It's wabbit season! No, it's duck season!
Actually, it's both. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and all the old-school Warner Bros. animated characters are coming back for 'The Looney Toons Show,' a series on Cartoon Network consisting of all-new half-hour episodes and shorts starring the classic cartoon characters.
Everyone, I need your attention! I am about to do something that rarely pops up in my life and, I'm guessing, in yours as well. It might be a little shocking, so I want to make sure that you're near a chair. Deep breath, here it goes...
I want to thank my cable provider. I'll wait until you can sit down. Need a drink of water? Breath of fresh air?
I'm being serious here! I know that it's rare that someone publicly thanks the utility that sucks their money away and provides little if any variety, but I think this time it's merited. You see, for years now the networks have been lacking a very important series of programs that are important to the proper education of our youth. I speak about Looney Tunes cartoons.
(S02E07) "Viva Buymoria." - Morgan
The Jill Roberts trilogy continues. Last week we were introduced to Chuck's ex-girlfriend in an episode where, not only did Mr. Bartowski save the world (or, at least, the little part of the world surrounding him in California), but he also got the girl. This week we got to see more of the budding relationship between the two as well as a Charles who, for the first time in awhile, was feeling like a normal human being.The question on everyone's mind was if the relationship could last between the two. Particularly with the uber-hot Sarah working very, very closely with Chuck on a daily basis. Well, if I told you now I would probably be canceled faster than My Own Worst Enemy. So, if you want to know the answer please click ahead.
Saturday mornings. For nearly thirty years this small window of time was considered paradise for millions of children across America. With the parents snug in their beds, and a big bowl of sugary cereal precariously placed on the carpet, it was the only time -- long before the invent of 24-hour cable networks -- that children's shows ruled the airwaves. No karate/ballet/piano/soccer lessons back then; parents were lucky to get their kids to go for bathroom breaks during that period of time.
For many it's a time of very fond memories. Some recall radio favorites like Sky King and The Lone Ranger going from their imagination to the small screen. Others remember their first introduction to Space Ghost or Scooby-Doo. Still others, like myself, recall the latter days of Saturday morning programming with shows like The Smurfs, Dungeons & Dragons and Saved by the Bell.
If you're a fan of Looney Tunes and find yourself in the 181 Martell gallery space in Los Angeles this Friday (tomorrow), that's a good thing. A street artist by the name of Dr. Romanelli (a.k.a. DRx) was picked by Warner Brothers to create new designs of characters such as Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester and Daffy as part of a new urban marketing campaign that will eventually include T-shirts, toys, and a limited-edition Chuck Taylor sneaker. The new designs are said to reveal a darker, more insane side of the characters. You can see a couple small examples of what the new designs look like here and here. I'd really like to get my hands on those Chuck Taylors, those would be pretty sweet.
Oh yeah, a bunch of DRx's designs can be found here, too.
Okay, we've looked at both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck individually, and now it's time to focus on some of the best cartoons in which the two cartoon heavyweights shared the screen (much to Daffy's consternation, I'm sure). Bugs Bunny didn't necessarily meet his match with Daffy, but the two characters played off one another in a manner that seemed more substantive than Bugs' usual battles with the likes of Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam. While someone like Elmer would simple come at Bugs with guns blazing, Daffy would often try to match Bugs on an intellectual level, and usually wind up having his bill shot clean off his face. These are my favorite Bugs and Daffy cartoons:
Rabbit Seasoning (1952): An ever-malleable Elmer Fudd finds himself repeatedly shooting Daffy, despite Daffy trying to convince him it isn't duck season. Actually, it is duck season, but Bugs uses reverse psychology and clever pronoun usage to trick Daffy into somehow begging Elmer to shoot him. There's also an important lesson for all of us in this cartoon, which is that a crazy man with a gun can always be thwarted by a rabbit dressed as a woman.
Bugs Bunny is by far the most unflappable character in cartoons, an insouciant thorn in the side of anyone who seeks to do him harm, and the only one able to maintain his cool while everyone around him is going insane. I've come up with five of my favorite Bugs Bunny shorts of all time, and it wasn't easy. I managed to pare the list from eleven down to seven, and finally, down to five. Here they are:
What's Opera, Doc? (1957): "Spear and magic helmet?" A later entry into the Looney Tunes library, this has come to be recognized as one of the best animated shorts of all time. The basic plot of Elmer hunting Bugs and Bugs thwarting his every attempt is still evident here, but it's amplified by the great musical score, Maurice Noble's amazing background art, and a tragic love story that's actually rather touching in its own unbalanced way. I also love this exchange between Elmer (as Siegfried) and Bugs (disguised as Siegfried's love interest, Valkyrie Brunhilde):
Elmer: [singing] Oh Brunhilde , you're so lovely.
Bugs: [singing] Yes I know it, I can't help it.
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