Marvin the Martian

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Marvin the Martian (or Marvin Martian) is a fictional character appearing in the Looney Tunes cartoons. Despite appearing in only five of the original shorts, Marvin has developed a cult following. Marvin's likeness appears in miniature on the Spirit rover on Mars.

Contents

Conception and creation

Animation director Chuck Jones noted that Bugs Bunny soon learned to outwit Yosemite Sam (the creation of the senior director, Friz Freleng), so he decided to create the opposite type of character; one who was quiet and soft-spoken, but whose actions were incredibly destructive and legitimately dangerous. Marvin the Martian made his debut in 1948's Haredevil Hare.

Marvin's design was based on a conception of the god Mars. "That was the uniform that Mars wore – that helmet and skirt. We thought putting it on this ant-like creature might be funny. But since he had no mouth, we had to convey that he was speaking totally through his movements. It demanded a kind of expressive body mechanics."[1]

Marvin was never named in the original shorts (though he was called the Commander of Flying Saucer X-2 in The Hasty Hare in 1952), but decades later when the character attracted merchandising interest, the current name was selected.

Actor portrayal

In his first appearance Mel Blanc gave him a stuffy, nasal voice, but later, Marvin the Martian adopted an accent resembling Received Pronunciation. Marvin was voiced in recent years by Joe Alaskey, Bob Bergen, and Eric Goldberg.

History

Marvin hails from the planet Mars, but is often found elsewhere. He is often accompanied by his dog "K-9", and sometimes by other creatures (one gag, first used in Hare-Way to the Stars (1957), being candy-sized "Instant Martians" that become full-size on addition of drops of water).

Marvin wears a Roman soldier's uniform, with old-fashioned basketball shoes. The style of these resembles the Chuck Taylor All-Stars brand name, considered to be the "generic" or "standard" basketball sneaker. His head is a black sphere with only eyes for features. The crest of his helmet appears, with the push-broom-like upper section, to comically resemble an ancient Greek hoplite's helmet. The appearance of the combination of Marvin's head and helmet allegedly led to Bugs Bunny thinking he was a "bowling ball wearing a spittoon" in one Looney Tunes animated short. Marvin speaks with a soft, English aristocratic accent, and often speaks technobabble. The helmet and skirt that surround him are green and his suit is red (in a few of the original shorts, his suit was green). He is also known for his trademark quotes "Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!", "Isn't that lovely?", and "This makes me very angry, very angry indeed."

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