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Top 50 Cartoon Characters

Modern and Classic Cartoon Characters


30. Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh
Michael Buckner / Getty Images
When you hear the name "Winnie the Pooh," you may think of the honey-colored bear who wears a red shirt. But more accurately, you should think "cha-ching!" This little bear who started as a doodle in a beloved children's book has been a thriving franchise for Disney since they bought rights to him and his woodland friends in the '60s. Winnie the Pooh has starred in many cartoons and specials, both on TV and in feature films. The most memorable TV cartoons were Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1970), Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1970) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too 1975. In 2011, Disney released Winnie the Pooh, a very successful movie that returned to the roots of A. A. Milne's original stories.

29. Ren and Stimpy

Nickelodeon Ren and Stimpy
Whenever I talk cartoons with other fans, Ren and Stimpy inevitably enter the conversation. Their outrageous antics, unbridled toilet humor and their "happy dance" make this cat and dog team a long-lasting favorite.

28. Top Cat

Top Cat
Top Cat is another product of '60s Hanna-Barbera animation. He's the leader of an alley cat gang, who just wants to make a quick buck. But thanks to Officer Dibble, their plans never come to fruition. Top Cat is cool, but his morals are a tad looser than his gang's, leading to occasional mutiny. Nevertheless, T.C. retains his hold as captain.

27. Heckle and Jeckle

In the tradition of Crosby and Hope or Martin and Lewis, Heckle and Jeckle defeat their opponents with wit and style. The big mystery of these magpies is how they became friends: one has a Brooklyn accent, the other a British accent. Perhaps an origin prequel would answer this question? Terrytoons?

26. Josie and the Pussycats

Josie and the Pussycats
Josie was the Beyoncé of her times, leading a girl pop group and taking on the world. I loved that she wore that groovy cat costume. Josie and the Pussycats was part Scooby-Doo and part The Monkees. The character stills inspire TV today, for instance, in the form of Foxxy Love on Drawn Together.

25. Speed Racer

Speed Racer
Most children of the '60s and '70s remember Speed Racer and his Mach 5. Plus, the cartoon introduced us to the world of anime. Thanks to a recent live-action movie and a new cartoon series, Speed Racer is still part of the zeitgeist today.

24. Tweety Bird and Sylvester

Sylvester and Tweety
Another duo Chuck Jones created, Tweety Bird and Sylvester keep each other on their toes, with Sylvester losing out on a yummy bird meal every time. Tweety's baby voice and Sylvester's slobber talk keep us laughing.

23. Underdog

Classic Media
We can all relate to Underdog, the guy who is underestimated by his enemies, only to prove them all wrong. He's sweet when he's wooing Polly Purebread. He's cunning and brave when he's defeating Simon Barsinister.

22. Gumby

Gumby and Pokey
Classic Media
Gumby was a pioneer in stop-motion animation for TV. He and his horse Pokey were heroes in their own fictional world, but for television, they ushered in a new era of animation.

21. Pink Panther

Pink Panther
Like Fat Albert, Pink Panther is a character who inspires a tune in your head as soon as you see him, this one in a jazzy saxophone. The Pink Panther was a series of animated shorts, designed to appear at the opening and closing credits of live-action films starring Inspector Clouseau. His popularity allowed him to become his own cartoon, still airing on Boomerang.
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