http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ltgc6-bosko_6285.jpg
[[caption-width:360:Bosko, in his final Warners short, ''Bosko's Picture Show''.]]

Meet the OswaldTheLuckyRabbit of WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes, ''Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid'', the original, all but forgotten debut cartoon character of LooneyTunes. Created by ex-Disney employee Hugh Harman of the HarmanAndIsing duo, Bosko is, as his name tells, a "[[PunnyName talk-ink kid]]" -- or more specifically, an inkblot blackface character. His first appearance was in the short pilot [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcPlODOPRRg "Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid"]] in 1929, and was noteworthy for being one of the earliest cartoons to feature properly synchronized sound and dialogue in a cartoon. However, his official theatrical debut (the pilot was never shown to the public) was in the original 1930 WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes short ''SinkinInTheBathtub''.

While Bosko was initially what is now considered to be an offensive character, Rudy and Hugh shortly decided to ditch the allegedly black-stereotypical aspects of him in favor of him being more like an everyman character, from having him own his own businesses, to getting to beat up the occasional ''white'' bad guy -- [[FairForItsDay pretty progressive for its time, ain't it?]] Hugh and Rudy however insisted that Bosko was never meant to be an offensive depiction of a black person, claiming the southern voice in his early appearances wasn't meant to be African-American dialect, and that they thought of him as more of a young Jewish boy or [[TheJazzSinger Al Jolson]] type character. Whether they were sincere about that or were trying to save face remains a mystery, especially since Bosko's copyright notice describes him as a "negro boy", as well as the fact that he eventually got redesigned into a full-on black kid in his MGM shorts.

The early Bosko cartoons were very, very different from the Looney Tunes cast that we've all grown up with. Bosko doesn't have much if anything in the way of personality, with the shorts almost always eschewing plot and characterization in favor of slapstick oriented comedy or [[MickeyMousing having the footage timed to a classic song]] -- the former of which were obvious holdovers from Harman and Ising's previous work at Disney, but Harman and Ising's cartoons were noticeably more raunchy and wild (at first, anyways). However, the same could be said of every other cartoon of the time period.

Bosko was a success when he debuted and gave WaltDisney's MickeyMouse some good competition, but it all crumbled by 1933--Hugh Harman, who was known for holding a rivalry towards Walt, began relentlessly pushing for Leon Schlesinger to increase the budgets of the Boskos, in order to gain the upper hand over Disney; Leon refused to budge, resulting Hugh and Rudy deciding to pack up and leave for MGM, taking many of their staff, and the rights to Bosko, with them -- learning from Walt's debacle with [[OswaldTheLuckyRabbit Oswald]], the duo wisely made sure they owned Bosko in case somebody tried to screw them over. Leon quickly assembled a new team in an attempt to compensate for this loss, and having animator Earl Duvall creating a replacement for Bosko--Buddy, [[RecycledInSpace who was basically a whiteface version of him]]. Those shorts are noteworthy, if only for being some of the dullest, blandest, and crudest cartoons to ever come out of that time period -- in particular, the first short ''Buddy's Day Out'' was reportedly so bad that it nearly killed this new studio before it even got off the ground; it was Creator/FrizFreleng's timely return to the studio and reedit of the film that allowed the cartoon to receive approval, and thus allowing the studio to avoid going belly up.

At MGM, Bosko became a recurring star of Harman And Ising's ''HappyHarmonies'' series of shorts. He initially retained his inkblot design in his first two appearances; "Bosko's Parlor Pranks" and "Hey Hey Fever", but this design and his original characterization (or [[FlatCharacter lack thereof]]) were scrapped in favor of an African-American kid with a curious personality, [[InNameOnly sharing only the original name of Bosko]]. While the new Boskos were lavishly animated and quite appealing, the character failed to regain any of his original popularity, and vanished altogether after a handful of shorts.

Obviously, the character has remained in limbo for many years; his cartoons very rarely air on TV, save for the earliest days of television (when the first package of ''Looney Tunes'' shorts were initially released to television) and on {{Nickelodeon}} in the late 80s and 90s; fortunately, 25 of his 37 Warners shorts have made their way into the PublicDomain, and many of his cartoons have appeared in the ''Looney Tunes Golden Collection'' series. The character also made a brief comeback in the ''TinyToonAdventures'' episode ''Fields Of Honey'' (albeit with a mild redesign to look more like the dog-esque characters of the then upcoming ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''). Buddy, his ne'er-do-well successor, would also make an appearance in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', ''The Warners 65th Anniversary Special'', in a scheme to get revenge on the trio, who in their universe were responsible for destroying Buddy's (in real life, non-existent) stardom. ([[TakeThatScrappy Specifically, they were brought in to spice up his boring cartoons by whacking him in the head with a mallet over and over.]])

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[[folder:Filmography]]

!1929

* Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid: Although it was not released theatrically, it could in a sense be considered the very first entry in the WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes series.

!1930: All cartoons co-directed by Harman And Ising.

* SinkinInTheBathtub: The "official" first Looney Tunes short.
* Congo Jazz
* Hold Anything
* The Booze Hangs High
* Box Car Blues

!1931: All shorts up to "Bosko the Doughboy" co-directed by Harman And Ising.

* Big Man from the North
* Ain't Nature Grand!
* Ups 'N Downs
* Yodeling Yokels
* Bosko's Holiday
* Tree's Knees, The
* Bosko Shipwrecked
* Bosko the Doughboy: Hugh Harman becomes the sole director of the Warners Boskos from here on out.
* Bosko's Soda Fountain
* Bosko's Fox Hunt

!1932

* Bosko at the Zoo
* Battling Bosko
* Big-Hearted Bosko
* Bosko's Party
* Bosko and Bruno
* Bosko's Dog Race
* Bosko at the Beach
* Bosko's Store
* Bosko the Lumberjack
* Ride Him, Bosko!: Earliest Warner Bros. cartoon still under copyright.
* Bosko the Drawback
* Bosko's Dizzy Date: Also known as "Bosko and Honey".
* Bosko's Woodland Daze

!1933

* Bosko in Dutch
* Bosko in Person
* Bosko the Speed King
* Bosko's Knight-Mare
* Bosko the Sheep-Herder
* Beau Bosko
* Bosko's Mechanical Man
* Bosko the Musketeer
* Bosko's Picture Show

!1934

* Bosko's Parlor Pranks: First appearance of Bosko in an {{MGM}} cartoon, as part of the ''HappyHarmonies series''. Consists almost entirely of colorized StockFootage from previous Bosko shorts.

!1935

* Hey-Hey Fever: Last cartoon to feature the original Bosko design.
* Run, Sheep, Run: First cartoon to feature the InNameOnly Bosko.

!1936

* The Old House

!1937

* Circus Daze
* Bosko's Easter Eggs
* Little Ol' Bosko and the Pirates
* Little Ol' Bosko and the Cannibals

!1938

* Little Ol' Bosko in Bagdad: Last theatrical appearance of Bosko.

!1990

* [[TinyToonAdventures Fields of Honey]]: Makes a redesigned appearance with Honey.
* [[TinyToonAdventures Two-Tone Town]]: Original design appears as a background easter egg in the Town.

!1996

* Film/SpaceJam: Makes a cameo as a portrait in the film.

[[/folder]]
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!!Noteworthy shorts the character has appeared in:
* ''Bosko The Talk-Ink Kid''
* ''SinkinInTheBathtub''
* ''Bosko's Picture Show'' (if only for Bosko's alleged use of the f-word)

!!Tropes associated with this series:
* AgonyOfTheFeet: Bruno the Dog encounters this when he steps on a nail early in "Bosko at the Beach".
* AlcoholHic: Done by a group of pigs who happened to find a bottle of booze in "The Booze Hangs High".
* AllJustADream: The ending of "Bosko's Knight-Mare", as well as "Run, Sheep, Run!"
* AnachronismStew: While it can be justified in that he is in a dream, Bosko whipping out a tommy gun on the Black Knight in "Bosko's Knight-Mare" is rather jarring.
* ArtEvolution: Bosko was initially a bit shorter, and sometimes was drawn with big frog-like lips. This was gradually phased out midway through the series run, making Bosko taller and having a more natural mouth and lips.
* BackStab: Bosko painfully jabs a sword deep into the rear-end of the bad guy in "Big Man From The North" during the climatic fight, but it only makes him more angry!
* BearsAreBadNews: The recurring threat of "Run, Sheep, Run!" is the idea of a bear attacking Bosko's sheep herd--not helped by the pesky black sheep playing 'boy crying wolf'. Eventually the actual bear shows up and gives our heroes a chase.
* BeachEpisode: "Bosko At The Beach".
* BigFriendlyDog: Bosko's hound, Bruno.
* BrattyHalfPint: Wilbur the Cat from "Bosko's Dizzy Date" and "Bosko's Parlor Pranks".
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Bosko does this in the pilot, looking at the camera and asking Rudy Ising "Whose all 'dem folks out dere in the dark?" Rudy of course informs him that its the audience, and challenges him to make them laugh, propelling the pilot shorts antics forward.
** "Bosko In Person" plays with this trope; the cartoon is clearly meant to be the substitute for a live stage session, which Bosko is playing for the audience, which is clearly meant to be us in real life. At one moment, Honey even waves off to us to join in on the fun!
** Honey does this early in "Bosko The Speed King"; ecstatic over Bosko racing, she looks to the camera and tells us "Ain't he grand?"
** Wilbur the Cat does this late in "Bosko at the Beach", asking the audience for help while drowning.
* TheCameo: Bosko in his original design makes cameos (albeit not in person) in "Space Jam" and the TinyToonAdventures episode "Two-Tone Town".
* CannibalTribe: Bosko encounters a batch of them late in "Bosko Shipwrecked".
* CaptainErsatz: Bosko and his girlfriend Honey could well be considered the early studios answer to Mickey and Minnie Mouse. (along with Foxy and Roxy from Merrie Melodies...) His dog Bruno is also a blatant ersatz of PlutoThePup.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome[=/=]DemotedToExtra: Despite being the original star of the franchise, Bosko very rarely makes appearances in modern Looney Tunes artwork, and hasn't appeared in any cartoons since his redesigned cameo in Tiny Toons. Understandably, this is due to his roots as a blackface character making him an unacceptable character to put into the mainstream today. It doesn't help that his esoteric nature compared to the mainstream WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes (due to his cartoons being off the air since the 80's), not to mention his [[FlatCharacter vague personality]], do not make him a popular character among fans.
* ClipShow: "Bosko's Parlor Pranks" is largely made of colorized stock footage from Harman and Ising's work on the Warner Bros. Bosko shorts, with a FramingDevice of Bosko trying to take care of a bratty little cat by telling him stories.
* CoolHorse: Bosko's horse in "Bosko's Knight-Mare", which would make a brief reappearance in "Bosko's Parlor Pranks".
* CreatorCameo: Rudy Ising, partner of Bosko's creator Hugh Harman, plays himself in the original Bosko pilot. Rudy and other staffers also make a cameo in the ending of "Ride 'Em, Bosko!"
* DamselInDistress: Bosko's girlfriend, Honey, has served as this on more than several occasions in the series.
* DastardlyWhiplash: The Simon Legree-esque villain from "Bosko's Picture Show".
* DisneyAcidSequence: Bosko's dream in "Bosko's Woodland Daze".
* DisneyDeath: Bruno gets this treatment in "Bosko and Bruno" when Bosko thinks he was run over by a train (due to him getting his foot stuck in the railway). Fortunately, it turns out Bruno hid under a hatch in the railway at the last moment, playing the fakeout for a gag.
** Done again in "Run, Sheep, Run!" when Bosko shoots Bruno (who was disguised in a bear suit while playing a prank on the sheep). Bosko of course [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone despairs]] when he discovers the true identity of his victim--thankfully, Bruno turns out to be alright, and mugs for the camera with a quip of "Hello, everybody!"
* DreadfulMusician: In the original pilot, Bosko's awful singing annoys Rudy Ising enough to where he sucks him right back into the inkpen he came from.
** Wilbur the Cat in "Bosko's Dizzy Date" proves to be a terrible violin player.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Understandably, if you're a modern Looney Tunes fan whos used to all of the later characters like BugsBunny, DaffyDuck, WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadRunner, etc., these early shorts will be quite an odd experience to see compared to the later shorts.
* DogFace: his look in TinyToonAdventures.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: Done with the baby monkeys in "Congo Jazz".
* EverybodyLaughsEnding: The ending of "Congo Jazz".
* FlatCharacter: Moreso with his successor Buddy, though.
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: Inverted; when the villain of the film in "Bosko's Picture Show" kidnaps Honey, Bosko leaps into the film and takes out the villain!
* {{Gainaxing}}: Done by a ''[[NonMammalMammaries palmtree]]'' in "Congo Jazz".
* GainaxEnding: The end of "Bosko At The Zoo", where the Lion that was chased Bosko, a walrus and an ostrich ends up colliding with the latter two in a wall (with Bosko barely escaping)--and end up morphed together into a chimera-esque creature! Cue end of cartoon.
* TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation
* GroinAttack: In the end of "Bosko's Store", the kitten Bosko is chasing drags ''barbed wire'' under his crotch area! More mild examples could sometimes be found in shorts such as "Box Car Blues" as well.
* HauntedHouse: Featured in the short "The Old House", but subverted in that its not really haunted.
* HilarityInZoos: Inevitable happens midway through "Bosko at the Zoo" when he irritates a gorilla and lion.
* {{Hobos}}: Depending on the short, Bosko is sometimes portrayed as a homeless nomad.
* LooneyTunesInTheThirties: From 1929 to 1933 for Bosko. Buddy took over around mid to late 1933, and was retired in 1935.
* MickeyMousing: Regularly done in the cartoons, and often used for gags.
* MimeAndMusicOnlyCartoon: Some of the early entries in the series featured minimal to no dialogue, largely focusing on miming and musical synchronization instead.
* MisplacedWildlife: In "Congo Jazz", the location is clearly an African jungle--and yet a Kangaroo is among the menagerie of critters Bosko encounters.
* MusicSoothesTheSavageBeast: Done by Bosko to a tiger in the beginning of "Congo Jazz".
* NamesTheSame: A 1960's BugsBunny short would also share the name of "Dumb Patrol", which was also the name of an early Bosko short.
* NoEnding: Taken to the utmost extreme in "Ride Him, Bosko!". Just as Bosko is hot on of the trail of the kidnapped Honey, the film goes to Rudy Ising and his animators [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere get up and leave]] without resolving the CliffHanger, obliterating the [[BreakingtheFourthWall fourth wall]] in a way that hints at later Warner Bros. more than contemporaneous Disney.
* NoOSHACompliance: While the Bosko cartoons predate the OSHA, it still boggles the mind to see whole parts of a train track missing in "Box Car Blues"--as well as a piece of track missing on a mountain earlier in the short. Seeing a train track leading right into a tree (which the eponymous boxcar crashes into) may leave some heads scratching as well.
* NotTheFallThatKillsYou: The Black Knight in "Bosko's Knight-Mare" jumps from a castle turret from an exceeding high height and onto his horse--while he leaves a big crater in the ground from his impact and briefly flattens his horse, they are otherwise no worse for wear.
* OffModel: One glaring example in "Bosko's Knight-Mare"; the first couple scenes of Bosko riding a horse feature an lavishly drawn, well animated realistic horse--and the scene where Bosko reaches the castle has the horse abruptly change into a lightly armored rubberhose horse.
* OffWithHisHead: In "Hold Anything", Bosko ''decapitates a mouse with a saw''--and it's PlayedForLaughs! "Box Car Blues" also has a situation where Bosko is decapitated, also played for laughs.
* PantyShot: "Sinkin' In the Bathtub" plays Honey's gams for a gag, as her gyrating to Bosko's music causes them to fall down.
* PieEyed: DependingOnTheArtist.
* PrecisionFStrike: The aforementioned quote from "Bosko's Picture Show".
* PricklyPorcupine: Bosko lands rear-end onto one in "Bosko At The Zoo".
* PublicDomainAnimation: All of the shorts prior to "Ride Em, Bosko!" are PublicDomain.
* PunBasedTitle: "The Booze Hangs High" (a pun on an old play called "The Goose Hangs High") and "Dumb Patrol" (A pun on "Dawn Patrol").
* RhymesOnADime: In "Ride 'Em Bosko", there's an exposition card which says "Red Gulch, where men are men, nine times out of ten."
* RobotBuddy: The robot Bosko builds to do his house chores in "Bosko's Mechanical Man" was supposed to be this, but it goes haywire instead.
* RubberhoseLimbs
* SentientVehicle: Bosko's car early in "Sinkin' In The Bathtub".
* {{Shipwrecked}}: Bosko winds up in this situation after his boat is sunk by a storm in "Bosko Shipwrecked".
* ShoutOut: One brief scene inside of a tunnel in "Box Car Blues" has Bosko doing an impersonation of Al Jolson's "Mammy" line from ''TheJazzSinger''.
* ShowWithinAShow: The movie playing in "Bosko's Picture Show".
* StockFootage: A huge chunk of animation from the Warner Bros. shorts were retraced for "Bosko's Parlor Pranks", albiet colored. Sometimes, the original Bosko shorts would even recycled footage from previous Harman and Ising shorts, such as a scene of railway animation from "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" reused in "Bosko's Picture Show".
** Many of the B&W Bosko shorts would recycle footage from previous shorts--"Bosko At The Zoo" reuses animation of the monkeys from "Congo Jazz" mixed in with new animation for instance.
** The first scene of Bosko chasing after the bear in "Run, Sheep, Run!" is traced off of a scene late in the HappyHarmonies short "Tales of the Vienna Woods".
* StubbornMule: Bosko briefly rides one in "Bosko's Knight-Mare", but it quickly chucks him off into a river.
* SurpriseParty: The basis of "Bosko's Party".
* ThatsAllFolks: By all accounts, he ''should'' be the TropeNamer, as he technically said the lines first in "Sinkin in the Bathtub", but for some reason it went to PorkyPig instead.
* TurnedAgainstTheirMasters: The robot from "Bosko's Mechanical Man".
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