Monday, April 18, 2011

The Moonlight Spotlight: Gossamer the Monster

Before we begin, let me apologize for... Uhm... Whatever happened to me last time. I don't know what came over me. One moment, I'm writing a ghost story, the next my keyboard somehow shocks me and I go unconscious. I must have finished the article, though, because I saw it got posted.

Anyway, enough about that. Welcome to a new segment I'm introducing called the Moonlight Spotlight! This is where I discuss little known icons of horror. Let's be honest, Freddy, Jason, Mike and those lot have been talked about to death (pun totally intended). It's time the under-zombie got his share of attention. Now, this is our first foray into little known fear mongers. Our fangs are barely coming in yet. So, let's start off with a small appetizer before we get into anything with bite. He's the first laboratory experiment I remember seeing as a kid. It's Gossamer the Monster.

I bet you didn't even know he had a name, did you?

Gossamer was that big, red monster from Looney Tunes. His first appearance was in “Hare Raising Hare” as he tried to eat Bugs Bunny for supper. I think this creep really stands out from other Looney Tunes characters because, although he says all of one word in his debut, he leaves a lasting impression. Unlike Taz, he doesn't make a lot of nonsense sounds. He's a silent monster, which is why Bugs is scared of him. He looks gruesome and you wouldn't really hear him coming after you. The other thing in this cartoon that's creepy is the scientist, who for some strange reason looks like Peter Lorre. I have the feeling that the scientist would be a lot more imposing if he had a name and didn't get erased from existence two minutes into the short. Seriously, he just kinda disappears, never to be mentioned again. I would talk about the two other cartoons Gossamer was in (“Water, Water Every Hare” and “Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24th ½ Century”) if I could find them anywhere online, but I can't, and to be honest, my memory regarding those two is practically non-existent. I'd rather just talk about what I know.

Originally, the monster didn't have a name. He was just a monster that was made in a lab and had to be fed. Then, in “Water, Water Every Hare” his new creator, a guy later known as Dr. Moron, used him to help get Bugs' brain for an experiment. In this cartoon, he was named Rudolph. And I won't make that joke. It's Halloween here at the Haunted Drive-in, not Christmas. So who ultimately named him Gossamer? Marvin the Martian, actually, in that Duck Dodgers short I mentioned before. The name was supposed to be ironic. As put by Marvin: "because he's the opposite looking of gossamer [which means 'light and delicate']. He's a big, hairy thing."

Actually, that's the perfect description for Gossamer: A big, hairy thing. We don't actually know what he is. He was a monster created in a lab, but from what? For what purpose was he made? We don't know. Perhaps we'll never know. But, just like Beetlejuice, that's why he's so scary. He's a monster made seemingly for nothing but destruction. He wants nothing more than to munch on a wise-cracking wabbit. He has no purpose beyond the utter annihilation of a cherished childhood character.

For all these reasons, Gossamer holds the spot for the very first Moonlight Spotlight. He's one of the first real creatures I ever enjoyed as a kid. He's confusing, disturbing, outrageous, hilarious, and scary. He's a monster.

1 comment:

  1. It always confused me as a kid how the mad scientist in the first toon just totally disappeared like he did. Perhaps he was watching from the sidelines and sent the newly repaired robot rabbit to trap Bugs again after Gossamer failed.

    By the way, it seems ridiculously appropriate that you wrote this, since you're Daffy. :0D