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This is the guy who will take a tape measure to you in the street, right before your big gunfight. He'd be fairly nondescript, if it weren't for that morbid cheerfulness with which he goes about his business.

Usually he's got a somber air befitting a man of his line of work. That doesn't stop him from occasionally showing a grim smile and sharing a bit of dark humor with those he considers the Soon-To-Be-Deceased.

Keep in mind that most of these interactions will be with The Hero alone as most of the townfolk have learned to avoid him.

Occasionally though, both he and the town doctor will rush out side by side after a gun fight since neither of them can load up the loser alone.

Compare The Coroner. If you're looking for the wrestler, see here.

Examples of Undertaker include:


Comic Books

  • Undertakers in the Lucky Luke usually sport pale-greenish skin and are very cheerful at work, only sometimes miffed when some of their prospective clients are lacking professionality and shoo them away when they break out their tape measure. Some of them even keep pet vultures.
    • Lucky Luke 's first illustrator, Morris, also had the habit of using drawings of people he didn't like (especialy teachers) for those roles.

Film

  • The only character who earns an honest living in the Clint Eastwood film A Fistful of Dollars is the the undertaker. And he's pretty cheery too, until Clint wipes out the remaining gang members (upset about running out of business?)

 Joe: Get three coffins ready.

later, after gunning down four men.

Joe: My mistake. Four coffins...

    • Also the cooper in Yojimbo, the film Dollars was based on.
  • Done cheerfully in Back to The Future III right before Marty's gunfight.
  • The Quick and the Dead has an undertaker who can tell the height of newcomers just by looking at them. While they're on horseback.

Literature

  • The Sowerberries from Oliver Twist. In The Musical, Oliver!, they get to sing about how wonderful their work looks at the funeral.
  • The Undertaker was a series of paperback westerns about an undertaker-turned-gunslinger.

Manga and Anime

  • Done both cheerfully and creepily in Black Butler where the undertaker was an important source of information on the bodies of murder victims.
    • This ties the archetype in to the many coroners seen in crime dramas where the professionals involved are either cheery eccentrics.

Professional Wrestling

  • The Undertaker, while well known as a wrestler, no longer fits the Western Character. He began as a mortician character before evolving as a guy has gone from using death to intimidate his opponents to a zombie to the Grim Reaper to a Dark Messiah Cult leader to a Badass Biker and back again as The Artifact. These days he's regarded as the best in the business, the guy who rolls around a few times a year for his Wrestlemania streak or to take part in a hot angle. In the West, death is a part of life and the Undertaker may have a variety of coffins and "last suit you'll ever wear"s in stock. The scary "keep off the grass" Undertaker, which the wrestler takes advantage of, is used mainly in children's dramas where sneaking into the graveyard at night is required.

Western Animation

  • Undertakers are a requisite in any Western-themed cartoon. One non-Western appearance of note is in Tex Avery's Dumb Hounded (the first Droopy cartoon). As the wolf falls down a tall building, an undertaker jumps after him, measures him, and jumps back up.
    • Also used in the Tex Avery cartoon Little 'Tinker, in a series of gags in which a skunk is attemtping to woo female forest creatures by impersonating Frank Sinatra, and some not-too-subtle jabs at how skinny Sinatra is are made by showing the skunk fall through a knothole on the stage, singing from an iron lung, being outweighed by a feather on a scale, and of course, at one point an undertaker comes up from behind him and measures him for a casket while he's singing.
    • In the Looney Tunes short "Drip-Along Daffy", the undertakers have the tallest building in town.
  • An undertaker was shown in Balto, making tiny caskets for the sick children that everyone thought were going to die. It was used to convey the tragedy of the situation, as the undertaker himself seems very mournful.
  • An undertaker is seen measuring and hammering a coffin together for Rango
  • On a The Flintstones episode where Fred is made sheriff of a western town, he initially mistakes the undertaker as a tailor measuring him for a suit.
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