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Looney Tunes New Projects Coming
May 20, 2010

According to this New York Times article, Warner Brothers is concerned about the low awareness rate among kids of the Looney Tunes characters, so they’re launching two new projects.

The first is The Looney Tunes Show, a half-hour series airing on Cartoon Network in the fall. Bugs and Daffy will be roommates, with the other characters as their neighbors, which sounds like a traditional sitcom setup.

The new series, still awaiting a premiere date, will be broken into bite-size components. There will be three six-minute stories that relate to one another, along with a two-minute “Merrie Melodies” component — in which characters perform in music videos (one features Elmer Fudd singing a love ballad to a grilled cheese sandwich) — and a two-minute Road Runner chase.

In theaters, three 3-D short cartoons starring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner have been approved, with possible plans for three more. This image from that effort is getting positive buzz from cartoon fans.

Notable from the article is Warner’s admission of how badly managed previous revamp attempts were, including the much-maligned Loonatics, which were too scary-looking. Sometimes the fans are right when they complain about such things, not just “hating change”. In the latest effort, they’re sticking to what made the characters famous, their original personalities.

Ugly, scary Loonatics

(I am sorry to hear that Looney Tunes Back in Action flopped. I like it. It’s wacky, just like it should be.)

Note that the Looney Tunes are in no danger of disappearing just yet. Even less well-known among children, they still make over $1 billion annually through licensing. Warner just wants to make more. And while they want more products, one executive says, rightly, “We have to invest quite a bit of money in the content first.”

10 Responses  
Thad writes:  

Cautiously optimistic. I don’t care much for the sound of the framing device (though I suppose it sounds like a throwback to the old kids’ shows that would have live-action segments intercut with cartoons, and could grow on me if it embraced that vibe), but I’m all for new Looney Tunes.

Of course, we’ll never see anything as innovative as the old Termite Terrace days, not just because of the sheer number of one-of-a-kind talents involved back then but also because WB’s going to be much more cautious now than then. We won’t see as disparate a group of styles as Clampett, Avery, Jones et al. (The only modern cartoon I can think of that attempted an approach like that was Mighty Mouse, and that’s already more than 20 years ago.)

On voices: June Foray’s still working, right? I mean, there are a lot of immensely talented people working the classic voices, but…use Foray as much as you can, guys; she’s a treasure and she won’t be with us much longer.

On the Coyote theatrical shorts: I love me some theatrical shorts and I’ve been wanting to see them make a comeback for…well, forever. And while I’d prefer hand-drawn stuff, that’s some pretty CG.

 
Augie De Blieck Jr. writes:  

Just give me one Blu Ray with the complete and fully restored library of Chuck Jones shorts, and I could die a happy man. I thought we were supposed to have an update by now on what WB plans to do with the classic shorts DVD series, that had stopped a year or two ago? What’s going on there?

 
Cole Moore Odell writes:  

Augie, I guess you haven’t heard about this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looney_Tunes_Super_Stars

 
Johanna writes:  

Cole, I don’t think that’s at all what collectors are looking for — those look like more mass-market products, with repeats of what collectors already have. It’s good to see them trying new things, but the Golden Collections set a high bar to live up to.

Thad, good point about the voices. I’ll have to get used to Bugs sounding not quite right.

 
Anthony writes:  

The Coyote screenshot there looks very nice.

Also being cautiously optimistic, though regarding their suburban dwellings, we’ve already seen the Looney Tunes in such a setting, and it worked out fine (Acme Acres, from “Tiny Toon Adventures”)…

 
Dwight Williams writes:  

THAT screenshot is just WEIRD.

It looks just enough like “classic” Wile E. to be recognizable, but the CGI approach just throws me off.

 
Cole Moore Odell writes:  

My understanding is that those discs *are* the follow-ups to the Golden Collections, and don’t include any repeats from those volumes. It looks like Warner’s is going the mass market route in terms of packaging the remaining shorts, at least for those including the most famous characters.

 
Johanna writes:  

Oh, perhaps I’m mistaken, then, and I’ve been misled by the new presentation. Thanks for correcting me!

 
Cole Moore Odell writes:  

Don’t get me wrong: it is a real letdown in overall quality. They must assume the collectors will swallow the inferior packaging just to get the remastered shorts, while the new format allows them to broaden their potential audience to casual shoppers. It’s as if Fantagraphics decided to publish the remaining Complete Peanuts volumes in oversized mass market softcovers with smiling Snoopys on the covers.

From the Golden Collections wiki entry:

“In November 2009, it was reported that two new single disc DVD releases with 15 cartoons each, with one DVD featuring Bugs Bunny and the other featuring Daffy Duck, would be released in April 2010. It was also reported that these 30 cartoons would not contain any duplicates that had already been released as part of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection releases … These new DVDs will still have the cartoons digitally restored and remastered – in addition to being shown uncut and uncensored. According to Jerry Beck over at GoldenAgeCartoons.com, a second set of Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs will be released by the end of the year.”

 
Tom and Jerry Return in New Cartoon Network Series » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[...] producer is Sam Register, who most recently revamped another set of legacy characters with The Looney Tunes Show, making them more “contemporary” as well. [...]

 
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