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The Tasmanian Devil (later shortened to, and sometimes referenced as, Taz) is one of the main characters of the Looney Tunes series, as well as one of the villains.
Robert McKimson designed the character after the real-life Tasmanian devil, an animal native to Australia, and the Tennessee Top of American folklore; however, the only real resemblance between the real-life marsupial and Robert's beast is their ravenous appetite. In fact, it is this appetite that serves as Taz's main characteristic. The Devil devours everything in sight, including boulders, trees, shrubs, and hills, all the while whirling about like a miniature cyclone that sounds like a dozen motors all whirring in unison.
Taz also harbors a special craving for rabbits.
There have been some descriptions about the Tasmnian Devil in some cartoons.
In "Devil May Hare", it described as "A strong murderous beast - jaws as a steel steel trap - has ravenous appetite - eats tigers, lions, elephants, buffaloes, donkeys, giraffes, octopuses, rhinoceroses, moose, ducks" and of course Taz added in "...and Rabbits."
In "Ducking the Devil", it described "WARNING: The TASMANIAN DEVIL is a powerful, vicious, evil-tempered brute -- hungry at all times -- it will eat anything, but is especially fond of wild duck."
In "Bedevilled Rabbit", in a Tasmania Brochure, it gives this description:
"Beware of the Tasmanian Devil, a vicious, ravenous brute with powerful jaws like a steel trap." It also gives a list of what a Tasmanian Devil Eats:
- Hogs (Pigs)
- Tortoise (Turtles)
- Road Runners
- Guinea Hens,
- Humming Birds
- Tweety Birds
- Water Bufalos
- Octopi (Octopus)
- and especially RABBITS!
And in The Looney Tunes Show episode, "Devil Dog", Daffy described it as: "A wild beast whose insatiable hunger for violence and destruction, combined with his sharp teeth and claws make him the perfect killing machine!"
HungerIt is this hunger that serves as the impetus for McKimson's Devil May Hare (first released on June 19, 1954). The Devil stalks Bugs Bunny, but due to his dim wits and inability to frame complete, rational sentences, he serves as little more than a nuisance. Bugs eventually gets rid of him in the most logical way possible – matching him up with an equally insatiable female Devil. The character's speech, peppered with growls, screeches, and raspberries, is provided by Mel Blanc and now provided by Jim Cummings, who is most famous for doing Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in the Disney cartoons.
Retirement and Return
Producer Edward Selzer, head of the Warner Bros. animation studio, ordered Robert to retire the character since it was "too obnoxious." After a time with no new Devil shorts, Jack Warner asked what had happened. He then saved the Devil's career when he told Selzer that he had received "boxes and boxes" of fan mail from people who liked the character.
As the youngest of the Looney Tunes, Taz is generally portrayed as a dim-witted teenager-type with a notoriously short temper and has little patience. He will eat anything and everything, with an appetite that seems to know no bounds. Taz is best known for his speech consisting mostly of grunts, growls, rasps and screeches, and his ability to spin and bite through just about anything.
PopularityRobert would go on to direct four more Tasmanian Devil cartoons, beginning with "Bedeviled Rabbit" on April 13, 1957. The she-devil returns in this cartoon, now as Mrs. Tasmanian Devil, but she still proves to be the character's weakness when Bugs uses a sexy female devil costume to deliver a bear trap to the ever-hungry brute. Robert would also pair the Devil with Daffy Duck in "Ducking the Devil" (August 17, 1957), before pitting the character against Bugs once again in "Bill of Hare" (June 9, 1962) and "Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare" (March 28, 1964). After Warner Bros. closed its animation studio in 1964, the Tasmanian Devil would remain a nostalgic favorite for many fans.
This late-blossoming popularity would pay off for Taz in Warner Bros. television animation. For example, his miniature understudy, Dizzy Devil, was introduced as a recurring character in the syndicated/Fox Kids television series, Tiny Toon Adventures (first released on January 3, 1990).
On September 7, 1991, Taz got his own show, Taz-Mania, set in the typical native island of his species, in a 1950s-era animated household. Taz now had a sister, a rambunctious little brother, a June Cleaver-esque mother, and a decidedly nonchalant father.
Taz is also popular in licenced merchandise, especially resort souvenir T-shirts.
- The Tasmanian Devil made a cameo appearance in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, it shows Scooby drinking a blue potion and it turned him into the Tasmanian Devil.
Taz in Taz-Mania
Taz (voiced by Jim Cummings) is the central character of the series and appears in every episode.
The plots of most of the episodes are based upon the relationships various characters have with Taz, thus cast as a not-too-bright teenager in most episodes and is less ferocious than his original incarnation. He is sometimes portrayed as a vicious predator, consuming anything with an everlasting appetite scarring much of the native wildlife. Most of the time, Taz speaks in grunts, growls, and rasps, which other characters seem to understand and is able to spin like a tornado and break through many objects. He also has a calm and caring side to him seen when he is around his friends and family. Taz works as a bellhop at the Hotel Taz-mania. He likes food and Christmas a lot but has a great dislike of water often voicing his displeasure with "Taz hate water!" when in close proximity.
- Devil May Hare (June 19, 1954)
- Bedevilled Rabbit (April 13, 1957)
- Ducking the Devil (August 17, 1957)
- Bill of Hare (June 9, 1962)
- Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare (March 28, 1964)
- Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales
- Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island (1983)
- Taz-Mania, voiced by Jim Cummings
- Looney Tunes: Back In Action (2003), voiced by Brendan Fraser
- Space Jam (1996), voiced by Dee Bradley Baker
- Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006), voiced by Jim Cummings
- The Looney Tunes Show, voiced by Jim Cummings
- Baby Looney Tunes, voiced by Ian James Corlett
- Dee Bradley Baker: Space Jam
- Mel Blanc: 1954 - 1987
- Jim Cummings: 1990–present
- Brendan Fraser: Looney Tunes: Back In Action
- Ian James Corlett: Baby Looney Tunes
- Kevin Shinick: Mad
- Noel Blanc: Tiny Toon Adventures
- Main article: Tasmanian Devil/Gallery