Foghorn Leghorn is a character that appears in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons for Warner Bros. He was created by Robert McKimson, and starred in 28 cartoons between 1946 and 1963 in the Golden Age of American animation. All 28 of these cartoons were directed by McKimson. He is also sometimes referred to as the Looney Tunes Chicken.
The character of Foghorn Leghorn was directly inspired by the popular character of Senator Claghorn, a blustering Southern politician played by Kenny Delmar who was a regular character on the Fred Allen radio show. The rooster adopted many of Claghorn's catch phrases, such as "That's a joke, ah say, that's a joke, son." Delmar had based the character of Claghorn upon a Texas rancher who was fond of saying this. A leghorn is a breed of chicken, and foghorn describes the character's loud, overbearing voice.
Foghorn Leghorn is a large, white adult Leghornrooster with a stereotypically Southern accent, a "good ol' boy" speaking style, and a penchant for mischief. The first half of his name is a joke about him being loud and obnoxious, while the second half refers to a breed of chicken (a white leghorn). He first appeared in 1946 in a Henery Hawk film titled Walky Talky Hawky. All of the motion picture Foghorn Leghorn cartoons were directed by Robert McKimson, and the rooster vies with the Tasmanian Devil as the most popular character associated with the director.
Many of the gags involved Foghorn and a canine nemesis (formally known as The Barnyard Dog within Warner today, though on early model sheets his name is given as George P. Dog) engaging in one-upmanship through a series of pranks. Unlike other Looney Tunes rivalries—with the notable exception of the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner series—Foghorn is often the initial aggressor out of self-amusement and subsequently on the 'losing' end of gags. Most common among them was Leghorn's taking up a plank of wood, while ambling along humming "Camptown Races" (the only intelligible words being "DOO-Dah! DOO-Dah!"), coming to the sleeping Dog with his front half inside his doghouse, picking up his tail and rapidly whacking (almost always with eight strokes) his exposed rear end with a plank of wood. Occasionally, Foghorn sings the song, but replaces "Camptown ladies sing this song..." with "Lump-teen-dozen and a-doo-dah day...". He does not sing any other part of the song, reverting to humming after the DOO-Dah's. Foghorn Leghorn loses his feathers very often in the episodes, usually revealing his bare skin or his boxers.
The dog would give chase, usually with his leash still attached to his collar, until the leash stretched taut and his barking was replaced by an anguished howl. At times, when the dog would continue to bark, he would also yell, "Aaaaaahhhhh, shuuutupp!!" In rare cases, it's the dog that starts the series of pranks; as such it is somewhat difficult to tell who started the feud. This gag was passed down to the Leghorns' grandson in Feather Bluster, where Foghorn was puzzled as to why the kid was behaving that way and the Dog was all too happy to remind him: "Ain't nothin' wrong with 'im, Foggy, 'cept that he takes after you."
He was joined in a few episodes by a weasel called 'Bill' who initially attempted to eat him but ended up joining forces to outwit the aforementioned canine.
Other recurring themes throughout the cartoons included the attempts of the diminutive Henery Hawk to catch and eat Foghorn, and the rooster's efforts to woo the widowed hen Miss Prissy (often by babysitting her bookish son, Egghead, Jr.).
A toddler version of Foghorn made appearances in short music videos of Baby Looney Tunes. He starred in only one episode of the show, in which he was trying to fit in with a gang of cool roosters and employed the help of Tweety and his friends before Lola Bunny suggested to just be himself, which came in handy when Barnyard Dog chased the cool roosters.
Foghorn Leghorn appears in The Looney Tunes Show voiced by Jeff Bergman and his singing voice is provided by Damon Jones. In the series, he is represented as a billionaire. In "The Foghorn Leghorn Story," Foghorn Leghorn was working on directing his autobiography by holding auditions for the person to play him. In "Working Duck," Foghorn Leghorn is shown to be the CEO of EnormoCorp where he always follows the advice of EnormoCorp's Muffin Man. Foghorn later handed the company over to Daffy (who had been working as a Muffin Man at the time). In "The Muh-Muh-Muh-Murder," Foghorn Leghorn was present at Daffy Duck's surprise birthday party at Pizzariba.
1980s – Appeared in several Oscar Mayer hot dog commercials. One features an animated Foghorn Leghorn, with an animated hot dog on a bun, on a live-action beach, asking a child what he likes on his roasted Oscar Mayer hot dog. Asked whether he likes it with lots of ketchup or corn relish ("A dog's best friend" according to Foghorn), the kid says he likes his hot dog "with friends", and is now sitting next to a girl, who is also eating an Oscar Mayer hot dog without a bun. Foghorn Leghorn remarks, "I'm starting to feel a little roasted myself". Another one features Foghorn Leghorn instructing a live-action child on the correct way to put fixings on a hot dog, including corn relish. The kid starts eating his own hot dog before Foghorn finishes demonstrating on another hot dog. It ends with Foghorn saying, "I say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks."
In 1980s–1990s Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials, Foghorn is voiced by Joe Alaskey. By coincidence, his appearances in the KFC commercials were referenced in Space Jam; when Foghorn is torched by a Monstar during the ToonSquad/Monstars basketball game, Foghorn says in reply, "Did you order Original Recipe or Extra Crispy?"
Much like Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn had appeared in a GEICO commercial in 2011 (voiced by Jeff Bennett). Here, he is providing narration for an e-book, but motor-mouths as well as ad-libbing constantly and ends up getting clubbed by Henery Hawk off-screen.
He was in an Eminem music video for the song Role Model, while Eminem started beating him up in his cartoon form.
In an episode of Home Improvement, Tim says that "Samuel Foghorn Leghorn", was a famous American. His older brother, Jeff, states that Foghorn Leghorn was "one smart chicken".
Foghorn Leghorn (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) made an appearance in an episode of Family Guy when he approached Colonel Sanders and explained that he was walking by and when he noticed the aroma of "eleven herbs and spices". Sanders decapitates Foghorn and the body is running around. The disembodied head says, "Look at that boy! Looks like a chicken with his head...wait a minute" pauses when he realizes it was himself.
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