Pepé Le Pew, the amorous French skunk of the Warner Bros. cartoons, will not be featured in any of the studio’s new productions, including the upcoming “Space Jam 2” film.
What Happened: According to an article in Deadline, the studio — a subsidiary of AT&T (NYSE: T) — made the decision more than a year ago, but never publicly announced its plans. “Space Jam 2,” an animation-live action hybrid, opens July 16 and features most of the characters that appeared in the classic Warner Bros. cartoons released under the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies banners.
In the original screenplay for “Space Jam 2,” Pepé Le Pew had a scene where he played a bartender who tries to kiss the arm of actress Greice Santo, only to have his face slapped with such power that he spins on a stool like a gyroscope in motion. The skunk gets a pep talk from LeBron James and Bugs Bunny that his old-school shenanigans have no place in today’s society.
What’s Wrong With A Cartoon Skunk?: Pepé Le Pew was introduced in the 1945 “Odor-able Kitty,” and the character’s cartoons fell into a predictable pattern with the romantically overcharged skunk spotting a female black cat with a white stripe accidentally painted on her back. Mistaking the feline for a lady skunk, Pepé Le Pew falls instantly in love and tries to woo her with forceful romantic advances.
However, his aggressive declarations of passion and his overpowering skunk odor appall the cat, causing her to run away, with the skunk in pursuit for an extended slapstick chase.
The cat did not have a name in the original cartoons, but was retroactively dubbed Penelope. In the now-deleted scene from “Space Jam 2,” Pepé Le Pew remarked Penelope had a restraining order against him.
Voice actor Mel Blanc gave Pepé Le Pew a comically exaggerated French accent in a parody of Charles Boyer, the French actor who was the debonair romantic lead in many Hollywood films, including the 1938 “Algiers” where he played the character Pepe le Moko, the name inspiration for the skunk.