Gossamer is an animated cartoon character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The character is a hairy, red monster. His rectangular body is perched on two giant tennis shoes, and his heart-shaped face is composed of only two oval eyes and a wide mouth, with two hulking arms ending in dirty, clawed fingers.
The monster’s main trait, however, is bright uncombed red hair. In fact, a gag in the 1980 short Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century lampoons this by revealing that Gossamer is, in fact, composed entirely of hair. He was originally voiced by Mel Blanc and has been voiced by Joe Alaskey, Jim Cummings, and Dee Bradley Baker.
The word “gossamer” means any sort of thin, fragile, transparent material — in particular, it can refer to a kind of delicate, sheer gauze or a light cobweb. The name is meant to be ironic since the character is large, menacing, and destructive.
Animator Chuck Jones introduced the monster character in the 1946 cartoon Hair-Raising Hare. In it, Bugs Bunny is lured to the lair of a mad scientist as food for Gossamer. The monster (unnamed here) serves as the scientist’s henchman. Part of this plot was repeated in the 1952 Jones cartoon Water, Water Every Hare, in which the monster’s character was referred to as “Rudolph”. The mad scientist in need of a live-brain for his giant robot, released Rudolph from his chamber for a mission to capture Bugs Bunny in order to obtain a living brain, to which Rudolph showed a sudden burst of joyousness and quickly set out when the mad scientist promised the reward of “spider goulash” for capturing the rabbit.
Gossamer has also appeared in a cameo role in a number of recent Warner Bros productions. He appeared in 1990s episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures, including a prominent role in a Frankenstein parody segment in the Tiny Toons Night Ghoulery special. He appears briefly in the 1996 movie Space Jam (in a car before the big game and after Bugs gets crushed by one of the Monstars). Gossamer appeared in the Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode “Monsters are Real” where he was shown as one of the best monsters to scare people and animals. He appears in the Videogame Looney Tunes Collector Alert as a boss in the Count’s Castle.
Most recently, Gossamer was one of the Warner Bros characters reinvented for the 21st century in The Looney Tunes Show (2011).