Foxy is one of any number of early cartoon characters modeled after the successes of Paul Terry's and Otto Messmer's work in the 1910s and 1920s. Foxy himself is a close cousin to Disney's characters Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (1927) and Mickey Mouse (1928).
In 1925, Hugh Harman drew images of mice on a portrait of Walt Disney. Disney and Ub Iwerks would then use it as an inspiration for their creation of Mickey Mouse, the character who eventually became Disney's most popular. Knowing that Disney and Iwerks had cashed on their little idea, Harman and Ising figured it was only fair that they should conceive a character of a similar mold, thus leading to the birth of Foxy.
Foxy was the star of the first Merrie Melodies cartoons Ising directed for producer Leon Schlesinger. (Ising had already helped his partner Hugh Harman create another series, titled Looney Tunes with the character Bosko.) Foxy's first appearance on screen was in August 1931 in "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!". The cartoon, which shares a set-up with Disney's more swashbucking "The Gallopin' Gaucho", (1928). Like the second Mickey vehicle, "Lady, Play Your Mandolin!" opens with the mounted hero arriving at a Western saloon and falling for the bar singer. Where Mickey ends up chasing and fighting Black Pete, Foxy is instead upstaged by his horse, which gets drunk, introducing a sequence of wild hallucinations.
The character of Foxy and his then-nameless girlfriend would appear in two more cartoons that same year directed by Ising: "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" (September 5, 1931), a musical set on a trolley and usually considered one of the better Ising Merrie Melodies, and "One More Time" (October 3, 1931), a musical cops-'n'-robbers short. Ising retired the character after those three cartoon shorts. Another similar character, named Piggy, replaced him in the October, 1931 short "You Don't Know What You're Doin'!" .
Nevertheless, Foxy was not gone forever. He appeared along with his girlfriend (here christened "Roxy") and fellow forgotten Warner Bros. progenitor Goopy Geer in "Two-Tone Town", an episode of the animated series Tiny Toon Adventures first released on September 28, 1992. The three live in a world of black-and-white which is visited by the series' stars, Babs Bunny and Buster Bunny. The series animators significantly redesigned the foxes for this episode, making them more like the stars of the later series Animaniacs and less like cute cartoons from the 1920s. In the Tiny Toons episode, Foxy was voiced by Rob Paulsen and Roxy was voiced by Desiree Goyette.
- ↑ Kenworthy, John "The Hand Behind the Mouse," Disney Editions: New York, 2001. p.54
- Foxy and Roxy profile at Toonzone.net