Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thomas (Timber!) Wolf

Of all the obscure cartoon characters created by Chuck Jones, there is one that will probably go down in history as the most obscure of all...and it's a crying shame. Chuck Jones' final animation project before his death was a stab at Flash internet cartoons. In 2001, along with Stephen Fossatti and a team of Flash animators, Jones came up with "Timber Wolf", a series of shorts made exclusively for Warner Bros. Online. The idea originated many years earlier at MGM, in the mid 1960's when Jones was producing and directing Tom and Jerry cartoons. He created an original character that never got off the ground...MGM was more interested in Tom and Jerry than one-shot originals or even new Droopy cartoons (although it is rumored that Jones storyboarded one.)

Thomas Timber Wolf is a proper-speaking Southern gentleman of a wolf with one problem...every time he says his middle name, a tree falls on him. Someone working for Jones back in 2000 came accross the sketches, and they became the basis for the online shorts. Jones designed the characters and did rough sketches, and Maurice Noble worked on the layout design. Stephen Fossatti handled direction. Joe Alaskey voiced Thomas, Nancy Cartwright voiced his co-star, Earl Squirrel.

Only 13 shorts were made before Jones' death in 2002, when the series came to abrupt end. One savvy fan was smart enough to save the cartoons before Warner Bros. took them offline for good. Check them out here:
Warning: You can't watch just one.

The Life and Times of Cicero Pig

Cicero Pig, Porky's mischievous nephew, had a rather prolific career for a character who was pretty much used everywhere except in the actual cartoons. The roots of the character can be traced back to two cartoons directed by Bob Clampett: "Porky's Naughty Nephew" (1938) and "Porky's Picnic" (1939) where the bratty piggy is named "Pinky". In 1942, the character surfaced in the sixth issue Dell's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comic book where he was called "Algernon". In this first comic book story, Algernon wears a sailor suit (similar to Donald Duck's) and is, visually, the same character who would later become Cicero. A few issues later, a different piglet named "Cicero" appeared as Petunia's cousin. This time the character was wearing the same baby clothes the animated "Pinky" character wore in the Clampett cartoons. Shortly after, the two characters were merged into the Cicero who became a regular in the Looney Tunes cast when they appeared in printed form for over 40 years. While most prominently used in the comic books, Cicero crossed over into various LT storybooks, Little Golden Books, coloring books, and puzzles (which were also put out by Western Publishing), the "Bugs Bunny" daily comic strip, and on a couple LT Capitol Records (where he was voiced by Mel Blanc --- try to picture an even more sped-up version of Mel's Sylvester Jr/Henery Hawk-type voice).

Cicero's career lasted through the 1970s and 1980s, but he ended up being phased out when Warner Bros. decided in the late '80s/early '90s to have the Looney Tunes based merchandise and comics more accurately reflect the look and style of the cartoons. The final use of the character that I have found was a Golden Look-Look Book from 1990 called Bugs Bunny and His Sunburned Ears by Gina Ingoglia and illustrations by Joe Messerli (you can see how Messerli's illustrations have started to abandon the earlier Western Publishing comic book designs of the characters). This rather forgettable storybook turned out to be Cicero's swan song.

Cicero was never seen again. Cicero Pig, we here at Misce-Looney-ous salute you.

On a final note, Bugs Bunny and His Sunburned Ears is also noteworthy for a one-page appearance by a cashier at a sporting goods store who looks suspiciously like a clean-shaven version of Scooby-Doo's pal, Shaggy.

Bugs Bunny and His Sunburned Ears had predicted the future.

Thanks to David Gerstein, Thad K, and Jack Tatay for their posting of some Cicero history in the past on the GAC Forums.

More Cicero Fun!
Jon gave us a pretty good history of Porky's little nephew, Cicero. Or should we say Petunia's cousin? You do the's not pretty. But did you know that Beaky Buzzard, another minor character who had a large presence in comics and merchandise, had a nephew in the comics? Little Bernard Buzzard never appeared in a Warner Bros. animated cartoon. He is essentially a miniature clone of his Uncle Beaky. Here's a 1946 classic Dell comic story, featuring Porky, Petunia, Cicero, Beaky, and Little Bernard.

(to view the whole story, just change the page number in the url of the image!) 12 pages in all.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Porky Paste

Here's a quickie that ties in nicely with yesterday's Porky-themed post. From 1976, here we have the only minty flavored fluoride toothpaste worthy enough to be endorsed by Porky Pig.

For breath that smells like a pig.

Image courtesy of Tim Hollis.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Porky at the Crocadero

1938's "Porky at the Crocadero" is a true overlooked classic directed by Frank Tashlin. It's too bad it didn't make it onto the recent Tashlin-themed Golden Collection disc (it would have been an ideal short for the amazing Daniel Goldmark to do a commentary track on). It is a great looking cartoon that parodies popular bandleaders and music of the era. It is fast-paced and has a great soundtrack.

It is still enjoyable even if you don't get all the jokes, but I still thought I'd give a brief rundown of some of them:

  • The Crocadero is spoofing the Trocadero, popular nightclub in Los Angeles at the time.

  • Porky makes references in the beginning to being just as famous as Leopold Stokowski, Rudy Vallee, and Benny Goodman.

  • "We Faw Down Go Boom" on the telegram was a reference to a popular novelty song. Tweety would be fond of using this line later on.

  • Stalling makes use of the tune "The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos" as the old timer delivers the telegram.

  • When Porky is dressed as "The Jazz King" he is parodying bandleader, Paul Whiteman (who was known as "The King of Jazz").

  • "Guy Lumbago and His Boiled Kanadians" and "Cryman Lombago" are spoofing Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.

  • "Cab Howlaway and His Absorbent Cotton Club Orchestra" is, of course, a parody of Cab Calloway and his orchestra.

Now on with the cartoon!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Duck Dodgers comics

I know many readers of this blog have some not-so-nice things to say about "Duck Dodgers", the TV series based on Chuck Jones' classic short. The show had its flaws, but it also had some excellent voice work by Joe Alaskey and Bob Bergen, and when it was good, it was REALLY good. The show was fairly short-lived on Cartoon Network. It and its remaining episodes that CN never aired (there were around 30 in all) were shoved off to Boomerang. Some of those later episodes were, as it turns out, better than what Cartoon Network offered us.

But there was another aspect of "Duck Dodgers". It spawned a series of comic book stories in DC's "Looney Tunes" series, and they ran for a good two years. I'm sure it was originally intended as a standalone series, but DC probably figured it was easier to use the stories in the flagship LT book. These stories turned out to be better than most of the TV episodes, and this one, from January 2005, was a highlight. Art by Neal Sternecky, story by Earl Kress. See what YOU think.

Bugs Bunny's Las Vegas Review

It's amazing what turns up on the Internet. Before Six Flags, the Looney Tunes characters were mascots for the two Marriott's Great America theme parks. I never knew this before today and a quick Google search turned up some interesting pieces of information.

From Wikipedia:
    "In 1976, the Looney Tunes characters made their way into the amusement business when they became the mascots for the two Marriott's Great America theme parks (Gurnee, IL and Santa Clara, CA). After the Gurnee park was sold to Six Flags, they also claimed the rights to use the characters at the other Six Flags parks, and continue to do so to this day."

The Looney Tunes characters appeared in a number of live stage shows for the parks. These were fairly big budget affairs as you can see in this YouTube clip. From professional dancers to what will be most interesting to us Looney Tunes buffs --- Mel Blanc doing all the character voices.

The same Google search turned up an entire website that lists every stage show that ran at the Marriott park. The page for 1983's Bugs Bunny's Las Vegas Review includes surprisingly high quality MP3 downloads of the entire half-hour show. Don't miss Bugs singing "One of Those Songs" with the Tasmanian Devil and Wile E. Coyote (!) or Daffy doing a Sammy Davis Jr. impersonation (oddly, the folks behind the show failed to speed up Porky and Daffy's voices).

Enjoy these "lost" Mel Blanc performances: Click here

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Road Runner Goes Electric

The Electric Company, a TV series from the producers of Sesame Street, was an educational children's program that ran from 1971 to 1977. Way before my time, but thanks to the internet, a truly great bit of animation from it surfaced a while back. Chuck Jones produced a series of sketches for the show starring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. This one, with some great animation, was designed to teach kids about emotions. It also shows the Road Runner being a little more aggressive than usual!

Friday, February 23, 2007

This story stinks!

Pepe Le Pew rarely appeared in the Western Publishing comic books. In fact, as far as I know there were only a few stories done, most of them in the late 60's and early 70's. Here's a 1971 Pepe story, with some nice artwork on Pepe...though he falls in love with a particularly ugly Petunia Pig?! You saw it here first, folks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

B-b-b-b-b-b-...Boom Boom!

Here's a very rare 1936 Looney Tunes short. "Boom Boom", directed by Jack King, was one of the short-lived "Porky and Beans Gang" series, and one of the few to pair the two characters together as adults. I'm not positive who voices Beans here, but Joe Daugherty is the voice of Porky, and Billy Bletcher can be heard as the voice of one of the enemy soldiers interrogating "General Hardtack".

These early black and white experiments with the "Beans Gang" are interesting, because they fall somewhere inbetween the bland, gentle comedy of the Buddy cartoons and the more formative Porky series that brought about the kind of humor Looney Tunes are still known for today. You'll also notice that the war gags are very World War I based...WWI was over, but WWII was several years away.

Enjoy this hard-to-see early Porky cartoon!

This is only the beginning folks, only the beginning!

I hope everyone has been enjoying this blog so far. I know I have been having a great time with it.

Tim Hollis, author of the books MOUSE TRACKS: THE STORY OF WALT DISNEY RECORDS and HI THERE, BOYS & GIRLS! AMERICA'S LOCAL CHILDREN'S TV PROGRAMS e-mailed us about the "Bugs Bunny Follies" stage show:

    Incidentally, I attended one of those "Bugs Bunny Follies" stage shows in either 1977 or 1978 and have the same souvenir booklet that you have. The show wasn't nearly as bad as you might expect, but it's true that most of the sound track was taken from the 1940s/1950s Capitol records. There must have been some new dialogue recorded for it, though, because I remember one part (which they couldn't get away with now!) when Foghorn Leghorn opened his star-spangled coat during a patriotic number to display the Confederate flag on his vest, and then he led the audience in singing "Dixie." I don't think that came from a Capitol recording....

Tim also sent along a picture of a cool pennant from Six Flags Over Georgia that was celebrating Bugs' 50th anniversary in 1990. There are some interesting character choices on this item, including Egghead Junior from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons!

Thanks again, Tim. And if anyone else has anything Looney Tuney they'd like to share, send us an e-mail at looneyblog -at-!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Cartoon Network bumpers

Cartoon Network, before they started their rapid decline a couple of years ago, had some very creative on-air promos and commercial bumpers. The commercial outtro-intro segments for "The Bugs and Daffy Show" featured new animation of the characters themed around the CN logo. There were roughly 5 of these, and depending on the time of day the show was on, their backgrounds would change color. (Morning was yellow, afternoon green, evening blue and late-night purple.) Here are two of them: a Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck bit and one with Pepe Le Pew. I believe that's Jeff Bergman doing the voice-over on the Pepe clip!

And just for grands, I've dug up two more bits...a Yosemite Sam "dance" routine and the ending to the show!

Hot Cross Bunny

The following public service announcement was a regular sight during kid shows' commercial breaks on local stations throughout the 1980s and well into the 1990s. Bugs tells us of the dangers lurking in the kitchen, from pots of boiling water to dangling power cords. The spot was an excerpt taken from a 22 minute film made for the Shriners Burns Institute in 1982 called "An Ounce of Prevention". The new animation was produced by Hal Geer and directed by Gerry Chiniquy. Another PSA, featuring Daffy in a fireman's hat giving a couple of kids a "burn prevention quiz", also popped up on TV regularly but, sadly, hasn't surfaced on YouTube yet.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bugs Bunny - Live On Stage!

Have you ever bought something on eBay and later on ask yourself, "Why on Earth did I buy this?". This "Souvenir Book" from a traveling Bugs Bunny stage show from 1977 is one of those things that makes me ask that very question. I mean, I certainly never had the pleasure (?) of attending such a show (this program predates my birth by two years). Maybe I was just intrigued by the picture of the horrifyingly creepy costumed Bugs on the cover.

Oh well, my foolish purchase at least makes for amusing blog fodder. I don't know much about these live shows besides what is revealed inside the program. I believe they were around for a few years. "Rodger Hess Productions, Inc." out of New York was responsible for this one and Mel Blanc is credited as the character voices (some of the songs on the program seem to be songs Mel recorded years earlier for Capitol Records).

The "program" consisted of a few color photos (seen below) and many coloring and activity pages for the kiddies with the characters drawn in the style of the Western Publishing comics of the time (I didn't scan them).

The program also includes an interesting ad for a "personalized" birthday phone call from Bugs, Yosemite and Porky people could mail away for. Not sure how long that venture lasted either.

I apologize in advance for any nightmares the following pictures may cause.

For when you've had enough of doing grownup stuff....

Remember when Looney Tunes (and most other classic cartoons for that matter) were on lots of different TV channels, and shown frequently? Yeah, we do too. Here is a rare 1990 promo for Nickelodeon's long-running Looney Tunes show. Also included in this clip is an ad for "Heathcliff", with a hilarious interjection by Sylvester.

All Fowled Up

Here is another example of the "mis-marketing" that Matthew mentioned the other day. This is a fairly recent item by the Salton Company. Yes, it's the Foghorn Leghorn Egg Cooker...

This isn't even the first time Foggy has encouraged people to eat his fellow chickens. As you can see in this 1987 commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Is there anything this chicken won't hawk?

Chicken! Hawk! That's a joke, son.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Basketball, anyone?

Images of the classic Looney Tunes characters playing basketball are not hard to find. Nike's early 90's ad campaign "Hare Jordan" pairing the characters with basketball legend Michael Jordan even inspired the movie "Space Jam". Then there are the countless t-shirts.

But one of the earliest uses of the idea I know of is from 1990. Tyson came out with a series of TV dinners called "Looney Tunes Meals". I wish I had saved a box or could find an image. But occasionally they had fun prizes inside, including trading cards (once again, wish I'd saved one!) and little things like this:

It was a create-a-scene sticker activity, and the artwork on the characters was actually pretty good. If anyone else has any more images of Tyson Looney Tunes meals or their prizes, let us know!

Make Friends With Kool-Aid

One subject I am sure Matthew and I will touch upon many times on this blog will be Bugs Bunny's storied career as spokes-rabbit for various instant drink mixes though the years. From Tang to Kool-Aid to his very own line of drink mixes in the 1980s, Bugs seemed to have loved powdered drink mixes almost as much as carrots. Anyway, here is an ad from 1967. A young cowpoke needs a hand corralling his cattle. Luckily, Bugs is nearby with big pitcher of Kool-Aid.

The Dirt on Ethelbert

On Jan. 18, 2007, the final question on the game show Jeopardy was...

A: The middle initial E. of this character introduced in 1949 stands for Ethelbert.
Q: Who is Wile E. Coyote?

Ever wonder where the heck this "fact" came from? It wasn't from a cartoon or anything revealed by Chuck Jones later in life. No, it came from a single 1973 Looney Tunes comic book story. Below you can see the infamous artwork for yourself.

I really doubt this was ever intended to be the character's "official" middle name but thanks to Jeopardy, I am sure this "fact" will be popping up for years to come.

UPDATE: Mark Evanier, author of the "Ethelbert" story, has written more about the subject on his blog.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Macalooney and Cheese

Below we have the box from Kraft's Bugs Bunny & Friends Macaroni & Cheese dinner. It is one of those little things and make you stop and think, "Hey, I remember that!"

In the mid-1990s, the folks at Kraft started coming out with boxes of macaroni & cheese featuring pasta in the shapes of famous cartoon stars... a tradition that continues to this day with the likes of Scooby-Doo, Spongebob and Dora the Explorer. The Bugs & Friends version came out in 1994 and lasted until, roughly, 2000 before disappearing. The character shapes pretty much stayed the same, but Marvin the Martian was added in 1998 to tie-in with the character's 50th birthday.

Yup, welcome to the only blog where you can find discussion of such serious subjects as macaroni in the shape of Porky Pig's head.

And oh what heights they hit...

Here is a promo for ABC's original Bugs Bunny Show in 1960. It appears to be the preview for the very first season. I have several black and white copies of episodes on tape with original ads, but I had never seen this bit before! When it popped up on YouTube a while back I made sure to snag it before it was gone. The Bugs Bunny Show wraparound segments are some of the rarest of all Warner animation, because the original film elements were ruined by careless editors who chopped out the segments for airing on later Saturday morning shows. What's left are black and white prints of the shows and a few color elements. Warner Bros. has done their best to restore several episodes using the best material available, and has been including them as extras on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs. I really hope they restore more episodes! We'll talk more about the Bugs Bunny Show later, but enjoy this ad in the meantime!

Bugs Bunny Show promo
Video sent by MatthewHunter

Odor-Able mis-marketing

It's amazing what you can find in the picked-over 50 percent off bin at the supermarket. Surplus Valentine candy? If it's only 99 cents for a big bag, I'll take it off their hands. Especially if the package has a classic cartoon character on it.

But here is where we get into what I call "out of character mis-marketing." Take a look at this package of "Luv Pops" from "Adams & Brooks, Inc.":

It's refreshing to see Pepe Le Pew anywhere these days. But can you point out what's wrong here? Since when did Penelope LIKE Pepe? she's got that lovey-dovey look in her eye, with not a flared nostril or a hair out of place. Penelope does NOT love Pepe Le Pew. She is a cat, he is a skunk, he smells, she runs, he chases.

Anyway, nice to see Pepe getting some merchandise these days. But I do wonder if the people who design the packages for these products have ever seen the cartoons.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Won't You Get Together With Us?

I thought this post would be fitting seeing as our blog is just starting out.

Mel Blanc recorded many songs and voices on albums for Capitol Records in the mid-1940s. These included a number of records featuring the Looney Tunes characters. The following song from 1948, "Won't You Ever Get Together With Me?" sung by Sylvester & Tweety, may be one of the rarest. It appears that this song never got a wide release and even Jack Tatay, collector and author of the Classic Cartoon Records website, is only aware of promotional copies existing. It is a shame since this is a really catchy tune. It was written by Alan Livingston and Warren Foster and features the music of Billy May. Enjoy!

Click here to listen to "Won't You Ever Get Together With Me?"

Thanks to Jack Tatay for making the audio file.

And also starring....our fast feathered friend....

Greetings cartoon fans!

Jon and I decided that the boxes of random junk with the Warner Bros. Cartoon characters' pictures on it that we have collected over the years ought to be shown off, as a sort of blog museum.

We all know that the classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series ended in 1969. For good. Some like to claim it ended earlier and forget about the 1960's period altogether. The fall of theatrical cartoons' golden age may have killed the production of new shorts, but it didn't kill the characters. Television saw to that, and for 0ver 40 years, new audiences have discovered Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, and all the rest and called them their all-time favorites.

And throughout all these years, Warner Bros. has licensed the characters for all kinds of odds and ends. Bugs Bunny has appeared on everything from comic books to Kleenex packages. There's so much stuff out there that nobody has ever come close to listing everything. But that's good for us, because it means that we will probably never run out of curios to show you. If we don't have it, we know about it. And we might even have a picture of it.

We'll also show fun things we find on YouTube (before Warners takes it down for legal reasons.) There have been lots of classic commercials and small bits of animation created with these characters. So let's get started....

Here's a commercial from the final year of the Warner Bros. cartoon studio. Plymouth Motors' 1969 Road Runner is a classic car, so it's fitting that its ad campaign starred two classic characters. The animation here is not by Chuck Jones, who had left Warners in the mid sixties. This appears to be the work of Robert McKimson's unit.

Enjoy, and there is much more to come!

Welcome to the Misce-Looney-ous Blog!

To quote our pal Thad K.: "We'll see how long this blog lasts..."

Welcome everybody to the Misce-Looney-ous Blog!

This blog is the spin-off of my own Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies site and Matthew Hunter's Too Looney site. On this blog we will be taking a lighthearted look at some of the miscellaneous odds and ends of Looney Tunes history from the 1930s to today. We will be presenting an array of different things --- merchandise, commercials, rare appearances, comics, storybooks, records, etc. --- relating exclusively to Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang. Matthew and I think a blog is an ideal place to showcase this type of stuff and hope to update regularly. We will pretty much post anything we find interesting, cool or funny. We hope you enjoy it and keep visiting for more looniness!

...On with the show, this is it!

If you have anything you'd like to share, feel free to e-mail us at looneyblog -at-
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