A standard Droopy opening title card from the 1950s
|Created by||Tex Avery|
|Voiced by||Bill Thompson (1943-1958)
Other voices, see text.
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Turner Entertainment Co. (Today via Warner Bros.)
Droopy is an animated cartoon character: an anthropomorphic dog with a droopy face, hence the name Droopy. 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 famous 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 twice his size with a comical thrashing ("You know what? That makes me mad!").
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.
Droopy first appeared in the MGM cartoon Dumb-Hounded, released by MGM 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 1941 Merrie Melodies short Tortoise Beats Hare, which in turn was an expansion/exaggeration of the premise of his The Blow Out (1936). 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 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 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. 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 most famous and surprising traits is his incredible strength, given his diminutive stature and unassuming looks and personality, but it would usually be reserved for when he was upset (with a few rare exceptions, where he would very easily move his adversary beforehand, but without harming him), 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. In the second case, he also breaks the dragon's tail off and knocks 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. Another example was in The Chump Champ in which Droopy punched a speed bag with an anvil in it several times and another person shattered when he hit it. Another running gag that occurred during many of Droopy's cartoon's was whenever Spike, or another of Droopy's adversaries, was chopping down a tree, he would run far away from the tree as it was about to crush Droopy, point to the sky, and shout, "TIM....." Then, in a moment of surprise, the tree would change direction and end up crushing him instead and he would finish by saying, ".....ber"
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 "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. 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.
In 1980 Filmation produced a series of lower-budget Droopy shorts for television as part of a new Tom and Jerry show. In the 1990s Hanna-Barbera offering 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. 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. Droopy also had cameos in all three subsequently-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 direct-to-video movies like Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring.
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. The short now airs on Cartoon Network's sister channel Boomerang. 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"). A memorable Cartoon Network promotional spot featured Droopy (voiced by Don Messick) and Shaggy from 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 the 1993 film Look Who's Talking Now, Droopy is parodied in a scene where James (John Travolta) and Mikey (David Gallagher) go to a pet store where they see a grouchy Basset Hound who talks exactly like Droopy and says that he hates little boys. James likes the dog but Mikey doesn't because it looks like a "hot dog with ears" and the dog replies "I resent that!"
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 Joe Lieberman with Droopy Dog's voice and mannerisms.
In the manga and anime Dragon Ball, Droopy has a cameo appearance as the Abbot of the 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".
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 Family Guy episode "Ocean's Three and a Half", a parody of Fox News Channel's former show Hannity & Colmes featured co-host Alan Colmes portrayed by Droopy Dog, implying that Colmes is weak and useless against his co-host.
- Bill Thompson (1943–1958)
- Tex Avery (The Shooting of Dan McGoo, Wild and Woolfy, Northwest Hounded Police, Deputy Droopy)
- Don Messick (Wags to Riches, The Chump Champ, Tom and Jerry Kids, Droopy Master Detective, Tom and Jerry: The Movie)
- Frank Welker (The Tom and Jerry Comedy Show)
- Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Tummy Trouble)
- Corey Burton (Roller Coaster Rabbit, Trail Mix-Up)
- Unknown voice actor (Thanks a Latté)
- Jeff Bennett (Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring)
- Maurice LaMarche (Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law)
- Don Brown (1 episode of Tom and Jerry Tales Season 1)
- Michael Donovan (2 episodes of Tom and Jerry Tales Season 2)
- Jeff Bergman (Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes)
- Joe Alaskey (Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse, Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure)
MGM Droopy filmography
The Droopy shorts were directed by Tex Avery (1943-1955), Dick Lundy (1952), and Michael Lah (1955-1958) at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in Hollywood, California. All shorts were released to theaters by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Fred Quimby was the producer of the first 17 shorts from 1943-1955. Quimby retired in 1955 and from 1956 to 1958, Hanna and Barbera produced the shorts 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). Only one was produced for both Academy Ratio and CinemaScope formats (2.55:1, later 2.35:1). Finally, 7 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 1978 George Eastman House fire, only the backup prints of pre-1951 MGM cartoons exist.
|#||Film||Director(s)||Producer(s)||Original release date||Notes|
|1||Dumb-Hounded||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||March 20, 1943|
|2||The Shooting of Dan McGoo||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||March 3, 1945|
|3||Wild and Woolfy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||November 3, 1945|
|4||Northwest Hounded Police||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||August 3, 1946||Director Tex Avery parodies the processes of cartooning and cinema: in one sequence, the fleeing wolf runs so fast that he has to hold onto the sprocket holes of the film frame just to keep himself in the picture.|
|5||Señor Droopy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||April 9, 1949||The American-born Lina Romay who appears in live action in this cartoon should not be confused with an actress with the same name who appeared in several porn and horror films in the 1970s and 1980s.|
|6||Wags to Riches||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||August 13, 1949||Remade as Millionaire Droopy (1956). Droopy and Spike's master dies and his will is read. The will states that his fortune goes to his favorite dog. Spike's jaw drops to the floor when he hears that the favorite dog is Droopy. In the event of Droopy's death, the estate will revert to Spike. Spike's subsequent attempts to get rid of Droopy then go hilariously wrong. This cartoon includes the TIM.....ber tree gag.|
|7||Out-Foxed||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||November 5, 1949|
|8||The Chump Champ||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||November 4, 1950|
|9||Daredevil Droopy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||March 31, 1951||The scene in which Spike is left in blackface after a dynamite stick explodes on him has been edited out of modern releases.|
|10||Droopy's Good Deed||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||May 5, 1951||This is one of the most heavily edited cartoons on TV. In the version currently televised, there are three major edits:
|11||Droopy's "Double Trouble"||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||November 17, 1951|
|12||Caballero Droopy||Dick Lundy||Fred Quimby||September 27, 1952||This cartoon was directed by Dick Lundy (similar to Donald Duck cartoons).|
|13||The Three Little Pups||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||December 26, 1953||This was the first appearance of Tex Avery's Southern-accented wolf.|
|14||Drag-a-Long Droopy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||February 20, 1954|
|15||Homesteader Droopy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||July 10, 1954||The Homesteader Droopy title card is almost identical to the Wild and Woolfy title card.|
|16||Dixieland Droopy||Tex Avery||Fred Quimby||December 4, 1954||Not produced as a CinemaScope cartoon; produced as Academy ratio (1:1.3); projected at up to 1:1.75.|
|17||Deputy Droopy||Tex Avery
|Fred Quimby||October 28, 1955||Only Droopy cartoon co-directed by Michael Lah, and Hanna-Barbera's animators, Kenneth Muse, Ed Barge, and Irven Spence, were animated in the only cartoon. (Also in one-shot cartoon, Cellbound.)|
|18||Millionaire Droopy||Tex Avery||William Hanna
|September 21, 1956||A Cinemascope remake of Wags To Riches.|
|19||Grin and Share It||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|May 17, 1957||Michael Lah's first shot as solo director, and the first Droopy cartoon directed by Lah.|
|20||Blackboard Jumble||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|October 4, 1957||All the kids in this short are modeled on miniature Droopys. None of the miniature Droopys speak.|
|21||One Droopy Knight||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|December 6, 1957||Produced in CinemaScope.|
|22||Sheep Wrecked||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|February 7, 1958||
|23||Mutts About Racing||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|April 4, 1958||Produced in CinemaScope.|
|24||Droopy Leprechaun||Michael Lah||William Hanna
|July 4, 1958||
On 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.
- Adamson, Joe, Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, De Capo Press, 1975.
- "Warner Home Video product information for Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection (DVD)". WarnerHomevideo.com. Archived from the original on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
- Back of DVD box for Tex Avery's Droopy: The Complete Theatrical Collection.