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Comic Strip / Little Lulu

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Oh, Luuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuuu! [harp plays]
Little Lulu, Little Lulu, with freckles on your chin
Always in and out of trouble, but mostly always in!
Using Daddy's necktie for the tail of your kite
Using Mommy's lipstick for the letters you write
Though the clock says 7:30, it's really after 10
Looks like Lulu's been repairing it again!
Though you're wild as any Zulu and you're just as hard to tame
Little Lulu, I love you-Lu just the same, the same!
Little Lulu, I love you-Lu just the same!
— Theme song from the Famous Studios shorts

Created by Marjorie Henderson "Marge" Buell in 1935, Little Lulu is a comic strip series from the magazine publication "The Saturday Evening Post". The series follows the titular Lulu Moppet and her several exploits. The supporting cast includes "Tubby" Thomas Tompkins, her friend and sometimes tormentor; Alvin Jones, a neighborhood Bratty Half-Pint; Annie Inch, Lulu's best friend, her brother Iggy Inch, Tubby's friends Willie Wilkins and Eddie Stimson, and George and Martha Moppet, Lulu's parents.

The character had been adapted into a series of theatrical shorts by Famous Studios in the 1940s. However by the late 1940s, the studio execs decided not to renew their license to make anymore Little Lulu cartoons. Because of this, Famous Studios decided to create a similar character by the name of Little Audrey.

Lulu has also appeared in some television cartoons in addition to two live-action specials in the 1970s, Little Lulu and The Big Hex of Little Lulu, with Lauri Hendler playing Lulu. In 1976, a 26-episode anime adaptation titled Little Lulu and Her Little Friends was produced by Nippon Animation. The Little Lulu Show, a Canadian animated series produced by Cinar, aired from 1995 to 1999 on HBO with a total of 52 episodes (airing in Canada at first on CTV, then on Family Channel).

     Famous Studios Filmography 
  • Eggs Don't Bounce (1943)
  • Hullaba-Lulu (1944)
  • Lulu Gets the Birdie (1944)
  • Lulu in Hollywood (1944): First of 3 Little Lulu cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer.
  • Lucky Lulu (1944)
  • It's Nifty to Be Thrifty (1944)
  • I'm Just Curious (1944)
  • Lulu's Indoor Outing (1944)
  • Lulu at the Zoo (1944)
  • Lulu's Birthday Party (1944)
  • Magica-Lulu (1945)
  • Beau Ties (1945)
  • Daffydilly Daddy (1945)
  • Snap Happy (1945)
  • Man's Pest Friend (1945)
  • Bargain Counter Attack (1946): Second of 3 Little Lulu cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer. Public Domain.
  • Bored of Education (1946) Public Domain.
  • Chick and Double Chick (1946) Public Domain.
  • Musica-Lulu (1947): Final of 3 Little Lulu cartoons to have their story written by Otto Messmer. Public Domain.
  • A Scout with the Gout (1947) Public Domain.
  • Loose in a Caboose (1947) Public Domain.
  • Cad and Caddy (1947) Public Domain.
  • A Bout with a Trout (1947) Public Domain.
  • Super Lulu (1947)
  • The Baby Sitter (1947)
  • The Dog Show-Off (1948) Public Domain.
  • Alvin's Solo Flight (1961)
  • Frog's Legs (1961)


  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the anime, Wilbur was changed from being snobbish and antagonistic to Lulu and the others to being a good friend who served as The Smart Guy on some occasions.
  • Afraid of Needles: In an episode of the 1990s Little Lulu, a Badass Biker has been trying to summon the courage to get a tattoo. Near the end of the episode, he observes kids and their mothers coming out of the tattoo parlor with (painted-on) tattoos and nearly collapses on his bike with shame.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • In the cartoon "Musica-Lulu," Lulu sneaks out to play baseball instead of practicing her violin, and when knocked out by a foul ball, she wakes up in a land of musical instruments, who arrest, try and imprison her for her misdeed. When she breaks out of the jail, she is chased and terrorized by the musical instruments. It turns out to be a dream.
    • Pretty much sums up A Bout with the Trout as well- Lulu plays truant and goes fishing instead, and bumped herself unconscious into the surreal music video while struggling to reel a fish in. She then dreams about how skipping school is bad for her.
  • Alpha Bitch: Gloria.
  • An Aesop: Half of the classic shorts seem to be made up of these.
    • The message of A Bout with the Trout is “stay in school or you’ll be sorry”.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Lulu encounters living musical instruments in "Musica-Lulu", but they turn out to have been All Just a Dream.
  • Art Evolution: If you look at the earliest Lulu comic strips, Lulu herself is nearly unrecognizable- much taller, lankier, and with a head that's almost a totally different shape. See here.
  • Babysitting Episode:
    • The idea for Episode 2 of the Little Lulu anime came from the original comics, where Lulu would occasionally come over to babysit Tubby.
    • Numerous comics also had Lulu being forced to look after Alvin.
  • Band Land: Lulu dreams she visits one populated by Animate Inanimate Object instruments in the cartoon episode "Musica-Lulu".
  • Birthday Episode: Multiple:
    • An episode from the 90's series titled, Friends and Enemies involves Lulu trying to invite her friends to her birthday party. Unfortunately, all of Lulu's friends had plans and couldn't attend her party. This led Lulu to invite her enemies Wilbur and Gloria to her birthday party. Towards the end of the episode, Lulu gets a call from Tubby telling her to come to his house. Which reveals that all of Lulu's friends planned a surprise party for her.
    • The 1940's shorts had "Lulu's Birthday Party".
  • Black Bead Eyes: Pretty much every single living thing has these. Kind of creepy..especially since they look awfully familiar to those of the pink elephants.
    • It varies in the 1940's shorts. Some scenes depict the characters with dot eyes, some scenes depict them with normal eyes.
  • Breakout Character: After the first few comics were published, Tubby later began appearing in his own solo comic stories, as well as his own short-lived comic series.
  • Cartoon Whale: In a comic story, Lulu goes to the beach with Alvin. The mischievous little boy flies with a parasol to the sea, landing on a small, black island, making a very worried Lulu swims towards the place. They decide to stay for a while because there are adults still angry with Alvin's pranks, but Lulu finds out she can't fix the parasol on the island, which seems made of rubber. The "island" emerges in pain, revealing itself as a huge, black sperm whale (much like Monstro), that swims desperately to the beach and gets stuck. Lulu and Alvin fall on the sand; she picks up his hand and they run among the crowd that gathers to see the poor stuck animal.
  • Christmas Episode: An episode of the 1990s series consisted entirely of Christmas-themed cartoons.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Relatively common with Tubby and the other boys in Little Lulu.
  • Couch Gag: In the later 1940's shorts that retain the original opening title cards, when the theme song reaches the verse "Though you're wild as any Zulu and you're just as hard to tame", an illustration is shown of Lulu doing something in relation to the short.
  • Crossdresser: In "The Little Lulu Show" episode "Mimibur", Wilbur wants new clothes after he got his clothes torn off by a bear. Lulu helps by giving him girls' clothes and a blonde wig.
    • In the episode "Tubby's Doll", Tubby was given a doll from a Grandaunt who believes he's a girl. That belief was caused because Tubby was wearing a disguise when she last saw him. To get rid of the doll, he tried to take it to Lulu's but, to avoid being recognized on the way to her place, he put another female disguise.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: In the theatrical shorts, Tubby was voiced by Cecil Roy. Also in The Dog Show Off, a Dog Show Boy was voiced by that same actress. Then in The Little Lulu Show, Iggy was voiced by Dawn Ford, and Jane Woods in later episodes. Also in The Little Lulu Show, Annie Inch was voiced by Michael Caloz, better known as the first VA of D.W. in Arthur
  • Culturally Sensitive Adaptation: The theme song to the original animated adaptation said of Lulu "Though you're wild as any Zulu and you're just as hard to tame". When The Little Lulu Show was made in the 1990s, it was changed to "Though you're wild you know it's true, Lu, and you're very hard to tame".
  • Dream Sequence: A number of the classic Little Lulu cartoons from the 1940s contain dream sequences, such as this one.
  • Dunce Cap: In "Bored of Education", Lulu wears one after getting wrong answers from Tubby on a history pop quiz.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "Eggs Don't Bounce" uses a slightly different arrangement of Lulu's theme song than the one which would be used from "Hullaba-Lulu" onward. The opening credits' artwork for each short also rotated until "Snap Happy" at the earliest.
  • Elephants Are Scared of Mice: One short has Lulu releasing a mouse at the circus, causing a stampede of panicking elephants.
  • Forced Transformation:
    • Played with and averted. One 1990s episode, after the boys pranked the girls, trying to make them think they have a curse that would turn them into mice. The girls pranked them back by placing mice inside spare sets of their clothes placing them on the sidewalk as Tubby and Iggy are coming around a corner, making them think the curse they made up was in fact real.
    • Played straight in the 1940s comics, when Lulu tells Alvin stories. Several of them involve a "little girl" (drawn as Lulu herself) meeting a witch named Hazel, who then turns her into something (animate or inanimate). Lulu (sorry, the "little girl") has been turned into a mermaid, a parrot, a mouse (at least twice), a weathervane, and more.
  • Girls Have Cooties: Invoked sometimes by the boys.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Lulu deals with her own pair of shoulder angel and devil in “About with a Trout”. The angel chastises her for skipping school and tries to encourage her to go back while the devil encourages Lulu to go fishing and gets rid of the angel.
  • Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen:
    • In "Five Little Babies", the boys got their clothes stolen by Lulu and Annie while they were swimming, as revenge for a prank that they played on Lulu earlier.
    • When the girls went to an island in the middle of a lake to have a picnic, the boys (minus the one left in charge of guarding their clothes) swam there to steal their picnic basket, and make off in their rowboat so they can't follow them. Unfortunately, the boy guarding the clothes found a row boat and decided to go there to give them the clothes. He got caught by the girls, who used the clothes as leverage for the picnic basket.
  • Gossipy Hens: Martha Moppet, Lulu's Mom, shows this.
  • Go to Your Room!: Lulu's father gives her this command in "Super Lulu".
  • Henpecked Husband: In the short "Beau ties", Tubby dreams he is married to a terrifying henpecking Lulu shouting "GET TO WORK"! every second.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Almost everytime Lulu tells Alvin a story, a poor little girl who resembles Lulu appears. In the 1990 series, she sometimes outright says it's herself while other characters like Tubby show up.
  • Heroic BSoD: In one episode of the 1990 show, Lulu is eavesdropping on the boys in the clubhouse. When the kids ask Tubby what he thinks of Lulu, he calls her the homeliest girl in town. This sends Lulu into a serious depression, though her issue was more towards her appearance, than the fact her best friend insulted her behind her back.
  • Inflating Body Gag: In "A Scout with the Gout", Lulu's father winds up drinking the entire contents of a cave filled with water. This leaves his sloshing so hard that he looks like an ocean wave.
  • In Name Only:
    • A Brazillian comics company has made an Animesque Little Lulu spin-off of sorts where the characters in question are teens. Teen!Lulu is the leader of a clique composed of Tubby, who has been slimmed down and left his violin for a guitar with which he leads a rock band (in which his buddy Iggy plays drums - Willy and Eddy having been Put on a Bus); Annie, the gang's geek and a video game freak; Gloria, the fashion expert (whose characterization took an 180-degree turn from Alpha Bitch to sweet girl), and Alvin, who has become a skateboarder and surfer.
    • It's implied, in the first story arc, that this Lulu's grandma is the original Lulu from the 1940s.
    • Also, the original cartoons produced by Famous Studios in the 1940s were barely true to the comics, keeping only the title character Lulu and some of her friends as occasional extras. And that's about it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tubby.
  • Kangaroo Court: "Musica-Lulu" features this trope in Lulu's dream in which she is tried by a courtroom by musical instruments.
  • Kid Detective: Tubby himself; nicknamed "The Spider". He often gets Lulu out of trouble for things her father did.
  • Limited Animation: The two shorts that Famous Studios produced in the 60s qualify quite noticeably due to the company having drastically lower budgets for their cartoons than in the 40s. The Little Lulu Show also qualifies, but hides it far better.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: The "Lulu-Bites" from the '90s cartoon had no dialogue.
  • The Moving Experience: The Trope Namer is a Little Lulu cartoon that had this premise.
  • Officer O'Hara: Officer Clarence McNabb, who started out as a truant officer in early versions. In later versions, he's depicted as the local neighborhood police officer.
  • Public Domain Animation: A few of the Famous Studios cartoons have entered the Public Domain and can be found on some cheap VHS and DVD sets.
  • Rapid Hair Growth: One story focused on Mr. Moppet lamenting over the fact that he doesn't have a full head of hair anymore like he did back in his youth. This prompts Tubby to use his chemistry set to invent a hair growth formula for Mr. Moppet to use. Unfortunately, the formula works too well, so Mr. Moppet ends up having to constantly get his hair cut, so Tubby invents an antidote that reverses the effect and Mr. Moppet is bald once again.
  • Regal Ringlets: Lulu herself has curls on the sides of her head.
  • Retro Universe: It seems that The Little Lulu Show has everyone still living in the 1930's. Although space travel is possible and Margaret Thatcher was mentioned in a book.
  • Shown Their Work: Unlike the Famous Studios shorts, Cinar's version was incredibly faithful to the comics, both story and animation wise. Most of the stories that were adapted from comics followed them almost verbatim, and their original stories were still true to the style of John Stanley's story writing.
  • Silence, You Fool!: "Musica-Lulu" has one from the Judge:
    Lulu: He's a liar, an awful liar!
    Judge: Silence is what I desire!
  • Snowball Fight: Often occurs in Little Lulu. In most of these, the boys (led by Tubby), attack the girls (led by Lulu) unprovoked, and the girls exact revenge by outwitting the boys.
  • Soap Punishment: One comic has Lulu taking Alvin to the bathroom to wash his mouth out for using dirty words. Alvin, however discovers that he likes the taste of soap and walks away eating the rest of the bar leaving Lulu confused.
  • Treated Worse than the Pet:
    • Gloria occasionally uses the trope to humiliate Tubby. In one story, she asks him to give her dog a bath when he is showing her his new sweater, and won't let him go home to change for the task. The result is not pretty, because Wilbur pushes him into the soapy water. Guess who Gloria invites for an ice cream and who has to go back home soaked and gets in trouble with his mother?
    • In another story, Tubby escapes from Lulu's babysitting (he asked her to play hide-and-seek, knowing that Lulu would invariably hide in the closet and fall asleep) to take Gloria to a movie. Actually, she is going with Wilbur and wants Tubby to pay company to her canary, so the latter won't feel lonely. Tubby goes back home, deciding that spending time with Lulu is not that bad and leaves his glasses with painted eyes watching the bird.
  • Wartime Cartoon: "It's Nifty to Be Thrifty" grazes upon this territory. Lulu asks her father, who is being hammered by the increased taxes of the war, for money to buy candy, and he tells Lulu the story of "The Grasshopper and the Ants" to impress the importance of thrift upon.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: In Lulu's dream sequence from "A Bout with a Trout", Lulu lights a firecracker in an effort to get a mule off her. After the firecracker explodes, she and the mule turn into angels.
  • Writing Lines: Lulu's punishment for playing hooky at the end of "A Bout with a Trout".