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Killer Diller

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"Now, listen here, sister! Killer ain't paying no roaming charges, see?"

Killer Diller is the main antagonist of the 1939 Warner Brothers cartoon one-off short "Thugs With Dirty Mugs". The short was an affectionate parody of Warner Brothers' own cycle of gangster films.

Killer Diller (Whether Killer is a given name or a nickname is never brought up) is the anthropomorphic bulldog leader of a gang of bank robbers and hoodlums who commit daring if not brazen daylight heists. While no one is harmed or killed (though one bank teller threatening to tattle does have his face shaken up into a cartoon stammer), Killer and his men make it very clear what could happen, and no one puts up a fight, with the gang always getting away before the not-so-effective police arrive.

Killer and his gang go on a rampage, robbing every National Bank in the city--except for the 13th, since Killer is superstitious. Killer is also very meticulous, robbing the Worst National Bank and in one case, going back inside a bank he just robbed, when he discovers they left two dollars behind. He also urges his men not to bother knocking over gumball machines, since they have little to no money in them.

The police, led by Chief Flat Foot Flanagan, make little headway. An informant can't be heard over the phone, causing the Chief to break the fourth wall to talk with him. A rat they interrogate turns out to be a literal rat, who cries when the Chief runs out of cheese. Finally, they catch a break when a man in the audience who has sat through the picture twice informs the Chief that Killer and his gang plan to rob the home of Mrs. Lotta Jewels. The Chief thanks the man, but also chastises him for being a tattletale.

At the Jewels' estate, Killer and the gang sneak in after dark, taking care to ask their shadows to stay behind and watch the door. But when Killer attempts to crack the safe, the tumbler suddenly becomes a dial, and the safe a radio which tunes in 'The Lone Stranger'. As Killer and his mugs sit on the floor like excited children, the police reveal themselves and surround them, forcing their surrender.

Killer is given a long sentence--literally, He must write 'I Am A Naughty Boy' on a blackboard while in lock-up, wherein he defiantly sticks his tongue out at the audience.


  • Although indirectly mocking all gangster movies, Thugs With Dirty Mugs' title directly references a film from 1938, Angels With Dirty Faces. 'Mug' is a slang term for face, while Killer's only named cohort is called Rocky, possibly a reference to Rocky Sullivan, the main antagonist of 'Angels'
  • Killer Diller's name references the period in which it was made, 'diller' being frequently added to rhyming words like 'Thriller' for emphasis.
  • Killer is listed within the fictional film credits as being played by 'Edward G Robesome', a play on the name of famed actor Edward G Robinson, star of many gangster films.
  • Killer was voiced by none other than cartoon legend Tex Avery, the director of this short, as well as the creator of Droopy Dog and Screwball Squirrel. (Sources Wikipedia and IMDB)
  • Killer at one point lampshades his voice resemblance to Edward G Robinson, then lapses into an imitation of a radio star named Fred Allen. Allen was once noted for his staged feuds with Radio, Film and TV legend Jack Benny. Nowadays, while Benny is still known to some, Allen is almost entirely forgotten.

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