DROOPY DOGMedium: Theatrical Animation
Released by: MGM
First Appeared: 1943
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Droopy Dog, aka Droopy Poodle, but usually just called Droopy, was the first and longest-lasting character created by Tex Avery for MGM. Under the name "Happy Hound", he
first appeared in Dumb Hounded (1943). Like Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker and quite a few other cartoon stars, he got his proper name only in his second outing, The Shooting of Dan McGoo (1945).
A large portion of the credit for Droopy's success goes to the zany gags so characteristic of Avery, who directed all Droopy cartoons until his departure from MGM in 1954. Avery was succeeded by his assistant, Michael Lah, who straightaway achieved one distinction Avery had never accomplished with that character, an Oscar nomination for One Droopy Knight (1957).
But much of the credit must also go to voice actor Bill Thompson, who had used a similar voice when he played Wallace Wimple on radio's Fibber McGee & Molly. Thompson's laconic drawl perfectly complemented the character's strictly deadpan delivery. Other cartoon voices Thompson has done include Ranger Woodlore (from the Humphrey Bear cartoons) and Mr. Smee (from Peter Pan) for Disney, and Touché Turtle for Hanna-Barbera
Possibly because of his dependence on outstanding sound and animation, Droopy never achieved notable success in any medium other than animation, although he did appear in the back pages of Dell's Tom & Jerry comics during the 1950s, and in a three-issue series from Dark Horse Comics (Hellboy, The American) in 1995.
The last theatrically-released Droopy cartoon was Lah's Droopy Leprechaun (1958). But just as in his films, nothing could thwart the blasé basset for long. His old cartoons continued to turn up regularly on TV, year after year. Eventually, new ones were made for that medium. His supporting cast in these fresh offerings included not just Wolf, but also Wolf's sexy co-star from the updated fairy tales, "Red". He also, circa 1990, had minor roles in a couple of theatrical Roger Rabbit shorts.
Today, the entire body of Droopy cartoons, including both theatrical releases and made-for-TV toons (but not the guest appearances he made with Roger), can be seen regularly on Cartoon Network.