The Looney Tunes are some of the most recognizable characters on the planet. From Daffy Duck to Porky Pig to Sexy Lady Bugs Bunny, each one is as iconic as the flag of a country. But that’s maybe less true with the obscure cartoons. Here are the 11 greatest obscure Looney Tunes.
Eggbert is a nerdy indoor kid who Foghorn Leghorn has been tasked with babysitting, only to struggle with his introverted demeanor. Eggbert could have been a big-time Looney Tune — his moment would have been during the nerd boon in the aughts. Today, I’m sure he’d either work in Silicon Valley or be just another tiny yellow bird who goes out for roles when they can’t get Tweety.
There are certain Looney Tunes so specific in voice and behavior that it’s shocking they’re not more iconic. I’d put Pete Puma in that category. His goofy voice and mannerisms are memorable, as is his strange design. So what kept ol’ Petey from the big times? I think they were too scared of him!
Owl Jolson appeared officially in only one cartoon — Tex Avery’s “I Love To Singa”, which was a parody of Al Jolson’s The Jazz Singer. The cartoon’s charm is hard to hide, as Owl Jolson has to prove to his father that jazz music is worth singing. While there would be little chance to see Owl Jolson interact with the other toons, he remains obscure Looney Tunes royalty.
Cool Cat may be the last original Looney Toon created until Space Jam gave us The Monstars. Warner Bros briefly closed its animation studios in the early ’60s, only to open it up a few years later to host a weirdly modernist collection of cartoons. Cool Cat, a version of The Pink Panther as a beatnik tiger, had a phenomenal amount of adventures for a character no one really seemed to like.
Sniffles The Mouse and Bookworm
Before legendary Looney Tunes director Chuck Jones created Marvin the Martian, Pepe Le Pew, and Wile E. Coyote, he gave us Sniffles the Mouse and Bookworm. These two were Chuck Jones’ attempt to imitate the cuter Disney brand back when he was a new director. Sniffles was a mouse with a cold, and Bookwom was a very nerdy worm. Too bad he didn’t stick with them — that mouse’s big cold could have been a hit!
Nasty Canasta was a name Chuck Jones used twice— once for the villain in “Drip-Along Daffy”, the cartoon in which Daffy Duck briefly becomes a small town sheriff — and once in “Barbary Coast Bunny”, where Nasty Canasta was a card player trying to cheat Bugs Bunny out of his newly found gold nugget. In a rare change of protocol, Nasty Conasta was voiced by Hanna Barber star Daws Butler instead of Looney Tunes superstar Mel Blanc. A character as nasty as Nasty Canasta could be voiced by no one but an outsider! He’s just too nasty.
Babbit and Catstello
Babbit and Catstello are two cats who probably, simply by coincidence, have the same personalities as legendary comedy duo Abbot and Costello. Their first cartoon also saw the debut of Tweety Bird. I’m sure it was shocking for everyone that it’s the tiny bird and not the two broad cats who took off, but what are you gonna do, argue with this kind of appeal? May Tweety be cute for another thousand years!
Michigan J. Frog
Obscure characters, meet your king. After appearing in only one six minute cartoon, Michigan J. Frog became a star, even being named the mascot for the now-defunct WB Network. I think it was very kind of him to finally dance in front of people to sell that network.
Black Jacque Shellac
Did you love Nasty Canasta but wish he was tiny and French? Then Black Jacque Shellac is for you!
It’s odd to think that a character with as many appearances as Barnyard Dawg would be obscure, but I bet you didn’t even know this dog had a name! He’s known as Foghorn Leghorn’s nemesis, appearing in almost every Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, and no one even cares! Sorry, Barnyard. But could you have really struck out on your own?
Slowpoke Rodriguez is the slow and more stereotypical Speedy Gonzales. Also he carries a gun? Slowpoke Rodriguez isn’t particularly good, but I’m blown away every time he shows up. Truly, there is no Looney Toon more obscure than you, Slowpoke my friend! Why anyone would put you in their cartoon, I just do not know!
To quote my favorite book, “East of Eden”, that’s all folks! Are there any Looney Tunes I missed in here? Do you think Gossamer was obscure enough to be put on this list? I was fighting with that one. Let me know at @AlexFirer where I will always argue for my favorite cartoon character — Bugs Bunny but only when he’s dressed as the Valkyrie.