The ‘Looney’ Dog History of Warner Bros. Inc.

Cartoons have been anthropomorphizing all kinds of animals for decades and no one ever did it better than Looney Tunes. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Pepe le Pew, Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Sylvester, Tweety, Speedy Gonzalez and a cast of thousands made the initials WB famous — well, more famous. Warner Bros. didnʼt neglect manʼs best friend in their casting calls. From the beginnings in 1930, canines populated the Looney Tunes world as main characters as well as foils, straight “men” and sidekicks, becoming some of the best loved of the supporting cast of characters.

One of the first pairs was Marvin the Martian and K-9. K-9 was the little green manʼs big green space dog in the gladiator helmet complete with scrub brush on top and Martian version of the Roman gladiator “skirt.” He was loosely parodied from Disneyʼs spacey dog, Pluto. In the initial cartoon, Haredevil Hare, K-9 had a speaking role, but was something of a dimwit. In later cartoon shorts, his part expanded and he became the more intelligent of the pair. K-9 wasnʼt a character who appeared very often, but he had staying power, appearing last in a couple of Duck Dodgers episodes.

Poor Spike! Big, muscle bound, bowler wearing Bulldog who kept getting beaten up by Sylvester, much to the chagrin and confusion of his sidekick, bouncy, ebullient Chester the Terrier. Thereʼs always some kind of extenuating circumstance, a sneaky black panther that stands in for Sylvester or a Mr. Hyde version of Sylvester.

 

The 1950s were a good decade for dogs in the Warner Bros. stable and one of the best loved was another bulldog, Marc Antony. Part of his charm was being paired with the cutest cat in cartoondom, Pussyfoot. The short where Marc Antony finds Pussyfoot, Feed the Kitty, is a well loved classic. Watching the big, tough Bulldog frantically try to hide the tiny kitten from his mistress, who has warned him not to bring one more thing into the house is surpassed in giggles only by the parts where the tiny kitten makes himself comfortable by kneading poor Marc Antonyʼs loose skin into a soft, squishy bed. Mark Antony and Pussyfoot would go on to star in several more shorts together over the years, only being antagonists in one cartoon, Go Fly a Kit. The Bulldogʼs latest appearance was in the last scene of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. For that role, Marc Antony appeared with a dye job from brown to gray.

 

Buttons and Mindy are the newest pair in the WBʼs animation stables. Buttons is a longsuffering German Shepherd left in charge, time after time, of Mindy, a precocious toddler with a talent for tripping unscathed through series of disasters. Poor Buttons. While Mindy blithely toddles on her way through the chaos as Buttons madly scrambles to catch up to snatch Mindy from the Maw of Doom, only to miss, time after time and get chewed and spit out in said Maws of Doom. Somehow, Mindy manages to get back to whatever highly effective and safe babysitting contraption her mother left her in, while Buttons staggers back just one moment too late and ends up getting scolded for leaving his post.
Poor Buttons. Bet he canʼt wait for Mindy to grow up.

 Embedded pictures were provided by (c)2009 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and TM. All rights reserved.

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