Crazylegs in flight.


Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Produced by: DePatie-Freleng
First Appeared: 1969
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Crazylegs Crane is an example of a traditional phenomenon of animation — in fact, of series fiction in general — and a minor phenomenon specific to his producer, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises (The Inspector). The major one was the tendency …

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… for bit players to be promoted to star status, so as to make more money for their owners. An early example was Pluto, who was merely a Mickey Mouse supporting character at first but later appeared under his own logo as the main character in several cartoons; and a later one is Snagglepuss, who appeared in supporting roles with Quick Draw McGraw before getting his own series as a back segment in Yogi Bear's show.

The minor one was for some DePatie-Freleng characters to resemble those of the old Warner Bros. animation studio, where co-owner Friz Freleng had, for decades, worked with the likes of Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester Pussycat — a prominent example being The Grump, who was a lot like Yosemite Sam. Crazylegs Crane sounded and behaved much like Beaky Buzzard — who, in turn, had a lot in common with Disney's Goofy.

Crazylegs debuted as a supporting character to The Tijuana Toads in Go for Croak, released to theatres on December 25, 1969. He went on to appear with The Blue Racer and The Dogfather before fading from the screen in 1974. His big break came four years later, when he was chosen to star in a segment of The All-New Pink Panther Show, with supporting characters of his own.

The Crane's star vehicle debuted on ABC, on September 9, 1978. His voice, as in his earlier appearances, was done by Larry D. Mann (who did The Tin Man in a couple of '60s animated sequels to The Wizard of Oz and Hoot Kloot's adversary, Crazy Wolf). His supporting characters, Crazylegs Junior and an unnamed Dragonfly, were both voiced by Frank Welker, the prolific voice man whose other roles include Foofur, Quackula, and both Wheelie and Chopper.

Crazylegs had indeed become a star — but not exactly a major one. He only had 16 episodes. After that, he disappeared completely, and has since been seen only in reruns.


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DePatie-Freleng.