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The Larriva Eleven (Looney Tunes)

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NOTE: Not to be confused with the more infamous Censored Eleven. Also, please have some respect for poor Rudy Larriva and William "Bill" Lava.

The Larriva Eleven (Looney Tunes)
LarrivaElevenRestored.png
The Looney Tunes version of the Gene Deitch-era of Tom and Jerry.
Episode Number: 949, 951-952, 954-955, 957-958, 960-961, 963, 965
Air Date: August 21, 1965 - March 12, 1966
Director: Rudy Larriva
Previous episode: "Rushing Roulette"
Next episode: "Tease for Two"

"Chili Corn Corny"
"Go Go Amigo"
"The Astroduck"
"Mucho Locos"
"Mexican Mousepiece"
"Daffy Rents"


The Larriva Eleven (L11) is the collective name of eleven Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons produced from 1965-1966 during the dark age of the Looney Tunes franchise, which were all outsourced to TV animation studio Format Films (in association with DePatie-Freleng Enterprises); and directed by Rudy Larriva, a former Warner Bros. animator who worked for Chuck Jones' unit between 1939 and 1943. While the Chuck Jones Road Runner shorts were well-received by fans and critics, these Road Runner shorts were not received well from fans and critics alike.

List of Cartoons

  1. "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner" (August 21, 1965)
  2. "Tired and Feathered" (September 18, 1965)
  3. "Boulder Wham!" (October 9, 1965)
  4. "Just Plane Beep" (October 30, 1965)
  5. "Hairied and Hurried" (November 13, 1965)
  6. "Highway Runnery" (December 11, 1965)
  7. "Chaser on the Rocks" (December 25, 1965)
  8. "Shot and Bothered" (January 8, 1966)
  9. "Out and Out Rout" (January 29, 1966)
  10. "The Solid Tin Coyote" (February 19, 1966)
  11. "Clippety Clobbered" (March 12, 1966)

Why They're Not Looney At All

  1. To get Bugs Bunny out of his Rabbit Hole: The main problem with these Road Runner cartoons is that they often don't stay true to their original routes as originally established by Chuck Jones and lack the charm and cleverness of the Chuck Jones originals from the classic era and the revival era cartoons, and to a lesser extent, Friz Freleng's "The Wild Chase", and even the two Robert McKimson Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies".
  2. Very poor and bizarre animation as usual for this era when compared to the other Road Runner cartoons of the time. Even the limited animation in the Robert McKimson-directed Road Runner cartoons like "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies" or even Friz Freleng's sole Road Runner cartoon "The Wild Chase" isn't as sluggish, jerky and lifeless. It also suffers heavily from washed-out colors and simplistic-looking background designs, and the loss of artist Maurice Noble robbed the backgrounds of their depth and style.
    • The animation has a lot of errors as well, such as in "Shot and Bothered", where Wile E. Coyote does not disappear after a boulder falls on him for the first time, and in "Out and Out Rout", where Wile E. Coyote's eyebrows change color, while flying.
    • The background art and color schemes of these eleven cartoons are loosely based on the background art and colors from "Hopalong Casualty" and the rest of the final Chuck Jones Road Runner cartoons of the early-1960s, albeit less detailed and with small puffy clouds rather than crescent-shaped ones, with a pale light blue sky as opposed to a rich blue sky previously used, as well as the notable lack of shading and reflections used in the backgrounds compared to these earlier cartoons.
  3. Off-model character designs; the heights of the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote tend to be inconsistent and Coyote's ears are sometimes too short.
    • Wile E. Coyote also lost his red eyes and gained some white spots on his feet heels, both of which was not used on Chuck Jones' or Robert McKimson's designs. This is probably due to Larriva trying too hard to make Wile E. Coyote resemble a real coyote.
  4. Slow pacing and weak gags that carry out for too long. A notable example is the phone booth gag in "Tired and Feathered". Almost every gag takes at least 30 seconds to get through, meaning less gags per short.
    • While Jones' and McKimson's cartoons tend to utilize anywhere from 7-12 gags, Larriva's cartoons range between 3 and 6 at best. The two cartoons which Larriva storyboarded himself, "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner" and "Tired and Feathered," only use three gags.
  5. Most of the gags in these shorts are recycled from the Chuck Jones cartoons with lazy changes, and thus, are very predictable:
    • The last scene in "Shot and Bothered" is basically the same as the balloon gag in "Fastest with the Mostest".
    • The metal arm gag in "Haired and Hurried" was borrowed from "Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z".
    • The invisible paint gag in "Clippety Clobbered" was borrowed from "War and Pieces".
    • The mirror gag in "The Solid Tin Coyote" is a rip-off of the wall gag from "Zoom and Bored".
  6. While these cartoons often utilize the new idea of a linear gag instead of blackout interchanging gags (examples being "Just Plane Beep", "The Solid Tin Coyote" and "Clippety Clobbered"), they are executed very poorly due to their slow pacing.
  7. Repetitive, unexciting and wearisome canned music score from William Lava. Due to budget reasons, the music was repeated for every short except "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner". Some find the music catchy -- albeit in an aural virus way.
  8. With the combination of both the repetitive and annoying canned music score from William Lava and limited number of stock sound effects used, as a result, these cartoons tend to have very monotonous soundtracks in general.
  9. Both Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner have been flanderized in these cartoons;
    • The Road Runner has been changed from an innocent and lovable bird into a sadistic annoyance who actually tries to harm Wile E. Coyote without going "Beep, beep!", such as firing him out of a cannon in "Chaser on the Rocks" and also driving vehicles over him. In addition, "Boulder Wham!" and "Just Plane Beep" show the Road Runner doing the same dance (yes, the closing animation in "Boulder Wham!" is re-used for the closing animation of "Just Plane Beep") while going "Beep beep!" when Wile E. Coyote is defeated. Note that while these traits were present in the Chuck Jones and the two Robert McKimson shorts, they were few and far between and cleverly used to wrap things up.
      • The most notable example is the second-to-last scene in "Chaser on the Rocks," in which Wile E. Coyote tries to drink water from a fire hose only for the Road Runner to turn the nozzle to full blast. Mind you that Wile E. Coyote doesn't try to catch or eat the Road Runner at any point in this scene; he just wants to satisfy his thirst during a hot day.
    • Wile E. Coyote went from a hungry genius coyote with a fanatical desire to eat the Road Runner into becoming a dumb coyote who always ends up constantly making a fool of himself due to his incompetence even worse than before (in a BAD way), most notably in "Shot and Bothered". In addition, he is shown to have way less personality in these cartoons than in the previous cartoons; while in the previous cartoons, Wile E. Coyote often sees a reason for chasing the Road Runner, which is to catch and eat the bird to satisfy his unending hunger, here, he seems to have no reason for doing it other than just to bring slapstick to the audience.
  10. Constant recycling of animation, including the "coyote fall" scene and all explosions. In all cases except "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner," "Highway Runnery" and "Chaser on the Rocks," the stock fall starts with Wile E. Coyote almost all the way down. In "Chaser on the Rocks," falls are simulated from Wile E. Coyote's point of view with slow close-ups of the canyon bottom.
    • Even the desert backgrounds are often recycled between each cartoon as well, such as the chasm backgrounds which are used every time when Wile E. Coyote falls off the cliff.
  11. The cartoons have logic that make no sense, even for Looney Tunes' standards. An example is when Wile E. Coyote drowns in a birdbath fountain in "Chaser on the Rocks".
  12. Rules from the Chuck Jones cartoons are constantly being broken for no reason other than cheap comedy, especially the #1 rule where the Road Runner is not allowed to harm Wile E. Coyote outside of beeping. However, it might be possible that Larriva was unaware of these rules, as he left Jones' unit in 1943, six years before the characters debuted.
  13. These eleven Road Runner cartoons have no impact on the Looney Tunes series' Road Runner cartoons as a whole whatsoever. Given the fact that none of the elements from the Larriva Eleven are ever used again in future Road Runner cartoons (including Robert McKimson's only two Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies") goes to show these eleven Road Runner cartoons by Rudy Larriva were all a completely sad joke. You can watch the original Chuck Jones Road Runner cartoons from the classic era (including the DFE era's "Zip Zip Hooray" and "Roadrunner A Go-Go", which were all edited from the TV pilot Adventures of the Road Runner) "The Wild Chase", the two Robert McKimson-directed Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies", and the 1979-2014 Road Runner cartoons, skipping the Larriva Eleven Road Runner cartoons entirely, and anything too important would not be missed.
  14. Director Rudy Larriva apparently didn't learn from his mistakes when producing these Road Runner cartoons, and therefore the three Daffy and Speedy shorts he'd later direct between the DePatie-Freleng and Seven-Arts eras from 1967 which are "Quacker Tracker", "The Music Mice-Tro" and "The Spy Swatter" somehow managed to be mediocre, except The Music Mice-Tro, which was actually even worse than these eleven Road Runner cartoons he previously worked during the DePatie-Freleng era.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Despite these cartoons' overall low production values, there's some good animation here and there, though that isn't saying much:
    • The uncredited Ray Thursby provides smooth, graceful photography. On this account he was Rudy Larriva's favourite crew member.
    • The animation in "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner," although frequently off-model, has its own style (thanks to former UPA stalwart Tom McDonald, whose only Warner's animation credit is here) and an occasional smooth moment. When Wile E. Coyote falls, he starts closer to the camera and drops more smoothly than in the stock falls of the following ten cartoons.
    • Hiring Warner's veterans Bob Bransford (a former Chuck Jones animator) and the long-experienced Virgil Ross for ten cartoons starting with "Tired and Feathered" was a good move. They kept the characters a bit more on-model and were occasionally allowed to bring the animation up to Warner's early 1960s standards.
    • "Boulder Wham!" has some nice poses and expressions (one of its idea poses would resurface as publicity art reprinted by Jeff Lenberg in his 1981 book The encyclopedia of animated cartoon series), good suspense-building, and a rare for the L11 example of Virgil Ross animating his signature ear tilt (when Wile E. is about to pole vault).
    • "Shot and Bothered" has two perspective shots of Road Runner racing through a tunnel until his eyes fill the screen. It's not known for sure who animates the first run, but it looks very much like Bob Bransford crafts the second -- easily the best animation of Road Runner in the entire L11.
    • "Hairied and Hurried" has some decent Virgil Ross animation of Wile E. Coyote with a magnet gun. Later we see effective Bob Bransford animation, with distinctive eyebrow movement and stylized mouth, after Wile E. Coyote's practice bomb drops on target. H&H is also is the only Larriva cartoon laid out by Ray Morita and Shirley Silvey, who designed some beautiful shrubs.
    • "Highway Runnery" has the only fully animated coyote fall (a long one) in the series.
  2. The title cards tend to be attractive. In most cases they were drafted by animator Art Leonardi, who proved to also be a talented designer. For example, the airplane he drew for the title card of "Just Plane Beep" is much more eye-pleasing than the ugly crate that Wile E. Coyote builds, flies and crashes in the cartoon itself.
  3. "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner" at least has an original (if simple) musical score unlike the other shorts which lazily had the same reused stock music cues.
  4. Some funny moments here and there.
    • "Out and Out Rout" and "The Solid Tin Coyote" contain relatively clever gags, and the latter cartoon demonstrates that the Road Runner isn't totally infallible.
    • "Clippety Clobbered" has a clever ending as the pupil of Wile E. Coyote's eye transforms into an image of Road Runner.
    • "Boulder Wham" has the "That's All, Folks!" sign at the ending, not seen in any other cartoon among Warner's run of 1965-1969 releases, which is also a nice touch.
  5. "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner", "Boulder Wham!", "Just Plane Beep", "Hairied and Hurried", "Shot and Bothered", and "The Solid Tin Coyote" at least try to pay more attention to the Road Runner rules by not breaking the number one rule, and don't have him totally flanderized as sadistic or cruel.

Reception

These Larriva shorts, unlike the Chuck Jones' original Road Runner shorts, have been very negatively received (though "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner", "Out and Out Rout", "The Solid Tin Coyote", and "Clippety Clobbered", however, got slightly more positive or average reception) by both fans, critics and animation buffs. Film critic Leonard Maltin calls these eleven cartoons in his book Of Mice and Magic as "witless in every sense of the word."

Videos


Riffs on a few episodes from the Larriva Eleven.

Trivia

  • "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner" no longer airs on US networks due to Native American stereotypes related to its last gag, even though it was just Wile E. Coyote doing a rain dance. It still airs without any edits on international feeds as the issue is less relevant there.
    • Eventually, MeTV aired the aforementioned short on an airing of Toon in with Me on April 2, 2021. However, this airing appears unrestored unlike most shorts that aired on MeTV.
  • At present, all of the shorts have been restored one way or another for DVD or streaming service releases, except "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner", which was released on the Bugs and Friends - Bugs and Road Runner: Runaway Rabbit LaserDisc as a 1997 "dubbed" version release (and is one of the only four DePatie-Freleng era shorts to get "dubbed" versions), but is currently not officially restored as of the moment. Every other short, however, except "Tired and Feathered" and "Just Plane Beep", were restored on the Looney Tunes Super Stars' Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote: Supergenius Hijinks DVD, and "Tired and Feathered" and "Just Plane Beep" were later restored on the HBO Max streaming service.
  • The stock music cues in the last ten shorts would be reused for the bumpers of The Road Runner Show.

Comments

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