Friday, December 10, 2010

The Death of Bosko

We've been looking for this Nickelodeon promo for years. Back in 1992, Nickelodeon got the rights to a number of Looney Tunes shorts they had never shown before. Most were popular, well-known cartoons with major characters, or as they put it, "More of the Looney Tunes YOU want!" Of course, it was an upgrade to have more Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other favorites, but it came at the expense of the black and white "Bosko" shorts. If it weren't for Nickelodeon, it's quite possible nobody would remember Bosko at all, and those of us who enjoyed the characters' primitive cartoons never quite got over the unexplained slap in the face this commercial gave us. Here, in all its cruel and unusual glory, is the official death of Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Speedy Goes Broadband

Here in the United States the Road Runner is used as the mascot for Time Warner Cable's high-speed internet service of the same name. Now in the UK, Virgin Media has just started using Speedy Gonzales in their new ad campaign for their super-fast broadband internet service. The first commercial is below and Virgin has posted an "interview" with Speedy here.

UPDATE: Two more Speedy commercials have surfaced for the Virgin Broadband UK campaign. One features Sylvester, the other features Slowpoke Rodriguez.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Canyon Kiddies

I had always known that the 1940 cartoon "The Mighty Hunters" featuring James Swinnerton's Canyon Kiddies characters was intended to be the first in a possible series. However, it wasn't until recently that I realized just how ambitious the original plans for this series were. Here is a brief write-up from Louella Parsons' Tells About Hollywood newspaper column from December 26, 1938:

Jimmy Swinnerton, cartoonist for 47 years and the creator of the famous "Canyon Kiddies," is headed for the movies. Leon Schlesinger, producer of the "Merrie Melodies" and "Looney Tunes," has signed Jimmie to a long-term contract which calls for 13 one-reel technicolor "Canyon Kiddies" annually.

Interesting that it was Marion Davies, who loves the funnies and reads every one of them, should first have suggested the possibilities of the Swinnerton cartoons to Leon. Jimmie and Mrs. Schlesinger leave Tuesday for New York for the remainder of the holidays.

In Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic, director Chuck Jones warmly recalls of traveling to the Grand Canyon with Swinnerton, on their own dime, for inspiration for the cartoon. Swinnerton himself provided fifty oil paintings of the desert landscapes for use as backgrounds (a departure from the traditional watercolor backgrounds used in the normal cartoons of the time). This trip is confirmed in Martha Sigall's book, Living Life Inside the Lines, which includes an excerpt from the Schlesinger studio's in-house newspaper, The Exposure Sheet:

Due to the unusual backgrounds and customs in the new series of Canyon Kiddies Cartoons, James Swinnerton, Chuck Jones, and his story unit, left yesterday morning for the old Indian ruins of Arizona.

Mr. Schlesinger felt it was quite necessary for the department to be familiar with the general atmosphere of the country.

They took a 16 mm camera with which to capture, in color, the Indian dances, settings, and characters. They expect to gather enough material on the old Indian legends for the entire series of cartoons. (Have you ever heard of a cartoon studio going out on location?)

P.S. --- Tex Avery's story unit swear their next picture will have a Hawaiian background!!!

The one and only Canyon Kiddies cartoon was released in 1940. Why the plans for the ongoing series were abandoned, I can not say. Perhaps it was budget reasons or perhaps the Schlesinger crew were naturally moving away from this type of charming, yet Disney-esque, style of cartoon. After all, 1940 would also mark the birth of a superstar named Bugs Bunny. Enjoy the full cartoon below.

For more information, check out the following links:

The Bodega Bay Heritage Gallery has some background on Swinnerton's career and cartoons based on his work.

Larry T's blog has a post showing off some of the original Canyon Kiddies artwork done for Good Housekeeping magazine.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Franklin Mint Plates (1993)

Just returned with this flea market find: two collector plates that the Franklin Mint put out in 1993 based on "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" and "Rabbit Seasoning". They put me back $15 each, with all the proceeds going to the local cat shelter (which made me feel less foolish for spending $30 on plates that will kill me if I ate food off of them).

The "Pumpernickel" one still had its Certificate of Authenticity:

Does anyone know how many others were in this set? A quick Google search revealed there was also one based on "For Scent-imental Reasons".

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Tale of Two Mice" Original Titles Sighted

A recent ebay auction offered a film print of Frank Tashlin's 1945 Merrie Melodie, "A Tale Of Two Mice". Sadly, nobody we know snagged it, and there were no images of the credits. There WAS an image of the title card, though!

The only version of this cartoon available on TV and video in the past has been the Blue Ribbon reissue print, which shows the incorrect opening rings and omits the original title art and credits. Below are the images of the original title card, and a link to the Blue Ribbon version of the film itself.

UPDATE (9/30/10): Here is another original title card that surfaced in a recent eBay auction. Coincidentally, it was from the second (and final) cartoon to star the mouse version of Abbott and Costello: Robert McKimson's "The Mouse-Merized Cat" (1946). The auction was for a 16mm copy of the cartoon in black-and-white (the original cartoon was in color, of course), but it still gives us a rare glimpse of the original title. - JHC

What's Cookin', Doc?

Taking a page from one of my favorite blogs, Yowp: Stuff About Early Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, I thought I would start presenting various odds and ends I have dug up while combing through various online newspaper archives. I have come across a few odd, interesting (to me, at least) and forgotten footnotes in Looney Tunes history. For instance, did you know of Bugs Bunny's failed attempt to break into the themed-restaurant business in the early 1980's (a la Chuck E. Cheese)? Neither did I.

From December 4, 1983:
Restaurants serve up Mel Blanc characters
By Vernon Scott
United Press International

HOLLYWOOD --- If your town doesn't have a Gadgets restaurant, chances are it will within the next year or two, offering an entirely new entertainment program along with steaks, hamburgers and pizzas.
Gadgets is a newly designed national franchise outfit involving Warner Bros. and other corporations with plans for a string of 150 eateries around the country.
So far only Springfield, Ohio and Baltimore have Gadgets in full operation.
What distinguishes Gadgets from other chain restaurants, Howard Johnson for instance, is the entertainment factor.
Diners at Gadgets will see a completely automated 20-minute show every half hour or so featuring 8-foot robots with pre-recorded dialogue and songs.
But the robots are very special and familiar characters indeed: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Tweety Bird and Sylvester, Henery Hawk, Foghorn Leghorn, the Tasmanian Devil and other wackos from the Warner Bros. cartoon factory.
Those who have visited Disneyland are familiar with the autoanimatronics shows featured in the "America Sings" attractions at both theme parks. Gadgets' figures and shows might be compared to them.
The dialogue and music, including close harmony, were recorded by Mel Blanc, who has given voice to movie and TV animated cartoons for more than 45 years.
"Every restaurant will have 50 different entertainment programs, so there won't be a lot of repetition," Blanc said the other day.

What happened? I won't post the full text here (you can find it via this link), but an article the following July in Nation's Restaurant News painted a much less rosy picture about the Gadgets chain. There was behind-the-scene turmoil and high costs were rapidly killing the few existing locations.

Because of high development costs and demographics, Gadgets has altered its original concept of combining the ambience of an eating places and lounge for young adults with a family restaurant that features robotic cartoon characters on a stage. The new concept, Gadgets Cafe, is smaller and does not have the Looney Tunes show. Executives say the original concept will be used primarily as a growth vehicle overseas.


The cafe concept was rolled out because of space limitations, investment costs and demographics. Some locations were just not large enough to contain the separate dining rooms that feature the stage shows. And in some markets the demographic base was not families with young children--the prime market for the dinner with Looney Tunes--but young adults who preferred a bar atmosphere with current music.

Even in the full-sized Gadgets units, the stage shows have been reduced in frequency to just two to three hours a day. This indicates the trend away from robotics in Gadgets as well as in other restaurant chains.

Gadgets began growing at a time when the interest in computerized animated shows in restaurants was going strong. Most of the companies that were doing well were pizza chains like Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater and Showbiz Pizza Place, which have suffered great financial difficulties since then.

A search of the web didn't turn up anything else on Gadgets. No blurry photos of the giant robotic Looney Tunes characters, no fuzzy childhood memories posted on nostalgia-themed blogs. It sounds like they really put Mel to work on this idea, and it's a shame that a treasure-trove of audio of Blanc as the LT characters is now probably lost to the ages. If anyone has any more information, photos, etc of this short-lived venture leave us a comment or shoot us an e-mail at looneyblog ---at--- yahoo [dot] com.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Davy Wabbit?

From an advertisement for Ivey's Department Store printed in the Daytona Beach Morning Journal (Wed. June 1, 1955).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joe Alaskey's Stand-Up Routine

In our previous entry, we brought to your attention the new Looney Tunes voice feature on TomTom GPS systems. The voices are provided by Joe Alaskey, who has been providing voices for the Warner Bros. characters since the early 1990's. We've done posts on Alaskey before, but here's a fascinating and hilarious glimpse at his early career as a stand-up comic and impressionist. Don Knotts as Abraham Lincoln? Woody Allen as William Shatner? It gets crazier from there!

Should Have Taken That Left Turn at Albuquerque...

I admit it, we've been seriously slacking on posting the latest Looney Tunes news flashes here lately... examples: the 3D Roadrunner cartoons, the new Cartoon Network series, the CGI Bugs Bunny movie, and the new Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs with cartoons in glorious faux-widescreen format. How about the CGI Speedy Gonzales movie starring the voice of George Lopez? No, it was this recent news item that I found too bizarre to pass up posting about: You can now have Bugs Bunny direct you through unfamiliar roads.

Warner Brothers and TomTom have released Looney Tunes voices you can download to your TomTom GPS devices. Bugs and Yosemite Sam are available now... complete with stock Carl Stalling music cues. Daffy, Sylvester, and Pepe Le Pew are coming soon. Click the above link to listen to some samples.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Porky goes to Wackyland to get some Dough for the Do-Do

Speaking of cool YouTube videos, here's one I posted on the GoldenAgeCartoons Facebook page the other day. I felt it was worth posting here as well. YouTube user xrstoph created this side-by-side comparison video featuring footage from Bob Clampett's classic "Porky in Wackyland" beside the footage from Friz Freleng's 1949 remake, "Dough For the Do-Do". Check it out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Looney Evolution

A dedicated Looney Tunes fan on YouTube known as radiobov created this neat video featuring a screenshot from each and every Warner Bros. cartoon from 1930 to 1969 set to a medley of various versions of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down". It's an interesting six minute look at the evolution of the cartoons, styles and characters.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Looney Tunes Get McDonald's?

The United States isn't the only place where the Looney Tunes characters are promoting a healthy/active lifestyle. In France, you can now find "Looney Tunes Active" toys inside McDonald's Happy Meals... wait. What? Here's the now-airing ad featuring CGI versions of Tweety, Daffy and Bugs shooting some hoops with an anthropomorphic Happy Meal box.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kool Aid, Anyone?

It's been kind of quiet around here lately. I am going to make an attempt to clean up the dust and cobwebs here on Misce-Looney-ous and post a bit more often. What better way to get back into the swing of things than with one of our favorite topics around here (second only to Road Runner commercials): Bugs Bunny shilling for powdered drink mixes. Here's a 1960s advertisement for pre-sweetened Kool-Aid featuring that wabbit on the package... much to Elmer's disbelief.

Kool-Aid newspaper ad from June 20, 1965. Courtesy of Tim Hollis.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Looney Tunes DC Comics Summer Roundup

We haven’t talked much about the Looney Tunes comic books lately, mainly since neither of us has gotten around to picking them up. Today I snagged the latest 3 issues, # 187-189.

# 187’s cover story is yet another “Duck Dodgers” adventure, written by Joey Cavalieri and drawn by Walter Carzon. It’s interesting that while the Duck Dodgers TV series these comic stories are based on has long since vanished, the comics themselves keep getting published and given the cover-story treatment. I speculate that the comic stories, which started showing up in the books at the time of the show’s run more than five years ago, were originally supposed to be given their own series of books. For some reason, that never came to pass, and the stories wound up being thrown into the main LT book because, well, they’re THAT good. No offense to the writers and animators of the “Duck Dodgers” TV show, which wasn’t bad at all, but the comic book stories are better. Perhaps someday these stories will wind up in a trade-paperback format compilation, because they really shine on their own.

The rest of the issue consists of two great reprints, both drawn by David Alvarez. Wile E. Coyote steals Marvin the Martian’s gadgets in “Chariots of the Clods”, and Henery Hawk goes after Sylvester and Tweety in “Brown Hawk Down”.

# 188 features a cover story involving Sylvester and Son. Taz and Hippety Hopper escape from an Australian attraction at a circus, leading Sylvester to mistake Hippety for a giant mouse (of course) and Jr. to think Taz is Sylvester. Strange as it sounds, Bill Matheny’s story and David Alvarez’s art are fantastic.

Reprints include “Tazzy Doo”, a “Scooby Doo” parody written by Jesse McCann and drawn by David Alvarez. Foghorn Leghorn plays Fred, Lola Bunny plays Daphne, Petunia Pig fills in for Velma, and Daffy Duck dons the guise of Shaggy, alongside “Tazzy” Doo. “Ragin’ Cage” (Craig Boldman/David Alvarez) is a crazy Sylvester/Tweety chase.

# 189 is, in short, lame. Sylvester and Tweety duke it out as movie critics in the cover story by Arie Kaplan and Walter Carzon. Reprints include a Lola Bunny adventure (By Sean Carolan and Jen Moore with art by Leo Batic) in the land of sea monkeys (don’t ask!) and a 1-page Roadrunner gag by Brett Koth and Mike Decarlo.

NOTE: Beginning with # 188, is seems DC has decided to print the LT books with glossy pages instead of newsprint pages.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Looney TV Spoofs from CN Latin America

We have showcased some of the clever spots created for Cartoon Network Latin America in the past. Here are two that poke fun at shows on other cable networks. First, a parody of the Discovery Channel's I Shouldn't Be Alive focusing on Wile E. Coyote:

I Shouldn't Be Alive "Wile E. Coyote" from Carlo Olivares Paganoni on Vimeo.

Next, a spoof of A&E's Biography (complete with faux Jack Perkins narration) spotlighting Speedy Gonzales. This is from around 2002:

Speedy Bio from Carlo Olivares Paganoni on Vimeo.

Both these spots were written by Carlo Olivares Paganoni (who posted them onto his Vimeo account) and animated by Hook-Up Animation. Thanks to Misce-Looney-Ous reader Andrés Sanhueza for pointing them out to us via e-mail!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Commentary: "Shamrock N' Roll" (1969)

I haven't done a commentary for a while, and for some reason I keep getting requests for later 1960's cartoons. To be honest, this isn't a great cartoon, but it's not horrible either. You be the judge!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Ultimate Race

From Cartoon Network Latin America, a short piece featuring a "friendly" race between the Road Runner, Speedy Gonzales... and The Flash:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Daffy and Speedy - Reunited at Last

It's the reunion that nobody has been clamouring for... Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales team-up again for the cover story in the latest issue of DC Comics Looney Tunes, issue #185. "Hold the Cheese!" (written by Bill Matheny and art by Dave Alvarez) has Daffy buying up all the cheese in Mexico and stashes it away in a giant vault, for no reason other than he is a selfish jerk. It doesn't take long for Speedy and his hungry pals to knock on the door looking for some food.

SPEEDY: But, Senor Daffy, you can not eat all of that cheese by yourself.

DAFFY: I'm not eating any of it, bub. I'm lactose intolerant.

The story feels like a parody of the infamous '60s cartoons, plus we get a cameo by Sylvester. Rounding out the issue are reprints from issues #65 and #113. There are two one-page gags with Bugs, Daffy and Elmer titled "Whine and Dine" (Parts 1 and 2), "A Cheesy Afternoon" is a funny story where Hubie and Bertie decide there's nothing left to live for and try to convince Sylvester Junior to eat them (much to his father's dismay) and "Snore Loser" with Claude Cat and Frisky Puppy. Overall a pretty solid issue, especially if you don't have the older issues where the remaining stories originated. It's nice that the Looney Tunes comics are still around, even if we are down to just one new story per month.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dodgers Dolls

Matthew reported about a line of new Looney Tunes claw machine plush dolls from a company called Sugar Loaf a few months ago. Recently, I had noticed Duck Dodgers dolls (based on the 2003 TV series) popping up in a couple of the claw machines around here and didn't think anything of it. I figured I was just looking at some leftover merchandise from a few years back. Nope. Those crazy guys at Sugar Loaf have just released a new-for-2010 line of Duck Dodgers plush... now available inside claw machines near you (or, if you don't want to spend all those quarters, there's always eBay).

As you can see, Sugar Loaf went as far as doing dolls of The Martian Queen and even Dr. IQ Hi!!? Not pictured: K-9 and an Instant Martian who are also part of this set.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bugs and Daffy Presenting at the Academy Awards

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck presented the Best Animated short Oscar in 1993. Joe Alaskey provided the voice of Daffy, Greg Burson voiced Bugs.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Comic Strips by Chuck Jones

Our pal Charles Brubaker has come accross a real rarity: two samples of a comic strip drawn by Chuck Jones in the late 1970's.

Charles tells us:

"For a brief time in the late '70s, Chuck Jones decided to give newspaper syndication a try. He sold a strip called "Crawford" (later retitled "Crawford and Morgan") to Chicago Tribune's syndication arm.

Needless to say, it was short-lived, and for a reason: it was boring. Chuck wasn't doing his best work in the '70s and his good days were behind him.

It didn't run in many papers and they were never reprinted, so copies of it are hard to find. However, I was going through my comic strip collection and found two, so here they are:"

Maybe not Chuck Jones' best work, but these two strips alone put most anything else in the papers these days to shame. If any of our readers have more examples of this rare Jones work, please feel free to share them with us!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healthy Tunes

The Looney Tunes characters continue their crusade for healthier kids by teaming up with First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative. An upcoming series of public service announcements will feature Bugs, Daffy, Tweety and Taz alongside a series of professional athletes.

"We are honored that the Looney Tunes characters are supporting Michelle Obama, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Ad Council in this campaign to combat the problem of childhood obesity in the United States," said Brad Globe, president, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. "Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Taz uniquely deliver this important message in an entertaining way, and are the perfect ambassadors of fun and active lifestyles for families across the country."

The full press release can be found here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

1974 Wonder Bread Trading Cards

The following images and information come to us from our friend Jerry Beck. He also poses a question: how many more of these were made?

"This week on Facebook I posted five LOONEY TUNES COLLECTORS CARDS I saved from packages Wonder Bread in 1974. I'm sending you the scans if you want to use them on your website.

Does anyone have the whole set? I'd love to see the other cards in this series. I don't even know how many different cards there were. "


Jerry Beck

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bugs Says No to Drugs

Here's a real oddity. This is a series of anti-"hard drugs" public service radio spots Mel Blanc recorded as the Looney Tunes characters in the early 1970s (according to YouTube user, "chrisclarkvideos", who uploaded this rare clip). Yes, it's Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam talking about the dangers of doing "smack and downers".

Thursday, January 21, 2010

1971 Plymouth Road Runner Commercial

One of the very first things we posted to this blog was this Plymouth Road Runner commercial from 1969. One from 1968 can be seen in this post. Now here's one from 1971 that I had never seen before (in rather poor quality).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

More Old Cartoon Network Treasures

I found some other cool stuff from Cartoon Network on my old tapes this weekend.

First up, the opening, closing and informational segments from "The Bob Clampett Show" as it aired in 2001:

The Chuck Jones show wasn't very good. It was an "auto-pilot" show on Cartoon Network that often goofed and aired cartoons by other directors. There were no informational segments. But the opening and closing were fun.

In 2001, Cartoon Network had a "Day After Thanksgiving" marathon of the Looney Tunes compilation movies. This is the trailer they aired:

And here's the opening and closing to "Bugs and Daffy":


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Old Cartoon Network Ads and Bumpers

As hard as it is to believe now, Cartoon Network used to show Looney Tunes regularly and promote the heck out of them. Here are several treasures pulled from the time capsule also known as my big box of VHS tapes. I'm almost done converting all of my taped-from-TV stuff to DVD, but I just had to save this stuff along with it.

First up, here's "Chasers Anonymous", a very funny commercial for "Bugs and Daffy" that ran around 1997.

Daffy (in reused animation from "Duck Amuck") has trouble reading the script for his commercial:

Cartoon Network created these brief animated bumper segments for their "Bugs and Daffy Show". There were multiple color variations for the backgrounds (Usually yellow for a morning timeslot, green for afternoon, blue for evening and black for late night.) Often, an announcer would say something witty over them, other times they had a music cue that was a cross between the Looney Tunes theme music and Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse".

Finally, when Chuck Jones passed away in 2002, Cartoon Network ran this simple, sweet tribute during commercial breaks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Looney Tunes Theater Policy Trailer

We've posted this theater policy trailer from the non-USA chain of Warner Cinemas here before. Now, here it is again... this time in English!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...