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December 21, 2006 8:01 PM   Subscribe

The 50 Greatest Cartoons Ever: the List - including links to the full-length videos of the corresponding toons on YouTube and Google, etc. Based on a twelve year-old-vote by the animation industry, which explains why there are no appearances by Cartman, Bart, or Fry.
posted by tsarfan (71 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
(The list is missing a few videos, so if you can find them, good on you!)
posted by tsarfan at 8:02 PM on December 21, 2006


Kiww the Wabbit!
posted by Iridic at 8:16 PM on December 21, 2006


Excellent find! I particularly enjoyed "The man who planted trees". Thank you tsarfan.
posted by speug at 8:43 PM on December 21, 2006


Here is one missing from the list that would have to be in my personal top 50 list.
posted by Tenuki at 8:45 PM on December 21, 2006


Sorry ... it's a proven fact that the greatest cartoon of all time was: "A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court". Sir Osis of Liver? Sir Cumference of the Round Table??
posted by RavinDave at 8:46 PM on December 21, 2006


Dr. Seuss is conspicuously absent. No Grinch? No Horton?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:50 PM on December 21, 2006


Oh, and great post. Thank you.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 8:58 PM on December 21, 2006


I miss Saturday mornings in the 60s and 70s. Bugs Bunny and Road Runner Hour.

Cartoons were more special, because Saturday morning was about the only time you could see them. No Cartoon Network, or videos or DVDs. We had to get our raggedy butts out of bed, dragging the blanket to the living room (oh, did I mention no TVs in the bedrooms?), and sit down with a bowl of Quisp (or Quake) cereal and let the hypnotic glow slowly overtake our minds.

Oh, and get the hell off my lawn.
posted by The Deej at 8:58 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


How is it that "Rabbit of Seville" and "Barber of Seville" are both on the list, but with different years given? Aren't these the same cartoon? Which is brilliant, by the way.
posted by chinston at 9:03 PM on December 21, 2006


No Transformers?! No Velveteen Rabbit?

Apparently my childhood favourites just don't live up to the standard of the 1920s.

/abject disappointment
posted by The God Complex at 9:03 PM on December 21, 2006


Yah - what The Deej said. The late 60 and 70s were the Golden Era for Saturday morning cartoons. My cereal of choice was Ka-Boom!

Which reminds me: when is the last time any of you saw a Bugs Bunny cartoon? I remember back in the late 90s that Cartoon Network showed plenty of classic cartoons, even dedicating an entire month to "June Bugs" -- but is there any network that airs classic 'toons anymore?
posted by davidmsc at 9:04 PM on December 21, 2006


One of these days someone will upload Ballot Box Bunny to the Internet. That will be a happy day.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:05 PM on December 21, 2006


The Golden Era of Saturday Morning Cartoons was when I was between the ages of 6 and 8, eating some sugar coated crap.

[this argument is futile. this post is good]
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:17 PM on December 21, 2006


The easiest benchmark to remember - if Bugs dresses as a sexy lady rabbit, it's probably a great cartoon.
posted by yhbc at 9:19 PM on December 21, 2006


these are great! what was once considered innocent behavior...
posted by brandz at 9:26 PM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Those bring back bundles of good memories, me as a adolescent boy wasting weekends staring at the tube. Great post.
posted by TravisJeffery at 9:35 PM on December 21, 2006


Even as a kid, I hated loony toons. Just too nonsensical.
posted by delmoi at 9:51 PM on December 21, 2006


Laffalympics was the penultimate Saturday morning cartoon show.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:58 PM on December 21, 2006


Based on a twelve year-old-vote by the [U.S.] animation industry

Fine list, really, but the almost complete U.S.-centrism makes it a bit silly. The absence of Yuriy Norshteyn's 1979 short Tale of Tales, which has been declared at least twice by large juries of international animators to be the best animated film of all time, speaks volumes about what's wrong with this list.
posted by mediareport at 10:01 PM on December 21, 2006


More about Tale of Tales
posted by mediareport at 10:03 PM on December 21, 2006


Dr. Seuss is conspicuously absent.

Gerald McBoing-Boing begs to differ.
posted by evilcolonel at 10:08 PM on December 21, 2006


Whoa!!

I once saw Tale of Tales on PBS or something many many years ago and have been trying to figure out what I saw. Its been haunting me, really. It was one of the most gorgeous things I've ever seen but all I had was the little wolf and the dancing figures.

Thanks mediareport! Thank you!

(Now...how to get my hands on a copy...)
posted by vacapinta at 10:08 PM on December 21, 2006


Even as a kid, I hated loony toons. Just too nonsensical.

Taste is subjective, of course, but I'm sorry that you were unable to take joy from what I and millions of others were able to.
posted by evilcolonel at 10:09 PM on December 21, 2006


Everyone thinks they're favourite Saturday morning cartoon was the best ever, until you go back and watch them again. Have you ever seen an episode of He-man? Shudder.

It's a good list, even if it is heavily Chuck Jones biased. I was happy to see the Big Snit and some other NFB shorts in there.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:24 PM on December 21, 2006


I talked to the late Chuck Jones years ago, and he admitted to me that What's Opera, Doc? was his least favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon. As a parody of Fantasia, it's OK, but it's not really all that funny. It has a couple of good gags ("Kill da waabbit, kill da waabbit, kill da waaaabbit!"), but that's about it. Compared to The Rabbit of Seville (or Long-haired Hare, for that matter) it's an unsuccessful experiment.

As much as I like Duck Dogers in the 24th (and one-half!) Century, I think The Scarlet Pumpernickel and Robin Hood Daffy were superior Daffy Duck-as-action-hero cartoons.
posted by SPrintF at 10:24 PM on December 21, 2006


(Now...how to get my hands on a copy...)

It's on volume 3 of the Masters of Russian Animation series. I've been going through the first two volumes, and they're pretty hit-or-miss, with the hits really amazing but the misses very, very "meh." Wouldn't you know it, Netflix only has vols, 1, 2 and 4. Aargh.

Given how spotty the first two volumes are, I really don't want to buy volume 3, but I guess I will if it's the only way I'll ever see "Tale of Tales."
posted by mediareport at 10:30 PM on December 21, 2006


It's a seriously skewed list, and I'm pretty sure his 'animation professionals' were mostly Americans commenting on shorts they found influential in thier professional careers. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I would have voted for The Dover Boys in a second, but I doubt that would make most people's top 100 list.
On the other hand, these links are fabulous, and if I didn't have to spend tonite packing to visit my in-laws, I'd be glued to the monitor till the wee hours.
Thx tsarfan, nice post!
posted by maryh at 10:31 PM on December 21, 2006


mediareport: Here's a short excerpt I found on Youtube.

Sorry for the sort of derail. I should add I was really disapointed to not be able to view Little Red Riding Rabbit..."Hey Grandma!!"
posted by vacapinta at 10:39 PM on December 21, 2006


Thanks, vacapinta; that wasn't up when I looked a few weeks ago. Loved the dancing bull and multiplane shot at the end. If you like that, you'll like about a third of the stuff on vol. 2 of the Masters DVD, although I find the reliance on old folks tales in some of them ("Hedgehog in the Fog," e.g.) to stifle the storytelling fun. From what I've read, Tale of Tales is significantly more interesting.
posted by mediareport at 10:47 PM on December 21, 2006


Er, old folk tales.
posted by mediareport at 10:59 PM on December 21, 2006


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese: "Dr. Seuss is conspicuously absent. No Grinch? No Horton?"

That's because those are books, not cartoons. My guess is that they are taking a purist view and focussing specifically on typical examples of the cartoon form -- which is why almost all of them are the classic ten minute short. See, no Disney feature-length stuff either.

Still looking for a copy of my own personal favourite.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:05 AM on December 22, 2006


I feel ya, Delmoi. I always watched Looney Tunes begrudgingly -- while i appreciated the quality, they just didn't stick with me. It was all just slapstick...

This list is seriously biased against budding little sci-fi/fantasy epic-loving nerdlings like myself, who were obsessed with "Dragon Warrior" and would list "that episode where Abel finally vanquished Baramos" as the best cartoon of all time.

Dragon Warrior, Voltron, Bucky O'Hare, Robotron... David the Gnome, Dark Water, The Little Prince, The Lost Cities of Gold, Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors..... that was some classic, epic shit, yo.

Also, any kid today who hates Spongebob but loves FLCL
is automatically the coolest person in existence.....
posted by ELF Radio at 12:32 AM on December 22, 2006


davidmsc: but is there any network that airs classic 'toons anymore?

You might be interested in Boomerang, a network owned by Cartoon Network that airs classic cartoons 24/7. As they say in the ads, check with your cable provider.
posted by Spike at 12:51 AM on December 22, 2006


[I]s there any network that airs classic 'toons anymore?

There's an entire network dedicated to them!

This is a fantastic post. I saw it over at BoingBoing and I knew for sure that somebody would have posted it here. I love the old WW2 propaganda cartoons!
posted by antifuse at 1:01 AM on December 22, 2006


Duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season. Fire!
posted by TheDonF at 1:06 AM on December 22, 2006


Haha dang, spike beat me to it. Blast my lack of preview!
posted by antifuse at 1:09 AM on December 22, 2006


Fantastic post! Still been hoping to find this one short I remember, that had this old man with a weird listening horn that had actually, apparently, been some devil's actual horn or something. These are great though!
posted by ScotchLynx at 2:15 AM on December 22, 2006


This was the first time I'd seen "Coal Black and the Sebben Dwarfs". I honestly didn't think the cartoon itself, even if you could somehow ignore the racist context, was all that good. Some of the animation was pretty nice, but the story was lame and the jokes pretty flat.

Of course, the racist jokes were cringe-worthy. I noticed how the queen had whitewalls in her castle because she was rich; the 1940s version of rims, I guess. Another thing that surprised me was the blatant sexual content. Usually Looney Tunes relies on double-entendres and silly kissing, but this cartoon showed more flesh than Tex Avery toons, and ramped up the sexual implications as well. You knew Coal Black wasn't just kissing anyone.

For example, Elmer Fudd kissing Bugs Bunny is a silly thing, and no one thinks it's really about homosexual bestiality. In "Coal Black", however, it's clear she's promiscuous to the point of sleeping with all the guys in the Murder, Inc. car.

In conclusion, I was squicked.
posted by smashingstars at 2:17 AM on December 22, 2006


DonF: Duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season. Fire!

That's my favourite, do you know the name of the relevant cartoon?
posted by biffa at 3:29 AM on December 22, 2006


I'm such a n00b, I only now just noticed that Bugs has five fingers in the Rabbit of Seville where he's playing Elmer's scalp like a piano.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:55 AM on December 22, 2006


Thanks for this list tsarfan. There're some goodies there. The Old Mill and the Tell Tale Heart are wonderful. That list doesn't have my own preferences though. No The Dot and the Line for example.

mediareport, The Tale of Tales can be seen on YouTube: Skazka Skazok (1 of 3), (2 of 3), (3 of 3).

I've never been a Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck enjoyer. To me they seemed like the creations of bitter, cynical, alcoholic geezers with no sense of the magic of life, no joy, no charm. Pepe Le Pew is a fav tho. I prefer the playfulness, inviting details and sumptuous colors of the old Max Fleischer ones, like Gulliver's Travels.
posted by nickyskye at 4:26 AM on December 22, 2006


Robin Hood Daffy was always one of my faves. "Yoinks! And AWAY!" [link to video!]
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:55 AM on December 22, 2006


(Personally, I was always a fan of the Untouchables spoof The Unmentionables where Bugs plays special agent Elegant Mess.)
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:59 AM on December 22, 2006


No Koko the Clown? Not a SINGLE ONE? That's messed up.

Nonetheless, this is a great resource. Thanks for the post.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:49 AM on December 22, 2006


These are great. I showed some of the tamer ones to my 4-year old last night (he has never seen Looney Tunes before--we don't have cable and his TV watching is pretty restricted). His first question: why are they hitting each other so much? After a few minutes of silently watching What's Opera, Doc, he turned to me and said: that rabbit is silly.

BTW: what is the name of the episode where Bugs gets so mad about the low bounty on rabbits that he goes on a global crime rampage? I remember him sawing off Florida so that it floats away from the US, and also turning the water off at Niagra Falls. That was my absolute favorite Bugs cartoon as a kid, but I can't recall the name...
posted by Chrischris at 5:54 AM on December 22, 2006


Rebel Rabbit (1949). If only he'd sawed off Florida for real.

"Duck season. Rabbit season. Duck season. Fire!" is from Rabbit Fire (1950), part of a trilogy that also includes Rabbit Seasoning (1951) and Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1952).

The Looney Tunes Golden Collection is excellent. It's a series of DVD sets (four so far), each with about 60 uncut and uncensored Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. Most of the versions shown on TV or cable are edited for length and content.

Whoa, Coal Black's got back.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:20 AM on December 22, 2006


Cheers, kirkaracha.
posted by biffa at 7:10 AM on December 22, 2006


I'm sort of surprised by the absence of of Luxo, Jr. Though it may not be one of the most entertaining cartoons of all time, it is certainly among the most important, heralding, as it did, the future of animation. These days even traditional animated movies have substantial amounts of CGI in them.
posted by The Bellman at 7:28 AM on December 22, 2006


Sir Osis of Liver? Sir Cumference of the Round Table??

Oh, and Sir Loin of Beef. Sadly, they omitted the two Chinese knights, Sir Ching High and Sir Ching Low.

/me ducks blows, scampers madly for nearest exit
posted by pax digita at 7:34 AM on December 22, 2006


On my personal top 50: The Flight of Dragons.
posted by ShawnStruck at 7:51 AM on December 22, 2006


Tale of Tales can be seen on YouTube

Awesome, nickyskye, thanks! Guess someone went on a Russian animation posting spree this fall. Gotta get to work, but those first few seconds are great - very Quay Brothers.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on December 22, 2006


I particularly enjoyed "The man who planted trees".

Given the theme of the list, I kind of dispute "The Man Who Planted Trees" inclusion as a cartoon, though it certainly ranks very high on my list best animated films - as apparently the Academy of Arts and Motion Pictures agreed in 1987.

I defy anyone to keep a dry eye watching that film.

Excellent resource of 'toons though.
posted by elendil71 at 8:40 AM on December 22, 2006


What a delightful post! I feel like I have been given a Christmas gift.
posted by LarryC at 9:03 AM on December 22, 2006



What... no “Thank You Maskman”?? (NSFW/Lenny Bruce)
posted by Huplescat at 9:23 AM on December 22, 2006


Porky In Wackyland rocked. I'm kind of surprised at the omission of "Rebel Rabbit."

(NTM, the Woody Woodpecker where Gabby Gator is launched into orbit by a pressure cooker, passes a dog inside a Sputnikesque satellite who snarls (in an Evil Russki accent) 'Alligator. Go Home!'

Possible the most culturally literate moment ic 'toon history. I'd kill for a sound file)
posted by jonmc at 9:43 AM on December 22, 2006


The lack of any Jay Ward cartoons is such a travesty. The writing on Rocky & Bullwinkle was so sly and so funny.
posted by brookeb at 9:46 AM on December 22, 2006


No Hayao Miyazaki? For SHAME!
posted by Dantien at 9:49 AM on December 22, 2006


Maryh: The Dover Boys rocked. Very early stylized animation techniques. I also love Dan Backslide's voice. "A roustabout. I'll STEAL it! Nobody will ever know!!!"
posted by infowar at 10:57 AM on December 22, 2006


I hope y'all like the "Aquarela do Brasil" sequence from the 1942 Disney animated flick Saludos Amigos as much as I do. Sadly I don't speak Portuguese, but it's pretty to look at, and the music's got me boppin' all over the cubicle.

(Much holiday goodwill, ever'body!)
posted by pax digita at 11:01 AM on December 22, 2006


ScotchLynx writes "Still been hoping to find this one short I remember, that had this old man with a weird listening horn that had actually, apparently, been some devil's actual horn or something."

It's called Now Hear This. I don't know where to find it online, though.
posted by concrete at 11:41 AM on December 22, 2006


My personal favorite is still The Sunshine Makers (1935). I saw it at a Grateful Dead New Years Eve show in 1981/82, and needless to say, I've never been the same.
posted by alms at 12:02 PM on December 22, 2006


Laffalympics was the penultimate Saturday morning cartoon show.
Huh? the next-to-the-last one?

One of the best things about Screen on the Green in DC is that they always play classic Looney Toons before the movie, on the big screen. And, of course, the dancing.
posted by MrMoonPie at 1:30 PM on December 22, 2006


Duck Dodgers!

This list wins just for that.
posted by Target Practice at 1:52 PM on December 22, 2006


No "Bully for Bugs"? Outraqeous!
There was a second golden (well, maybe silver) age in the late 80's and early 90's. The Tick, Ren and Stimpy, Animaniacs, among others all had their priceless episodes that stand arm in arm with the classics.
The Animaniacs did a deeply twisted mash up blending Jerry Lewis (The Day the Clown Cried) and Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now) that must be seen to be believed.
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 2:03 PM on December 22, 2006


Wow, thanks for this! The link to the videos of all the shorts will keep me occupied for a while.

I agree that the list is probably weighted a bit heavy on the Looney Tunes/Chuck Jones end of the spectrum, but it's at least a pretty great sampler of great animation. And you guys have already mentioned a bunch of other great shorts to look for as well.

I love Robin Hood Daffy a ridiculous amount. The timing as Daffy swings into tree after tree gets me every time, and it features perhaps my favorite interactions between Daffy and Porky (that or The Ducksters).

And I completely agree with you, Carmody'sPrize. Between The Tick, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and Freakazoid, I don't believe anybody who says my Saturday mornings weren't as good as the ones folks had in the 70s or 80s. And they were so steeped with love for, and affectionate jabs at, the history of American animation, and the Looney Tunes in particular, that I probably couldn't have helped ending up a huge Warners fan.
posted by Nathaniel W at 2:09 PM on December 22, 2006


alms, Thanks for the link to The Sunshine Makers. Awesome.
posted by nickyskye at 2:11 PM on December 22, 2006


It doesn’t have Tex Avery’s “Musical Maestro” on it, it’s crap.
(Or “SHHHH”)
posted by Smedleyman at 2:36 PM on December 22, 2006


which explains why there are no appearances by Cartman, Bart, or Fry.

Also the fact that animated sitcoms aren't the same thing as cartoons.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:52 PM on December 22, 2006


Fun post, tsarfan - I would add Betty Boop in Old Man of the Mountain.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:22 AM on December 23, 2006


no thundarr?
posted by dozo at 6:06 PM on December 24, 2006


well, these are some personal faves that don't belong on a best pf list, but without your post I wouldn't have gone looking, so thanks for that:
Falling Hare
Gorilla My Dreams
posted by nj_subgenius at 2:40 PM on December 28, 2006


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