Beaky Buzzard

Beaky Buzzard
Looney Tunes character
First appearance Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid (July 11, 1942)[1]
Created by Bob Clampett
Friz Freleng
Robert McKimson
Voiced by Kent Rogers (1942–1945)
Stan Freberg (1945)
Eddie Bartell (1945)
Mel Blanc (1950)
Rob Paulsen (1990-1994)
Jeff Bennett (1997)
Joe Alaskey (2003–2005)
Jim Cummings (2011–2014)
Species Turkey vulture
Nationality American

Beaky Buzzard is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons.

He is a young turkey vulture (a bird commonly called "buzzard" in the United States) with black body feathers and a white tuft around his throat. His neck is long and thin, bending 90 degrees at an enormous Adam's apple. His neck and head are featherless, and his beak is large and yellow or orange, depending on the cartoon. Beaky bears a perpetual goofy grin, and his eyes look eternally half-asleep. He was partly based on Edgar Bergen's puppet Mortimer Snerd.[1][2]

Short subjects

The character first appeared in the 1942 cartoon Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, directed by Bob Clampett.[1][3] The cartoon's plot revolves around the hopeless attempts of the brainless buzzard, here called Killer, to catch Bugs Bunny for his domineering Italian mother back at the nest. Beaky's voice was reminiscent of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen's character Mortimer Snerd[3][4] (his in-studio name was in fact "Snerd Bird",[2] bestowed by Bob Clampett himself;[5] he was not named "Beaky" on-screen in this first appearance).[5] The voice itself was provided by voice actor Kent Rogers.[1][3]

Clampett brought the character back in the 1945 film The Bashful Buzzard,[6] a cartoon that closely mirrors its predecessor, only this time featuring Beaky's hapless hunting (contrasted with warlike formation flying and dive bombing of his brothers)[7] without scenes of him chasing Bugs for food. Rogers reprised his role as the character's voice for the film,[6] but he was killed[1] in a Naval aviation training accident at Pensacola, Florida before finishing all his dialogue, so Stan Freberg was brought in to finish the work (as was Eddie Bartell, according to some sources).

Clampett left the studio in 1946, ending Beaky's career for a time. The character was eventually brought back in the 1950 Friz Freleng film The Lion's Busy, now voiced by the versatile Mel Blanc.[1] Freleng made the buzzard smarter, pitting him against a dim-witted lion named Leo. Bob McKimson also featured the character in a film that year, Strife with Father. McKimson's Beaky is again back to his idiotic self, this time under the tutelage of his adoptive father, a sparrow who is trying to teach Beaky how to survive in the wild.

Comics and merchandising

Warner Bros. apparently thought they had something in the character, and Beaky was featured in some Looney Tunes merchandising of the time,[1] such as a metal bank.[8] Even as late as 1973, he appeared on Pepsi bottle.[9]

He also appeared in several issues of Dell Comics' Looney Tunes series of comic books, usually paired with another minor player, Henery Hawk[1] and appeared in other comic books, including print spinoffs of Space Jam (including German versions) and reprints through the 20th century.[10]

Later minor appearances

Most recently Beaky Buzzard has had minor roles in various Warner Bros. projects, such as Tiny Toon Adventures, where he plays the mentor of the character Concord Condor,[1] and the movies Space Jam (1996, As a team player;[11] he was the only player except for Taz without a number, wearing only a question mark), being unvoiced in the film and 2003's Looney Tunes: Back in Action as an Acme pilot, voiced by Joe Alaskey.[12]

Beaky Buzzard appeared in the video game Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time[13] and was used as an enemy in Bugs Bunny Crazy Castle 4. He also appeared in The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries in the episode "3 Days & 2 Nights of the Condor",[14] where he was voiced by Jeff Bennett. Beaky's mother, who appeared in many of his original shorts, also appeared in an episode of the show (voiced by Tress MacNeille). Beaky was put in one episode of Duck Dodgers.

Beaky Buzzard appears in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Ridiculous Journey" voiced by Jim Cummings. He is shown to rescue anyone who is lost in the desert and rides a hot air balloon. This is what Beaky did when he found Sylvester, Tweety, and Taz. While getting them across the desert, Beaky's balloon is attacked by the tracker Blacque Jacque Shellacque who was pursuing the three animals. Beaky tries to rescue them only to be incapacitated by a net shot by Shellacque.

Other appearances and mentions

In Bill Warren's book Keep Watching The Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties, Warren compares Beaky to the monster in The Giant Claw.

Beaky appears (on a poster outside the meet–Santa area) in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street[15]


Warner Films theatrical short subjects

Other appearances

Consumer video
Audio recordings
Video games


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Markstein, Donald D. "Beaky Buzzard". Toonopedia.
  2. 1 2 Jim Korkis (November 1, 2013). "Animation Anecdotes #134". Cartoon Research. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 McCall, Douglas L. (1998). Film Cartoons: A Guide to 20th Century American Animated Features and Shorts. McFarland and Company. p. 103. ISBN 978-0786405848. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  4. Shull and Wilt, 2004 [1987]. p114
  5. 1 2 Funnyworld #12 (1970), republished at Michael Barrier and Milton Gray (December 14, 2003). "An Interview with Bob Clampett". Michael Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  6. 1 2 McCall, 1998. p94
  7. Shull, Michael S.; Wilt, David E. (2004) [1987]. Doing Their Bit: Wartime American Animated Short Films, 1939-1945 (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 178. ISBN 978-0786415557. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  8. Sandler, Kevin S. (1998). Reading the Rabbit: Explorations in Warner Bros. Animation. Rutgers University Press. p. 176. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  9. Schroy, Ellen (2004). Warman's Americana & Collectibles (11th ed.). Krause Publications. p. 104. ISBN 978-0873496858. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  10. "Beaky Buzzard". Comic Book Database. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  11. 1 2 Still from Space Jam showing Beaky Buzzard
  12. 1 2 "Beaky Buzzard – Voices of Beaky Buzzard". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  13. Bugs Bunny Lost in time level 8 - What's cookin' doc 3/4 (Video) (Video game screen capture). ClassicGamerX11. April 25, 2010. Event occurs at 0:02. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  14. 1 2 "3 Days & 2 Nights Of The Condor". Big Comic Book Database. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  15. "Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Trivia". IMDb. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  16. Hollis, Tim (2015). Toons in Toyland: The Story of Cartoon Character Merchandise. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 387–388. ISBN 978-1628461992. Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  17. Bugs Bunny in Storyland (Video) (Vinyl record with printed picture book). KiddieRecordsWeekly. January 30, 2011. Event occurs at 6:56. Retrieved November 9, 2015.

External links

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