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Looney Tunes Pepe-Le-Pew
Pepe Le Pew
Not many cartoon characters have the esteemed honour of receiving an Academy Award, but then, not all cartoon characters are as memorable as the one and only Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Pepe Le Pew.
Appearing in Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, cartoons, Pepe Le Pew, a French skunk, made his debut in 1945.
Known for his constant pursuit of love, Pepe is relentless in his endeavours even though his foul odour causes his love interests to run from him instead of toward him.
Photo used under Creative Commons from Lesmode
Pepe Le Pew Or Stinky
Originally Pepe was named Stinky and appeared in 1945s Odor-able Kitty, which has Pepe Le Pew pursuing a male cat who has donned the disguise of a skunk. In this debut, it is also revealed that Pepe is not only not French, but he also isn't a bachelor. Instead, he is Henry, an American skunk with a wife and a family. However, in future episodes Pepe Le Pew is once again a French bachelor and his interests were always female.
Audiences are consistently entertained by Pepe's unyielding ability to ignore the obvious signs that his love interest isn't keen on him. Instead, he takes her constant running away as a sign that she is truly in love, but just playing hard to get. This of course, makes a very confidant, Pepe Le Pew work even harder at unleashing her affections.
What Pepe also seems to be wholly unaware of is that his love isn't actually a skunk, but she is a black cat who has usually encountered an accident that has left her with a white stripe painted on her back. In some scenes, Pepe's love interest, Penelope Pussycat, has even tried to help Pepe shed his offensive odor.
For Scent-Imental Reasons
However, in an Academy Award winning short, For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), Pepe is actually the one that is being pursued by Penelope after she has fallen into dirty water, which leaves her with a disheveled appearance and a head cold that prevents her from smelling Pepe. In this episode it is Pepe who is accidentally painted and Penelope, the aggressor, turns the tables and her affections by locking him inside a perfume store intent on winning his love.
Pepe Le Pew's Character
Originally created by Chuck Jones, Pepe's character was, in part, based on a colleague of Jones' named Tedd Pierce who reportedly shared the confidence of Pepe in real life when it came to pursuing women. However, Chuck Jones is also recorded as stating that Pepe was created from memories of Jones' own childhood where he recalls being very shy around the opposite sex, while his brainchild Pepe was anything but. Pepe's character may also have ties to Melville Cooper's role in the 1940 production of Pride and Prejudice. It has been noted that Cooper's facial features resemble Pepe's and there is a scene in the film where his character vehemently refuses to believe that his love interest has rejected him.
Pepe Le Pew's Voice
Pepe's original voice was performed by Mel Blanc and bears a close resemblance to the voice Blanc also used for "Professor Le Blanc" on the Jack Benny Program. His voice is also believed to be partially based on Pepe le Moko who appeared in Algiers in 1938, which was a remake of the 1937 film Pepe le Moko. Pepe Le Pew's unique way of speaking French is sometimes referred to as Franglais at it is mainly English, with the word "le" added to certain words to make them more French sounding.
Looney Tunes Pepe-Le-Pew
More recent appearances include the 1996 hit film Space Jam starring Michael Jordan. Though his role was considerably reduced to very minor appearance, Pepe Le Pew was part of the 2003 film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, where he originally had a much larger role integral to the movie's storyline. Pepe was also planned to have a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but he was later dropped from the cast for unknown reasons.
Throughout the years, the ever-entertaining Pepe Le Pew has appeared in a number of animated shorts and has appeared in a couple of very popular Tiny Toon Adventures. Johnny Depp has credited him as inspiration for Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow character in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and even has a human offspring named Pierre Le Pew in Loonatics Unleashed.
It is AT&T, however, that brings fans of Pepe up to speed on the status of his relationship with Penelope. In the company's Valentine's Day commercial theme, Penelope appears to at last be quite smitten with Pepe as she deliberately paints a white stripe down her back and when an incoming call comes in on her cell phone, it is Pepe's picture that is displayed as her heart swells beneath her chest.
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