Gossamer is a character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The character is a hairy, red monster. His rectangular body is perched on two giant tennis shoes, and his heart-shaped face is composed of only two oval eyes and a wide mouth, with two hulking arms ending in dirty, clawed fingers. The monster's main trait, however, is bright uncombed red hair. In fact, a gag in the 1980 short Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century lampoons this by revealing that Gossamer is, in fact, composed entirely of hair. He was originally voiced by Mel Blanc and has been voiced by Joe Alaskey, Jim Cummings, and Dee Bradley Baker.
The word "gossamer" means any sort of thin, fragile, transparent material - in particular, it can refer to a kind of delicate, sheer gauze or a light cobweb. The name is meant to be ironic, since the character is large, menacing, and destructive.
Chuck Jones introduced the monster character in the 1946 cartoon Hair-Raising Hare. In it, Bugs Bunny is lured to the lair of a mad scientist as food for Gossamer. The monster (unnamed here) serves as the scientist's henchman. Part of this plot was repeated in the 1952 Jones cartoon Water, Water Every Hare, in which the monster's character was referred to as "Rudolph". The mad scientist in need of a live-brain for his giant robot, released Rudolph from his chamber for a mission to capture Bugs Bunny in order to obtain a living brain, to which Rudolph showed a sudden burst of joyousness and quickly set out when the mad scientist promised the reward of "spider goulash" for capturing the rabbit. The monster next appears in Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century in 1980. This is the first cartoon where the character is called "Gossamer", and is so named by Marvin the Martian. Jones gave the monster this name "because he's the opposite looking of gossamer. He's a big, hairy thing."
Gossamer has also appeared in a cameo role in a number of recent Warner Bros productions. He appeared in 1990s episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures, including a prominent role in a Frankenstein parody segment in the Tiny Toons Night Ghoulery special. He appears briefly in the 1996 movie Space Jam (in a car before the big game and after Bugs gets crushed by one of the Monstars), and he has also been featured in a number of episodes of The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries. He was used as an enemy in Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 4 and his silhouette appears on the cover of the game. He is a boss character in the Looney Tunes video games Taz: Escape from Mars; Sheep, Dog, 'n' Wolf; and Taz: Wanted. Gossamer also makes a cameo in the Pinky and the Brain episode Star Warners. Gossamer appeared in the Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode "Monsters Are Real" where he was shown as one of the best monsters to scare people and animals. He appears in the video game Looney Tunes Collector: Alert! as a boss in the Count's Castle, and a non-playable character.
In recent years, Warner Bros marketers seem to have seized upon the character. Gossamer's image is available on all sorts of Warner's merchandise, from T-shirts to ball caps to plush toys. This sort of marketing helped propel The Tasmanian Devil to new-found stardom, and it is seemingly helping Gossamer's popularity to some extent. In 2001, Gossamer returned in the Sheep Raider video game. He (or a descendant) also appears in the Loonatics Unleashed series as a wrestling rival for Slam Tasmanian named Gorlop, who hails from "the planet Gossamer." A younger Gossamer appeared in an episode of Baby Looney Tunes as a helper in Pepe Le Pew's garden. He also appears in 2006's Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas as a Security Guard who has to work overtime without pay for greedy Daffy Duck.
A clip in the deleted-scenes featurette on the Looney Tunes: Back in Action DVD features Gossamer being harassed by Kate Houghton (Jenna Elfman), suggesting that Gossamer was planned to make an appearance in the film, but it was deleted. However, a full look at this scene is not shown in the full deleted scenes clips on the DVD-ROM.
Gossamer appeared in The Looney Tunes Show episodes "Monster Talent", "Newspaper Thief", "Sunday Night Slice" and "The Muh-Muh-Muh-Murder" voiced by Kwesi Boakye. Strangely, Witch Hazel is somehow his mother. Gossamer is a child in this incarnation, a lonely boy who just wants to make friends. To that end, he seeks the dubious advice of Daffy Duck. In "Monster Talent" he makes his debut. In Newspaper Thief he appears as a guest at the Dinner with Witch Hazel, Granny and Yosemite Sam. In" Sunday Night Slice" he is a client of the Pizzariba. In "The Muh-Muh-Muh-Murder" he appears at Pizzariba for Daffy's birthday party.
In September 2002, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran (and won in) a special Gossamer paint scheme at Richmond International Raceway during the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 weekend in which he and his brother Kerry ran Looney Tunes cars (Kerry ran a Yosemite Sam car, who was also on Mike Skinner's Winston Cup car the next night) in the Busch Series race, and nine drivers (Skinner, Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon [who crashed his Bugs Bunny car in final practice for the race and, therefore, the Bugs car never saw race action], Joe Nemechek, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Green, Robby Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Greg Biffle [in place of Bobby Hamilton, who was injured in a Truck Series race two days before] ran Looney Tunes paint schemes.
|The Looney Tunes Show|
Characters: Bugs Bunny • Daffy Duck • Porky Pig • Speedy Gonzales • Foghorn Leghorn • Yosemite Sam • Lola Bunny • Tina Russo • Elmer Fudd • Granny • Sylvester the Cat • Tweety • Witch Lezah • Gossamer • Marvin the Martian • Tasmanian Devil • Mac and Tosh • Pepé Le Pew • Wile E. Coyote • Road Runner