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Here’s Why Cartoon Characters Always Wear Gloves

by : Tom Percival on : 03 Feb 2017 14:34

From Mickey Mouse to Bugs Bunny some of the most popular cartoon characters have a peculiar quirk, they all wear white gloves, but why?

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Well according to Vox there are a number of reasons why cartoons wear their iconic white gloves some practical and some cultural.

Estelle Caswell spoke to animation Professor John Canemaker who explained the interesting reasons behind animated character’s odd fashion choice.

Disney

He explained that the first reason is one of practicality and that it’s easier for animators to draw rounded shapes than angular ones, like hands, this means animated characters hands tended to resemble gloved hands.

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Secondly when animated features were first introduced they weren’t produced in colour they were black and white. Character’s originally had black hands but they were difficult to see on against the character’s bodies and the background.

The final, and slightly awkward explanation, is cultural. A number of cartoons were based on a rather unfortunate cultural phenomenon known as the black and white minstrel shows.

Warner Bros.

These were essentially racist shows where performers would black up and  perform a number of comedy routines which portrayed the minstrels as mischievous tricksters.

The minstrels and associate acts all wore white gloves so cartoonists at the time took inspiration from these shows an gave them to cartoon characters.

Over time minstrel shows fell in popularity and the whit gloves became synonymous with cartoons rather than black face shows.

So there you go the slightly racist explanation for why Micky and Bugs both wear gloves.

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

Topics: News

Credits

VOX
  1. VOX

    Why cartoon characters wear gloves