Tiny Toon Adventures

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Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures logo.png
Also known asSteven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures
Genre
Created by Tom Ruegger
Based on Looney Tunes
by Warner Bros.
Voices of
Theme music composer Bruce Broughton
Opening theme"Tiny Toon Adventures Theme" by Charlie Adler, Tress MacNeille & Joe Alaskey
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes98 (233 segments) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer Steven Spielberg
Producer Sherri Stoner
Running time22 minutes
Production companies
Original release
Network CBS
ReleaseSeptember 14, 1990 (1990-09-14)
Network First-run syndication
ReleaseSeptember 17, 1990 (1990-09-17) 
February 24, 1992 (1992-02-24)
Network Fox Kids
ReleaseSeptember 14 (1992-09-14) 
December 6, 1992 (1992-12-06)
Related

Tiny Toon Adventures is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger that was broadcast from September 14, 1990, to December 6, 1992. It was the first animated series produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television (credited as Amblin Entertainment) in association with Warner Bros. Animation. [1] The show follows the adventures of a group of young cartoon characters who attend Acme Looniversity to become the next generation of characters from the Looney Tunes series. [2]

Contents

The pilot episode, "The Looney Beginning", aired as a prime-time special on CBS on September 14, 1990, [3] while the series itself was featured in first-run syndication for the first two seasons. The final season aired on Fox under the Fox Kids programming block. The series ended production in 1992 in favor of Animaniacs , which premiered a year later; however, two specials were produced in 1994. [4] A reboot series, Tiny Toons Looniversity , was released on September 8, 2023.

Premise

Setting

Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional town of "Acme Acres", where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attend "Acme Looniversity", a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university is founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines revolve around the school.

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

Characters

Artwork displaying a majority of the Tiny Toon cast. Promo tiny toon .jpg
Artwork displaying a majority of the Tiny Toon cast.

The series centers on a group of young cartoon characters who attend a school called Acme Looniversity to be the next generation of Looney Tunes characters. Most of the Tiny Toons were designed to resemble younger versions of Warner's Looney Tunes characters by exhibiting similar traits and looks. The main characters are Buster and Babs Bunny, two young rabbits with "no relation", their friends, Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig, and antagonists Elmyra Duff and Montana Max. They are accompanied by a wide variety of supporting and recurring characters, such as Dizzy Devil, Furrball, Gogo Dodo, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Sweetie Bird, Fifi La Fume, Shirley the Loon, Li'l Sneezer, Byron Basset, Concord Condor, Fowlmouth, Arnold the Pit Bull, Mary Melody, and Bookworm, among others.

Feeding off the characters are the more traditional Looney Tunes including (but not limited to) Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. Most of the adults teach classes at Acme Looniversity and serve as mentors to the Tiny Toons while others fill secondary positions as needed.

Production

Development

According to writer Paul Dini, Tiny Toons originated as an idea by Terry Semel, the then-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 offspring of the original characters. [5] The idea of a series with the basis of younger and junior versions of cartoon characters was common at the time; the era in which Tiny Toons was produced for had such cartoons as Muppet Babies , A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (which Ruegger worked on), Tom & Jerry Kids and The Flintstone Kids .

On January 20, 1987, [6] the Warner Bros. Animation studio approached Steven Spielberg to collaborate with Semel and Warner Bros. head of licensing Dan Romanelli on Semel's ideas. [5] They eventually decided that the new characters would be similar to the Looney Tunes characters with no direct relation. 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. [5] 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. [5] [7]

On December 27, 1988, Tiny Toons was changed from a film to a television series, with Jean MacCurdy overseeing production of the first 65 episodes. [5] MacCurdy said that Tiny Toons was changed to a television series to "reach a broader audience". [7] For the series, MacCurdy hired Tom Ruegger, who previously wrote for Filmation and Hanna-Barbera, to produce. [5] In January 1989, Ruegger and writer Wayne Kaatz began developing the characters and the setting of "Acme Acres" with Spielberg. [5]

On January 9, 1989, Warner Bros. Animation chose its voice actors from over 1,200 auditions and put together its 100-person production staff. [7] On April 13, 1989, full production of series episodes began with five overseas animation houses and a total budget of $25 million. [7] The first 65 episodes of the series aired in syndication on 135 stations, beginning in September 1990. [8] During that time, Tiny Toons was a huge success and got higher ratings than its Disney Afternoon competitors in some markets. After a successful run in syndication, Fox attained the rights for season 3. Production of the series halted in late 1992 to make way for Animaniacs to air the following year.

Writers

The series and 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 series' first writers were Jim Reardon, Tom Minton and Eddie Fitzgerald. Other writers included Arleen Sorkin. The character and scenery designers included Alfred Gimeno, Ken Boyer, Dan Haskett, Karen Haskett and many other artists and directors.

"Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" was co-written by three then-teenage fans. [9]

Casting info

Voice director Andrea Romano auditioned over 1,200 voices and chose more than a dozen main voice actors. [7] The role of Buster Bunny was given to Charlie Adler, who gave the role, as producer Ruegger said, "a great deal of energy". [5] The role of Babs Bunny was given to Tress MacNeille. Dini said that MacNeille was good for the role because she could do both Babs' voice and the voices of her impressions. [5] Voice actors Joe Alaskey and Don Messick were given the roles of Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig, respectively. Child actor Danny Cooksey played Montana Max and, according to Dini, was good for the role because he could do a "tremendous mean voice." [5] Cree Summer provides the roles of Elmyra Duff and Mary Melody; former Saturday Night Live cast member Gail Matthius voices Shirley the Loon, and Kath Soucie provides Fifi La Fume and Li'l Sneezer. Other voice actors include Maurice LaMarche as Dizzy Devil; Candi Milo as Sweetie, Frank Welker as Gogo Dodo, Furrball, Byron Basset, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Barky Marky and other voices; and Rob Paulsen as Fowlmouth, Arnold the Pit Bull, Concord Condor and other characters. Legendary original Looney Tunes voice actor, Mel Blanc, was initially set to reprise his roles as the classic characters, but due to his death in July 1989, his characters were recast to Alaskey, Jeff Bergman, Greg Burson, and Bob Bergen.

During production of the third season, Adler left the show due to a feud with the producers. Adler was angry that he had not been offered a role in Animaniacs while his fellow Tiny Toons voice actors with smaller roles, such as Paulsen, LaMarche and Welker, were given starring roles in the new series. [10] John Kassir replaced Adler for the remainder of the show's run (although Adler would eventually return to voice Buster in the cancelled video game, Tiny Toon Adventures: Defenders of the Universe ). Alaskey, voice of Plucky Duck, briefly left for financial reasons, but returned when an agreement was reached with the studio. [10]

Animation

In order to complete 65 episodes for the first season, Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Television contracted several North American and international animation houses, including Tokyo Movie Shinsha, Wang Film Productions, AKOM, Freelance Animators New Zealand, Encore Cartoons, StarToons [11] and Kennedy Cartoons. [12] Tokyo Movie Shinsha also animated the series' opening sequence. Some of the Warner Bros. staff disliked working with Kennedy Cartoons due to the animation studio's inconsistent quality, and episodes that they animated were often subjected to multiple re-takes; in other cases, portions of Kennedy-animated episodes were reanimated by other studios. [10] [ unreliable source? ] Kennedy Cartoons was dropped after the end of the series' first season.

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 animated television shows then. [5] The series had about 25,000 cels per episode instead of the standard 10,000, making it unique in that characters moved more fluidly. [5] Animation producer Pierre DeCelles 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".

Music

During development, Spielberg said that Warner Bros. would use a full orchestra, which some thought too expensive and impossible, but they ended up agreeing. Warner Bros. selected Bruce Broughton to write the theme tune (for which he would win a Daytime Emmy alongside Ruegger and Kaatz) and serve as music supervisor. Screen credits for the composers were given based on the amount of music composed for, or composed and reused in, the episode.

Twenty-six other composers were contracted to create original dramatic underscore for each episode: Julie and Steve Bernstein, Steven Bramson, Don Davis, John Debney, Ron Grant, Les Hooper, Carl Johnson, Elliot Kaplan, Arthur Kempel, Ralph Kessler, Albert Lloyd Olson, Hummie Mann, Dennis McCarthy, Joel McNeely, Peter Myers, Laurence Rosenthal, William Ross, Arthur B. Rubinstein, J. Eric Schmidt, David Slonaker, Fred Steiner, Morton Stevens, Richard Stone, Stephen James Taylor and Mark Watters. The composers conducted their own music. Of these composers, Broughton, Bramson, Davis, Olson, Stone, Taylor and Watters wrote the score to How I Spent My Vacation .

These composers would later write the musical scores for shows including Animaniacs and The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries.

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
1 651September 14, 1990 (1990-09-14) CBS
64September 17, 1990 (1990-09-17)March 29, 1991 (1991-03-29) First-run syndication
2 13September 16, 1991 (1991-09-16)February 24, 1992 (1992-02-24)First-run syndication
How I Spent My Vacation March 11, 1992 (1992-03-11) Direct-to-video
3 20September 14, 1992 (1992-09-14)December 6, 1992 (1992-12-06) Fox (Fox Kids)
Specials 2March 27, 1994 (1994-03-27)May 28, 1995 (1995-05-28)

Films and television specials

A feature-length film was released direct-to-video in 1992, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation . [8] This was later re-edited and aired as part of the series. The length of the movie is 79 minutes. [13] Fox aired It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special in prime time on December 6, 1992. [14] This episode is a parody of It's a Wonderful Life . Although the Christmas episode is called a special, it is only called this as it is Christmas-themed and is just a regular episode. The Tiny Toon Spring Break Special [8] was aired on Fox during prime time on March 27, 1994. [4] [15] Fox aired Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery [8] in prime time on May 28, 1995. [16]

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 consisted entirely of recycled Plucky-centric episodes from Tiny Toon Adventures. [17] [ unreliable source? ]

In 1998, a second spin-off, entitled Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain , premiered on Kids' WB. This series featured the character Elmyra Duff as well as Pinky and the Brain, two other characters who were originally on Animaniacs before receiving their own spin-off 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 13 episodes.

Reception

The show was received with positive reviews; the Philadelphia Daily News remarked "It's the most cinematic first-run animated show on TV, mixing long shots, extra-tight closeups and odd perspectives for comic effect..." [18] Citizens' Voice noted "Combining the animation of Warner Bros. and the creative direction of Spielberg, the collection of 65 half-hour cartoons is sure to make a big impression during the weekday late afternoon viewing period..." [19] However, The Journal News criticized about the series "Adults looking for the smart-aleck attitude and wit of the old Warner Bros. classics will be disappointed, however; these are aimed squarely at kids and reflect a '90s sensibility, sneaking pro-social messages into madcap adventure stories." [20]

Awards and nominations

YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)ResultRef.
1991 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi, Art Vitello, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner Won [21]
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition William Ross for "Fields of Honey"Won [22]
Outstanding Original Song Bruce Broughton, Wayne Kaatz, and Tom Ruegger for the main title themeWon [22]
1992 Outstanding Animated Program Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, and Art LeonardiNominated [21]
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Mark Watters for "The Love Disconnection"Won [22]
Outstanding Writing in an Animated ProgramNicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner Won [22]
1993 Outstanding Animated Program Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Byron Vaughns, Ken Boyer, Alfred Gimeno, and David WestWon [21]
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Steven Bramson for “The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain”Won [22]
1992 Annie Awards Animated Television ProgramNominated [22]
1993Nominated [22]
1991 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, Sherri Stoner, Dave Marshall, Glen Kennedy, Rich Aarons (for episode "The Looney Beginning")Nominated [22]
1989/1990 Young Artist Awards Best New Cartoon SeriesTiny Toon AdventuresWon [23]
1991–1992 Outstanding Young Voice-Over in an Animated Series or Special Whitby Hertford Nominated [24]
1991 Environmental Media Awards Children's Television Program – Animatedepisode "Whales Tales"Won [25] [21]

In January 2009, IGN named Tiny Toons as the 41st in their Top 100 Animated TV Shows list. [26]

Merchandise

Print

Tiny Toon Adventures Magazine, a quarterly children's magazine based on the series, debuted in October 1990. Issues #1–4 were published by DC Comics, and issues #5–7 were released by Welsh Publishing Group. The final issue was cover-dated Spring 1992. [27] 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 also had a comic book series made by Warner Bros. and DC. The characters also made occasional cameo appearances in the Animaniacs , Freakazoid! and Pinky and the Brain comic books.[ citation needed ]

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 1990s), Atari, NewKidCo, Conspiracy Games, Warthog, Terraglyph Interactive Studios, and Treasure. Toys for the series included plush dolls and plastic figures, primarily made by Playskool.

Home media

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation was released on DVD on August 21, 2012. There are currently no plans to release the two specials (Spring Break and Night Ghoulery) on DVD. In the early to mid-1990s, Warner Bros. had released several videos, including Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (a direct-to-video release which later aired as a four-part TV episode), Best of Buster and Babs, Two-Tone Town, Tiny Toons: Big Adventures, Tiny Toons: Island Adventures, Tiny Toons: Music Television, Tiny Toons: Fiendishly Funny Adventures, Tiny Toons: Night Ghoulery, and It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special.

DVD nameEp #Release dateSpecial FeaturesNotes
Season 1 Volume 135July 29, 2008From Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Wacky Evolution, featuretteWas released concurrently with the first season of Freakazoid! . "The Looney Beginning" episode is uncut on the set.
Season 1 Volume 230April 21, 2009None, aside from trailersWas released concurrently with the second season of Freakazoid! . Two episodes are edited: "Tiny Toons Music Television" (a phone number gag was removed) and "Son of the Wacko World of Sports" (wraparounds and title cards were removed).[ citation needed ]
Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues17January 8, 2013None, aside from trailersThe allegedly banned episode "Elephant Issues" is included in this set. Initially when the set was announced, the content list did not contain the episode due to its controversial "One Beer" segment. [28] [lower-alpha 1]
Volume 4: Looney Links16May 28, 2013None, aside from trailersThe original release contained a glitch which Warner Bros. fixed by the end of July. Also, "Best of Buster Bunny Day" is missing its second wraparound scene.[ citation needed ]

Reboot

A reboot, Tiny Toons Looniversity , was announced on October 28, 2020, through the Amblin Entertainment website. It was ordered for two seasons, with each episode running 30 minutes. [29] [30] As with the original series, Steven Spielberg will return to his role as executive producer. Sam Register, Darryl Frank, and Justin Falvey will also be serving as executive producers, while Erin Gibson will be the showrunner and co-executive producer. The series premiered on Max on September 8, 2023, and it aired on Cartoon Network on September 9, 2023. [31] [32]

The reboot's first piece of concept art showed Buster Bunny and Babs Bunny, redesigned with different clothes and a new art style.

Tom Ascheim, then-current president of Cartoon Network, was quoted saying. "Tiny Toons Looniversity will capture all the clever, subversive and smart humor that made Tiny Toon Adventures such a standout series. Fans old and new will love to laugh at and with these characters all over again." [33]

Shortly after the reboot's announcement, it was reported that several of the original voice actors were not going to be involved in the series. Cree Summer had revealed she was informed that Elmyra Duff was excluded. [34] Additionally, Charlie Adler was not approached to reprise his role as Buster, nor was Maurice LaMarche as Dizzy Devil. [35]

However, during an interview on July 12, 2021, Candi Milo said she would be returning to voice Granny but it remained uncertain if she would also be reprising her role as Sweetie Bird. A few days later, on July 15, Jeff Bergman confirmed that he would be returning to the series as well, voicing Bugs Bunny, Sylvester, and Foghorn Leghorn. He went into detail on the characters' roles in the series, explaining Foghorn would occupy as Acme Looniversity's coach, while Bugs would take on a "Dumbledore-like" personality. He also confirmed recording sessions had begun. As shown in the teaser trailer, Lola Bunny and characters from the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts era will be appearing. [36]

On July 9, 2022, it was announced that Tiny Toons Looniversity would be part of the Looney Tunes panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. [37] On July 22, it was revealed that Ashleigh Crystal Hairston would be voicing Babs, instead of Tress MacNeille. Numerous pieces of concept art were shown, revealing a revamped Acme Looniversity and its interiors. This also confirmed many of the original series' major characters would be returning, some with updated appearances. Most notably, Elmyra was included in one of these pictures, disproving the claims of her removal. Some have suggested this meant Elmyra was added back at some point or was always intended to appear. Spielberg referred to the series as "the best iteration of Tiny Toons he'd ever seen". [38]

Character design supervisor Leonard Lee and showrunner Erin Gibson confirmed that Buster and Babs would be presented as twin siblings in the reboot, as opposed to best friends and potential romantic partners. This decision was criticized by fans of the original series. [39] [40] A July 2022 interview had crew members giving more details. They revealed the series was going to bring back all of the characters from the original show, "down to Arnold the Pit Bull". [38] They also hinted at an episode which takes place in outer space. Gibson provided an explanation behind the choice to make Buster and Babs related, saying, "They're fraternal twins, which was not an original plot point. I wanted to dive into a brother/sister relationship that looked really symbiotic and collaborative and supportive, not antagonistic. Seeing two people who are really on the same page, and then how do people who are so close make new friends? You know, find out who they are by these new relationships — these new college experiences while still having fun and doing the dumbest stuff you'll ever see on TV, but having story and plot points and character development." Nate Cash added, "And they look up to the faculty, they're established Tunes who are like their gods, but then they're like, 'Who am I?' and 'What's my voice?' — which is a cool place to develop them as their own characters and not just mini versions of their counterparts."

On April 20, 2023, IGN shared an official teaser trailer on their YouTube site, stating the show was scheduled to premiere in Fall of 2023. [41]

On June 22, 2023, the main voice cast was announced. Eric Bauza will voice Buster, Daffy Duck, and Gossamer, David Errigo Jr. will voice Plucky and Hamton, Tessa Netting will voice Sweetie, Bob Bergen and Cree Summer will reprise their roles as Porky Pig and Elmyra respectively, Candi Milo (the original voice of Sweetie) will now play Granny and Witch Hazel, and Fred Tatasciore will voice Yosemite Sam and the Tasmanian Devil, joining the aforementioned Bergman and Hairston. [42] [43] On July 21, 2023, two episodes were screened at San Diego Comic-Con. On the same day, the opening theme was uploaded online, with Matthew Janszen being announced as the composer. [44] [45] On August 18, 2023, a new trailer was released, announcing the premiere date as September 8, 2023, on Max and the following day on Cartoon Network. [46]

Notes

  1. The allegedly banned episode "Elephant Issues" is currently co-owned by Amblin Television without any credited as Amblin Entertainment.

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John P. McCann is an American-born writer, actor and producer who has mostly focused on writing/producing animation and family-friendly scripts in the past. He is best known for his work on television cartoons, for which he has received numerous awards, but he has also produced live-action screenplays and television scripts. At present McCann is also working on short stories, and a novella. His fiction tends to be either darkly humorous or horror-related.

<i>Animaniacs</i> American animated television series

Animaniacs is an American animated comedy musical television series created by Tom Ruegger for Fox's Fox Kids block in 1993, before moving to The WB in 1995, as part of its Kids' WB afternoon programming block, until the series ended on November 14, 1998. It is the second animated series produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Animation, after Tiny Toon Adventures. It initially ran a total of 99 episodes, along with a feature-length film, Wakko's Wish. Reruns later aired on Cartoon Network from 1997 to 2001, Nickelodeon from 2001 to 2003, Nicktoons from 2003 to 2005, and Discovery Family from 2012 to 2014.

<i>Tiny Toons Looniversity</i> American animated television series and sitcom

Tiny Toons Looniversity is an American animated series and sitcom developed by Erin Gibson and Nate Cash for Cartoon Network and Max. It serves as a reboot of Tiny Toon Adventures and features older versions of the characters. Two seasons were ordered to be produced by Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation. The first season was released on September 8, 2023 on Max, followed by a televised premiere on Cartoon Network on September 9. The first half of Season 2 was released on March 8, 2024, along with a Spring Break special and premiered on Cartoon Network on April 6.

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