Taz Tasmanian (simply known as Taz) is a major antagonist in the animated series Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, and the titular protagonist of the animated series Taz-Mania.
Robert McKimson designed the character after the real-life Tasmanian Devil, an animal native to Australia, and the Tennessee Top of American folklore; however, the only real resemblance between the Tasmanian Devil and McKimson's beast is their ravenous appetite. In fact, it is this appetite that serves as the Tasmanian Devil's main characteristic. The Devil devours everything in sight, including boulders, trees, shrubs, and hills, all the while whirling about like a miniature cyclone that sounds like a dozen motors all whirring in unison. The Tasmanian Devil also harbors a special craving for rabbit.
It is this hunger that serves as the impetus for McKimson's "Devil May Hare" (first released on June 19, 1954). The Devil stalks Bugs Bunny, but due to his dim wits and inability to frame complete sentences, he serves as little more than a nuisance. Bugs eventually gets rid of him in the most logical way possible – matching him up with an equally insatiable female Devil. The character's speech, peppered with growls, screeches, and raspberries, is provided by Mel Blanc & now provided by Jim Cummings, who is most famous for doing Winnie the Pooh & Tigger in the Disney cartoons.
Producer Edward Seltzer, head of the Warner Bros. animation studio, ordered McKimson to retire the character since it was "too obnoxious". After a time with no new Devil shorts, Jack Warner asked what had happened. He then saved the Devil's career when he told Seltzer that he had received "boxes and boxes" of letters from people who liked the character.
As the youngest of the Looney Tunes, Taz is generally portrayed as a dim-witted teenager-type with a notoriously short temper and has little patience. He will eat anything and everything, with an appetite that seems to know no bounds. Taz is best known for his speech consisting mostly of grunts, growls, rasps, and his ability to spin and bite through just about anything.
- In Space Jam, he helped Michael Jordan and the other Looney Tunes characters defeat the Monstars/Nerdlucks.
- In Loonatics Unleashed, Taz (also known as Slam Tasmanian) was one of the superheroes, helping the others save the day and fight crime.
- In Ridiculous Journey, an episode of The Looney Tunes Show, he rescues Sylvester by doing his famous spinning tornado, and then he dashes to Sylvester, and grabs him, along with Tweety Bird.
- In a video game called Galactic Taz Ball, he stops Marvin the Martian from blowing up Earth.
- In a video game called Tasmanian Devil Munching Madness, he collects medallions and eats lots of food so he could rescue Wendal T. Wolf from being kidnapped.
- He is protecting his younger brother Jake from gorillas.
- He saved his father and uncle from bad guys.
- He defeated her sister's kitty, who was destroying their house.
- He is saving Bushwacker Bob a lot of times, even through Bob is almost always cruel to him.
- He is saving other animals from Bull and Axle a lot of times.
On Home Video
All five original Tasmanian Devil shorts are featured in Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 as is "The Fright Before Christmas".
In other media
- The Tazmanian Devil makes a cameo in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.