Peter Falk and Scrappy: The Inevitable Connection

Lou Lilly

Peter Falk, Lou Lilly and Don Johnson, from Falk’s book.

Lou won an Academy Award. He wasn’t an actor, but he should have been. Lou created the Bugs Bunny cartoons that we all enjoyed so much. He wrote them and he drew them, and that’s how he earned his Oscar.

That’s Peter Falk talking about his friend Lou Lilly (1909-1999) in his 2006 memoir Just One More Thing. Lilly was important enough to Falk that he got an entire chapter to himself — “On What I Had and You Didn’t — a Lou Lilly in My Life” — mostly devoted to the practical jokes he played.

Falk was right about Lilly having an Oscar, and right about him working on Bugs Bunny cartoons–a couple of them, at least, Buckaroo Bugs and Hare Ribbin’, two Bob Clampett shorts on which Lilly received story credit. But Lilly didn’t get an Oscar for Bugs Bunny: He got one for Who’s Who in Animal Land, a 1944 “Speaking of Animals” film which he directed.

(If you’re reading this site, I probably don’t need to point out that Lou Lilly didn’t create Bugs Bunny; maybe Falk simply meant that he was among the creators of certain Bugs Bunny cartoons. Which is true.)

But this isn’t a Bugs Bunny site or a “Speaking of Animals” site — it’s a Scrappy site. And I bring all this up only because Peter Falk’s friend Lou got his start at the Charles Mintz studio. He animated on several Scrappys, including The City Slicker and Scrappy’s Rodeo. With Falk’s passing in 2011, we presumably lost the chance to learn whether he and Lilly ever discussed Scrappy. I hope they did and Falk simply neglected to mention it in his book.

(Thanks for Andrew Leal for bringing this Scrappy-related fact to my attention.)

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