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Elmyra Duff is a cartoon character from the Warner Bros. animated television series Tiny Toon Adventures. She is one of the main characters from the show. Elmyra is voiced by Cree Summer in all of her appearances. Elmyra is a young, redheaded human girl (of unknown age) with a white skirt, light blue shirt and bowed ribbon in her hair that has an animal's skull in the middle, black shoes and white socks. She attends Acme Looniversity and lives in Acme Acres. She also serves as the school nurse to the point of duplicating herself like in The Acme Bowl where two Elmyras were happily skipping along carrying a winch with an injured Hamton, Furrball and Calamity on board.
Elmyra Duff is based superficially on her name derivative and mentor, Elmer Fudd; 'Elmyra' being a female form of 'Elmer' and her last name, 'Duff', as 'Fudd' pronounced backwards. Elmyra strongly resembles a younger version of the feminized Elmer Fudd from the 1946 cartoon The Big Snooze, in which Elmer's peaceful retirement dream became a nightmare where he was transformed into a shapely female by Bugs Bunny. She behaves quite a bit like Little Suzie, a child from a fairly obscure 1955 Freleng short called "A Kiddie's Kitty". Here a girl adopts Sylvester Pussycat and unwittingly abuses him with her childish antics, to the point that he decides he would rather take his chances with a bulldog who had been tormenting him earlier in the picture.
Elmyra is a kid who is obsessed with animals and cute things (which is probably why she works as a nurse at Acme Looniversity). She is always chasing after animals and classmates at Acme Looniversity, obliviously causing great discomfort or serious injury to potential pets from her overenthusiastic affection and complete lack of even the most rudimentary knowledge of pet care. In this she is reminiscent of the aforementioned Suzie, or even Hugo the Abominable Snowman (who, in turn, is influenced by Lenny from Of Mice and Men). This is in contrast to Elmer's well-armed actual intent to violence, although she is dismissed by Buster and Babs Bunny in the pilot as extremely lame for a 'villain'. The two share a distinct similarity in that both hunt animals; while Elmer hunts them for sport, Elmyra hunts them to love and baby them to death (sometimes literally)--often even diapering the animals (such as Plucky in the episode Pollution Solution). She does not really mean to mistreat her pets, she simply doesn't understand the negative effects of her behavior. Each time animals manage to get away from Elmyra and she's unable to get them back, she often cries and wails. Unlike other Tiny Toons, she doesn't get hurt (from an anvil dropping on her head, for example) but gets dazed. Curiously, at least once, Elmyra was shown to be bald like her inspiration, with her hair depicted as a wig (although whether she is really bald or this is simply cartoon humor is up for debate).
This danger is balanced by her complete and utter gullibility. Her abject stupidity is pocked with occasional instances of cleverness, and her character is toned down as needed. Buster Bunny and Babs Bunny explain in the series' pilot that Elmyra is a pushover — unlike Montana Max — but that they needed nominal "villains" to pitch their series. This is a nod to the original Looney Tunes, in which Yosemite Sam (the basis for Montana Max) was created due to the fact that Elmer Fudd was seen as too easy and mild-mannered to be an effective enemy for Bugs Bunny.
Elmyra looks sweet and is somewhat a major dunce (in one episode it shows that mayonnaise has a higher IQ than she), she speaks in semi-perpetual baby talk, and her hair bow is decorated with a small gerbil skull, which may hint at her sinister side. Elmyra sometimes removes the skull to tell Mr. Skullhead stories.
One of the animals in her vast menagerie is Byron Basset, a near-gelatinous basset hound who drew most of his humor from his odd appearance. In contrast to her other pets, Byron seems to feel a grudging love for his owner despite her clumsiness. Sneezer was also shown to be one of the few "pets" capable of enduring Elmyra's well intentioned zeal, but even Elmyra had trouble coping with Sneezer's allergies and explosive, gale-force sneezes. Less enthusiastic pets have included Buster, Furrball, Fifi La Fume, and Tyrone the Turtle.
One of the few characters that Elmyra doesn't think is cute and cuddly is Hamton J. Pig, for she thinks he's a dirty pig in need of a good bath, which is ironic, because Hamton is obsessed with cleanliness and dislikes filth and bad odors.
The Duffs Edit
As the character of Elmyra was popular among the show's viewers, the creators decided to give her character two entire episodes later in the series. The family, which had been previously unmentioned, appeared in two episodes, "Take Elmyra Please" and "Grandma's Dead." Soleil Moon Frye voiced Elmyra's eldest sister, Amanda; Matt Frewer was her frazzled inventor father, Mac. As these episodes featured none of the rest of the regular Tiny Toons cast, other than Furrball and Byron Basset, they may have been a test to see if Elmyra's character could get her own spin-off series, centered around her family. Elmyra's dad is a spaced-out inventor whose inventions either succeed, fail, or are used in another purpose. Elmyra's mom, Emily, voiced by Tress MacNeille, is patronizing and doesn't pay too much attention to her children's behavior, save for her baby son who demonstrates incredible strength, a cause of concern. Elmyra's brother, Duncan (voiced by Whitby Hertford), thinks he's a superhero and usually winds up saving Elmyra every time she gets in trouble. Amanda is the typical version of a teenage girl and is embarrassed by her family's behavior. They also have a dimwitted maid, Queegee, also voiced by Tress MacNeille, who shows superhuman strength at some times. Elmyra's grandmother is voiced by Fran Ryan.
Also of note in these episodes is the introduction of the character Mr. Skullhead. Mr. Skullhead was created by Elmyra's imagination from the small skull she wears as a hair ornament. He starred in his own show, The Mr. Skullhead Show. The character later appeared regularly on the show Animaniacs as the central character in a skit called "Good Idea, Bad Idea," in which Mr. Skullhead and the various members of his family would be violently maimed.
"I'm gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever (and never use you up)" (while squeezing Furrball to death)
"I love cats I love kitties, squeeze them into itty bittys!"
"I'm gonna start his motor!" (as she rubs a sleeping cheetah's belly)
"Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone? There, there!"
"Let the show begin!" (stinger during the end credits)
Though Animaniacs was not technically a follow-up to Tiny Toons, several of the characters from Tiny Toons made cameos. The most notable of all of these is Elmyra's in the short "Lookit the Fuzzy Heads." Believing the Warners were dogs, Elmyra chased Yakko, Wakko, and Dot out of Dr. Scratchansniff's office and through the city, until finally the three tricked Elmyra into following Mindy, which resulted in Elmyra continually getting hurt (not to mention saving Buttons the trouble of the pursuit). In a way, this ending was especially appropriate in that Mindy and Elmyra were similar characters. Both are young girls who love their pets but are oblivious to the pain they inflict upon them. She made a cameo in the following episode, "The Warner's 65th Anniversary special", wishing Yakko, Wakko, and Dot a happy anniversary, and appeared a couple of times on A Hard Days Warners, as one of Their fans. Incidentally Yakko, Wakko, and Dot made a cameo on Tiny Toons Spring Break Special, but not being chased by Elmyra.
Elmyra later acquired newly-homeless Pinky and the Brain in a short-lived series in 1998 (in which Pinky is adjusting well to his new life but the Brain has problems living with his mistress, Elmyra) — notable only for the Christopher Walken-esque madman who was pursuing the two mice for his own world domination plans. Although she has essentially the same personality and lives in Acme Acres, her character on Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain is different from her character on Tiny Toon Adventures in several ways: she goes to school with other human kids rather than her Tiny Toons co-stars, her family is absent, and she harbors an unrequited crush on a different boy, Rudy Mookich (voiced by Nancy Cartwright), who does not return her affections either. A poster is seen in Elmyra's bedroom that says "Acme Acres Zoo" so this could indicate they've moved house. A running gag here is that Elmyra continually washes Brain's mouth whenever he says either something that she would find offensive or merely scientific jargon that she can't understand (she calls it "naughty-waughty potty talk"). Curiously, Pinky and the Brain had earlier made a cameo as two of Elmyra's caged pets in the Tiny Toons Spring Break special. Also, when Brain makes a cameo in the Tiny Toons Night Ghoulery Special, Elmyra remarks, "I'll play with you later," a possible foreshadowing.
See also Edit
- ↑ T. Mike Childs, The Rocklopedia Fakebandica (Macmillan, 2004), 225.
- ↑ T. Mike Childs, The Rocklopedia Fakebandica (Macmillan, 2004), 225.
- Tiny Toon Adventures at the Internet Movie Database
- Tiny Toon Adventures at the Big Cartoon DataBase