|First appearance||Hop, Look and Listen (1948)|
|Created by||Robert McKimson|
|Voiced by||Mel Blanc (1950–1961)|
Gilbert Mack (1956)
Hippety Hopper is a young kangaroo character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons. Robert McKimson introduced Hippety Hopper in Hop, Look and Listen (1948), which established the pattern for future Hippety Hopper cartoons. The character appeared in 14 theatrical cartoons between 1948 and 1964.
Hippety Hopper cartoons have a typical formula: Hopper escapes from a zoo, circus, etc., and is mistaken for a giant mouse by Sylvester the Cat. Frequently, Hopper changes places with an actual mouse, generally when it is most embarrassing for Sylvester. Sylvester tries to capture and eat his "prey", but the innocent and infantile Hippety mistakes Sylvester's predations for a game of rough-housing. Sylvester is repeatedly kicked, punched and spun around, but each failure only strengthens his desire to have the "giant mouse" for lunch.
Hippety Hopper returns in McKimson's Pop 'Im Pop! (1950), in which proud father Sylvester boasts of his mousing skills to his son, Sylvester Jr. In Cats A-Weigh! (1953), Sylvester accepts a position as mouse-catcher on a ship. He encounters Hippety Hopper being shipped from Australia. Sylvester mistakes Hippety Hopper once again for a giant mouse and the baby kangaroo promptly beats the cat soundly. Junior is mortified, but the true victim is Sylvester, humiliated by a mere "mouse" in front of his own son.
McKimson would continue the Sylvester/Hippety Hopper series for 16 years, varying it slightly from cartoon to cartoon. In Bell Hoppy (1954), for example, in a twist on "belling the cat", Sylvester must hang a bell around the neck of the biggest mouse that he can find in order to join the "Loyal Order of Alley Cats Mouse and Chowder Club". Surprisingly, he actually succeeds this one time and gets to join the club, even becoming its Grand High Exalted Poobah, "being the only active member" (the other members were hit by the city zoo truck taking Hippety away to the zoo when they tried to catch him after Sylvester belled him).
In Lighthouse Mouse, Sylvester must guard a lighthouse from the baby kangaroo and a mouse who wants nothing more than to turn the lighthouse's light off just so that he can get some sleep.
Hoppy Go Lucky (1952) was a parody of Of Mice and Men, with Sylvester accompanied by the giant, simple-minded cat "Bennie," who wants a mouse "to hug him and pet him". The central theme is always the same: Sylvester is shamed for his failure to capture what seems to be a simple "mouse".
Hippety Hopper also appeared on records produced by Capitol Records and Golden Records. Unlike in the cartoons, Hippety actually spoke frequently on these, voiced by Mel Blanc using an Australian accent.
The Hippety Hopper/Sylvester/Sylvester Jr. cartoons ended in 1964 when the Warner Bros. studio closed its animation unit.
Originally Hippety Hopper intended to appear as a cameo in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) in the deleted scene "Acme's Funeral".
The character continues to appear in Looney Tunes marketing and other projects, such as cameo appearances in the crowd shots of the film Space Jam, and in the ending scene of Looney Tunes Back in Action.
In an episode of Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries set in Australia, Sylvester stumbled into a group of baby kangaroos, who all resembled Hippety Hopper, and commented that this was the first time he had seen the "giant mice" in years. He said the same thing in Tweety's High-Flying Adventure.
Hippety Hopper appears in The Looney Tunes Show opening and makes a cameo appearance in Looney Tunes Cartoons.
Hippity Hopper also makes an appearance as a playable character in Looney Tunes: World Of Mayhem as a Legendary Toon.
All of the shorts from 1948 to 1964 were directed by Robert McKimson.