Granny (Looney Tunes)
|Looney Tunes character|
|First appearance||Canary Row (October 7, 1950)|
|Created by||Friz Freleng|
|Voiced by||Bea Benaderet (1950–1955)
June Foray (1950, 1955–present)
Joan Gerber (1964)
Ge Ge Pearson (1965)
Stephanie Courtney (2012)
Emma Webster, better known as Granny, a co-star of many Sylvester the Cat and Tweety animated shorts throughout the 1950s and 1960s, is a Looney Tunes character that was created by Friz Freleng. Granny is the owner of Tweety (and more often than not, Sylvester and Hector the Bulldog). Granny's voice was first provided by Bea Benaderet from 1950 through 1955. June Foray later took the role, and voiced the character for close to six decades.
Fictional character biography
Granny is generally a good natured, practical old fashioned widowed woman who is extremely protective of her beloved canary, Tweety. Granny's overprotectiveness becomes apparent whenever Tweety is threatened (usually by Sylvester, a hungry "puddytat" who prefers eating birds over cat food). Although having the appearance as a kindly old woman, Granny has demonstrated her cleverness in many cartoons.
At least until the mid-1950s, Granny is depicted as an elderly spinster who wears spectacles, a gray bun and a late 19th-century-like schoolmarm dress; other old fashioned characteristics include her mode of transportation (usually, a Ford Model T or a horse and buggy) and her inability to relate to present fads (such as her telling Tweety she's about to try on a new "bikini bathing suit", which turns out to be a full one-piece outfit from the turn-of-the-20th century). After 1955 — in particular, the years after Foray began voicing the character — the character's wardrobe was updated and her old-fashioned tastes and ways of life were de-emphasized, and she was sometimes given newer careers, such as a nurse or a bus driver.
The idea of the cartoon Granny began with the Little Red Riding Hood character in spoofs of the story, first appearing as such in the 1937 animated short Little Red Walking Hood which featured Egghead, directed by Tex Avery. Subsequent appearances of a similar "granny" character included The Cagey Canary (1941), directed by Bob Clampett; Hiss and Make Up (1943), directed by Friz Freleng; and Hare Force (1944), featuring Bugs Bunny and Sylvester the dog (a one-off character distinct from the later Sylvester the cat). Finally, the character was solidified into her current role in Canary Row in 1950, with Bea Benaderet providing her voice. June Foray voiced the character on vinyl records starting in 1950, when in 1955, June Foray replaced Benaderet as Granny, a role that she has now been performing for over 60 years (as of 2016). Granny was also updated during this time as well. Granny would continue to appear in several more animated shorts from the 1950s on, as a foil for Sylvester the Cat, who was always attempting to eat her pet bird, Tweety, a pudgy-faced yellow canary.
Although she was almost always shown onscreen with at least one of her two animal companions, Granny could occasionally be seen in an animated short without them. For example, in the 1953 short, Hare Trimmed, she starred as a woman who was being fought over by two suitors, Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny (the latter out to thwart the former's evil plan). Sam called her "Emma" and later "Emmy". Another one was the 1965 short Corn on the Cop (1965), where she appears alongside Daffy Duck and Porky Pig as two Keystone Cops who mistake her for a crook disguised like her. She is in this story addressed as "Mrs. Webster" by a passing policeman.
More recently, she has appeared as a professor at Acme Looniversity and the mentor and favorite teacher of Mary Melody in Tiny Toon Adventures, a regular character in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, and a timekeeper in Bugs Bunny and Taz Time Busters. Granny and Witch Hazel donned cheerleader uniforms for the Toonsquad in the movie Space Jam, and the children's grandmother and new character Floyd's aunt in Baby Looney Tunes. She made two cameo appearance in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, although in one of those appearances this "Granny" was actually the Acme Chairman in disguise. She also appeared in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas and in Tweety's High-Flying Adventure.
An episode of Loonatics Unleashed featured characters named Queen Grannicus (voiced by Candi Milo), the Royal Tweetums and Sylth Vester (being a parody of Darth Vader). However, another episode features a cameo of Granny herself, apparently still alive in the year 2772.
In The Looney Tunes Show, Granny is one of Bugs and Daffy's neighbors and is voiced again by June Foray while her younger self is voiced by Stephanie Courtney. Unlike the original cartoons, Granny has an actual name — Emma Webster (derived from names used in her solo appearances). Sylvester and Tweety are her pets. This version of Granny seems to be somewhat hard-of-hearing and slightly senile. A running gag is that Sylvester is constantly chasing Tweety around her house, to which Granny seems oblivious. In "Eligible Bachelors", it is revealed that during World War II, Granny/Emma was a member of the WAC and along with Tweety she stopped Nazi Colonel Frankenheimer from stealing the Eiffel Tower and various paintings from the Louvre. During the flashback of her WWII adventure to Daffy, she appears as an attractive red-headed young woman (possibly based on June Foray's youthful appearance) in a WAC uniform. In "The Grand Old Duck of York," it is revealed that Granny teaches piano lessons when Daffy wants to learn how to play the piano.