Earlier tonight, news has broke that Warner Bros. Animation is to revive its classic Looney Tunes shorts for broadcast next year. This is welcome news as I ADORE LOONEY TUNES!
The idea of new shorts excites me beyond belief – it also makes we want to dive back into some classics shorts to pass the time between now and 2019!
But what are the best Looney Tunes shorts of yesteryear? Which shorts never get old?
I have the answers below, so read on, dear friends, read on.
One Froggy Evening (1955)
First up – One Froggy Evening!
The premise of this short is simple: A labourer happens upon a singing frog and convinced this will pave the way to a fortune, he sets about trying to turn the frog into a star! There’s just one little problem – the frog will only sing when no one (except the man) is watching.
One Froggy Evening takes an instantly recognisable theme (greed) and transforms it into a delightful slice of animation. Michigan J. Frog – the star of this short – is an incredibly fun character and his repertoire of songs (including Hello, My Baby) is the icing on the cake.
Duck Amuck (1953)
Up next, one of the greatest animated shorts, period! Duck Amuck takes yet another very simple premise and turns it into something exceptionally clever.
The premise: An outside force is putting Daffy Duck in increasingly bizarre situations, all for comedic purposes. Much to his chagrin, Daffy must endure whatever is thrown at him, even if that includes being erased out of existence!
The punchline in this short is delivered when the identity of the master manipulator is finally revealed and yes, you might know who it is, but it’s still a great reveal and one which makes this a truly marvellous cartoon.
Oh and incidentally, Duck Amuck is so good it has been inducted into the United States Library of Congress and has been preserved in the National Film Registry. How cool is that?!
Rabbit of Seville (1950)
Directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese, Rabbit of Seville takes inspiration from Rossini’s overture to The Barber of Seville and from start to finish is simply a joy to watch. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd are the stars of this short which mixes high-brow entertainment with… er… hair tonic.
Just watch it – it’s brilliant!
What’s Opera, Doc? (1957)
What’s Opera Doc? is a fine example of why the Looney Tunes cartoons are a cut above the rest. In this short, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd sing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, which not only offers something a little different to the Looney collection, but is also so much fun to watch!
What’s Opera Doc? demonstrates the true depth and versatility of the Looney Tunes collection. What’s more, What’s Opera Doc? is one of only three Looney Tunes shorts where Elmer Fudd gets the better of Bugs!
Sad, but true.
Fast and Furry-ous (1949)
Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner team-up for the first time in this animated short from 1949 – Fast and Furry-ous. The cartoon not only sets the template for all the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner shorts to come (of which there are many), but it’s also HILARIOUS!
Over the years, many great Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons came along, from Going, Going, Gosh (1952) to Guided Muscle (1955) and beyond, but without this particular short there would be no Coyote/Runner hijinks!
Porky in Wackyland (1938)
Porky in Wackyland is weird, very weird, and sees Porky Pig visit Wackyland – a topsy-turvey home to the Do-Do. During his time in Wackyland, Porky crosses paths with a three-headed creature which riffs on The Three Stooges and he enters into a world where logic no longer applies.
While it’s pretty dated by today’s standards, Porky in Wackyland is a perfect example of what can be achieved in animation. It’s inventive, subversive and just plain bizarre.
The Hunting Trilogy: ‘Rabbit Fire’ (1951), ‘Rabbit Seasoning’ (1952) and ‘Duck! Rabbit, Duck!’ (1953)
And finally, three great shorts that all fall under The Hunting Trilogy banner!
Directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese, the trilogy revolves around three characters – Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Each cartoon follows the same basic plot and each is a hoot from start to finish.
The premise to each is as follows: Elmer Fudd is out hunting when he comes across Bugs and Daffy. Bugs tries to convince Fudd that it’s duck hunting season, while Daffy tries to convince Fudd the hunting season currently revolves around rabbits. Chaos ensues.
Taking the duck season/rabbit season gag and running it across one short would be good by any measure, but running the same gag across three shorts and still keeping it fresh is something else entirely. The shorts can be watched in any order, but watching all three is HIGHLY recommended.
That’s all, folks!