Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation

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Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
Three young animals—a green duck, a pink rabbit and a blue rabbit—burst out of a multi-colored bulls-eye. The duck is carrying his suitcase, the pink rabbit is cheering, and the blue rabbit is holding a water gun.
Cover of the Laserdisc release, featuring (from left to right) Plucky Duck, Babs Bunny and Buster Bunny
Directed by Barry Caldwell
Art Leonardi
Byron Vaughns
Ken Boyer
Alfred Gimeno
Kent Butterworth
Rich Arons
Produced by Tom Ruegger
Written by
Starring
Music by
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Home Video
Release dates
  • March 11, 1992 (1992-03-11)
Running time 80 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget at least $350,000

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation is a 1992 American direct-to-video animated film from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment. Plans for the film began as early as 1990 and it was released in March 1992. Featuring the regular characters from the animated program Tiny Toon Adventures, the film follows them during their summer vacation from school, mainly focused on Babs and Buster going downriver, Plucky and Hampton going to a world famous amusement park, and Fifi in search of her favorite movie star.

Steven Spielberg was the executive producer of the film, which was written by Paul Dini, Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, and Sherri Stoner. Japanese studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha produced the animation. How I Spent My Vacation runs about 80 minutes, and was released on VHS and Laserdisc formats. It was the first animated film to be released direct-to-video in the United States. The film was later aired on television as four separate Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.

The film was one of the highest selling videos in the United States, listing on Billboard magazine's 40 "Top Video Sales" for 16 weeks as of July 1992. Points of praise by critics included the film's jokes and celebrity caricatures, while points of criticism included the segmented plot. Themes of the film included parodies of pop culture and summer vacations.

Plot[edit]

The Tiny Toon Adventures characters leave for their summer vacations after their term at Acme Looniversity ends. Babs and Buster Bunny have a water pistol fight, which eventually escalates into their flooding Acme Acres. The bunnies, along with Byron Basset, float from flooded Acme Acres down to the southern United States, where they continuously avoid getting eaten by the river's residents.

Plucky Duck joins Hamton J. Pig and Hamton's family as they drive to the amusement park HappyWorldLand. The trip turns out to be very long and painful for Plucky, who becomes annoyed with the family's habits and is almost killed by an escaped convict that the Pigs mistake for a hitchhiker. They eventually arrive at HappyWorldLand, only to ride the monorail around the park and decide to head back home, much to Plucky's dismay.

Meanwhile, Elmyra Duff becomes upset after losing her cat Furrball. When her family visits a nature park, she tortures the zoo animals with her adoration. Fifi Le Fume spends time with film actor Johnny Pew, who is uninterested in Fifi. Fowlmouth and Shirley the Loon see Skunknophobia. Fifi and Johnny attend the same film. Fowlmouth continuously talks through the film and is thrown out of the theater. Fifi gets annoyed when Johnny takes her photograph of him and signs it for another girl. Fifi kicks Johnny out of the theater, causing him to end up with Elmyra and becoming her new "kitty".

After realizing they are the main course at a dinner theater on a showboat, Babs and Buster escape with the help of Byron. They are chased down by the hungry animals they met throughout their journey, but are rescued by a possum Buster had befriended earlier. They escaped convict returns and tries to kill them as well; Buster, Babs, Byron and the possum try to escape using a mine cart and the escaped convict fells off the cliff. The four end up falling down a "plot hole" which leads them through Wackyland and back to Acme Acres. The film ends with the characters' return to the Looniversity for the fall semester of school and Plucky is then chased by the escaped convict who survived the fall and Babs manages to soak Buster.

Voice cast[edit]

Name Character
Charlie Adler Buster Bunny and Hezakaya Rya
Tress MacNeille Babs Bunny, Babs' Mother, Big Boo, Emily Duff, Roseanne Barr, Barbara Walters, Arsenio Hall, and the Drive-thru Waitress
Gail Matthius Shirley the Loon and Sissy Boo
Kath Soucie Fifi La Fume, Li'l Sneezer, Little Boo and Bimbette Skunk
Don Messick Hamton J. Pig and the Radio Announcer
Joe Alaskey Plucky Duck, Tupelo Toad, Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, and Elmer Fudd
Maurice LaMarche Dizzy Devil, David Letterman, Horatio, and the Theatre Voice
Frank Welker Gogo, Furrball, Little Beeper, Byron Basset, Uncle Stinky, Vinnie, Mac Duff, and various additional voices
Rob Paulsen Fowlmouth, Johnny Pew, Mr. Hitcher, Banjo Possum, Hotel Manager and the Bike Carrier
Cree Summer Elmyra Duff, Mary Melody, and Oprah Winfrey
Candi Milo Sweetie Pie
Jonathan Winters Wade Pig and Superman
Edie McClurg Winnie Pig
Sorrell Booke Big Daddy Boo

Production[edit]

In 1990, Bugs Bunny magazine reported that Warner Bros. was planning the release of How I Spent My Vacation, then referred to as a "Tiny Toon Adventures home video". Plans for the film began before Tiny Toon Adventures premiered on television.[1] Warner Bros. discussed with executive producer Steven Spielberg whether the film should be released in theaters, but Spielberg insisted on a direct-to-video release.[2] Spielberg said that he wanted to make the film a direct-to-video release because "animated features are ideally suited for the repeat viewing," a factor he found important to the genre's appeal to those watching animated films at home.[3] In an interview for the Los Angeles Times, executive in charge of production Jean MacCurdy did not specify the budget of the film, but stated that it was far more costly than episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures.[4] According to Hal Erickson's Television Cartoon Shows: an Illustrated Encyclopedia, the budget of the average Tiny Toon Adventures episode was approximately $350,000.[5]

How I Spent My Vacation was written by Tiny Toon Adventures writers Paul Dini, Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger and Sherri Stoner. Ruegger also produced the film, and Steven Spielberg was the executive producer.[6] The film was animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, a Japanese studio.[7] The film had eight directors: Rich Aarons, Ken Boyer, Kent Butterworth, Barry Caldwell, Alfred Gimeno, Arthur Leonardi, Byron Vaughns,[8] and Aoyama Hiroshi.[7] The film is about 73 minutes long.[8][9]

Themes[edit]

One of the hallmarks of How I Spent My Vacation was the parody of film, popular culture and celebrities. Videos for Kids noted that the film makes fun of "California culture and youth" with the use of celebrity caricatures, such as those of Roseanne Barr, Johnny Carson, Arsenio Hall, David Letterman,[10] Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, and Sylvester Stallone.[11] The film makes fun of other cartoon characters, such as those of Superman, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Ren And Stimpy, Beavis and Butthead, and The Little Mermaid.[12] Babs' and Buster's travels down the river are a parody of the film Deliverance.[13]

Jean MacCurdy said that How I Spent My Vacation makes fun of summer vacations by mocking "the boredom of summer and some of those horrible car trips" (an issue that was first explored in National Lampoon's Vacation).[4] In the film, the Hampton family car trip is very taxing for Plucky Duck; he is disgusted by the family and is nearly killed by an escaped lunatic that the family mistakes for a hitchhiker (He happens to be a caricature of Jason Voorhees).[10] The film's fictional theme park, "HappyWorldLand", is a spoof of Disneyland.[4]

In addition, the animal park that Elmyra's family goes to could be a parody of the Six Flags Wild Safari animal park, which is in Jackson Township, New Jersey. Also, in the scene where Fowlmouth, Shirley, Fifi and Johnny see Skunknophobia, the THX logo is parodied as THUD (The parody logo's end message, "The Audience is Now Deaf", is a parody of THX's slogan, "The Audience is Listening"). Skunknophobia could most likely be a parody of Arachnophobia and it is rated F: Not Suitable for Fowlmouth (A parody of the R rating in the Motion Picture Association of America film rating system).

Home media releases and broadcast[edit]

How I Spent My Vacation was released direct to video on March 11, 1992.[14][a] The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc formats.[15] Jean MacCurdy said that the film was released at that time to take advantage of the Easter market.[4] Because retailers had high demand for the film,[15] Warner Bros. shipped to them nearly one million copies, which the Los Angeles Times noted as "a record for direct-to-video programs".[4]

How I Spent My Vacation was the first direct-to-video, feature-length animated film ever released in the United States.[3][13][b] At the time, the concept of a direct-to-video animated feature was so strange to consumers that some mistakenly thought How I Spent My Vacation was a collection of Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.[4]

The film later aired on Fox Kids on September 5, 1993,[16] as four Tiny Toon Adventures episodes, episodes 97 through 100.[14] Warner Bros. began to release the Tiny Toon Adventures series on DVD, in volumes, on July 29, 2008.[17] The company released How I Spent My Vacation for the first time on DVD on August 21, 2012 (20 years later).[18] The Hub, which airs Tiny Toon Adventures, has shown the film as a "Hub Family Movie."

Reception[edit]

Reviews ranged from positive to mixed. Giving three out of four bones, the VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever highlighted the parodies in the film, and noted that "Parents will be [as] equally entertained [as children] by the level of humor and fast-paced action".[13] Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying the film was "[e]pisodic," but praised the voice cast, songs and "funny business".[19] TV Guide called the film a "firecracker", citing the film's many jokes.[12] The book Videos for Kids: The Essential, Indispensable Parent's Guide to Children's Movies on Video praised the "tongue-in-cheek humor" and celebrity caricatures but issued warning to parents, stating that the film may not be appropriate for "children too young to identify satire" because the characters in the film "are rude and combative and may not provide the best its the worst behavioral role models". Videos for Kids still concluded that the film "should provide an enjoyable viewing experience for the whole family".[10] Dennis Hunt of the Los Angeles Times said that the format of a direct-video film was "unusual", but that some parts of the film were "hilarious", especially the scenes which make fun of Walt Disney World.[4] Since its release, How I Spent My Vacation has been rated as one of the "Top 20 (U.S.-Produced) Direct-to-Video Animated Films" by The Animated Movie Guide.[9]

Rating the film a "C+" overall, Steve Daly of Entertainment Weekly noted that while the film was "superior to most TV fare", he called the film a "pandering kidvid make-over" of the Looney Tunes cartoons on which Tiny Toons was based, saying the characters were immature and the content was "fast without being funny".[20] A 1992 issue of the Video Watchdog was particularly critical, calling the film "a mixed bag" that "sacrificed (...) a cohesive plot for an outline that allows various teams of characters to come up with four stories." The magazine also questioned the point of using characters heavily based on the classic Looney Tunes characters instead of using the classic characters themselves.[21]

The VHS release of How I Spent My Vacation was one of the highest selling videos in the United states; on the Billboard charts, the video ranked 12th in sales in April 1992.[22] In May 1992, How I Spent My Vacation rose to 9th in video sales.[23] On July 18, 1992, How I Spent My Vacation had been on Billboard Magazine's 40 "Top Video Sales" for 16 weeks.[24] On June 27, 1992, the film was ranked the 5th highest on Billboard's "Top Kid Video".[25] On February 6, 1993, How I Spent My Vacation had been on the "Top Kid Video" list for 41 weeks.[26] While it did not state the revenue of the film, the Toronto Star stated that the film sold so well that Warner Bros. decided to release videos of Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.[27]

Notes[edit]

a. ^ Billboard Magazine and some reviews state that the film was released in 1991.[10][13][19][21] The Miami Herald,[3] Bowker's Complete Video Directory: 1997,[8] The Animated Movie Guide,[9] TV Guide,[12] Toonzone's Tiny Toon Adventures episode guide,[14] and the New York Times,[28] state that the film was or will be released in 1992.

b. ^ The Miami Herald refers to the film as "the first full-length made-for-video animated adventure".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lazar, Jerry (1990), "Meet the Tiny Toons", Bugs Bunny Magazine 
  2. ^ Hettrick, Scott (Jan 17, 1992), "Puppies and bunnies and toons on the loose 'Dalmations,' [sic] 'Fievel Goes West,' 'Tiny Toon Adventures' are coming", Kansas City Star: G23 
  3. ^ a b c d "It's About Doggone Time!", The Miami Herald, Apr 10, 1992: 41G 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Hunt, Dennis (April 1992), "This 'Tiny Toon' Venture Isn't From TV", Los Angeles Times, retrieved April 24, 2010 
  5. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005), "Tiny Toon Adventures", Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 1 (2 ed.), McFarland & Company, p. 853, ISBN 0-7864-2099-5 
  6. ^ Opening credits for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
  7. ^ a b Closing credits for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
  8. ^ a b c Bowker's Complete Video Directory: 1997, New Providence: R.R. Bowker, January 1997, p. 1218 
  9. ^ a b c Beck, Jerry (2005), The Animated Movie Guide, Chicago, Illinois: Chicago Review Press, p. 327, ISBN 1-55652-591-5 
  10. ^ a b c d Doug, Atkinson; Fiona Zippan (1995), Videos for Kids: The Essential, Indispensable Parent's Guide to Children's Movies on Video, Rocklin: Prima Lifestyles, p. 157, ISBN 978-1-55958-635-1 
  11. ^ Mink, Eric (March 18, 1992), "A Looney Vacation With 'Tiny Toons'", St. Louis Post-Dispatch: 7F 
  12. ^ a b c TV Guide 40, 1992 
  13. ^ a b c d Connors, Martin; Jim Craddock (2000), "Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation", VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 2000, Farmington Hills: Thomson Gale, p. 923, ISBN 978-1-57859-042-1, retrieved May 7, 2010 
  14. ^ a b c "Tiny Toon Adventures Episodes", Toon Zone, retrieved April 26, 2010 
  15. ^ a b Clark, Mike (March 13, 1992), "New in Stores", USA Today: 3D 
  16. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (2008), "Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation", The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons 1 (3 ed.), Checkmark Books, p. 399, ISBN 978-0-8160-6600-1 
  17. ^ Lambert, David (June 21, 2008), Tiny Toon Adventures - Official Press Release for 1st DVD Releases of Tiny Toon Adventures, Freakazoid!, TVShowsonDVD.com, retrieved April 29, 2010 
  18. ^ Lambert, David (May 17, 2012), Tiny Toon Adventures - Warner DVD Release Describes 'How I Spent My Vacation'!, TVShowsonDVD.com, retrieved May 20, 2012 
  19. ^ a b Maltin, Leonard; Cathleen Anderson, Pete Hammond (2000), Leonard Maltin's 2001 Movie & Video Guide, Signet, p. 1442, ISBN 978-0-451-20107-2 
  20. ^ Steve, Daly (March 20, 1992), "Video Review: Tiny Toon Adventures (1992)", Entertainment Weekly, retrieved April 26, 2010 
  21. ^ a b Video Watchdog (9), 1992: 18 
  22. ^ Associated Press (April 14–15, 1992), "Video Rentals, Sales", Desert News: 2 
  23. ^ Associated Press (May 7, 1992), "Top Video Rentals, Sales", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: C7 
  24. ^ "Top Video Sales", Billboard 104 (29), July 18, 1992: 51 
  25. ^ "Top Kid Video", Billboard 104 (29), June 27, 1992: 48 
  26. ^ "Top Kid Video", Billboard 105 (6), February 6, 1993: 48 
  27. ^ Wilner, Norman (July 18, 1992), "Turn On Toon In", Toronto Star: SW8 
  28. ^ Nichols, Peter (March 19, 1992), "'Fievel Goes West'", The New York Times, retrieved July 6, 2012 

External links[edit]