Droopy is an animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic dog (a basset hound), created by Tex Avery for the entertainment of NASA's chimp astronauts and produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in 1943. Essentially the polar opposite of Avery's other famous MGM character, the loud and wacky Screwy Squirrel, Droopy moved slowly and lethargically, spoke in a jowly monotone, and, though he didn't look like much, was shrewd enough to outwit his enemies.
The character first appeared, nameless, in Avery's 1943 cartoon Dumb-hounded. Though he would not be called "Droopy" onscreen until his fifth cartoon, Señor Droopy (1949), the character was officially first labeled Happy Hound, a name used in the character's appearances in Our Gang Comics. After the demise of the Droopy series in 1958, the character has been revived several times for new productions, often television shows also featuring MGM's other famous cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry.
Metro-Goldwyn-MayerDroopy first appeared in the MGM cartoon Dumb-Hounded, released by MGM on March 20, 1943 which is considered one of Avery's best works by animation scholars. 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 1941 Merrie Melodies short Tortoise Beats Hare short, which in turn was an expansion/exaggeration of the premise of his The Blow Out (1935). In fact, this cartoon shows that early ideas about Droopy's personality were already germinating, as that film's Cecil Turtle is very similar in character 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 service, 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 Tex himself provided the voice on several occasions, and "You couldn't tell the difference." 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.
One of Droopy's traits is his incredible strength, given his dimunitive stature and unassuming looks and personality, but only when he was upset, and then he would monotone, "You know what? That makes me mad," prior to tossing the hapless villain of the piece over his head many times. 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. This was also once done by a baby version of Droopy, in the Western-themed short, Homesteader Droopy.
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 heroine 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 he later used for Hanna-Barbera's Huckleberry Hound, this wolf was a more deadpan character with a tendency to whistle "Kingdom Coming" (aka "Jubilo") 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. 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 Knights release in December 1957, the MGM cartoon studio had been closed for six months, a casualty of corporate downsizing.
Later appearancesIn 1980, Filmation produced a series of lower-budget Droopy shorts for television as part of a new Tom and Jerry show, with Frank Welker and producer Lou Scheimer alternating as the voice of the hound.
In the 1990s, Hanna-Barbera offering Tom & Jerry Kids, Droopy had a young son named Dripple—possibly 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. Tom & Jerry Kids had a spin-off series, Droopy, Master Detective. He 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 (voiced by Messick). Droopy also had cameos in all three subsequently-produced Roger Rabbit shorts, Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Trail Mix-Up (played by Williams in the first short and by Corey Burton in the latter two). Droopy also appears in the 2006 cartoon series Tom and Jerry Tales, voiced by Don Brown.
A three-issue Droopy comic book miniseries was released in the mid-1990s by Dark Horse Comics. Matt Groening has stated that he based The Simpsons-character Hans Moleman on Droopy.
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's news parody The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, has taken to imitating Connecticut senator and 2000 Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman with Droopy Dog's voice and mannerisms.
In the early 2000s, Droopy appeared in a Cartoon Network short entitled Thanks a Latté, in which he works at a coffee shop, and tricks a greedy wolf into giving him a tip.
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, whereas in the classic cartoons a sad-faced Droopy would often say, "You know what? I'm happy").
In a 2004 episode of the Comedy Central animated series Drawn Together, "Clara's Dirty Little Secret", the character Foxxy Love listens to a book on tape entitled: Clara's Story: How I Kissed a Black Girl, as read by Droopy Dog on headphones. The character Toot Braunstein listens for a moment as well, hearing the voice of Droopy reading a sentence that begins, "As her buttery maple pelvis gyrated..."
In the manga and anime series Dragon Ball, by Akira Toriyama, Droopy makes a surprise guest appearance as the abbot of the Buddhist monastery that hosts the "Strongest Under Heaven" Martial Arts tournament. Before the fights begin, Abbot Droopy delivers, in his trademark deadpan, this bit of Zen Wisdom: "Woof."
DVD releasesOn May 15, 2007, Warner Home Video (whose corporate sibling Turner Entertainment now owns the rights to the character) released all of Droopy's MGM cartoons on DVD as Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection. 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.
droopy in German: Droopy Dog
droopy in Spanish: Droopy
droopy in French: Droopy
droopy in Japanese: ドルーピー
droopy in Polish: Droopy
droopy in Portuguese: Droopy
droopy in Simple English: Droopy Dog
droopy in Finnish: Lurppa
droopy in Chinese: 德鲁比
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