Every so often, the Warner Brothers marketing machine latches onto a seemingly random Looney Tunes character and begins pimping the holy hell out of them. T-shirts, backpacks, watches, hats, wall clocks, pens, license plate frames, bed sheets, personal lubricant... pretty much anything with a surface large enough to print on gets plastered with the face of the toon du jour. First was Taz, and right now it's Tweety. Sometime in there, they tried to give the same push to the big red monster, Gossamer.
Gossamer is one of those characters, like Statler & Waldorf, who people recognize but can't name. And really, that's not so much of a surprise: he was only in three cartoons, two of which had the same plot and one of which wasn't even made until after the golden age had been long gone. This figure is based on his second appearance, in "Water, Water Every Hare," which was basically a retread of "Hair-Raising Hare" from six years earlier - only difference was that now the mad scientist looked like Boris Karloff instead of Peter Lorre, and it was a flood that brought Bugs to the castle, not a robot girl bunny. Other than that? Even the way Bugs dealt with the monster was the same.
This monster is an absolute beast
of a figure - he's huge, he's heavy... he's a giant monster, what more do you want? He stands just over 7 1/2" tall, and that's with bent knees and a bent back. He's posed to be looming over someone (Bugs), so if he stood up straight, he'd probably be brushing 9". Surprisingly, he's not rotocast - this thing is so damn heavy, it may be a solid lump of plastic. He only moves at the ankles, shoulders and elbows, but it's all the sculpt will allow - and that's not really a bad thing.
Gossy's sculpt definitely takes precedence over the articulation. In this case, that's fine. Since his body is entirely covered by hair (actually made entirely of hair, it was later revealed), he's basically a shape with some texture. James Shoop did a great job of creating that fuzzy look. There are thin, fine lines all over, with a few deeper creases and some random tufts spread about. Even the details on his shoes are raised.
The set includes a translucent orange bottle
that'll go nicely with the yellow one from the other set. He can't hold it, of course, but it adds some scenery for the figure. However, his other accessory is much cooler: it's a tiny, shrunken, 1 3/8" Gossamer, wearing a suit and hat and carrying a tiny suitcase in each hand - he's quit, and he's leaving. Mini-Gossamer is actually articulated at the shoulders, so he can swing his arms as he leaves. The little guy stands all by himself, which is impressive.
Gossamer gets the same simple
5" by 3" by 1 1/4" platform base that Bugs and the scientist did, though his huge feet means that he definitely doesn't need it. If nothing else, it'll house the extra accessories, so you gotta love that. There's a slot in the back to display a cardboard backdrop - one side has a castle hallway with warning signs and a steel grate, the other has a heavy door with "monster" painted in big letters.
Though he's officially named Gossamer today, the big red monster was un-named in his first appearance. In "Water, Water Every Hare," the mad scientist called him "Rudolph." It wasn't until 1980's "Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24 1/2th Century" that the name "Gossamer" popped up - that's a 28-year gap between appearances, and probably why it was hard for the hype machine to sell him. But he's still my single favorite Looney Tune, and I can't believe we got such an awesome figure of such an obscure character so soon.
Who's your favorite obscure Looney Tunes character? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.