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The Tasmanian Devil, often shortened to Tazboy, or Taz, is a Looney Tunes character.

Origin[]

Robert McKimson designed the character after the real-life Tasmanian devil, an animal native to Australia, and the Tennessee Top of American folklore; however, the only real similarity between the real-life marsupial and Robert's beast is their ravenous appetite. In fact, this appetite is Taz's main characteristic. The Devil devours everything in sight, including boulders, trees, shrubs, and hills, all the while whirling about like a miniature cyclone that sounds like a dozen motors all whirring in unison.

Taz also harbors a special craving for rabbits.

According to the ToonHeads episode "Tasmanian Devil", Robert created Taz when he and screenwriter Sid Marcus were discussing about new foes to challenge Bugs Bunny, and even commented that of all the animals, the only creature they haven't used against Bugs was the Tasmanian devil.

Descriptions[]

There have been some descriptions about the Tasmanian Devil in some cartoons.

In "Devil May Hare", it described as "A strong murderous beast, jaws as powerful as a steel trap - has ravenous appetite - eats tigers, lions, elephants, buffaloes, donkeys, giraffes, octopuses, rhinoceroses, moose, ducks" and of course Taz added in "...and Rabbits."

In "Ducking the Devil", it described "WARNING: The TASMANIAN DEVIL is a powerful, vicious, evil-tempered brute -- hungry at all times -- it will eat anything, but is especially fond of wild duck."

In "Bedevilled Rabbit", in a Tasmania Brochure, it gives this description:

"Beware of the TASMANIAN DEVIL a vicious ravenous brute with powerful jaws like a steel trap." It also gives a two-page list of what a Tasmanian Devil eats. Page one: Aardvarks, Ants, Bears, Boars, Cats, Bats, Dogs, Hogs, Elephants, Antelopes, Pheasants, Ferrets, Giraffes, Gazelles, Stoats, Goats, Shoats, Ostriches, Lions, Jackals, Muskrats, Minks, Dingoes, Zebras, Foxes, Boxes, Octopus, Penguins, People, Warthogs, Yaks, Gnus, Newts, Walrus---Wildebeests. Page two: Moose, Mice, Moles, Snipes, Elk, Wapati, Tortoise, Road Runner, Elands, Foxes, Wolves, Guinea Hen, Vultures, Eagles, Humming Birds, Squids, Salamanders, Water Buffalo, Bison, Kangaroos, Pigeons, Daws, Unicorns, Vixens, Octopus, Ox, Penguins, Widgeons, Wart Hogs, Yaks, Newts, Walrus, Gnus, Wildebeests. The top of the next page adds "and especially RABBITS!"

As well, in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Devil Dog," Daffy described it as: "A wild beast whose insatiable hunger for violence and destruction, combined with his sharp teeth and claws make him the perfect killing machine!".

Hunger[]

It is this hunger that serves as the impetus for Robert McKimson's Devil May Hare (first released on 19 June 1954).

Taz, The Tasmanian Devil

An early version of the Tasmanian Devil.

A running gag commonly found in these Taz cartoons is that each Taz cartoon frequently starts with the background characters, which are usually wild animals, running away in fear from Taz's monstrous appetite and/or ferocious temper, while Bugs, in contrast, isn't afraid of Taz, and once brought to his attention of said creature, looks it up in a book, only for Taz to stalk him for food, but due to his dim wits and inability to frame complete, rational sentences, he serves as little more than a nuisance. Bugs eventually gets rid of him in the most logical way possible – matching him up with an equally insatiable female Devil.

The character's speech, peppered with growls, screeches, and raspberries, is provided by Mel Blanc and now provided by Jim Cummings, who is most famous for voicing Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Peg-Leg Pete from Disney.

Short Retirement and Return[]

Producer Eddie Selzer, head of the Warner Bros. animation studio, ordered Robert to retire the character as he believed it was too violent for junior audiences, and distasteful to parents.[2] After three years with no new Tasmanian Devil shorts, Jack Warner asked Selzer, what had happened. He then saved the Tasmanian Devil's career by personally telling Selzer that the character should return to the cartoons promptly, as "boxes and boxes" of fan mail were coming from people who liked the character and wanted to see more of him.[3][4]

Personality[]

Taz is generally portrayed as a dim-witted wild animal with a notoriously short temper and has little patience. He will eat anything and everything, with an appetite that seems to know no bounds. Taz is best known for his speech consisting mostly of grunts, growls, rasps and screeches, and his ability to spin and bite through just about anything.

According to the ToonHeads episode "Tasmanian Devil", Taz "had the temper of Yosemite Sam" and is "dumber than Elmer Fudd".

Popularity[]

Robert would go on to direct four more Tasmanian Devil cartoons, beginning with "Bedevilled Rabbit" on 13 April 1957. The she-devil returns in this cartoon, now as Mrs. Tasmanian Devil, but she still proves to be the character's weakness when Bugs uses a sexy female devil costume to deliver a bear trap to the ever-hungry brute. Robert would also pair the Devil

Classic-Taz

Classic Taz.

with Daffy Duck in "Ducking the Devil" (17 August 1957), before pitting the character against Bugs once again in "Bill of Hare" (9 June 1962) and "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare" (28 March 1964). After Warner Bros. closed its animation studio in 1964, the Tasmanian Devil would remain a fan-favorite character.

Legacy[]

Taz appeared in 1983's Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island as Yosemite Sam's first mate.

This late-blossoming popularity would pay off for Taz in Warner Bros. television animation. For example, his miniature understudy, Dizzy Devil, was introduced as a recurring character in the syndicated/Fox Kids television series Tiny Toon Adventures, first broadcast 3 January 1990.

On 7 September 1991, Taz got his own show, Taz-Mania, set in the typical native island of his species, in an animated household. Taz now had a little sister, a little brother, a mother, and a decidedly nonchalant father.

Taz would appear in an episode of The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries entitled "The Scare Up There", where he is revealed to have stolen peanut packs from the flights.

An infant version of Taz is one of the regulars of Baby Looney Tunes series, voiced by Ian James Corlett.

He also appears in The Looney Tunes Show, as a recurring character. In the show, he is (irrationally) Bugs' pet, much to Daffy's annoyance. He also appears in the Merrie Melodies song "Tasmanian Meltdown".

In 2014, Taz appeared in a GEICO commercial, where he drinks a "certain energy drink" and goes on a rampage.

Taz first appeared in the New Looney Tunes first season episode "Office Rocker" as Theodore Tasmanian, who was an office worker with a family. However, he returned to his original characterization in Season 2 of New Looney Tunes.

Taz appears in Looney Tunes Cartoons, where he speaks more comprehensible English.

Taz appears in Bugs Bunny Builders.

Taz is also popular in licensed merchandise, especially resort souvenir T-shirts.

Taz appeared in the direct-to-video film Taz: Quest for Burger as the titular character, which was released on digital on 6 June 2023. Taz speaks comprehensible English and has a more raspier voice than usual.

On 15 June 2023, it was announced Taz will appear in a stop-motion short produced by Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe.[5]

Taz in Taz-Mania[]

Taz, voiced by Jim Cummings, is the central character of the series and appears in every episode.

The plots of most of the episodes are based upon the relationships various characters have with Taz, thus cast as a not-too-bright teenager in most episodes, less ferocious than his original incarnation. He is sometimes portrayed as a vicious predator, consuming anything with an everlasting appetite scarring much of the native wildlife. Most of the time, Taz speaks in grunts, growls, and rasps, which other characters seem to understand, and is able to spin like a tornado and break through many objects. He also has a calm and caring side to him seen when he is around his friends and family. Taz works as a bellhop at the Hotel Tasmania. He likes food and Christmas a lot but has a great dislike towards water often voicing his displeasure with "Taz hate water!" when in close proximity.

Taz, being a teenager, shares his house with his family - his dad Hugh and his mother Jean. He also has two siblings - his younger sister Molly and little brother Jake. He also has a pet turtle named "Dog".

Taz is employed during the series working as a bellboy for Bushwhacker Bob and his Mum at Hotel Tasmania, which they own.

Notes[]

  • The Tasmanian Devil made a cameo appearance in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); Scooby drinks a blue potion and it turns him into the Tasmanian Devil.
  • A poster of the Tasmanian Devil appears in an episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman called "Virtually Destroyed". He is a celebrity in a virtual world starring in a film called Metropolis Mayhem.
  • Taz's colors has notably changed slightly over the years. In the classic cartoons of the 1950s and 1960s, he originally had lighter and duller brown fur with a light grey chest and muzzle. Beginning with Fright Before Christmas, his fur color is now dark brown, with his chest and muzzle changed from light grey to tan, making his fur color more similar to Wile E. Coyote, which would become his standard look in subsequent appearances since then. However in Looney Tunes Cartoons, his muzzle and chest color reverted back to light grey, while still maintaining the darker brown fur.

Filmography[]

Cartoons[]

In other media[]

Voice Actors[]

Gallery[]

Main article: Tasmanian Devil/Gallery

References[]

Characters
Main Characters
Bugs Bunny (Prototype Bugs Bunny) Daffy Duck Elmer Fudd Foghorn Leghorn Lola Bunny (Honey Bunny) Marvin the Martian (K-9) Pepé Le Pew (Penelope Pussycat) Porky Pig Road Runner Speedy Gonzales Sylvester (Sylvester Jr.) Taz Tweety Wile E. Coyote Yosemite Sam
Recurring Golden Age Characters
1930s debuts

Bosko Honey Bruno Foxy Piggy Goopy Geer Buddy Cookie Beans Little Kitty Oliver Owl Ham and Ex Petunia Pig Piggy Hamhock Gabby Goat Egghead Big Bad Wolf Little Red Riding Hood Yoyo Dodo Mrs. Daffy Duck The Two Curious Puppies Sniffles Inki Minah Bird

1940s debuts

Willoughby Three Little Pigs Cecil Turtle Beaky Buzzard Mama Buzzard Leo the Lion Babbit and Catstello Conrad the Cat Hubie and Bertie Claude Cat A. Flea The Three Bears Schnooks Hector the Bulldog The Drunk Stork Gossamer Rocky Barnyard Dawg Henery Hawk Charlie Dog Bobo the Elephant Goofy Gophers The Dog Wellington Gruesome Gorilla Hippety Hopper The Talking Bulldog The Crusher The Supreme Cat Playboy Penguin

1950s debuts

Melissa Duck Frisky Puppy Granny (Proto-Granny) Miss Prissy (Emily the Chicken) Sam Cat Nasty Canasta Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot Chester Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog Toro the Bull The Weasel Witch Hazel Tasmanian She-Devil Ralph Phillips Egghead Jr. Mugsy Jose and Manuel The Honey-Mousers (Ralph Crumden, Ned Morton, Alice Crumden, Trixie Morton) Instant Martians Slowpoke Rodriguez Pappy and Elvis Blacque Jacque Shellacque

1960s debuts

Cool Cat Colonel Rimfire Merlin the Magic Mouse Second Banana Bunny and Claude

One-Off Golden Age Characters
1930s debuts

Owl Jolson

1940s debuts

The Gremlin The Dover Boys (Tom Dover, Dick Dover, Larry Dover, Dora Standpipe, Dan Backslide) Mr. Meek Russian Dog The Little Man from the Draft Board Colonel Shuffle Giovanni Jones

1950s debuts

The Martin Brothers Pete Puma George and Benny Babyface Finster Michigan J. Frog Shropshire Slasher Mot Pablo and Fernando Charles M. Wolf Señor Vulturo Mighty Angelo

1960s debuts

Hugo the Abominable Snowman Nelly the Giraffe Count Bloodcount Spooky Rapid Rabbit and Quick Brown Fox

Post-Golden Age Characters
Tiny Toon Adventures

Buster Bunny Babs Bunny Plucky Duck Hamton J. Pig Fifi La Fume Shirley the Loon Sweetie Bird Elmyra Duff Montana Max

Taz-Mania

Jean Hugh Molly Jake Dog the Turtle Drew

Pinky and the Brain

Pinky The Brain

Baby Looney Tunes

Floyd Minton

Duck Dodgers

Dr. I.Q. Hi Captain Star Johnson Commander X2

Loonatics Unleashed

Ace Bunny Lexi Bunny Danger Duck Slam Tasmanian Tech E. Coyote Rev Runner

The Looney Tunes Show

Tina Russo

New Looney Tunes

Squeaks the Squirrel Bigfoot Barbarian Boyd Cal Carl the Grim Rabbit Claudette Dupri Dr. Clovenhoof Eagle Scout Elliot Sampson Horace the Horse Ivana Jack Thes Leslie P. Lilylegs Miss Cougar Pampreen Perdy and Paul Perdy Rhoda Roundhouse Shameless O'Scanty Sir Littlechin Slugsworthy the First Squint Eatswood Tad Tucker Trey Hugger Viktor Winter Stag

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