Toons & Tunes: Cock of the Walk

Today’s Toons & Tunes comes to us courtesy of The Looney Tunes Show. (I’ve been in a Looney Tunes vibe recently, as you could probably tell.) The loudmouthed Southern rooster Foghorn Leghorn has always been a legend in his own mind, so what better way to illustrate that point than having him belt out a country tune where he brags about all of his alleged accomplishments? Here’s “Cock of the Walk”.

(It’s there, trust me. Click on it.)

-Look for cameos from Pepe LePew, the Instant Martians and Miss Prissy!

Big Ideas: Looney Tunes’ Laff Riot

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Those of you who have stuck with us from the beginning may, as you read this, think “Didn’t they post this already?” Well, yes and no. I originally typed this entry while we were on Blogger; when we imported the site over to WordPress, I recently discovered that this particular article had gotten “lost” somehow; long story short, the original copy of this article is floating around in Limbo somewhere. While this idea is a couple of years old, I still think it’s a good one, so for posterity’s sake I thought I’d type it again, since the original one couldn’t be retrieved.

Hey, remember The Looney Tunes Show?

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The Looney Tunes Show was an attempt by Warner Brothers Animation to introduce the Looney Tunes franchise to an all-new audience, and as such, it did its’ job well enough, lasting 2 seasons with 52 episodes in total, however, TLTS was also a very polarizing show; while some people enjoyed it, a lot of Looney Tunes purists derided the series, feeling it lacked the teeth and anarchic glee of the original shorts, as the show lacked the slapstick and “squash-and-stretch” physics of the original cartoons. This was due to the show’s executive producers, Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, feeling that they weren’t capable of emulating the shorts’ style. As a result, The Looney Tunes Show was more reminiscent of Seinfeld than the original theatrical cartoons.

Me? I felt The Looney Tunes Show was just OK. I liked the show, but I didn’t love it. I’d like to love a Looney Tunes show again. The Looney Tunes Show was all right, but didn’t ignite my fandom the way, say, Tiny Toon Adventures did.

That last particular thought gave me an idea: why doesn’t someone at WB make a Looney Tunes show Tiny Toons style? I came up with a hypothetical series done just that way. I call this series Looney Tunes’ Laff Riot.

Laff Riot

For those who don’t know, Laff Riot was Warner Brothers’ original concept for The Looney Tunes Show, a “true-to-the-classics” show emulating the original run of Looney Tunes shorts announced in July 2009. However, it was scrapped because the executives were not impressed, and it was later retooled into the sitcom-inspired The Looney Tunes Show which premiered on May 3, 2011 on Cartoon Network. We liked the Laff Riot concept and felt it wasn’t given a proper chance.

freakazoid

“Plus the name makes me happy!”

Like on The Looney Tunes Show, Laff Riot would place nearly all of the major Looney Tunes characters in a singular setting, in this case Acme Acres. Like on Tiny Toons, Acme Acres is like a world in microcosm (where of course, EVERYTHING is named Acme), housing several diverse locations and areas to accommodate the various characters. There’s Acme Forest, home to animal characters such as Bugs, Lola, Tina (or Melissa, whichever you prefer), Mac and Tosh, Squeaks the Squirrel and Daffy.

daffy-duck

Speaking of Daffy, the Laff Riot version of Daffy would have more in common with the 30’s and 40’s versions of the character than the later 50’s and 60’s version. In short, this Daffy would be”totally nuts” rather than greedy and selfish.

As for Lola, another VERY polarizing element to The Looney Tunes Show, the Laff Riot version of the character would be a mash-up of the scatterbrained motor-mouthed version from TLTS…

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…And the hyper-kinetic version from New Looney Tunes…

Lolabunny

…Definitely not the bland cypher version from Space Jam

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We like the Looney Tunes Show and New Looney Tunes versions of Lola. We prefer funny Lola over hot Lola. Deal with it, ya nerds.

Pepe NLT 1

I was originally going to make Pepe LePew one of the Acme Forest denizens, but I decided instead to give him the secret agent schtick from New Looney Tunes; Pepe is a spy working for an organization known as SPLAT (Special Patrol Licensed Animal Team); this idea will go over better than his previous schtick of jumping onto anything with a pulse.

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I’d just swap out Claudette Dupree for Penelope Pussycat as Pepe’s no-nonsense partner. She’d still be voiced by Kath Soucie, though.

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As on Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, Wile E. Coyote would be the pompous, technology-obsessed next-door neighbor to Bugs, with a vast desert-like expanse stemming from his side of the fence. This would be the gateway to the Acme Wild, home of characters such as Wile, the Road Runner, Taz, Pete Puma and Beaky Buzzard.

Royal Oaks Glen Oaks Garden Oaks Cul De Sac

The human characters would live in a suburban cul-de-sac called Acme Oaks, again not unlike on The Looney Tunes Show. As on that show, Granny would live in an old-style manor, with Tweety, Sylvester and Hector the bulldog as her pets, Yosemite Sam would live in a dilapidated shotgun shack, Witch Hazel and Gossamer would live in a Gothic style haunted house, plus I’d add Elmer Fudd there as well, since I thought it was kind of wrong how he was given such a small role on The Looney Tunes Show.

elmer-fudd

The Laff Riot version of Elmer would be a “big time game hunter” and host of a hunting show where he shows off his hunting prowess (except for a certain wabbit who somehow keeps eluding him). Just to make things more interesting, Fudd here would also be a millionaire, owning “a mansion and a yacht”.

porky-pig

Porky, whose always been a “border line case”, would live on the outskirts of Acme Oaks adjacent to Acme Farms, where Foghorn Leghorn, the Barnyard Dawg and Henery Hawk reside.

Now, you may be wondering:

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Aside from 1 or 2 changes you made, how is this different from The Looney Tunes Show?

I’m glad I pretended that you asked that. What sets Laff Riot apart from The Looney Tunes Show is its’ tone and presentation. Laff Riot would a variety of shorts per show, ranging from 90 seconds to 6 minutes in length, some with a common theme and some completely unrelated (you never know–anarchy!).

In addition, between the shorts there would also be song segments, the Merrie Melodies.

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These would be the same as the ones from The Looney Tunes Show. No need to fix something that isn’t broken.

There would also be a recurring segment called “One-Shot Wonders”. These would present the characters in more unusual settings, like genre parodies or period pieces. (The One-Shot Wonders would be rendered in CGI to show that they’re different from the “actual” continuity.) There would also be the occasional one-shot featuring new, never-before-seen characters.

The other major difference would be that Laff Riot would contain slapstick. A lot of it. There would be “squash-and-stretch” gags, Bugs donning disguises and breaking the 4th wall (Bugs could even freeze the action to address the audience a la Zack Morris; to keep him special, Bugs would be the only character who could do this), Elmer and Yosemite Sam would once again wield their trademark guns, but now they’d fire cartoon props and effects such as popping corks, paint balls, suction darts, land mines, springboard boxing gloves, custard cream pies, etc., Witch Hazel casts a lot of spells, Gossamer causing collateral damage with his massive strength, lots of “BOOM”s, “CLANG”s and “POW”s and falling anvils.

Finally, Laff Riot would feature character-specific sign-offs; they would depict a different character opening the WB trademark shield like a vault door and giving a farewell greeting to the audience. Some would be the ones previously used in Tiny Toon Adventures and The Looney Tunes Show, others would be new and some would be specific to a particular episode. Among the recurring sign-offs”:

TLTS Signoff

  • Porky: “Th-th-th-That’s All, Folks!”
  • Bugs: “And that’s the end.”
  • (Bugs and Squeaks) Squeaks: (chatters incomprehensibly) Bugs: “Eh, what he said.”
  • Daffy: (Hammy Shakespearean style) “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
  • Daffy: “Hey! Wanna see my butt tattoo??” (The vault door slams shut on him) “Woo-hoo!”
  • Daffy: “It’s been surreal!” (He pulls out a TV remote and switches the image off.)
  • Lola: “‘That’s all what?” What are ‘folks’? (Points off-screen) “He’s crazy.”
  • Lola: (a la Humphrey Bogart) “That’s all, folks!”
  • Lola: (leaning in the doorway) “That’s all, f…” (She falls from the doorway and lands off-screen with a thud)
  • Lola: (a la Tracey Ullman) “GO HOME!”
  • Elmer: (in full hunter’s garb) “It’s been a bwast!” (He drops his rifle and it blasts a hole though his hat. He shrugs and gives his trademark Fudd laugh.)
  • Sam: “It’s over. Now git!”
  • (Bugs and Lola) Bugs: “Say goodnight, Lola.” Lola: “Goodnight, Lola.”
  • (Bugs and Porky) Porky: Th-th-th-th-th-th…(Bugs covers his mouth) “That’s a wrap!”
  • Taz: &%$#@#^%^#! (gestures as though he’s saying “That’s all, folks!”)
  • Taz: “Show over!” (He proceeds to devour everything on the screen until he’s left standing in a black expanse, then plummets off-screen.)
  • Speedy: “iHasta luego, amigos!” (“See you later, friends!”)
  • Mac & Tosh: (in unison) “That’s all..Oh, after you. No, after you. After you. After you. After you. After you…(etc.)
  • Sylvester: (Roars like Leo the MGM lion, then puts his paw over his mouth) “‘Scuse me!”
  • Witch Hazel: (as though she’s reciting an incantation) “That’s all folks, that’s all folks, that’s all folks!” (She vanishes in a puff of purple smoke, hair pins and bat wings.)
  • Pepe: “Au revoir, mon petit potato du couch!”
  • Pete Puma: Duh, let the show begin!”

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Hey, I’d watch a show like this, wouldn’t you? How about it, Warner Brothers? Make this happen.

Toons & Tunes: Dueling Wabbit Themes

Warner Brothers’ latest animated outing, Wabbit – A Looney Tunes Production, which currently airs simultaneously on both Boomerang and Cartoon Network, isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty decent overall, especially since the show is much welcome return to form for it’s star, the wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny himself. Ol’ Bugsy is back to being an energetic, wise-ass trickster and troublemaker again, rather than his much more restrained self from The Looney Tunes Show. In Wabbit, Bugs takes on every manner of foe from tiny peg-shaped ninjas to giant irascible painters to a feisty King of the Jungle to the Tooth Fairy. The art and drawing style takes some getting used to (Yosemite Sam in particular looks like he jumped off the Spumco drawing board) and some of the stories work better than others (the shorts in which Bugs interacts with Bigfoot tend to irritate more than amuse) but overall the hyper-kinetic pace and the non-stop barrage of gags keep things entertaining, and with the promise of more Looney Tunes stars to appear on the show, including Porky Pig and a “totally nuts” Daffy Duck, Wabbit looks to be a winner.

However, the series has already performed a bizarre oddity: it suddenly and without warning switched its’ opening and closing theme music from this jazzy score:

To this more Bluegrass-ey number:

 

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“I’m a -pickin!” “And I’m a-grinnin’!”

This is not a complaint, mind you; both themes are OK (I admit to liking the first one a little more, but that’s probably because by this time I’ve grown more accustomed to it). I don’t mind the change necessarily, it’s just that there was nothing wrong with first theme and the switch just seemed to come from out of nowhere, like the sudden shift from Power Rangers Zeo to Power Rangers Turbo. Weird, right?

Fry_Looking_Squint

“That seemed unnecessary.”

 

Cartoon Country: Slappy Squirrel – Who’s On Stage?

Today’s Cartoon Country is an excerpt from Warner Brothers’ Animaniacs!. Specifically, the Slappy Squirrel short titled “Woodstock Slappy”. In the short, the year is 1969 (a good year for me – it’s the year I was born!) and Slappy aims to get her nephew Skippy (who in this short is full on into hippie culture) out of the city and “away from all those bad influences”, like peace and love, “That stuff’ll warp your mind!” However, Slappy has the perfect timing to plan their getaway on the exact same date of Woodstock, the 3 day music festival of peace and love. The interactions that Slappy has with some of the famous musical performers of the time are hilarious, but one of THE highlights of this short is the following interaction between Slappy and Skippy:

This is what I loved about Animaniacs; you never knew what to expect. As if the premise of Slappy trying to crash Woodstock wasn’t funny enough, we also get an out of nowhere parody of Abbot & Costello’s famous “Who’s On First?” routine. You know what I call that? Genius!

Looney Goons

Today I was searching the internwebz looking for more info on the upcoming Warner Bros. Animation series Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, set to debut on Cartoon Network in 2015. A poster on a message board I’m on linked to an article about the show on Animation Scoop. I was curious to read what my fellow animation enthusiasts were saying about Wabbit, so I checked the comments page, and to my surprise I discovered that nearly all of the comments were people hating on The Looney Tunes Show. Seriously? To these people I just have 3 words:

Come on, people. It’s been around 6 months since TLTS’s cancellation was announced, and people are STILL passing out Haterade about that show? Was TLTS really that bad? Enough already. I agree TLTS wasn’t great, but it’s done now. Time to move on. We’ve got a new Looney Tunes series on the way, which is set to NOT be a copy of TLTS. Let me count the ways:
  • The show will contain 4 shorts per episode. So it’s NOT going to be another sitcom.
  • Bugs will be going up against Barbarians, Ninjas, and Terminators. See? Bugs will be outwitting foes again. NOT like TLTS.
  • Taz will be featured, but he will now be known as Theadore Tasmanian. He will work in the accounting department and is repressing his true wild and crazy self. OK, this sounds kind of LTS-esque, but it could possibly work. He won’t, however, be a pet like on TLTS.
  • Wile E. Coyote is going to be an annoying, know-it-all neighbor. Again, unlike on TLTS. I’m also looking forward to this since Wile E.’s “super-genius” persona has largely been buried in favor of his mute form while chasing the Road Runner.
  • Erik Kuska will be producing the show (he was an animator on Looney Tunes: Back in Action). Not Spike Brandt or Tony Cervone.
  • The show is staying away from cliches (aka no anvils). Fine with me, as long as there are still some toon style gags and old fashioned cartoon chaos.
So how’s about we give cautious optimism a chance and hope that Wabbit will be worth the wait? WB and CN have moved on, how about we do the same? For all those still butt-hurt about The Looney Tunes Show
“I suggest you get over it!”