This is the guy who will take a tape measure to you in the street, right before your big gunfight. He'd be fairly nondescript, if it weren't for that morbid cheerfulness with which he goes about his business.
Usually he's got a somber air befitting a man of his line of work. That doesn't stop him from occasionally showing a grim smile and sharing a bit of dark humor with those he considers the Soon-To-Be-Deceased. In the West, death is a part of life and the Undertaker may have a variety of coffins and "last suit you'll ever wear"s in stock. The scary "keep off the grass" Undertaker is used mainly in children's dramas where sneaking into the graveyard at night is required.
Keep in mind that most of these interactions will be with The Hero
alone as most of the townfolk have learned to avoid him.
Occasionally though, both he and the town doctor will rush out side by side after a gun fight since neither of them can load up the loser alone.
Compare The Coroner
and Creepy Mortician
. If you're looking for the wrestler,
see The Undertaker
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Anime & Manga
- Done both cheerfully and creepily in Black Butler where the undertaker is an important source of information on the bodies of murder victims. This ties the archetype in to the many coroners seen in crime dramas where the professionals involved are either cheery eccentrics.
- Undertakers in the Lucky Luke comics usually sport yellow or pale-greenish skin and are very cheerful at work, only sometimes miffed when some of their prospective clients are lacking professionality and shoo them away when they break out their tape measure. Some of them even keep pet vultures. Lucky Luke's first illustrator, Morris, also had the habit of using drawings of people he didn't like (especially teachers) for those roles.
Films — Animation
- An undertaker was shown in Balto, making tiny caskets for the sick children that everyone thought were going to die. It was used to convey the tragedy of the situation, as the undertaker himself seems very mournful.
- An undertaker is seen measuring and hammering a coffin together for Rango in Rango.
Films — Live-Action
- The Sowerberries from Oliver Twist. In The Musical, Oliver!, they get to sing about how wonderful their work looks at the funeral.
- The Undertaker was a series of paperback westerns about an undertaker-turned-gunslinger.
- In the Doctor Who Cattle Punk episode "A Town Called Mercy", the town's undertaker is rather helpful, giving a motivational speech to the Doctor after he ends up marshall of the town. But he can't help pulling out the tape measure each time the Doctor turns his back to him.
- The Undertaker, while well known as a wrestler, no longer fits the Western Character. He began as a mortician character before evolving as a guy has gone from using death to intimidate his opponents to a zombie to the Grim Reaper to a Dark Messiah Cult leader to a Badass Biker and back again as The Artifact. These days he's regarded as the best in the business, the guy who rolls around a few times a year for his WrestleMania streak or to take part in a hot angle.
- Tex Avery MGM Cartoons:
- One non-Western appearance of note is in Tex Avery's Dumb Hounded (the first Droopy cartoon). As the wolf falls down a tall building, an undertaker jumps after him, measures him, and jumps back up.
- Also used in the Tex Avery cartoon Little 'Tinker, in a series of gags in which a skunk is attempting to woo female forest creatures by impersonating Frank Sinatra, and some not-too-subtle jabs at how skinny Sinatra is are made by showing the skunk fall through a knothole on the stage, singing from an iron lung, being outweighed by a feather on a scale, and of course, at one point an undertaker comes up from behind him and measures him for a casket while he's singing.
- In the Looney Tunes short "Drip-Along Daffy", the undertakers have the tallest building in town.
- On a The Flintstones episode where Fred is made sheriff of a western town, he initially mistakes the undertaker as a tailor measuring him for a suit.