Snagglepuss is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character created in 1959, a pink anthropomorphic mountain lion sporting an upturned collar, shirt cuffs and a string tie with a great desire to be a stage actor. He is voiced by Daws Butler, and is best known for his catchphrase, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!", along with phrases such as "Exit, stage left!" and "Heavens to Betsy!".
A similar-looking orange mountain lion, known as "Snaggletooth" and without collar or cuffs, first appeared in The Quick Draw McGraw Show in 1959, before appearing as a supporting character in Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy and Snooper and Blabber. Snagglepuss appeared in his own series of shorts in 1961, becoming a regular segment on The Yogi Bear Show, featuring in a total of 32 episodes. He also appeared in other Hanna-Barbera series such as Yogi's Gang in 1973, as a co-host for Laff-A-Lympics in 1977 and 1978, Yogi's Treasure Hunt in 1985 and as a teenager on Yo Yogi! in 1991.
When the character of Snagglepuss was used for a series of Kellogg's cereal television commercials in the 1960s, Bert Lahr filed a lawsuit, claiming that the similarity of the Snagglepuss voice to his own might cause viewers to falsely conclude that Lahr was endorsing the product. As part of the settlement, the disclaimer "Snagglepuss voice by Daws Butler" was required to appear on each commercial, thus making Butler one of the few voice artists to receive a screen credit in a TV commercial.
Butler reused his Snagglepuss voice for two other Hanna-Barbera characters: Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore from The Funky Phantom and Brutus the lion from The Roman Holidays.
In 2017, Snagglepuss appeared in a eight-page story in Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Annual #1 by Mark Russell where he is portrayed as a gay Tennessee Williams-type playwright in 1950s America.
Snagglepuss lives in a cavern, which he constantly tries to make more habitable for himself. No matter what he does, however, he always winds up back where he started or worse off than he was before. In some episodes, Snagglepuss is chased by Major Minor (voiced by Don Messick), a tiny-sized hunter.
Butler's voice characterization is reminiscent of the more soft-spoken aspect of Bert Lahr's broad-ranging characterizations, specifically the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz. (Coincidentally, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera directed the Tom and Jerry cartoons for the MGM cartoon studio before opening Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1957.)
Snagglepuss has three signature catchphrases. His most famous is his perpetual exclamation, "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" – a line first uttered by Bert Lahr in the film Meet the People (1944). Before dashing off (whether to escape or for some other reason), he exclaims "Exit, stage left!" (or stage right, and sometimes even up or down), a phrase used in theatrical stage directions. Finally, Snagglepuss tends to add the word "even" to the end of his statements. This is done in a number of different ways:
- After emphasizing a previous statement ("Somebody hurt! In dire pain, even!").
- After stating a synonymous phrase ("On account of I must be a little rusty. Stale, even").
- In a grammatically correct way, though out of order in the sentence ("I wonder if he knows my telephone number, even").
- Simply added as an exclamation ("Heavens to Murgatroyd! A veritabububble frankenmouse monster, even!").
Snagglepuss's pink color, lisping voice and theatrical manner of speaking have been interpreted as the character being gay. This is explored in a 2017 comic by Mark Russell, which portrays Snagglepuss as a gay playwright in the style of Tennessee Williams, brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1950s America.