A Corny Concerto is a 1943 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies directed by Bob Clampett. The short was released on September 25, 1943, and stars Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck. They perform a parody of Disney’s Silly Symphony cartoon series and specifically his 1940 feature Fantasia. The film uses two of Johann Strauss’ best known waltzes, “Tales from the Vienna Woods” and “The Blue Danube”.
Fantasia was marketed to highbrow music fans; the Looney Tunes staff responded by violating the ivory tower of classical music and concert hall culture. A Corny Concerto parodies Fantasia’s Silly Symphonies-derived balletic approach to storytelling. Elmer Fudd stands in for Deems Taylor, and in an anti-highbrow gag, his starched shirtfront keeps erupting from his shirt to hit him on the face.
Bosko’s Holiday is a one-reel 1931 short subject animated cartoon, part of the Bosko series. It was directed by Hugh Harman, and first released on July 18, 1931 as part of the Looney Tunes series from the Leon Schlesinger animation studio and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film score was composed by Frank Marsales.
Congo Jazz is a Looney Tunes cartoon starring Warner Bros.’ first cartoon star, Bosko. The cartoon was released in September 1930. It was distributed by Warner Bros. and The Vitaphone Corporation. Congo Jazz was the first cartoon to feature Bosko’s falsetto voice that he would use for the bulk of the series’ run. It has the earliest instance of a “trombone gobble” in animation.
In 1927, Harman and Ising were still working for the Walt Disney Studios on a series of live-action/animated short subjects known as the Alice Comedies. The two animators created Bosko in 1927 to capitalize on the new “talkie” craze that was sweeping the motion picture industry. They began thinking about making a sound cartoon with Bosko in 1927, before even leaving Walt Disney. Hugh Harman made drawings of the new character and registered it with the copyright office on 3 January 1928.
After leaving Walt Disney in early 1928, Harman and Ising went to work for Charles Mintz on Universal’s second-season Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. April 1929 found them moving on again, leaving Universal to market their new cartoon character. In May 1929, they produced a short pilot cartoon, similar to Max Fleischer’s Out of the Inkwell cartoons, Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid that showcased their ability to animate soundtrack-synchronized speech and dancing. The short, plotless cartoon opens with live action footage of Ising at a drafting table. After he draws Bosko on the page, the character springs to life, talks, sings, and dances. Ising returns Bosko to the inkwell, and the short ends. This short is a landmark in animation history as being the first cartoon to predominantly feature synchronized speech, though Fleischer Studios’ Song Car-Tune My Old Kentucky Home was the first cartoon to contain animated dialogue a few years earlier. This cartoon set Harman and Ising “apart from early Disney sound cartoons because it emphasized not music but dialogue.” The short was marketed to various people by Harman and Ising until Leon Schlesinger offered them a contract to produce a series of cartoons for the Warner Bros. It would not be seen by a wide audience until 71 years later, in 2000, as part of Cartoon Network’s special Toonheads: The Lost Cartoons, a compilation special of rare material from the WB/Turner archives.
In his book, Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin states that this early version of Bosko:
“was in fact a cartoonized version of a young black boy… he spoke in a Southern Negro dialect… in subsequent films this characterization was eschewed, or perhaps forgotten. This could be called sloppiness on the part of Harman and Ising, but it also indicates the uncertain nature of the character itself.”
Porky is the engineer on the most pathetic train in the fleet. After some routine episodes (using pepper to get the engine to sneeze itself up a hill, chasing a cow off the tracks, only to discover too late that it’s been replaced by a very angry bull), Porky gets word that he’s going to be replaced by the new streamlined Silver Fish.
Jungle Jitters is a 1938 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Friz Freleng. The short was released on February 19, 1938. Because of the racial stereotypes of black people throughout the short, it prompted United Artists to withhold it from syndication within the United States in 1968. As such, the short was placed into the Censored Eleven, a group of eleven Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes shorts withheld from official television distribution in the United States since 1968 due to heavy stereotyping of black people; because its copyright had already lapsed without renewal a year before this decision, it has remained publicly available through numerous unofficial distributors through secondhand prints.
Jealous of the other dogs who have fur coats, a hairless Mexican pooch decides to borrow a fur coat and enter the dog show. Unfortunately, she borrows a skunk pelt by accident, which soon frightens the other dogs and attracts the unwanted attention of the amorous Pepé Le Pew. Pepe continues chasing her until she finally reveals that she is a dog, much to his surprise. Pepe then takes off his fur like a zippered jacket to reveal that he is a dog, capturing the misled pooch’s swoon, only to reveal once more that it was just him in a dog costume. He says to the audience, “I am stupid, no?”, as the cartoon ends, implying that Pepé is indeed a skunk who doesn’t care that his love interest is a dog.
Starring Pepé Le Pew (as Stinky Skunk), in his first official short.
Directed by Chuck Jones
Story by Michael Maltese and Tedd Pierce
Animated by Phil Monroe, Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan, and Abe Levitow
Animation director J. J. Sedelmaier writes, “It’s interesting to see how different Bugs’ character is in this film, from, say, the cool and calm Bugs in Rabbit Seasoning (1952). He’s much more the Groucho Marx type in this short; in fact, I doubt you’ll find another cartoon in which he does the Groucho walk more than here. The other unique aspect that has always grabbed me about this particular cartoon is the design of the monster. Where do his hands and arms go when we don’t see them? Why the sneakers? It’s this sort of stuff that reminds me why I love good cartoons: You don’t care about this stuff. You just enjoy it.”
Story by Tedd Pierce
Music by Carl Stalling
Animated by Ben Washam, Ken Harris, Basil Davidovich, and Lloyd Vaughan
Elmer Fudd goes to see an anti-duck hunting musical starring Daffy Duck to which upon seeing Daffy as the star of the show, his hunter instincts kick in and he chases Daffy throughout the short while Daffy (whilst singing to the tune of Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2) is initially unaware of Elmer but soon realizes the danger.
Starring Mel Blanc as Daffy Duck and Billy West as Elmer Fudd.
A-Haunting We Will Go is a 1966 Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoon directed by Robert McKimson. The short was released on April 16, 1966, and stars Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, and Witch Hazel. As with the other Witch Hazel cartoons, June Foray voices Witch Hazel while Mel Blanc voices Speedy Gonzales, Daffy Duck, and Daffy’s nephew.
This is the last Looney Tunes cartoon featuring Witch Hazel, as well as the last Looney Tunes cartoon with June Foray’s voice acting in the Golden Age. However, she would reprise her role as Witch Hazel once again in an episode of the 2003 Duck Dodgers series.
Bugs Bunny’s milestone 80th birthday year coincides with the debut of Looney Tunes Cartoons, the critically acclaimed HBO Max Original series produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Warner Bros. is throwing a celebration like no other.
A Wild Hare
Tex Avery (1940)
Bugs’s nonchalant stance, as explained many years later by Chuck Jones, and again by Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett, comes from the 1934 movie It Happened One Night, from a scene where Clark Gable’s character is leaning against a fence eating carrots more quickly than he is swallowing (as Bugs would later do), giving instructions with his mouth full to Claudette Colbert’s character. This scene was so famous at the time that most people immediately saw the connection.
The line, “What’s up, Doc?”, was added by director Tex Avery for this film. Avery explained later that it was a common expression in Texas where he was from, and he didn’t think much of the phrase. But when this short was screened in theaters, the scene of Bugs calmly chewing a carrot, followed by the nonchalant “What’s Up, Doc?”, went against any 1940s audience’s expectation of how a rabbit might react to a hunter and caused complete pandemonium in the audience, bringing down the house in every theater. As a result of this popularity, Bugs eats a carrot and utters some version of the phrase in almost every one of his cartoons; sometimes entirely out of context.
Porky’s Hare Hunt
Ben “Bugs” Hardaway & Cal Dalton (1938)
While Porky’s Hare Hunt was the first Warner Bros. cartoon to feature a Bugs Bunny-like rabbit, A Wild Hare, directed by Tex Avery and released on July 27, 1940, is widely considered to be the first official Bugs Bunny cartoon.
The first “true” appearance of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Elmer is a dimwitted hunter, “wooking for wabbits.” Bugs is a clever, smooth-talking character, who confuses Elmer with double-talk and misdirection. Elmer is no match for the wascally wabbit, even when he thinks Bugs is dead.
Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! is a Merrie Melodies cartoon short and also the title of the song performed in the cartoon. This is one of only three Merrie Melodies cartoons to star Foxy; the other two are Lady, Play Your Mandolin! and One More Time. This short is a remake of Trolley Troubles, a Disney short featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in whose creation Hugh Harman had once been involved.
A colorized version was produced in Korea. It was made by re-drawing the cels and backgrounds. The animation in this version is inferior, since many drawings were left out, causing jerky movement.
Produced by Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, and Leon Schlesinger. Animated and by drawn by Friz Freleng, Carman Maxwell, and Larry Martin.
Porky Pig is an animated character in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. He was the first character created by the studio to draw audiences based on his star power, and the animators created many critically acclaimed shorts featuring the character. Even after he was supplanted by later characters, Porky continued to be popular with moviegoers and, more importantly, the Warners directors, who recast him in numerous everyman and sidekick roles.
He is known for his signature line at the end of many shorts, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!” And he is the oldest continuing Looney Tunes character.
Porky’s most distinctive trait is a severe stutter, for which he sometimes compensates by replacing his words; for example, “What’s going on?” might become “What’s guh-guh-guh-guh—…what’s happening?” Porky’s age varied widely in the series; originally conceived as an innocent seven-year-old piglet, Porky was more frequently cast as an adult, often being cast as the competent straight man in the series in later years. In the ending of many Looney Tunes cartoons, Porky Pig bursts through a bass drum head, and his attempt to close the show with “The End” becomes “Th-Th-The, Th-Th-The, Th-Th… That’s all, folks!” Porky Pig would appear in 153 cartoons in the Golden age of American animation.
In 1928, when Walt Disney lost control of his Oswald The Lucky Rabbit cartoon series, producer George Winkler hired away several of Disney’s animators to continue producing the Oswald cartoons for Universal Studios. These animators included Hugh Harman, Rudolf Ising, Isadore “Friz” Freleng, Carman “Max” Maxwell, Norm Blackburn, Paul Smith, and Rollin “Ham” Hamilton. Universal later chose to produce the Oswald series using its own in-house animators headed by Walter Lantz, which left Winkler’s animators out of work. The unemployed animators decided to produce their own cartoons and made Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid as a demonstration to show to distributors. Rudolf Ising appeared on-screen as himself in the short and Carman Maxwell performed the voice of Bosko. Harman and Ising shopped for a distributor, but were turned down by both Paramount Pictures and Universal. Leon Schlesinger, head of Pacific Title & Art Studio took an interest in Bosko and used his connections with Warner Bros. to get a distribution deal for a cartoon series that Harman and Ising later named Looney Tunes, a play on the name of Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony series.