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Droopy is an American animated cartoon character, an anthropomorphic dog (supposedly a Basset Hound) with a droopy face, hence the name Droopy. He was created by Tex Avery, for theatrical cartoon shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio, in 1943. Essentially the polar opposite of Avery's other famous MGM character, the loud and wacky Screwy Squirrel, Droopy moved slowly and lethargically, spoke in a jowly monotone, and, though he didn't look like much, was shrewd enough to outwit his enemies and, when finally roused to anger, capable of beating adversaries twice his size with a comical thrashing.
The character first appeared, nameless, in Avery's 1943 cartoon Dumb-hounded. Though he would not be called "Droopy" onscreen until his fifth cartoon, Señor Droopy (1949), the character was officially first labeled Happy Hound, a name used in the character's appearances in Our Gang Comics. After the demise of the Droopy series in 1958, the character has been revived several times for new productions, often television shows also featuring MGM's other famous cartoon stars, Tom and Jerry.
Droopy first appeared in the MGM cartoon Dumb-Hounded, released by MGM on March 20, 1943. Droopy's first scene is when he saunters into view, looks at the audience, and declares, "Hello all you happy people...you know what? I'm the hero." In the cartoon, Droopy is tracking an escaped convict and is always waiting for the crook wherever he turns up. Avery had used a similar gag in his 1941 Merrie Melodies short Tortoise Beats Hare, which in turn was an expansion/exaggeration of the premise of his The Blow Out (1936). In fact, this cartoon shows that early ideas about Droopy's personality were already germinating, as that film's Cecil Turtle is very similar in character to Droopy.
Droopy's meek, deadpan voice and personality were modeled after the character Wallace Wimple on the radio comedy Fibber McGee and Molly; actor Bill Thompson, who played Wimple, was the original voice of Droopy. During his time in the US Navy during World War II, the role was played by other voice actors, including Don Messick, who reprised the role in the 1990s. Avery's preferred gag man Heck Allen said that Tex himself provided the voice on several occasions, and "You couldn't tell the difference." Droopy himself was a versatile actor: he could play a Mountie, a cowboy, a deputy, an heir, or a Dixieland-loving everyday Joe with equal ease. The same voice was used for Big Heel-Watha in the Screwy Squirrel cartoon of the same name and for a Pilgrim who chases a turkey modeled after Jimmy Durante in Avery's 1945 short Jerky Turkey.
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