Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and their Looney Tunes brethren are back in TV land with the premiere of Cartoon Network's 'The Looney Tunes Show' (Tuesdays, 8PM ET), a fresh spin that puts our beloved cartoon faves in a cul-de-sac setting ... yep, Bugs has gone to the 'burbs.
In honor of the Looney gang's comeback, we're counting down our 10 all-time favorite classic Looney Tunes. Narrowing it down to just 10 was tough, and other 'toon fans probably have a thing or two to add about their own favorites, so, sufferin' succotash, feel free to sound off in the comments.
Last month, AOL TV was invited to a preview of 'The Looney Tunes Show' at Warner Bros. Animation in Burbank, and we had the opportunity to sit down with the series' writers, Hugh Davidson and Rachel Ramras, producers Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt, and character designer Jessica Borutski to find out how they approached the task of updating such iconic characters for a new generation.
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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.
Warner Brothers has decided to make a big screen feature based on the Martin The Martin character, the little black and green guy who wanted to destroy Earth and/or Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in several cartoons. Now, a feature film based on the character wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but here's the sentence that sends a shiver down my spine:
Project will blend live action and CGI.*
Ugh. They can't just do a straight animated movie, they have to have some sort of live element that just ruins it? The plot will have Marvin coming to Earth to destroy Christmas, only to get stuck in a box. Producers say the movie will be aimed at families and people who like movies that kinda suck. Of course, I truly hope I'm wrong. Marvin is a great, classic cartoon character.
*Another reason to hate that sentence: the idiotic writing style that Variety uses.
When people talk about the greatest voice actors in cartoons, Mel Blanc is always at the top of the list, and for good reason: he solely provided the voice of the majority of the Looney Tunes characters, save for Elmer Fudd, who was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan. His first real contribution was providing the voice of Porky Pig, a gig originally given to an actor named Joe Dougherty whose genuine stutter made it impossible for him to control the character's voice.
Blanc also worked in radio before and during his time at Warner Bros., working with such legends as Jack Benny, Abbot and Costello, and Burns and Allen. It was radio that helped him to create solid but unseen characters, a talent that carried over beautifully into animation.
After the jump is a clip from the Tonight Show featuring the man himself being interviewed by Johnny Carson. It's rather bittersweet to see these two great comedic minds on screen together, and to think of what the world of entertainment lost when they each passed away.
In2TV recently added a Looney Tunes channel to its ever-growing collection of TV shows. My first thought was, "hey, that's pretty awesome." I mean, it is awesome. There's a whole bunch of great shorts to pick from, including the very first appearances of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. This is another chance for people to see these cartoons, and that's a good thing.
However, as someone who adores these old classics, I have to say there are better ways to view these cartoons. Refrederator is an excellent video podcast that features a ton of old cartoons from Warner Bros. and other studios that you can download, and it's always worth digging through Archive.org for public domain cartoons that can also be downloaded to your computer.
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.
Good news for animation fans who are into that whole "high definition" thing. The September 26th HD-DVD release of The Adventures of Robin Hood, the 1938 classic featuring Errol Flynn in the titular role, will also include three Warner Bros. shorts in high def: "Robin Hood Daffy," "Katnip College," and "Rabbit Hood." It would be nice if they actually released HD-DVDs of these and other cartoons, but I guess we'll have to take what we can get for now. At least you'll be able to see Bugs' make-up and all of Daffy's plastic surgery scars. Apparently a Blu-Ray disc will hit stores sometime next year. To be honest, I'm rather indifferent to seeing these cartoons in high def. To me, seeing them in high def is like listening to an old jazz song on a CD. There's nothing wrong with it, per se, but that's not really how it was meant to be experienced. Of course, these cartoons were originally created for movie screens, so I guess anything other than that would be "incorrect" so to speak.
[via Cartoon Brew]
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.
While each of the Looney Tunes characters had their own personality, even those personalities would differ depending on which era the cartoon was made, and who was directing. Porky Pig, for example, was often portrayed as the neurotic foil, but in later cartoons with Daffy Duck he was often the calm voice of reason. Daffy also differed greatly in personality from his early days under the supervision of Bob Clampett when he truly lived up to the name "daffy" to his eventual evolution into the selfish but lovable duck most people know him as today. Trying to keep these two sides of Daffy's psyche in mind, I've come up with five of what I think are his best shorts:
Duck Amuck (1953): "And on this farm he had an igloo...." This was one of my favorite cartoons growing up, and still is today. Daffy finds himself at the mercy of an unseen director who erases and paints in new scenery, erases Daffy himself, and even messes with the music soundtrack and Daffy's own voice. Al the while Daffy tries to reason with him, but to no avail. In the end it's revealed that the man with the magic pencil and paintbrush is actually Bugs Bunny.
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