13 July 2008 | lee_eisenberg
make love (and art), not war
And so, Pepe Le Pew - one of Chuck Jones's personal stars for many years - departs the silver screen. And "Louvre Come Back to Me!" is a worthy departure. As is the case in most of Pepe's cartoons, it begins with a female cat (usually called Penelope, although her name sometimes changes) having her back painted white. To be certain, here she deliberately does it to avoid a gaggle of dogs. But sure enough, Pepe - after having traipsed through Paris and unwittingly grossed everyone out with his body odor - catches sight of her. He chases her into the Louvre. But here, Jones throws a wrench in the works. You see, this supposed belle femme skunk already has a lover...and the guy is ready to fight Pepe for her. So, Pepe puts on a litany of dueling histrionics, even feigning death at one point...and meanwhile his rival is holding his own breath and turning several colors! Anyway, with the Looney Tunes having passed their heyday, it was good that the directors were coming up with good ways to end the characters' careers (Porky Pig left the screen in 1961; Elmer Fudd and Pepe Le Pew left in 1962; Marvin the Martian and Foghorn Leghorn left in 1963; Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam and Tweety all left in 1964; Sylvester left in 1965; Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales and Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote had all left by the end of 1968; and Warner Bros. ceased all animation in 1969).
All in all, Pepe remains an important part of American popular culture. In other words, that'll never be all, folks. Like I said earlier, this was a good end for him. It wouldn't surprise me if the final sequence irked the world's art buffs.
PS: this cartoon got included in the 1983 compilation film "Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island".