Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Trip to the WB Store

Ah, I miss those WB stores. Looking back, even though I could spend hours browsing around in them, I didn't really buy much of their exclusive merchandise (being a high school student with limited funds at the time played a big role in that). Whenever I did find myself in a WB Store, I bought the occasional shirt and usually a Looney Tunes VHS tape or history book (remember this was pre-Amazon.com). In fact, my copy of Jerry Beck & Will Friedwald's Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies book was purchased at the Warner Bros. Store in Danbury, CT around 1993 or so. I had no idea such a book even existed at the time and remember reading the thing the entire car ride back home. That book was by my side at all times for many years. I still have that same book. It's now falling apart and has pencil marks all through it. Here's a picture of the well-loved book that made me what I am today.



One piece of WB Store merchandise I still have kicking around is this "This Is It" music box. Based on the then-current revamped intro to ABC's Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. You wind it up, pull out the little drawer, and Bugs "dances". No idea WHY I bought this. It's kind of neat, I guess.



Near the end of their run, the WB Stores found some success cashing-in on the Beanie Baby fad. They cranked out dozens of bean bag dolls based on nearly every single cartoon character they owned. I am kind of embarrassed to admit I collected these for awhile. It was impossible to resist the novelty of owning beanie babies of such obscure Hanna-Barbera characters as Yakky Doodle and Baba Looey. It turned out to be a good investment, though. Those obscure H-B character bean bags made me a decent chunk of change on eBay a few months ago (who knew there's a collector's market for Wally Gator and Squiddley Diddley dolls?). However, there were two I will never bring myself to sell. They aren't even Looney Tunes-related...Yes, they actually made a SCREWY SQUIRREL bean bag doll! How crazy is that?



Finally, one more cool thing was this 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle featuring about 200 Looney Tunes characters.

23 comments:

Harley Green said...

Hi! I noticed that 200-pieces jigsaw! Once I found on the internet another jigsaw liek this, but there were all the looney tunes charachters, even the not well-known one! when I'll find the image, I'll send it

Anonymous said...

Even if it kills me,I WILL HAVE THAT SCREWY DOLL! >D

J.E.Daniels said...

Wish I had the chance to make to a Warner Bros store. They never made it this far north, but some of the merchandise did.
I remember seeing beanie babies, pvc figures, mugs and various knickknacks in gift shops.
I wondered where that image is from that is printed in Looney Tunes: the ultimate visual guide. Big puzzle I presume?

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Iremember going to the WB Store & for some odd reason, I bought a beanie baby of Speed Buggy. I don't know why, I guess because it was a car so I could put other beanies in them?

I want that puzzle now! I wish I had better eyesight, so I can see the smaller characters on the right side.

Jon Cooke said...

The same image from the puzzle was printed in Jerry Beck's LT - The Ultimate Visual Guide (except, for whatever reason, the Dover Boys were airbrushed out of it). Someday I will try to get a higher-quality scan of the puzzle box & post it here.

Paul said...

I've still got a lot of the beanies at home somewhere, though I was young enough to buy them to play with. If I'd known that eBay existed back then, then I might have gotten some more obscure characters than Marvin the Martian or Pinky and the Brain.

Anonymous said...

I have a used copy of the Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies by Jerry Beck & Will Friedwald, and it still looks good in my book collection. I'm sorry that your book is showing some wear and tear. I'm quite sure that you can purchased the same book online at a cheaper price.

Martin Juneau said...

I can recognise the jigsaw 1,000-puzzle. It's should be a must for collectors. Too bad that WB store is closed and they didn't more care for Looney Tunes today.

juan said...

The artwork for the puzzle came from WB Consumer Products. The art director at the time was Frank Espinosa, now known for his comic book creation Rocketo.

If anyone has the puzzle, you will notice Sniffles is missing. Turns out the lawyers at the WB let the copyright slip and now no longer owns Sniffles. Orignally he was drawn in, but they had to make the last minute change while it was being printed.

Likewise, WB also lost the rights to Bob Clampett's Gremlin to a gallery owner in New Jersey.

Jon Cooke said...

Juan,
Could you be thinking of another character? Sniffles is on the puzzle I have, next to Foghorn Leghorn.

juan said...

hmmm... this is what I was told. And that Sniffles was turned into the little bat from one of his shorts.

I can ask someone on Tuesday for confirmation.

Juan said...

Jon,

My mistake.

The correct artwork is called "Unsung Tunes". In that one, you can clearly see batwings on what is suppose to be Sniffles.

I think the jigsaw art was made before the copyright issue was known.

Pretty sad that the WB no longer owns Sniffles.

If the people that worked there cared, this type of thing wouldn't happen. I would not be surprised if half the characters on that puzzle, are no longer part of the LT family.

Jon Cooke said...

Wow, that's interesting if it's true about Sniffles. He was such a prominent player in the LT comics for so many years, it's hard to believe WB lost the rights to him.

David Moisan said...

I remember the beanie babies! I bought many of the Animaniacs characters and still have them. At the time, character plushies were *not* cheap, so I could only collect a few like Sylvester & Tweety.

WB still has rights to Sniffles' "child", Lil' Sneezer from Tiny Toons. (Hey, where's the Tiny Toons DVD set?!)

juan said...

Steven Spielberg co-owns Tiny Toons. The WB would need to work with Amblin before they release any DVDs.

Anonymous said...

I heard that the first season of the TTA DVD set is coming in March.
Hopefully it will be just in time for Easter.

David Gerstein said...

Hmm. Sniffles is still active in DC's Looney Tunes comics today, and was cleared by WB Legal for several appearances in Jerry Beck's LT Ultimate Visual Guide (whereas the Dover Boys, for example, were not... thus their being airbrushed out of the mural on the endpapers there).
Could this simply be one of those cases where Legal at one point concluded they didn't own the property, then later reversed themselves? It wouldn't be the first time.

Jon Cooke said...

I recall reading that there was a brief period where WB Legal blocked the use of Beaky Buzzard because they were under the impression the Clampett family owned the rights to the character. This seems to have been cleared up since Beaky has been on some recent LT comics and merchandise (Nanco released a carnival prize Beaky plush a couple years ago, for example).

Jon Cooke said...

Looking over that puzzle again, it's interesting to note that Slowpoke Rodriguez and Ralph Wolf weren't included among the characters.

Thad said...

Ralph Wolf usually isn't included in 'group shots' due to just really being Wile E. Coyote (I remember the Italian PVC line didn't include him, and the designer planned on the PVC of him stealing a sheep, to make him unique). I only remember him in one 'limited edition', where Sam is pummeling him AND Wile E. !

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone! I'm looking for a puzzle that I bought a long time ago in a Warner Brothers store. Its a 1000 pc puzzle with all the looney tunes and they are in a NYC/Time Square landscape. Ive searced all over the internet and cant seem to find it. If anyones knows where I find one, please email me. Kingrich101@msn.com. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a particular puzzle also. It had alot of the LT characters with what i believe was just a light blue background. did it with my brother and sisters about 1992 0r 93? can''t find it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Someome might say tu me those who are the character who is in the way of the witch Hazel and the alien, and it up of the flying cat, the hippopotamus, the big bird near the giraffe, and the small bird that this next to the muscular flea?
This four Looney Tunes i do not remember to have seen them in any shor. Regards from Argentine.

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