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I Wanna Be a Sailor (1937)

Momma parrot is teaching her young-uns to say "Polly want a cracker" but little Peter doesn't want a cracker, he wants to be a sailor like dad. Mom tells him what a no-account his dad ... See full summary »


Tex Avery (as Fred Avery)




Uncredited cast:
Elvia Allman ... Mama (voice) (uncredited)
Mel Blanc ... Gabby Duckling (voice) (uncredited)
Billy Bletcher ... Papa Parrot (voice) (uncredited)
Bernice Hansen Bernice Hansen ... Patrick Parrot / Patricia Parrot (voice) (uncredited)
Robert Winkler ... Peter Parrot (voice) (uncredited)


Momma parrot is teaching her young-uns to say "Polly want a cracker" but little Peter doesn't want a cracker, he wants to be a sailor like dad. Mom tells him what a no-account his dad really was, setting sail for Hawaii ("no, Maw, it was Catalina") right after the kids were born. Peter is unswayed, and takes off. He turns a barrel into a boat, and crews it with an annoyingly talkative duckling, then sets sail on a lake. They get caught in a thunderstorm (the duck loves it). Peter calls for help and momma comes running, but the duck has already saved him. But he still wants to be a sailor. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

25 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Un marin d'eau douce See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

After the mother asks her son at the end if he still wants to be a sailor and says yes, she collapses and the iris out effect happens, However it's reverses back to the mother and the mother breaks the 4th wall by saying to the audience... "Now what would you do with a child like that" and collapses again, and then it irises out to the "That's all Folks" card. See more »


References Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) See more »


A Life on the Ocean Wave
Music by Henry Russell
Played when Peter takes a bite of licorice
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great plot, nice song, very funny
24 August 2004 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

I find Tex Avery's cartoons extremely variable in their humour content. Avery's cartoons featuring Screwy Squirrel or the amorous Wolfie are hilarious, while his Droopy cartoons are complete garbage. 'I Wanna Be a Sailor' isn't as funny as Screwy Squirrel (very few cartoons are), but this cartoon has some solid laughs, a good story, and three interesting and distinctive characters.

The hero (if that's the proper word) is a little-boy parrot in a sailor hat, who wants to run off to sea and become a ship's parrot. His mother tries to dissuade him, and we see a very funny flashback of the boy parrot's father, a rum-soaked swabbie. (Great voice work by Elvia Allman as the mother parrot.) This being a Warners cartoon, of course the boy pays no heed to his elders and proceeds to head for the waterfront.

Many of the early Warners cartoons had the delightful characteristic of being built round a song - the song's title also being the title of the cartoon - and these songs were invariably catchy and amusing. As the boy parrot heads for the water, he chants a catchy chantey called 'I Wanna Be a Sailor'. At the quayside, preparing to launch a raft, he meets a little-boy duck who wants to join him aboard. There's some great voice work here: the boy parrot has a very funny wise-guy vocal delivery, and the boy duck is even funnier ... spraying the parrot with rapid-fire questions.

The two bird-boys push off to sea, and straight away run into a storm. Suddenly the bounding main isn't quite so appealing, and the boy parrot calls for his mother ... who comes running, taking time out only to segue into a few bars of 'Old Black Joe'. The payoff gag is quite funny, although anyone familiar with Warner Brothers cartoons won't find it very surprising. I'll rate this delightful cartoon 10 out of 10, for kids and grown-ups to enjoy together. I wish Tex Avery had made more toons like this, instead of those unfunny Droopy epics.

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