February is the month of love and in the Crestview Public Library lobby, the sentiment overflows throughout the month with an exhibit celebrating famed Warner Bros. animated French skunk Pepé Le Pew’s perennial pursuit of “l’amour” (French for “love”).
Resident Wanda Hulion, a Crestview Police officer, shared her large collection of memorabilia devoted to the cartoon skunk who woos Penelope Pussycat, mistaking her for another skunk, particularly in familiar scenarios in which she accidentally gets a white paint stripe down her back.
“I like ol’ Pepé,” Mrs. Hulion said, saying she has been collecting Pepé artifacts for more than 30 years. “I just enjoyed the cartoons because they were so silly. They just caught my eye and it was love at first sight, just like Pepé and Penelope.”
The three lobby display cases are filled with ceramic Pepés, Pepé comics, Pepé and Penelope salt and pepper shakers, Pepé plush toys, jewelry and more. The display table holds Pepé Le Pew Valentine’s cards Mrs. Hulion has received through the years.
“I surprised myself how much stuff I’ve gotten over the years. He’s getting harder and harder to find, though,” she said. “It used to be you could always find Pepé things for Valentine’s Day but not this year. There was no Pepé to be found.”
The exhibit of Pepé Le Pew memorabilia will be up throughout the month and may be perused during regular library hours.
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PEPÉ LE PEW
The famous amorous French skunk, Pepé Henri Le Pew, was introduced to moviegoers in the 1945 cartoon short, “Odor-able Kitty” and is a regular character in the Warner Bros. Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. He was voiced by legendary character voice actor Mel Blanc for 40 years. Subsequent voice actors who have performed Pepé’s vocals included the late Tony winner, René Auberjonois. The love of Pepé’s life, often pursued but never captured, is Penelope Pussycat, whom he doesn’t realize is a member of a different species. Pepé Le Pew cartoons were produced through 1962, though the character recurs in ensemble films, commercials and TV specials featuring some of his fellow Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters well into the 2010s.