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|MGM Cartoons character|
|First appearance||Screwball Squirrel|
April 1, 1944
|Created by||Tex Avery|
|Voiced by||Wally Maher (1944—1946)|
Charlie Adler (Droopy, Master Detective)
Paul Reubens (Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure)
|Alias||Skrewy the Screwball Squirrel|
Screwball "Screwy" Squirrel is a cartoon character, an anthropomorphic squirrel created by Tex Avery for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He is generally considered the wackiest and outright most antagonistic of the screwball cartoon characters of the 1940s.
Among the most outrageous cartoon characters ever created, Screwy can do almost anything to almost anyone: he pulls objects out of thin air, doubles himself, and constantly breaks the fourth wall, all the while uttering a characteristic cackling laugh. The character was not as successful as Avery's Droopy was at this time, and Screwy was killed off after appearing in only five cartoons: Screwball Squirrel (1944), Happy-Go-Nutty (1944), Big Heel-Watha (1944), The Screwy Truant (1945), and Lonesome Lenny (1946).
The character was notable for being brash and erratic, and is considered by some to be more annoying than funny, with few sympathetic personality characteristics such as Bugs Bunny's nobility or Daffy Duck's pathos. Most of his cartoons revolve around him inflicting various forms of torture on his enemy (usually Meathead Dog, voiced by Dick Nelson) for seven minutes. In The Screwy Truant, Screwy hits a dog across the head with everything he can find in a trunk labeled "Assorted Swell Stuff to Hit Dog on Head". When he finishes, the dog remarks, "Gee whiz! He hit me with everything but the kitchen sink!" Screwy responds with, "Well, don't want to disappoint you, chum," then pulls out that very item and bashes him over the head with it.
The final cartoon in the series, Lonesome Lenny, a broad parody of the characters of George and Lenny from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men, ended with a joking reference to indicate that Screwy had been crushed to death by his antagonist, who commented "You know, I had a little friend once, but he don't move no more."
Meathead Dog makes a cameo appearance in the 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He is seen sniffing around at R. K. Maroon's Cartoon Studio in the film's beginning. Screwy is mockingly mentioned as one of Eddie Valiant's bar patrons by Angelo: "Who's your client, Mr. Detective of the Stars? Chilly Willy, or Screwy Squirrel?"
Hanna Barbera resurrected Screwy in new animation for the Droopy, Master Detective Saturday morning cartoon on Fox Kids in 1993–1994. The new cartoons featured the character's name as Screwball—never Screwy—and pitted him not against Meathead, but a pair of typical Hanna-Barbera authority figures, human park attendant Dweeble and his oafish dog Rumply. "Screwball" himself wore a T-shirt and, much of the time, a Napoleon hat.
On April Fools' Day, 1997, Cartoon Network ran an edited version (minus one blackface gag) of the 1944 Screwy Squirrel cartoon Happy-Go-Nutty repeatedly from 6 AM to 6 PM, as part of an April Fool's joke that the cartoon character had taken over the channel.
In 2013, both Meathead and Screwy Squirrel make appearances as residents of "Fairy Land" in Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure retaining most of their traits. Screwy Squirrel was voiced by Paul Reubens and Meathead is voiced by John DiMaggio.
In 2019, Screwy Squirrel makes an appearance as a landlord of an apartment building called Screwy Arms Apts, along with other MGM characters like butch [who is portrayed as the twin brother of spike which was the original name of the character] and droopy in the 3rd season of The Tom and Jerry Show episode called "Double Dog Trouble", he also makes a few silent cameos in the series. Screwy is voiced by Sean Kenin.
- Wally Maher (1944—1946)
- Charlie Adler (Droopy Master Detective)
- Paul Reubens (Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure)
- Sean Kenin ("Double Dog Trouble")
|1||Screwball Squirrel||April 1, 1944|
|2||Happy-Go-Nutty||June 24, 1944|
|3||Big Heel-Watha (Buck of the Month)||October 21, 1944|
|4||The Screwy Truant||January 13, 1945|
|5||Lonesome Lenny||March 9, 1946|
List of comics appearances
- Our Gang Comics #12–14 (1944) (Dell)
- Tom & Jerry's Winter Carnival #1 (1952), #2 (1953) (Dell)
- Tom & Jerry's Winter Fun #3 (1954), #6 (1957), #7 (1958), #8 (1958) (Dell)
- Tom & Jerry's Summer Fun #1 (1954), #2 (1955) (Dell)
- Tom and Jerry #213 (1962), #231, #232 (1966), #258 (1971)
- Golden Comics Digest #3, #5 (1969), #8 (1970), #18 (1971), #22, #25 (1972), #28 (1973), #41 (1975) (Gold Key)
- Tex Avery's Wolf and Red various issues (1995) (Dark Horse Comics)
- Tex Avery's Screwball Squirrel (1995) (Dark Horse Comics)
- Tex Avery's Droopy various issues (1995) (Dark Horse Comics)
- Comics and Stories various issues (1996) (Dark Horse Comics)
Some earlier comics style the character's name as "Skrewy Squirrel" or "Skrewy the Screwball Squirrel." Additional titles, not listed here, include the character in one-page gag or puzzle features.
- Screwball Squirrel is on the DVD of The Thin Man Goes Home
- Happy-Go-Nutty is on the DVD of Dragon Seed
- The Screwy Truant is on the DVD of The Clock (1945 film)
- Lonesome Lenny is on the DVD of Undercurrent
- Adamson, Joe, Tex Avery: King of Cartoons, 1975, Da Capo Press