Tag Archives: Looney Tunes

Buddy Says ‘Bye-Bye’: Buddy The Gee Man (1935)

4 Apr
Buddy with false mustache, scowling in mirror

Agent Buddy examines his clever undercover disguise in BUDDY THE GEE MAN

by Rachel Newstead

Buddy The Gee Man

Release Date: Aug. 24, 1935

Director: Jack King

In Short: In his very last appearance, Buddy’s one of the Feds, and investigates a prison warden who hates music. An act, of course, unforgivable in a Buddy cartoon….

Say the name “Buddy” and “Looney Tunes” in the same sentence to an animation fan–try it. I dare you.

But before you do it, I highly recommend a good, solid industrial headset to drown the resulting eardrum-liquefying screech of outrage.

Let’s face it, of all the Looney Tunes characters, Buddy is not only the last one we’re likely to remember, but the one we most want to forget.

But how fair is that, really? It’s something I never really gave much thought, until this recent e-mail question from Kevin:

…do you really think that Buddy is a wholly uninteresting character? I guess I’m getting more out of the soundtracks than you are out of the visuals….

Such a simple question, yet so difficult to answer. Kevin has an annoying way of doing that with his questions, making me ask myself why I like what I like. I mean, there are Buddy cartoons I actually enjoy, but the character….

I suppose the best answer would be “yes”–with qualifications.  I do think Buddy is completely uninteresting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I dislike the cartoons that feature him. They can be quite enjoyable, almost despite themselves. But they would be just as enjoyable, I think, if Buddy weren’t there.

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“Take Two…Hi, Kids!”: Or, “How Did I Get In THIS Mess??”

3 Feb

Kevin Wollenweber in 1995, during his stint as host for a day on Cartoon NetworkAnother pose of Kevin, from 1995

Another shot of Kevin as host, outdoors in hat

The many moods of blog co-contributor Kevin Wollenweber in his stint as host for a day on Cartoon Network, 1995

by Kevin Wollenweber

Ever find yourself disgusted with the sound of your own voice?  No, I’m not just pontificating about spending way too much time with myself in my own self-imposed hermitage or being out of work and having to face reinventing myself for the next horrible 50 years.  I’m referring to my one and only opportunity to learn how the broadcast medium of television works and be part of it for a day on a then fledgling network.

Yes (sigh), I was again viewing the recorded results of “KEVIN WOLLENWEBER DAY”, the albatross around my neck, the embarrassment and realization that I don’t have talent!!  If I’ve ruminated about this in the past, please forgive me, but I threw one of the disks on my player this morning and relived the day in flashbacks.  Oh, those flashbacks!

To recap, at some point, in mid-1995, while working at my boring day job, I got a call from someone connected with Cartoon Network, back when they still aired animation of the distant and beloved first golden age.  The pleasant woman’s voice on the other end of the phone asked me if I wouldn’t like to be “host” of a day on the network.

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It’s All About Him: Duck Dodgers In ATTACK OF THE DRONES

31 Jan
Daffy addressing his robot copies in Attack Of The Drones

Daffy as "Duck Dodgers" addresses his...uh, "troops" in ATTACK OF THE DRONES

After a brief hiatus to accommodate the Freeze Frame Friday feature (and to give your tired blogger a badly needed rest) we resume our look at Larry Doyle’s 2003 Looney Tunes.

Review by Rachel Newstead

DUCK DODGERS IN ATTACK OF THE DRONES
Copyright year 2003 (unreleased)

Director: Rich Moore
In short: What’s worse than one Duck Dodgers? Try 100….with lasers


Like just about any other fan in the known universe, I love Duck Dodgers In The 24th 1/2 Century. I love it from the first scene to the last, from the wonderfully wonky “1930s space opera meets Salvador Dali” designs of Maurice Noble, to Marvin Martian’s Acme ray guns, to the “disintegrating pistol” gag (“Well, whaddaya know, it disintegrated….”). Nothing could come close to it, and indeed, nothing ever has. Even the men behind the original, Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese, couldn’t re-ignite the spark, though they certainly tried. I’ve spent much of the last thirty years trying to wipe Duck Dodgers and the Return Of The 24th 1/2 Century from my memory.

The Duck Dodgers TV series was…adequate, most of the time. If one pretended the classic 1953 “Duck Dodgers” never existed and judged the latter version on its own merits, it could be quite entertaining. That, essentially, is the attitude I had to take when it came time to review Larry Doyle’s take on the “Dodgers” universe, Attack Of The Drones. With the proper mindset in place, I found myself enjoying it more than I ever thought I would.

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A Magic Book “Spells” Trouble For Wile E. in THE WHIZZARD OF OW

28 Jan

The Whizzard Of Ow

copyright year 2003 (unreleased)

Director: Bret Haaland

In short: Don’t tamper with sinister forces you don’t understand–especially if you’re Wile E. Coyote…

Review by Rachel Newstead

In this installment of my ongoing series on the Larry Doyle Looney Tunes, I take a look at the one of the six that perhaps comes closest to the spirit of the original: the Road Runner cartoon The Whizzard Of Ow. As you’ll see as we work our way down the list, however, it turns out to be faint praise…

After using such varied–yet unsuccessful–means as a dehydrated boulders, Burmese tiger traps, an Acme Batman suit, and even performance-enhancing drugs (leg-muscle vitamins, to be exact) through the years,  it makes perfect sense that in the era of Harry Potter, Wile E. Coyote would resort to the one thing he hasn’t tried in his quest to catch the elusive Road Runner.

Namely, magic.

Therein lies the premise of the first–and best–cartoon of our Unseen Six, The Whizzard Of Ow.

Two things become apparent immediately. Well, make that three. First is the background design: it lacks Maurice Noble’s elegant stylization, and Robert Gribbroek’s varied color palette, but it’s certainly better-looking visually than the McKimson and Larriva shorts had been. The various cacti and mesas are rendered with highlights, and have some dimension. The background artists were obviously going for an early-fifties look here, but as this was done at Rough Draft Studios, I couldn’t help but think this landscape could double as an alien planet for Fry, Bender and Leela. (Rough Draft worked on Futurama, as well as The Simpsons Movie).

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Because Somebody Had To Do It: The Larry Doyle Looney Tunes

28 Jan
Duck Dodgers argues with alien in Attack Of The Drones

Duck Dodgers is back (again?) in "Attack Of The Drones" (yes, that's a Klingon behind him)

by Rachel Newstead

My ol’ southern granddaddy had a saying: expect the worst. Then, when it doesn’t happen, you’re pleasantly surprised….

So when I took on the unenviable task of reviewing the reviled, unreleased 2003 Larry Doyle Looney Tunes, my expectations couldn’t be much lower. Steeling myself for exposure to the alleged blood-congealing, stomach-liquefying animated plague produced by Mr. Doyle, I was not only surprised, but almost disappointed to find that most of them were at least watchable. [Note:  “Almost disappointed” because I revel in true, Ed Wood-level badness. It’s practically a Zen experience.–R.] Some, dare I say, even approached “good”. (I can almost see the lynch mobs forming as I write this–just try defending these within 500 miles of the nearest Looney Tunes geek. You’ll really need Obama’s health plan).

I admit my obsession with these “Unseen Six”, as I’ve come to call the cartoons, might seem a little strange to most of you, but it shouldn’t be surprising to those who know me. Of all the creative endeavors ever conceived, nothing intrigues me as much as those that might have been. I like the Larry Doyle Looney Tunes for the same reason I’m fascinated with Scott Joplin’s lost musical scores, Walt Disney’s aborted feature projects, and the first two pilots for “All In The Family.” They’re a glimpse into what might have happened had the creative process taken a slight detour, producing an “alternate-universe” version of the movies, TV shows and music we know.

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