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September 23, 2010 5:36 PM   Subscribe

The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (a SLYT 40 years in the making) showing one frame from every Warner Brothers theatrical cartoon made from 1930-1969 (thankfully at a rate of about 3 per second). See the evolution of animation! Porky Pig's successful diet in '37! Michigan J. Frog's memorable single appearance! And illegal alien Speedy Gonzalez replacing American toons in the '60s! (via M.E.)
posted by oneswellfoop (80 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
You'll see a lot of unfamiliar characters at the beginning. Then a few unfamiliar ones at the end.
posted by evilcolonel at 5:45 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, they still played Bosco on TV when I was a kid in the 80's.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:54 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird...Ive got a DVD somewhere with some bosco toons onit
posted by timsteil at 5:58 PM on September 23, 2010


For some reason this made me miss Negativland.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:07 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. You can see the Chuck Jones takeover right at the beginning of the 40's.
posted by sourwookie at 6:08 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Well, that's a cheery song, for a bunch of drunken reprobates..." (paraphrase from memory)
posted by ovvl at 6:25 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Judge Doom: What a looney selection for a dismal group of drunken reprobates!

Chuck Jones + Mike Maltese + Carl W Stalling = the most joyous moments of my childhood.
posted by SPrintF at 6:29 PM on September 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wow, that was shockingly irritating. There had to have been a better way to put that together.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 6:33 PM on September 23, 2010 [11 favorites]


I'm familiar, unfortunately, with both Bosco and the later characters like Cool Cat and Magic Mouse.

There is a point in WB's output where the cartoons began the slow slide to suck. Watching this, it seems like the point was around 1955. 1939 appears to be around the point where they reached the beginning of what I'd term the "golden age."

Then around 1955 we hit the point where they began to cut corners. If you watched some of those cartoons you'd see the change; the music became less orchestral, more reused clips (Road Runner cartoons made the music particularly obvious), and more stylized art, first in the backgrounds then the characters too.

Later on they created entirely new characters to fit the art because Bugs and Daffy and friends couldn't be converted convincingly to that new, highly stylized, flat, Hanna-Barbera-like style. That was near the end there. (There's a few seconds of Cool Cat at the end of the video. God I loathed him.)
posted by JHarris at 6:37 PM on September 23, 2010


I TOO LOATHE COOL CAT


It makes me feel better to know others share the loathing.
posted by Neofelis at 6:50 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Man, they still played Bosco on TV when I was a kid in the 80's.

I remember when Nickelodeon made a solemn promise to their viewers in the 90's that they'd lay off the Bosco. I don't think they even do Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon anymore.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:01 PM on September 23, 2010


A laugh can be a very powerful thing......
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 7:28 PM on September 23, 2010


1949 was the best year, imo.
posted by crunchland at 7:34 PM on September 23, 2010


Then around 1955 we hit the point where they began to cut corners. If you watched some of those cartoons you'd see the change; the music became less orchestral

The charming One Froggy Evening (1955), What's Opera, Doc? (1957), High Note (1960), and Nelly's Folly (1961) all feature excellent orchestration, whatever the Warner cartoons' average quality at the time. (The decline had really set in by the mid-sixties, when many of the best-known Looney Tunes characters made their final appearances.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:41 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ahem,

Hello my baby, hello my honey,
Hello my ragtime gaaaal
Send me a kiss by wiiiire
Then I'll be all on fiiiiire
If you refuse me,
honey you'll lose me
then you'll be all alone
so baby telephone,
and tell me I'm your aaaaaallllll.

(haven't seen it in years, but I'm pretty sure that's it)
posted by Ghidorah at 7:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


(Close. "Baby, my heart's on fire," "and you'll be left alone," and "and tell my I'm your own.")
posted by crunchland at 7:50 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


1949 was the best year, imo.

Start of the best years...characters round into shape, scripts become scripts.

I'll open the bidding for best of all time with "What's Opera Doc." The graphics in that are so bold and beautiful, it truly rises above. Plus a super filmic moment when the helmet bounces down the stairs.

It's a gem among gems, but for me, it's as good as they got.
posted by Trochanter at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, Long-Haired Hare was 1948.
posted by ovvl at 7:56 PM on September 23, 2010


damn. so close. I even sang it to myself while typing.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:56 PM on September 23, 2010


Ghidorah, I always thought the last line is "and tell me I'm your oooooowwwn," but I could be wrong.

I miss Bosco. When my sister and I played Nintendo, I would always make sure I had the Player One controller, so that I could enter her name as "Bosco." It never failed to infuriate her.

My mom and her 13(!) brothers and sisters speak almost entirely in quotes from WB cartoons, so I'm glad I grew up with Looney Tunes so that I can understand them.
posted by PhatLobley at 7:57 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Paging the McCoys. I think Every Anvil is one of the rare pieces of contemporary video art that I would actually like to own.

The museum's first floor features five multimedia projects by Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, including their acclaimed video database project, Every Anvil (2001), in which indexed shots from old Looney Toons cartoons are broken down into descriptive categories according to violence and physical extremism. Each category is contained on its own CD, which can be selected and played on a DVD player. The CD cases are labeled: EVERY FLATTENED CHARACTER; EVERY EXPLOSION; EVERY HAMMER AND HATCHET; EVERY FALL FROM A GREAT HEIGHT; and so on.
posted by The Bellman at 7:58 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


My brothers and I often repeat whole cartoons, too. I can't listen to a certain Wagnerian opera without hearing "Kill da wabbit!" And much of Rossini is completely ruined for me, too.
posted by crunchland at 8:02 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I started watching this as an intellectual exercise, but it very quickly turned into a game of, "hey, I remember that one!"

And "Duck Amok" is the best Looney Tunes work ever. This has been proved by science.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually ovvl, Wiki's got LLH as 49, and yes crunchland, it's a hell of a year.
posted by Trochanter at 8:03 PM on September 23, 2010


I think I'd prefer this as a poster full of stills, rather than a video. The video is cool to see, but it's harder to do side by side comparisons.

While I'm here, is this a good place to mention Songs the Brothers Warner Taught Me, which I stumbled across the other day while looking up what the Cheap Suit Serenaders have been up to? Megan Lynch covers a dozen songs that any Warner Brothers cartoon fan would be familiar with.
posted by fings at 8:04 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


'Course, I meant LHH, which was to be short for Long Haired Hare, which I was too lazy to type.
posted by Trochanter at 8:08 PM on September 23, 2010


Ruined, crunchland? Or made better?
posted by Neofelis at 8:11 PM on September 23, 2010


In "What's Opera Doc," the bit where it goes, "Weetoin my wuuuuv..." was the first time I noticed that Wagner wrote any pretty melodies.
posted by Trochanter at 8:16 PM on September 23, 2010


Guess we'll never know. Since I started watching Looney Tunes way, way, way before I reached the target age for the audience they were written for, I was also too young and never got the chance to appreciate the music pre-Bugs, but now it's forever tainted.
posted by crunchland at 8:17 PM on September 23, 2010


I was wondering why they kept playing versions of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." It took me way too long to figure it out. I think it was various alternate versions sung in Who Framed Roger Rabbit that clouded my memories.
posted by eye of newt at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Long-Haired Hare is a 1948 Warner Brothers Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released in 1949,"

Almost wish I lived in those days.
posted by ovvl at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2010


Fair enough. Whatever the MCM's say.
posted by Trochanter at 8:33 PM on September 23, 2010


The increased sophistication of plot and character starting around 1950 was a regressive move, if you ask me. I'm with the Chicago Surrealists on this one. The anarchaic nature of the earlier toons, their willingness to break social and artistic and scientific (time/space) laws was their charm. Plus, there were more pianos in the good old days.
posted by kozad at 8:33 PM on September 23, 2010


"* On ABC, the entire bobby soxer sequence is cut."
"* On CBS, in addition to the ABC cut, all three times that Giovanni Jones beats up Bugs for interrupting the rehearsals are cut, subverting the cartoon's setup and giving no reasons for Bugs later ruining the concert."


But I'm thankful for what I have.
posted by ovvl at 8:36 PM on September 23, 2010


ovvl, on TV, they started censoring this joke:

Sheriff: *bows*
Bugs: “Arise, Sir Loin of Beef!” *strikes Sheriff over the head with his sceptre*
“Arise, Earl (oil) of Cloves!” *strike*
“Arise, Duke of Brittingham!” *strike*
“Arise, Baron of Münchhausen!” *strike*
“Arise, Essence of Myrrh!” *strike*
“Milk of Magnesia” *strike*
“Quarter of Ten!”
Sheriff: (dazed, slurred) “You are too kind, your majesty.”
Bugs: (to audience) “Got lots of stamina!”


It was a crime against comedy.
posted by Trochanter at 8:39 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Trochanter, You've reminded me of a similar throw-away joke in which some similar nobleman was titled "Sir Osis of Liver."

(I had to ask my father why he was laughing at that.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 PM on September 23, 2010


Trivia: (Everybody Do) The Michigan Rag is not a real Vaudeville number: it was written by Jones and Maltese when they couldn't find an authentic piece that fit the moment. Michigan J. Frog was retroactively named on the basis of the song, years later; he was never given a name during the production.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:51 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know, I always thought the Looney Tunes were being produced far later than the 60s. I guess I just assumed so because I watched the reruns all the time on Cartoon Network. :)

Then again, I might be biased because I loved Six Flags Astroworld. (When we still had it, rassa-frassa-fraggin...)
posted by ralenys at 9:10 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


oneswellfoop: “(thankfully at a rate of about 3 per second)”

Thankfully for you, maybe; I guess I'm an old man, but that just about brought on a seizure.

(It was really, really awesome when I paused it and just looked through the stills at my own pace, though. Neat stuff!)
posted by koeselitz at 9:15 PM on September 23, 2010


That was awfully fast, but it was still close to perfect.
posted by blucevalo at 9:22 PM on September 23, 2010


The charming One Froggy Evening (1955), What's Opera, Doc? (1957), High Note (1960), and Nelly's Folly (1961) all feature excellent orchestration, whatever the Warner cartoons' average quality at the time.

Yes, there were good cartoons during that time. I didn't mean to say that all their cartoons suddenly turned awful in 1955, just that that seemed to be when the rot began to creep in.
posted by JHarris at 9:22 PM on September 23, 2010


My mom and her 13(!) brothers and sisters speak almost entirely in quotes from WB cartoons

World War II nothing, that's why it's really The Greatest Generation.
posted by JHarris at 9:24 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Looney Tunes Golden Collection series has the original, uncut cartoons.

Then around 1955 we hit the point where they began to cut corners. If you watched some of those cartoons you'd see the change

One tell is the switch from formal names to nicknames. If the credits say Charles M. Jones, it's probably good. Chuck Jones, not so much. Same for Isadore "Friz" Freleng et al.

Almost wish I lived in those days

You can get pretty close at the movie classics night at Oakland's staggeringly beautiful Paramount Theater. (Hey, I didn't say their web site was beautiful.) A classic cartoon, short, and old movie for $5.00 (last time I checked).
posted by kirkaracha at 9:26 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


"* On CBS, in addition to the ABC cut, all three times that Giovanni Jones beats up Bugs for interrupting the rehearsals are cut, subverting the cartoon's setup and giving no reasons for Bugs later ruining the concert."

What? Why on earth would they take that out?
posted by JHarris at 9:30 PM on September 23, 2010


And "Duck Amok" is the best Looney Tunes work ever. This has been proved by science.

Rabbit. Of. Seville.
posted by .kobayashi. at 9:35 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why on earth would they take that out?

Thinking of the children. Can't have the little hooligans strangling each other with their banjos.
posted by Trochanter at 9:36 PM on September 23, 2010


Wow, that was shockingly irritating. There had to have been a better way to put that together.

I had a really hard time watching this, too, and I wanted to fully love it so badly. The flashing frames were kind of making my head hurt after a bit, I think because I was attempting to take them in. I wonder if it might have been better or worse if the snippets had been animated. I also wondered if some similarity between the composition of the juxtaposed stills would have helped, so the transition between them wasn't so jarring.

I still dig the idea, though.

Wow. You can see the Chuck Jones takeover right at the beginning of the 40's.

Definitely. Jones was a diverse director, but he had a really distinctive style that always stands out.

I also noticed Maurice Noble's incredible background work kick in in the 1950s, speaking of distinctive. He was the layout artist for What's Opera Doc?, and should have a monument erected in his honor just for that.

The decline had really set in by the mid-sixties...

Yeah, they FIRED Chuck Jones in 1963. I don't know why, but some kind of straight up idiocy must have been involved in that executive decision.

There is some truly unwatchable crap toward the end. I watch a lot of cartoons. I can take a whole lot of bad cartoon. But I cannot sit through a Cool Cat cartoon, and Bosco sucks too. SO BAD.


On a more positive note, I think I actually squeaked with joy when a frame from this gem came up.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:43 PM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


(OK, Jones violated his contract to work for UPA. But it was still dumb and everything began to suck shortly thereafter.)
posted by louche mustachio at 9:48 PM on September 23, 2010


Maurice Noble's incredible background work

I didn't know who did that, so thanks. His work on that film is a highlight of the artform. Definitely deserves to have his name associated with the Oscar.
posted by Trochanter at 9:52 PM on September 23, 2010


I was wondering why they kept playing versions of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down." It took me way too long to figure it out.

Same here. Took me until about 1966 in the video to put it together.
posted by Alt F4 at 10:26 PM on September 23, 2010


Just so I can finally type it (after years of spontaneously singing it for no other reason than it was so funny to hear):

"Oh Bwunhildah, so sahft and wov-wee!"
posted by KingEdRa at 10:30 PM on September 23, 2010


Ok, because of the conversation here, I was curious and looked up the first Cool Cat cartoon.

I hate you all with the passion of a thousand firey suns for causing me to look that up. The stolen catch phrases, the bad voice acting, it was the Epic Movie of Loony Tunes.
posted by Hactar at 10:37 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


We tried to warn you about Cool Cat, but you went and looked anyway. Words like unwatchable, HATE, and suck were bandied about freely.

You've no one to blame but yourself.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:52 PM on September 23, 2010


.kobayashi.: "And "Duck Amok" is the best Looney Tunes work ever. This has been proved by science.

Rabbit. Of. Seville.
"

Wait? Not Space Jam?
posted by Bonzai at 11:13 PM on September 23, 2010


Cool Cat is like when they added Poochy on Itchy and Scratchy. Only worse, because it's like they added Poochy and did away with Itchy and Scratchy.

I have plenty of beefs with my parents over how they raise me, but their taste in cartoons was unimpeachable. In my house, there was an unspoken prohibition on Disney in favor of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, all of which I've seen a million times. There was room for the MGM Tex Avery cartoons as well.

When I was 12 or 13, it seemed like Bugs Bunny was on Nickelodeon, ABC and Cartoon Network. Is there any place to see these anymore besides the internet?
posted by orville sash at 11:49 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


louche, you're right. Curiosity did not only kill the cat, it dismembered it too.
posted by Hactar at 11:56 PM on September 23, 2010


Wow, I had no idea I'd internalized so much Looney Tunes. I don't think a single frame from 1955, the year my dad was born, was unfamiliar to me. Where the heck did I see all these cartoons?

I had a similar experience with Rocky & Bullwinkle recently; watching the Netflix streaming episodes I realized I was laughing before the jokes. I know I watched a lot of cartoons as a kid, but I just never realized how deep they were embedded in my brain. I wasn't even allowed to watch that much TV, but I know Looney Tunes, Sesame Street, Merrie Melodies and the Muppet Show like kids with religious parents know their scripture.

Honestly, I don't know if this makes me more or less excited about letting my kids watch cartoons. On the one hand, it's kind of creepy that there are all these images and stories that I don't consciously know I know, but seeing them again causes this insane rush of familiarity and comfort. On the other hand, damn, it feels sort of holy to know I grew up with Looney Tunes that were old to my mom and dad.
posted by little light-giver at 12:21 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


And "Duck Amok" is the best Looney Tunes work ever. This has been proved by science.

Screw that noise.

Bully For Bugs.
posted by sourwookie at 12:38 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


(OK, Jones violated his contract to work for UPA. But it was still dumb and everything began to suck shortly thereafter.)

Shhhh. That's like the cartoon Book Of Mormon. People throw it out but no one takes it for real.
posted by sourwookie at 12:41 AM on September 24, 2010


I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Cool Cat might benefit from Disney's ablamination treatment.
posted by hades at 1:01 AM on September 24, 2010


The continued popularity of Looney Tunes gives one hope for the world. For kids, it's transcendent; so much kids programming don't hold up more than a few years in any way except for nostalgia, but Looney Tunes endures. It's going into its third generation now. When it hits the public domain you can bet it'll be all over the place again.

It's aged a bit, sure, and there are certainly cartoons that are loaded with dated references. But even some of the most dated ones sort of come around again. Like the cartoons "The Ducksters" and "People Are Bunny," which are parodies of certain game shows from the time, but now work as a general comment on reality shows.

(To remind: The Ducksters is the one where Porky Pig is asked trivia questions, and when he gets them wrong Daffy Duck inflicts various injury-causing punishments on him. People Are Bunny has Bugs and Daffy competing in a race to the radio station to win a "Million Box.")
posted by JHarris at 1:53 AM on September 24, 2010


The key (so I've read) to the perennial success of the Looney Tunes cartoons is that Jones had one pass/fail criteria for whether a cartoon was funny: whether it made him laugh with the sound off.

Starting with that Golden Age of the early '40s, you could have awesome wordplay in there (Arise...!) but if the visuals alone didn't make you chortle, it got cut. So the cascade of honorifics for the newly-knighted Sam are hilarious as a list, but the sight of a obsequious Yosemite Sam groveling while Bugs basically bashes the crap out of him is hilarious even without it.

Compare and contrast with Tiny Toons, which was popular when I was in high school, and partially just because it was so meta compared to everything that came before. It was huge. But it didn't last. Why?

Turn the sound off.

It's just talking-head funny animals. Very little happens; certainly nothing resembling the gag-a-second anarchy of the Jones and Avery Looney Tunes cartoons.

Animaniacs got a little closer to the mark, but it was still pushing too hard for high-concept stuff and not for cartoons that were funny. Pinky and the Brain survive on the strength of great characters and great voice acting, and Chicken Boo is kind of a retroactive surrealist masterpiece, but the rest of it? Talk talk talk.

I'm a writer. It pains me to say that dialogue is the least important thing in cartoons. But... sound off. Still hilarious. That's the secret.
posted by Shepherd at 2:40 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dig dig dig, and either I'm (partially) mistaken about this being part of the evaluation process, or Jones just followed up his own policy years later in this address:
Turn off the picture and listen. If you can follow the story at all, you are listening to radio and the picture is only there to justify it being on TV in the first place- a more acceptable medium in this cultured world. If you can turn the sound off, and follow such action, the chances are you are watching a good, if old movie on TV. The effect is basically visual, not auditory. If it is an animated cartoon and you can follow such action, you are probably watching either the Walt Disney show, the Bugs Bunny show, old MGM cartoons or products of the Golden Age of Animation, where the accent was on full animation.
And also:
In our stuff -- even the talkiest things, like the Bugs Bunny-Daffy Duck stuff -- even if you turned the sound off, it was interesting, you could tell what was happening.
posted by Shepherd at 2:48 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Much Ado About Nutting. Favorite moment: the squirrel's about to bite into the walnut, spies the Brazils, then turns back to the walnut with the most adorable look of contempt, ever.

Feed The Kitty... when Marc Anthony puts the kitten cookie on his back... sniff!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:10 AM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Compare and contrast with Tiny Toons, which was popular when I was in high school, and partially just because it was so meta compared to everything that came before. It was huge. But it didn't last. Why?

Because really Tiny Toons was so taken with what it was doing that it didn't bother to do it well. "Oh, we're edgy! Oh, we break the fourth wall all the time! Oh, pop culture reference!" Meanwhile the animation wasn't really that great, the characters were largely overplayed versions of their originals, and just overall it thought it was ten times cleverer than it actually was. The key point to me was that it was too busy superficially aping aspects of the old Looney Tunes without really creating anything new and awesome itself.

Animaniacs, while weighed down by poorly-conceived side features (Rita and Runt? Mindy and Buttons?), tended to be much more on the ball. Some of its side features were great too (Slappy Squirrel, and especially Pinky and the Brain, although it had its share of lame episodes let's not forget). It was not perfect, but when it was firing on all cylinders it was brilliant.

Freakazoid was arguably the best cartoon of WB Animation's short-lived comedy renaissance. Looking back, nearly every bit of it was great, with those parts I didn't find hilarious at the time proving their true worth now.

After that, well, things went downhill. Road Rovers? Couldn't decide if it was comedy or action. Freakazoid KNEW the superhero stuff was secondary, Road Rovers thought it could play both sides of the line and so failed at both.

The series of Pinky and the Brain was great about the same percentage of the time as Animaniacs. One thing that illustrates how badly the show was steered was the usage of the ending catchphrase, that is, "What are we going to do tomorrow night?"/"Same thing we do every night...", etc. It's funny if every episode ends that way, and it's deviated from once once in a great while. But the pattern is reversed: very few episodes end that way. Nearly ALL the episodes, after a first couple and the odd special case, try to make a joke out of not using the "traditional" ending, seemingly not understanding that changing it is only funny if they've first established the full catchphrase as the norm.

That was about the time when I stopped watching TV so I can't speak much of later shows like Hysteria or (ugh) Pinky, Elmira and the Brain.
posted by JHarris at 3:27 AM on September 24, 2010


Couldn't sit through the entire clip montage, although I did appreciate the various covers of "Merry Go Round".

One of the single greatest disappointments of my life as a father is that my 9-year-old daughter doesn't like Looney Tunes.
posted by briank at 4:49 AM on September 24, 2010


"Ahem,

Hello my baby, hello my honey,
Hello my ragtime gaaaal..."
etc:

Mel Brooks loved it too.
posted by Mike D at 5:07 AM on September 24, 2010


Whoa! I was thinking about how Tiny Toons seemed to miss the utterly weird anarchy of the older Looney Toons stuff, and went searching for the original Do-Do cartoon that Gogo was based on. Which led me to this side-by-side comparison of the two nearly identical cartoons on which it was based.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:13 AM on September 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Whoa, perfect music for that wackyland side-by-side!
posted by Wolfdog at 5:43 AM on September 24, 2010


1949
posted by gorgor_balabala at 6:10 AM on September 24, 2010


Turn off the picture and listen. If you can follow the story at all, you are listening to radio and the picture is only there to justify it being on TV in the first place

I think part of the "success" of such radio-with-pictures shows has to do with how many people these days have the TV on while doing other things, like surfing the net or making dinner. Basically treating it like radio, giving it partial attention. I made that mistake the first time I tried to watch Samurai Jack, and could not follow things. Then I tried again a few weeks later, but this time actually sat and watched it, and loved it.

(Of course, these days I have a 1 1/2 year old, so my TV watching has mostly gone out the door.)
posted by fings at 8:03 AM on September 24, 2010


Tiny toons won me over for one scene; in the film "How I Spent My Summer Vacation", the Coyote finally, finally gets his!
posted by ChrisR at 8:11 AM on September 24, 2010


I remember when I was a kid in the 70's/80's, I figured out that if I was watching Looney Tunes, and the name "William Lava" popped up as the musical director, then it was time to change the channel.

Seemed to me that these cartoons were from the post-Chuck-Jones era, and were made for television. The quality was way off and it showed. I think all they did by that point was slapstick Road Runner/Coyote or Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzalez plots.

Same thing happened when they outsourced all the Tom and Jerry cartoons to Czechoslovakia in the 60's.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:18 AM on September 24, 2010


Say what you will about Chuck Jones (and he deserves much credit), during a binge of old classic Warner animation a few years back, I finally decided that finding Robert McKimson in the credits was pretty much a guarantee that a cartoon would be one of my favorites. No real idea why, but he must have brought something to the party that resonated with me.
posted by nonliteral at 8:47 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Oh, Bwoonhilda! You're so wovwey..."
posted by crunchland at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2010


Absolutely, nonliteral, McKimson doesn't get the credit he deserves for gems like Hot Cross Bunny.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:34 AM on September 24, 2010


"Michigan J. Frog's memorable single appearance!"

Well, technically...
posted by markkraft at 1:31 PM on September 24, 2010


Jesus, I just watched "One Froggy Evening" again and it still makes me laugh my ass off. Part of my brain is like "this shouldn't work at all," since the joke is immediately established--the frog only performs for one person--and then goes ahead and works it over and over again. And I keep cracking up, particuarly when the frog gives out his fetid little croak.

And it's trite to say any more, but there's wonderful adult stuff. He can't get an audience until be puts out a "FREE BEER!" sign. The guy's haunted look on the park bench would be wrenching if it weren't so fucking funny that there's a singing frog next to him (that has ruined his life). And then: PSYCHOPATHIC PRISON.
posted by Skot at 2:28 PM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Day Three: Looney Tunes song still stuck in head. Sometimes with newly discovered lyrics, sometimes not. Supplies running low...
posted by Trochanter at 7:07 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember when I was a kid in the 70's/80's, I figured out that if I was watching Looney Tunes, and the name "William Lava" popped up as the musical director, then it was time to change the channel.

Yeah, that was the thing that tipped me off too. Actually I'm sure Mr. Lava is a fine musical director who just happened to rise up when Termite Terrace was on its last legs. But I'm pretty sure those cartoons weren't made for TV. They were just made in the studio's decline, when corners were being cut everywhere. Especially bad are the Road Runner cartoons of that time. They reuse music all over the place. The music isn't that bad by itself, but you hear it over and over again, across all the Road Runner made then.

One thing I've noticed about those cartoons. If you happen to see them with the theatrical ending intact, they don't use the classic Looney Tunes ending, with the full orchestral version of Merry-Go-Round Broke Down for a theme. They made a completely new outro in crappier style and with a more sparse accompaniment, apparently so the cartoons wouldn't be shamed too bad by the production quality of the old outro. That's how bad they are.
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on September 25, 2010


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