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|Ralph E. Wolf and Sam Sheepdog|
|Looney Tunes character|
Sam (left) and Ralph (right) in A Sheep in the Deep
|First appearance||Don't Give Up the Sheep (January 3, 1953)|
|Created by||Chuck Jones|
Mel Blanc (1951–1963)
Maurice LaMarche (2001)
Mel Blanc (1951–1963)
Jim Cummings (1994)
Frank Welker (2001)
Ralph Wolf: Wolf
Sam Sheepdog: Briard Sheepdog
Ralph E. Wolf and Sam Sheepdog (E. like Ethelbert) are characters in a series of animated cartoons in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The characters were created by Chuck Jones.
Ralph Wolf (named after a Warner Bros. employee) has virtually the same character design as another Chuck Jones character, Wile E. Coyote—brown fur, wiry body, and huge ears, but with a red nose in place of the Coyote's black one; (usually) white eyes instead of Wile E.'s yellow; and, occasionally, a fang protruding from his mouth. He also shares the Coyote's appetite, and persistent use of Acme Corporation products, but he covets sheep instead of road runners and, when he speaks, doesn't have the upper-class accent or the egotistical bearing of the Coyote. Another crucial difference is that of personality: Ralph does not have the fanatical drive of the Coyote in pursuing his prey, preferring to abandon his chase at the end of the working day.
Sam Sheepdog, by contrast, is a large, burly Berger de Brie (Briard Sheepdog) with white or tan fur and mop of red hair that usually covers his eyes. He very rarely runs and tends to be sedentary in his movements. He does, however, possess sufficient strength to incapacitate Ralph with a single punch once he catches him.
Inspired by the Friz Freleng cartoon The Sheepish Wolf of a decade earlier (October 17, 1942), Chuck Jones created Ralph and Sam for a series of shorts. The first of these was Don't Give Up the Sheep, released on January 3, 1953.
The cartoon proved a success, prompting Jones to repeat the formula five more times between 1953 and 1962. In 1963, ex-Jones animators Phil Monroe and Richard Thompson also starred the duo in their cartoon Woolen Under Where.
The series is built around the idea that both Ralph and Sam are just doing their jobs. Most of the cartoons begin at the beginning of the workday, in which they both arrive at a sheep-grazing meadow, exchange pleasant chitchat, and punch into the same time clock. Work having officially begun, Ralph repeatedly tries very hard to abduct the helpless sheep and invariably fails, either through his own ineptitude or the minimal efforts of Sam (he is frequently seen sleeping), who always brutally punishes Ralph for the attempt. In many instances there are also multiple copies of Ralph and particularly Sam.
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