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Tasmanian DevilThe Tasmanian Devil, often referred to as "Taz", is an animated cartoon character featured in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons. The character appeared in only five shorts before the Warner Bros animation studio closed down, but marketing and television appearances later propelled the character to new popularity in the 1990s. Today Taz is one of the most recognizable members of the Looney Tunes roster.
Robert McKimson based the character on the real-life Tasmanian devil of Australia, though the most noticeable resemblance between the Australian mammal and McKimson's creation is their ravenous appetites. Whirling like a tornado that sounds like several motors whirring in unison, The Devil devours everything, animate or inanimate, and his efforts to find more food are always a central plot device of his cartoons.
In fact, this appetite serves as the impetus for McKimson's "Devil May Hare" (first released on June 19, 1954). In the short, the Devil stalks Bugs Bunny, but due to his dim wits and inability to frame complete 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.
After the short entered theaters, producer Edward Selzer, head of the Warner Bros. animation studio, ordered McKimson to shelve the character since it was "too obnoxious". After a time with no new Devil shorts, however, Jack Warner asked what had happened. He then saved Taz's career when he told Selzer that he had received "boxes and boxes" of letters from people who liked the character.
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