Monday, July 04, 2022

Cancel Culture: ‘Pepé Le Pew'

In addition to Warners removing any reference to their Oscar-winning cartoon character 'Pepé Le Pew' from "Space Jam: A New Legacy", the French charmer has also disappeared from the "Looney Tunes" cartoon roster, as he is now considered a 'predator' rather than a skunk:

Created in 1945 by Chuck Jones, 'Pepé Le Pew' starred in more than 12 animated films for Warners, with the cartoon "For Scent-imental Reasons" winning an Oscar for 'Best Animated Short Subject' (Cartoons) in 1949.

The narcissistic skunk would stroll around Paris in the springtime, looking for 'l'amour' conquests, while his malodorous stank, unknown to him, chased everyone away.

Storylines typically involved Pepé in pursuit of what appears to be a female skunk, but is actually a black cat ('Penelope Pussycat') who  had a white stripe painted down her back, often by accident from paint or dye. Usually Penelope ran away from Pepé, not only because of his stench, but also because of his obnoxious, seductive manner.

'Franglais' was spoken in the cartoons, by adding 'le' to English words or by mangling French expressions with English ones, such as "Sacre Maroon!", "my sweet peanut of brittle" and "Come to me, my little melon-baby collie!"

Pepé's voice, provided by Mel Blanc, was based on actor Charles Boyer's performance as  ‘Pépé le Moko’ from “Algiers" (1938).

Click the images to enlarge…