The Goofy Gophers
Looney Tunes character
The Goofy Gophers in the short I Gopher You.
First appearancePrototype: Gopher Goofy (1942)
Official: The Goofy Gophers (1947)
Created byBob Clampett
Designed byDon Williams (1947)
Don Smith (1948)
Cornett Wood (1949)
Hawley Pratt (1949–1955)[1]
Jessica Borustki (2010–2014)[2]
Luis Gadea (2022–present)[3]
Voiced byMac:
Mel Blanc (1947–1965)
Jeff Bennett (1998)
Rob Paulsen (2003–2015)
Jeff Bergman (2019)
Max Mittelman (2022–present)
Tosh:
Stan Freberg (1947–1958)
Mel Blanc (1965)
Corey Burton (1998)
Jess Harnell (2003–2015)
Matt Craig (2019)
Noshir Dalal (2022–present)
Developed by
In-universe information
SpeciesGophers
Squirrels (comics)
GenderBoth males
NationalityBritish

The Goofy Gophers are animated cartoon characters in Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The gophers are small and brown with tan bellies and buck teeth. They both have British accents. Unnamed in the theatrical cartoons, they were given the names Mac and Tosh in the 1960s TV show The Bugs Bunny Show.[4] The names are a pun on the surname "Macintosh". They are characterized by an abnormally high level of politeness.

Creation

The Goofy Gophers were created by Warners animator Bob Clampett for the 1947 short film The Goofy Gophers. Norman McCabe had previously used a pair of gophers in his 1942 short Gopher Goofy, but they bear little resemblance to Clampett's characters. Clampett left the studio before the short was finished, but would end up being completed by Arthur Davis.[5] The cartoon features the gophers' repeated incursions into a vegetable garden guarded by an unnamed dog whom they relentlessly, though politely, torment. Voice actor Mel Blanc plays Mac and Stan Freberg plays Tosh. Both speak with high-pitched British accents like those used in upper-class stereotypes around at the time.

The pair's dialogue is peppered with such overpoliteness as "Indubitably!", "You first, my dear," and "But, no, no, no. It must be you who goes first!" The two often also tend to quote Shakespeare and use humorously long words; for example, in Lumber Jerks, instead of "We have to get our tree back", they say "We must take vital steps to reclaim our property."[6] Clampett later stated that the gophers' mannerisms were derived from character actors Franklin Pangborn and Edward Everett Horton.[7]

Development

Arthur Davis would direct one other Goofy Gophers short, 1948's Two Gophers from Texas. The unnamed dog from the first cartoon returns as their nemesis in this cartoon, this time aiming to eat like an animal in the wild as he pursues the gophers with a gopher cookbook in hand.

Davis planned to direct a third short with the gophers before his unit was disbanded in late 1947. Robert McKimson however, would complete the cartoon in late 1949 as A Ham in a Role.[8] In this short, the dog efforts to become a Shakespearean actor are foiled by the rambunctious rodents.

The Gophers lay dormant for two years until Friz Freleng made a series of four shorts beginning with 1951's A Bone for a Bone, another dog-versus-gophers short. This was followed by I Gopher You in 1954, featuring the Gophers in their first cartoon without the dog, attempting to retrieve their vegetables from a food processing plant; Pests for Guests in 1955, which has the gophers counter-antagonize the helpless Elmer Fudd when he buys a chest of drawers that they found appropriate for nut storage; and Lumber Jerks later that year, where the Gophers visit a saw mill in an attempt to retrieve their stolen tree home.[9]

After Freleng finished with the characters, they would star in two more cartoons, once again directed by McKimson. These two cartoons, Gopher Broke in 1958 and Tease for Two in 1965, pit the Gophers against the Barnyard Dawg and Daffy Duck, respectively. Both gophers were voiced by Mel Blanc in the latter short instead of one by Blanc and the other by Freberg.

Later appearances

The Goofy Gophers were largely forgotten by Warner Bros. in the years since the animation studio closed in 1969. However, in recent years, they have made a few cameos in various Warner Bros. projects. Two characters resembling the gophers appeared in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, peeking from the brick wall into the factory where Judge Doom was defeated. They are seen briefly in the 1996 movie Space Jam. They're prominently featured in episodes of the animated series The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries ("I Gopher You") and Duck Dodgers ("K-9 Kaddy" and "Old McDodgers"), which in the latter, they are reinvented as green-furred, six-limbed Martian gophers.

The Goofy Gophers made a cameo appearance in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas as Daffy's employers.

The Goofy Gophers were revived in The Looney Tunes Show voiced by Rob Paulsen and Jess Harnell. In this show, Mac and Tosh run an antique store. The gophers appeared in the 2015 DTV movie Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run. They also appear in the Looney Tunes comic currently published by DC Comics.

The Goofy Gophers appeared in the New Looney Tunes season 3 episode "Fool's Gold".

The Goofy Gophers made a cameo in the Looney Tunes Cartoons short "Happy Birthday, Bugs Bunny!".

The Goofy Gophers appeared in Bugs Bunny Builders in the episode "Rock On".

Filmography

See also

References

  1. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (2006). Who's who in animated cartoons : an international guide to film & television's award-winning and legendary animators. Applause. p. 291. ISBN 978-1557836717.
  2. ^ "Ottawa animator bashed for Looney Tunes changes". CBC News. 2010-05-26. Retrieved 2023-03-04.
  3. ^ CAFECITO WITH WARNER BROS. ANIMATION
  4. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 87. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  5. ^ Sigall, Martha (2005). Living Life Inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of Animation. University Press of Mississippi. p. 81. ISBN 978-1-57806-749-7.
  6. ^ Burt, Richard (2007). Shakespeares After Shakespeare: An Encyclopedia of the Bard in Mass Media and Popular Culture, Volume 1. Greenwood Press. p. 343. ISBN 978-0-313-33117-6.
  7. ^ Abel, Sam (Winter 1995). "The Rabbit in Drag: Camp and Gender Construction in the American Animated Cartoon". The Journal of Popular Culture. 29 (3): 183–202. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3840.1995.00183.x.
  8. ^ "Robert McKimson's "A Ham In A Role" |". cartoonresearch.com. Retrieved 2023-11-08.
  9. ^ Murray, Robin L.; Heumann, Joseph K. (2009). Ecology and Popular Film: Cinema on the Edge. SUNY Press. pp. 12–15. ISBN 978-0-7914-7717-5.