Porky Pig is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He was the first character created by the studio to draw audiences based on his star power, and the animators created many critically acclaimed shorts using the fat little pig. Even after he was supplanted by later characters, Porky continued to be popular with moviegoers and, more importantly, the Warners directors, who recast him in numerous everyman and sidekick roles.
He is known for his signature line at the end of each short, "Th-th-th-that's all folks!" The slogan had also been used by both Bosko and Buddy and even Beans at the end of every Looney Tunes cartoon. In contrast, the Merrie Melodies series used the slogan: So Long, Folks! until the mid 1930s when it was replaced with the same one used on the Looney Tunes series (when Bugs Bunny was the closing character, he would break the pattern by simply saying, in his Brooklynese accent, "And Dat's De End!"). He is the oldest continuing Looney Tunes character.
Porky's most distinctive trait is a severe stutter, for which he sometimes compensates by replacing his words; for example, "What's going on?" might become "What's guh-guh-guh-guh—...what's happening?" Porky's age varied widely in the series; originally conceived as an innocent seven-year-old piglet (explicitly mentioned as such in Porky's Preview), Porky was more frequently cast as an adult, often being cast as the competent straight man in the series in later years. In the ending of many Looney Tunes cartoons, Porky Pig bursts through a bass drum head, and his attempt to close the show with "The End" becomes "Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th... That's all, folks!" Porky Pig would appear in 153 cartoons in the Golden age of American animation.
The character was introduced in the short I Haven't Got a Hat (first released on March 2, 1935), directed by Friz Freleng. Studio head Leon Schlesinger suggested that Freleng do a cartoon version of the popular Our Gang films. Porky only has a minor role in the film, but the fat little stuttering pig quickly became popular. Porky's name came from two brothers who were childhood classmates of Freleng, nicknamed "Porky" and "Piggy".
Since Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising had left the studio in 1933, taking the studio's star character Bosko with them, Looney Tunes had been kept afloat by cartoons featuring the bland Buddy. Porky's introduction ushered Buddy out the door and pointed to things to come. Tex Avery was hired to the studio in 1935, and his film Gold Diggers of '49 reused much of the cast from I Haven't Got a Hat, albeit in wildly different roles. Porky transitioned from a shy little boy to an immensely fat adult. Though he was still in a supporting role, Porky got most of the laughs. The directors realized they had a star on their hands.
Porky shared his stutter with the voice actor who originally played him, Joe Dougherty, who actually did have a stuttering problem. Because Dougherty could not control his stutter, however, production costs became too high as his recording sessions took hours. The versatile Mel Blanc replaced Dougherty in 1937. Blanc continued the stutter; however, it was harnessed for a more precise comedic effect (such as stumbling over a simple word only to substitute a longer word without difficulty, or vice versa). This is parodied in A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court, where Bugs Bunny struggles to pronounce the word "porcupine", which Porky pronounces with no trouble.
Porky's Duck Hunt was released in 1937, and Blanc officially became the permanent voice of Porky until his death in 1989. In later interviews, Blanc often said that he intended Porky's stutter to be suggestive of the grunting of actual pigs. Porky's Duck Hunt was also the first film of another Looney Tunes star, Daffy Duck.
Porky starred in dozens of films in the late 1930s. The directors still did not have a grasp on the character, however; his appearance, age, and personality all varied from picture to picture. Several such cartoons show Porky as a child with parents: father Phineas (Porky the Rainmaker, Milk and Money, Porky's Poppa, and Porky and Teabiscuit) and an unnamed mom (Wholly Smoke and Porky's Hero Agency). Bob Clampett finally pinned Porky down in 1939, making him a permanent young adult: cuter, slimmer, smarter, and eventually less of a stutterer. Also, some cartoons show Porky as an antagonist (Porky's Duck Hunt, Porky's Hare Hunt, A Corny Concerto, Duck Soup to Nuts, Daffy Doodles, Daffy Duck Hunt, Thumb Fun and Cracked Quack). Eventually, he settled into a kind persona. Clampett's Porky was an innocent traveler, taking in the wonders of the world—and in Clampett's universe, the world is a very weird place indeed. This principle is perhaps best demonstrated in Porky in Wackyland, a film that sends Porky on a quest to find the last of the surreal Dodos, Yoyo Dodo. This cartoon was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2000.
In his commentary as part of the 1970s documentary film Bugs Bunny: Superstar, Clampett said that his early version of Tweety Bird had to be redesigned after his first picture because the producers thought he "looked naked". Meanwhile, as Clampett noted, nothing was ever made of the fact that "all those years, Porky never wore any pants!" However, Porky was seen with pants in Porky's Badtime Story its color remake, Tick Tock Tuckered and Brother Brat.
Porky's post at the pinnacle of the Warners' pantheon was short-lived however. In 1937, Avery pitted Porky against a daffy black duck who soon was christened Daffy and who became the studio's biggest star (until he himself was replaced by Bugs Bunny). In fact, Friz Freleng satirized this phenomenon when he directed You Ought To Be in Pictures (1940). The film features Daffy convincing Porky to quit his job at Warner Bros. to find better-paying work elsewhere. In turn, Porky convinces studio head Leon Schlesinger to release him from his contract. After a highly unsuccessful foray into the real world, Porky returns happily to the studio that created him. To this day, Porky remains as a loyal sidekick while Daffy refuses to be a second banana to Bugs.
Porky always remained a sentimental favorite of the Warner directors. His mild-mannered nature and shy demeanor made him the perfect straight man for zanier characters such as Daffy. He still starred in a few solo cartoons as well, such as Frank Tashlin's Swooner Crooner.
Other cartoons dumbed Porky down and cast him as a duck hunter after Daffy, largely paralleling the Elmer Fudd/Bugs Bunny pairings. Chuck Jones perfected the Porky-as-straightman scenarios, pairing the pig with Daffy Duck in a series of film and television parodies such as Drip-Along Daffy, Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (as well as its 2003 spinoff series, Duck Dodgers), Rocket Squad, Deduce, You Say!, and Robin Hood Daffy. Jones also paired Porky with Sylvester in a series of cartoons in the late 1940s and early 1950s, in which Porky plays the curmudgeonly and naive owner of the cat and remains clueless that Sylvester is constantly saving him from homicidal mice, space aliens, and other threats.
Porky was used in regular rotation in television syndication beginning in the 1960s, as was the rest of the Looney Tunes co-stars. A Saturday morning cartoon, The Porky Pig Show, ran from 1964 to 1967. In 1971, he starred in another show, Porky Pig and Friends. Both of these programs were collections of old theatrical shorts. Porky also appeared in all the classic film-feature compilations in the 1970s and 1980s. Another such collection was the 1986 film, Porky Pig in Hollywood, which ran in art and college theaters. In the 1990s animated series Tiny Toon Adventures, Porky appears as the mentor of Hamton J. Pig. Porky also made cameos on Animaniacs and Histeria!.
Porky has a cameo at the end of the 1988 Disney/Amblin film Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), where, paired with Disney's Tinkerbell, has the duty of closing the movie with his famous line "Th-Th-Th- That's All Folks!". It was the final time Porky Pig was voiced by Mel Blanc.
Porky is the star of the Super NES video game Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday (1995). He also made appearances in the games, Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal, Looney Tunes: Marvin Strikes Back!, Looney Tunes: Space Race, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and The Bugs Bunny Birthday Blowout.
Porky appears in the movie Space Jam (1996) and collaborates with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Sylvester in challenging the Nerdlucks to a basketball game. He tries to get Michael Jordan's autograph when the basketball star is first recruited to join the team and later plays for the Toon Squad in the game itself, scoring one basket. Porky tries to end the movie with his famous line but is prevented through the combined efforts of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Nerdlucks.
In the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), Porky makes a cameo appearance alongside Speedy Gonzales, where they both lament their politically incorrect status. At the end of the movie, Porky tries to say his classic line, but stutters so much, the lights are turned off around him as the studio closes for the night; so an irritated Porky simply says, "Go home, folks."
Porky appears as a toddler version of himself in Baby Looney Tunes (2002), albeit only in the show's musical numbers. Petunia functioned as the show's more major pig character.
Porky has a descendant in Loonatics Unleashed (2005–2007) named Pinkster Pig (who was also voiced by Bob Bergen). Pinkster had been an old friend of Danger Duck (Daffy Duck's descendent), but became a villain when he was adopted by Stoney and Bugsy (descendants of Rocky and Mugsy).
Porky also appears in most episodes of Cartoon Network's animated series The Looney Tunes Show (2011–2014), voiced here by Bob Bergen. He is still friends with Daffy Duck and often sucked into Daffy's schemes. Porky is also Bugs' nervous, fall-guy buddy, similar to their relationship in classic comic books. It is also revealed in the show that in his high school years he was a jock who bullied Daffy.
In the 2013 documentary I Know That Voice, Bob Bergen explains how to recreate the pig's famous stutter, demonstrating how difficult it is to do it without practice. He finishes the segment by joking "Nobody [else] can do that, and that's why I have job security!"
Porky Pig will appear in Wabbit voiced again by Bob Bergen. He is shown to be fatter like some of his earlier appearances. Porky was first mentioned in "Dust Bugster" where he told Bugs about a TV series whose name was not mentioned that led to Bugs binge-watching it.
A very short black-and-white cartoon was made in 1938 as part of a Warner Bros. blooper reel. It was shown on the Warner Bros. 50th Anniversary TV show. Porky is shown doing some carpentry work, pounding nails, when he smacks his thumb with the hammer. Grimacing in pain, he cries, "Oh, son of a bi-bi-, son of a bi-bi-, son of a bi-bi-bi-... gun!" He then turns to the camera and says "Ha-ha-ha! You thought I was gonna say 's-s-son of a bitch', didn't ya?"
This short, so-called "blooper" can also be found on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4 of 2006, under the title Porky Pig Breakdowns of 1939 (with several versions of the clip, making it look like a true "blooper"), and on an Each Dawn I Die DVD box set, also released in 2006. Though the "blooper" was made a year before Gone with the Wind famously used the word in the line "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", due to the Motion Picture Production Code the "blooper" was not shown publicly until the aforementioned special, which by that point FCC regulations softened enough for the word "bitch" to be used on TV.
See also Porky Pig filmography
And, you know, it's not a stutter. That's a grunt. Porky is a (makes sound) grunt.
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