- “Haven't you ever asked why we use these gloves?”
- ―Various characters
Opera gloves, or toon gloves, are a main characteristic of cartoon characters. White, four-fingered gloves have been seen used by toons in shows since the early 1930s. Originally an addition of Walt Disney himself to the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons, to recognize the hands from the bodies when near, the gloves are now seen on the hands of many famous cartoon stars, not only from Disney, but also characters such as Looney Tunes from other studios.
Gloves have been proven not only to be white. Examples of some Disney characters are Roger Rabbit, José Carioca, and the Beagle Boys, whose gloves are yellow. The color rarely varies, but the gloves always have soft colors.
Classic Walt Disney Comics usually colored most of the characters' gloves appearing in the stories yellow, and sometimes even of a blue color. It is unknown if this was either a glitch in the printing process, or if they were intentionally colored as that.
The exact usage of the gloves is really unknown, so they could be just an accessory. Throughout history of animation, many toons have wondered why do they use these gloves. One example of a cartoon character questioning the gloves' purpose is in An Extremely Goofy Movie, where Bobby Zimuruski asks the aforementioned question, to which someone else responds with, "Yeah, man!"
Many cartoon characters who use such gloves have been also seen without the gloves. The most remarkable example is in A Goofy Movie, when Goofy takes his gloves off in the hotel before entering the pool.
Notable characters who use gloves
- Mickey Mouse
- Minnie Mouse
- Max Goof
- Clarabelle Cow
- Horace Horsecollar
- Big Bad Wolf
- Panchito Pistoles
- José Carioca
- Beagle Boys
- Jiminy Cricket
- J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon
- Timothy Q. Mouse
- Roger Rabbit
- Bonkers D. Bobcat
- With the exception of Panchito Pistoles and José Carioca, no birds in the Disney Universe use toon gloves, and even outside of it; for example, Daffy Duck from Warner Bros. and Crawford Crow from Columbia Pictures. It is, however, worth noting that Woody Woodpecker from Universal Pictures does wear toon gloves.
- Scrooge McDuck usually does not wear toon gloves, but casually wears a pair of yellow gloves; for example, in his first cartoon Scrooge McDuck and Money and in the Don Rosa comic story The Richest Duck in the World.