While working on Mondo Media, Rhode Montijo drew on a piece of scrap paper a character who would later become Shifty. He then drew on a spreadsheet poster a yellow rabbit that bore some resemblance to Cuddles and wrote "Resistance is futile" underneath it. Rhode hung the drawing up in his workstation so other people could see his idea, and eventually the idea was pitched to and accepted by the Mondo Media executives. In 1999, Mondo gave Aubrey Ankrum, Rhode Montijo and Kenn Navarro a chance to do a short for them. They came up with a short named Banjo Frenzy, which featured a dinosaur (an earlier version of Lumpy) killing three woodland animals, a squirrel, rabbit and beaver (earlier versions of Giggles, Cuddles and Toothy) with a banjo. From there, Mondo gave them their own Internet series, which they named Happy Tree Friends.
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