Meet the man who convinced the world that he invented Porky Pig

That wasn't all, folks. They even built him a monument in his Kansas hometown. Nobody found out the truth until after he died.

In Porky Pig's first-ever appearance, the stuttering swine heads from a school desk to the front of a classroom to recite history before an audience that doesn't clap until he's chased offstage.

For people who know their cartoon history, you may know that this original version of Porky was the creation of famous animator Friz Freleng, whose cartoons introduced us to characters like Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Yosemite Sam, and Speedy Gonzales.

But for people living in the town of Portis, Kansas, Freleng wasn't the name they associated with Porky Pig.

They thought a stocky hometown boy named Melvin Millar, affectionately nicknamed "Tubby," created the cartoon most famous for his catchphrase "That's all, folks!"

To them, Tubby and Porky were one and the same.

You see, when Tubby was growing up in Portis, he always had a pencil in hand. Whatever the teacher said at the front of the class, he was doodling a cartoon about it in the margins of his textbook.

Everyone knew he was destined to draw big things that drew laughs.

After Millar graduated, he went to Kansas City Art School and then immediately he got hired by Leon Schlessinger Productions to be an animator working on Porky Pig cartoons under Friz Freleng.

From this point on, all the people in Portis knew was that on every single Porky Pig cartoon, they saw Tubby's name.

On top of that, whenever he signed his autograph, he drew Porky Pig next to his name.

The two names soon became synonymous.

It wasn't that Millar was intentionally trying to deceive his friends and neighbors, though.

According to one of his best childhood friends Hud Turner, everyone in Portis just assumed that Millar created the cartoon porker and never asked him about it.

How could they have suspected anyone else was behind the pig when they caught so many references to their hometown in Porky cartoons? Porky had to be a product of the hometown boy's pen!

Heck, in one of Tubby's most memorable Porky Pig cartoons, a parody on Perry Mason called "The Case of the Stuttering Pig," he even gave Porky a sidekick named Portis, named after his hometown!

Other references to Portis show up in earlier cartoons, including on a poster at a train station in "Porky's Pet" that reads "When in Portis, stop at Millar Manor," on a matchbox and wine label in "Bingo Crosybana," and on a crate in "Porky of the North Woods," which bears a label that partially reads "Portis, Kans."

It's easy to see how everyone got the wrong impression.

Even after Millar passed away in 1980, everyone in his hometown still believed he created Porky Pig.

It took a decade for the truth to come out.

That's when a town meeting was held to brainstorm tourism ideas and Hud's wife Nina remembered Tubby and realized the town already had a huge distinction: It was the birthplace of Porky Pig!

She pitched this idea, and everyone got behind it. The townspeople even floated the idea of changing signs for the town to say "Home of Porky Pig."

Before they changed the signs, though, they reached out to Warner Bros. for the copyright permission, and that's when Tubby’s real connection to Porky Pig became clear.

An executive wrote to Nina to tell her that Millar hadn't created Porky Pig after all, which she was dismayed to realize meant that Portis wasn't the "home of Porky Pig" after all.

"Oh boy, did that set us back," Nina told The Alternative Press in 1993.

The setback didn't last long, though. Everyone still thought Tubby's connection to Porky was strong enough to justify a memorial, so it was decided to do a memorial anyway.

Proud of his friend's legacy, Hud paid for the memorial with $700 out of his own pocket, refusing to take donations. Today it stands, weighing 1,000 pounds and reading, "In memory of Melvin Tubby Millar, animator for Looney Tunes Porky Pig cartoons and assistant to Friz Freleng, creator of Porky Pig."

It's not as quippy as "Home of Porky Pig," but it's still a big deal to the town of Portis, Kansas.

After working on Porky Pig cartoons, Millar moved to Walt Disney Studios and then became a teacher at the Hollywood Art School. Sometimes when he came back home to Portis, Kansas, he would make a point to do cartoon demonstrations to show off his skills and perhaps inspire more young animators to come from his hometown.

"He was the damnedest cartoonist I've ever see," remembered Clyde Lemon, a Portis resident. "You could never tell what he was drawing until about the last three lines."

On one of his last trips to Portis, Millar signed Nina's baby book, and in it, he did as he always did, scrawling his John Hancock alongside a perfect drawing of Porky Pig.

This was a special autograph certainly treasured by his old friends Hud and Nina. It was also proof of exactly why everyone was fooled for so long into believing Millar was the brains behind one of Looney Tunes most endearing and enduring characters.

"That was his autograph," Nina said, poking fun at the confusion after all those years. "He did it every time somebody asked him for his autograph."

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practicaljokerfan 35 months ago
I like the Porky Pig cartoon called Polar Pals
Where they sing the song called Let's Rub
Runeshaper 35 months ago
Melvin Millar sounds like a very talented fellow! I really enjoyed Porky when I was a kid and many more will enjoy him far into the future, I hope (-:
F5Twitster 35 months ago
Just as well; people might've gotten the idea that Portis, Kansas, is nothing but a town of stutterers.
Chris_MD F5Twitster 28 months ago
Your comment reads like you're disparaging people who battle with stuttering. Their stuttering doesn't define them. You seem to want to dismiss them as "nothing but... stutterers." Not everyone can have your "perfect" verbal communication skills, which doesn't place them somehow "beneath" you.
sanddollar5643 35 months ago
Fritz Freleng is true leader of the Free World. He is also the author of Bugs, Daffy etc. He is the only creator of Porky. FRI(T)Z FOREVER!
Toonhead sanddollar5643 35 months ago
Friz was ok to a point. I feel that the way he cheaped out WB cartoons in the mid 60’s hurt his legacy. Non-specific music, and other stuff made it a low point in WB animation. As a contrast, when Chuck Jones took over the Tom and Jerry franchise @ MGM he produced the best T&J cartoons since Hanna & Barbera left. Also, you have to consider the Pink Panther toons that D-F put out, while good, the backgrounds etc.. were far inferior to the best of WB and MGM. Friz was good, no doubt and I mean no disrespect, but Chuck, Tex, and the much underrated RobertMc Kimson were as good or better. It’s just my opinion and I’m just sayin’ no malice intended, my friend
Bogus59 35 months ago
A letter from some executive at WB saying Millar didn't create Porky, given the evidence in this article is far from any proof he didn't. As I recall, WB was as bad as DC & Marvel Comics regarding creator rights. It took almost 40 years for Siegel & Schuster to get on-screen & in-print credit for Superman. Even longer for Bill Finger to get co-creator credit for Batman. There is still a lot of debate about how much Jack Kirby actually created of the Marvel Universe - likely far more than he's gotten credit for. So for a faceless, nameless executive to proclaim this just doesn't hold water with me. That ain't all, folks.
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MikefromJersey Toonhead 35 months ago
Toonhead is referring to  Newman’s 1995 Volvo 960, one of only 3 ever built, one going to David Letterman. The original inline-6 was replaced by a 5.0 liter V8 from a Ford Mustang. 
A Kenne Bell supercharger was added for an estimated 400 horsepower. 
I never saw it Toonhead. I know it was sold at auction along with all his other cars.
I wondered if Newman employed the blonde car washer from Cool Hand Luke to
keep his cars shiny and bright.

Toonhead MikefromJersey 35 months ago
Mike I only saw an article and pix in Car & Driver. I caught the wagon habit from the editor David E. Davis Jr. who built a number of “Boss wagons” both in the magazine and personally. I just had to retire my 01 Audi 2.8 30 valve V-6 with 247,895 miles. So hearing about Mr. Newman’s hot rod wagon was a special grin for me. I wish I could have met the gentleman myself, but your remembrances validate what I have always believed. Thanks much pard. My screen name here is Toonhead, accurate to be sure, but I’m also a gearhead of the first order. I hope we meet irl someday, that would be a trip and a half. Best wishes my friend.
Btw I spent the weekend @ Indy for the triple header a couple weeks ago. Toons and tuneups I guess. Some things never change lol
Pax Toonhead 24 months ago
Fun fact, Paul Newman had his last role be that of Hudson Hornet in the Disney/Pixar film that was named Cars. Also, in his amateur racing career, Paul Newman did, in fact, often race in a Hudson Hornet.
Pax Toonhead 24 months ago
You should really upgrade to an Audi R8...I hear that those cars are very good ones.
Tlor 35 months ago
That is the most horrible article I ever read! So this guy from a tiny town in Portis, which Porky Pig said he was from and which the guy drew and he was cartooning all his life has this one tiny honor in his life and WB had to tell them they can't do it because it was Freleng, who had plenty of other accolades?? I can't stand nitpickers they could have let the town have their statue.. WB is probably the most miserable studio out there. from props to producers they have shafted them all. Miserable lot.
Toonhead 35 months ago
As ancient as I am becoming (I’m 69 going on 10 lol) I’m still learning cool 😎 stuff about the toons that still make me laugh on a daily basis! Great story! More please! I watch “Toon In With Me “ daily and I love to catch the antics of Bill and the gang as well as the classic toons. To quote W.C. Fields “Start each day with a smile… and get it over with.” I am pleased to say that I grin all day afterwards. Kudos to all. Thanks
Andybandit 35 months ago
Cool story. Porky Pig was not one of my favorites, sorry. "Iga biga that all folks". I am sure someone will correct me for the way I spell. Who cares it is only a comment board.
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Toonhead stephaniestavr5 35 months ago
Hey stephanie I think there’s an apostrophe in “we’un’s maybe two lol. Just joshin’ as always, best wishes
Toonhead justjeff 35 months ago
I’m in agreement JJ.This is a place for humor and fun. No harm , no fowl (intentional, I assure you) just keep typin’ and grinnin’. Smile folks we’s just talkin’ toons here!
Toonhead 35 months ago
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Toonhead 35 months ago
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harlow1313 35 months ago
For decency's sake, somebody, please put some pants on that pig!
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ncadams27 harlow1313 35 months ago
Way too much information!
harlow1313 35 months ago
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Toonhead stephaniestavr5 35 months ago
Apt and appropriate as usual 😎
Pax Toonhead 24 months ago
What did the people say that caused their comments to become deleted? Some context here might be nice.
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