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Tiny Toon Adventures
Tinytoons.jpg

Babs and Buster Bunny, as seen on the show's opening sequence.
Genre Animation
Created by Tom Ruegger
Voices of Charles Adler
Tress MacNeille
Joe Alaskey
Don Messick
Gail Matthius
Kath Soucie
Maurice LaMarche
Frank Welker
Rob Paulsen
Danny Cooksey
Cree Summer
Jeff Bergman
Candi Milo
Samuel Vincent
Noel Blanc
Greg Burson
June Foray
Stan Freberg
Bob Bergen
Theme music composer Bruce Broughton
Composer(s) Bruce Broughton
Steven Bernstein
Steve Bramson
Don Davis
John Debney
Albert Olson
Richard Stone
Steven James Taylor
Mark Watters
William Ross
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 98, plus 2 specials (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 30 minutes per episode
Production company(s) Amblin Entertainment
Warner Bros. Animation
Broadcast
Original channel First-run syndication (1990)
Fox (1993-95)
Picture format SDTV 480i
Audio format Dolby Surround
Mono (optical prints)
Original run September 10, 1990 – May 28, 1995

Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros. reinstating its animation studio in 1980 after a decade of dormancy. During the 1980s, the new studio only worked on revivals of the classic characters; meaning that Tiny Toon Adventures was the first of many original animated series from the studio. The cartoon was the first animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The cartoon premiered in first-run syndication on September 10, 1990. In 1993, the show was licensed exclusively to Fox Kids, and later to Kids WB. It ended production in late 1995.

Contents

Background

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Premise

Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional city of Acme Acres, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attended Acme Looniversity, a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university was founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines are school-centric.

Like the Looney Tunes, the series was derived from cartoon violence (e.g. anvils falling on someone, liberal use of explosives) and slapstick. The series parodied and referenced the current events of the early 1990s and Hollywood culture. Occasionally, episodes would delve into veiled ethical and morality stories of ecology, self-esteem, and crime.

Characters

Artwork displaying a majority of the Tiny Toon cast.

The series centres on a group of young cartoon characters who attend a school called Acme Loonerversity to be the next generation of Looney Tunes characters. Most of the Tiny Toons characters were designed to resemble younger versions of Warner Bros.' most popular Looney Tunes animal characters by exhibiting similar traits and looks.

The two main characters are both rabbits: Buster Bunny, a blue male rabbit, and Babs Bunny, a pink female rabbit. Other major characters in the cast are generally nonhuman as well. These include Plucky Duck, a green male duck; Hamton J. Pig, a pink male pig; Fifi La Fume, a purple-and-white female skunk; Shirley the Loon, a white female loon; Dizzy Devil, a purple Tasmanian devil; Furrball, a blue cat; Calamity Coyote, a bluish-gray coyote; Gogo Dodo, a dodo. Two human characters, Elmyra Duff and Montana Max, also have secondary roles in the series, and are students of Acme Looniversity as well. Supporting characters included Little Beeper, a red-orange roadrunner; Li'l Sneezer, a gray mouse with powerful sneezes; Sweetie Pie, a pink canary; Concord Condor, a purple condor; Byron Basset, a usually sleeping basset hound; Bookworm, a green worm with glasses; Arnold the Pit Bull, a muscular white pit bull; Fowlmouth, a white rooster; Barky Marky, a brown dog, and Mary Melody, a young African American human girl.

Production

Writers

The series and the show's characters were developed by series producer, head writer and cartoonist Tom Ruegger, division leader Jean MacCurdy, associate producer and artist Alfred Gimeno and story editor/writer Wayne Kaatz. Among the first writers on the series were Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, and Eddie Fitzgerald. The character and scenery designers included Alfred Gimeno, Ken Boyer, Dan Haskett, Karen Haskett, and many other artists and directors.

Voicing

Voice director Andrea Romano auditioned over 1,200 voices for the series and chose more than a dozen main voice actors.[1] The role of Buster Bunny was given to Charles Adler, who gave the role, as producer Tom Ruegger said, "a great deal of energy".[2] The role of Babs Bunny was given to Tress MacNeille. Writer Paul Dini said that MacNeille was good for the role because she could do both Babs' voice and the voices of her impressions.[2] Voice actors Joe Alaskey and Don Messick were given the roles of Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig, respectively. Danny Cooksey played Montana Max and, according to Paul Dini, was good for the role because he could do a "tremendous mean voice." Cooksey was also the only voice actor in the cast who was not an adult.[2] Cree Summer played the roles of Elmyra Duff and Mary Melody; former Saturday Night Live cast member Gail Matthius played Shirley the Loon, and Kath Soucie had the roles of Fifi La Fume and Li'l Sneezer. Other actors for the series included Maurice LaMarche as the voice of Dizzy Devil; Candi Milo as the voice of Sweetie Bird, Frank Welker as the voice of Gogo Dodo, Furrball, Byron Basset, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Barky Marky, and other voices; and Rob Paulsen as the voice of Fowlmouth, Arnold the Pit Bull, Concord Condor, and other voices.

During production of the series' 3rd season, Adler left the show due to a conflict with the producers. Adler was upset that he had not landed a role in the new show Animaniacs and that smaller-role voice actors like Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, and Frank Welker were given starring roles.[3] He was found by John Kassir for the remainder of the show's run. Joe Alaskey, the voice of Plucky Duck, also left Tiny Toons for financial reasons, but returned when an agreement was reached with the studio.[3]

Animation

In order to complete 65 episodes for the 1st season, Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment contracted several different animation houses. These animation studios included Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now known as TMS Entertainment), Wang Film Productions, AKOM, Freelance Animators New Zealand, Encore Cartoons, StarToons, and Kennedy Cartoons.[4] Tokyo Movie Shinsha also animated the series' opening sequence. Warner Bros. staff disliked working with Kennedy Cartoons due to the studio's inconsistent quality, and episodes that they animated were often subject to multiple re-takes. In other cases, such as the debut episode "The Looney Beginning", portions of Kennedy-animated episodes were re-animated by another studio.[3]

Tiny Toon Adventures was made with a higher production value than standard television animation. It had a cel count that was more than double that of most television animation.[2] The series had about 25,000 cels per episode instead of the standard 10,000, making it unique in that characters moved more fluidly.[2] Pierre De Celles, an animation producer, described storyboarding for the series as "fun but a big challenge because I always had a short schedule, and it's not always easy to work full blast nonstop". De Celles said that he made 6 or 8 panels per scene instead of the usual 3 or 4 since the show required "a lot more key expression and attitude poses".[5]

Music

During the development of the show Steven Spielberg said that they would use a full orchestra, which some thought too expensive and impossible, but they ended up agreeing. They chose composer Bruce Broughton to write the Theme and supervise the music. Broughton would choose several composers for different episodes. Some of these composers include: Steven Bernstein, Steve Bramson, Don Davis, John Debney, Albert Olson, Richard Stone, Steven James Taylor, Mark Watters, and William Ross. On several occasions, Broughton would compose episodes.

Films and television specials

A feature-length movie was released direct-to-video in 1992, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation.[6] This special was re-edited for syndication and aired as part of the original series. Other features released for Tiny Toon Adventures include Spring Break Special, It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special, and Night Ghoulery. Christmas Special aired on Fox on December 6, 1992, and Spring Break Special was shown during primetime on March 27, 1994.

Spin-offs

In 1992, The Plucky Duck Show was produced as a spin-off for Fox Kids, based on the character Plucky Duck. Except for the premiere episode The Return of Batduck, the show was composed of recycled Plucky-centric episodes from the series.[7] Though 13 episodes were produced, only half of the episodes were aired, as production of the series was aborted when Fox acquired exclusive rights to Tiny Toon Adventures' 3rd season.[citation needed]

In 1998, a spin-off entitled Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain debuted on Kids WB. This series featured the Elmyra character as well as Pinky and the Brain, two characters who were originally on Animaniacs before receiving their own series, also entitled Pinky and the Brain. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain picks up after Pinky and The Brain leaves off where Pinky and the Brain become Elmyra's pets after Brain accidentally destroys their original home, ACME Labs, during an experiment. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain lasted for thirteen episodes as well.

Response

Awards and nominations

Daytime Emmy Awards
Won award for Outstanding Animated Program (presented to Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi, Art Vitello, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner) (1991)[8]
Nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, and Art Leonardi) (1992)[8]
Won award for Outstanding Animated Program (presented to Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Byron Vaughns, Ken Boyer, Alfred Gimeno, and David West) (1993)[8]
Young Artist Awards
Won award for Best New Cartoon Series (1989-1990)[9]
Nominated for Outstanding Young Voice-Over in an Animated Series or Special (Whitby Hertford) (1991-1992)[10]
Environmental Media Awards
Won EMA Award for Children's Animated series (for the episode Whales Tales) (1991)[8]

Criticism

Tiny Toon Adventures has been criticized by cartoonist John Kricfalusi, creator of The Ren and Stimpy Show. In a 1994 issue of Animation Magazine, Kricfalusi wrote a column about the series, calling it a "superbastardization" of the original Looney Tunes characters, using "parasitism and other bad writing tricks until the premise becomes so twisted that it is beyond any coherent statement."[11] Kricfalusi also criticized the improper use of the characters in the series, saying that "[e]very character is a 'comedy relief' character, even the ones who were originally straight-man characters[…] Glue an exceptionally unirreverent live-action director's name [Steven Spielberg] to it, then plug these stolen bastardization personalities into situations not suited for them. For example — into stolen movie plots. Then commit every single other bad writing crime known to man."[11]

Tiny Toon Adventures director Jon McClenahan said that the people at Warner Bros. ignored Kricfalusi's criticism: "Nobody except John K's fans cared what John K thought. The thing about John K is, he's a really really talented guy who is also pretty good at hurling criticisms at others but unfortunately won't collaborate with anyone […] Very few people at WB were Kricfalusi worshippers. Certainly none of the decision-makers."[12]

Reception

In January 2009, IGN named Tiny Toon Adventures as the 41st in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows. [13]

Merchandise

Print

Among the same time that Tiny Toon Adventures premiered, a quarterly children's magazine based on the series was published for five issues. Also, various storybooks were published by the Little Golden Book company, including a few episode adaptations and some original stories (Lost in the Fun House and Happy Birthday, Babs!). Tiny Toon Adventures did not spin off its own comic book. However, the characters did make occasional cameo appearances in the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain comic books.[citation needed]

Marvel Produced a Comic Book for the UK.

Toys and video games

Since its debut, numerous video games based on Tiny Toons have been released. There have been no less than nine titles based on the series released after its original television run and as recently as 2002. Many companies have held the development and publishing rights for the games, including Konami (during the 90s), Atari, NewKidCo, Conspiracy Games, Warthog, Terraglyph Interactive Studios, and Treasure. Toys for the series included plush dolls and plastic figures.

Home Video

In the early 90s, Warner Bros. had released several videos, including Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (a direct-to-video release which later aired as an episode), Best of Buster and Babs, Two Tone Town, Tiny Toon Big Adventures, Tiny Toon: Island Adventures, Tiny Toon Adventures: Music TV, Tiny Toon: Fiendishly Funny Adventures, Tiny Toon: Night Ghoulery and Tiny Toons: It's a Wonderful Christmas Special.

On July 29, 2008, Warner Home Video released Season 1, Volume 1 of Tiny Toon Adventures on DVD in Region 1, Much like the DVD releases of Animaniacs & Pinky and the Brain, Tiny Toon Adventures was also paired up with another DVD release, Freakazoid.

DVD name Ep # Release date Special Features
Season 1 Volume 1 35 July 29, 2008 From Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Wacky Evolution, featurette
Season 1 Volume 2 30 April 21, 2009 None, aside from trailers.
Season 2 & 3 33 TBA

Two scenes are oddly absent from Season 1 Volume 2 for unexplained reasons. Son of Wacko World of Sports has had the title cards for each of the shorts, and the introductory animation removed. Tiny Toons Music Television has had an entire segment about calling into the show to a special number, (1-800-555-ACME) removed.

Episodes

History

Preproduction

According to writer Paul Dini, Tiny Toons originated as an idea by Terry Semel, then the president of Warner Bros., who wanted to "[…] inject new life into the Warner Bros. Animation department," and at the same time create a series with junior versions of Looney Tunes characters. Semel proposed that the new series would be a show based on Looney Tunes where the characters were either young versions of the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters or new characters as the offsprings of the original characters.[2] The idea of a series with the basis of younger versions of famous characters was common at the time; the era in which Tiny Toons was produced had such cartoons as Muppet Babies, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry Kids and The Flintstones Kids. Warner Bros. chose to do the same because Spielberg wanted to make a series similar to Looney Tunes, as series producer/show-runner Tom Ruegger explained: "Well, I think in Warner Bros. case, they had the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg on a project (...) But he didn't want to just work on characters that Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson and Bob Clampett made famous and created. He wanted to be involved with the creation of some new characters." The result was a series similar to Looney Tunes without the use of the same characters.[2]

In 1987,[1] the Warner Bros. Animation studio approached Steven Spielberg to collaborate with Semel and Warner Bros. head of licensing Dan Romanelli on Semel's ideas.[2] They eventually decided that the new characters would be similar to the Looney Tunes characters with no direct relation. However, Tiny Toons did not go into production then, nor was it even planned to be made for television; the series initially was to be a theatrical feature-length film.[1][2]

In December 1988, Tiny Toons was changed from a film to a television series, with Jean MacCurdy overseeing production of the first 65 episodes.[2] MacCurdy said that Tiny Toons was changed to a television series to "(...) reach a broader audience".[1] For the series, MacCurdy hired Tom Ruegger, who previously wrote cartoons for Filmation and Hanna-Barbera, to be a producer.[2] In January 1989, Ruegger and writer Wayne Kaatz began developing the characters and the setting of "Acme Acres" with Spielberg.[2]

In January 1989, Warner Bros. Animation was choosing its voice actors from over 1,200 auditions and putting together its 100-person production staff.[1] In April 1989, full production of series episodes began with five overseas animation houses and a total budget of 25 million dollars.[1] The first 65 episodes of the series aired in syndication on 135 stations, beginning in September 1990.[14]. During that time, Tiny Toons was a huge success and got higher ratings than its Disney Afternoon competitors in some affiliates. After a successful run in syndication, Fox got the rights for season 2 and 3. Production of the series halted in late-1992 to make way for Animaniacs to air the following year.

Post-series syndication

Tiny Toon Adventures, along with Animaniacs, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the early-2000s after production of new episodes ceased. The series re-ran on Nickelodeon from 1995–1999 and on 2002, also aired on Kids WB from 1997–2000, Cartoon Network from 1999–2002 and finally on Nicktoons Network and Teletoon from 2003-2005.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "SUFFERIN' SUCCOTASH! IT'S LOONEY TUNES, TAKE TWO". Entertainment Weekly. September 28, 1990. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,318258,00.html. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Miller, Bob (1990), "NEW TOONS ON THE BLOCK: They’re attending Acme Looniversity & hoping to graduate as classic cartoon characters", Comic Scene (15): 33–39, 68 
  3. ^ a b c Paltridge, Peter (July 2006). "Platypus Comix interviews......Tom Ruegger! (part II)". Platypus Comix. http://platypuscomix.net/people/ruegger2.html. Retrieved 2006-08-23. 
  4. ^ Credits from various Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.
  5. ^ Wood, Chris (July 25, 2007). "Pierre De Celles on Animating Sonic the Hedgehog and Other Tales". Toon Zone News. Toon Zone. http://news.toonzone.net/article.php?ID=18227. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  6. ^ Lenburg, p. 336. Accessed on 2007-06-27
  7. ^ "Trivia for "The Plucky Duck Show"". The Internet Movie Database. http://imdb.com/title/tt0103513/trivia. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Awards for "Tiny Toon Adventures"". The Internet Movie Database. http://imdb.com/title/tt0098929/awards. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Twelfth Annual Youth in Film Awards:1989-1990". The Young Artist Foundation. http://www.youngartistawards.org/pastnoms12.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  10. ^ "Fourteenth Annual Youth in Film Awards:1991-1992". The Young Artist Foundation. http://www.youngartistawards.org/pastnoms14.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  11. ^ a b Kricfalusi, John (May/June 1994), Animation Magazine 
  12. ^ Caps 2.0, A talk with Jon McClenahan, Retrojunk, http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/871/, retrieved 2008-05-07 
  13. ^ http://tv.ign.com/top-100-animated-tv-series/41.html
  14. ^ Lenburg, p. 336. Accessed on 2007-11-15

Further reading

  • Lenburg, Jeff (1999). "[TV Specials]". The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (Second ed.). New York, New York: Checkmark Books. pp. 336–337. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. 
  • Lenburg, Jeff (1999). "Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures [Television Series]". The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (Second ed.). New York, New York: Checkmark Books. pp. 521. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. 

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