Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Looney Tunes Commercial Theater

Step right up, folks! Need some fried chicken? How about some chocolate? Take your Chevy to McDonald's and bring the Gatorade, because it's time for a whole slew of Looney Tunes commercials from the 80's and 90's!

First of all, here's a Hershey's commercial from 1986, with a PSA segment from "The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" thrown in for good measure!

Then, a pair of 1987 ads for Kentucky Fried Chicken, featuring, ah say, featuring Foghorn Leghorn!

Fast Forward to 1994, where we find Sylvester playing basketball for McDonald's:

And sometime in the late 90's, we have Taz riding along with the Earnhardts in a Nascar race for Chevrolet:

And of course, 2 years after "Space Jam", Bugs and Marvin still wanted to be like Mike...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Chuck Jones animation in "Stay Tuned"(1992)

I stumbled upon this clip on Youtube and thought it was interesting. A Chuck Jones animated work I'd never heard of, from a movie I'd never heard of! In "Stay Tuned" (1992), The late John Ritter and TV actress Pam Dawber play a quarreling couple who find themselves sucked into their TV, where they are forced to "star in" and survive a bunch of shows created by the Devil. They find themselves (as mice)in a Looney Tunes-like cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, with music by Bruce Broughton ("Tiny Toons"). Keep an eye on the envelope the Ritter mouse sends to the Acme Corporation...you'll see Jones' face on the stamp!

By the way, by our count, this is Misce-Looney-Ous blog post #100!

Looney Tunes Candy Sticks

Currently available at fine Dollar Stores near you are these Looney Tunes Candy Sticks from "World Confections Inc" out of Brooklyn, New York. These are apparently the modern-day equivalent of the old "candy cigarettes" of yesteryear but with a more politically correct name. As you can see below, these "candy sticks" look like pieces of chalk. They taste like chalk, too.

While the bulk of the 22 packs in this bag were indeed Looney Tunes characters (Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Taz)... I found it interesting that there were also a bunch of Tom & Jerry and Flintstones characters mixed in as well.

I guess calling them Looney Tunes Candy Sticks was easier than calling them Random Cartoon Characters That Are Owned by Time-Warner Candy Sticks.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tweety on a stick

Hilarious blog post over at boingboing.net (recently linked to on Jerry Beck's site):

Tweety Bird popsicle doesn't look like Tweety Bird

TNT Toons

With all the rare and obscure clips surfacing on sites like YouTube lately, there is still something I am waiting to pop up on those sites that hasn't yet. In the early 1990s, those days before Cartoon Network, TNT had a block called The Wild World of Shorts featuring loads of classic cartoons (along with stuff like reruns of Gilligan's Island). Most notably was a show called Bugs Bunny & Pals which aired daily in the morning and in the early evening hours. The show had a mix of pre-48 WBs along with shorts from MGM, DePatie-Freleng (Pink Panther, Inspector, Ant & The Aardvark, and the horrible Hoot Kloot), and the Popeye cartoons. I have fond memories of those shows but haven't seen any "Wild World of Shorts" bumpers or show intros show up on the Internet yet! Maybe some nice person will upload them after reading this plea (or send us an e-mail).

After Cartoon Network launched, the TNT cartoon block was revamped as "TNT Toons" and would often do tie-ins with the new sister channel. Hanna-Barbera cartoons like Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones (which Turner now owned, of course) were added to TNT's line-up. Bugs Bunny & Pals would become Bugs Bunny's All-Stars at one point and. in the end, was known as Bugs Bunny! Bugs Bunny! Rah! Rah! Rah!. TNT and TBS both finally dropped their cartoon blocks in the fall of 1998.

Here are a couple bumpers that would play endlessly during the final couple years of the "TNT Toons" block.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cheese Chasers

"Cheese Chasers" (1951) was Chuck Jones' final Hubie and Bertie cartoon. It's also Marc Anthony the bulldog's only speaking role. I can't think of any real reason to post this, except it's funny and it's a Jones masterpiece. Enjoy!

Hare Jordan

Everyone remembers "Space Jam", the 1996 hit movie that paired the Looney Tunes characters with basketball legend Michael Jordan. But the movie itself found a lot of its inspiration in a series of Nike commercials about 5 years earlier. I know of only two, but there may have been others. The ads were a huge hit, driving sales and popularity for Nike, Looney Tunes and Jordan...as big expensive cross-promotions have a habit of doing. This particular ad is also one of the first modern uses of Marvin the Martian, and may have resulted in Marvin's popularity gain in the 90's. Why would they have chosen Marvin to advertise Air Jordan basketball shoes? Well, it's pretty obvious...he wears sneakers!

Not sure who provides Marvin's voice here. I'm told Noel Blanc did Porky at the end, and it sounds like Greg Burson doing Bugs.

[UPDATE - Bob Bergen e-mailed us to say: "Actually, that's me doing Porky in the Hare Jordon spot. Neil Ross did Marvin. And Greg Burson did Bugs. OH-I also did Porky's agent!!"]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Canyon Kiddies

Here's an interesting post by our pal Larry T all about the "Canyon Kiddies" comic strip which Chuck Jones adapted into the cartoon "The Mighty Hunters" in 1940.



Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Another Post About Post

The Bugs and Daffy rivalry is alive and well in this commercial for Post Cereals from The Bugs Bunny Show.

We previously featured another vintage commercial with Bugs fooling Elmer out of his Post Alpha-Bits.

Also, check out this great blog post at http://mistertoast.blogspot.com/2006/07/post-cereal-warner-brothers.html featuring a load of great rare images of the Warner characters on 1960s Post Cereal boxes.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Road Runner Video Game

Here is an ad for what was probably the very first video game based on the Looney Tunes. The 1980s Road Runner game from Atari:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I'll post it... but I'll probably hate myself in the morning

I think I have just successfully scared away all three of our readers.

Kool-Aid Bugs

A vintage Kool-Aid print ad from 1965 featuring Bugs, Elmer, Daffy, Foghorn and.... Foghorn's son?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daffy Duck on the Drew Carey Show

After the success of "Space Jam", Warner Bros. unleashed a whole flood of advertisements and cameos by the Looney Tunes stars. Throughout the mid to late 90's, the characters showed up in ads galore for everything from MCI phone service to mayonnaise to Cheetos...and this memorable cameo from "The Drew Carey Show" in 1998. Daffy Duck bursts into Drew Carey's office out of nowhere, in a sort of modern-day homage to "You Oughtta Be In Pictures". The episode is titled "My Best Friend's Wedding". Daffy is voiced by Joe Alaskey.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

In regards to Jon's piece about the current state of classic Looney Tunes on TV (or lack thereof at this point), I'll have to give the Cartoon Network some credit. They may have murdered Bugs and the gang brutally by completely removing them from the airwaves, but for a while they did a great job handling the cartoons. The unfortunate situation they're in now is the fault of a change in management and focus of the channel, and Cartoon Network now is not to be confused with the great channel it used to be.

As I understand it, the real blame rests with Warner Bros. itself. Though they own the Cartoon Network, the contract to air all the Looney Tunes on one channel cost money. The parent company apparently charged the child company to air the post-1948 material. Though the Looney Tunes got great ratings, they were not free to air as exclusive properties like CN's originals or the Hanna-Barbera library, owned lock stock and barrel by Turner.

To understand the madness of this, a more-than-brief history lesson is in order. Originally a Turner company before the infamous mid-1990'S merger series between Warner, Turner and AOL, Turner's Cartoon Network only had access to a fraction of the Warner Bros. Cartoon library. TNT, TBS and all other Turner networks ran them as well, and even had them "remastered" in 1995, from the secondhand prints they owned and with help from some digital color enhancement. In the 1950's, Warner Bros. sold all of its color cartoons made before 1948 to a television distributor called Associated Artists Productions (A.A.P.). In addition to all of the pre-1948 color shorts, they also got most of the 1930's black and white Merrie Melodies. This package was syndicated to various local channels for years. When Ted Turner began his cable TV reign in the 80's, the Turner company eventually bought out the A.A.P. collection, which also held the rights to many classic WB and MGM live-action feature films, the Fleischer/Paramount Popeye cartoons, and numerous live action shorts. Turner gobbled up everything. In addition to A.A.P., they also made deals with MGM itself for many live action classics and their entire cartoon library, and with Hanna-Barbera for most of its TV animation.

All through the 1980s and early 1990s, the pre-1948 and post-1948 Warner cartoon libraries remained segregated. Turner and Warner both syndicated their holdings to local channels, but for the most part, the two packages remained seperate.

In the 90's, Warner issued cartoons to ABC, Nickelodeon, Fox, the WB, and anyone else willing to pay. Turner's package remained on the Turner cable channels after the syndication demand died down. That all changed when Warner and Turner merged, allowing the two packages of cartoons to air together on television for the first time ever. The biggest coup on the Warner end of the deal was access to the pre-48 cartoons, and since they still had the original negatives to those shorts, they once again owned the rights to use them. The benefit to Turner was access to the post-48 library. The only catch was contracts between Warner and other TV channels. A large portion of the post-48 TV rights were scattered between ABC, Fox and Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon helped finance a computer-colorization of the Warner-owned black and white cartoons, (Exept Bosko and Buddy, for some unknown reason) and ABC had been a prime promoter for ages, and those two networks eventually became the only outlets for the cartoons other than Cartoon Network (and the WB, who shared a package of post-48s dropped by Fox until an evil executive named James Kellner cancelled all classic animation on the WB).

If this isn't confusing enough already, keep reading. Around 2000, contracts between WB, ABC and Nickelodeon expired. The rights were immediately given to the Cartoon Network. For the first time ever, the TV rights to every classic cartoon Warner Bros. ever produced were owned by one network. This lead to numerous marathons, shows and promotions. It also lead to censorship, which fans lashed out against, myself included. The briefly-banned Speedy Gonzales was eventually returned, and from 2003-2004, CN ran virtually every Warner short fit for TV, and then some. Then, something went wrong. WB's price went up, a movie based on the LT franchise was released, and Cartoon Network, faced with an increased bill due to the movie, said "screw you." Thus, marathons such as "June Bugs" were cancelled, airings of the cartoons were relegated to spinoff channel Boomerang, and as of now, no TV channel shows Looney Tunes at all.

But when CN aired them, they made these promos:

And so many more. It's sad that such a great idea wound up as such a disaster!

Hallmark 2007

It's never too early to start planning for Christmas. Here is this year's line-up of 2007 Looney Tunes Hallmark ornaments:

Bugs/Daffy/Tweety - "Deck the Yard"

Speedy Gonzales - "Feliz Navidad" (this one is kind of surprising since Speedy got an ornament last year, too)

Taz - "Me Get Tree" (it just wouldn't be Christmas without the annual lame Taz ornament)

Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote - "The Coyote Contraption"

Tweety - "Chwistmas List"

Is This The End of Bugs Bunny?

We talk about the Looney Tunes television career quite a bit on this blog... and the characters did have an amazing run on TV from the 1960s all the way to the end of the 1990s. Nowadays it is hard to believe that just a few years back you could turn on your TV and see Warner cartoons on a variety of different channels and just about any time of day (you had showings on ABC, Nickelodeon, TNT, TBS, the WB, Cartoon Network and various local stations).

What happened?

In what must have sounded like a good idea at the time, in 2000 Warner Bros. Television gave Cartoon Network the exclusive television rights in the United States to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for a five year period. Warners ended their longtime contracts with Nickelodeon and ABC and the Turner-owned outlets (TNT, TBS) phased out cartoon broadcasts as well. With much fanfare, CN proudly proclaimed themselves the new home for Bugs and company.

This was the beginning of the end for Looney Tunes on TV...

Things started out fine, but as time went on Looney Tunes showings on Cartoon Network became less and less frequent. By mid-2004 the Warner cartoons were down to a mere half-hour per week (at 6:30am on Saturday mornings). There hasn't been a LT broadcast on Cartoon Network since October 3, 2004. The shorts were then sent off to the obscure Boomerang network.

CN/Boomerang's rights to play the Warner-owned "post-1948" cartoon package expired at the end of 2005 and no new agreement was ever reached. They still have the rights to play the Turner-owned "pre-1948" package, but even those are off the air now on Boomerang (and only show up once in awhile as time filler on Turner Classic Movies).

Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, Porky, Road Runner, Sylvester and the rest are currently in TV limbo... making it impossible for a new generation to be exposed to these characters (unless they are lucky enough to stumble across a DVD).

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Oily Hare

Here is a 1947 advertisement for Sinclair Oil featuring Zachary Scott and Bugs.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Yosemite Sam Rides Again

Speaking of Sam, here's a clip from the original version of "Bugs Bunny Rides Again" (1947) that wasn't restored for the DVD release. In the original cartoon (as seen in the clip below), Sam makes a reference to Mahatma Gandhi. When this short was reissued after Gandhi's death, the line was redubbed by Mel as "...and I ain't no namby pamby". The reissue version is the one most of us are familiar with. However, prints of the original circulated in syndication through the 1980s. Thanks to absolutpaul for the clip.

Great horny toads!

One of the hardest Looney Tune voices to get right since the death of Mel Blanc has been Yosemite Sam. Blanc himself admitted it was hard even on him. There were some cartoons made in the very early 1960's, after Mel's near-fatal car accident, where Sam didn't even yell (most notably "Shishkabugs" (1962), in which Sam never yells once!)

Joe Alaskey voiced Sam's brief appearance in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (1988), and various others have voiced him since Blanc's death a year later.

Still, Alaskey's is probably the best post-Blanc interpretation I've ever heard. Although this terrible Flash-animated cartoon is hardly a classic, you can hear Alaskey's Sam in action, and it's actually quite good! Also take a listen to Billy West's Elmer Fudd!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Pepe Le Pitchman

Here is Pepe Le Pew (via redubbed clips from old cartoons) promoting McDonald's McDLT from 1986 courtesy of Frank (ReyFamily) again. It's the second commercial in this longer video --- animation buffs shouldn't miss the first commercial for Hershey's chocolate featuring Rocky & Bullwinkle.

Next up is a more recent commercial (I can't make out the year, probably late 1990s) with Pepe hawking perfume for Marshall's department stores:

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