Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chuck To Run Amuck in Vegas and Bugs Becomes a Pawn Star

I don't know when I'll return to Las Vegas, but one thing I am sure I'll make a point to visit the next time I am there is The Chuck Jones Experience which is scheduled to open next month in the Circus Circus casino. According to the press release, "The Chuck Jones Experience, [will utilize] the art, writings and films of Jones, will nurture that spirit of creativity in an environment that is playful, lively, inspirational and educational. The project is being developed by Jones’ grandson, Craig Kausen, Jones’ daughter, Linda Jones Clough, and a group of Chuck Jones fans who have believed in and supported its creation for years."

You can take a sneak peek at the construction on their official Facebook page. Here's hoping that we'll have some coverage of this amazing looking attraction here on Misce-Looney-ous someday!

Speaking of Vegas, a Bugs item was recently featured on an episode of the History Channel reality series, Pawn Stars - which is about the daily dealings of a pawn shop in Las Vegas. The item this guy (below) brought in to sell was a promotional poster from Bugs' 50th birthday (circa 1990) signed by Friz Freleng and Mel Blanc.

An expert was brought in and deemed the piece authentic and valued it at about $500.00. After some haggling, the pawn shop bought the poster for $300.00.

Yeah, not exactly the most groundbreaking item, I know. It's still kind of neat that it was featured on a popular television show and, hey, it fits right in here on Misce-Looney-ous. At the time of this writing, the episode can be viewed on the History Channel's website (Bugs poster segment starts at the 14 minute mark).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Remembering Earl Kress (1951-2011)

Earl Kress is not a household name to most people. But If you love cartoons, you have more than likely encountered his work. He was a writer, historian, voice actor, archivist, puppeteer, and animation fan. I read a number of obituaries and remembrances today that called him a "renaissance man". That's an accurate label.

As an Emmy Award-winning writer, Earl crafted memorable and hilarious stories for "Tiny Toons", "Animaniacs", "Taz Mania", "Pinky and the Brain", and many others for Warner Bros.. He also worked on the Disney feature "The Fox and the Hound", and numerous Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the 1980's and 90's including "New Yogi Bear", "Yogi's Treasure Hunt", and new "Wacky Races" (Aka "Fender Bender 500") cartoons for the short-lived variety show "Wake, Rattle and Roll". He also wrote for "Transformers", "Ghostbusters" and "Fat Albert", worked on "The Muppets", and most recently worked on new "Tom and Jerry" cartoons and direct-to-DVD movies.

Earl Kress was instrumental in restoring and preserving much of the classic Hanna-Barbera library, tracking down lost footage, credits, music and supplemental material and making sure the DVD releases of the H-B cartoons were done properly. In fact, Kress was widely regarded as the foremost expert on Hanna-Barbera. He knew every character, every show, and not only knew all of the names in the credits, but knew many of them personally. He was a fan, student and personal friend of Daws Butler, and could do most of Butler's character voices spot-on.

But writing some of the finest cartoons ever produced for television and serving as an invaluable preserver and historian of classic animation that inspired him wasn't enough for this man. He was also a comic book writer, penning stories for Bongo Comics' "The Simpsons" series and DC's "Looney Tunes". His stories in the latter are more faithful to the original Warner cartoons than a lot of modern animated revivals, and they're also funny as hell. Earl also wrote the theatrical Looney Tunes short, "Little Go Beep".

Here are a couple of DC Looney Tunes stories he did:

"Pronoun Trouble"

This story could be easily mistaken for a bit of unused material from the classic Chuck Jones Bugs/Daffy/Elmer Fudd trilogy.

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"The Dust Up"

This story from 2006 marked the first (and only) time that the popular "Mary Jane and Sniffles" segment from the golden age Looney Tunes comics ever appeared in modern Looney Tunes comics, or any other medium.

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"Deflate Of The Art"
"Duck Dodgers", a Cartoon Network TV series based on the perennial Chuck Jones classic short of the same name, inspired a number of comic book stories in the DC "Looney Tunes" series. Presumably it was supposed to be given its own comic book series, but Warner Bros. and D.C. instead chose to publish these stories in the flagship Looney Tunes book. Earl Kress wrote several of these stories, including this one, and it should be noted that the comics in general were often funnier than the Tv show.

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Earl Kress's appearances on the Internet radio program "Stu's Show" were always fascinating, and his devotion to getting classic cartoon voice actors interviewed and their stories told was clear.

I never got the chance to meet Mr. Kress in person, but I encountered him often online. He was a frequent contributor to the Golden Age Cartoons forums as "Daws Butler, Jr.", and I befriended and eagerly followed him on Facebook. While he was always willing to answer a question about his own work or that of his mentors, he never bragged about his own achievements.

But he had a lot to brag about. Earl passed away on September 19, 2011 from cancer. He left us too soon, but he contributed more to the field of animation and cartoons in his 60 years of life than many have in longer lifetimes. He preserved the legacy of his forebears and created quite a legacy of his own.
That’s All, Folks. And Doooon’t youuuu forgeeeeet him!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bunny and Claude Ride Again

Yesterday one of those "You Might Also Like..." boxes directed me to an old post featuring a 1969 comic book adaptation of the first Bunny and Claude cartoon. Sadly, the images were no longer working. I got curious to see if I still had them kicking around... and I did! So, if you visit this ancient post, you too can read the comic story again.

For a comparison, here's the original cartoon from 1968.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Start Your Day a Little Bit Better...

... start your day with a cereal from Post! Bugs and Daffy in a 1960s Bugs Bunny Show-era commercial for Post Toasties.

(via Thad K).

You may have noticed that something new has been added. I installed a little widget that magically suggests somewhat related posts from the vast Misce-Looney-ous archives. It's a fun way to kill some time revisiting the old articles by Matt and myself. Be warned, you'll probably run into some broken images or long-dead YouTube links along the way.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tweety Hunt and the 2011 Hallmark Round-Up

What would happen if you crossed our favorite cat and canary with a classic 1980s video game? A YouTube user created a parody video that answers that very question. I can just picture Sylvester sitting on the sofa with his Zapper gun...

Next, on a totally unrelated note, is our annual look at this year's crop of Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments featuring Looney Tunes characters. They aren't exactly the most exciting, featuring yet another Taz and Tweety.

Where's Bugs? Well, the Hallmark folks have again saved him for a "limited edition" ornament (titled One Funny Bunny) which will debut during the weekend of October 8-9.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TNT Bugs Bunny and Pals

Who remembers when TNT aired cartoons? Way back in the late 1980s and into the 1990s?

Back in those days before there was a Cartoon Network, TNT devoted a good-sized chunk of their daily schedule to cartoon showings... including 90 minutes every weeknight! Their flagship cartoon compilation show, Bugs Bunny and Pals, showcased the entire Turner-owned cartoon library (WB pre-48 shorts, MGM, Popeye, and DePatie-Freleng).

I recently came across this unusual ad from 1990 that I had never seen before. TNT actually put together a commercial for their cartoon block which was aimed at adult viewers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sylvester Presses His Luck

Quick... which well-known cartoon character is famous for muttering the immortal words "Sufferin' succotash!"? You know the answer. Everyone does. Everyone except whoever wrote the question/answer for this episode of the 1980's game show, Press Your Luck. Apparently they caught the goof and at the end of the show tacked on a bit where Sylvester himself (Mel Blanc, of course) calls host, Peter Tomarken, to set the record straight.

NOTE- After the 30 second mark in the video below, skip ahead to the 1 min, 20 sec mark for the Sylvester call.

"No, Daffy Duck steals from me all the time!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Looney Tunes "Back To School"

Here's a Target commercial for a back-to-school sale at Target from 1993, featuring TV actor Joey Lawrence and a few other animated faces. Notice the trading card promotion at the end...did any of our loyal readers collect any of those?

Car Tunes and Weetabix Redux

From 1989, here's a commercial for Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera featuring Mel Blanc's son, Noel. Mel and some familiar faces appear at the end of the ad.

This July 13, 1989 article from the LA Times has some of the story behind this ad... which aired after Mel had passed away.

Earlier this week, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, died at age 81. Blanc, of course, was a centerpiece to the planned celebration. Blanc's son, Noel, who has been a longtime understudy to his father, will attend scheduled festivities, including a Hollywood party and parade. But there are still some unexpected kinks.

The father and son recently filmed a yet-to-be-aired TV commercial for Oldsmobile. It was scheduled to be part of the familiar "This is not your father's Oldsmobile," ad campaign. The ad has Mel and Noel riding in an Oldsmobile along with several of Warner Bros.' animated characters whose voices Mel created--including Bugs Bunny.

On Wednesday, the Blanc family gave Oldsmobile permission to go ahead with plans to air the commercial this fall. But Oldsmobile officials gathered in Detroit with Leo Burnett ad agency executives Wednesday to discuss whether the ad should be re-shot--or at least re-edited.

As a bonus, here's another commercial. We've posted this one before (a LONG time ago), but here it is again in higher quality. Bugs and Elmer in a 1992 ad from the UK for Weetabix.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Puppets and Potatoes

Here's another 1970's TV spot, this time for a giveaway that must have been popular. In 1970, Crest/Scope gave away Looney Tunes puppets. I have seen these at flea markets for years, but rarely intact (usually only the rubber heads survive).

I still don't have much to say about the new Looney Tunes Show. However, now available at Walmart to tie-in with the new CN series are Mr. Potato Heads dressed as Bugs, Daffy or Taz. How could we not document these things here at Misce-Looney-ous?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bugs Bunny Vitamins

Here's a commercial from 1972 for a product that was around for years: Bugs Bunny Vitamins.

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