Michigan J. Frog – The Performing Frog From our Childhood
TV network execs. Garth Ancier (L) the head of programming, & CEO Jamie Kellner (R) posing w. Michigan J. Frog cartoon logo. (Photo by Amy Etra/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Michigan J. Frog (1955 – 2005) was an animated frog that was the official mascot the Warner Brothers Television Network from 1995 until 2005. Long before that, though, he was famous for his appearance in One Froggy Evening, which was a cartoon produced by Merrie Melodies, also known as Warner Brothers.
Michigan was portrayed as a male frog who wore a top hat, carried a cane and sang ragtime tunes while dancing and performing Vaudeville style entertainment. Songs he performed included, Hello! Ma Baby, I’m Just Wild About Harry and The Michigan Rag.
As the story went, Michigan was found in a box that was in the 1892 cornerstone of a building that was being demolished. He was discovered by one of the construction workers working on the project. The construction worker opened the box and Michigan popped out! He immediately commenced performing, much to the construction worker’s awe. The worker instantly saw dollar signs and dreamed of becoming rich! A performing frog would surely make him millions!
The hopeful construction worker promptly took Michigan to audition for a talent agent. When they arrived for the audition, Michigan wouldn’t sing or perform at all. He tried everything to get the frog to show off his unnatural talents, but nothing worked! He appeared to be nothing more than, well… a frog.
Confused and dismayed, the construction worker took Michigan home only to have him pop out of the box again and perform.
After much frustration, Michigan was sealed back up in the cornerstone of another building. A hundred years went by and a different construction worker found Michigan on another jobsite in the year 2056. Once again, Michigan initially performed but then wouldn’t perform for others. As it turned out, this was a running gag for the cunning frog!
As previously mentioned, Michigan J. Frog was the official mascot for Warner Brothers from 1995 to 2005, after appearing in, Another Froggy Evening. At this point he was a colleague of big stars like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
In 2005, Warner Brothers made the decision to pull the proverbial plug on Michigan. Up until that point, they had been using the animated frog in hopes of appealing to young viewers. They had decided that they wanted to take their focus in a different direction.
On July 22, 2005, Michigan J. Frog’s “death” was announced by Warner Brothers. An announcement that, “The frog is dead and buried,” was declared. After the announcement, a series of fictitious and public obituaries ensued in remembrance of the iconic frog.
When Warner Brothers Television Network signed off the air for the final time in 2006, a silhouette of Michigan J. Frog appeared at the end of the montage of characters that represented the network over its years of history.
Thanks for being part of my childhood, Michigan J. Frog. Rest in Peace
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