Foxy is an anthropomorphic fox featured in three 1931 animated shorts in the Merrie Melodies series distributed by Warner Bros. He was the creation of animator Rudolf Ising, who had worked for Walt Disney in the 1920s.
Concept and creationEdit
Foxy is one of many early cartoon characters modeled after the successes of Paul Terry's and Otto Messmer's work in the 1910s and 1920s.Template:Citation needed Foxy himself is a close cousin to Disney's characters Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (1927) and Mickey Mouse (1928). His body is just like Mickey Mouse but a little different.
In 1925, Hugh Harman drew images of mice on a portrait of Walt Disney. Disney and Ub Iwerks would then use it as an inspiration for their creation of Mickey Mouse, the character who eventually became Disney's most popular. Knowing that Disney and Iwerks had cashed on a unintentional prototype they came up with, Harman and Ising figured it was only fair that they should conceive a character based on that mold, thus leading to the birth of Foxy.
There's more to than meets the eyeEdit
Though Foxy bares a strong resemblance with his Disney counterpart, he and Mickey still have a considerable number of differences. Foxy's persona is composed of tear-drop ears, a baritone voice, shoes with a more complex design, a bushy tail, and a more passionate character. Mickey has circle ears, a falsetto voice (he was originally baritone), plain shoes, a much thinner tail, and is mild-mannered.
Foxy was the star of the first Merrie Melodies cartoons Ising directed for producer Leon Schlesinger. (Ising had already helped his partner Hugh Harman create another series, titled Looney Tunes, with the character Bosko.) Foxy's first appearance on screen was on August 1931 in "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!". This old-western themed short features Foxy developing affection for the tavern singer who would become his girlfriend.
Foxy and his then-nameless girlfriend would appear in another cartoon that same year: "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" (September 5, 1931), a musical set on a trolley. The plot bares some similarities to Trolley Troubles, a 1928 Oswald Rabbit cartoon which Harman and Ising contributed on. This also marks the first time Foxy's name was mentioned
Nearly a month later, a third short called "One More Time" (October 3, 1931) was released. This musical cops-'n'-robbers themed cartoon would become Foxy's final appearance in the Merrie Melodies series.
At the end of each short, Foxy comes out from behind a bass drum and says to the viewers "So long, folks!" This closing act would later be assumed by Porky Pig but with a different line. Although all three shorts use sound, the voice actors aren't credited and were never revealed.
Upon leaving Warner Bros. two years later, Ising took and kept with him the rights to Foxy and two other characters he conceived. Though Ising got a job at another studio, none of the characters he recently featured made anymore theatrical appearances. All three Foxy shorts would end up in the public domain after several years.
After more than six decades of absence, Foxy would hit the screen one last time. He appeared along with his girlfriend (here christened "Roxy") and fellow forgotten Warner Bros. progenitor Goopy Geer in "Two-Tone Town", an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures aired on September 28, 1992. The three live in a world of black-and-white which is visited by the series' stars, Babs Bunny and Buster Bunny. Feeling sorry for the old timers left in oblivion, Babs and Buster decided to help bring Foxy, Roxy and Goopy back to the limelight. The efforts of the two rabbits worked out but doing so resulted in an exchanged of scenarios: Buster and Babs end up being featured in an old theater while the three characters they helped became the new TV sensation.
The series animators significantly redesigned the foxes for this episode, making them less like their original versions. These changes are:
- Foxy wearing plain shoes rather than the sophisticatedly designed ones he had in Merrie Melodies period.
- Roxy wearing pumps that fit instead of oversized.
- Roxy wearing an M-shaped ribbon
- More fur protruding from their cheeks.
- Having triangular ears rather than teardrop shaped.
- White portions on the tip of their tails instead of all black.
In the Tiny Toons episode, Foxy was voiced by Rob Paulsen and Roxy was voiced By Desiree Goyette.
Parodies and referencesEdit
The only parody of Foxy and Roxy may have been in "The Fairly OddParents". In the episode "The Good old Days", Timmy, his grandpa, Pappy, Cosmo and Wanda enter the world of old cartoons. Cosmo and Wanda disguise themselves as foxes, which may have been a spoof of Mickey and Minnie, but may have been a reference to Foxy and Roxy.
In "Animaniacs", in the debut episode "De-Zantized", when "Yakko, Wakko, and Dot" first meet Hello Nurse, Yakko and Wakko have wolf faces that look similar to Foxy's face in his Tiny Toons guest appearance.
- ↑ Kenworthy, John The Hand Behind the Mouse, Disney Editions: New York, 2001. p.54.
- ↑ Looney Tunes in the Public Domain. The Ultimate Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Website. Retrieved on 2011-04-13.
- Foxy and Roxy profile at Bosko.ToonZone.net