Red is a fictional character that made her debut in the MGM release Red Hot Riding Hood in 1943. The character was created by cartoonistTex Avery . She is a fictional singer and dancer who performs in nightclubs. She made her debut as Red Hot Riding Hood as based on the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. She is also known as Lou and Little Eva.
Before the release of Red Hot Riding Hood, Tex Avery worked on several other cartoons featuring the character Little Red Riding Hood. In the Merrie Melodies (1940) episode A Bear's Tale, Red Riding Hood appears near the end of the cartoon. She was portrayed by Sara Berner and speaks in a baby brooklyn type voice.
When Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood debuted Tex Avery decided to change the concept. Red appears to be based on the Merry Melodies character design only with a slightly different design. She also speaks in the same baby-bronx voice as provided by Sara Berner. At the start of the cartoon she can be seen skipping through the woods on her way to her grandmothers house to take her grandmother some nice goodies. The Wolf appears to pounce upon Red. Suddenly the Wolf is upset with the script, Red joins in with him and says "Every cartoon studio in Hollywood has done it this way!" and goes to on state it makes her mad. All the characters rebel so the narrator decides to do the story a new way.
In the new story Red is now a sex nightclub performer and speaks like Katharine Hepburn similar to the character in the 1940 cartoon, The Wolf (now known as Wolfie) is now a Hollywood swinger and Grandma is now a cree... err rich oversexed socialite who lives in a penthouse at the top of a skyscraper. Red performs in a Hollwood nightclub and sings "Daddy" a 1941 hit song by Bobby Troupe. The Wolf goes to watch Red perform on stage, while watching her he howls and then falls head over heels in love with her but Red wants nothing to do with him. Meanwhile Grandma has fallen for the wolf and is pestering him while he lusts over Red. Red tells the Wolf that she is heading over to her Grandma's house. Wolfie heads over to the place only to run into Grandma. Grandma chases Wolfie around her house while trying to seduce him at the time. Wolfie manages to escape by jumping out of a window, severely injuring himself in the process. After being chased by Grandma he then goes on to say that he is through with women and will commit suicide if he looks at another babe. Red takes to stage to perform another song, Wolfie takes out his gun and commits suicide. His ghost rises into the air and howls at Red.
Red's design was based on pin-ups of the 1940s. Rita Hayworth (who also had red hair) and Lana Turner. People often debate or change who they think the character was based on. But the character was based on "more" than just one person like in most character creation people base their characters on other peoples ideas.
In the model sheets for Swing Shift Cinderella Red has blonde hair and wears a black dress.
The finalized color concept for the animated feature had Red appear with the usual red hair and a white costume instead of black.
Red's speaking voice was provided by Sara Berner. Sara was acclaimed the greatest imitator according to a newspaper article. Sara provided the voice for Red in several cartoons. Bea Benaderet is often credited for the role but she did the voice for Grandma in the shorts that featured Red and was the original Granny for the Looney Tunes shorts. Sara later quit voice-over due to personal problems of her own and was fully replaced by Bea. There is a controversy with the credits not being 100% as the actresses who did the roles for the WB cartoons were not credited. The only person billed for their roles was male voice-over artist Mel Blanc. In her personal life Berner pleaded innocent to a charge of endangering the life of her 7-year-old daughter. Claiming she called the police several times earlier asking police protection, claiming her ex-husband, Milton Rosner, 37 at the time was on his way to kill her. When the officers tried to reason withBerner she became abusive and started screaming. The officers said it was necessary to handcuff her to restrain her as she allegedly tried to attack them.The daughter was taken to Juvenile Hall, then turned over to her father. Berner died in 1969. Red's speaking voice was a variety. In some cartoons she spoke like Katharine Hepburn, and in other cartoons she spoke like Mae West.
June Foray is also often credited for the role of Red. In the 1988 documentary Tex Avery, the King of Cartoons they show an animated scene of Red. June does not confirm she did the voice for the character, she just says she did a lot of impersonations for Tex Avery. In a 2012 interview June Foray's Animated Life June goes through all the characters she voiced, she doesn't mention Red. It is known that June later replaced Bea as the role of Granny in Looney Tunes.
Red's singing voice was based on Lena Horne. Lena Horne was a popular American jazz and pop singer. A singer who had joined the Cotton Club at the age of 16 and was a nightclub performer before she moved to Hollywood. Lena was one of the top African-American singers and was of African American, Native American and European heritage. Her career took of in the 1940s and she was signed with MGM in 1942. In the documentary That's Entertainment! III, Horne stated that MGM executives required Gardner to practice her singing using Horne's recordings, which offended both actresses. Ultimately, Gardner's voice was overdubbed by actress Annette Warren (Smith) for the theatrical release. Lena Horne was the first African-American elected to serve on the Screen Actors Guild board of directors. By the mid-1950s, Horne was disenchanted with Hollywood and increasingly focused on her nightclub career. She only made two major appearances for MGM during the 1950s: Duchess of Idaho (which was also Eleanor Powell's final film); and the 1956 musical Meet Me in Las Vegas. She was blacklisted during the 1950s for her affiliations in the 1940s with communist-backed groups. She would subsequently disavow communism. Lena Horne died in 2010.
In the 1980s Disney Studios were working on their new film Who Framed Roger Rabbit as based on the 1981 book Who Censored Roger Rabbit. They worked on the character design and created new characters for their film feature. One of the characters featured was Jessica Rabbit. The character's design was based on Red. One of the concept artworks shows Jessica with short hair and the character's eyes were very similar to that of Red's. The character was featured in a 1983 pilot which featured Russi Taylor filling in for the role. Jessica was perceived as being vain and mean in the original concept. An ambitious young starlet who married Roger to further her career and after being cast into a film she cast Roger aside and doesn't care for him anymore. Roger is in love with Jessica and can't see her for the cunning seductress she really is.
The original story was scrapped and Disney decided to take a new route. Jessica's new design was based on her older design but was tweaked to resemble Veronica Lake. Richard Williams stated he tried to make Jessica look like Rita Hayworth the same actress Red was designed on but Jessica was the combination on the ultimate male fantasy, only with Jessica looking very masculine and somewhat like a drag queen. Writer Gary K. Wolf stated he based Jessica primarily on Tex Avery's Red. Jessica like Red had a speaking and singing voice. Kathleen Turner did Jessica's speaking voice and Amy Irving did Jessica's singing voice to the song "Why Don't You Do Right?" Jessica's most famous line is "I'm not bad I'm just drawn that way!" in the Ink & Paint Club sequence Wolfie was originally supposed to have appeared and whistled but Disney had a hard time obtaining copyright for various characters from other studios. Instead Betty Boop makes a small cameo appearance where she explains how work has been slow since cartoons went to color and explaining how happy she is for Jessica and Roger who are also also in an interspecies relationship (similar to Betty and Bimbo), the only difference being is that Betty originally started out as a dog. Jessica Rabbit has received positive reviews and is described as a sex symbol among classic animated characters, commonly ranked among other sexy animated characters such as Betty Boop and Ariel. The release of Who Framed Roger Rabbit In Laserdisc, Variety first reported in March 1994 that observers uncovered several scenes of antics from the animators that supposedly featured brief nudity of Jessica Rabbit in the film. While undetectable when played at the usual rate of 24 film frames per second, the Laserdisc player allowed the viewer to advance frame-by-frame to uncover these visuals. Whether or not they were actually intended to depict the nudity of the character remains unknown. Any retailers said that within minutes of the Laserdisc debut, their entire inventory was sold out. The run was fueled by media reports about the controversy, including stories on CNN and various newspapers.
A comparison of Jessica Rabbit and Red side by side by an artist. Jessica is taller than Red and has a slimmer waste, inhuman proportions. Jessica Rabbit's waste has the oppsite effect on women. A beauty blogger known as Pixee Fox had six ribs removed to look like Jessica Rabbit. Red's body proportion is a normal size and she is a little more gracefully slim. Transgender model Cassandra Cass spent $200000 to look like Jessica Rabbit.
In the 1990 children's TV show Tom and Jerry Kids Red was rebooted.The series was a co-production of Hanna-Barbera and Turner Entertainment Co. They had brought the Tom and Jerry franchise from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1986. For this series Red was renamed Miss Vavoom, the show aired from 1990-1994. Red's new design for the series sometimes also resembled Jessica Rabbit. Reason for this was in a interview with one of the people who had worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit he had admitted that Red in her original Tex Avery appearances had influenced the creation of Jessica Rabbit and the film was released in 1988 two years before Tom and Jerry Kids debuted.
In the 1990s Red was portrayed by Teresa Ganzel who portrayed the character with a baby brooklyn accent. The characters quote was "Boom Boom Vavoom!" a sort of baby scat like sound.
The character Holli Would (a pun on Hollywood) from the 1992 Ralph Bakshi animated film Cool World was also influenced by Red.
In 1999 Red was featured in a Cartoon Network pilot that was never picked up. Red did not have any speaking dialogue.
Red was rebooted in 2010 Tom and Jerry film series where she appears as the damsel in distress. At the end of the film she marries Wolfie. Red then appears in the 2012 film Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse as Maid Marian.
Red made her last appearance in 2013 in the film Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure as the Red Fairy. In most of Red's appearances she sings and dances. Today Red's speaking and singing voice is provided by Grey DeLisle (Grey Griffin) the character no longer imitates Katharine Hepburn, or Mae West and speaks in a neutral sounding voice, a voice very similar to her singing voice.