As I've talked about a few days ago about the first Looney Tunes star, Bosko; well...after Rudolf Ising and Hugh Harman left the Warner Bros. Animation Studio, Leon Schlesinger took over the cartoons!!
Leon took over and Merrie Melodies went into colour for the very first time in 1934, and it remained in colour, while the Looney Tunes wasn't in colour until 1942!! So, Looney Tunes went on to make their second star, named Buddy. We probably all never heard of him since he's obviously a forgotton character, and he only lasted in the shorts from 1933-1935, I must admit even I'm not a fan of the cartoons he's in, the only parts I like about the Buddy shorts is the old- Music theme intro the Looney Tunes, but that's hardly Buddy. I guess he was a boring character, and he was taken out.
While Merrie Melodies was still making the one-shot cartoons and people like Chuck Jones and Bob Clampett arrived; I. Freeling directed a 1935 cartoon short called I Haven't Got a Hat, and it featured a group of classmates and it marked the first ever appearance of Porky Pig!
(Here's how Porky looked like in 1935 - not a match as we know Porky)Now, Porky Pig is probably the oldest star we known and we know that he stutters, and some of the Looney fans might not know that Porky Pig was around for that long, and he was originally voiced by an autistic man named Joe Dougherty, who actually had a stuttering problem, which caused a problem. Production costs were rising, and his recording sessions went on for hours, and Leon finally had enough and fired Joe in 1937.
Now, in I Haven't Got a Hat, I believe that it was a success, and Leon Schlesinger booted Buddy out of the Looney Tunes series, and decided to make them into their own series with Porky, and a group of other characters in 1935. However, Porky was so popular at the time and made the most laughs, I think that it the artists found themselves a star.
So, Porky Pig became the main stars of the Looney Tunes, and the Merrie Melodies continued with the cartoon shorts. One of my favourite Merrie Melodies is a 1938 cartoon-short named Katnip Kollege, and its mainly about a group of cats who go to a school to learn how to swing!! Good music and animation is not too great, though! However, it seems not to be on YouTube available anymore! :(
In 1937, in the Porky Pig cartoon, Porky's Duck Hunt, and it is an important cartoon in two ways: One is that it marked the first voice appearance by the Man of the 1001 Voices...that's right its Mel Blanc, who voiced Porky Pig and went on to voice all the other characters until his death in 1989.
The cartoon proved to make Daffy Duck popular, and the audience walked out of the short laughing and snickering "that daffy duck!", and then the character became part of the Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes, and appeared in a few shorts at a time!! The duck at the time was rather slimmer and smaller and he still had his famous lisp; and full of excitement instead of frustration he had!
One of my favourite Porky cartoons, is the 1940 cartoon short, You Ought to Be in Pictures, and Daffy Duck is fed up of Porky being the star, and tries to get Porky out of cartoons and Daffy being the star of the show!! There is live-action in this, and so Porky enters the real-world and tries to find a 5-star acting career, but realises that the real world is dangerous and going back to cartoons would be safer!! Meanwhile, Daffy Duck is actually in Leon Schlesinger's office with the real man persuades him to become a star. I don't want to give away too much or it'll spoil the cartoon. I have good news and bad news: the Good news is that its available on MySpace here, instead of YouTube. The bad news is that its not colourised and its on black-and-white!!
I'll leave it here for now, and after Porky and Daffy: Bugs Bunny arrived along with Tweety, etc. but Porky Pig and Daffy Duck were the first two stars that were popular and even to this day!!