Dimwit is a character who was created by Paul Terry, who is a dopey dog who tends to be almost unbelievably foolish, he tends to play the role of the antagonist trying his hardest to get rid of unwanted pests, like for instance, everybody's favorite magpie duo, Heckle and Jeckle.
Farmer Al Falfa is a character who has had a history of being paired up with several different dogs, Dimwit was created as the next in a line of such characters being his pet, the word Dimwit means someone who is stupid or moronic. Dimwit first appeared in the 1946 cartoon "The Talking Magpies" as Al Falfa's sidekick who tries to help him fend off a pair of bothersome magpies, him being a very unintelligent and easily tricked dog whom gratefully serves his master, always referring to him as "Boss". The following year he was once again paired with Al Falfa and two magpies, this time two males one of which named Joe, this short played out similarly to the first outing, only Al Falfa played a much smaller role with Dimwit getting more screen time against the troublemaking birds, also his design was altered, now giving him long floppy cheeks and a bigger head.
These two magpies became very popular and were soon given the names "Heckle" and "Jeckle" and began appearing in standalone cartoons, and as for Dimwit, he followed suit mostly appearing along with the pair, it was the second and final cartoon with Dimwit and Al together.
Dimwit and the magpies first appeared together without Al Falfa in "McDougal's Rest Farm". Dimwit continued to appear with Heckle and Jeckle as their chief adversary, always chasing them for one reason or another, wither it be to keep his job, to serve an owner, or simply because they got on his bad side. However, this didn't prevent him from occasionally starring in his own cartoons without the magpie duo, the first of these being 1948's "Felix the Fox".
The pair always enjoyed getting on his nerves and outsmarting him, they also enjoyed being chased by him, as shown in the 1948 cartoon "Magpie Madness" they really do like him and refer to him as their 'pal', and he has fun chasing them, even if he hates 'em.
Dimwit served well as the magpies' rival, but it was clear that Heckle and Jeckle needed to face a more challenging opponent, someone besides for the ever stupid and simple to duke Dimwit, so as such a new character was created, a large menacing bulldog by the name of Clancy who first appeared in "The Intruders", he at first seemed like only a one time foe however after a few design tweaks he began appearing more often as a meaner and tougher enemy, and sometimes he and Dimwit were paired together to chase down the magpies, with Clancy always being the one in charge out of the two.
In the 1940s Disney's Goofy series was doing very well with "How to" shorts showing the character learning about something as the narrator would explain in a dry manner how to perform the task at hand, other shorts from the 50s begun portraying Goofy as an everyman, an adult with a job, responsibilities, and no idea who to deal with any of it. And around this same time Dimwit began to change as well, in an attempt to recreate Disney's success Dimwit was retooled for three cartoons into an everyman, an adult with a job, responsibilities, and no idea who to deal with any of it while a narrator would try to explain how to perform the task at hand, he was also given a more normal sounding voice. These 3 cartoons were "How to Keep Cool" "How to Relax" and "Daddy's Little Darling". In 1955, Paul Terry decided to sell the studio along with their characters to CBS and 20th Century Fox, The new owner installed Gene Deitch in charge of things, under his direction characters like Heckle and Jeckle and the rest were phased out in favor of new creations, Dimwit was one of these characters to leave. (However the shorts "How to Relax" and "Daddy's Little Darling" were released late, resulting in them being put out along with Gene's shorts of the time.)
Around that time in 1956 The Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon Show had begun airing on CBS, and of course, many of their shorts with Dimwit, as well as a few of his stand-alone cartoons, were played as part of the show.
Producer Bill Weiss was not a fan of the UPA inspired work being put out, he wanted Gene Deitch gone, and in 1958 he got his wish, as he fired Gene and took control of the studio. Under his supervision, Heckle and Jeckle went back into production, and not only did they return, but so did their classic rover of a rival, Dimwit, these cartoons were his last major appearances.
- How to Relax (Own series)
- Daddy's Little Darling (Own series)
Being the Elmer Fudd to Heckle and Jeckle's Bugs Bunny he was a very important figure to their creation, some might say that he's merely one of many generic dumb dogs in animation, but one cannot deny his long career at the studio as their go-to dog character.
If Heckle and Jeckle ever did make a comeback, it goes without saying that Dimwit would certainly follow them, being their most iconic foe. And that's no baloney, even if he is one doggone dog.