But like all great heroes, he has a flaw: his natural, er, “perfume.” That skunk stench has been known to make flowers wilt as he walks by. Buildings clear out the moment the amorous Pepé enters. Marble statues—which have survived hundreds of years of rain and wind—melt in his presence.
But worst of all, that stench makes the ladies run away from Pepé in horror. Love may be blind, but its ability to smell is A-OK. But luckily for our olfactory-challenged lover, he has one other abiding quality, perhaps his best: He won’t take no for an answer.
Perhaps Pepé Le Pew would have less trouble with the lovely ladies if he stuck to his own species. Pepé has an unfortunate habit of falling not for skunks, but for discolored black cats with white stripes painted down their backs. Sometimes these cats are escaped wild cats, as is the case in Wild over You. Sometimes the cats get their stripes by backing up into recently painted poles or benches; other times dye down their backs gives them their skunk-like appearance. In Past Perfumance, a movie director needs an “odorless skunk” for his picture. He needs it so desperately that the casting director paints a passing black cat. The result for our Romeo is the same: Pepé falls for the hapless cat. When Pepé strokes the fur of his love gently and tells her, “You are my peanut. I am your brittle,” his love runs away, slams a door, and bolts it shut. As usual, he thinks she is just playing hard to get. Hilariously, our star-struck lover never catches on that he’s chasing a mis-colored cat who’s running for dear life.
This is not to say that Pepé only falls for feline femme fatales. In Scent-Imental Over You, he falls for a Park Avenue dog wearing a skunk fur coat. In Odor-Able Kitty, an early version of Pepé – with a fake accent, a family and the name “Henry” – falls for what he thinks is a female feline, but is in fact a male alley cat, who just wants to be left alone. Even in his early days, the greatest lover chased his dreams!
In Scent-Imental Romeo Pepé pursues a cat that has painted herself as a skunk to get fed at the zoo with the rest of the skunks. Pepé chases her, sings to her, and pours her champagne, setting the scene for love—but it is all to no avail. The zookeeper throws Pepé back in his cage, and his love labors are all for nothing.
Pepé has momentarily better luck in For Scent-Imental Reasons which won an Oscar® for best cartoon. When the cat he is pursuing locks herself in a glass case, Pepé pretends to kill himself. The cat rushes to his aid, leading Pepé to craftily claim that he is “zee locksmith of love.”
In Cat’s Bah Pepé invites, almost seduces, the audience with champagne and cigarettes so he may elaborate on his search for love in the wilds of Morocco. He beseeches a lovely cat to “come weeth me to ze Casbah” and romances her with a French rendition of “As Time Goes By.” When that doesn’t work, Pepé literally chains himself to his love. You know what they say about the chains of love!
Other times, Pepé doesn’t exactly win or lose. In A Scent of the Matterhorn, Pepé follows his love through the Alps into a wintry cave. Although he doesn’t win her heart, he is convinced that her many reflections in the sheets of ice are actually hundreds and hundreds of girls—a fantasy come true!
There is a unique twist for the world’s greatest lover in Little Beau Pepé. Pepé mixes a love potion so powerful that no kitty can resist. Accustomed to pursuit, Pepé barely knows what to do when he is the object of the chase. For once, the tables are turned on the master of love! Will Pepé be able to say “No” himself?
Ahhh…the mystery of love!!”