Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (1964-1969)
Note: Any additional Looney Tunes shorts are forbidden due to clogging up the wiki in the past. If you want to make a page about a short of Looney Tunes, do it on the Horrible TV Show Episodes Wiki.
Due to the shutdown of Warner Bros. Cartoons, which produced BTSW, in 1963, these cartoons had to be outsourced to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises between 1964 and 1967 with smaller budgets (though eleven Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons were outsourced to Format Films, a studio specializing in made-for-TV animation, which handled three other shorts during a transition period). Under the supervision of William L. Hendricks, and now under the name Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, the studio reopened in 1967 with even smaller budgets, and would close down for the last time in 1969 after Kinney National Services acquired the company and, looking to cut costs, axed the cartoon studio.
Even though most of the original Looney Tunes shorts were well received by critics and fans, the same can't be said for these cartoons, which were panned by critics and fans alike. This article will be talking about the Looney Tunes cartoons from "Pancho's Hideaway" to "Injun Trouble".
DePatie-Freleng Enterprises era
- "Pancho's Hideaway" (Freleng; October 24; with Speedy Gonzales and Pancho Vanilla (Yosemite Sam-resemblant))
- "Road to Andalay" (Freleng; December 26; with Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester)
- "Zip Zip Hooray!" (Jones; January 1; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; reuses footage from Adventures of the Roadrunner)
- "It's Nice to Have a Mouse Around the House" (Freleng; January 16; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; first Speedy and Daffy pairing)
- "Cats and Bruises" (Freleng; January 30; with Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester)
- "Roadrunner a Go-Go" (Jones; February 1; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; reuses footage from Adventures of the Roadrunner)
- "The Wild Chase" (Freleng; Febuary 27; with Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Speedy Gonzales, and Sylvester; last cartoon directed by Friz Freleng)
- "Moby Duck" (McKimson; March 27; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Assault and Peppered" (McKimson; April 24; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Well Worn Daffy" (McKimson; May 22; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Suppressed Duck" (McKimson; June 26; with Daffy Duck)
- "Corn on the Cop" (Spector; July 24; with Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Granny; last appearances of Granny and Porky Pig in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Rushing Roulette" (McKimson; July 31; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote)
- The Larriva Eleven (Larriva; August 21, 1965 - March 12, 1966; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; outsourced to Format Films, series of eleven cartoons)
- "Tease for Two" (McKimson; August 28; with Daffy Duck and the Goofy Gophers; last appearance of the Goofy Gophers in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Chili Corn Corny" (McKimson; October 23; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Go Go Amigo" (McKimson; November 20; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "The Astroduck" (McKimson; January 1; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Mucho Locos" (McKimson; February 5; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; clip show short; scored by Herman Stein)
- "Mexican Mousepiece" (McKimson; February 26; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Daffy Rents" (McKimson; March 26; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; scored by Irving Gertz)
- "A-Haunting We Will Go" (McKimson; April 26; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; last appearance of Witch Hazel in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Snow Excuse" (McKimson; May 21; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "A Squeak in the Deep" (McKimson; July 19; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; scored by Walter Greene)
- "Feather Finger" (McKimson; August 20; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; scored by Walter Greene)
- "Swing Ding Amigo" (McKimson; September 17; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; scored by Walter Greene)
- "Sugar and Spies" (McKimson; November 5; with Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote; last appearances of Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote in Golden Age of Animation; scored by Walter Greene)
- "A Taste of Catnip" (McKimson; December 3; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; last appearance of Sylvester in Golden Age of Animation; scored by Walter Greene)
- "Daffy's Diner" (McKimson; January 21; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; last short of DePatie-Freleng era; scored by Walter Greene)
Format Films transition shorts
Seven Arts era
- "Speedy Ghost to Town" (Lovy; July 29; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Rodent to Stardom" (Lovy; September 23; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; first short to credit Warner Bros.-Seven Arts)
- "Go Away Stowaway" (Lovy; September 30; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Cool Cat" (Lovy; October 14; with Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire; also first appearances of both; first short to have "W7" logo on opening/ending titles)
- "Merlin the Magic Mouse" (Lovy; November 18; with Merlin, Second Banana, and Sam Cat; first appearances of Merlin and Second Banana, last appearance of Sam Cat in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Fiesta Fiasco" (Lovy; December 9; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Hocus Pocus Powwow" (Lovy; January 13; with Merlin and Second Banana)
- "Norman Normal" (Lovy; February 3; one-off; cartoon special)
- "Big Game Haunt" (Lovy; February 10; with Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire)
- "Skyscraper Caper" (Lovy; March 9; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck)
- "Hippydrome Tiger" (Lovy; March 30; with Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire)
- "Feud with a Dude" (Lovy; May 25; with Merlin and Second Banana)
- "The Door" (Mundie; June 1; one-off; scored by Clark Terry; cartoon special)
- "See Ya Later Gladiator" (Lovy; June 29; with Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck; last appearances of Speedy Gonzales and Daffy Duck in Golden Age of Animation)
- "3 Ring Wing-Ding" (Lovy; August 24; with Cool Cat and Colonel Rimfire; last appearance of Colonel Rimfire in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Flying Circus" (Lovy; September 14; one-off)
- "Chimp & Zee" (Lovy; October 12; one-off; last short directed by Alex Lovy)
- "Bunny and Claude (We Rob Carrot Patches)" (McKimson; November 9; with Bunny and Claude)
- "The Great Carrot-Train Robbery" (McKimson; January 25; with Bunny and Claude)
- "Fistic Mystic" (McKimson; March 29; with Merlin and Second Banana)
- "Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too!" (McKimson; June 7; one-off)
- "Shamrock and Roll" (McKimson; June 28; with Merlin and Second Banana; last appearances of Merlin and Second Banana in Golden Age of Animation)
- "Bugged by a Bee" (McKimson; July 26; with Cool Cat; last Looney Tunes short)
- "Injun Trouble" (McKimson; September 20; with Cool Cat; last Merrie Melodies short; last appearance of Cool Cat in Golden Age of Animation; last short directed by Robert McKimson)
Why This Era Sucks
- Budget problems are heavily present during this era, which got worse as the years progressed.
- Likewise, a tight budget and other restrictions only allowed the studios to use a minimal set of characters, most notably Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Yes, other popular Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Foghorn Leghorn, Tweety, Pepé Le Pew, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Marvin the Martian and Taz were all retired and are nowhere to be found in this era. To add insult to injury, DePatie-Freleng wanted to make Bugs Bunny cartoons, but were forced to stick to that same handful of characters.
- Poorly-done animation that, much like the Gene Deitch era of Tom and Jerry, the post-1962 Woody Woodpecker cartoons, the 1960s Famous Studios cartoons from Paramount, the 1960s made-for-TV Popeye the Sailor cartoons and the Terrytoons, ranges from being bland to plain ugly and simplistic. It bottoms out with the Rudy Larriva-directed Format Films cartoons and the Alex Lovy-directed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts cartoons, which had animation quality that wouldn't feel out of place on television of the time.
- Awfully weak writing compared to the classic era, especially by Cal Howard.
- The "bullseye" opening and closing title cards and the familiar version of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" theme have been replaced with a new "abstract" intro that was first used on "Now Hear This" (keep in mind that this was designed just for abstract, one-shot cartoons). This new intro uses a very "clunky" version of the aforementioned theme from William Lava and mostly consists of moving lines, showing how low the budget of this era was. The closing title card is a cut version of Lava's theme. This theme would get "lighter" variants during the Seven Arts cartoons with less instruments. Additionally, Merrie Melodies no longer used its "Merrily We Roll Along" theme.
- Rudy Larriva's eleven Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons (collectively nicknamed "The Larriva Eleven") have been considered by many as the worst Road Runner cartoons due to the poor animation, weak gags and repetitive music. Notably, these cartoons lack the Latin phrases gag that was used in the previous Road Runner cartoons, recycle the same "coyote fall" and explosion scenes, and often break the "laws" of Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoons.
- Daffy Duck has been badly flanderized in this era. He went from a screwball yet a mischievous prankster in the original cartoons to a grouchy, humorless sadist who would do anything in order to get what he wants and doesn't care about anyone else. In fact, he's so despicable in these shorts that he acted more like a villain than a hero, which makes it very hard to root for him. Most of the Daffy vs. Speedy shorts such as "Well Worn Daffy" and "Assault and Peppered", as well as "Tease for Two" (Daffy's only pairing with the Goofy Gophers) are the worst offenders for using this characterization of Daffy as examples. In fact, most of these really show they had Daffy play at his absolute worst.
- To add salt to the wound, the butchery of Daffy's character in this era was first done by both Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson, two veteran directors who previously worked on the Daffy Duck cartoons in the classic era, as opposed to new writers/directors who never worked on any of the original Looney Tunes cartoons before, all because DePatie-Freleng Enterprises needed a new antagonist for Speedy Gonzales to replace other Looney Tunes antagonists who have been retired from this era such as Sylvester and Yosemite Sam.
- Likewise, the Road Runner has also been flanderized, especially in the Larriva Eleven, as he is changed from an innocent and lovable bird into a sadistic annoyance who actually tries to harm the Coyote without going "Beep beep".
- Due to the studios only being allowed to use a minimal set of characters, this era shows some awkwardly mismatched character pairings among the classic characters, most notably the Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales pairings. The problem is that unlike past character pairings such as the Sylvester/Tweety, the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd pairings, and even the Sylvester/Speedy pairings during the first few years of the era, the Daffy/Speedy pairings are a horrible mismatch due to poor chemistry between the duo.
- Bland music from William Lava that doesn't sound like it would belong in Looney Tunes, mainly due to Lava being forced to work with a small orchestra instead of the full Warner Bros. orchestra as before. What's worse is that, in the Larriva Eleven, all of the music would be repeated for all but the first short. Walter Greene's music in the last few cartoons in the DePatie-Freleng era are a bit better than Lava's work, but is a bit aged and still isn't as memorable as anything Carl Stalling or Milt Franklyn had previously done.
- Limited stock sound effects (mostly from the Hanna-Barbera library), which got worse during the Seven Arts cartoons. "The Great Carrot Train Robbery" is most infamous for the limited amount of sound effects used.
- Some of the cartoons' plots in these eras are rip-offs or rehashes of older, better cartoons from the classic era. For example:
- "Moby Duck" is a rip-off of the 1951 Sylvester cartoon "Canned Feud".
- "Assault and Peppered" is a rip-off of the 1950 Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam cartoon "Bunker Hill Bunny".
- "A-Haunting We Will Go" is a rip-off of the 1956 Bugs Bunny cartoon; "Broomstick Bunny".
- Both "Just Plane Beep" and "Flying Circus" are rip-offs of the 1964 Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam cartoon "Dumb Patrol".
- Some cartoons such as "Road to Andalay", "Cats and Bruises", "The Wild Chase" and "Mucho Locos" have their plots being entirely mish-mashes of animation and gags from older, better cartoons from the classic era; for example:
- "The Wild Chase" re-uses animation and gags from the Chuck Jones-directed Road Runner shorts "Wild About Hurry", "Zoom and Bored" and "Hopalong Casualty".
- "Cats and Bruises" for example entirely re-uses animation and gags from the Speedy/Sylvester cartoons "Here Today, Gone Tamale" and "The Pied Piper of Guadalupe" and the Tweety/Sylvester cartoons "Dog Pounded", "A Pizza Tweety-Pie" and "Canary Row".
- "Mucho Locos" re-uses animation and gags from the Daffy Duck shorts "Robin Hood Daffy", "Deduce, You Say", and "China Jones" and Speedy Gonzales shorts "Tortilla Flaps" and "Mexicali Shmoes".
- "A-Haunting We Will Go" re-uses animation and gags from "Duck Amuck", even recycling the iconic “mutant Daffy”.
- Most of the cartoons are either unfunny, repetitive, frustrating, or boring. A lot of gags in this era are reused from the classic cartoons.
- Tons of animation errors; for example, in "Cats and Bruises" during a brief shot showing the bulldogs in the dog pound, the bulldogs appear to be completely static and their mouths do not move in sync to the barking sounds, and in "Shot and Bothered", where the Coyote does not disappear after a boulder falls on him for the first time.
- The Seven Arts cartoons worsened most of the problems stated above. At this point, Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales were the only classic characters left. To replace the remaining characters, director Alex Lovy had to create a new breed of characters, the most notable being Cool Cat and Merlin the Magic Mouse, many of whom were hated among fans, animation buffs, and even director Robert McKimson. In fact, only Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire, and Spooky made any prominent appearances after the Seven Arts era, the rest either being reduced to silent cameos or not appearing at all.
- They didn't even bother to hire Mel Blanc to voice any of the Seven Arts cartoons aside from the Daffy/Speedy shorts, the one-shot cartoon "Chimp & Zee", and the two Bunny and Claude shorts. Instead, Larry Storch voiced most of the characters in these shorts. While he tried his best, he just wasn't as funny as Blanc. Daws Butler was pretty good as the first voice of Merlin the Magic Mouse, but quit after the first short, leaving Storch to do the rest.
- "See Ya Later Gladiator", the last short with the classic cast in the Seven Arts era and in the classic era as a whole, is often considered the absolute worst Warner Bros. short by critics and fans due to its half-hearted animation (even using the same background for two shots of Daffy walking to a window, even though he’s in a completely different room both times), off-model character designs, uncharacteristic plot, bad music, and overuse of Hanna-Barbera sound effects.
- The last Warner Bros. short, "Injun Trouble" (not to be confused with the 1938 Bob Clampett-directed short of the same name), was not a good way to end the theatrical era of Looney Tunes, as not only it was a cartoon starring the forgettable Cool Cat, but it was also banned from syndication and HBO Max due to the Native American stereotypes.
- Besides just "Injun Trouble", there's still some racially controversial shorts in this era, such as "Hocus Pocus Powwow" (which was also banned from HBO Max) and the last gag of "Run, Run Sweet Road Runner". At least the late cartoons of the classic era tried to dial down these stereotypes during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
- Ten years later after this era ended, Freleng and Jones came back to produce new cartoons to air for television, effectively reviving and saving the series.
- Likewise, the Looney Tunes theatrical cartoons themselves get even better when new theatrical cartoons continued production in 1987 beginning with Greg Ford and Terry Lennon's "The Duxorcist".
- Even though some of the new characters like Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, and Bunny and Claude are far from being perfect when compared to the other Looney Tunes stars, they were at least original and unique for what they are.
- Aside from the era's "Big Four" characters Daffy Duck, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Granny are the only other major Looney Tunes characters to appear in this era, even though they only made minor appearances in this era.
- Porky Pig appears in only two cartoons; "Corn on the Cop" and "Mucho Locos" (though the latter’s appearance is stock footage from “Robin Hood Daffy”).
- Granny appears in only two cartoons; "It's Nice To Have A Mouse Around The House" (cameo appearance) and "Corn on the Cop".
- Sylvester appears in five Speedy Gonzales cartoons; "Road To Andalay", "Cats and Bruises", "It's Nice To Have A Mouse Around The House" (cameo appearance), "The Wild Chase" and "A Taste of Catnip" (cameo appearance).
- Even a few minor/supporting characters appears in this era, like The Goofy Gophers appearing in "Tease for Two", Ralph Phillips appearing in "Zip Zip Horray" (despite using reused footage from “Adventures Of The Road-Runner”), Witch Hazel appearing in "A Haunting We Will Go", and Sam Cat appearing in "The Spy Swatter" and "Merlin the Magic Mouse".
- The DePatie-Freleng Enterprises cartoons at least used a wider set of classic characters and sound effects and had slightly better animation than the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts era.
- The Seven Arts cartoons would themselves get slightly better after Alex Lovy departed and Looney Tunes veteran Robert McKimson returned as director, trying his best to return the cartoon studio to its heyday. Speaking of which, Robert McKimson's Road Runner cartoons are far superior to Rudy Larriva's, even if he only made two Road Runner shorts, neither of which are up to the caliber of the Chuck Jones shorts.
- After this era, Cool Cat and Merlin would rarely appear, with both mostly only making cameos in the spin-off show BTSW.
- There are still a small amount of cartoons where Daffy Duck is likable, such as "Skyscraper Caper" where he is friends with Speedy instead of an enemy, "Fiesta Fiasco", where Daffy has an actual reason to be going after Speedy (thinking Speedy's forgotten his birthday) and makes up with him at the end of the cartoon, and "A Taste of Catnip" which essentially pokes fun at the idea of the Daffy/Speedy pairings as a horrible mismatch by depicting Daffy's obsessions of chasing Speedy to be abnormal.
- Thankfully, Daffy Duck would be reverted to his old personality after this era. Also, the later cartoons in the DePatie-Freleng era often depict Daffy as a sympathetic character who has better reason to go after Speedy than a full-on antagonist.
- Likewise, the Road Runner would also be reverted to his old personality once Chuck Jones resumed making new Road Runner cartoons for television.
- The awkward animation and music can make for unintentional comedy.
- The first cartoon of the DePatie/Freleng era, "Pancho's Hideaway", is a good/decent short from this era, and started this era on a high note.
- Likewise, while not the best cartoon, "Suppressed Duck" was also another decent cartoon as well due to it being the only solo Daffy cartoon of the era which made it unique.
- "Daffy's Diner" ended the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises era on a high note.
- While not nearly as good as Jones' Road Runner cartoons, "Rushing Roulette", "The Wild Chase", and "Sugar and Spies" were passable at best due to the cartoons not being directed by Rudy Larriva and instead by Robert McKimson and Friz Freleng, as well as the shorts having smoother animation and much funnier gags.
- In particular, the Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales team-up, "The Wild Chase", which is Friz Freleng's final cartoon for Warner Brothers, it is at least unique due to having not only Speedy and the Road Runner onscreen together for the first time ever, but also Sylvester and Wile E. Coyote onscreen together for the first time as well, and the fact that Speedy Gonzales and Sylvester's pairing are greatly influenced from Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote's. It also did end Freleng's career on a high note and makes more sense than the Daffy/Speedy Gonzales team ups.
- The same can be said for "Road to Andalay" and "Cats and Bruises", which also both co-starred Sylvester and Speedy.
- Some of the Daffy and Speedy Gonzales shorts are decent at best like "Feather Finger", "Daffy's Diner", "Fiesta Fiasco", "Skyscraper Caper", and "A Taste of Catnip".
- It really helped "Skyscraper Caper" that Daffy wasn't anywhere near as antagonistic in the cartoon as he usually was during this era.
- "Corn on the Cop" was passable for what it is due to the cartoon being the final Daffy and Porky team up with a few decent gags.
- "Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too!" is the only exceptionally good short from the Seven Arts era. There were other Rapid Rabbit shorts planned, but the studio shut down for good before anything else could be made.
- A few of the Cool Cat and Merlin shorts are decent (or at least better than the other Seven Arts shorts) such as "Fistic Mystic" and "Bugged by a Bee" (both ended up being the first shorts restored for HBO Max).
- "Norman Normal" is a cool experimental short that makes good use of the limited animation available during this era. Tellingly, it was the first short from the Seven Arts era to be released on home video worldwide in 2008, as part of the sixth Golden Collection DVD, even though "Fiesta Fiasco" was previously released on The Looney Tunes Video Show Volume 8 VHS release (albeit only available in PAL countries) back in the early 1980s.
- "Zip Zip Hooray!" and "Roadrunner a Go-Go" are still good shorts in this era, although this is because they use footage from the unsold pilot Adventures of the Road Runner from 1962.
- The intro music most specifically can be catchy, even if it's not as great as the past cartoons.
- Some scores are also quite fitting and pretty good, most notably in “Chimp & Zee”.
Shorts With Their Own Pages
On Horrible TV Shows Wiki
- Originally, Bob Clampett was asked to direct cartoons for the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts studio. After he refused, Alex Lovy was brought in instead.
- Before the studio shut down, there were plans to produce more cartoons starring Norman (from Norman Normal), Bunny and Claude, and Rapid Rabbit and Quick Brown Fox, and adapt both Keystone Kops and the L'il Abner comic strip (the former as theatrical shorts and the latter for television), as well as the creation of more characters, such as Super Snooper (a detective), Jolly Roger (a Yosemite Sam-like pirate), Puff the Magic Dragon (which was likely negotiated when Paul Stookey was creating "Norman Normal"), and Butch Catsidy (a feline parody of Butch Cassidy who was most likely going to replace Daffy as Speedy's nemesis). There was also a plan for a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner animated/live-action special; had this come into fruition, it would likely be the only appearance of the two in the Seven Arts era.
- According to an interview with Robert McKimson Jr., director Robert McKimson disliked the direction and cartoons during the Seven Arts era, stating how he missed fuller animation and criticized the restrictions of classic characters (by the time McKimson directed in the Seven Arts era, he couldn't use Daffy or Speedy). McKimson also mentioned that Lovy's characters had poor development and were hard to work with.
- Prior to the release of the HBO Max streaming service, "Pancho's Hideaway", "The Wild Chase", "Suppressed Duck", all cartoons from the Larriva Eleven except "Tired and Feathered" and "Just Plane Beep", "A-Haunting We Will Go", "Sugar and Spies", "Norman Normal", "The Door", and both Bunny and Claude cartoons are the only cartoons in this era to be restored for DVD or streaming releases.
- After the release of HBO Max, many Seven Arts shorts were restored for the service, leaving only the Speedy and Daffy shorts, "Hocus Pocus Powwow", "Flying Circus" (in restoration project), and "Injun Trouble" the remaining Seven Arts shorts to not been restored as of today. In addition, "Zip Zip Hooray", "Rushing Roulette", "Tired and Feathered", "Just Plane Beep", and "Tease for Two" were also restored.