Friday, August 29, 2008

"Goin' To Heaven on a Mule" (1934)

I've mentioned it before, but I didn't DARE upload it myself. Someone else has taken that risk for me. It's one of the rarest Warner Bros. cartoons of all time, and for damn good reason!

What is the most racially insensitive, politically incorrect, jaw-droppingly bad Warner short ever made? Well, a couple of the infamous "Censored Eleven" might fit the bill, but here's one that escaped that list. It's worse than all of those cartoons combined. Not only is it racist, it's a bad cartoon on top of that! It's Friz Freleng's "Goin' To Heaven on a Mule".

DISCLAIMER: if you're easily offended by African-American stereotypes (or cartoons that just ain't funny) this probably isn't the cartoon for you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bugs and Speedy sing Calypso

There's a mysterious stop-motion skit that has surfaced on the internet recently, though only as a short clip in black and white. This version gives us more, and in color yet. Apparently it was taped off of a show called "Blue Peter" in 1982. The sketch is a Stan Freberg takeoff on Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song", in which "Belafonte" (Speedy Gonzales) and his bongo player (Bugs Bunny) have a disagreement in the soundbooth. Why they used likenesses of Bugs and Speedy, I have no idea. Maybe Warner Bros. never knew about it, or Freberg was somehow able to get permission (not surprising considering his voice-work for Warners' cartoons.)

This thing's origin is a mystery, and it's a definite piece of "WTF" randomness. Enjoy?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Looney Pez

What's better than a Looney Tunes toy? A Looney Tune toy that spits out candy! Here are some Looney Tunes Pez dispensers that I have in my collection.

Older and newer versions of Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, and Sylvester, Speedy, Merlin Mouse, Road Runner, Taz, and Yosemite Sam. Also, a series of "Cool Looney Tunes" Pez.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chuck Jones' "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" (1975)

To give a better example of Chuck Jones' later work than the aforementioned "Father of the Bird" or "From Hare To Eternity", I'd like y'all (yes, I'm a Texan, I can say 'y'all') to check this out. This TV special from 1975 was independently produced by Chuck Jones. It has nothing to do with Looney Tunes, but I consider it one of Chuck Jones' finest works. To call it a "cult classic" may be a stretch, it's more of a "classic nobody ever talks about".

Chuck Jones loved literature, written for both children and adults. In the 1960's and 70's he did several animated adaptations of stories by the likes of Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel ("The Grinch, "Horton Hears a Who"), Rudyard Kipling (this piece and a few others) Charles Dickens ("A Christmas Carol") George Selden ("The Cricket in Times Square") and Norton Juster ("The Phantom Tollbooth"). I'm not sure if he ever tackled Mark Twain, whom he constantly cited as a source of inspiration, but I digress.

Some of these specials were wonderful, others were surprisingly boring. But I'd rank this one, "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", right up there with with his Seuss adaptations as the best of the lot. I'll warn's faithful to Kipling's dark story, so if you are looking for something like Daffy Duck or Road Runner, you may be surprised by this. Enjoy the wonderful animation, and the narration by Orson Welles, and experience the "serious side" of one Charles M. "Chuck" Jones.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

300th Post : Father of the Bird (1997)

Welcome to the 300th post on the Misce-Looney-ous Blog! In honor of the milestone, we dug up a fairly recent cartoon that has gone largely unseen. 1997's "Father of the Bird" turned out to be the final cartoon to come out of Chuck Jones Film Productions in the 1990s. While the rest of the CJFP cartoons either got attached theatrically to some horrible family movie, released onto home video, or surfaced on television... "Father of the Bird" somehow got lost in the shuffle. Outside of a limited run in Los Angles for Academy Award consideration, this short has never been available since. While nowhere near a disaster of Larry Doyle proportions, sadly, the cartoon isn't that good. The cartoon itself is a bizarre hybrid of the plot of Friz Freleng's "A Mouse Divided" and the overused cliched "baby in peril" plot that was done to death during the 1990s (think Roger Rabbit & Baby Herman or the Mindy & Buttons cartoons on Animaniacs). Like all the CJFP shorts, the animation is nice enough... for the rest, well, as you watch pay attention to how many of our Rules of New Looney Tunes this cartoon violates. You'll also notice that Chuck Jones didn't direct this one, rather it was directed by Stephen Fossatti.

Well, you probably noticed this cartoon's biggest flaw. Sylvester talks... and talks... and talks... and talks. It feels like a bulk of the screen time is just Sylvester talking to himself.

We hope you enjoyed our first 300 posts here on Misce-Looney-ous, and here's hoping everyone sticks around for another 300. As always, thanks for all the comments and support.

Looney Tunes #165: Road Runner races Speedy Gonzales...AGAIN

The latest DC Comics issue of Looney Tunes was released as scheduled, after all. And it's not near as good as it should've been! It's just...ok. There is a twist ending to the main story...Speedy and Roadrunner tie for second place in a race, and I won't give away who beats them. (It's not Wile E. Coyote or Sylvester). Scott Gross, current series cover artist and the illustrator of the worst story I've ever seen in the series handles this story, and it's very model-sheet heavy, but it's miles better than I've seen him draw before. Decent gags in the story help, thanks to writer Sholly Fisch.

Also in this issue: a Duck Dodgers story by David Alvarez (writer: Frank Strom) poking fun at Comic Book Cons, and a Yosemite Sam story (Art by Pablo Zamboni, also written by Strom) in which he tries to marry Petunia Pig for money.

Not a bad issue, the welcome Alvarez contribution helps...but the headliner could have been a lot better!

A little technical quibble...does anyone notice a problem with the Roadrunner's coloring on the cover?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Could a new "Bugs Bunny Show" really happen?

Thanks to John Kricfalusi for responding to my last post and easing my fears a little bit. Essentially, his idea is to pitch the idea to Warner Bros. of creating new wraparound animation to showcase the classic cartoons in a show not unlike the original "Bugs Bunny Show". His version, though, would go for more of a 1940's/Bob Clampett-esque feel and include more of the earlier shorts. (For those who don't know, Warner didn't have access to their pre-1948 library in 1960, so Jones, Freleng and McKimson were unable to include any of that stuff in the original show.)

Disney did a pretty decent job with their characters on "The House of Mouse", though they also created new cartoon shorts to go along with it, with only the occasional classic thrown in. But nobody's tried a new Bugs show, aside from some awful clip-show specials in the 1980's. If done right, it could definitely work. A Las Vegas roulette game offers better odds than those of this actually happening, but it's fun to imagine, whether it's Johnk K., or Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, or Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, or somebody else entirely.

And I couldn't resist drawing my own ideas...

Friday, August 8, 2008


Looks like Rule # 7 of my last post was a jinx! John Kricfalusi, who has said in the past that he didn't want to do a revival of Looney Tunes, has just contradicted himself. (He seems to do that a fair amount.) I thought all we had to worry about was we have to worry about the real thing!

Now, before this turns into some overblown rumor or controversy, keep in mind that these are just doodles Kricfalusi has posted on his own blog, mentioning the possibility of pitching an idea to Warner Bros.. As you can tell from the drawing above, it's clear that John's style is better suited to his own characters...just look at those arms and legs on Bugs! I'm sure he has great respect for these characters, he's been trying to imitate Bob Clampett his entire life. But having seen what he did to Hanna-Barbera's Yogi Bear and George Jetson, my greatest fear is that, should Warner take him up on the offer, he'll do the same to Bugs and Pals. I don't want to see that happen!

With "Ren and Stimpy", Kricfalusi's only significant contribution to animation, he brought farts, boogers, puke, and kinky sexual innuendo to animation. (Well, I guess the kinky sex credit belongs to Ralph Bakshi, but John K. was no stranger to it.)

I doubt John reads this blog. But John, if you read this, please, I beg you: Please be respectful of these characters. If for some reason you succeed in this diabolical plot, do your hero proud. Make Bob Clampett smile, rather than solving the energy crisis by turning him into a grave-spinning power generator!

To see more drawings and read what Mr. K. has to say about them,

Read his Blog.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jon and Matthew's Rules of New Looney Tunes Cartoons

Jon and I were kicking around ideas on IM last night about the possibility of Warner Bros. creating a new Looney Tunes TV series similar to "Tom and Jerry Tales". If Tom and Jerry can be turned into TV shorts that are halfway decent, there is no reason a series of cartoons with the classic Warner gang couldn't work. Warner Bros. seems cursed...every time they create a new "Looney Tunes" project, whether it's a TV show, a movie, or a new short, they always make the same mistakes. When will they learn that we don't want babyfication ("Baby Looney Tunes"), a whole series based on one character with an uninspired supporting cast ("Taz Mania"), or futuristic superhero overhauls ("Loonatics Unleashed").

"Duck Dodgers" and "Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries" weren't bad ideas, but they ran out of gas quickly. These characters just work better in 6-minute cartoons, and they have to be done RIGHT. Here are some rules we came up with...and those of you reading this are welcome to suggest more!

RULE #1 --- Don't go cameo crazy. Keep the cartoons limited to 2 or 3 characters, you dont need EVERYBODY in EVERY cartoon

Rule # 2: ---There shouldn't be a mallet and/or anvil in every cartoon

Rule # 3---There are more Looney Tunes characters besides Tweety and Daffy Duck. USE them.

Rule #4 ---Don't try so hard to make the characters "hip" or "edgy" or spew out a bunch of lame pop-culture references that will be outdated in a week

# 5--Come up with new ideas not based on what Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese did 60 years ago.

#6 --- Keep the character designs of the original cartoons, dont make them look like animated 1990s clip art

#7--John Kricfalusi is not not copy him

# 8---Elmer Fudd is an idiot, but he's not a worthless character

#9--- Sylvester can do more than just chase somebody

#10 --- Pay attention to TIMING, not every cartoon needs to feel like watching a Looney Tune in fast forward (ie Box office Bunny, Pullet Surprise)

# 11-- don't make Bugs Bunny gay.

# 12-- Daffy Duck doesn't have to be mean ALL the time

#13 -- Maybe experiment with different character combinations that have never been explored before like in the comics (ie - Foghorn and Taz; Pete and Sam; Beaky and the Snowman, etc)

# 14: Warner Bros. has the rights to lots of contemporary music. If you wanna be contemporary, use music! (like Carl Stalling did)

# 15: Tweety is a boy.

#16 - DON'T rely on Modern day reality TV/movie parodies as a crutch for plots (like the earliest webtoons)

# 17: Don't use 3-D "shading" (ala "space Jam" and "Back in Action") to excess, if at all. CGI, too, should be avoided at all costs.

# 18:---Don't just script some dialogue and send it to Korea. WRITE and DRAW the bastard, then give someone with talent in your own country a JOB

#19:--You can make fun of current celebrities, but don't do it every time, and when you do, make sure it's someone people will remember 10, 20, or 50 years from now

#20 --- Another important one - characters don't need to TALK nonstop, let them DO something too

# 21When casting someone as the voice of Yosemite Sam, try to keep in mind that Sam DOESNT NEED TO YELL ALL THE TIME

Bugs Bunny Hates You

From 1990, here's a clip from The Earth Day Special. A Time Warner produced, celebrity cameo-filled primetime special celebrating the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. Here is the short cameo by the Looney Tunes characters where Bugs complains about how mankind has destroyed the Earth. Starstruck Tweety and Porky don't seem to care about Bugs' rant and run off to meet Meryl Streep instead (seriously). The clip below cuts off Bugs' final line: "This was a great place to live until MAN set foot on it!"

I have no idea if Bugs reappears later in the special to apologize to all mankind or not, but if you are brave enough this whole special can be found on YouTube. This was also one of the first appearances of the LT gang after Mel Blanc's death (here voiced by Jeff Bergman).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DC Looney Tunes Update

Just a quick update to this post about the future of the Looney Tunes comic book. Well, Looney Tunes #166 has been added to the DC Kids comic book website. I guess they are now only posting them to the official site on a month-by-month basis. So, it looks like LT funnies are safe for now and we can blame this false alarm on DC's weird website redesign.

Time For Some More Frog

Hey, why not sit back and watch another old WB Network promo. This time around Michigan J Frog tries to convince us in song that watching the WB's sitcoms is much better than having a social life.

As an added bonus, here's a video of a 1996 singing frog alarm clock. The perfect gift for someone you hate...

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