Snidely Whiplash

As I post here from time to time, I often wake up with a name stuck in my head, usually for no reason I can discern. Today it was Snidely Whiplash, a wonderful name for a villain. And villain he is.

From Wikipedia:

Snidely Whiplash is the archenemy of Dudley Do-Right in the tongue-in-cheek Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties segments of the animated television series, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959–64) conceived by American animation pioneer Jay Ward.

The character was voiced by Hans Conried in the original cartoon series. Snidely was played by Alfred Molina in the 1999 live action film version Dudley Do-Right, in which he is called Snidely K. “Whip” Whiplash.

Whiplash is the stereotypical villain in the style of stock characters found in silent movies and earlier stage melodrama, wearing black clothing, cape, and a top hat, and twirling his long handlebar moustache. He has a henchman named Homer, who usually wears a tuque. In the cartoon’s opening segments, Snidely is seen tying Nell Fenwick to a railroad track. He is the antithesis of Do-Right, who is the archetype of goodness and a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman.


Nell, Dudley, and Snidely.

My eye was caught by Homer’s tuque — a Canadian knit cap. From Wikipedia:

The tuque is similar to the Phrygian cap, and, as such, during the 1837 Patriotes Rebellion, a red tuque became a symbol of French-Canadian nationalism. The symbol was revived briefly by the Front de libération du Québec in the 1960s. It is considered outerwear and is not commonly worn indoors.

The word tuque is etymologically related to the name of the chef’s toque, an alternate spelling [and touque is another].

In some sections of Canada, a tuque with a brim on it, commonly worn by snowboarders, is nicknamed a bruque (a brimmed tuque).

The word tuque became more widely known in the United States after the release of the album The Great White North [a Canadian comedy album by the fictional television characters Bob and Doug McKenzie (portrayed by actors Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas), released in 1981].


The tuques in #2 are not particularly typical: they all have bobbles (aka pom-pons), though the Canadian caps are often bobbleless, and they are very often red, the color of the national flag of Canada. A more typical example:


One Response to “Snidely Whiplash”

  1. Michael Vnuk Says:

    Snidely Whiplash. Now that’s a name from the past. I felt sure it was from the cartoon series ‘Wacky Races’, but reading your post shows me that I was wrong. (Ah, memory!) Whiplash and others bring back lots of good memories of ‘The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show’. The villain in ‘Wacky Races’ turns out to be Dick Dastardly and he looks similar to Whiplash.

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