Minorities in cartoons: Mary Melody

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is Mary Melody, a minor character who appeared on the early 90s TV series “Tiny Toon Adventures.”

Background

Mary Melody was the series’ one non-villainous recurring human character. The other two human characters were the obnoxious rich brat Montana Max (who had Yosemite Sam’s temperament), and dim-witted animal lover/abuser Elmyra Duff (loosely based on Elmer Fudd).

In contrast, Mary was friendly toward the others. She also attended Acme Looniversity, though generally wasn’t subject to the same slapstick that befell her costars. Mary’s also one of the few “Tiny Toons” characters who didn’t have a Looney Tunes counterpart. (A few people online apparently have tried to compare Mary to some stereotypical Black character from a now-little-seen Looney Tunes short.)

Her name’s a reference to “Merry Melodies,” the companion series to “Looney Tunes.”

Mary’s most prominent role was in the short “Cross-Country Kitty,” where Mary’s shown as the owner of Sweetie (a girl counterpart of Tweety) and, in this short, Furrball. In this short, Mary gets tired of Furrball trying to eat Sweetie. To take Furrball’s mind off the bird, they go on a vacation to Miami. Unfortunately, Furrball keeps heading back to Acme Acres (located in California) when Mary’s not looking, in order to try eating Sweetie. Of course, all his attempts fail. The best parts: Sweetie feeding Furrball a full box of the insects she was having for lunch; also, Furrball’s increasingly desperate/ludicrous cross-country travel attempts.

Mary also appears in other episodes, sometimes to comment on her secondary role. In a Robin Hood parody (where she’s one of the Merry Men), she states “another cameo, another paycheck.” In the episode “Prom-ise Her Anything,” Mary is shown covering the school’s prom preparations for a TV broadcast. She also shows up later with her own prom date (a one-shot, non-speaking human African-American youth).

Voice actress

Cree Summer voiced Mary in all of her appearances except in “Cross-Country Kitty.” There, she was voiced by Cindy McGee. McGee apparently has had few or no roles since “Tiny Toons,” per IMDB.

(Updated 11/17/16)

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