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Western Animation / Dudley Do-Right

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Always do right, Dudley Do-Right!

Originally a supporting character on Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right was an endearingly (to the audience, at least) incompetent officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, spoofing silent-movie melodramas. Apparently the only officer in his regiment, Dudley took orders from Inspector Ray Fenwick while protecting the inspector's daughter, Nell, as well as the rest of Canada, from the schemes of the wicked Snidely Whiplash. Or so he thinks. Truth is, Dudley mostly saves the day by sheer luck or the competence of his horse, but he nevertheless takes credit just the same.

In the late 1960s, Dudley headlined his own half-hour Animated Anthology series on ABC, which repackaged the original Jay Ward-produced Dudley segments from Rocky and Bullwinkle along with additional cartoons from Total Television. In 1999, Universal released a live-action Dudley Do-Right movie directed by Hugh Wilson and starring Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Alfred Molina. That same year, the show went on to inspire a log flume attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure, titled, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls.

Dudley Do-Right provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Animals Are Dogs: Snidely once trained an elephant named Spot to scratch behind his ears, and used Spot to win a dog-sled contest in Skagway.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Dudley likes Nell, but she only has eyes for his horse.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Exactly why Snidely Whiplash has pea-green skin is never explained. He must be just that evil.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The show is vaguely set somewhere in the range of the 1890s to the 1920s or so. Some episodes get more specific, but such specifics are never maintained consistently from episode to episode due to the use of Negative Continuity. Either that or no one ever ages.
  • Anachronism Stew: Too many to list. Perhaps most notably, the RCMP wasn't founded until 1920, so Dudley should be working for its predecessor, the NWMP, in episodes that are explicitly set pre-1920.
  • Animation Bump: The few shorts done in the U.S. (usually animated by Gerard Baldwin) look better than the ones done in Mexico as usual. The most striking difference is that the mouth movements are more specific and fluid.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Inspector Fenwick instructed Dudley to get himself kicked out of the service in order to investigate Snidely Whiplash's fur-smuggling operation while in disguise. Dudley's attempts had initially backfired, as the building he burned down was condemned anyway and blowing up the dam solved an irrigation crisis. When instructed by Fenwick to not try, Dudley actually succeeded in the step by eating peas with a knife, something no Mountie should ever do.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "Recruiting Campaign", Snidely Whiplash creates an ape-like monster named Finster. The episode ends with Finster having destroyed the RCMP fort and beaten Dudley so badly he's in a wheelchair.
  • Batman Gambit: In "Coming Out Party", Inspector Fenwick decides to give Nell a coming out party, despite the fact that she's thirty-seven, and invite Snidely Whiplash. The reason? Fenwick figures that Snidely won't be able to resist a good party. Then he'll check his top hat and cape, which will be replaced with a checked coat and a Bullwinkle hat: a beanie with moose antlers. Fenwick reasons that when Snidely tries to collect mortgages wearing a moose hat, he'll be laughed out of every home he tries to seize. The plan works, but then Dudley tries on Snidely's top hat and cape and goes berserk. He calls himself "Archvillain Dudley Do-Right" and ties at least twenty-seven old ladies to the railroad tracks.
    [Snidely, wearing the checked coat and the Bullwinkle hat, stands at the doorway of a house, showing a ragged woman and her son a mortgage deed.]
    Snidely: Either pay me the money, or out into the cold you go!
    [The mother and son both guffaw.]
    Mother: Look at that funny moose hat!
    Snidely: [tearfully] Oh, please pay me the mortgage! Please, will you?
    [The mother and son are still laughing.]
    Mother: Such a funny hat!
    [Snidely, shoulders slumped in despair, turns and walks out.]
  • Bound and Gagged: Happens to Nell a lot, naturally.
  • Bride and Switch: One episode had Dudley pull this trick on Snidely Whiplash, who was trying to marry Nell, by replacing Nell with his horse. (It worked!)
  • Brown Note: In "The Masked Jennie Lynn," Nell's singing voice puts anyone who hears it to sleep. Snidely uses this effect to loot her audiences. Dudley turns out to be immune.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Exaggerated in "Saw Mill"; despite being the damsel in distress, Dudley arrested Nell for mail fraud, because she put a Blue Chip stamp on the envelope she sent to Dudley to rescue her.
  • Canada, Eh?: We know, you're shocked. Though, amusingly enough to the trope name, the trailing "eh?" is one of the few stereotypes NOT on full display.
  • Canadian Western: Contains elements of this.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: In the film, Snidely decides as a child that he's going to grow up to be a bad guy.
  • Chained to a Railway:
    • The very opening sequence of the show.
    • One episode portrayed it as an addiction for Snidely. He not only ties women to railroad tracks, but Nell, Horse, Inspector Fenwick, and even himself.
    • One story's last panel features an insurance salesman trying to sell Snidely Whiplash a special villains' policy by saying it'll cover him if he's struck by a train while tying someone to a railroad track.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: In "Coming Out Party", after the Mounties have seized Snidely Whiplash's top hat and cape, Dudley tries on said hat and cape and goes berserk. He calls himself "Archvillain Dudley Do-Right" and ties at least twenty-seven old ladies to the railroad tracks. Inspector Fenwick tells Snidely what's happened, then suggests that Snidely become a Mountie and apprehend Dudley. Once in uniform, Snidely feels heroic, and he easily brings Dudley to justice.
  • Comedic Hero: Our hero blunders his way through life in the least adept way possible. Still, he somehow always saves the day.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the episode "Out of Uniform", Whiplash steals Do-Right's clothes (making him too ashamed to show his face, not because he's naked, but because he's out of uniform, which to him, is far worse), Do-Right comes up with a clever way of getting even later: He swipes Whiplash's clothes.
  • Damsel in Distress: Nell. Although frequently she has to save herself because Dudley would never manage it.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the film was a box office failure, it somewhat retains the style of comedy we all know and love in Dudley Do-Right. However a chunk of the film focuses on Dudley being the bad guy in order to ruin Whiplash's reputation as the Bad Guy doing good. What does Dudley do as his first act of evil? He takes Snidely's best henchman and tortures him with a sawmill. It's really papier mache, but he didn't know that.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Partial Trope Namer.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Snidely plans to do away with Dudley by flicking a huge boulder known as Flicker Rock onto him. Dudley seems unharmed at first but then begins having visual and audio hallucinations, including Circling Birdies. When Nell confronts Snidely about this...
    Snidely: But, Nell, I only meant to flatten him. I didn't mean him any real harm!
  • A Dog Named "Dog":
    • Horse, Dudley's horse.
    • And as a once-removed example, Dudley's recurring pet wolf, Faithful Dog (named after... it's a long story).
  • Dudley Do-Right Stops to Help: The Trope Namer, of course.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: In Foreclosing Mortgages, Dudley fails to make the payment on the Mountie Camp due to Nell using the money for clothes shopping. When Inspector Fenwick berates him, Dudley points out that he was the one who lost the camp to Snidely Whiplash due to gambling.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • When Snidely tells Homer (his only named henchman) of his plan to do away with Dudley by flicking Flicker Rock onto him...
      Homer: [indignantly] Gee, Snidely, that's an unpleasant thing to do!
    • Snidely feels genuine remorse when he realizes he's given Dudley head trauma, and he and Homer become determined to cure him.
  • Fiery Redhead: Nell, particularly when she gets fed up with Dudley's (or another character's) stupidity.
  • Foot Bath Treatment: In "Saw Mill," Nell gives Dudley this treatment after he tried to swim in a frozen river.
  • Genre Savvy: The 1999 live-action film has this in spades. The characters are fully aware that they inhabit a formulaic melodrama, and they're quite comfortable with all the attendant absurdities. Any deviation from the fixed conventions of the genre, however, causes them deep existential anxiety and confusion.
  • Godiva Hair: Dudley in one episode. Though in this case, it was a beard.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Played for laughs as Snidely kidnaps Dudley with the intent of replacing him with a robot duplicate. This backfires, as the robot is better at being a Mountie than Dudley!
  • Good Is Dumb: Pretty much the series' entire hat.
  • Hard Head: Subverted in "Flicker Rock," where Dudley initially seems unharmed by having a boulder dropped on his head but then begins having visual and audio hallucinations. Nell bringing him back to the scene of the crime fixes it, Easy Amnesia style.
  • Idiot Ball: Quite deliberately invoked. Both Fenwick and Snidely can be as stupid as Dudley if the comedy calls for it.
  • Idiot Hero:
    • Yeah. One memorable incident involved Dudley discovering his commanding officer Bound and Gagged, but simply thinking he was bundled up against the cold, and deciding to throw another log on the fire. However...
      Narrator: In the dim light, that dim-wit threw in the fireplace not firewood but firearms!
    • Fortunately for them both, the fire cooked off the ammunition, which scared off the criminals that had taken over the post.
    • The Movie gives us an example when Dudley decides to test whether or not the woman at the door who claims to be Nell is a vampire (Snidely put the idea in his head that vampires were about) by asking her a question any true Canadian would know: What is Wayne Gretzky's middle name?note  Nell points out that she doesn't know and then asks if he knows. Dudley realizes he doesn't, and then realizes something worse:
      Dudley: I am a vampire!
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Spoofed in "The Disloyal Canadians." In order to infiltrate Snidely Whiplash's crew and expose him as a fur smuggler, Inspector Fenwick ordered Dudley to dirty his own record and get kicked out of the Mounties. After two failures at getting thrown out, Dudley stopped trying and ate peas with a knife, something no Mountie would ever do, and got drummed out, allowing phase 2 of his mission to go through.
  • Interactive Narrator: Happens on occasion.
    Snidely: [previously introduced in a title card as "Played by Larry Sabu"] So they're short on Mounties, eh? Well, I'll fill their ranks or my name isn't Larry Sabu!
    Narrator: I beg your pardon, Mr. Sabu, but in this picture you're playing Snidely Whiplash.
    Snidely: [emerging from behind a tree and wearing tennis togs] You play Snidely Whiplash. I played him yesterday and he beat me, six love!
  • Interspecies Romance: Nell and Horse.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Dudley's is so exaggerated it actually looks... phallic.
  • Lawful Stupid: Dudley. In one notable episode, Snidely kidnaps Nell at her wedding to Dudley. A couple days later, Dudley receives a letter from his abducted bride delivered from Snidely's sawmill. He refuses to open it because it isn't stamped. So he rides to the sawmill, gets Nell (who is tied to a log being fed into the sawblades) to stamp the letter, then rides back to the Mountie post before opening it. An hour and a half later, after finally receiving coherent orders to rescue Nell (Inspector Fenwick flubbed a line), he rides back to the sawmill (thankfully, the sawmill was seriously in need of maintenance or else Nell would have been in pieces by this point). After saving Nell, he then proceeds to arrest her for mail fraud since what she put on the envelope wasn't a legal stamp.
  • Malevolent Mugshot: Snidely seems to frequently get his photo taken while actually committing a crime.
  • The Movie: A Live-Action Adaptation
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Not only did Snidely Whiplash fit this Trope when the show aired, but as the Dastardly Whiplash Trope proves, his name has become synonymous with villains like him in modern culture.
  • Narrator: Paul Frees narrates the TV series and Corey Burton narrates the 1999 film.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dudley is (to some extent, at least) a caricature of Nelson Eddy's Mountie character in Rudolf Friml's Rose-Marie, and has a tendency to break into Eddy's signature melody, "Shortnin' Bread."
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Lots of Stuff Blowing Up, but since it wouldn't be light-hearted comedy if anyone actually got hurt...
  • Robot Me: "Mechanical Dudley" has Snidley Whiplash create a robotic double of Dudley Do-Right with the intention to replace the real Dudley. For its' voice, it plays a record of Dudley's voice saying only three lines: "Yes sir, Inspector Fenwick!", "Hello, Nell!" and "It's tommy this and tommy that and shuck him out the brute. But it's savior of his country when the guns begin to shoot!" Of course in true Jay Ward fashion, Hilarity Ensues when the robot Dudley turns out to be a better Mountie than the REAL Dudley!
  • Rock Beats Laser: In The Movie, at one point, in order to combat Snidely's encroaching army, Dudley and his gang of natives start an avalanche.
    Snidely: That's not fair! They've got giant rocks—all we've got are these machine-guns!
  • Setting Update: The cartoon takes place sometime around the turn of the 20th century, as befitting the fact that it's a spoof of silent melodramas. However, the 1999 live-action film is set in the Present Day.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In one episode, Dudley is tasked with stopping Snidely from interfering with a top-secret project on a mountain overlooking the RCMP camp. He is successful, but the project turns out to be a giant carving of Snidley's face in the mountain.
  • Showing Up Chauvinists: In one episode, Dudley and Nell switch places, with Dudley keeping house while Nell becomes a Mountie. Nell ends up managing to capture every criminal and lowlife in Canada, to the dismay of Dudley and Inspector Fenwick, who fear this could lead to women's suffrage.
  • Show Some Leg: In "Trading Places", Nell captures Snidely's gang by stripping down to her undergarments to distract them.
  • Singing Mountie: The 1999 live-action film shows Dudely and Nell singing the romantic duet "When I'm Calling You," in the style of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald in the musical film Rose Marie.
  • True Blue Femininity: Nell wears a blue dress and a blue ribbon in her hair, probably because pink would clash with Dudley's red uniform.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dudley Do Right


Dudley Do-Right Intro

Snidely Whiplash ties Nell to the train tracks, but Dudley saves her

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChainedToARailway

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