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Top 50 Cartoon Characters

Modern and Classic Cartoon Characters

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10. Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle with Flowers
Classic Media
Stan and Ollie. Hope and Crosby. Martin and Lewis. In the animated world, Rocky and Bullwinkle are the comedy team who saves the day. Rocky's unending optimism coupled with Bullwinkle's lucky mishaps save their pelts every time. The duo starred in Rocky and His Friends, which premiered in 1959. Their cartoon included the segments: "Fractured Fairytales," "Aesop and Son," "Peabody's Improbable History" and "Mr. Know It All."

9. Wile E. Coyote

Wile E. Coyote
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Poor Wile E. Coyote. We don't want him to catch the Road Runner, but we sure feel bad for him. Director Chuck Jones created the tenacious coyote along with Michael Maltese. The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote were introduced in 1948's Fast and Furry-Ous.

8. Popeye

Popeye
Pricegrabber.com
Like many TV cartoon characters, Popeye began life as a comic strip. Then in 1933, he starred in a Betty Boop cartoon, Popeye the Sailor. His catchphrases include, "Well, blow me down!" and "I eats my spinach!" His bulging forearms, squinty eyes and staccato chuckle are recognized by many generations.

7. The Grinch

The Grinch
Cartoon Network

Dr. Seuss created many characters who made the leap from books to TV, but none as easily and successfully as The Grinch. How the Grinch Stole Christmas animates Dr. Seuss' book about the grouchy green cave-dweller who attempts to ruin Christmas for the Whos down in Whoville. The holiday special, starring Boris Karloff, first aired in 1966. Now an annual holiday favorite, his turn from selfish to selfless promotes the true meaning of Christmas.

6. Fred Flintstone

The Flintstones
Turner Broadcasting
Fred Flintstone is the forerunner to Homer Simpson and Family Guy's Peter Griffin. The Flintstones premiered in 1960, modeled after The Honeymooners, the first made-for-TV primetime cartoon. Fred was the first portly animated husband who had a hot wife, not enough brains for his schemes and a bad temper. Yet, he loved his family.

5. Charlie Brown

A Charlie Brown Christmas
© 1965 United Features Syndicate
Introduced on TV in A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, this comic strip staple became a holiday tradition. The kid who never kicks the football, whose dog is more popular than he is and who has a crush on the red-headed girl steals our hearts every year with a variety of cartoon specials.

4. Bart Simpson

Bart Simpson
©1999 20TH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP.

The second favorite character from The Simpsons is Bart. His catchprhases are "Ay caramba!" and "Eat my shorts!" He opens every episode at the chalkboard, writing out a punishment that might say, "I will finish what I sta..." He is a prankster, but a loyal friend and brother. We all knew a kid like Bart, and sometimes wished we were like him.

3. Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Mickey Mouse represents Disney in all its forms. He started life in black and white in 1928's Steamboat Willie, the first synchronized sound cartoon. Mickey Mouse was first voiced by Walt Disney, himself, then later by Jim MacDonald and Wayne Allwine. Mickey Mouse isn't just a cartoon character; he's an icon.

2. Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson
Twentieth Century Fox

Homer Simpson is known throughout the world. Having been on TV for over 20 seasons, this patriarch is not the father who knows best, but he certainly tries. Homer Simpson is based on creator Matt Groening's father, who is also named Homer. And if you look at Homer's profile, a bit of his hair and his ear form the initials "M G."

1. Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny
Turner Broadcasting
"What's up, doc?" Bugs Bunny is, perhaps, the most recognizable and famous cartoon character. Looney Tunes were first created as lead-ins to feature films. Bugs first appeared as a n-name rabbit in 1938 in "Porky's Hare Hunt." Tex Avery later named him Bugs Bunny after the infamous West Coast mobster. Decades later, Looney Tunes cartoons became a Saturday morning staple. Bugs Bunny is still tops.
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