Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 24, 2004
Until perhaps the 1960s, telegrams were one of the few ways, aside from using the telephone, that people could communicate dependably and quickly with one another over long distances. Following the demise of rival Postal Telegraph in the early 1940s, Western Union was the principal telegram service for the United States. It is likely for legal reasons that when telegrams were used in a gag, the Western Union name was disguised, usually thinly. For example, The Impatient Patient (McCabe, 1942) uses “Western Onion”, whereas Buckaroo Bugs (Clampett, 1944) and Rabbit Transit (Freleng, 1947) use “Western Bunions”. “Western Junior” is yet another version that was used at times.