8 things you never noticed in the Daffy Duck classic ''The Scarlet Pumpernickel''

This beloved Looney Tunes short was a true rarity for a number of reasons.

In the pantheon of Daffy Duck cartoons, "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" sits high. It is one of the most memorable shorts with the Duck, a true showcase for his self-centered personality. 

Like "Duck Amuck," it is a meta concept, treating Daffy as an employee of Warner Bros. studios desperate for bigger and better roles. 

But this is no mere Daffy Duck cartoon. "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" is special because it brings together a rare cast of favorite characters, from the introduction to Daffy's "girlfriend" to some other seldom-seen pairings. Let's take a look.

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1. Just one of three original shorts with Melissa Duck.


In modern Looney Tunes lore, Daffy's flame Melissa Duck plays a more prominent role. She's a lead character in Baby Looney Tunes, which aired in the early 2000s. However, in the original run of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, Melissa, like the other female counterparts, is a rare sighting. A prototype of the character first popped up in "Nasty Quacks" (1945). "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" marked her debut by name. A few years later, she appeared in "Muscle Tussle"… and that was it for more than three-and-a-half decades, until she found a role in the revival "The Duxorcist."

2. Mel Blanc voiced Elmer Fudd, which was not the norm.


Arthur Q. Bryan was the go-to voice for Elmer. In this particular short, however, Elmer had a mere sliver of dialogue, so it was decided that Mel Blanc would handle it. However, Blanc bristled at imitating a colleague. He felt it to be a form of artistic theft, so explained Michael Barrier in the commentary track for "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1 DVD collection.

3. "J.L." is Jack Warner


The concept of the cartoon is that Daffy, tired of comedy, wants to prove his thespian skills as a serious actor. So he had prepared a (lengthy) script to present to the studio boss, "J.L." That would be Jack L. Warner, head of Warner Bros. We even get a nice aerial view of the Warner Bros. lot, as it looked back then.

4. Daffy has a middle name.


On the first part of his script, we see Daffy's middle name: Dumas. This is clearly just a literary joke, a reference to Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Muskateers. In Baby Looney Tunes, Granny at one point calls Daffy "Daffy Horacio Tiberius Duck." About a decade later, in The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy has both middle names Armando and Sheldon. Does that officially make him Daffy Dumas Horacio Tiberius Armando Sheldon Duck?

5. This is the only time Sylvester speaks in a Chuck Jones cartoon.


What did Chuck Jones have against Sylvester? The animator previously paired Sylvester and Porky in the horror-themed shorts "Scaredy Cat" (1948), "Claws for Alarm" (1954) and "Jumpin' Jupiter" (1955). In those, Sylvester was a true scaredy-cat — and mute. Friz Freleng created the character, who gave the cat his most familiar traits. Robert McKimson faithfully used Sylvester, but Art Davis also made Sylvester a mute — and gave him a dopey, lisp-less voice in a different short.

6. It has a lot of rare pairings.


For fans of Looney Tunes characters, this is a true gem. It packs in character, who typically did not all cross over in such a way. "Scarlet Pumpernickel" is one of three cartoons to pair Sylvester and Daffy together (the other two being "It's Nice to Have a Mouse Around the House" and "A Taste of Catnip"). And speaking of Chuck again, this the only Chuck Jones cartoon in which Sylvester and Elmer are paired together — all of the other four were directed by Friz Freleng.

7. Jones snuck in another familiar fairy tale character.


Did you spot "Mama Bear" from The Three Bears in this? Chuck Jones used the classic fairy tale figures in "Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears" in 1944, and later in "What's Brewin', Bruin?" — as well as "The Bee-Deviled Bruin," "Bear Feat" and "A Bear for Punishment." This is Mama Bear's only solo appearance — she's typically with Papa ("Henry") and Junyer (or "Junior").

8. It's not the only Looney Tunes cartoon with kreplach.


Daffy's plot goes off the rails in the final act, with a volcano exploding and skyrocketing inflation. We see a plate with a single kreplach and a sign reading: "Kreplach $1,000.00 Each." What is a kreplach, you ask? They are an Ashkenazi Jewish food, similar to ravioli, traditionally eaten on holidays such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Purim. In 1962, the food would return in "Shishkabugs," as Yosemite Sam is a chef cooking a meal for a king. He serves the royal "Prime Rib of Mutton au Jus with Kreplach Sauce Bordelaise."

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Hogansucks1 40 months ago
One of Sylvester’s funniest portrayals - ALL of the creators and countless people involved with most of Looney Tunes cartoons, were genius ,out of the box thinkers. FUN-pretzel twisted, salty cartoon magic!!! (with mustard) 😂 🧐
Bigmama420 40 months ago
It is one of the classics! Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, Tweety, Wile E coyote, Roadrunner, Elmer, Yosemite, Speedy Gonzales, and last but not least Call Puma and you got to love Helga and the mad scientist. Classic classic classic. Take me back to my childhood. I love MeTV♥️👍🤘
queequeg 40 months ago
Great article! A couple thoughts, if you will kindly indulge:
- It's Musketeers. you know, like a musket. ;-)
- Not sure it's "clearly a reference", but I wouldn't argue too hard with you about Alexandre Dumas, despite his non-association with the Scarlet Pimpernel; who knows for sure? My gut take on that is the double-entendre of the mispronunciation of the name "Dumas". It's an old trope. Those guys didn't miss a trick.
Hogansucks1 queequeg 40 months ago
‘The Best’ - for me! The others that come close are Tex Avery cartoons, Ren & Stimpy and a few others. Love it. Laughter really IS the ‘Best Medicine’ !! 😊
shellymarie 40 months ago
how cool and interesting. i never knew any of these facts. daffy duck and marvin the martian and k-9 are my favs.
DerekBird 40 months ago
Kreplach was also mentioned by Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory's Pilot episode where the guys are playing "Klingon Boggle".
Aventurero62 DerekBird 38 months ago
I love the chicken kreplach soup I buy at Langer's Deli in Los Angeles.
nemalki 40 months ago
I was pleasantly surprised to see the short air intact and uncut today, a rarity for broadcast and even cable television. Another fun tidbit is the surprising absence of Bugs Bunny and Tweety in this while the stars they're typically paired with (Elmer and Sylvester) were present, though I think that's more of an ego thing on Daffy's part, and he didn't want to share billing with that rabbit. Great short.
David 40 months ago
Perhaps Daffy Dumas was meant as an insult, Daffy Dumb@ss, I'm sure a kid somewhere mispronounced Dumas after 1950, the year this cartoon was produced.
trogg888 40 months ago
just saw this sat. what a great cartoon. liked the references to errol flynn,however stewart granger was the scarlet pimpernel in the movie
VinnieVinson 40 months ago
The MeTV showings are the only chance a lot of people, maybe just kids, have had to see the classic cartoons. I so wish MeTV would show them in their original aspect ratio, without "zooming" the middle of the picture. As is, we're losing material from the top and bottom of the pictures. How about it, MeTV? Your competitor, Antenna TV, does things right!
ERROL VinnieVinson 40 months ago
Barry22 40 months ago
Kreplach can be eaten anytime of the year. Take it from someone who knows. Seriously, really want to thank Me-TV for showing these classic cartoons, they're great and I am enjoying them.
Coloumbo 41 months ago
This is still a great cartoon now I understand it even more!!! As kid I knew a lot about this cartoon but now it’s all makes cartoon sense!!! I’m so blessed that I was 7 years old In 1984, I was able to see some of greatness cartoons that a kid will go crazy for !!! My life is cartoon laughing and never taking things to serious and never hurt anyone don’t lie because when a man lies he murder some part off the world. Cartoons are cold as hell yo 😎🥶❤️
You were blessed to be 7 years old in 1984, I was blessed to be 23 years old in 1984. {The year of Big Brother.} I was blessed to be 7 years old in 1968.
What "Big Brother"?
Tlor Mario500 40 months ago
LOLOL shades of George Orwell!!
David Mario500 40 months ago
You may want to read the book, " 1984 ", written by George Orwell, it used to be required reading in some high schools.
I was referencing George Orwell's book "1984," one of the character's names is "Big Brother."
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