Why do so many of the best and most original Looney Tunes shorts seem to feature Daffy Duck?
In today’s Toons & Tunes, the little black duck dons the voice of the Velvet Fog, Mel Torme, and croons lounge singer style to a club full of monsters, informing us that “Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives”, a phrase originally coined by Bugs Bunny in “Hair-Raising Hare”. Enjoy “Night of the Living Duck”.
Today’s Toons and Tunes is a music video that I came across on YouTube. It’s made for Cartoon Network’s reboot of The Powerpuff Girls.
“AAAAAAHHHH!!!! Not the ‘R’ word!!
Relax, it’s actually an OK tune. If this is going to used in the new PPG series, I’m perfectly fine with it. Enjoy “Who’s Got the Power?”
And just for good measure, here’s a promo for the new series coming in April.
Today’s Toons & Tunes is the intro to The Super 6, an animated cartoon series which was produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises in 1966, and shown on NBC from 1966 to 1969. The series was DePatie-Freleng’s first vehicle for Saturday morning. For those who don’t know, The Super 6 was a superhero spoof which featured half a dozen diverse characters (Elevator Man, Granite Man, Magneto Man, Super Scuba, Captain Zammo and the less-than-spectacular guitar-riding rookie superhero Super Bwoing, who was typically only called into action when absolutely no one else was available) under the supervision of a cranky dispatcher. The show’s title was somewhat deceiving, as the heroes never actually fought crime as a team; each episode consisted of three 5-6 minute segments, with the introductory segment featuring Super Bwoing and the last featuring one of the other five heroes. The middle segment featured the totally unrelated The Brothers Matzoriley.
The show’s surf-rock style theme was provided by Gary Lewis & the Playboys.
Trivia Time: Captain Zammo, the character who appeared in the smallest number of segments of any of the other members of the Six, had his name changed after his first appearance from his original moniker “Whammo” to “Zammo”. According to Friz Freleng in a  interview, the name change occurred when Wham-O, creators of such wonders as the Super Ball, filed a legal grievance against DePatie-Freleng over trademark infringement. Reportedly, the first commercial to air after the first televised “Captain Whammo” segment was ironically for the Super Ball.
Disney’s Fantasia 2000 was met with mixed reaction, but there was one segment in it which I particularly enjoyed, and it’s the subject of today’s Toons & Tunes. It’s the movie’s sequence for Rhapsody in Blue, a 1924 composition by George Gershwin for solo piano and jazz band, which combines elements of classical music with jazz-influenced effects.
Set in New York City in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, in the lobby of the Hotel New York, the segment tells the story of several people in a daily life during a rough period. It starts with the following:
- Construction Worker Duke heading off to work, while having dreams of being a jazz musician.
- A jobless man named Joe is having coffee at a diner, feeling depressed at having no job and having a lack of money and is treated badly due to being out of money, not even having enough to spend on food.
- A little girl named Rachel has to go various classes throughout the day while her parents work in the struggling economy, having to be with her nasty nanny throughout the day doing things she has no interest in or is bad at (such as ballet, which leads to her crashing into a closet, swimming, where she is covered from head to toe with various swim aids, singing badly to the point a dog faints, splashing her art teacher with blue paint, tying up someone with a gymnastic rope, just blocking a tennis ball with the racket, and almost falling off her piano-playing chair).
- A man named Flying John is out and about with his wife Margaret, getting stuff for her dog while he just wants to have fun.
The segment ends with all four protagonists getting their wish, though their stories interact with each other’s without any of them knowing.
The characters are designed in the style of Al Hirschfeld’s known caricatures of the time.
Of all the segments from Fantasia 2000, this is the one that’s always stood out for me. It’s not as flashy or surreal as many of the other segments, but it tells simple little stories (no “magic land lives an idyllic life, then some Big Evil strikes and some heroes have to spend the story defeating said evil” shtick here; I’ve always preferred simple plots, which is one reason why I’ve always enjoyed shorts over features), funny and sweet, and you feel for the characters without it having to veer into hammy, smarmy, heavy-handed bathos territory. And all this without a single line of dialogue being uttered. Well played, Disney. Enjoy.
Today’s Toons & Tunes is another Cartoon Network Groovie. Not much to summarize here: a unique take on a classic cartoon character, some arty animation, a cool musical mix (courtesy of Michael Kohler) and some wonderfully corny 1950’s-1960’s era kitsch relating to the Atomic Age. I try not to be one of those overly nostalgic people who pine endlessly about their favorite eras of TV networks and shows, but I do wish that Cartoon Network or Boomerang were still making shorts and fillers like this one. They were fun and helped them stand out among the other kid-vid/animation networks. Enjoy “Atom Ant”.