History & Facts

The Creation of Yosemite Sam

"Dynamic, short-tempered opponent, largely of Bugs Bunny, for a number of classic Friz Freleng shorts. There is some speculation that Sam was based on Freleng himself, both being short, red-haired chaps with risable tempers; Freleng himself seems to have been a little equivocal as to whether he was the model for the character. Mike Maltese originally considered calling the character Texas Tiny, Wyoming Willie, or Denver Dan, but then settled on the final name.

While Sam had a wide variety of roles, as desert sheik, prison guard(!), English lord, and shifty small town mayor, his two best known roles were as Western outlaw, which was his metier in his first few cartoons, and as a pirate in some of the finest entries in the Bugs Bunny series. Interestingly, the Freleng unit maintained his black mask, even in roles that did not require it.

Freleng developed the character as a counterpoint to Elmer Fudd, who he felt did not provide enough of a challenge to Bugs. The southern sheriff in Stage Door Cartoon (Freleng, 1944) can be seen as something of a dry run for the character. Mel Blanc has pointed out that the character, whose name dervies from a California locale, has the voice of a Texan."

(Taken from the Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion site)


Another source says: "Yosemite Sam - Modeled from a movie character along with a popular radio and television character, Yosemite Sam was brought on screen opposite Bugs because one of the directors felt that Elmer Fudd wasn't strong enough. Elmer Fudd was thought to be so dumb that a chicken could outsmart him. What the director wanted was a tiny guy with a huge voice." (Looney Tunes Upper Deck Trading Card Data).

May 27th, 1995 Newspaper Article concerning Friz Freleng's death.



Yosemite Sam's Many Violent Deaths

I will eventually be compiling a list of the painful and gruesome ways that Yosemite Sam has met his end. People will be able to vote on their favourite death.


Other Links Featuring Yosemite Sam

The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion

WB Cartoon Episode Schedules

Video Availability of Cartoons