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Tiny Toon Adventures

From Academic Kids

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Buster Bunny in the Tiny Toons logo.

Tiny Toon Adventures (a.k.a. Tiny Toons) is an animated series created by the Warner Bros. animation studio. It was the result of the first collaboration between Steven Spielberg and the newly reborn Warner Bros. Animation studio. The first season aired in 1990, the second season in 1991 and the third and final season was aired in 1992. The series has not yet come to DVD as of yet

Contents


The idea for the show was that of Terry Semel, then president of Warner Bros. In the mid-1980s, he saw how successful and popular younger versions of famous characters like Ultraman Kids, Muppet Babies and Flintstones Kids were, and thought of doing a kids version of Looney Tunes. Originally, the characters were going to be the offspring of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies gang or Bugs Bunny and co. themselves as children (an idea which perhaps ended up becoming Baby Looney Tunes). It wasn't until Steven Spielberg and his hugely successful production company Amblin Entertainment (makers of hits like Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch, the Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and more) got involved that characters became spiritual, not literal, descendents of Warner's famous Toon stars and that the kid characters would be the protegés of the Golden Age WB animated cartoon film stars. Early on, the characters were intended to be used in a theatrical feature film, but in December 1988 it was officially decided that the Tiny Toons would instead be used in an cartoon.

The animation studio was reinstated by Warner Bros. following the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which featured appearances by many of the classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and many others. The studio worked with Steven Spielberg to produce a new generation of cartoon stars for the 1990s, influenced by the classic Warner Bros. cartoons of old, which Spielberg had long considered a major influence on his own career.

Characters

The series premiered in 1990, and it was an instant hit. It revolved around a group of young cartoon characters training at Acme Looniversity to be the next generation of Looney Tunes characters. As a result most of the characters were designed to resemble younger versions of classic Warner Bros.' most popular cartoon stars.

Major characters include:

The original inspiration for two of the characters was somewhat obscure compared to the others: Li'l Sneezer was a revival of Sniffles the mouse, and Gogo Dodo was based on the original Dodo from Porky in Wackyland, a theatrical Looney Tunes release directed by Bob Clampett in 1938.

Other minor characters based on classic characters were:

Additionally, Arnold the pit bull was modeled after Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Minor original characters included a family of fleas who lived on Furrball, a trio of singing girl roaches (modelled after The Roches, an actual girl group), Byron Basset, and the two Ralphs. One was a fat security guard who later migrated to Animaniacs, while the other was a slobbish Ralph Bakshi caricature.

Most of the series's original characters attended Acme Looniversity, a high school/university in the fictional city of Acme Acres (where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters lived in this series), whose faculty primarily consisted of the mainstays of the classic Warner cartoons. In the series' internal continuity, the university was founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny, with graduates receiving a "Diploma of Lunacy", giving them the opportunity to become full-time cartoon characters. Bugs Bunny taught the Outsmarting Antagonists class, Daffy Duck taught Puns and Catchphrases, Yosemite Sam taught both Firearms and Anvilology (the study of falling anvils for comic effect, later referenced in the "Anvilania" episode of Animaniacs), and Elmer Fudd taught Booby Traps. The principal of the Acme Looniversity was a giant floating head like the one in The Wizard of Oz, voiced by Noel Blanc (son of the late Mel Blanc); the principal was later revealed to be Bugs Bunny in disguise. Wile E. Coyote was the dean.

The show's characters were developed by Jean MacCurdy, Dan Romanelli, Paul Dini, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, and Wayne Katz; named by Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, Eddie Fitzgerald, and others; and designed by Dan Haskett, Karen Haskett, Ken Boyer and Alfred Gimeno.

Reputation and legacy

Though the characters were cute and colorful, the show had an edginess that made it quite unlike many other cartoons of the day. It often contained "gross out" humor dealing with bodily functions as well as sophisticated political and entertainment satire. Caricature versions of celebrities made frequent appearances, though were almost always voiced by imitators, and often appeared under parody names ("Tom Snooze" instead of Tom Cruise, "Michael Molten-Lava"/Michael Bolton, etc).

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L-R: Plucky, Buster, Babs, Dizzy, Hamton.

Critics of the series considered the Tiny Toons characters to be little more than knock-offs of the original Termite Terrace creations, but the series' writers proved that new life could be breathed into the old formula of producing "kiddie versions of adult cartoon stars" (a formula that had been worn dry by Hanna-Barbera). The characters were given distinct personalities of their own, especially Babs Bunny.

An early controversy of Tiny Toons was that, in order to have 65 episodes made for the first season, Warner and Amblin had to have several different animation houses each do their share of episodes (a process that Warner and Disney and other studios have done before and since with their TV cartoon series), and some animation studios had poor animation. Kennedy Cartoons is considered by both the fandom and the cast and crew of the show to be the worst animation house that worked on Tiny Toons. Warner stopped outsourcing to Kennedy after the first season.

A major controversy of Tiny Toons (and of its follow-ups like Animaniacs), was that it used scripts more importantly than storyboards. The classic cartoons from Warner, Disney, and so on from Hollywood's Golden Age used storyboards only, and when scripts started being in the animation industry in the late 1960s, many animation vetrans felt the script-driven cartoons were inferior to storyboard-driven cartoons.

During production of the 3rd season, Charlie Adler (voice of Buster Bunny) and Joe Alasky (voice of Plucky Duck) had a big fight with the producers, because Adler and Alasky were outraged that they, the main stars of Tiny Toons, weren't given any roles on Warner's then-in-the-works followup to Tiny Toons: Animaniacs. The fact that bit players in Tiny Toons like Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche were given starring roles in Animaniacs infuriated Adler and Alasky even further. As a result, in a few episodes and specials of Tiny Toons, Charlie Adler was replaced as the voice of Buster by John Kassir (famous for being voice of the Crypt Keeper on Tales from the Crypt).

A number of episodes of the show relied heavily on the plots of the original Warner Bros. cartoons, and they had varying degrees of success. Several homages to the original cartoons were hugely successful ("The Anvil Chorus," "Fields of Honey"), though quite a few episodes of the show seemed little more than re-treads of the original routines from the classic Looney Tunes. Still, this was enough to win the show a wide following, and attract an adult audience as well, especially among college students. The success of Tiny Toon Adventures inspired Warner Bros. to make further investments in high-quality animation for television, leading to the creation of Animaniacs and the smash hit Batman: The Animated Series.

One feature-length Tiny Toon Adventures movie was released direct-to-video in 1991, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. This heavily gag-laden feature is considered by fans to be the crown jewel of the show. Its psychotic, chainsaw-wielding villain, "Mr. Hitcher", even appeared in several other shorts, including one with Plucky remembering himself as a baby.

Other features released for Tiny Toon Adventures include Spring Break Special, It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special, and Night Ghoulery. Spring Break Special was shown on Fox during primetime on March 27, 1994. Christmas Special aired on December 6, 1992.

In 1992, The Plucky Duck Show was produced as a spin-off of Tiny Toon Adventures, concentrating attention on the daffy young star. Although there was some original material, most of the episodes were repackaged Tiny Toon Adventures shorts. After only one thirteen-episode season, the show was cancelled.

In 1998, another spin-off was produced, this one starring Elmyra alongside Animaniacs stars Pinky and the Brain, and was titled Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain. Unfortunately, it wasn't as popular as its predecessors and was also cancelled after thirteen episodes.

Tiny Toon Adventures can currently be seen on Nicktoons TV.

Awards

  • 1991
    • Daytime Emmy Awards, USA: Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi, Art Vitello, Paul Dini, Sherri Stoner) - winner
    • Environmental Media Awards, USA: EMA Award Children's Animated – winner (for episode Whales Tales)
    • Young Artist Awards, USA: Best New Cartoon Series - winner
  • 1992
    • Daytime Emmy Awards, USA: Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Art Leonardi) - nominated
  • 1993
    • Daytime Emmy Awards, USA: Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Byron Vaughns, Ken Boyer, Alfred Gimeno, David West) - winner
    • Young Artist Awards, USA: Outstanding Young Voice-Over in an Animated Series or Special (Whitby Hertford) - nominated

Voice actors and their characters

Voice Actor: Characters Voiced:
Charles Adler Buster Bunny / Roderick Rat / other various voices (1990-1992)
John Kassir Buster Bunny (1992-1995)
Tress MacNeille Babs Bunny / Rhubella Rat / other various voices
Gail Matthius Shirley the Loon
Kath Soucie Fifi La Fume / Li'l Sneezer
Don Messick Hamton J. Pig
Joe Alaskey Plucky Duck / Dr. Gene Splicer
Maurice LaMarche Dizzy Devil (1991)
Frank Welker Gogo Dodo / Furrball / Calamity Coyote / Little Beeper / other various voices
Rob Paulsen Fowlmouth / Arnold Dog / Concord Condor / other various voices
Danny Cooksey Montana Max
Cree Summer Elmyra Duff / Mary Melody
Candi Milo Sweetie Pie
Cindy McGee Mary Melody (certain episodes)

Episodes

Season 1

(1990-1991)
  1. The Looney Beginning
  2. A Quack in the Quarks
  3. The Wheel O' Comedy
  4. Test Stress
  5. The Buster Bunny Bunch
  6. Her Wacky Highness
  7. Journey to the Center of Acme Acres
  8. Stuff that Goes Bump in the Night
  9. It's Buster Bunny Time
  10. Looking Out for the Little Guy
  11. Starting from Scratch
  12. Hare Raising Night
  13. Furrball Follies
  14. The Acme Acres Zone
  15. Life in the 1990's
  16. Rock 'N' Roar
  17. Promise Her Anything
  18. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
  19. Cinemaniacs!
  20. You Asked For It
  21. Gang Busters
  22. Citizen Max
  23. Wake Up Call of the Wild
  24. Buster and the Wolverine
  25. You Asked For It, Part II
  26. Hollywood Plucky
  27. Europe in 30 Minutes
  28. The Wacko World of Sports
  29. Rainy Daze
  30. Fields of Honey
  31. Sawdust and Toonsil
  32. Spring in Acme Acres
  33. Psychic Fun-Omenon Day
  34. The Wide World of Elmyra
  35. A Ditch in Time
  36. Animaniacs!
  37. Career Oppor-Toon-ities
  38. Strange Tales of Weird Science
  39. Inside Plucky Duck
  40. The Acme Bowl
  41. Dating, Acme Acres Style
  42. Looniversity Daze
  43. Best O' Plucky Duck Day
  44. Hero Hamton
  45. Whale's Tales
  46. Ask Mr. Popular
  47. Son of Looniversity Daze
  48. Mr. Popular Rules of Cool
  49. Fairy Tales for the 90's

Season 2

(1991-1992)
  1. Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?
  2. Tiny Toons Music Television
  3. The Return to the Acme Acres Zone
  4. The Acme Home Shopping Show
  5. Weirdest Story Ever Told
  6. Viewer Mail Day
  7. Son of the Wacko World of Sports
  8. Pollution Solution
  9. You Asked For It Again
  10. Brave Tales of Real Rabbits
  11. How Sweetie It Is
  12. New Character Day
  13. Hero Hamton
  14. No Toon Is An Island
  15. K-ACME TV
  16. High Toon
  17. Pledge Week
  18. Going Places
  19. Elephant Issues
  20. Hog-Wild Hamton
  21. Playtime Toons
  22. Toon Physics
  23. Acme Cable TV
  24. Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian
  25. Henny Youngman Day
  26. Love Disconnection
  27. Kon Ducki
  28. Sepulveda Boulevard
  29. Take Elmyra Please
  30. Thirteensomething
  31. New Class Day
  32. Fox Trot
  33. What Makes Toon Tick
  34. Flea For Your Life
  35. The Return of Batduck
  36. Toons Take Over
  37. Toons from the Crypt
  38. Two-Tone Town
  39. Buster's Directorial Debut
  40. Washingtoon
  41. Toon TV
  42. Grandma's Dead
  43. Music Day
  44. The Horror or Slumber Party Mountain
  45. Sport Shorts
  46. Weekday Afternoon Live
  47. A Cat's Eye View
  48. Best of Buster Day
  49. It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special

Movie: How I Spent My Vacation (direct-to-video movie)

Total Episodes: 99

The video games

Since the creation of Tiny Toon Adventures, there have been a multitude of video games based on the series. During the '90s, Konami held the license to develop and publish Tiny Toon Adventures games. Several other companies have since held such a license, including Atari, NewKidCo, Warthog, and Treasure.

See List of Tiny Toon Adventures video games for a list of these games.

External links

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