Looney Tunes considered many different names for Yosemite Sam

Does "Denver Dan" sound like "the meanest, roughest, toughest hombre that's ever crossed the Rio Grande" to you?

\'Along Came Daffy\' / Warner Bros.

Read to Me

One of the toughest characters that Bugs Bunny ever comes up against is Yosemite Sam.

Though short, the hot-tempered gunslinger with the bushy red mustache and eyebrows was much quicker to pick up on Bugs Bunny's tricks than some of the slower adversaries of the wascally wabbit. (We're looking at you, Elmer Fudd.)

Created in 1944 by animator Friz Freleng, Yosemite Sam is rumored to be based on the colorful animator himself. It's said even Freleng's daughter noted she saw the resemblance between the iconic character and her dad.

Freleng flatly denied basing the character off himself and claimed the character was influenced instead by many characters he loved, including some created by Tex Avery and Red Skelton, as well as a Toonerville Trolley comic strip character named Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang.

When coming up with the name for Yosemite Sam, there were a few other titles considered for the character first, including Texas Tiny, Wyoming Willie and Denver Dan.

None of those names sound quite right when you are so accustomed to thinking of the little man who's blown his last fuse as Yosemite Sam.

It seems that when choosing a name, animators just couldn't decide on where the origin story of Yosemite Sam should begin.

In the end, his name references Yosemite National Park, which is located in not Texas, Wyoming, nor Colorado, but in California.

Among Looney Tunes characters, Yosemite Sam sticks out because, along with Elmer Fudd and Granny, he's one of the few human characters we regularly see in the universe.

And for sure, of all the humans, Yosemite Sam's depicted as the one with the most malicious intentions. That's because when Freleng created Yosemite Sam, he really was trying in earnest to make one of Bugs Bunny's worthiest adversaries. In Chuck Jones: Conversations, animator Chuck Jones explained how Freleng made Yosemite Sam so memorable.

"He took a grown man and had him act like a baby," Jones said. "If anything displeased him, he'd bellow and scream."

In his other book, Chuck Amuck, Jones said Freleng had a similar duality of his own. Jones said that Freleng was "insane, to be sure" but also "one of the sanest men I have ever known — and the funniest."

Jones also remembered Freleng had a tuft of wild red hair that always reminded him of Yosemite Sam.

"He used to have a Friz frieze of red hair around the gray matter in that baffling skull," Jones wrote of Freleng. "Yosemite Sam lived there — usually caged, but so did caged birds and fluttery little old ladies and frustrated cats and voracious mice, too."

In one of the few cartoons where Yosemite Sam faces off against Daffy Duck instead of Bugs Bunny, Freleng's unpredictable imagination even introduced us to a rather significant member of Yosemite Sam's family.

In the 1947 cartoon "Along Came Daffy," we meet Yosemite Sam's twin brother. We're never told his name, but he looks exactly like Yosemite Sam, except all his hair is black.

The plot of the cartoon finds the brothers in a cabin, snowed in and starving, when Daffy Duck knocks on the door. He's a door-to-door salesman, but the brothers only see him as a potential roast-duck dinner.

In case you're wondering, Freleng did not have a twin brother like Yosemite Sam did, but he did have a bunch of brothers and sisters. And we have one of his sisters to thank for nearly all the Looney Tunes characters Freleng created.

When Freleng was first invited to join the animation studio to do more Looney Tunes after he created the original Looney Tunes character Bosko, he wasn't sure he wanted to go. Thankfully, his younger sister Jean wouldn't hear of him turning it down. She convinced him that he had to say yes.

The rest is cartoon history, especially for the biggest fans of Yosemite Sam, the meanest, roughest, toughest hombre that's ever crossed the Rio Grande — someone we just wouldn't recognize by any other name, or coming from any other state.

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AndrewMorrice 1 month ago
The name Wyoming Willie is used in an episode of Hanna-Barbera's cowboy-centric Quick Draw McGraw cartoon. That series was written by Mike Maltese, who was a mainstay of the Warner's lot although he mainly worked with Chuck Jones.

I like to think that Sam's dark-haired brother is Pancho Vanilla, who appears in a Speedy Gonzales cartoon "Pancho's Hideaway."

Although Sam's official name is Yosemite Sam, he changes it all the time, depending what guise he's using (Riff-Raff Sam, Chilkoot Sam, Shanghai Sam etc) but he always acts like a cowboy regardless.
asherkobin 2 months ago
What is the black thing that Sam wears around his head? You can see it around his eyes. Sorry I posed a long message but it never got sent because I wan't a member.


A bandit mask.
UTZAAKE 4 months ago
Good thing they didn't go with Denver Dan, especially considering how huge the Colorado state capital has grown in the last 25 years.
cperrynaples 4 months ago
2 YS jokes that millenials won't understand: [1]Once when he made the Rio Grande statement, he added "And I don't mean Mahatma Gandhi!", a play on the Indian spiritual leader! [2]In another cartoon, he screamed "Open the door!", then turned to the audience and said, "Notice I didn't say Richard!" It turns out there was once a popular song called "Open The Door, Richard", a R&B tune which might have had a double meaning! Finally, "Along Came Daffy" ran this week, and I have to mention the scene where Sam thinks his brother has chicken legs and in turn the brother thinks Sam is a sandwich!
My wife who is a fair bit younger than me understood the door joke before I did.
MarkSpeck 4 months ago
In one cartoon, he introduced himself as Chillicothe Sam, mispronouncing it Chilly-coath, rather than the correct pronunciation of Chill-ee-COTH-ee.
jziebell MarkSpeck 4 months ago
That one was shown this morning.
Kelley1 4 months ago
He is also about 16 inches tall, including the hat. I arrived at that height when watching the cartoon where the train passes right over his head. The clearance under a train is about 18 inches. Fun trivia!
idkwut2use 4 months ago
Think they went with the right name.
daDoctah 4 months ago
Wait. So it's Yosemite Sam and not the reviled "Buddy" who was the replacement for Bosko?
AndrewMorrice daDoctah 1 month ago
How do you arrive at that conclusion?
Mark091 4 months ago
There is one cartoon that had a Spoof
Of This is your life
The cartoon had Bugs Bunny
Daffy Duck Elmer Fudd and
Yosemite Sam throwing a box
Around Daffy Duck said that he
Wanted the box and.the box
Exploded. Also Granny.told Daffy
Duck.to shut up.and then she hit
DAFFY Duck with her umbrella
This is the only time that I remember
Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam
Being in the same cartoon
Also I believe that EGGHEAD AND
ELMER FUDD were two different
Characters.
Egghead and ELMER FUDD had
Completely different.personalities
Elmer and Egghead are two different characters. Egghead Jr. appeared alongside of Foghorn Leghorn, in some of his cartoons. He wore a black [blue] and red striped beanie like cap, a red sleeveless shirt/vest and big round eyeglasses, that were as big as his head.
Oh, forgot to add, Egghead is also a bird.
Also I believe that the word Egghead is also a word for a
Very smart person .
Thurston Howell Jim Backus
Called Professor Roy Hinkley
Russell Johnson an Egghead
On at least one episode of
GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.
Also I read on the internet that
EGGHEAD was modeled after
1930s movie actor and comedian
JOE PENNER 1904-1941.
Also who did the voice of
EGGHEAD??


E
Mark091 Mark091 4 months ago
EDDIE CANTOR and JOE PENNER both appesred in cartoon form on A few Looney tunes and Merrie Melodies Cartoons.
Michael 4 months ago
Yosemite Sam seems to invoke the California goldrush at Sutter's Mill.

Not the West of the cowboys and the cattle, but a more adventurous period.

He could have been Yellowstone Sam, but not much happened there, and Yogi Bear later coopted the Park with "Jellystone Park". They say my great, great, great grandfather was one of the first Europeans to view the Yellowstone geysers
Sway 4 months ago
“Oooo ya long eared, fur bearin’ flat-footed varmint!”

lot of funny, goofy comments came out of Yosemite Sam
stephaniestavropoulos 4 months ago
The story mentions Granny,& Elmer, as the only other humans that are {semi} regularly shown in LT. What about Marvin the Martian? I know he's an alien, but he is human-like. He's more human than Foghorn, Sylvester, or Porky are. He is not an animal. IMHO. {Such as it is!}
stephaniestavropoulos 4 months ago
This has nothing to do with the story, but I remember Pacificsun telling me that you want to say something, just say it.
Have any of you out there been wishing they could view a certain show, {either for the first time, or again,} whose characters are clad in red swimsuits, they run around carrying surf boards and their occupation is Lifesaver? Well, starting tonight those of of you who get the H&I channel can watch these described characters. Baywatch is hitting the {air} waves again. (Sorry to those fans of the show, who might have it preempted do to local programming.) I am not a fan of the show, but when I saw the commercial for it, I thought I am fairly certain that there are other METVers who do like it, and don't know it's back on the air. Just thought I'd give all of you a heads up. Enjoy watching it!
Load previous comments
Mark091 TheSentinel 4 months ago
There was an episode of Baywatch where guest stars
Dawn Wells Mary Ann and
Bob Denver Gilligan realized
That they wore in love .
It might have been a dream
Episode
Mark091 Mark091 4 months ago
The Baywatch episode where
Eddie(Billy Warlock) dreams that
He is shipwrecked on GILLIGAN s ISLAND will be seen oSunday April 4th at at 7pm
M
Mark091 Mark091 4 months ago
Bob Denver and Dawn Wells
Are playing Gilligan and Mary
Ann again on Baywatch on
Sunday April 4th at 7pm 9n
The H and I channel Heroes and
Icons channel .
Mark091 TheSentinel 4 months ago
Baywatch is on Sundays on
Heroes and Icons channel
SURFs Up!!!!!
Andybandit 4 months ago
Interesting story. Yosemite Sam is a fun character.
harlow1313 4 months ago
As a boy, I had never heard the word "Yosemite" spoken. I thought it was pronounced, "Yo-sa-might."
TheSentinel harlow1313 3 months ago
That's what I thought as a kid too, until I heard the name pronounced in the cartoons.
Moody 4 months ago
Yosemite Sam is one of my favorite Looney Tunes characters. Out of all the characters that Bugs interacts with I think Sam is the funniest. Those cartoons are great!
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