A Look Back at Tex Avery’s “KING-SIZE Canary”

Good morning all,

Today, let’s examine “KING-SIZE Canary,” an influential cartoon from yesteryear. I’d seen this before, and the later derivative works, but was surprised to learn how old it was. This 8-minute animation, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), first appeared in theaters during the late 1940s, beginning on December 6th, 1947.

King-Size Canary was animated by Robert Bentley, Walter Clinton, and Ray Abrams. It was written by Heck Allen and included music from Scott Bradley. The director, Frederick Bean “Tex” Avery, previously worked for Warner Bros. (WB) where he was instrumental in the creation of Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, etc.

As his nickname implies, Mr. Avery was born and raised in Taylor, Texas, not far from Austin. He moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1928. Tex took on various jobs and eventually found employment as an inker and later as an animator. (SIDE NOTE: Around this time, Tex also lost the use of his left eye because of office horseplay!)

He transitioned to directing animated shorts for WB, but left in mid-1941. He next found work at MGM where Tex brought to life several cartoons, such as “Red Hot Riding Hood” in 1943. In that animated short, the European fairy tale character “Little Red Riding Hood” was re-imagined as a nightclub singer.

Tex also created another famous icon in the form of “Droopy,” the slow-moving and slow-talking anthropomorphic basset hound.

Returning to the plot of King-Size Canary, the action was initially centered upon a mangy cat looking for a meal. (NOTE: Most of the characters, except the bulldog called Atom, were not given names, but are only known as the “bird,” “cat,” and “mouse.”)

The hungry feline begins the cartoon rummaging through trash cans searching for anything to eat. He spots a nearby home and climbs through the window. Once inside, the alley cat looks through the refrigerator and cupboards, only to find a scrawny mouse within a can of cat food.

Of note, the entire short includes surreal touches. For example, when trying to climb in the window the cat stacks wooden boxes up. There’s not enough boxes to reach the window; so, the cat takes the bottom box and puts it on top and against all logic and physics the boxes don’t fall, enabling the cat to stack the two boxes on each other until he raises high enough to jump through the open window. The zaniness continues when the bird nonchalantly removes the cat’s teeth, nose, and eyes and rearranges them haphazardly on the cat’s face.

Gravity, schmavity 😎

There’s also fourth-wall breaking when the mouse, who was somehow inside a sealed tin can, tells the cat that he’s already seen this cartoon.

(NOTE: There were also some then-contemporary pop culture references to the WW II-era widespread graffiti “Kilroy was here,” and the 1944 novel “The Lost Weekend.“)

The mouse sends the cat to the adjoining room to eat the titular canary. Unfortunately, the songbird was rather tiny.

However, the cat spots a bottle of Garden “Jumbo Gro.”

Unfortunately, Jumbo Gro works even better than expected and the bird becomes too big to eat!

The action escalates as the cat soon enlarges himself, and then Atom the guard dog follows suit.

Mayhaps, the cat should not have discarded the Jumbo Gro so carelessly 😉

The mouse gets involved in the size play and the action ends with the now-planetary sized cat and mouse standing on top of the Earth:

Today, this cartoon can be found online, Vimeo has a decent copy, and in hardcopy formats like “Tex Avery: The Prestige Collection,” a 5-disc box set of his MGM work.

Following in King-Size Canary’s footsteps were cartoons such as a 1991 episode of Darkwing Duck entitled “Planet of the Capes,” and a 2000 episode of The Foxbusters entitled “Big Trouble.”

On the left is a screenshot from Planet of the Capes and on the right is Big Trouble.

In 2016, Jackurai combined characters from Gravity Falls with the plot of King-Size Canary in his interactive Flash animation “Planetary Pines” on DeviantArt. (NOTE: It appears that this is no longer available online, due to the fact that Adobe Flash was deprecated in mid-2017. However, a non-interactive video copy exists on YouTube.)

Of course, There She Grows is focused on size fetish, and thus it’s crucial to highlight that King-Size Canary has indeed left a mark in the size fetish community. For instance, King-Size Canary inspired ZZZ to make the erotic comic “Colossal Size Cheat.”

This panel was taken from Colossal Size Cheat #1

It also caused Stormbogger (a.k.a. booger) to write “King Size Caren.” That’s a good read and I recommend growth fans check it out by clicking the following image.

BardicDragoon drew the following based on Stormbooger’s story:

Stormbooger also created this page on tumblr featuring images captioned with mini-stories:

At Stormbooger’s suggestion, TopMilenko wrote “Queen Size Canary,” click here for that, on the Giantess City forums.

Additionally, a “choose your own adventure” using this premise, called “Prom night,” was created by Canada52 at writing.com.

More recently, the following callback was shared by Su-Sano on Twitter:

Personally, I’d love to see more spins on King-Size Canary. Let’s get a bevy of wet t-shirt contestants competing to be their best, and bustiest, with Jumbo Gro. Explore a harem of lovely ladies outgrowing one another to win their sultan’s affection, but then have those ladies realize that they no longer care about his approval. A gender-bending version could be male bodybuilders striving to outdo one another. Truly, there are many fun scenarios yet to be realized!

That’s it for now folks. Next week we’ll switch to diminishing vice enlarging themes with a comic from Shrink Fan. Until then, keep growing (or shrinking 😉 ) !

This review is protected under Fair Use copyright law.

All Rights Reserved.

5 thoughts on “A Look Back at Tex Avery’s “KING-SIZE Canary”

  1. There was also the famous Mile High Club story, which has girls continually trying to outgrow each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, that’s another good one. For those unfamiliar, Mile High Club by Rapscallion can be read here:
      SIDE NOTE: I found a different, unrelated, story with the same title by Richard C H Davies also on the GTS City forums.


  2. Definitely an influence and one of the reasons I’m drawn to competitive growth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m busy with some other projects at the moment, but I really want to write my own competitive growth story with that good ole Jumbo Gro 😎


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