Porky Pig, from a publicity drawing.


Original Medium: Theatrical animation
Released by: Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1935
Creator: Friz Freleng
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In the mid-1930s, Warner Bros. was casting about for new characters to replace the departed Bosko and the terminally bland Buddy. In I Haven't Got a Hat (1935), they showcased …

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… several — but for some reason, all seemed to be named after paired food items. Of "Ham & Ex" and "Porky & Beans", the only one to achieve stardom was Porky Pig, whose engaging stutter caught the public's fancy right from the start.

Porky's second outing, Gold Diggers of '49 (1936), was also the first cartoon directed by the immortal Tex Avery. From that point on, there was no stopping the Pig. He appeared in 17 cartoons that year, less than half of which paired him with Beans the Cat, and another 16 in 1937, none of which did. During the late '30s, he was frequently paired with Gabby Goat, another character who never made it on his own.

Porky remained the studio's top performer through the rest of the 1930s, but lost ground as Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny rose in public favor. But he stayed on as their supporting character, and was also played off of Sylvester Pussycat or Charlie Dog — as well as continuing to make occasional cartoons without co-stars. Porky's last appearance in a theatrically-released cartoon was Corn on the Cop (1965), in which he played second fiddle to Daffy.

Like his Looney Tunes brethren, Porky retained his presence in the public consciousness through television appearances. His old cartoons were rerun in packages sold to local stations, on the nationally broadcast Bugs Bunny show, and even, during ABC's 1964-65 season, in a show of his own. He is also part of the more recent Looney Tunes revival, sparked by the gang's appearance with Michael Jordan in Space Jam (1996).

He broke into comic books along with the rest, in Dell Comics' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics #1, and like Bugs and Daffy, remained with the series until its 1962 demise. His own comic book ran from 1942-62, was revived in '65 by Gold Key Comics, and continued until 1984.

Porky received only one Oscar nomination — The Swooner Crooner (1944), directed by Frank Tashlin — and although he's been on his share of lunchboxes and T-shirts, was never really a merchandising bonanza. He provided inspiration for one of the Tiny Toons crowd, but Hamton Pig, isn't one of their superstars. But Porky makes up for his lack of pizzazz with endurance. He's been part of the toon scene all these decades, and shows no sign of going away soon.


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