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Top 50 Cartoon Characters

Modern and Classic Cartoon Characters


40. Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale

Boris and Natasha
Classic Media
Boris and Natasha are portrayed the way Americans saw Russians during the Cold War. That doesn't keep these villains from Rocky and His Friends from dispatching some thickly accented humor. Boris was voiced by Paul Fees, who was also Burgermeister Meisterburger in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Legendary June Foray, who has played Granny on all the Looney Tunes cartoons, was the voice of Natasha.

39. Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry
Turner Broadcasting
This cat and mouse team were the inspiration for The Simpsons Itchy and Scratchy (without the gore). Tom and Jerry chase each other, torment each other and generally try to defeat the other. Though Tom has the upper hand more than, say, Sylvester, he still has yet to make a meal of Jerry. Tom and Jerry has had many incarnations, beginning with the Academy award-winning MGM shorts in the 1940s to the most recent episodes on Cartoon Network.

38. Woody Woodpecker

Woody Woodpecker and Friends
Another anti-hero, Woody Woodpecker lives to cause trouble. His most famous trait is no doubt his cackling, stuttering laugh. Walter Lantz created Woody Woodpecker. Although Mel Blanc, then Ben Hardaway, originally voiced the character, his wife, Grace, voiced Woody Woodpecker from 1948's Banquet Busters through 1972.

37. Alvin (the Chipmunk)

Alberto E. Rodriguez
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images
Alvin, lead singer of Alvin and the Chipmunks, is the guts of the operation. Simon is the brains, and Theodore is the heart. The Chipmunks were such successful recording stars, they were given their own cartoon in 1961. These rodents have continued to make cartoons and movies, up through their most recent feature film in 2011, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.

36. Donald Duck

Donald Duck
As Mickey Mouse's cynical sidekick, Donald Duck was always my favorite. (Much like Oscar the Grouch was my favorite on Sesame Street. Hm, issues?) It wasn't the raspy voice or fashionable duds, but his eye-rolling attitude and exasperation with most of the world that made him so relatable. Donald Duck made his debut in Walt Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon segment, "The Wise Little Hen," in 1934. His most memorable turn may be as Scrooge McDuck in Mickey's Christmas Carol, released in 1983.

35. Mighty Mouse

Mighty Mouse
"Here I come to save the day!" Before Andy Kaufman lip-synched Mighty Mouse's theme on Saturday Night Live, Mighty Mouse had been through many incarnations. Part mouse, part superhero, Mighty Mouse kept Mouseville safe from a variety of cat villains. Mighty Mouse was originally named Super Mouse, when he made his debut in the Mouse of Tomorrow in 1942.

34. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo

Yogi Bear
Turner Broadcasting
Another Hanna-Barbera staple was the team of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. The pair first debuted on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, then earned their own cartoon titled The Yogi Bear Show in 1961. Yogi (smarter than the average bear) continually found himself in trouble and Boo Boo usually figured a way out. The duo lived in Jellystone Park. Yogi's character is most likely based on the Ed Norton character from The Honeymooners, another reason he was so lovable. Yogi and Boo Boo also starred in Yogi and His Friends, Yogi's Gang, just Yogi Bear and in 2010 their own Yogi Bear feature film.

33. Space Ghost

Space Ghost
Adult Swim
Sure, Space Ghost was a popular character in '60s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, when he battled villains in outer space. But his stint as a late-night talk show host on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast in 1994 on Cartoon Network (which would become Adult Swim) sent him into the stratosphere of stardom. He interviewed human guests (via a TV screen), along with his co-hosts Moltar and Zorak. The characters' deadpan delivery and random laser beams helped make the cartoon a cult sensation.

32. Bill from 'Schoolhouse Rock'

Bill - Schoolhouse Rock
Schoolhouse Rock was a set of animated shorts that helped educate kids in the '60s and '70s about conjunctions, the magic number three and, especially the legislative process. The latter lesson starred a rolled-up paper named Bill, and showed how he went from the House to the Senate and eventually became a law. His "I'm Just a Bill" tune is most memorable. The award-winning educational series was the result of a partnership between Michael Eisner, former chairman of the board at Walt Disney Company, and cartoon legend Chuck Jones. The original series aired from 1973 to 1985.

31. Arthur

Arthur is a highly recognizable character from his own children's book series who made the leap to a TV cartoon on PBS in Arthur. And if you're wondering, yes, he's an aardvark. Arthur premiered in 1996, becoming an instant hit. Since then Arthur, the character, has become a mascot for reading programs. The series continues to air on PBS Kids.
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