Droopy is an animated character from the golden age of American animation. He is an anthropomorphic white Basset Hound with a droopy face; hence his name. He was created in 1943 by Tex Avery for theatrical cartoon shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio. Essentially the polar opposite of Avery's other MGM character, the loud and wacky Screwy Squirrel, Droopy moves slowly and lethargically, speaks in a jowly monotone voice, and—though hardly an imposing character—is shrewd enough to outwit his enemies. When finally roused to anger, often by a bad guy laughing heartily at him, Droopy is capable of beating adversaries many times his size with a comical thrashing.[5]

MGM Cartoons character
First appearanceDumb-Hounded (1943)
Created byTex Avery
Designed byIrving Levine[1]
Voiced byBill Thompson (1943, 1945, 1949–1958)
Tex Avery (1943, 1945–1946, 1955)[2][3]
Don Messick (1949–1950, 1956, 1989–1993)
Daws Butler (1955)[2][4]
Frank Welker (1980, 2002)
Richard Williams (1988–1989)
Corey Burton (1990, 1993)
Billy West (1996–1997)
Jeff Bergman (1999–2010, 2017–present)
Jeff Bennett (2002)
Maurice LaMarche (2003–2004)
Joe Alaskey (2004, 2010–2016)
Don Brown (2006)
Michael Donovan (2006–2007)
Joey D'Auria (2018)
(see below)
In-universe information
AliasHappy Hound
SpeciesDog (Basset Hound)
FamilyDrippy (twin brother)
Dripple (son)

The character first appeared, nameless, in Avery's 1943 cartoon Dumb-Hounded. Though he was not called "Droopy" onscreen until his fifth cartoon, Señor Droopy (1949), the character was already named "Droopy" in model sheets for his first cartoon. He was officially first labeled "Happy Hound", a name used in the character's appearances in Our Gang Comics. He starred in 24 theatrical cartoons, ending in 1958 when MGM closed its cartoon department.[6] The character has been revived several times for new productions including films and television shows also featuring MGM's other famous cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry, either as their ally or enemy. He's also known to be the guider of Cartoon Network back when it first launched at October 1, 1992.[7]

In the cartoon Northwest Hounded Police, Droopy's last name was given as "McPoodle". In The Chump Champ, it was given as "Poodle". Nevertheless, Droopy is generally understood to be a basset hound.

History edit

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer edit

Droopy first appeared in the MGM cartoon Dumb-Hounded, released on March 20, 1943. Droopy's first scene is when he saunters into view, looks at the audience, and declares, "Hello, all you happy people ... you know what? I'm the hero." In the cartoon, Droopy is tracking an escaped convict and is always waiting for the crook wherever he turns up. Avery had used a similar gag in his Merrie Melodies short Tortoise Beats Hare (1941) starring Bugs Bunny, which in turn was an expansion/exaggeration of the premise of his The Blow Out (1936) with Porky Pig. In fact, this cartoon shows that early ideas about Droopy's personality were already germinating, as that film's Cecil Turtle has similarities to Droopy.

Droopy's meek, deadpan voice and personality were modeled after the character Wallace Wimple on the radio comedy Fibber McGee and Molly; actor Bill Thompson, who played Wimple, was the original voice of Droopy. During his time in the US Navy during World War II, the role was played by other voice actors, including Don Messick, who reprised the role in the 1990s. Avery's preferred gag man Heck Allen said that Avery himself provided the voice on several occasions, and "You couldn't tell the difference."[8] Droopy himself was a versatile actor: he could play a Mountie, a cowboy, a deputy, an heir, or a Dixieland-loving everyday Joe with equal ease. The same voice was used for Big Heel-Watha in the Screwy Squirrel cartoon of the same name and for a Pilgrim who chases a turkey modeled after Jimmy Durante in Avery's 1945 short Jerky Turkey.

One of Droopy's more surprising traits is his incredible strength, given his diminutive stature and unassuming looks and personality, but this was usually reserved for when he was upset (with a few rare exceptions, where he very easily moved his adversary without harming him), at which time he would say in a monotone voice "You know what? That makes me mad" prior to thrashing the hapless villain of the piece. One such occasion was in Señor Droopy, where he did this to a bull. It happened again in One Droopy Knight, where a dragon was Droopy's victim. In the second case, he also broke the dragon's tail off and knocked him very far away with it like a baseball bat (apparently, it regenerated like a lizard's tail, given the unharmed dragon later became Droopy's servant/pet). This was also once done by a baby version of Droopy in the Western-themed short Homesteader Droopy. One example of Droopy showing his strength without being provoked was in The Chump Champ in which Spike (as "Gorgeous Gorillawitz") stuffs an anvil in a speed bag. Droopy easily punches the bag several times but when Spike takes a swipe at it, half of him shatters to the ground. Another running gag that occurred during many of Droopy's cartoons was whenever Droopy's adversaries chopped down a tree. As the tree started coming down and was about to crush the unsuspecting Droopy, the adversary would run far the opposite way, point to the sky, and shout, "TIM.....". Then, in a moment of surprise, the tree would change direction and end up crushing the adversary instead and he would finish by saying, ".....ber" while still pointing to the sky with a look of confusion on his face. In most of his cartoons, Droopy matches wits with either a slick anthropomorphic Wolf (the Wolf character "portrays" the crooks in both Dumb-hounded and its semi-remake, Northwest Hounded Police (1946)) or a bulldog named "Spike", sometimes silent, sometimes sporting a Gaelic accent. Two Droopy cartoons – The Shooting of Dan McGoo and Wild and Woolfy – also feature appearances from the curvy cutie of Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) as a damsel in distress being pursued by the Wolf. Three later Droopy cartoons –Three Little Pups (1953), Blackboard Jumble (1957), and Sheep Wrecked (1958) – feature a slow-moving southern wolf character. Voiced by Daws Butler in a dialect Butler later used for Hanna-Barbera's Huckleberry Hound, this wolf was a more deadpan character with a tendency to whistle "Kingdom Coming" (aka "Jubalio") to himself (much like Huckleberry would sing "Oh My Darling Clementine" to himself).

Avery took a year-long break from MGM from 1950 to 1951, during which time Dick Lundy took over his unit to do one Droopy cartoon, Caballero Droopy, and several Barney Bear cartoons. Avery returned in late 1951 and continued with Droopy and his one-shots until the Avery unit was dissolved by MGM in 1953. Michael Lah, an Avery animator, stayed on long enough to help William Hanna and Joseph Barbera complete Deputy Droopy after Avery had left the studio. Lah himself then left MGM, but returned in 1955 to direct CinemaScope Droopy cartoons costarring either Spike (now called Butch because of the same-named bulldog in Hanna and Barbera's Tom and Jerry cartoons) or the "Kingdom Coming"-whistling wolf. The opening title card was replaced with a newly drawn sequence in which Droopy gives his deadpan greeting: "Hello, all you happy people." Seven Droopy cartoons were created under the H-B production stable. One of these, One Droopy Knight (1957), was nominated for the 1957 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). However, by the time of One Droopy Knight's release in December 1957, the MGM cartoon studio had been closed for six months, a casualty of corporate downsizing.

Later appearances edit

In 1980, Filmation produced a series of lower-budget Droopy shorts for television as part of its Tom and Jerry TV series The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show. In the 1990s Hanna-Barbera series Tom & Jerry Kids, Droopy had a young son named Dripple (voiced by Charlie Adler), an older version of the infant we see in Homesteader Droopy. The mild success of the show provided perhaps the most Droopy merchandise: plush toys, gummy snacks, figurines, etc. In 1993, Tom & Jerry Kids had a spin-off series, Droopy, Master Detective, which cast Droopy and son as film noir style detectives. Droopy also had cameos in two theatrical features: as an elevator operator in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (where he was voiced by the film's animation director Richard Williams), and in Tom and Jerry: The Movie. Droopy also had cameos in all three subsequent Disney-produced Roger Rabbit shorts, Tummy Trouble (again he's an elevator operator), Roller Coaster Rabbit (he plays a bad guy dressed as Snidely Whiplash), and Trail Mix-Up (he plays a scuba diver). Droopy also appears in the 2006 cartoon series Tom and Jerry Tales, and has appeared in almost every Tom and Jerry direct-to-video movie, beginning with Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring, either as an ally or an enemy.

On October 1, 1992, back when Cartoon Network first aired, Droopy was given a very important role on showing the kids the guide of this channel in his lesser known program "Droopy's Guide to the Cartoon Network.[9]

In June 1999, Droopy appeared in a Cartoon Network short entitled Thanks a Latté, in which he works at a coffee shop and forces a stingy wolf into giving him a tip. In said short, the character is depicted with a bald head and was voiced by Jeff Bergman. The short aired on Cartoon Network's sister channel Boomerang until 2015. During the same period, Droopy was also featured in Adult Swim's Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law in the episode "Droopy Botox", voiced by Maurice LaMarche. He is seen seeking a settlement after a cosmetic surgeon injected him with too much botox (a running gag in this episode was the fact that Droopy was often seen crying despite having a huge grin frozen on his face, a reverse of the classic cartoons where a sad-faced Droopy often said, "You know what? I'm happy"). A memorable Cartoon Network promotional spot featured Droopy (voiced by Don Messick) and Shaggy from Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo parodying a dialog scene between Jules and Vincent in Pulp Fiction.

A three-issue Droopy comic book miniseries was released in the mid-1990s by Dark Horse Comics.

In 1997, Droopy appeared in Cartoon Network's Bloopers of the Cartoon Stars bumper. Here in his blooper reel, he says his signature line "I'm so happy" while actually smiling.

Voice actors edit

The following is the list of voice actors who have portrayed Droopy, the years they regularly voiced the character, and the films and/or television series they did the voice in:

Voiced by in unofficial material:

Filmography edit

The Droopy cartoons were directed by Tex Avery (1943–1955), Dick Lundy (1952), Michael Lah (1955–1958) and William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (1956), at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in Hollywood, California. All cartoons were released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Fred Quimby was the producer of the first 17 cartoons from 1943 to 1955. Quimby retired in 1955 and from 1956 to 1958, Hanna and Barbera produced the cartoons until MGM closed the cartoon studio in 1957, and the last cartoon was released in 1958. Most of these cartoons were produced in the standard Academy ratio (1.37:1); seven cartoons were produced in widescreen CinemaScope format only.

Like any other studio, MGM reissued and edited its cartoons when re-released to theaters. Many pre-1951 cartoons were reissued with Perspecta Sound, which was introduced in 1954. MGM also reissued its cartoons before the introduction of Perspecta Sound. Because of the 1965 MGM vault fire, only backup prints of pre-1951 MGM cartoons exist.

Title Director(s) Producer(s) Original release date Notes
Dumb-Hounded Tex Avery Fred Quimby March 20, 1943
The Shooting of Dan McGoo March 3, 1945
Wild and Woolfy November 3, 1945
Northwest Hounded Police August 3, 1946
Señor Droopy April 9, 1949 Guest appearance of Lina Romay in a live-action sequence in the end.
Wags to Riches August 13, 1949 Remade as Millionaire Droopy (1956)
Out-Foxed November 5, 1949
The Chump Champ November 4, 1950
Daredevil Droopy[17] March 31, 1951
Droopy's Good Deed May 5, 1951
Droopy's Double Trouble November 17, 1951 Introduction of Droopy's twin brother, Drippy
Caballero Droopy Dick Lundy September 27, 1952 Only Droopy cartoon directed by Dick Lundy
The Three Little Pups Tex Avery December 26, 1953 Live-action sequence
Drag-a-Long Droopy February 20, 1954
Homesteader Droopy[17]: 72–73  July 10, 1954 Introduction of Droopy's infant son, Dripple (as Droopy Jr.)
Dixieland Droopy December 4, 1954
Deputy Droopy Tex Avery
Michael Lah
October 28, 1955
Millionaire Droopy William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
September 21, 1956 CinemaScope remake of Wags To Riches. Although Tex Avery is given director credit Avery had nothing to do with this short. Only Droopy cartoon directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Grin and Share It Michael Lah May 17, 1957 Produced in CinemaScope
Blackboard Jumble October 4, 1957
One Droopy Knight December 6, 1957 Produced in CinemaScope
Nominated–Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film[18]
Sheep Wrecked February 7, 1958 Produced in CinemaScope
Mutts About Racing April 4, 1958
Droopy Leprechaun July 4, 1958

Cameos edit

Title Director(s) Producer(s) Original release date Notes
Who Framed Roger Rabbit June 22, 1988 Cameo
Tummy Trouble June 23, 1989 Cameo
Roller Coaster Rabbit June 15, 1990 Cameo
Trail Mix-Up March 12, 1993 Cameo
Tom and Jerry: The Movie July 30, 1993 Cameo
Tom & Jerry February 26, 2021 Cameo

Home media edit

  • Seven Droopy shorts on VHS as The Adventures of Droopy released in 1989.
  • Six Droopy shorts on VHS as Here Comes Droopy! released on October 10, 1990.[19]
  • Four Droopy shorts on VHS as Droopy and Company released on February 29, 1992.[20]
  • Seventeen Droopy shorts on LaserDisc as The Compleat Tex Avery released on January 13, 1993.[21]
  • On May 15, 2007, Warner Home Video released all of Droopy's MGM cartoons on DVD as Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection, complete and uncut.[22] The seven Droopy cartoons produced in CinemaScope were released in their original widescreen versions, instead of the pan and scan versions regularly broadcast on television.[23]
  • On February 18, 2020, four Droopy shorts appeared uncut and digitally restored in HD on Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume 1 Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection.[24] An additional six Droopy cartoons appeared uncut and digitally restored on Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume 2 released on December 15, 2020. An additional five Droopy cartoons appeared uncut and digitally restored on Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume 3 released on October 5, 2021.

These cartoons can also be found as extras on DVDs of classic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films of the period:

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ theartofanimation. "the art of animation". Tumblr. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d "Didn't Tex Avery do a lot of the voices in his cartoons?". News From ME. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  3. ^ a b ""Hello All You Happy Tax Payers": Tex Avery's Voice Stock Company". cartoonresearch.com. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  4. ^ a b "RADIO ROUND-UP: Fibber McGee and Molly and The Great Gildersleeve". cartoonresearch.com. September 13, 2017. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  5. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. pp. 76–78. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
  7. ^ The Cartoon Network launch 1992, retrieved March 3, 2022
  8. ^ Adamson, Joe, Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, Da Capo Press, 1975.
  9. ^ Droopy's Guide to the Cartoon Network (1992, COMPLETE), retrieved March 3, 2022
  10. ^ a b c Scott, Keith (October 3, 2022). Cartoon Voices of the Golden Age, Vol. 2. BearManor Media.
  11. ^ a b c "Voice(s) of Droopy in Cartoon Network". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Many Character Voices of Marc Silk". YouTube. Retrieved February 12, 2024.
  13. ^ "Web Premiere Toons". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  14. ^ "Boomerang Germany - Christmas Ident 2010". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  15. ^ "Voice of Droopy in Family Guy". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "Voice of Droopy in Mad". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  17. ^ a b Lenburg, Jeff (1983). The great cartoon directors. McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub. ISBN 978-0-89950-036-2. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  18. ^ "The 30th Academy Awards (1958) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  19. ^ "Here Comes Droopy (VHS, 1990) for sale online". eBay. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Droopy & Company [VHS]". eBay. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "LaserDisc Database - Compleat Tex Avery, The [ML102681]". www.lddb.com. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  22. ^ "MGM Home Entertainment product information for Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection (DVD)". mgm.com. Retrieved June 15, 2007.
  23. ^ Back of DVD box for Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection.
  24. ^ Hunt, Bill (January 31, 2020). "Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume 1 (Blu-ray Review)". The Digital Bits.

External links edit