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Foxy
[[Merrie Melodies title with Foxy-1-|250px]]
Foxy on the Merrie Melodies title card in 1931

First appearance

Lady, Play Your Mandolin! (August 1931)

Created by

Rudolf Ising

Voiced by

Rob Paulsen (Tiny Toon Adventures)

Foxy is an animated cartoon character 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.

BiographyEdit

Foxy is one of any number of early cartoon characters modeled after the successes of Paul Terry's and Otto Messmer's work in the 1910s and 1920s. Foxy himself is a close cousin to Disney's characters Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (1927) and Mickey Mouse (1928).

To modern audiences, Foxy looks and sounds almost exactly like the early Mickey, except for the teardrop shape of his ears and his bushy tail. Many have concluded that the character was a straight rip-off,[1] but the story is complicated by the fact that before 1932, Mickey was still a relatively obscure character. Ising had shared character ideas with Disney as early as 1925,[2] and it is difficult to say which creator had more influence in the parallels of Mickey's and Foxy's respective designs.

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 in August 1931 in "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!". The cartoon, which shares a set-up with Disney's more swashbucking "The Gallopin' Gaucho", (1928). Like the second Mickey vehicle, "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!" opens with the mounted hero arriving at a Western saloon and falling for the bar singer. Where Mickey ends up chasing and fighting Black Pete, Foxy is instead upstaged by his horse, which gets drunk, introducing a sequence of wild hallucinations.

The character of Foxy and his then-nameless girlfriend would appear in two more cartoons that same year directed by Ising: "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" (September 5, 1931), a musical set on a trolley and usually considered one of the better Ising Merrie Melodies, and "One More Time" (October 3, 1931), a musical cops-'n'-robbers short. Ising retired the character after those three cartoon shorts. Another similar character, named Piggy, replaced him in the October, 1931 short "You Don't Know What You're Doin'!".

Nevertheless, Foxy was not gone forever. He appeared along with his girlfriend (here christened "Roxy") and fellow forgotten Warner Bros. progenitor Goopy Geer in "Two-Tone Town", an episode of the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures first released 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. The series animators significantly redesigned the foxes for this episode, making them more like the stars of the later series Animaniacs and less like cute cartoons from the 1920s. In the Tiny Toons episode, Foxy was voiced by Rob Paulsen and Roxy was voiced by B.J. Ward.

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