Porky Pig was the first true star character to be adorned on the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies franchisesnote Bosko fans in the back, please sit down., and an icon of animation. This lovable swine has earned recognition for his cute looks, his legendary stutter, and his many escapades with fellow screwball Daffy Duck. He has starred in the second most cartoons in the franchises, with 159 appearances in the original theatrical cartoons, second only to Bugs Bunny's 168 short lineup and ahead of Daffy Duck's 129 short lineup (although he shared 42 shorts with Daffy).Porky Pig as a character was instrumental in saving the Warner Bros. cartoon studio from going under—by 1935, the studio had been in the doldrums after studio founders Harman And Ising left, taking early star character Bosko The Talk Ink Kid with them to MGM, leaving them with four things—the names "Looney Tunes", "Merrie Melodies", "That's All, Folks!", and the virtually worthless, hastily cooked up Expy for Bosko, the incredibly bland Buddy. Suffice to say, the studio was in serious need of a kick in the pants, so in an effort to save the studio, Friz Freleng cooked up a batch of Funny Animal characters based on the Our Gang series of shorts, as well as his childhood memories, who all made their debut in the Merrie Melodies cartoon "I Haven't Got a Hat": the troublemaking Beans the Cat, cute little Kitty the Cat, Ham and Ex the twin puppies, Oliver Owl the bookworm, and a pudgy little piglet with an uncontrollable stutter, intended as the sidekick for Beans.While he barely had over a minute of screentime in said short, Porky was an immediate hit with audiences—the first real star character the studio had. However, the studio seemed to think that Beans the Cat was going to be their next big character, so they tried a second cartoon, "Gold Diggers of '49", with young director Fred Avery at the directing helms, starring Beans and a heavily redesigned Porky as his sidekick. Once again, the pig won out as the next big thing, thus establishing him as the official mascot of the studio, while Beans and other "Our Gang" deriative ensemble quickly faded away soon after. He even replaced Bosko's farewell to the audience at the end of the proper Looney Tunes series and immortalized "Th-th-th-th-th-that's all, Folks!", even to this day.However, Porky's popularity was not to last—for another star stole his thunder two years later, in one of Porky's most beloved cartoons: Porky's Duck Hunt. The star in question was a crazy darnfool Daffy Duck.Around the late 30's, Porky would start becoming a more fleshed out character, especially in the hands of Bob Clampett, who made him a more peppy, youthful individual who frequently went on adventures across the world, resulting in some very interesting trips, especially his journey to the home of the fabled Do-Do bird in "Porky in Wackyland". Frank Tashlin would also make several shorts with Porky, portraying him as an innocent every-man type personality.While Daffy foreshadowed Porky's downfall in popularity, when Bugs Bunny arrived in 1940, it became clear that Porky's days as a major star were coming to an end. Fortunately, he still managed to appear in plenty of his own shorts, and eventually became the tagalong of Daffy Duck, starring classics like "Robin Hood Daffy" and "Duck Dodgers". He's currently appearing in The Looney Tunes Show, so at least he's getting a bit of work.Here's a bit of interesting trivia for you: there are only THREE (or depending on how you feel about "Porky's Hare Hunt" and "Dumb Patrol", five) of the original theatrical cartoons that have starred Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny together—A Corny Concerto, Porky Pig's Feat and "Any Bonds Today?"On a side note, Harman And Ising had already cooked up their own pig character in the early 30's as a Expy for their Mickey Mousewannabe Foxy, called "Piggy", although this character was just another non-descript run of the mill Mickey Mouse clone, with nothing in common with Porky.Joe Doughtery (a man with a real stutter) was his original voice. He was quickly taken over by Mel Blanc. Unlike the rest of his co-stars, who have had various actors voice them depending on the director and producer, Porky has the unparalleled distinction of almost always being voiced by Bob Bergen, and has been for decades.
All Merrie Melodies cartoons up to "Nothing But The Tooth" and color Looney Tunes ("My Favorite Duck" to "Little Orphan Airedale") were syndicated to TV through a.a.p. (Associated Artists Productions). The black-and-white Looney Tunes ("Golddigers Of '49" to "Porky's Cafe") were part of the Sunset/Guild package. All others were either shown on network TV (The Bugs Bunny Show or The Porky Pig Show) or syndicated through the Porky Pig And Friends package.
I Haven't Got a Hat (MM, Freleng) - Porky's first appeareance
Into Your Dance - (MM, Freleng) - Cameo in early "story sketches" instead of the stuttering dog which appeared in the final print.
Gold Diggers of '49 (LT, Avery) - Porky co-stars along with Beans the Cat. Tex Avery's first directorial effort at the Looney Tunes studio.
Plane Dippy (LT, Avery) - Redrawn in color 1967.
Alpine Antics (LT, King) - "Beans" series, cameo
The Phantom Ship (LT, King) - "Beans" series, cameo; with Ham and Ex
Boom Boom (LT, King) - "Beans" series
The Blow Out (LT, Avery) - First cartoon in the "Porky" series, instead of the "Beans" series
Westward Whoa (LT,King) - final appeareance of Porky in the "Beans" series
Fish Tales (LT, King) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Shanghaied Shipmates (LT, King)
Porky's Pet (LT, King)
Porky the Rainmaker (LT, Avery) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Poultry Plant (LT, Tashlin) - Carl Stalling's first cartoon which he scored, credited directorial debut of Frank Tashlin; redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Moving Day (LT, King) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Milk and Money (LT, Avery)
Little Beau Porky (LT, Tashlin) - first LT cartoon to use musical notes background on opening title; redrawn in color, 1967.
The Village Smithy (LT, Avery) - Believed to be the first cartoon to use off-screen narrator and the characters talking back at him. Also the first to use "Porky Sig(nature)" as the opening theme. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky in the North Woods (LT, Tashlin)
Porky the Wrestler (LT, Avery) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Road Race (LT, Tashlin) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Picador Porky (LT, Avery) - This is the first episode featuring Mel Blanc (as Porky's buddies—the bull was voiced by Billy Bletcher). Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Romance (LT, Tashlin) - The last time Joe Dougherty voiced Porky, first appeareance of Petunia Pig. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Duck Hunt (LT, Avery) - This is the first episode that Porky was voiced by Mel Blanc, first appeareance of Daffy Duck. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky and Gabby (LT, Iwerks) One of two Looney Tunes directed by Ub Iwerks and first of four parceled out to his studio. Debut of Gabby Goat. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Building (LT, Tashlin)
Porky's Super Service (LT, Iwerks): The second of the four Looney Tunes parceled out to the Ub Iwerks studio. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Badtime Story (LT, Clampett): Directorial debut of Bob Clampett. Third of four cartoons parceled out to the Ub Iwerks studio. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Railroad (LT, Tashlin) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Get Rich Quick Porky (LT, Clampett) - Last of the cartoons parceled out to the Ub Iwerks studio. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Garden (LT, Avery) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Rover's Rival (LT, Clampett) - first Looney Tunes cartoon with Porky Pig's drum ending and first to use "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" as the opening theme. Redrawn in color, 1967.
The Case of the Stuttering Pig (LT, Tashlin) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Double Trouble (LT, Tashlin)
Porky's Hero Agency (LT, Clampett) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Poppa (LT, Clampett) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky at the Crocadero (LT, Tashlin)
What Price Porky (LT, Clampett)
Porky's Phoney Express (LT, Dalton/Howard) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Five and Ten (LT, Clampett) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Hare Hunt (LT, Hardaway) - Prototype Bugs Bunny's first appearance. Redrawn in color, 1967.
Injun Trouble (LT, Clampett) - only cartoon in this year to feature the 1940-1946 Porky Pig drum ending. Remade in 1946 as "Wagon Heels." Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky the Fireman (LT, Tashlin) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Party (LT, Clampett) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky's Spring Planting (LT, Tashlin) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Porky & Daffy (LT, Clampett) - Redrawn in color, 1967.
Wholly Smoke (LT, Tashlin) - Copies of the 1967 redrawn edition of this cartoon was dubbed in Spanish and got dropped into the U.S. syndication package.
Beware the Nice Ones: Generally a nice guy and has a long fuse, but set that temper off, and you better get clear. The Ducksters is the clearest example: even before he wins his prize money, Porky is enraged enough to be ready to punch out Daffy when he is threatened and when Porky does win, he immediately buys out the radio company and gets his sweet revenge with all the sadism he suffered now being lashed out in return.
Breakout Character / Ascended Extra: Porky barely had any screen time and a small role in "I Haven't Got A Hat", and was meant to be a sidekick to Beans, but his likable Straight Man role and distinct voice made it clear who the real star was.
Butt Monkey: Porky wound up as this often, especially in his later cartoons.
This got toned down as his co stars started to gain their own luckless streak. He played The Fool when paired with Sylvester and became Daffy Duck's Hyper Competent Sidekick after the former evolved into a luckless Small Name, Big Ego. In comparison to these two, Porky generally took very few lumps in his later years.
Demoted to Extra: As noted above, he was the first big star to emerge from the Warner stable and headlined a number of shorts. Even after Daffy Duck first appeared, he was still a star, but his leading roles began to decrease by 1942. While he had a long successful partnership with Daffy, 1943's Porky Pig's Feat was the last short to give him top billing over the duck. Much of his mid-40s and onward work consisted of Porky playing sidekick to zanier characters, with his own series limping to an end in 1951. Even into the 21st Century, his screentime is severely trumped by the other characters. Animator Mike Fontanelli (who works for Warner Bros.) claims that Porky's current downplaying is a result of an unexplained dislike of the character by many Warner Bros. executives.
Though often placed as The Everyman of the franchise, many shorts placed Porky with some distinctive traits, ranging anywhere from a rather naive and somewhat doormat-ish figure to a neurotic and occasionally violent tempered fuddy duddy (since both extremes were often provoked by his co stars, which persona was used usually depended how sympathetic they wanted them to be in comparison, especially with Daffy).
In the 1930s shorts, Porky Pig appeared variously as a young child or as a grown-up.
Determinator: In "Duck Soup To Nuts", he uses a pail to bail out an entire pond in pursuit of Daffy.
Early-Installment Weirdness: Those of you who are used to watching his 40's and 50's cartoons may be quite surprised to see how different Porky was in his 30's cartoons, where he was a little kid, as well as morbidly obese in his early appearances.
Hero Antagonist: As Daffy became more and more the star of the series, Porky started to take on this role in their rivalry. This is particularly evident in shorts where he is an authority figure who is just trying to stop Daffy causing trouble (eg. "Daffy Doodles", Riff Raffy Daffy"). Depending on the level of Daffy's lunacy however, there's sometimes a shade of He Who Fights Monsters.