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|First appearance||Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (July 11, 1942)|
|Created by||Bob Clampett
|Voiced by||Kent Rogers (1942-1945)
Stan Freberg (1945)
Eddie Bartell (1945)
Joe Alaskey (1989-present)
Jim Cummings (2011-2014)
He is a young turkey vulture (a bird commonly called "buzzard" in the United States) with black body feathers and a white tuft around his throat. His neck is long and thin, bending 90 degrees at an enormous adam's apple. His neck and head are featherless, and his beak is large and yellow or orange, depending on the cartoon. Beaky bears a perpetual goofy grin, and his eyes look eternally half-asleep. He was partly based on Edgar Bergan's puppet Mortimer Snerd.
The character first appeared in the 1942 cartoon Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, directed by Bob Clampett. The cartoon's plot revolves around the hopeless attempts of the brainless buzzard, here called Killer, to catch Bugs Bunny for his domineering Italian mother back at the nest. Beaky's voice was reminiscent of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's character Mortimer Snerd (his in-studio name was in fact "Snerd Bird", bestowed by Bob Clampett himself; he was not named "Beaky" on-screen in this first appearance). The voice itself was provided by voice actor Kent Rogers.
Clampett brought the character back in the 1945 film The Bashful Buzzard, a cartoon that closely mirrors its predecessor, only this time featuring Beaky's hapless hunting (contrasted with warlike formation flying and dive bombing of his brothers) without scenes of him chasing Bugs for food. Rogers reprised his role as the character's voice for the film, but he was killed in a Naval aviation training accident at Pensacola, Florida before finishing all his dialogue, so Stan Freberg was brought in to finish the work (as was Eddie Bartell, according to some sources).
Clampett left the studio in 1946, ending Beaky's career for a time. The character was eventually brought back in the 1950 Friz Freleng film The Lion's Busy, now voiced by the versatile Mel Blanc. Freleng made the buzzard smarter, pitting him against a dim-witted lion named Leo. Bob McKimson also featured the character in a film that year, Strife with Father. McKimson's Beaky is again back to his idiotic self, this time under the tutelage of his adoptive father, a sparrow who is trying to teach Beaky how to survive in the wild.
Comics and merchandising
Warner Bros. apparently thought they had something in the character,[original research?] and Beaky was featured in some Looney Tunes merchandising of the time, such as a metal bank. Even as late as 1973, he appeared on Pepsi bottle.
He also appeared in several issues of Dell Comics' Looney Tunes series of comic books, usually paired with another minor player, Henery Hawk and appeared in other comic books, including print spinoffs of Space Jam (including German versions) and reprints through the 20th century.
Later minor appearances
Most recently Beaky Buzzard has had minor roles in various Warner Bros. projects, such as Tiny Toon Adventures, where he plays the mentor of the character Concord Condor, and the movies Space Jam (1996, As a team player; he was the only player except for Taz without a number, wearing only a question mark) voiced by Joe Alaskey, and 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action as an Acme pilot, also voiced by Alaskey.
Beaky Buzzard appeared in the video game Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time and was used as an enemy in Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 4. He also appeared in the Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries in the episode "3 Days & 2 Nights of the Condor", where he was again voiced by Alaskey. Beaky's mother, who appeared in many of his original shorts, also appeared in an episode of the show (voiced by June Foray). Beaky was put in one episode of Duck Dodgers.
Beaky Buzzard appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Ridiculous Journey" voiced by Jim Cummings. He is shown to rescue anyone who is lost in the desert and rides a hot air balloon. This is what Beaky did when he found Sylvester, Tweety, and Taz. While getting them across the desert, Beaky's balloon is attacked by the tracker Blacque Jacques Shellacque who was pursuing the three animals. Beaky tries to rescue them only to be incapacitated by a net shot by Shellacque.
Other appearances and mentions
In Bill Warren's book Keep watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, Warren compares Beaky to the monster in The Giant Claw.
Warner Films theatrical short subjects
- Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (1943)
- The Bashful Buzzard (1945)
- The Lion's Busy (1950)
- Strife With Father (1950)
- Consumer video
- Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)
- Tiny Toon Adventures (1990—1994) (various episodes)
- "3 Days & 2 Nights of the Condor" (1997) (Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries episode)
- The Looney Tunes Show (in "Ridiculous Journey")
- Audio recordings
- Video games
- Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time (1999)
- Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 4
- Beaky Buzzard at Toonopedia
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- Bugs Bunny in Storyland (Video) (Vinyl record with printed picture book). KiddieRecordsWeekly. January 30, 2011. Event occurs at 6:56. Retrieved November 9, 2015.[better source needed]