|Michigan J. Frog|
Michigan serving as the mascot for The WB Network.
|First appearance||"One Froggy Evening"|
|Voiced by|| Bill Roberts ("One Froggy Evening")|
John Hillner (Tiny Toon Adventures)
Jeff McCarthy ("Another Froggy Evening")
Michigan J. Frog is a minor character that has appeared on occasion in the Looney Tunes cartoons, first appearing in the 1955 cartoon "One Froggy Evening". He is a frog with quite a talent for singing or dancing. Ed Sullivan influenced the character, as told by Chuck Jones.
In "One Froggy Evening", a member of a wrecking crew finds Michigan sealed in a box that he discovers during the demolition of an old building. To the person's amazement, the frog he finds in said box is capable of dancing vaudeville-style and singing classic songs of the 1890s in a baritone voice. Michigan's new owner, seeing the monetary potential for such a character, tries to exploit him, but in every attempt to do so, we discover that Michigan is incapable of performing for any audience other than the person who found him. Eventually, the construction worker grows so frustrated with this that he reburies Michigan in a building that is under construction; the cartoon ends on Michigan being dug up by another would-be moneymaker in the future.
Initially created without a name, the character was given the name Michigan Frog in the 1970s in response asking Chuck Jones what the character was named. Michigan's name comes from "The Michigan Rag", a song written for the cartoon that he sings at one point. The middle initial was later added as a suggestion made to Chuck Jones in an interview.
Despite having only appeared in only one cartoon, Michigan became a popular figure in today's world. His first new appearance was in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Psychic Fun-Omenon Day", which featured him in a segment titled "Class Cut-Up"; here, he is a seemingly dead frog whom Hamton J. Pig is assigned to dissect. To Hamton's surprise, Michigan is very much alive, but just like in the frog's original appearance, Hamton's classmates do not believe him when he tells them his frog was singing.
Michigan's next appearance, which came in the very next episode, "The Wide World of Elmyra", also marked his only appearance as an antagonist; in the segment "Turtle Hurdle", he torments Tyrone Turtle as he tries to cross a busy freeway while trying to escape Elmyra Duff. In the end, Elmyra ends up capturing Michigan.
In 1995, Michigan went on to his most prominent role of the 1990s, in which he served as the mascot for The WB Television Network. That same year, he also starred in a newly-made sequel titled "Another Froggy Evening". Here, Michigan is discovered by various people in history, all of them resembling the construction worker from his first film, and all of whom fail to exploit him for money. By the end of the cartoon, the last person to find him (a desert island castaway) decides instead to eat him, but Michigan is then beamed up onto Marvin the Martian's spaceship, where he agrees to sing for Marvin (according to Marvin, Michigan's croaking sounds are actually him speaking in Martian language).
Michigan also made background cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam and Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and most recently, he appeared as a talent show emcee in the Duck Dodgers episode "Talent Show A-Go-Go". Besides this, he has made frequent cameos in the Looney Tunes comic book, one of his most notable being the Superman & Bugs Bunny mini-series, where he performs only for Green Arrow, who is naturally unable to convince anyone else that he has a singing frog.
On July 22, 2005, Michigan's "death" was announced by WB Network Chairman Garth Ancier, at a fall season preview, with the terse statement "The frog is dead and buried." The head of programming for the WB Network, David Janollari, announced services will be held for Mr. Frog, but failed to give details. Janollari stated that "(Michigan) was a symbol that prepetuated the young teen feel of the network. That's not the image we (now) want to put out to our audience." Various humorous obituaries for the mascot were published with details on Michigan's life and death. His dates were given as December 31, 1955 - July 22, 2005. Despite this decision by Ancier, Michigan still appeared in some WB affiliate logos and in TV spots until the network shut down in September 2006.
- "Y'know, Shakespeare said 'to be or not to be'; I say, dubba dubba WB!"
- "I'd like to extend a warm Warner welcome to the Tiny Toons. They're going to make this a great fall here at Kids' WB!"
- "And now another Men In Black fact: Cream filling will paralyze a Sandershwart. And you thought junk food was bad for you!"
- (advertising Unhappily Ever After) "Marriage starts with 'M', and ends with divorce."
- "Hello ma baby, tune into Muscle, it ain't about liftin' weights."
- "While you're watching this show, and howlin' at the jokes,
Remember it's been brought to you by those Saturn folks."
- Looney Tunes
- Tiny Toon Adventures
- The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit (cameo)
- Space Jam (cameo)
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action (cameo)
- Duck Dodgers