Happy Birthday, Pepe LePew!
Here’s a bit of agreeable historical news; today is the 82nd anniversary of the Warner Brothers cartoon character Pepe Le Pew. This amorous skunk made his over-the-top debut in the cartoon ‘Odor-able Kitty’ way back in 1938.
The character was created for Warner Brothers by Chuck Jones, who went on to create such legendary cartoon characters as the supersonic Road Runner and the hapless Wylie Coyote, as well as bringing to cartoon life Dr. Suess’ story ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’
Pepe’s voice was provided by the ubiquitous Mel Blanc, who did every voice in the pantheon of the Warner Brothers cartoon universe, from Bugs Bunny to Sylvester the cat — the only other voice talent used in most of the cartoons during Blanc’s reign was that of Arthur Q. Bryant, as Elmer Fudd.
Blanc told reporters he based his overripe French accent for Pepe on the movie star Charles Boyer. Curiously enough, in France the character is dubbed with an Italian accent, and is known as Pepe le Putois.
In all, Pepe Le Pew starred in thirty-six cartoons during the Golden Age of cartoons, making his last appearance in 1969 — the same year the Warner Brothers cartoon studio shut down for good.