|First appearance||Prototype: Porky's Pooch (December 27, 1941)
Official: Little Orphan Airedale (October 4, 1947)
|Created by||Bob Clampett (prototype)
Chuck Jones (character)
|Voiced by||Mel Blanc (original)
Frank Welker (Space Jam)
Charlie Dog, Charlie the Dog or Charles the Dog is an animated cartoon fictional character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes series of cartoons. Bob Clampett minted the scenario that Charlie Dog would later inherit in his cartoon short Porky's Pooch, first released on 27 December 1941. A homeless hound pulls out all the stops to get adopted by bachelor Porky Pig. Mel Blanc would provide the dog's gruff, Brooklyn-Bugs Bunny-like voice and accent which became Charlie's standard voice.
However, as he did for so many other Looney Tunes characters, Chuck Jones took Clampett's hound and transformed him into something new. Jones first used the dog in Little Orphan Airedale (4 October 1947) which saw Clampett's "Rover" renamed "Charlie." The film was a success, and Jones would create two more Charlie Dog/Porky Pig cartoons in 1949: Awful Orphan (29 January) and Often an Orphan (13 August). Jones also starred Charlie without Porky in a couple of shorts: Dog Gone South (26 August 1950) which sees Yankee Charlie searching for a fine gentleman of the Southern United States, and A Hound for Trouble (28 April 1951) which sends Charlie to Italy where he searches for a master who speaks English.
In these cartoons, Charlie Dog is defined by one desire: to find himself a master. To this end, Charlie is willing to pull out all the stops, from pulling "the big soulful eyes routine" to boasting of his pedigree ("Fifty percent Collie! Fifty percent setter, Irish Setter! Fifty Percent Boxer! Fifty percent Doberman Pincher! Fifty percent pointer—there it is! There it is! There it is! But, mostly, I'm all Labrador Retriever!") when reminded by others that he is not a Labrador retriever, his response would be, "If you'll find me a Labrador, I'll retrieve it for you." —though in reality, he is just a slick-talking mutt who rarely realizes that his own aggressive obnoxiousness is sabotaging his appeal to any potential guardian.
Charlie makes a brief cameo appearance (via re-used animation from Often an Orphan) in the Bob McKimson-directed short Dog Tales (1958). Jones shelved the Charlie Dog series of films in the 1950s, along with other characters he had introduced, such as The Three Bears and Hubie and Bertie. He was turning his efforts to new characters, such as Pepé Le Pew and Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. However, recent Warner Brothers merchandising and series and films such as episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures, the movie Space Jam (1996) in the crowd scenes (here performed by Frank Welker), and Tweety's High-flying Adventure (2000) in Italy have brought Charlie back out of retirement.