I remember growing up and being able to watch at least a half an hour of classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts from the golden age of Warner Bros. animation pretty much every day . From 1930-1969, Warner Bros made hundreds of six - ten minute shorts that played before theatrical features, and many of those are Oscar-winning pieces of film art. They were ubiquitous on television--either in syndicated packages or on cable channels--but for the past decade or more, the Warner Bros. characters were resigned to live-action movies or sitcom-style adventures. Now, however, Warner Bros. has announced a plan for 1,000 minutes of creator-driven shorts featuring these classic characters.
The new Looney Tunes Cartoons (real clever title there, WB) promises over 16 hours of new shorts, ranging from one to six minutes apiece, from various artists and creative teams employing their own visual style and effectively writing their own gag-driven adventures with the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the rest of the roster zany characters. This is all expected to launch in 2019 on multiple platforms at once, including digital, mobile, and broadcast.
One part of this announcement really resonated with me: the shorts will be written and directed by different cartoonists, "allowing their own personality and style to come through in each cartoon." This is important. From the beginning, the Looney Tunes were defined by who was directing each short, and each of the directors specialized in specific types of comedy and characters. Bob Clampett's cartoons featured incredibly elastic and frenetic movement; Friz Freleng was all about the visual sight gag; Chuck Jones was brilliant at the high concept running joke.
By homogenizing the Looney Tunes as had happened in their various recent outings, you take away what makes them unique, which is authorship. Different creators inserting their own visual flair and comic timing to a set of iconic characters. I'm jazzed.
Image: Warner Bros Animation
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