JOHNNY BRAVOMedium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1995
Creator: Van Partible
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The all-time cartoon champion of rejection by females of his species, or at least a superficially similar one, is, of course, Pepe LePew. But Johnny Bravo is probably runner-up, and the females who reject him are precisely members of his
exact species, at least assuming Johnny is human. Tho he goes into any such encounter every bit as confident as Pepe, his musclebound machismo usually gets him a a face full of pepper spray if he tries to get too close.
Johnny's first appearance was in one of the early attempts of Cartoon Network (Cow & Chicken, Krypto the Superdog) to revive the old format of three cartoon shorts making a half hour of TV programming, like Hanna-Barbera, the biggest source of its film library, did back in its early days with shows like Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. Johnny was first tried in that format on March 26, 1995.
Several cartoons that started in such anthology shows, including Dexter's Laboratory and Powerpuff Girls, graduated to series of their own, sometimes in the slightly altered format of two segments per half hour. Johnny's regular series began on July 7, 1997.
Actually, he does merit attention from a couple of females. One is his next-door neighbor, Suzy. But being only 8 years old, she isn't exactly what he's looking for. The other is his mother, Bunny Bravo — but while he'd do anything to please Mama, she isn't exactly what he's looking for either.
The creative force behind Johnny is Van Partible, who wrote and directed his first segment on What a Cartoon Show when he was just out of Los Angeles's Loyola Marymount University. His career in animation got a big boost when Cartoon Network's viewers voted that segment "Toon of the Year".
Johnny's voice, which bears a marked similarity to that of Elvis Presley, was done by Jeff Bennett, whose other credits include The Man in the Yellow Hat and Duke L'Orange. Mama was Brenda Vaccaro (several voices in Spawn and American Dad). Suzy was Mae Whitman, who started only a year older than the character herself, but since has done Tinker Bell in the 2008 sequel to Peter Pan and Rose in American Dragon: Jake Long. Other voices include Grey DeLisle (Mandy in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy), Frank Welker (Abu the Monkey in Aladdin) and Kath Soucie (Mandy in Danny Phantom).
Also, celebrities sometimes guest-starred, using their own voices. One segment on each show concerned Johnny as a talk show host, along the lines of Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Celebrities "interviewed" included Adam West (the 1966 Batman).
Johnny ran out of new episodes in 2004, and is no longer a regular on Cartoon Network. But his reruns are still frequently seen in that venue.