Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looney Tunes still "Eating Right"

Warner Bros.' alliance with Safeway grocery stores must be fairly successful, because more "Eating Right Kids" products with the Looney Tunes' familiar faces have appeared. A whole series of ready-to-eat vegetable snack packs (I saw Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Tweety and Wile E. Coyote) plus a bunch of pastas in both cans and microwaveable bowls, with several different characters (Foghorn, Taz, Daffy, Tweety, Sylvester). Here are a couple of items I bought to give you an idea. Nice artwork, eh?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Classic Nickelodeon Bumper Commercials

This is totally off-topic for this blog. Or is it? In the days when I was growing up, Nickelodeon was possibly the most-watched TV channel in my household. When I found this collection of old Station ID bumpers from the early 1990's, I was amazed at how many of them were still ingrained in my mind. It's no wonder that "Looney Tunes On Nickelodeon" was so successful...because it's clear that the people behind these clever ads were well versed in their classic animation. You will see the influence immediately in several of these, most notably the "Picnic Ants" sketch at the 1-minute mark on this video, and the "chicken house" bit at the 1:20 mark that's undeniably influenced by the classics of Bob Clampett.

But that's not all! Nick also had other creative, wonderful stuff. For example, these two absolutely wonderful independent shorts, (Two of many they used to run between programs!)

And just to keep it on the subject: We've posted it before, and we'll post it again! The wonderful "Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon" opening from the same era.

Turn on Nickelodeon now, and I dare you to find anything as good as all this stuff. Hell, I dare you to stomach the channel for 15 minutes. Ditto Disney Channel or Cartoon Network. This isn't just nostalgia talking, it's fact: cable tv, especially in the "kids" market, has taken a real downturn since then. Whut Hoppen?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wise Quackers (1949)

Here's a very funny Friz Freleng-directed cartoon from 1949 starring Daffy Duck and Elmer. It is a somewhat rare cartoon... getting very limited exposure on television obviously due to its "slavery" theme. It hasn't aired on television in the United States since the early '90s when a slightly edited version played on the syndicated Merrie Melodies - Starring Bugs Bunny & Friends show (trimming Daffy's "I's a-comin' massah Elmer" bit). Believe it or not, it was officially issued on VHS in the USA by Warner Home Video in 1992. Try to track down a copy of Daffy Duck's Tales From the Duckside while we wait for this one to pop up on DVD (don't hold your breath!).

Also, check out the comic book adaptation of this story on Duck Dodgers' Classic Cartoon Blog!

Friday, November 14, 2008

"Road Runner's Desert Demolition" Sega Genesis Game

If you were a 90's kid, chances are you remember the Sega Genesis video game system. Most of us either had a Super Nintendo or a Sega, and both Nintendo and Sega were always trying to "one-up" each other. I always stuck to the Nintendo, but there were a few Sega games that I was always curious about and never got to see. Sure, we all had that friend down the street who we played Sonic the Hedgehog with, then they'd come play Mario with us.

But both systems had cartoon games. I did a post on this blog ages ago concerning Road Runner's Death Valley Rally, one of the best games ever for the Super Nintendo. While browsing Youtube for "Looney Tunes", I was thrilled to see a run-through of the Sega Road Runner game that I always wanted to see and never did.

Now I know why I never saw it. This thing has some of the most annoying sound effects and grating music I've ever heard, and that's not good when we're talking about Road Runner. As I recall from the way it was advertised, it was 2 games in where you played as Wile E. Coyote, the other as the Road Runner. Here's the run-through of the Sega game as the Coyote, if you can stand it:

Now compare it to this footage of "Road Runner's Death Valley Rally" from Nintendo:

I think Nintendo's take wins. I'm biased, but I still think the backgrounds and "animation" on the Super Nintendo game were the closest any video game has come to the classic Looney Tunes style...and the fact that most of it was based exactly on original Chuck Jones animation gave it a real edge. Thoughts?

PS: The same company that produced the Super Nintendo Road Runner game also did "Bugs Bunny's Rabbit Rampage". Here's a run-through of what I thought was its most difficult (and cool looking) level: the fairy-tale land. Watch for appearances by the Big Bad Wolf and 3 Pigs from "The Windblown Hare", as well as the Goofy Gophers and Witch Hazel. Dare you to forget the music!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brach's Bunny

While we're on the subject of Looney junk food, the Brach's candy company did a few Looney Tunes candies in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Most notably were their tie-ins with Bugs' 50th birthday (such as this Christmas tin from 1989).

From 1989, here's a bag of Bugs Bunny and Friends "Mellowcreme Candies". I actually recall eating some of these once back in the day... but have no memories of what the things tasted like.

And from 1990, here's an advertisement for a weird promotion.

(Thanks, Tim Hollis for the pictures)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Talking Christmas Plush & Upcoming Vinyl Figures

I had to document these before I forgot (or before Christmas passed). Hallmark is among one of the few companies left that actually still turns out new Looney Tunes merchandise on a regular basis. Of course, it's usually greeting cards and ornaments... but available now at Hallmark Stores are these two talking LT plush dolls. Pepe flirts with whoever pushes his paw for a kiss under the mistletoe. Tweety recites a verse from "The Night Before Christmas".

Another company that continues producing interesting LT products is "Funko". Their products include the "Wacky Wobblers" bobbleheads and "FunkoVision" vinyl figures. Check out this concept artwork for two upcoming additions to their product line, scheduled for release in Feb. 2009. A "Robin Hood Daffy" set and the "Falling Hare" Gremlin! You can pre-order them over at Entertainment Earth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just because it has Sylvester on it...doesn't make it good!

We haven't done a Looney Tunes merchandise post in a while, so I dug into my box-o-random stuff and found an item that brought back horrible memories. That's rare, because Looney Tunes stuff almost always brings me happy memories. Not this time!

In the late '90's, the Looney Tunes characters were everywhere. Before Warner Bros' recent decision to become health-conscious and only license their characters to healthy foods for kids at Safeway affiliate grocery stores, the Looney Tunes adorned dozens of candy and junk-food items. One such item was one of the worst things I have ever eaten. It was awful. Tasted terrible, even DIGESTED terrible, and I will not elaborate any further on its trip through my digestive system, in the interest of decency!

I saw this at a grocery store in Fort Worth, Texas when I was in high school. For the record, the store is now a CVS pharmacy, probably because its constant battle with cricket infestation, weevils in the cereal aisle and the dead rat someone found behind the chip-and-cheeto shelf in its final days lost them half their customers.

Anyway, a large gummi candy shaped like Sylvester seemed like a good idea at the time. Never mind that it was produced by the "American Candy Company" yet made in Spain. Never mind that when you're 15 years old, the last thing you read on a candy package is the list of ingredients. And it was cheap too.

Needless to say, I have never seen a product like it since. Thank God!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"A Squeak in the Deep" (1966)

Here's another one of the infamous, widely-reviled Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzales cartoons. This one isn't near as off-putting as many of the others. A lively music score by Walter Greene (who also worked on the Pink Panther cartoons) and a better-than-average story with a believable motivation for Daffy make this one a winner in my book. Mel Blanc steals the show as Speedy singing "Her Name Was Hula Lou".

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daffy Duck For President

With the Election tomorrow night, I thought it would be fitting to post "Daffy Duck For President". This short cartoon was written and storyboarded by Chuck Jones, and later turned into a great book illustrated by his original drawings. However, Jones passed away before the cartoon itself was ever made. As a tribute to Jones, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone took the reins and made a great little short that was included on the second Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVD. It's very faithful to the original storybook, almost pose-for-pose, and is impeccably voiced by Joe Alaskey.

Hey, I'd vote for him!

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