, said comic book was also the origin of the Stanley and His Monster series, which started its life as a back-up feature in 1966, until it briefly took over the comic as the main feature until the series' cancellation in 1968.

  • The Fox and the Grapes (1941): Debut of the series.
  • Woodman Spare That Tree (1942)
  • Toll-Bridge Troubles (1942)
  • Slay It With Flowers (1943)
  • Plenty Below Zero (1943)
  • Tree for Two (1943)
  • A-Hunting We Won't Go (1943)
  • Room and Bored (1943)
  • Way Down Yonder In the Corn (1943)
  • The Dream Kids (1944)
  • Mr. Moocher (1944)
  • Be Patient, Patient (1944)
  • The Egg-Yegg (1944)
  • Ku-Ku Nuts (1945)
  • Treasure Jest (1945)
  • Phoney Baloney (1945)
  • Foxy Flatfoots (1946)
  • Unsure Runts (1946)
  • Mysto Fox (1946)
  • Tooth or Consequences (1947)
  • Robin Hoodlum (1948): First of the three UPA Fox and Crows. (Also the first UPA theatrical short ever.)
  • The Magic Fluke (1949): Second UPA Fox and Crow.
  • Grape Nutty (1949): Screen Gems holdover.
  • Punchy De Leon (1950): Last Fox and Crow short, last UPA Fox and Crow.


  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Crawford only wears a bowler hat.
  • Alliterative Name: The eponymous duo.
  • Animation Bump: The earlier shorts boast moderately fluid (for a relatively low-budget studio) character animation by the likes of Disney alumni (inclusive of Emery Hawkins, Bob Wickersham and Louie Schmitt) displaced by the infamous 1941 strike befalling said studio; such fluidity is generally aided by the more cinematic direction (influenced by supervising director Frank Tashlin's surprisingly sophisticated filmic sensibilities) defining Screen Gems' 1941-42 output. Following the departure of Tashlin (and, within the following year, several key animators), the raw quality of animation increasingly stagnates into a blander and more slapdash form, attaining a crux during the final group of shorts (released circa 1946-49) by the studio. Conversely, the three UPA-produced shorts largely evoke this trope courtesy of their top-flight crew of animators, among them Walter Lantz veteran Pat Matthews and Warner Bros. mainstays Robert 'Bobe' Cannon and Bill Melendez.
  • Arboreal Abode: Crawford would often be shown living inside a tree, sometimes with an elevator inside.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fauntleroy, always being tricked by Crawford into blackmail or abusive antics due to his "sucker"-ness.
  • Camera Abuse: At the end of "Way Down Yonder In the Corn", Fauntleroy (disguised as "Sidney Scarecrow") chases Crawford (who also disguised himself a scarecrow earlier) all over places as revenge for tricking him into being blown up in a safe, and then they end up fighting on a roller coaster until Crawford tells Fauntleroy how he's a great straight man and they both reconcile by shaking hands - only for the roller coaster to drive them towards the camera (as they hold each other for dear life) and smash into the screen. Cue smash cut to the Columbia torch lady and thus ends the cartoon.
  • Canon Immigrant: The characters are part of the comic series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!: Like most of DC Comics's old funny animal characters, the Fox and The Crow officially inhabit the cartoon universe of Earth-C.
    • Because of this, they're probably the only characters to exist within the DC Universe that don't actually belong to DC Comics (aside from He-Man, perhaps).
      • Oddly enough, they also make an appearance in Inferior Five #7, leading one to speculate if they have counterparts on Earth-12.
  • Cartoon Conductor: Fauntleroy in "The Magic Fluke", thanks to his baton being replaced by a magician's wand.
  • Catchphrase: Fauntleroy's "I hate you, hate you, HATE YOU!" and Crowford's "Hey, Foxie!".
  • Clever Crows: Crawford.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Fauntleroy is a notable aversion. His massive gullibility is easily his defining character trait.
  • The Determinator: Fauntleroy in several shorts, most notably "Toll Bridge Troubles" and the series debut "Fox and Grapes".
  • Dream Weaver: "The Dream Kids" is about Crawford wrecking Fauntleroy's dream by stealing his dream girlfriend (a female fox). Also crosses with Dream Walker.
  • Elevator Gag: Crawford has an elevator in his tree home.
  • Fountain of Youth: The final cartoon, "Punchy De Leon" has Fauntleroy and Crawford as con men who claim to have found the Fountain, hoping to get rewarded by the King of Spain. When the King wants them to bring it for real, they set off to Florida to find it.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The three UPA shorts completely disregarded the series' established formula. "Robin Hoodlum" is a Robin Hood parody with Fauntleroy as Robin; "The Magic Fluke" has Crawford being loyal to Fauntleroy, even after he rejects him; and "Punchy De Leon" has the duo as con artists, rather than just Crawford.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: In "Mr. Moocher", when Fauntleroy is taking a bath, he stands up revealing his green Goofy Print Underwear...and covers his crotch in embarrassment as if he's naked (while he's not). Then he gets out and puts a towel around his waist with his underwear still on.
  • Funny Animal: Crawford Crow.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Both characters.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Fauntleroy.
  • Insurance Fraud: "Unsure Runts" has Crawford trying to damage Fauntleroy's home insurance in a series of attempts to cheat him for his money (i.e. flooding his house with a hose, etc.), culminating in him blowing up Fauntleroy's house with a bunch of dynamites underneath it.
  • Jerkass: Fauntleroy can be this at times. He also falls into Break the Haughty.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The UPA shorts are drastically more fantastical or imagination-based and feature significantly less slapstick comedy than the earlier Screen Gems-produced shorts; "Punchy De Leon" likewise features the titular duo as allies through much of its runtime as opposed to adversaries.
  • Limited Animation: The UPA shorts employ minor elements of this, but otherwise boast fluid Warners-esque character animation, unusually for the studio's output.
  • No Ending: The abrupt end of "Room and Bored".
  • The Noun and the Noun
  • Shout-Out: In "Mysto Fox", Crawford Crow does a Bugs Bunny impersonation.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Parodied on "Robin Hoodlum". Robin's Merry Men act like stuffy upper class Brits, and they only get alarmed when Robin is late for tea.
  • Tree Buchet: Done in the first cartoon when Fauntleroy tries to launch himself this way, but just gets smacked back and forth on the ground.
  • Vitriolic Best Friends: Although it varies from short to short.
  • Wet Cement Gag: In "Be Patient, Patient", Fauntleroy falls in a vat of wet cement while dressed as an angel (as part of Crawford making him think he had died). Crawford, also in an angel costume, tries to slink away with his food, but Fauntleroy pulls him into the cement and the two get covered in cement. Fauntleroy chases Crawford until the cement dries, freezing them in place. They are put up as statues on a city park, the pedestal reading "Vice vs. Virtue".
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Prince John speaks this way in "Robin Hoodlum".
  • Zany Cartoon


Video Example(s):



After countless failed attempts to pick the grapes off the tree himself, Fauntleroy finally accepts Crawford's offer to trade his picnic lunch in exchange for the grapes. Unfortunately for him, Crawford is not so keen on holding up his end of the deal. This leads to Fauntleroy realizing that Crawford had been playing him for a fool all along.

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