November 3, 2016 posted by

Cartoon Characters for President!

The election here in the States is now less than a week away, and this season has had me thinking about the many cartoon characters that have ‘run for President’- and some of the publicity and giveaway items related to their ‘Campaigns’. This is as political as I think we ever need to get here at Cartoon Research, but you never know if we’ll get trolled for this post!

To start: while not officially *completely’ a cartoon character, perhaps my favorite poster of any of them is the one for Bozo. This poster begs the voter to ‘Put a real Bozo in the Whitehouse’- and seems more relevant than ever this particular year. These are from 1972:


Of course, if we’re talking about children’s show hosts running for president, Howdy Doody at least needs a mention for his run in the mid-50s:

Howdy Doody

I really like the various buttons produced with Hanna Barbara characters in the early 60s….

Yogi -huck-buttons600

And a Magilla Gorilla supporting button:


Here’s a later Fred Flinstone one from the late 70s:


I wasn’t aware that Terrytoon Character Dingbat actually ran, but here’s his button!


(Actually… that button was produced in the early 70s, spoofing Edith Bunker, from All in the Family, for President)

As regular readers of Greg Ehrbars column here already know, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh actually had his own record for the Campaign in the 1976, sold exclusively at Sears:


Here is the story on the record… lots of fun to hear Sterling Holloway as Pooh:

….and a very nice recording of the song:

Snoopy of course was probably the most popular of the characters int he 60s and 70s to throw his hat into the political arena. over and over.


..and Snoopy even had his own song too, by the royal Guardsmen, who had a minor hit with their ‘Snoopy and the Red Baron‘ Christmas song int eh late 60s,stingingly similar to this tune:

Walt Kelly’s Pogo ran for office over and over as well. Pogo first ‘ran’ in 1956, with the comics about the election gathered in the compilation book I Go Pogo (spoofing the ‘I Like Ike’ campaign) This book was later retitled ‘Pogo for President’.


This storyline was later used as the basis for the stop-motion animated feature I Go Pogo (1980). Wouldn’t it be great to see that film on Blu-ray?

Here’s a clip from the TV special, The Fabulous Funnies (1979)

..and a neat little clip from Evening Magazine that includes a moment on the making of ‘I go Pogo”.

The Chipminks (and Ross Bagdasarian) of course got into the ring…how could they not? Here’s ‘Alivin for President’ from 1960. I find this song particularly charming as the best of the Chipmonks recording are, and even really innocent. Sadly, the years to follow were anything but:


I really don’t know when Felix the Cat ran, but of course a button exists, likley from the 80s:


Of course, earlier classic cartoon characters have run as well. Here are some favorites:
Betty Boop for President (1932), Olive Oyl for President (1948) and lastly, Popeye For President (1956).

I’ve always liked Olive Oyl for President– a lot. It features lots of clever gags and a fun song plus a quick Little Audrey guest appearance! Olive is a Democrat in this cartoon (with all the Donkeys accepting everything) with an all star special cabinet of famous men “who’s names I need not mention”. This is easily one of my favorite late 40s Famous Studio’s cartoons.

Of course, later, Daffy Duck ran for president in book and cartoon form, as written by Chuck Jones. The book version was sold at post offices in the States:

Have a good week everyone, and make sure to go vote!!


  • Cartoon Network’s viewer-voting stunt, “Cartoon Campaign 2000”, had 50 characters throw their hats into the ring, complete with attack ads running during commercial breaks. Despite Bugs Bunny getting an endorsement from Bob Dole, the rabbit came in third, with the Powerpuff Girls in second, and Scooby-Doo coming out as top dog.

    They did something similar 2004. This time around, Ed was elected president, with the Grim Reaper as his VP (winning against Plank and Numbah One/Eduardo).

  • I don’t quite recall the year, but Art Clokey ran Gumby for president as his classic shorts were being released to home video on VHS by Family Home Entertainment. There apparently was a bumper sticker you could get and everything, but I only realized this campaign upon renting the tape devoted to this campaign at a short-lived local video rental shop just up the street from where I live, and didn’t Bullwinkle throw his hat in the ring, if not on the classic show itself, then from merchandise sold at the Dudley Do-Rite Imporium?

    Otherwise, I rather like “OLIVE OYL FOR PRESIDENT” as well, partially because of that quick LITTLE AUDREY guest appearance. I guess that the Fleischers didn’t run Olive for high office back in their day tending the POPEYE cartoons because they had already run Betty Boop there, and Famous Studios’ “OLIVE OYL FOR PRESIDENT” did feature a reworking of a gag from Betty’s campaign, as I dimly recall. I’m sure I would have voted Felix in almost immediately, especially with his “little bag of tricks” in the 1960’s, but Gumby is right up there as well with his ability to shape-shift, along with Casper the Friendly Ghost, and his desire to keep it peaceful; remember the GUMBY episode involving a neighborhood lemonade stand and its misleading advertising? Remember Gumby’s road trip? These two episodes were not part of the afore-mentioned GUMBY FOR PRESIDENT tape, but I would have chosen these instead of some of the titles chosen to prove Gumby’s point, and to me, Gumby’s party was not specific. Yet, I wonder how many other toon stars ran as Democrats.

  • I guess they didn’t have “birthers” in 1976, since apparently nobody protested about Winnie the Pooh, who was “born” in Great Britain, running for president.

    • Nor Papa Smurf running in 1980 and 1988 since he’s from Belgium.

  • I think Gold Key Comics put out a special issue in 1964 pitting Yogi Bear against Magilla Gorilla for president.

  • Pogo actually first ran for President in 1952. “I Go Pogo” was a take-off on the 1952 Eisenhower campaign’s “I Like Ike” slogan. Even though I was just 6, I was already a fan, and someone in the family got me a button, which I still have, and which bears a 1952 copyright. Also my original, and nearly read-to-pieces, 1952 printing of the Simon and Schuster “I Go Pogo” book of strip reprints.

    • Pogo’s first campaign and the rest of the 51-52 strips are in the second volume of the gorgeous Fantagraphics reprints. For “I Go Pogo” Kelly sharply edited and rearranged the daily strips, then created a new chapter — Pogo’s dream about the Donkey and the Elephant — to give the book an actual ending. In the strip the campaign sauntered on for a while.

  • There was a Little Golden Record in ’64 with Yogi Bear and Magilla Gorilla campaign songs. (I had it!) JFK apparently enjoyed the Chipmunks’ “Alvin For President;” as he sent Ross Bagdasarian a telegram stating he was happy to have such a worthy opponent.

  • Huckleberry Hound also had a presidental campaign. Dell published a comic for it that you can read on Don Yowp’s blog.

  • I remember that Cartoon Network also had another Cartoon Campaign in 2004 which included a “smear campaign ad” by Huckleberry Hound against Fred Flintstone which concluded with Scooby Doo winning the 2004 Cartoon Campaign. Popeye also ran for president in the 1950’s for the Spinach Party

    Other Toons that ran for president of the United States were
    Kermit the Frog (1980)
    Bill the Cat in 1984 and 1988
    Papa Smurf (1980 and 1988), (the so called Birthers movement would had a field day since Papa Smurf was from Belgium)
    Dogbert (1988 & 2008)
    Augustus Mutt of Mutt and Jeff (1908 and later years)
    Alfred E Newman (1956,1960,1964,1968,1972,1976.1980,1984,1988,1992,1996,2000,2004,2006,2010 & 2016)
    Wonder Woman (1972)
    Zippy the Pinhead (1980,1988,1992,1996,2000,2010 & 2016)

    • Didn’t Zippy the Pinhead actually win in 2000?

    • I still have the “Don’t blame me, I voted for Bill and Opus” T-shirt that I got in 1989.

  • Daffy Duck for President was the last project that Chuck Jones worked on before his death. In the animated version of Daffy Duck for President the cartoon was decided to the memory of Chuck Jones. There was a PSA in 1996 for the US Constitution featuring Porky and Petunia about Petunia wanted to become president of the United States.

  • For “Sesame Street’s” seventh season (1975-76), in honor of the U.S. Bicentennial, they did a campaign and an episode (the 2nd episode of the season) where Big Bird campaigns for president and even has his own song (“President Bird”). There were even promotional buttons for Big Bird’s run and a presidential seal drawn by Mel Crawford (the illustrator for “The Monster at the End of This Book”). Big Bird eventually gives up campaigning when he realizes that he has to think of everyone’s needs which is too much for a six year old bird.

    While the street scenes were repeated for an episode in season 9 (1977-78), neither episodes have surfaced online (VCRs were very expensive back in the ’70’s) nor has Sesame Workshop re-aired or release them anywhere since. Here’s hoping they plan to dig out one street scene from that episode for next Thursday (for Throwback Thursday) on their Youtube channel.

    • The Sesame illustrator you refer to is Michael Smollin, not Mel Crawford.

  • Anyone else notice the Peanuts music in the background of that making of “I Go Pogo” Evening Magazine special (at the 1:15 and 7:00 minute marks)?

    • More specifically, it was Vince Guaraldi’s “Red Baron” from the 1968 album Oh, Good Grief!

  • Bumper sticker from 1968: Vote for the Green Giant, or your leaves will fall off.

  • Don’t forget Howard the Duck, who ran for president in 1976: “Get down, America!”

  • Yas, Maine go oh
    So Pogo go
    Key La-ha-hargo,
    To Frisco go
    To Fa-ha-hargo,
    Okefenokee playin’
    A-possum on a Pogo,
    Stick a-rou-hound and
    See the show
    Go over
    Land alive
    A band o’jive
    Oh blow go

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