Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on January 30, 2004
Plane mentioned by a hypnotized Bugs at the end of Hare-Brained Hypnotist (Freleng, 1942). Mentioned again by Bugs again in directing Beaky Buzzard’s crash landing in Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (Clampett, 1942), and by Porky as air traffic controller in Baby Bottleneck (Clampett, 1946). Incidentally, it is also mentioned in the song sung by Red in Red Hot Riding Hood (Avery at MGM, 1943) and worn on the uniform of the giant ballplayer in Batty Baseball, made by Avery for MGM in 1944.
While the B-19 never flew in combat, it did have a public history. Actually designated the XB-19, designed in the late thirties and manufactured by Douglas, it was the largest aircraft built in the United States until the Convair B-36 was built in 1946, outstripping even the huge B-29 Superfortress in size, with a wingspan of 64 meters.
In 1940 the Army Air Force recognized that the XB-19 had lost most if not all of its military importance -- it was widely viewed as being underpowered and vulnerable, and the B-19 was removed from the list of its secret projects. The plane became a hot item in the popular press as a radically new long-range bomber to protect America against its foreign foes. The prototype was completed in May of 1941, and made its maiden flight from Clover Field in Santa Monica, California on June 27, 1941, three years behind the original schedule. The plane quickly faded into obscurity, as more practical planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress and the B-24 Liberator took over the primary bombing roles for the Army Air Force.