The Tasmanian Devil, often shortened to Taz, is a Looney Tunes character.
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.
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!".
The Tasmanian Devil stalks Bugs, 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
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Producer Edward Selzer, head of the Warner Bros. animation studio, ordered Robert to retire the character since it was "too obnoxious." After three years with no new Tasmanian Devil shorts, Jack Warner asked Selzer, what had happened. He then saved the Tasmanian Devil's career when he told Selzer that he had received "boxes and boxes" of fan mail from people who liked the character and wanted to see more of him.
Taz is generally portrayed as a dim-witted teenager-type 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.
Robert would go on to direct four more Tasmanian Devil cartoons, beginning with "Bedevilled Rabbit" on April 13, 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
with Daffy Duck in "Ducking the Devil" (August 17, 1957), before pitting the character against Bugs once again in "Bill of Hare" (9 June 1962) and "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare" (March 28, 1964). After Warner Bros. closed its animation studio in 1964, the Tasmanian Devil would remain a nostalgic favorite for many fans.
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 released on January 3, 1990).
On 7 September 1991, Taz got his own show, Taz-Mania, set in the typical native island of his species, in a 1950s-era animated household. Taz now had a sister, a rambunctious little brother, a June Cleaver-esque 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.
He also appears in The Looney Tunes Show, as a recurring character. In the show, he is Bugs' pet. He also appears in the Merrie Melodies episode " 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 1st 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 in where he speaks more comprehensible English.
Taz is also popular in licensed merchandise, especially resort souvenir T-shirts.
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 of 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".
- 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.
- "Devil May Hare" (June 19, 1954) with Bugs Bunny
- "Bedevilled Rabbit" (April 13, 1957) with Bugs Bunny
- "Ducking the Devil" (August 17, 1957) with Daffy Duck
- "Bill of Hare" (June 9, 1962) with Bugs Bunny
- "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare" (March 28, 1964) with Bugs Bunny
- Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979)
- Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island (1983)
- Tiny Toon Adventures (1990-92)
- Taz-Mania (1991-94), voiced by Jim Cummings
- Animaniacs (1993-98), voiced by Jim Cummings
- The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries (1995-2000), voiced by Jim Cummings
- Space Jam (1996), voiced by Dee Bradley Baker
- Histeria! (1998-2000), voiced by Jim Cummings
- Tweety's High-Flying Adventure (2000), voiced by Jim Cummings
- Baby Looney Tunes, voiced by Ian James Corlett
- Looney Tunes Back in Action (2003), voiced by Brendan Fraser
- Duck Dodgers (2003-05), voiced by Jim Cummings
- Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006), voiced by Jim Cummings
- The Looney Tunes Show, voiced by Jim Cummings
- New Looney Tunes, voiced by Jim Cummings
- Looney Tunes Cartoons, voiced by Fred Tatasciore
- Space Jam A New Legacy (2021), voiced by Fred Tatasciore and Jim Cummings
- Mel Blanc: 1953 - 1983
- Jim Cummings: 1991–present
- Noel Blanc: Tiny Toon Adventures
- Dee Bradley Baker: Space Jam
- Brendan Fraser: Looney Tunes Back in Action
- Ian James Corlett: Baby Looney Tunes
- Kevin Shinick: Mad
- Fred Tatasciore: Looney Tunes Cartoons, Space Jam A New Legacy (most scenes)
- Cezary Kwieciński (Poland; Baby Looney Tunes only)
- Micah ouzin salsalyan (Israel Space Jam)
- Main article: Tasmanian Devil/Gallery