Foghorn Leghorn

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Foghorn Leghorn
Looney Tunes character
Foghorn Leghorn.png
First appearance Walky Talky Hawky (August 31, 1946)
Created by Robert McKimson
Warren Foster
Voiced by Mel Blanc (1946–1983, 1989)
Joe Alaskey (1986–2006)
Jeff Bergman (1990–1993, 2002, 2011–present)
Greg Burson (1991–2003)
Bill Farmer (1996–2008)
Frank Gorshin (1996–1997)
Billy West (1998)
Jeff Bennett (2000–2011)
Scott Innes (2009)
(see below)
Information
Species Leghorn rooster
Gender Male
Significant other(s) Miss Prissy
Nationality American

Foghorn J. Leghorn is a cartoon character that has appeared in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons for Warner Bros. Pictures. He was created by Robert McKimson and writer Warren Foster, and starred in 29 cartoons from 1946 to 1964 in the Golden Age of American Animation. All 29 of these cartoons were directed by McKimson.

Foghorn Leghorn's first appearance was in the 1946 Henery Hawk short, Walky Talky Hawky. The character is tied with the Tasmanian Devil as the most popular McKimson-created character[citation needed]. Foghorn's voice was created and originally performed by Mel Blanc and was later performed by Jeff Bergman, Joe Alaskey, Bill Farmer, Greg Burson, Jeff Bennett, and Frank Gorshin.

Inspiration[edit]

The character of Foghorn Leghorn was directly inspired by the popular character of Senator Claghorn, a blustery Southern politician played by Kenny Delmar who was a regular character on The Fred Allen Show, a popular radio show of the 1940s. The rooster adopted many of Claghorn's catch phrases, such as "That's a joke, I say, that's a joke, son." Delmar had based the character of Claghorn upon a Texas rancher who was fond of saying this.[1]

According to Leonard Maltin the character's voice was also patterned after a hard-of-hearing West Coast-only radio character from the 1930s, known simply as The Sheriff, on a radio program called Blue Monday Jamboree.[2] The voice has similarities to that of another Mel Blanc voice: Yosemite Sam (a strictly Friz Freleng character); and even more similar to a proto-Sam character in Stage Door Cartoon.

Biography[edit]

Physically, Foghorn Leghorn is depicted as a tall, overweight rooster with a Southern accent. He has a bombastic and somewhat unrefined personality, added to which he shows a penchant for mischief. Aside from the Senator Claghorn reference, his first name "Foghorn" is indicative of his loudmouthed personality, while his surname "Leghorn" refers to a particular breed of chicken. Foghorn often fancied himself something of a mentor figure to the smaller and younger characters he encountered, particularly Henery Hawk, tossing off bits of self-styled sagacity interjected with phrases like "Pay attention, son", or "Look at me when I'm talkin' to ya, boy", both of which borrowed heavily from Senator Claghorn's vernacular.

"Camptown Races"[edit]

Beginning with the 1949 cartoon "Henhouse Henery", Foghorn would perform a verse from the Stephen Foster song "Camptown Races", softly humming the lyrics while loudly singing the refrain "Doo-Dahh! Doo-Dahh!", and ending the verse, again loudly, with "Ohh, Doo-Dahh Day!". He would often hum the song more than once in a given short, though in the 1950 cartoon The Leghorn Blows at Midnight, he hummed "Camptown" only at the beginning, but later hummed "Old MacDonald" in two later scenes. "Camptown Races" essentially became Foghorn's theme song, and one of the most widely familiar uses of the song in popular culture.

Rivalry with Barnyard Dawg[edit]

Many of Foghorn's cartoons involve his ongoing prank war with Barnyard Dawg, though it is never revealed how or why their feud started in the first place. Foghorn, whom Dawg sometimes calls "Foggy", is often the initial aggressor, but unlike most of the other Looney Tunes rivalries, Foghorn pranks Dawg out of sheer self-amusement. But for all of Foghorn's pranks, Dawg is just as adept at reprisals.

Most of the Leghorn cartoons began the same: Foghorn, humming "Camptown Races" to himself and carrying a wooden plank, sneaks up on Dawg while he is sleeping, often facing into his doghouse with his back protruding out the entry hole. Foghorn then pulls Dawg up by his tail and uses the plank to give him a whacking on his rear (in nearly every cartoon Foghorn give Dawg eight whacks), at which point the angered Dawg chases after Foghorn barking, but can only go as far as the rope to which he is tied, which either yanks him back or stops him. In the latter case, he keeps barking at Foghorn who tells him, "Aah-h, sha-daahhp!" or does something to Dawg to force him to stop. In the 1958 short Feather Bluster the prank feud was passed down to Dawg's and Foghorn's respective grandsons; the now-elderly Foghorn was puzzled as to why the little leghorn was behaving the way he was; the elderly Dawg was only too happy to point out there's nothing wrong with him, except that "he takes after you."

"Foggy" and others[edit]

Other recurring themes throughout the cartoons included the attempts of the naive and diminutive Henery Hawk to catch and eat Foghorn, and Foghorn's own efforts to woo the widowed hen Miss Prissy, often by babysitting her studious son, Egghead, Jr.. Foghorn was joined in a few episodes by a weasel called 'Bill' who initially attempted to eat him but ended up joining forces to outwit the aforementioned canine.

Cartoon appearances[edit]

Shorts (1946–64)
All of the 29 shorts from 1946–1964 were directed by Robert McKimson

  1. Walky Talky Hawky (1946)
  2. Crowing Pains (1947)
  3. The Foghorn Leghorn (1948)
  4. Henhouse Henery (1949)
  5. The Leghorn Blows at Midnight (1950)
  6. A Fractured Leghorn (1950)
  7. Leghorn Swoggled (1951)
  8. Lovelorn Leghorn (1951)
  9. Sock-a-Doodle-Do (1952)
  10. The Egg-Cited Rooster (1952)
  11. Plop Goes the Weasel (1953)
  12. Of Rice and Hen (1953)
  13. Little Boy Boo (1954)
  14. Feather Dusted (1955)
  15. All Fowled Up (1955)
  16. Weasel Stop (1956)
  17. The High and the Flighty (1956) - with Daffy Duck
  18. Raw! Raw! Rooster! (1956)
  19. Fox Terror (1957)
  20. Feather Bluster (1958)
  21. Weasel While You Work (1958)
  22. A Broken Leghorn (1959)
  23. Crockett-Doodle-Do (1960)
  24. The Dixie Fryer (1960)
  25. Strangled Eggs (1961)
  26. The Slick Chick (1962)
  27. Mother Was a Rooster (1962)
  28. Banty Raids (1963)
  29. False Hare{cameo} {1964}

Miscellaneous

  1. Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol (1979)
  2. The Yolk's on You (1980)
  3. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) (cameo appearance)
  4. Superior Duck (cameo appearance) (1996), voiced by Frank Gorshin
  5. Space Jam (1996), voiced by Bill Farmer
  6. Pullet Surprise (1997), voiced by Frank Gorshin
  7. Tweety's High-Flying Adventure (2000), voiced by Jeff Bennett
  8. Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), voiced by Jeff Bennett
  9. Cock-A-Doodle Duel (2004), voiced by Jeff Bennett
  10. GEICO commercial (2011), voiced by Jeff Bennett

Later appearances[edit]

Foghorn Leghorn and George P. Dog (Barnyard Dog) in The Egg-Cited Rooster (1952).
  • Foghorn made a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), in the final scene at Marvin Acme's factory with several other Looney Tunes characters.
  • Foghorn Leghorn made numerous appearances in Tiny Toon Adventures in numerous roles as Acme Looniversity's Professor of Hound Teasing, Baseball Coach and an obnoxiously loud Librarian, and also a mentor of Fowlmouth.
  • Foghorn Leghorn appeared in Taz-Mania, the episode "Gone with the Windbag" (1994).
  • Foghorn Leghorn appeared in Animaniacs on "The Warner's 65th Anniversary Special".
  • Foghorn Leghorn appeared in two Chuck Jones shorts of the 1990s, Superior Duck (1996) and Pullet Surprise (1997), voiced on both occasions by Frank Gorshin.
  • A character named Mr. Leghorn, based on Foghorn himself, made a pair of appearances in Loonatics Unleashed.
  • Foghorn Leghorn is part of the Toon Squad team in Space Jam.
  • A toddler version of Foghorn made appearances in short music videos of Baby Looney Tunes. He starred in only one episode of the show, in which he was trying to fit in with a gang of cool roosters and employed the help of Tweety and his friends before Lola Bunny suggested to just be himself, which came in handy when Barnyard Dog chased the cool roosters.
  • Foghorn Leghorn is a croupier at Sam's casino in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
  • Foghorn appeared in commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Oscar Mayer, and most recently, GEICO insurance.
  • Foghorn Leghorn appears in The Looney Tunes Show, voiced by Jeff Bergman and his singing voice is provided by Damon Jones. In the series, he is represented as a billionaire and is one of a few characters to not be annoyed by Daffy Duck's antics.
  • Foghorn Leghorn was a general in Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run, voiced by Jeff Bergman. He is shown as a four-star U.S. general who is served by his intern Pete Puma, his spy Cecil Turtle, and his agent Elmer Fudd.
  • Foghorn made a cameo appearance in the Wabbit episodes "Bugs vs. Snail", "Pork in the Road", "Squeaks Upon a Star" and "'Tis the Seasoning", voiced by Jeff Bergman.

Voice actors[edit]

In other media[edit]

  1. 1980s – Appeared in several Oscar Mayer hot dog commercials. One features an animated Foghorn Leghorn, with an animated hot dog on a bun, on a live-action beach, asking a child what he likes on his roasted Oscar Mayer hot dog. Asked whether he likes it with lots of ketchup or corn relish ("A dog's best friend" according to Foghorn), the kid says he likes his hot dog "with friends", and is now sitting next to a girl, who is also eating an Oscar Mayer hot dog without a bun. Foghorn Leghorn remarks, "I'm starting to feel a little roasted myself". Another one features Foghorn Leghorn instructing a live-action child on the correct way to put fixings on a hot dog, including corn relish. The kid starts eating his own hot dog before Foghorn finishes demonstrating on another hot dog. It ends with Foghorn saying, "I say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks."
  2. In 1980s Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials,[3] Foghorn is voiced by Joe Alaskey. The film Space Jam contains a reference to this ad campaign; when Foghorn is torched by a Monstar during the ToonSquad/Monstars basketball game, Foghorn says, "Did you order Original Recipe or Extra Crispy?"
  3. Much like Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn had appeared in a GEICO commercial in 2011 (voiced by Jeff Bennett). Here, he is providing narration for an e-book, but motor-mouths as well as ad-libbing constantly and ends up getting clubbed by Henery Hawk off-screen.
  4. He appeared in the video games Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal, The Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 2, Bugs Bunny: Crazy Castle 3, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Looney Tunes: Space Race, and The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""It's a joke, Son!"", AFI Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States, 1, University of California Press, 1971, p. 1190, ISBN 9780520215214 
  2. ^ Scott, Keith (2008). The Origin of Foghorn Leghorn, cartoonresearch.com
  3. ^ Maltin, Leonard (1987). Of mice and magic: a history of American animated cartoons. New American Library. ISBN 978-0-452-25993-5. 

External links[edit]