Michigan J. Frog

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

    This character had only one outing in the classic era, but made it count, for it was in One Froggy Evening (Jones, 1955) that this frog made his indelible appearance. Singing only for a hapless yet greedy construction worker, he slowly drives said worker to poverty and the madhouse before the unlucky man gets rid of the frog, only to have it found a century later by yet another greedy construction worker.

    In the second volume of his memoirs, Chuck Jones goes into detail as to his creation, noting the use of New Yorker cartoons to model the frog. If you believe Jones, Ed Sullivan, with his stiff-necked manner, was also an influence. (Hmmmm, could be...) Jones notes that the character was not named in the cartoon; the name comes from the ersatz ragtime song “Michigan Rag” that he sings.

    Today, this frog has been adopted as the mascot for “The WB” television network owned by Time-Warner. Chuck Jones produced another cartoon starring the frog in 1995 entitled Another Froggy Evening, but this cartoon has not, at writing, been put into general release. Drawings from the film can be seen in Jones’ book.

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