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The Fresh Vegetable Mystery (1939)

After a series of vegetable disappearances,a potato policeman goes out to catch the kidnappers.


Dave Fleischer, Dave Tendlar (uncredited)


Jack Mercer




Uncredited cast:
Jack Mercer ... Irish Potato Cop / Snoring Onions (voice) (uncredited)
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Crime strikes the vegetable world when Mrs. Mama Carrot awakens and finds her children have been carrot-napped. She summons the Irish-Potato Police and they are soon on the trail of the culprit. But the various suspects they round up, and grill, aren't the criminals. They finally track down the guilty parties, who turn out to be a gang of mice in disguise. Thrown into a third-degree mousetrap, the mice soon confess. Bleeding Heart Warning: This cartoon contains racial stereotypes (an Irish potato), and cruelty to vegetables...and mice. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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User Reviews

Vegetables as you've never seen them before
27 November 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

There was something intriguing about 'The Fresh Vegetable Mystery'. Namely the concept, which was admittedly a strange one but again it was intriguing. As was the rare chance of seeing vegetables anthropomorphized, unlike anything seen before in animation or anywhere. One of my main reasons for seeing it was that it was made by Fleischer Studios, not a consistent studio and they declined badly in the 40s but their best work was great.

Will say that 'The Fresh Vegetable Mystery' is not one of their best. At the same time it is one of their most interesting and surprisingly fresh in places, of their output it is up there with the most unique for the concept alone and to see vegetables as one has never seen before and won't look at in the same way again. Of the studio's "Color Classics" cartoons, 'The Fresh Vegetable Mystery' does stand out, the most unique and the least generic. Ranking the series, it is somewhere around high middle overall.

Not immune from flaws mind. Don't go looking for sense, you will not get it in any shape or form in 'The Fresh Vegetable Mystery' (though it struck me considering the concept as a cartoon that didn't intend to make sense and be as strange as possible) and parts were a touch silly. While it never got sadistic, the methods of torture to make them talk were on the mean-spirited side and to me they were not particularly inspired either (sweetcorn being turned into popcorn? Really?).

Part of me felt that the reveal of the criminals, while unexpected (and like the vegetables you won't look at their species in the same way again), was a bit underwhelming and didn't really fit with the rest of the cartoon or the concept. Maybe that's just me.

One of 'The Fresh Vegetable Mystery's' biggest strengths is the music. Just love the orchestration, with great use of instruments and with lots and lots of energy, and it adds so much to the action. Usually the animation is the other great asset, but this time it's the potato policemen and they actually steal the show. They are so entertaining and although the puns are corny they also raise a big smile and tickle the funny bone. Not everybody will find that the case and if not that's understandable.

Animation is still fine, the usual finesse is not always there but the meticulousness, atmosphere and lushness shine through. The story is very strange but the mystery engages and there is a lively pace throughout. The characters are fun, as is the ever dependable Jack Mercer's voice work.

Summarising, not for all but to me it was good fun and a good attempt by Fleischer to do something different. 7/10

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Release Date:

29 September 1939 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fleischer Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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