Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Don Jurwich; Animation by Hank Smith, Virgil Ross, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Don Sheppard; Backgrounds by Anthony Rizzo; Film Editor: Joe Siracusa; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on February 29, 1966.
Glue has proven ineffective when hunting roadrunners. Now, tar is the real deal! Wile E slathers a good amount on the road, but that darn Roadrunner can run right through it without any slowing effects. Oh, but when Wile E. stands on the stuff, he has a hassle getting free. Only by pulling with all his might does he get out of the stuff on the street, and back in the stuff in the bucket. He has to hop away and they really take their time building up to the inevitable incoming vehicle that will run him down. (More time means less jokes they have to think up.)
After a falling off a cliff whilst setting up a mirror, (it probably wasn’t going to be all that funny anyway.) Wile E. lands in a dump. (The trash looking like it belongs in a different cartoon. Superimposed images, and all that.) This gives him a new and better idea. He grabs armloads of junk and sets to build his greatest, (if possibly not biggest) creation yet! (The title is lying to us. I saw him grab glass, porcelain, fabric and wood.) Presenting: a colossal robotic Canis latrans that can run without tiring. And it is conveniently controlled by a device that tells it what actions to perform. (And thankfully looking a lot better than what the title card promised.)
There’s just one teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, speck of a crumb of a problem with it: the stop function doesn’t appear to actually function. (Not like Wile E. tried all that hard to get out of its way, though.) Still, it’s a brilliant piece of work! Being a robot means they can use that as an excuse for how choppy their animation can get. DARN THOSE-! Oh, you know already. The hunt begins, and it still looks odd to me when the Roadrunner shows fear. Still, he manages stay free thanks to Wile E. using easy to misinterpret commands, and standing in improperly safe locations.
This calls for enhancements! Two fangs should do the trick! I… what. Odd. But even more odd? The bird gets caught! Yeah, I know! I feel like I’m lying through my fingers as I type! (Don’t mock fangs. They get results.) So he’s in the clutches of one of the coyotes; what will Wile E. do now? He tells the robot to eat of, course. Sure, why not? At best it will keep his prey detained, at worse it will grind the bird into paste that Wile E. will have to scrape off. Either way, that will spell the end of Wile E.’s need for the machine so it pops him in its mouth instead.
But the Roadrunner is still caught, right? No! It got away without any indication that it did! That’s really lazy storytelling, Don. The Roadrunner is also on the other side of a chasm, but Wile E. didn’t notice that until the machine was already running. Still without a working stop function, the two coyote’s fall into the pit. Back at square one, but the ending keeps them from getting back to step two.
Favorite Part: The Roadrunner being curious as to why Wile E. isn’t chasing him. Suggesting that he thinks this is all nothing more than a game that he’s dominating at.
Personal Rating: 2. It’s got the usual brand of mid-sixties problems, but I like seeing Wile E. having just one plan for the majority of the picture. It’s an interesting change of pace.
“Some Road Runners have been clocked at 50 miles…”
Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Rudy Larriva; Animation by Hank Smith, Virgil Ross, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Erni Nordli; Backgrounds by Anthony Rizzo; Film Editor: Lee Gunther. Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Merrie Melody released on September 18, 1965.
Wile E. is not chasing the Roadrunner at the onset of this short, he’s just observing. And giving the most lifeless lick of the chops I’ve ever seen. His tongue is the only part that moves. Didn’t even blink. And then he’s chasing all of the sudden. The Roadrunner must be slowing down in his old age, for Wile E. is able to grab a hold of him! (!!!) But the bird manages to shake him loose on a sharp turn, leaving the coyote’s paws full of naught but tail feathers. (Pretty, but not very filling.)
Wile E. flaps those feathers hard, until he’s both tired AND feathered. And he flaps them for a full 5 SECONDS before he starts to fall. They really had to stretch the shot that long. The background even; it’s just an empty sky. No clouds! No distant cliffs to suggest he’s still in the desert! To think I used to defend this decade in Looney Tunes history! (Which I still do, just nowhere near as vehemently.)
Later on, Wile E. reads a book that doesn’t really tell him anything he doesn’t already know. (And as my quote of the day suggests, couldn’t even spell ‘roadrunner’ correctly.) This somehow encourages him to strap a propeller and motor to his back while he wears skates. His tail gets caught in the blades, and he leaps into the air making a noise of pain. Even more lifeless than his licking! He’s just a still image moving across the cel! At least they bothered to put some clouds in. (Yes, I’m aware they’re simulating his movement up. But it’s still nicer to look at since we get his still pose for three. Full. Seconds. Did you know that tedium ISN’T inherently funny?)
I guess Wile E. has given up now, seeing as how he’s not doing anything but imagining roast poultry. He’s not pacing, or reading, or any other way to suggest he’s still thinking up schemes. Then a phone rings. It’s the Roadrunner taunting him. (Rude.) This does give Wile E. an idea. First he disguises some TNT for the phone’s receiver and we then get a panning shot to show it’s attached to a detonator. A panning shot that is NINE! @%$#ING! SECONDS!
Calm… Calm… So the trap isn’t finished yet. In fact, it requires a brief building montage. (*sigh* Did Chuck ever need something like that? I miss the days where we got a few shots of Wile E.’s “ingredients” before just seeing the final project.) He’s built a phony building facade around the explosive phone, cut the wires, (so… nobody can call?) and labels it as a bird sanctuary. Then he makes a billboard to advertise it, saying it gives birds a safe place that is free of things that want to kill them directly, and free phones. (No Wi-Fi.)
The Roadrunner takes note of the sign, but Wile E. hears a phone ring. But how? He cut the wires! (Was that really why we saw him do that? To set up for this obvious punchline?) Wile E. gives in and goes to answer the phone. He blows up because the Roadrunner stands on the detonator to reach the bird seed Wile E. had behind him for no given reason. And what of the ringing? Was that the Roadrunner? I don’t care. It’s over.
Favorite Part: Hard to choose. There really wasn’t much to spark joy. I choose Wile E. actually laying a paw on his prey. The Roadrunner’s shocked expression is slightly funny.
Personal Rating: 1. Yeah, this is the worst Wile E. short I’ve discussed. I hope that is never up for debate.
As the title suggests, these are just my first thoughts about this film. A synopsis, complete with annoying jokes, limited information, and inflations to my own ego will happen someday in the future. Not today, for it is the present.
Very short version of this post: 🙂
Long version of this post: I expected this movie to be fun. Not good, bad, great, or abysmal. Just fun. And I got exactly that. Let’s be real. Even the first S.J. wasn’t really all that great. (Something I’ve come to grips with long since I blogged about it.) Neither of them have a great story, these films are just an excuse to have cartoons play basketball. (And sell W.B. merchandise on the side.)
Speaking of weak story, I won’t lie: this film has got one of those. LeBron is just playing the “father who wants his progeny to be like him, despite the kid’s protests to do something else.” Seen it. And yeah, the man isn’t a superb actor. (At least he is able to admit it in the film.) Still, I feel he does better than Jordan did. He definitely emotes more. As opposed to Michael looking dead inside. (Really. How could you not go “Looney” getting to meet animation’s greatest characters?)
But as week as the story is, (and some might disagree with me on this) it’s leagues better than the first one’s. Having the Tunes exist in a digital world makes much more sense than being underground. And for that matter, LeBron’s actor/son’s conflict actually gets some sort of payoff. Unlike Michael’s actor/son who mopes a bit, cheers up upon finding his dad was kidnapped by animated characters, then disappears until the denouement.
And the crossover aspect! If you can fathom the idea of someone never seeing “Ready player one” or any “Avengers” movie, then you can probably believe me when I say I was getting goosebumps when all of Warner’s properties gather to watch the game. But there’s a downside to that too. After they assemble, they don’t do anything. Yes, they’re the audience, but the original film let its audience react a bit more. (The most we get here is a pout from King Kong.)
For that matter, the original utilized the Tunes universe just a bit better. The team you see in all the advertisements? That’s pretty much all we get. Marvin and K-9 get a little screen time, when everyone sans Bugs is coerced into seeing what other worlds they can explore there’s a group shot of many minor characters. It just goes by so fast one can’t enjoy it. (I was able to see Rocky, Muggsy and Playboy.) And Canasta appears in the “Mad Max” universe. That’s it.
Wasted potential there. Why couldn’t they join the rest of the crowd for watching?Too expensive to animate? Which reminds me, the animation was gorgeous. Not spectacular. There’s nothing on the levels of “Fantasia” or “Spirited Away.” But what we get is a real treat. Vibrant, bouncy, and looney. Just what I expected and wanted. But that’s the 2-d stuff. How was the 3-d?
I won’t lie. It looks good. And that’s a relief considering how computer generated animation trying to look like it really exists ranges from nightmare inducing:
To laughably pathetic.
The voice acting was nice as well. Zendaya Maree Stoerme Coleman did pretty good as Lola. Heck, if I didn’t know going in, I would’ve figured Ms. Bunny was being voiced by a 25 years older Kath Soucie. And the basketball stars voicing the villains did an admirable job. And mentioning the villains, I thought they were a lot of fun. Even if super-powered mutant basketball players feels strangely familiar.
It’s a good thing they were a joy to watch, as they don’t get nearly as much screen time as the Monstars. And one of them appears too late, and disappears too fast. Why wasn’t he there from the start? Oh, and while I’m discussing the villains: I found Don Cheadle entertaining, but not Pete. He did nothing to further the story. Completely superfluous. But the Minions have made it so animated films won’t sell if there isn’t at least one tiny, annoying, comic relief character that wouldn’t be missed if cut out completely.
The weakest part of the film in my opinion? The ending. I won’t spoil it here, but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and seemed to wrap up a bit too fast. Lucky for me the fun stuff starts a lot quicker than its predecessor, so I don’t feel like there was a bunch of wasted time squeezing the entertaining middle.
And that pretty much wraps up my first thoughts after my first viewing of the first “Looney Tunes” film I’ve been able to see in theaters. My rating is just a few more lines down.
Short version of this post: I quite enjoyed it.
Favorite Part: Really, I did get chills seeing such a large crossover of properties. It might change in the future, but it’s the winner for now.
Personal Rating: I’ve been seeing fairly negative reviews from other people. I however, feel that if you go in expecting to see a movie that is more “fun than substance,” you’ll have a good time. (It’s the film equivalent of a lollipop.) Therefore, I grant it a 3 for the basic crowd, and a 4 for my fellow Looney-tics. (Yes, really.)
Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on October 8, 1960.
The Roadrunner is so fast, that it only makes sense that his credits would be fast too. They appear before the title even! And how is Wile E.’s never ending chase going today? Actually, I’d say better than ever, seeing as how he manages to actually wrap his paws around the bird’s neck. A tussle ensues, and when the roadrunner shaped dust clears, the coyote finds nothing is left. His prey beeps behind him, and sends him flying up the nearby telephone pole.
Luckily for the coyote, he didn’t receive an electrical shock, so he begins climbing back down. The Roadrunner comes back to beep him again, and both predator and the pole get spooked enough to jump into the air. Sure, they both come back down, but the pole lodges Wile E. underneath the ground. A bunch of gags follow that don’t merit description. I mean, I swear you’ve seen them all before. The truck mistaken for a roadrunner, pulling a rock on himself, a detonator going off too soon. I mean why waste my time- d*mn it.
The other gags are as follows: trying to get the bird to use a detour that leads into a gift wrapping machine. Another beep gets Wile E. inside it himself. (Wraps him up with a cute little bow, too) Then, a fishing pole with dynamite at the end. When he casts, he gets his… well, I guess I could call it bait (it’s certainly not a lure) stuck in a cactus. He pulls hard, the plant pulls harder, and he is reeled in himself. Now tangled in the line, he can only fruitlessly attempt to blow out the fuse. (Doesn’t work)
Earthquake pills! A pill that causes the body to experience the same sensations one would feel during an earthquake! (You’d be surprised at how much of a market there is for those.) Wile E. labels a pile as some of that unbelievably tasty free birdseed and waits. The Roadrunner gulps the pile down and heads off. Hey. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Have they expired? Wile E. is a canine of science, and tests that theory by ingesting a pill himself.
No reaction. Well, maybe one pill is just too small a dose? He downs the bottle. No reaction. Guess they were duds. But wait! There’s a bit more writing on the bottle! Seems the pills aren’t effective on roadrunners. Then… that must mean… they work like any ordinary pill and take a bit of time to kick in. Oh boy. These things work like a charm after all! Wile E. shakes, rattles, and bounces across the desert landscape, destroying many natural constructions that took rain and wind millions of years to make.
Miraculously, he makes it out of the pill’s cycle with nary a scratch on him. So relieved is he, that he doesn’t notice his trip had him ending up at the top of the cliff. Since he doesn’t notice that, he walks off said cliff. Can’t win them all.
Favorite Part: His reaction when he catches sight of the bottle’s fine print. He notices it the moment it leaves his grasp, and dives to catch it. What a performance! Haven’t we all been in a similar predicament? So relatable.
Directed by Rudy Larriva; Story by Tom Dagenais; Animation by Bob Bransford, Hank Smith, and Virgil Ross; Layouts by Don Sheppard; Backgrounds by Anthony Rizzo; Film Editor: Al Wharman; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on March 12, 1966.
This here is the first Roadrunner cartoon I’ve talked about that wasn’t directed by the creator himself, Chuck Jones. (Golden age, I mean. Theatrically, too.) It’s also clear that Chuck was a master who could not be replicated. The whole short might seem fine to the common folk, but Looney-tics (like me) can tell it’s not as good as the others.
Wile E. isn’t wasting energy chasing his prey this time. He calmly waits by his mailbox for a package. Since he ordered it airmail, he really doesn’t have anyone but himself to blame for it landing on his head. So, what’s in this wonderful box? A chemistry set! Chemists are the unquestionable experts when it comes to bird trapping! Or, you know, Wile E is just trying out new and unique ways to catch some food.
Just mix the right ingredients together, and you’ve got paint! A special kind of paint that only comes in one color: invisible. Paint it on yourself, and you can’t be seen by anybody. (Including yourself, since your eyes no longer will gather the light needed for sight, but I digress) This does indeed include roadrunners, but this also means that they won’t slow down if you happen to jump in their way, so you’ll probably end up knocked off the road. A cliff, probably wasn’t the best testing grounds.
Wile E falls, and the impact knocks his paint off. (I guess? There’s not really much of a reason as to why he is suddenly visible) Then, something that should never happen in a Roadrunner cartoon happens. The bird paints a boulder invisible, and pushes it off the cliff, and onto his pursuer. WRONG! NO! UH-UH! That doesn’t happen! It goes against Chuck’s own rules for these cartoons: namely, the bird doesn’t hurt the coyote! It was one of the things that made these pictures different from the endless chase cartoons that people watched. Now I’m upset.
Fine, I’ll keep going.
Wile E invents a new thing with his kit. It’s bouncing capabilities mixed with the viscous consistency, lead me to believe that he invented Flubber. But since this is 1966, (and the substance is blue) what he really made is Phlubber. Coating himself in it, (but first giving us a completely unnecessary thought bubble. I mean really, if we weren’t going to guess what he was going to do with his concoction, his actions would show us) he gains a coat that allows him amazing bouncing properties. Too bad he misses his catch. He bounces all around the desertscape. He eventually bounces straight up (with very unfitting music, I might add. That’s the tune that accompanies a jaunty walk. Not deadly plummet) and comes down. (His protective coat getting snagged off by a rather ugly tree branch. It really looks out of place. Go back to Snagglepuss, where you belong!)
Next up, some type of jet fuel. It’ll be perfect for chasing down the bird. But instead of building an actual jet pack, Wile just pours it into a small seltzer bottle like container. (Again, why? It doesn’t add much to the comedy. You could still have an inevitable crash with a full size model) Either way, this actually gets the Roadrunner to… show fear? It’s not wrong, but it’s kinda werid to see that bird anything other than blissfully happy. The chase leads to a railroad tunel. (First the bird has a spasm. I think he meant to go “Beep-beep.” but nothing comes out.)
Wile E. turns back upon seeing the approaching light, but it was the bird with a miner’s hat. So he turns once more, and doesn’t flee from the next light source he sees. It is a train, and he ends up pinned against it. We zoom into his stressed eyes and see that his pupils are the Roadrunner. The end.
That was the ending? Call it seven days because it was WEEK!
Favorite Part: When Wile E first gets the package, the bird runs by. Because of the speed, the resulting wind catches the parachute that came with it, and Wile E is dragged off a cliff. The animation of him landing in a cactus patch is rather nice. It builds the tension reasonably well, and the punchline is fast and funny.
Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Chuck Jones; Animation by Richard Thompson, Bob Bransford, Tom Ray, and Ken Harris; Layouts by Maurice Noble; Backgrounds by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by Milt Franklyn. A Merrie Melody released on January 21, 1961.
Title not obvious enough? There are some introductions labeling our two main characters. (Love Wile E’s smug expression. It’s how I would smile if I saw my name in a moving picture.) He begins the never ending chase, when his prey pulls a sneaky one. He stops short at a tunnel entrance, and has Wile E make a u-turn away from the large truck. So happy that he is actually outrunning it, he doesn’t notice that he has run off a cliff. When he tries climbing back up, the peak falls off.
What hasn’t he tried yet? Sending out a wind-up plane with a grenade attached? Only the propeller flies away. When he throws the rest, the grenade somehow stays behind. Here’s an idea! Putting some iron pellets in bird seed. Then, his magnet fishing rod will reel the bird in. (If it didn’t get caught up on a power line.) Despite the pain, Wile E takes some solace in the cool fact that his nose glows better than Rudolph’s ever did. (He’s got a lot of great reactions in this picture. The gags come at a fast pace too. You’ll barely have time to catch your breath before you laugh at another one.)
Getting the Roadrunner to stop for more birdseed, the coyote aims a cannon straight down. It comes undone with him on top, and despite his struggling, he ends up in front of it. (Great reaction #2: Wile E praying to Chuck upon seeing he is heading inside.) The bird finishes just as both crash down. The cannon fires and flings itself back up the cliff, and brings everything down on Wile E’s head.
I think we’ve had ten gags, time for our big finish. Wile E has a bucket of axle grease, and he smears it all over his feet. This lack of friction is just the thing a coyote needs to match the speed of a roadrunner. Too bad it doesn’t work if the bird stops short. Wile E, in turn, ends up on some railroad tracks. Even worse, he winds up struggling to keep himself from being run over. He’s not going to get any respite either. It’s a nonstop trip to New York.
Favorite Part: When Wile E first goes off the cliff, he unhappily notes the lack of ground beneath him. Since he (and by extension, we) are looking down, nobody sees him about to smash into the opposite cliff. (The funniest jokes are the ones you don’t see ahead of time.)
Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Maurice Noble; Story by John Dunn; Animation by Tom Ray, Ken Harris, Richard Thompson, and Bob Bransford; Backgrounds by William Butler; Effects Animation by Harry Love; Film Editor: Treg. Brown; Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc; Musical Direction by Bill Lava. A Looney Tune released on June 8, 1963.
Wile E. is going through one of his many chases. The “beep-beep” indicates he’s chasing his usual prey, the Roadrunner. Odd. I figured that with Bugs appearing in the opening credits, and that pun-ish name, this short would contain, you know, a rabbit. Actually, it does! Wile E. IS chasing Bugs. You see, our usual roadrunner sprained a giblet. (I don’t want to know how that happened, but I’m sure the end result contains pain we mortals can’t begin to imagine.) So, Bugs is filling in for the bird. I really love this premise. It’s technically a crossover! Wouldn’t be cool if more were made in this style? Like Sylvester hunting Tweety and Speedy? Or Taz trying to catch Hippety Hopper? Or Beaky trying to eat Foghorn? (So, all my ideas are chase related.) Also of note, this was the last time Bugs and Wile E. starred together. Also, since this is “technically” a Roadrunner picture, Wile E. does not talk like he normally does as Bugs’ co-star.
That roadrunner is a little too fast for Bugs to match speed with naturally, so he takes vitamins to meet the requirements. They work great! As Bugs runs, the road can’t handle his speed and morphs accordingly. The good times can’t last forever, and Bugs soon runs out of speed. He solves this dilemma by drawing out a square in the road. When his pursuer steps on it, it becomes a pitfall. (And since they weren’t on a cliff, it can only lead to hell)
The advantage of chasing a rabbit over a bird, is you can bait a fish hook with a carrot. (Ever tried putting seed on a hook? It’s not worth the effort) The disadvantage to trying to catch a rabbit with a baited hook, is that you run the risk of attracting a large fish. (Environments don’t matter.) Also, since Bugs talks, he can explain when he is giving the predator more of fair shot. Or so he claims. Those pills certainly work wonders, as Bugs adds a bunch of pipe to Wile E’s gun in to time at all. (Don’t let your curiosity follow said pipe. It will only lead to a bullet in the face.)
All too soon, our final gag is upon us. Bugs has spread glue on the road, but Wile E. is going too fast to stop. His momentum carries the upper half of his body forward, and it’s a good thing too, as there’s a phone ringing up ahead. And it’s for him. Bugs hands him the device, just in time, as now the momentum has launched the coyote backwards. (Ripping the chunk of ground he is glued to up as well) He is flung off a cliff and hits the opposing side. He’d fall if he didn’t have a phone to hold on to. If only he’d paid his bills! Then Bugs wouldn’t have had to cut the service. Society is so cruel.
Favorite part: Wile E. drops an anvil towards a target that Bugs is standing on. Thanks to his speed pills, Bugs runs up behind him and holds the target over his head. The magic anvil heads to its destined mate, and the conk sends Wile E. over the edge. Bugs drops the anvil after him, but believe it or not, the anvil misses! (Wile E. is then run over by a van.)
Directed by Chuck Jones; Story by Michael Maltese; Animation by Richard Thompson, Ken Harris, and Ben Washam; Layouts and Background by Philip DeGuard; Film Editor: Treg Brown; Musical Direction by John Seely. A Looney Tune released in 1958.
Going to be gone the next week, and I’m yet to prepare. So I need a short I can talk about fast. One with little plot. A Roadrunner short works. This was my favorite Roadrunner short as a kid, and never being able to catch its name, I never knew if I was going to watch it or not whenever I’d see one of these shorts. What made it my favorite? I’ll get to that.
While being chased, the Roadrunner stops short, steps aside, lets the Coyote pass, and runs off in the opposite direction. No way Wile E. can match that speed. Time to use the old grey matter and see if brains can triumph over brawn. Waiting with a tub, he actually succeeds in tossing it on top of the bird. He rolls a firecracker under it to make sure the bird dies. Then the bird runs up to him. So what did he catch? Nothing it seems. Unless you count an explosion as something you can catch. Next, he tries a hammer. The head falls off and smacking the shaft as hard as he does, causes it to vibrate after him wildly. How about putting some birdseed on railroad tracks? It might work, but next time, don’t stand on the tracks yourself whilst you pour. He also tries to skewer the bird with spear while suspended by a balloon. Not only does he miss, he swings up near a thunderhead. While holding metal. And trying to drop a piano on his prey doesn’t work either. Gravity forgets to affect pianos until he is on top of it. And now why this short was my favorite. The ending plan: a Rube Goldberg device. (I’m a sucker for those. Always have been) The Coyote has the bird stop for more seed then he, in order:
Shoots a slingshot, which knocks over a watering can, that empties its water on a flower, causing it to grow, allowing the match on its leaves to strike a match box and ignite an explosive, which fire a boot with a brick through the air, which lands on a lever, whose other end lifts a trap, which releases a mouse, who runs to some cheese on a scale, pulls it off, which lowers the other end with a weight, that slides off, and is attached to a gun’s trigger, which fires the gun, which ends up shooting a cannon, that bends down and lights its fuse, which fires a cannonball, that the Roadrunner watches fall, onto the Coyote’s head. The End.
Would I still consider this short my favorite? Probably not. The ending is still fun to watch, but one good joke does not equal perfection. I’d probably choose the first one: “Fast and Furry-ous” There’s just some magic in that one. Maybe because it was meant to be a one time thing. Good thing I enjoy all subsequent shorts too.
Written, Produced, and Directed by Chuck Jones; Co-Director: Phil Monroe; Music by Dean Elliot. A T.V. special released in 1980.
With the summer solstice tomorrow, it seems like a perfect time to talk about this special. There are three new shorts never before seen in theaters!
“Portrait of the artist as a young Bunny”
It starts with school being let out for the summer. Bugs is as excited as the children, before remembering that he hasn’t been in school for years. Distracted by this, he crashes into a tree and has a flashback to his youth. Sort of like a sequel to “The old grey Hare.” (Or prequel if you prefer.) A young Bugs is excited for summer and so is a young Elmer Fudd. He asks for us to be very quiet, and Bugs asks why he should. What is in it for him? Flustered, Elmer tries to bribe him for his silence, which Bugs uses as a great segue to start asking us viewers for money. Later, Elmer ends up walking off a cliff. (Look at those flowers behind them. They are either at the top of a beanstalk or are really tiny) Bugs points out that gravity will be his undoing, but Elmer is immune. He hasn’t studied gravity yet. Bugs leaves a book about said subject out for him, and like all children during summer vacation, Elmer happily jumps into some learning fun. Now fully understanding the “gravity” of said situation, he falls through the air now when he walks off a cliff. Wile E. makes a cameo telling him to let an expert fall first. (I don’t know what he’s doing in this time period.) Bugs isn’t about to let a kid fall to his death though, and leaves a spring for Elmer to land on and propel him back to safety. While grateful, Elmer isn’t going to let that stand in his way of being a great hunter. But all too soon, Bugs has reduced him to tears. He decides that he has no other choice but to quit cold turkey. Bugs acts as an enabler and gets him to break his fast almost as fast as he started. Elmer returns with a rapid fire model of his pop gun and fires rounds upon rounds into Bugs. This crashes him into a tree again and he comes out of his stupor. Bugs figures that he and Elmer were the first to start chasing each other, wherupon he sees a baby coyote chasing a very fast egg.
“Spaced Out Bunny”
Bugs loves nature, but it doesn’t seem to love him. Flowers wilt, rocks roll, and a butterfly is ready to start something. Even the trees bark at him. (Dogwood) Luckily, Bugs’ luck changes when he spies a carrot just waiting to be eaten. He takes the bait, unaware that it was a tranquilizer carrot that was part of a trap concocted by a one Marvin the Martian. He is pleased with his capture saying that Hugo will love Bugs. (Hugo? Where have I heard that name before?) When Bugs comes to, he finds that he is no longer on Earth, and that he is not going back, lest he upset Hugo. Marvin caught him in the Himalaya’s. He is that very same abominable snowman Bugs and Daffy met. (Despite the fact he melted.) Bug’s is not happy to be in such a situation again, and tells Hugo that he doesn’t want a rabbit. He wants a robot. Marvin is a robot right? Not really. But Bugs has another idea of what he could be used for, and soon Hugo has a “Mickey Martian” watch™ all his own. (What a way to go. Marvin has no air, and is forced to be in pretty uncomfortable situation.) Bugs then asks Hugo if he is any good at throwing a Frisbee and challenges him to throw one to Earth. Hugo takes Marvin’s ship and gives it a good hurl towards the blue planet. Bugs is along for the ride, and makes it back home safely.
“Soup or Sonic”
To finish up our special, we have the continuing exploits of the Coyote and the Roadrunner. Wile E.’s schemes this time include riding many firecrackers, (the middle flies without him, he lights his tail, it flies off without him) throwing a Frisbee, (from Freleng Manufactures. That’s a really good joke.) using a giant sheet of flypaper, (and catching a giant fly-squito with teeth who wraps him up in it) and throwing an explosive tennis ball. (Which doesn’t seem clear on when it blows up, seeing as it hits several things and doesn’t go off. He is forced to hit several times to keep it away, but it ultimately lands next to the rest of them. Then it goes off.) Eventually, he chases the bird into a pipe that gets smaller as it goes along, and the two end up shrunk. He alerts his prey to this and the two run back to get bigger. The Roadrunner is soon back to normal. Wile E. isn’t so lucky. He doesn’t notice things are amiss, until he tries to dig into the giant bird’s leg. Unsure what to do next he holds up a sign, “You always wanted me to catch him, now what do I do?” (Can’t help but think this would be funnier if he hadn’t already pulled out the dining utensils. As if to suggest, he was only chasing the bird this whole time because we wanted him to.)
Executive Producer: Hal Geer; Bugs Bunny sequences Produced and Directed by Friz Freleng; Road Runner sequence Produced and Directed by Chuck Jones; Written by Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, John Dunn, and Tony Benedict; Sequence Directors: Tony Benedict, Bill Perez, David Detiege, and Art Vitello; Voices by Mel Blanc and June Foray; Music by Doug Goodwin. Released in 1979
Happy Holidays! Here’s a Christmas special that stars all your favorites! (Except Daffy.) It starts with Bugs having some problems with his carolers. Besides Ehlmuh’s obvious speech pwobwems, we h-have P-P-P-Porky s-st-st-s-st-having problems spitting out the words, Fog-ah say, Foghorn getting off the beat. Music that is! Et Pepe chante “Alouette” à la place. The only one who wouldn’t have a problem is Sam, but for whatever reason, he declines to sing. (Why though? We clearly saw him singing a few seconds ago.) Well, whatever. We’ve got three new shorts made specifically for this program to enjoy.
“Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol” Not as good as “Bah, Humduck!” in my opinion, but enjoyable nonetheless. Scrooge is played by Sam with Porky as Bob Cratchit. Bugs is playing Fred. Kind of. He comes in to the establishment and annoys Sam with mistletoe. He also gives Porky some much needed coal to warm himself with. But Sam’s cat, Sylvester sees the pig warming himself, (Although it looks like Porky is smacking his butt at the cat.) and alerts his master. Sam angrily takes it back. Bugs next comes in with Elmer, Foghorn, and Pepe to sing but Sam has reached his breaking point. He throws them all out and fires Porky. (Don’t make me leave Red Hot Ryder’s head in your bed, Sam.) Grateful for Bug’s efforts regardless, Porky invites him to dinner. Porky naturally has a family of his own. (A stud like him? It was easy!) His wife is Petunia of course. (You know, according to Walt, Mickey and Minnie are married. I’m going to say that Porky and Petunia are too. It’s canon now.) They have three children. (‘Atta boy, Porky!) One I’m going to guess is played by his nephew, Cicero, from the comics, the girl is most likely Priscilla, from “Bah, Humduck”, and the last is Tiny Tim. Played by Tweety. Apparently, he’s so small because he is fed birdseed. (Porky!) But Sam’s evil deeds are not over, as he forecloses the mortgage on Porky’s house. Since I’m not born yet to let Porky’s family move in with me, it’s up to Bugs to save the day. He tries the kind way first with more carols, but Sam chases them away. Well, that was the diplomatic approach, guess there’s no other choice but the hard way. Now that he’s awake, Sam tries to relax with a hot bath. Not wanting him to burn himself, Bugs thoughtfully fills the bath up with snow. Later, Bugs dresses as a ghost to scare Sam. (Seeing as how he probably never had a partner, he doesn’t pretend to be anyone Sam knew.) While searching for the source of the noise, Sam trips over Sylvester and they both end up outside. Returning back to his warm bed, Sam agrees to let Sylvester stay with him. That’s sweet. But Sylvester and his color-changing nose, beat it when Bugs appears before them. He tells Sam that he is taking him to see the man in the red suit. (Although it’s not Santa, that guess was only one letter off) Fearing for his soul, (although I do wonder what would have happened if Sam called Bug’s bluff,) he dresses as Santa and gives money to everyone he sees. He even makes Porky his partner! A Christmas feast is enjoyed by all! (Sam still doesn’t like kisses though)
After the commercial break, Bugs compliments Sam on his acting. Sam admits that his acting was just that, and starts demanding his stuff back. Meanwhile, the feast is being watched by two sets of hungry eyes. Them belonging to Wile E. and the Roadrunner. Seeing as they’re not invited, Wile E. chases the bird into our next short.
“Freeze Frame” Wile E. is reading a fascinating book: “Everything you’ve wanted to know about roadrunners but were afraid to ask” (That’s on my Christmas list.) Turns out, being a desert animal, the Roadrunner (Semper Food-Ellus) can’t function in cold climates. So Wile E. (Grotesques Appetitus) orders a machine that can make snow. It only lands on the coyote, so he just switches some signs around. Even though the short “Beep, Beep” said that roadrunners can’t read, the bird follows the sign pointing to the desert and ends up on top of a mountain. He really is out of his element, and ends up stranded on some ice. Wile E. skates over, but ends up sawing a hole around the bird. Seeing as this a cartoon, everything surrounding the cut part sinks, and the bird surfs back to shore. He next orders some sled dogs to help him chase down his prey. The poor things are kept in a crate with no air holes! So naturally, they’re a little cranky. (That, and it appears that they love Coyote meat.) Riding a rocking horse with a lasso only gets himself tied up and landing on some train tracks, and trying to crush the bird with a snowball had him get caught in it and soaring off a cliff. He wishes us a Merry Christmas before the short ends.
Back with Bugs he has his carolers hold a note. It’s then that his nephew, Clyde, reminds him of his promise to tell him a story. (Clyde really was a character in a couple of shorts. But there he was voiced by Blanc, and here I think he is voiced by Ms. Foray, seeing as he sounds a lot like Rocket J. Squirrel.) Seeing that his carolers are gasping for breath, Bugs dismisses them and decides now is a great time to go tell said story.
“Fright before Christmas” Up at the North Pole, Santa is waiting for his suit to finish drying. (Since it is air-drying, I think he’s not going to be too happy to wear it.) Meanwhile some pilots are flying their cargo over the North Pole. Contents: One Tasmanian Devil. (Aside from the plot, for what reason are they flying this animal over the Pole? Where is he being delivered to?) He breaks free and jumps out of the plane. (Don’t worry, he grabbed a parachute) he lands in his Santa’s suit and launched into his sleigh. Scared, the deer try to run off taking Taz along for the ride. Meanwhile in an actual house, (I guess it belongs to Clyde’s parents. Or Bugs just prefers a roof over his head in Winter) Bugs is reading Clyde “The night before Christmas” Everything seems to be just like in the poem. Except there is a mouse stirring: Speedy with his cocoa. When they hear “Santa” up on the roof, Bugs sends his nephew to bed. Taz comes down the chimney, and Bugs offers him plenty of food. By sheer coincidence, he has deviled ham, deviled eggs, and devils food cake. Not really. He just has milk and cookies. Taz takes them anyway, and begins to eat just about everything else in the house, while Bugs reads him Clyde’s outrageous Christmas list. (Which among other things, contains a solid gold football, and a little brother. You’d think as a rabbit, he’d already have both. Aren’t rabbits well known to be associated with their young and karats?) Seeing as “Santa” is still hungry, Bugs offers to make him some popcorn. Impatient as he is, Taz eats it before its popped. (Probably shouldn’t have done so in front of a roaring fireplace) He then makes to open a gift that is clearly not for him. Bugs sets up a holiday gift exchange and offers him to trade for a much bigger gift. He unwraps it outside at Bug’s suggestion and finds just what he wanted: more food. (Well, it’s really a self inflating raft, but Taz has a strong imagination) He floats away and Clyde, (who I guess was secretly witnessing the whole thing) bemoans the fact that “Santa” left without giving him anything. (I hate when kids act that way. From now on, he only gets birdseed to eat.) Bugs and him then decide to return his sleigh. Not only is it the right thing to do, Santa just might let Clyde get first pick at the presents.
We end with Bugs and his carolers (Foghorn’s head is white for some reason) getting a sleigh ride from Taz. (It’s kinda weird seeing him being used by Friz, but poor Bob had been dead by two years at this point, so he couldn’t really help out) It’s a nice gesture but it still ends with Taz eating the sleigh. (My favorite part is how they didn’t notice it happening.)
Personal Rating: 3
Merry Christmas from your own, Dr. Foolio! I’ll be checking in one more time before the year ends! Enjoy those holidays!