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Courage the Cowardly Dog
Courage the Cowardly Dog Title Card
Genre Comedy, Dark Humor, Science Fiction
Format Animated Series
Created by John R. Dilworth
Starring Marty Grabstein
Thea White
Lionel G. Wilson
Arthur Anderson
Simon Prebble
Paul Schoeffler
Billie Lou Watt
Peter Fernandez
Arnold Stang
Kath Soucie
Country of Origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of Seasons 4
No. of Episodes 52 (List of Episodes)
Executive Producer(s) John R. Dilworth
Running Time 22 minutes (approx.)
Composer(s) Jody Gray
Andy Ezrin
Production Company(s) Stretch Films
Wang Film Productions
Cuckoo's Nest Studios
Original Channel Cartoon Network
First Shown 1999
Original Run November 12, 1999 – November 22, 2002
Status Reruns

Courage the Cowardly Dog is an American comedy animated television series created by John R. Dilworth for Cartoon Network. Its central plot revolves around a somewhat anthropomorphic pink/purple dog named Courage who lives with his owners, Muriel and Eustace Bagge, an elderly, married farming couple in the "Middle of Nowhere" (the fictional town of Nowhere, Kansas). Courage and his owners are frequently thrown into bizarre misadventures, often involving the paranormal/supernatural and various villains. The show is known for its surreal, often disturbing humor and bizarre plot twists. The series combines elements of comedy horror, science fantasy, and drama.

The program originated from a short on Cartoon Network's animation showcase series created by Hanna-Barbera president Fred Seibert, What A Cartoon!. The short was titled "The Chicken from Outer Space" and it premiered in 1996. The segment was nominated for an Academy Award that same year, and Cartoon Network commissioned a series based on the short. The series, which premiered three years later on November 12, 1999, ran for four seasons, ending on November 22, 2002 with a total of 52 episodes produced. The series was the sixth and final series to be spun off from What A Cartoon, and it was the eighth series to fall under the Cartoon Cartoons label.

On April 20, 2012, the series returned to Cartoon Network in re-runs on the revived block, "Cartoon Planet".


Courage the Cowardly Dog follows a dog named Courage, an easily frightened canine who lives in a farmhouse with Muriel and Eustace Bagge near the fictional town of Nowhere, Kansas. "Abandoned" as a puppy, Courage was found in an alleyway by Muriel Bagge, a sweet-natured Scottish woman, who fell in love with the purple puppy, and her husband Eustace, a grumpy, deranged, greedy farmer who constantly harasses Courage and is unfair to him.

Courage, Eustace, and Muriel frequently run into monsters, aliens, demons, mad scientists, zombies, and other supernatural perils that Courage must fend off to save his owners, unbeknownst to them. Although most of the creatures that the three face are frightening or disturbing, some turn out to be sweet and simply in distress. The plot generally uses horror conventions, common to horror films.


Courage (voiced by Marty Grabstein) — Courage is the protagonist of the show, and an overly frightened pink/purple dog who lives in Nowhere, Kansas, United States of America. He was abandoned as a puppy after his parents were sent into outer space, but was adopted by Muriel Bagge. Her husband, Eustace, regularly mistreats him. Ironically, given his name, Courage is a genuine coward, but still goes to great lengths to protect his owners; to the end, he often gets injured, sometimes quite brutally, or almost killed and only surviving through his determination and/or pure luck. Despite his cowardice, Courage is very clever and resourceful when the situation demands it, outsmarting the villains most of the time. Aiding him at saving the day is a self-aware, sarcastic and seemingly omniscient Computer that he keeps in the attic with which he could consult for information in how to remedy any predicament he faces (though it never fails to badmouth him in one way or another). He got his name when Muriel found him as a puppy alone in an alley and remarked that he must be quite brave to be there by himself.

Muriel Bagge (voiced by Thea White) — Muriel loves Courage and is a kind, peaceful, sweet, elderly and overweight Scottish woman who took Courage in when he was a puppy. She is often the damsel in distress. She often carries a rolling pin that she hits Eustace with when he harasses Courage. She likes tea and tending her garden. She has a great fondness for cooking- however, her recipes tend to include an excessive amount of vinegar (which she swears by), much to the distaste of both Courage and Eustace. She also likes to watch her favorite TV show on television. She is frequently kidnapped by the villain of the week, and is shown to be quite gullible as she is easily tricked by the villains no matter how bizarre or pathetic their disguises are. Muriel loves Eustace, but is not at all fond of Eustace's mother. Muriel always tries, in vain, to get Eustace to do the right thing.

Eustace Bagge (voiced by Lionel G. Wilson (episodes 1-33) then Arthur Anderson) — Eustace, is a grumpy, mean, selfish, and cruel old farmer obsessed with money and his truck. He is also Muriel's husband. He is also the current owner of the farm house which was previously owned by his now deceased brother Horst. He has a very negative and uptight personality; he frequently harasses Courage and calls him a "stupid dog". Eustace is known for his trademark glasses, which are identical in appearance to Muriel's, and his brown hat which shields his bald head. In the event that a villain (or anyone else in general) would call Courage a "stupid dog," Eustace instantly remarks "That's what I tell him all the time. You stupid dog, you stupid dog". Eustace often refers to Courage simply as "Dog" and rarely (in only 2 episodes) addresses him by name. He regularly mistreats or neglects Muriel as well; in one episode, Muriel develops amnesia and Eustace convinces her that she is a "slave woman". Still, he does love his wife, as evidenced by his concern for her well-being in a few episodes.


Dilworth graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1985. He became an art director and founded his own animation studio, Stretch Films in 1991, and incorporated in 1994. His original short, "The Chicken from Outer Space", was shown as one of the episodes of Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons in 1996, a Hanna-Barbera Cartoons innovation by then-president Fred Seibert. The short served as a de facto pilot for the future series. The original animated short had no dialogue except for one line spoken by Courage, who had a more authoritative voice than in the series. It was uttered by voice actor Howard Hoffman who also provided all the other vocal sounds and effects for the short. An alien chicken was the villain in this short, and it would later reappear in the series to seek its revenge. The short was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 68th Academy Awards.

In 1999, Cartoon Network gave Dilworth permission to turn the short into an animated series. Hanna-Barbera was responsible for the What a Cartoon anthology and intended on developing the series. However, Dilworth insisted on taking the production to his Stretch Films Studios. The stories' plots were written by the show's head writer, David Steven Cohen, in addition to Irv Bauer, Craig Shemin, Lory Lazarus, Bill Marsilii, Allan Neuwirth, Bill Aronson and Michelle Dilworth. Courage the Cowardly Dog premiered on November 12, 1999, and became the highest-rated premiere in Cartoon Network history at the time.

When deciding on sound effects, Dilworth tried to avoid pre-made stock sounds. He contributed a substantial amount of new material to sound designer Michael Geisler and only looked for sounds that made him laugh. The composition of the series' music relied on what was being portrayed: suspense, comedy, or action. The production crew worked together to come up with new music for the series that had not previously been used. There were a few sections on one particular piece that Dilworth exceptionally liked. The production crew was able to isolate these sections and expand them into a usable theme. Dilworth further complicated the crew's job by suggesting layering the theme with a variety of funny sounds, a strange tempo and a voice over of a crazed laugh or person singing to give the music and sound effects their own personality beyond anything else out there.

Original music featured in Courage the Cowardly Dog was composed by Jody Gray and Andy Ezrin. Classical music can be heard at times, which pays homage to classic Warner Bros. animation and the scores of Carl Stalling. In several episodes, Gray arranged various famous classical pieces and wrote up to 15 songs, such as Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries".


Courage the Cowardly Dog ran for 4 seasons from November 12, 1999, to November 22, 2002, with 52 episodes produced. The pilot episode, "The Chicken from Outer Space," originally debuted on World Premiere Toons in 1996.