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Yosemite Sam is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes series of cartoons.
Animator Friz Freleng introduced Yosemite Sam in the 1945 film "Hare Trigger". With his irascible temper, short stature, and fiery hair, Sam was in some ways an alter-ego of Freleng, though the animator would later deny any intentional resemblance. Other influences were the Red Skelton character Sheriff Deadeye and the Tex Avery cartoon "Dangerous Dan McFoo".
Freleng created Yosemite Sam to be a more worthy adversary for Bugs Bunny. Until then, Bugs' major foe had been Elmer Fudd, a man so mild-mannered and dim-witted that Freleng thought Bugs actually came off as a bully by duping him. Sam, on the other hand, was extremely violent and belligerent, not at all a pushover like Fudd. Freleng compacted into a tiny body and 11-gallon hat the largest voice (courtesy of Mel Blanc) and the largest ego "north, south, east, aaaaand west of the Pecos".
For over 19 years, Freleng had almost exclusive usage of Sam at the Warner studio. Though officially a cowboy, Freleng put Sam in a different costume in almost every film: a knight, a Roman legionnaire, a pirate, a duke (Duke of Yosemite, no less), and a Confederate soldier. The humor of the cartoons inevitably springs from the odd miscasting of the hot-tempered cowboy.
Despite Freleng's intentions, Sam doesn't prove much brighter than Elmer in his encounters with Bugs. With all his bluff and bluster, Sam stands in contrast to Freleng's calmly cocky rabbit. However it is Sam's own cockiness that always gets the best of him; he is incapable of turning down a challenge. Every time Bugs dares Sam to "step across that line," Sam can't help but do so, even if he steps off into empty space or down a mine shaft.
In the 2003 movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Yosemite Sam is a bounty hunter employed by the Acme Corporation who was hired to finish off DJ Drake, Kate Houghton, Bugs, and Daffy Duck. In this film, he owns a casino in Las Vegas, which he calls Yosemite Sam's Wooden Nickel, and is accompanied by Nasty Canasta (from Drip-Along Daffy) and Cottontail Smith (from Superbunny).
Sam also plays the role of occasional guest villain K'chutha Sa'am on the Duck Dodgers animated series. He also makes a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also appears in the video games LOONS: The Fight for Fame, Taz: Wanted, Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle, Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage, Bugs Bunny Lost in Time Bugs Bunny and Taz Time Busters Loony Tunes B-Ball, and Loony Tunes: Back In Action.
All images and characters depicted on this site are copyright their respective holders, and are used for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.
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