Jan 25, 2013

Origin of Porky Pig

The inspiration was Joe Cobb, Joe in the “Our Gang/Little Rascals” TV Series. Joe Cobb starred in 86 episodes of the series and played the ever smiling yet hapless stereotypical fat kid, who often sets up gags for the others.

During the early 1930s, Leon Schlesinger secured a contract to produce the Looney Tunes series for Warner Bros. He asked animator Robert Clampett and studio director Friz Freleng to design a new series of characters and suggested they do a cartoon version of the Our Gang films.

The first short, I Haven’t Got a Hat, released in 1935 included: Beans the cat, Oliver Owl, a motherly cow named Mrs. Cud, and Porky Pig in the ‘Joe’ role. Porky quickly became the star. Porky’s name came from Friz Freleng, who remembered two childhood friends and brothers nicknamed “Porky” and “Piggy” and decided to put the two names together. His trademark stutter comes from Joe Dougherty, the first voice actor to voice Porky. Joe had a very pronounced stutter and forced director Freleng to go through take after take of uncontrollable stuttering.

Eventually the studio realized the high production cost of the many hours of wasted material, and replaced Dougherty with Mel Blanc in 1937. By this time the stutter had become so associated with the character that Blanc was asked to use it to create a more precise comedic effect.

Had to include this tribute picture to Mel Blanc, man of a thousand voices with some of his favorite characters, including Porky. It is titled "Speechless."

Porky’s legacy continues with his signature line “Th-th-that’s all folks” heard at the end of Looney Tunes episodes. The Warner Bros. other series, Merrie Melodies, which had always used “So Long, Folks” to close its short films, changed to the more catchy Porky line after opinion polls found most people better associated with it.