Scrappy is Ninety

Charles Mintz, creator of Krazy Kat for the screen, has just produced another cartoon comedy character. The new animated cartoon is called “Scrappy.” Instead of the usual animals featured in the current cartoons, the central figure will be a mischievous little character called “Scrappy.” Most of the comedy will be pantomime, but interpolated dialogue, music and sound effects will play an important part in the short.

—“Star Dust” newspaper column, June 14, 1931

If you went to the movies 90 years ago—on July 16, 1931, to be precise—you might have ended up as one of the first people in the world to see a Scrappy cartoon. That’s the day that the first one, Yelp Wanted, debuted, unleashing Dick Huemer, Sid Marcus, and Art Davis’s creation on the world. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, here it is again:

It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that Scrappyland is marking Scrappy’s first nine-tenths of a century by sharing his first cartoon. But here’s something you probably woudn’t have anticipated seeing here: a new Scrappy cartoon. As far as I know, it’s the first time anyone has animated Scrappy and Oopy since 1941’s The Little Theater:

Scrappy’s 90th Anniversary was produced by Noah Stone and a bunch of other Scrappy fans, all credited at the short’s end; I think them for relighting the torch after so many decades. I’m sorry that my friend Dr. Richard Huemer isn’t around to see it.

Here’s a Scrappy/Oopy drawing—also made to celebrate the anniversary—by Noah:

When Scrappyland debuted in 2005, Scrappy was a mere 73. Now it seems quite possible that this site will be around to mark his 100th birthday in 2031. Or at least I hope it will: I certainly have enough material to keep going, and it would be sad to think that the world might run out of Scrappyana to rediscover.

It’s been great fun helping to keep Scrappy from being entirely forgotten, and it seems fair to say that he’s at least a little less forgotten than he was when I came up with the odd idea of devoting a website to him. May the great Scrappy resurgence continue unabated.

Oh, and a footnote: It wasn’t until this very night that I realized that my wife was born on the anniversary of Yelp Wanted’s release. That’s right—I married someone who shares Scrappy’s birthday. Now I’m horrified at the thought that it could have been any other way.

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