Tiny Toon Adventures
Tiny Toon Adventures (also known as Tiny Toons) is an American animated comedy television series that was broadcasting from September 14, 1990 through October 31, 1994 as the first collaborative effort of Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation after being conceived in the late 1980s by Tom Ruegger. The show follows the adventures of a group of young cartoon characters who attend Acme Looniversity to become the next generation of characters from the Looney Tunes series. The sequel of the show is Animaniacs.
The pilot episode, "The Looney Beginning," aired as a prime-time special on CBS on September 14, 1990; while the series itself was featured in first-run syndication for the first two seasons. The final season was aired on Fox Kids. The series ended production in 1992 in favor of Animaniacs; however, two specials were produced in 1994.
- 1 Background
- 2 Production
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Principal cast
- 5 Films and television specials
- 6 Spin-offs
- 7 Response
- 8 Merchandise
- 9 History
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional town of Acme Acres, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attend Acme Looniversity, a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university is founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines revolve around the school.
Like the Looney Tunes, the series makes use of cartoon violence (e.g. anvils falling on someone, liberal use of explosives) and slapstick. The series parodies and references the current events of the early 1990s and Hollywood culture. Occasionally, episodes delve into veiled ethical and morality stories of ecology, self-esteem, and crime.
The series centers on a group of young cartoon characters who attend a school called Acme Looniversity to be the next generation of Looney Tunes characters. Most of the Tiny Toons characters were designed to resemble younger versions of Warner Bros.' most popular Looney Tunes animal characters by exhibiting similar traits and looks.
The two main characters are both rabbits: Buster Bunny, a blue male rabbit, and Babs Bunny, a pink female rabbit. Other major characters in the cast are generally nonhuman as well. These include Plucky Duck, a green male duck; Hamton J. Pig, a pink male pig; Fifi La Fume, a purple-and-white female skunk; Shirley the Loon, a white female loon; Dizzy Devil, a purple tasmanian devil; Furrball, a blue cat; Sweetie Pie, a pink canary; Calamity Coyote, a bluish-gray coyote; Little Beeper, a red-orange roadrunner; and Gogo Dodo, a zany green dodo. Two human characters, Montana Max and Elmyra Duff, are regarded as the main villains of the series and also are students of Acme Looniversity. As villains, Elmyra is seen as an extreme pet lover while Montana Max is a spoiled rich brat who either owns lots of toys or polluting factories. Supporting characters included Li'l Sneezer, a gray mouse with powerful sneezes; Concord Condor, a purple condor; Byron Basset, a usually sleeping basset hound; Bookworm, a green worm with glasses; Arnold the Pit Bull, a muscular white pit bull; Fowlmouth, a white rooster with horrid language; Barky Marky, a brown dog, and Mary Melody, a young African American human girl.
Feeding off the characters are the more traditional Looney Tunes such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig among others. Most of the adults teach classes at Acme Looniversity and serve as mentors to the Tiny Toons while others fill secondary positions as needed.
The series and the show's characters were developed by series producer, head writer and cartoonist Tom Ruegger, division leader Jean MacCurdy, associate producer and artist Alfred Gimeno and story editor/writer Wayne Kaatz. Among the first writers on the series were Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, and Eddie Fitzgerald. The character and scenery designers included Alfred Gimeno, Ken Boyer, Dan Haskett, Karen Haskett, and many other artists and directors.
"Buster and Babs Go To Hawaii" was co-written by three then-teenage girls who were fans of the show.
Voice director Andrea Romano auditioned over 1,200 voices for the series and chose more than a dozen main voice actors. The role of Buster Bunny was given to Charlie Adler, who gave the role, as producer Tom Ruegger said, "a great deal of energy". The role of Babs Bunny was given to Tress MacNeille. Writer Paul Dini said that MacNeille was good for the role because she could do both Babs' voice and the voices of her impressions. Voice actors Joe Alaskey and Don Messick were given the roles of Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig, respectively. Danny Cooksey played Montana Max and, according to Paul Dini, was good for the role because he could do a "tremendous mean voice." Cooksey was also the only voice actor in the cast who was not an adult. Cree Summer played the roles of Elmyra Duff and Mary Melody; former Saturday Night Live cast member Gail Matthius played Shirley the Loon, and Kath Soucie had the roles of Fifi La Fume and Li'l Sneezer. Other actors for the series included Maurice LaMarche as the voice of Dizzy Devil; Candi Milo as the voice of Sweetie, Frank Welker as the voice of Gogo Dodo, Furrball, Byron Basset, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Barky Marky, and other voices; and Rob Paulsen as the voice of Fowlmouth, Arnold the Pit Bull, Concord Condor, and other characters.
During production of the series' third season, Adler left the show due to a conflict with the producers. Adler was upset that he had not landed a role in Animaniacs while voice actors with smaller roles in Tiny Toon Adventures like Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, and Frank Welker were given starring roles in the new series. John Kassir replaced Adler for the remainder of the show's run. Joe Alaskey, the voice of Plucky Duck, also left Tiny Toons for financial reasons, but returned when an agreement was reached with the studio.
In order to complete 65 episodes for the first season, Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment contracted several different animation houses. These animation studios included Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now known as TMS Entertainment), Wang Film Productions, AKOM, Freelance Animators New Zealand, Encore Cartoons, StarToons, and Kennedy Cartoons. Tokyo Movie Shinsha also animated the series' opening sequence. Warner Bros. staff disliked working with Kennedy Cartoons due to the studio's inconsistent quality, and episodes that they animated were often subject to multiple re-takes. In other cases, such as the debut episode "The Looney Beginning", portions of Kennedy-animated episodes were re-animated by another studio. Kennedy Cartoons was dropped after the end of the first season.
Tiny Toon Adventures was made with a higher production value than standard television animation. It had a cel count that was more than double that of most television animation. The series had about 25,000 cels per episode instead of the standard 10,000, making it unique in that characters moved more fluidly. Pierre DeCelles, an animation producer, described storyboarding for the series as "fun but a big challenge because I always had a short schedule, and it's not always easy to work full blast nonstop".
During the development of the show Steven Spielberg said that Warner Bros. would use a full orchestra, which some thought too expensive and impossible, but they ended up agreeing. Warner Bros. selected Bruce Broughton to write the theme (for which he would win a Daytime Emmy along with Tom Ruegger and Wayne Kaatz, who both worked with Broughton on the lyrics) and serve as music supervisor. In addition to scoring 11 episodes, Broughton chose 26 other composers to score each different episode:
- Julie Bernstein
- Steve Bernstein
- Steven Bramson
- Don Davis
- John Debney
- Ron Grant
- Les Hooper
- Carl Johnson
- Elliot Kaplan
- Arthur Kempel
- Ralph Kessler
- Albert Lloyd Olson
- Hummie Mann
- Dennis McCarthy
- Joel McNeely
- Peter Myers
- Laurence Rosenthal
- William Ross
- Arthur B. Rubinstein
- J. Eric Schmidt
- David Slonaker
- Fred Steiner
- Morton Stevens
- Richard Stone
- Stephen James Taylor
- Mark Watters
The composers conducted their own music. Of these composers, Broughton, Bramson, Davis, Olson, Stone, Taylor and Watters wrote the score to Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation.
- Charlie Adler – Buster Bunny (episodes 1-83, 85-92, 94-97, big part from episode 93 [1990-1992], film Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spend My Vacation [march 1992], video game Tiny Toon Adventure: Defenders of the Universe ), Yosemite Sam (in "The Wide World of Elmyra")
- Joe Alaskey – Plucky Duck, Batman (in "Gang Busters"), George Washington's Ghost, Hugo (in "What Makes Toons Tick"), Marvin the Martian, Pete Puma (in "Going Places"), Porky Pig (in "Music Day"), Speedy Gonzales, Steven Spielberg (in "K-ACME TV"), Sylvester, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam (in "Gang Busters")
- Danny Cooksey – Montana Max
- John Kassir – Buster Bunny (episodes 84, 98-100, end from episode 93 [1992-1995], video games Tiny Toon Adventures: The Great Beanstalk , Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster and the Beanstalk )
- Maurice LaMarche – Dizzy Devil, Abraham Lincoln's Ghost, Dick Clark, Jackster, Orson Whales, Robin Killems, Tim Burton, Tom Ruegger, Yosemite Sam
- Tress MacNeille – Babs Bunny, Babs' Mom, Baby Duff, Barbara Bush, Julia Roberts, Madonna, Mama Bear, Monty's Mother, Plucky's Mother, Roseanne Barr, Whoopi Goldberg, Witch Hazel (in "What Makes Toons Tick")
- Gail Matthius – Shirley the Loon, Monty's Mother (in "Love Disconnection"), Sherri Stoner, Shirley McVain
- Don Messick – Hamton J. Pig, Bosko
- Candi Milo – Sweetie
- Rob Paulsen – Arnold the Pitbull, Banjo the Woodpile Possum, Blink Winkleman, Concord Condor, Cooper DeVille, Fowlmouth, Foxy, Sneezer's Dad, Peter Hastings, Porky Pig (in "The Wacko World of Sports"), Vanilla Lice
- Kath Soucie – Fifi La Fume, Sneezer, Gazootite Macaulay Culkin Gnome, Margot Mallard
- Cree Summer – Elmyra Duff, Mary Melody, Michelle Pfeiffer, Oprah Winfrey
- Frank Welker – Gogo Dodo, Animator (in "The Looney Beginning"), Barky Marky, Big Bee, Bookworm, Byron Basset, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Dustin Hoffman, George Bush, Gossamer, Gremlin, Hugo (in "Cinemaniacs", MC Hammerhead Shark, Mac Duff (in "You Asked For It Again"), Monty's Father, One-Eyed Jack, Papa Bear, Ralph the Guard, Road Runner, Roger Rabbit, Ronald Reagan, Steven Spielberg (in "Thirteensomething" and "Foxtrot"), Ticklepuss, Wolverine, X-Bird, Coyote Kid
- Jeff Altman – Dr. Gene Splicer
- Orson Bean – Geppetto
- Michael Bell – Batman (in "Hollywood Plucky")
- Jeff Bennett – Batman (in "The Return of Batduck"), Kevin Costner
- Bob Bergen – Porky Pig (in "Animaniacs" and "Hero Hamton")
- Jeff Bergman – Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn, Dr. I.Q. Hi, Duck Vader, Elmer Fudd (in "Her Wacky Highness," "Psychic Fun-omenon Day," "Tiny Toon Music Television," and "Viewer Mail Day"), Sylvester (in "Viewer Mail Day"), Tweety (in "Animaniacs" and "Let's Do Lunch"), Yosemite Sam (in "Son of Looniversity Daze")
- Stephen Bishop – Mailman
- Noel Blanc – Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig (in "Fields of Honey" and "The Acme Bowl"), Tasmanian Devil (in "You Asked For It" Pt. 1)
- Susan Blu – Sphinxy
- Valri Bromfield – Fran, Mary Hartless
- Julie Brown – Julie Bruin
- Rodger Bumpass – Ronald Grump
- Greg Burson – Bugs Bunny (in "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" and "Best of Buster Day"), Daffy Duck (in "Two-Tone Town"), Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn (in "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian"), Pepé Le Pew, Tasmanian Devil (in "Best of Buster Day")
- Pat Buttram – Bicycle Bob
- Hamilton Camp – Scottish Flea
- Dan Castellaneta – Jeffries, Lars Thorwald
- Jim Cummings – Iodizer, Jack Nicholson, Melvin the Monster, Mike Tyson, Papa Flea
- Tim Curry – Prince Charles, Reginald
- Louise DuArt – Barbara Walters
- Pat Fraley – Chef, Travel Agent
- Stan Freberg – Junior Bear, Pete Puma
- Matt Frewer – Mac Duff (in "Take Elmyra Please" and "Grandma's Dead")
- Soleil Moon Frye – Amanda Duff
- June Foray – Granny, Witch Hazel (In "Night Ghoulery")
- Ben Ryan Ganger – Duncan
- Danny Gans – Donald Trump, Johnny Carson
- Joan Gerber – Gotcha Grabmore
- Phillip Glasser – Pedro
- Desirée Goyette – Roxy
- Edan Gross – Tyrone the Turtle
- Phil Hartman – Octavius
- Whitby Hertford – Duncan Duff, Fleo
- John Hillner – Michigan J. Frog
- Carol Kane – Ollie
- Jim MacGeorge - Announcer
- James Mates - Narrator
- Edie McClurg – Winnie Pig
- Cindy McGee – Mary Melody (in "Furrball Follies")
- Brian Stokes Mitchell – Vinnie
- Robert Morse – Goopy Geer
- Vincent Price – Edgar Allan Poe
- Clive Revill – William Shakespeare
- Andrea Romano – Andrea Romano the Magnificent
- Roger Rose – David Letterman, Ninja Turtle
- Maggie Roswell – Mary Vain
- Nathan Ruegger – Baby Plucky Duck
- Fran Ryan – Grandma Duff
- Jean Smart - Announcer
- Steven Spielberg – Himself (in "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian"), Roger Rabbit
- Sally Struthers – Rhoda, Sandy Witch
- B.J. Ward – Honey
- Lennie Weinrib - Honey, Jr.
- Vernee Watson - Announcer, Joker
- Jonathan Winters – Stanley Elephant, Wade Pig
- Henny Youngman – Himself
Films and television specials
A feature-length movie was released direct-to-video in 1992, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. This was later re-edited and aired as part of the series. The length of the movie is 73 minutes. Fox aired It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special in primetime on December 6, 1992. This episode is a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life Although the Christmas episode is called a special it is only called this as it is Christmas themed and is just a regular episode. The Tiny Toon Spring Break Special was aired on Fox during primetime on March 27, 1994. Fox aired Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery in primetime on May 28, 1995.
In 1992, The Plucky Duck Show was produced as a spin-off for Fox Kids, based on the character Plucky Duck. Except for the premiere episode The Return of Batduck, the show was composed of recycled Plucky-centric episodes from the series.
In 1998, a spin-off entitled Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain debuted on Kids' WB. This series featured the Elmyra character as well as Pinky and the Brain, two characters who were originally on Animaniacs before receiving their own series, also entitled Pinky and the Brain. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain picks up after Pinky leaves off where Pinky and the Brain become Elmyra's pets after Brain accidentally destroys their original home, ACME Labs, during an experiment. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain lasted for thirteen episodes.
According to Kirk Tingblad, in 2003 an updated version of Tiny Toons was in development at Warner Bros. and it was extremely close to getting a green light for production. Cartoon Network asked for a teenage version of Tiny Toons, similar to the likes of That 70's Show or The Archies. Gary Hartle and Kirk Tingblad were going to be the show's producers/directors. However, it was later turned down by Cartoon Network executives, who instead wanted a show with the classic Looney Tunes characters (which resulted in a Duck Dodgers movie, which later became a TV series). There only exist character designs and character situation art done by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone. As Warner Bros. had no other venue at the time, it was put into a box and packed away into the Warner Bros. vault.
Awards and nominations
|Daytime Emmy Awards||1991||Outstanding Animated Program||Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi, Art Vitello, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner||Won|
|Outstanding Music Direction and Composition||William Ross for "Fields of Honey"||Won|
|Outstanding Original Song||Bruce Broughton, Wayne Kaatz, and Tom Ruegger for the main title theme||Won|
|1992||Outstanding Animated Program||Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, and Art Leonardi||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Direction and Composition||Mark Watters for "The Love Disconnection"||Won|
|Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program||Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner||Won|
|1993||Outstanding Animated Program||Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Byron Vaughns, Ken Boyer, Alfred Gimeno, and David West||Won|
|Outstanding Music Direction and Composition||Steven Bramson for “The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain”||Won|
- Annie Awards
- Nominated for Best Animated Television Program (1992)
- Nominated for Best Animated Television Program (1993)
- Emmy Awards
- Nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (teen Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, Sherri Stoner, Dave Marshall, Glen Kennedy, Rich Aarons) (1991)
- Young Artist Awards
- Won award for Best New Cartoon Series (1989–1990)
- Nominated for Outstanding Young Voice-Over in an Animated Series or Special (Whitby Hertford) (1991–1992)
- Environmental Media Awards
- Won EMA Award for Children's Animated series (for the episode Whales Tales) (1991)
In January 2009, IGN named Tiny Toon Adventures as the 41st in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows.
Tiny Toon Adventures Magazine, a quarterly children's magazine based on the series, debuted in October 1990. Issues #1–4 were published by DC Comics, and issues #5–7 were released by Welsh Publishing Group. The final issue was cover dated Spring 1992. Also, various storybooks were published by the Little Golden Book company, including a few episode adaptations and some original stories (Lost in the Fun House and Happy Birthday, Babs!). Tiny Toon Adventures also had a comic book series made by Warner Bros. and DC. The characters also made occasional cameo appearances in the Animaniacs, Freakazoid and Pinky and the Brain comic books.
Toys and video games
Since its debut, numerous video games based on Tiny Toons have been released. There have been no less than nine titles based on the series released after its original television run and as recently as 2002. Many companies have held the development and publishing rights for the games, including Konami (during the 1990s), Atari, NewKidCo, Conspiracy Games, Warthog, Terraglyph Interactive Studios, and Treasure. Toys for the series included plush dolls and plastic figures, primarily made by Playskool.
Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation was released on DVD on August 21, 2012. There are currently no plans to release the two specials (Spring Break and Night Ghoulery) on DVD. In the early to mid-1990s, Warner Bros. had released several videos, including Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (a direct-to-video release which later aired as a four-part episode), Best of Buster and Babs, Two Tone Town, Tiny Toon Big Adventures, Tiny Toon: Island Adventures, Tiny Toon Adventures: Music TV, Tiny Toon: Fiendishly Funny Adventures, Tiny Toon: Night Ghoulery and Tiny Toons: It's a Wonderful Christmas Special.
|DVD name||Ep #||Release date||Special Features||Notes|
|Season 1 Volume 1||35||July 29, 2008||From Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Wacky Evolution, featurette||Was released concurrently with the first season of Freakazoid. "The Looney Beginning" episode is uncut on the set.|
|Season 1 Volume 2||30||April 21, 2009||None, aside from trailers.||Was released concurrently with the second season of Freakazoid. Two episodes are edited: "Tiny Toons Music Television" (a phone number gag removed) and "Son of the Wacko World of Sports" (wraparounds and title cards removed).|
|Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues||17||January 8, 2013||None, aside from trailers.||The previously banned episode "Elephant Issues" is included in this set. Initially when the set was announced, the content list did not contain the episode due to its controversial "One Beer" segment.|
|Volume 4: Looney Links||16||May 28, 2013||None, aside from trailers.||The original release contained a glitch which Warner Bros fixed by the end of July. Also, "Best of Buster Day" is missing its second wraparound scene.|
According to writer Paul Dini, Tiny Toons originated as an idea by Terry Semel, then the president of Warner Bros., who wanted to "inject new life into the Warner Bros. Animation department," and at the same time create a series with junior versions of Looney Tunes characters. Semel proposed that the new series would be a show based on Looney Tunes where the characters were either young versions of the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters or new characters as the offsprings of the original characters. The idea of a series with the basis of younger versions of famous characters was common at the time; the era in which Tiny Toons was produced for had such cartoons as Muppet Babies, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry Kids and The Flintstones Kids. Warner Bros. chose to do the same because Spielberg wanted to make a series similar to Looney Tunes, as series producer/show-runner Tom Ruegger explained: "Well, I think in Warner Bros. case, they had the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg] on a project [...] But he didn't want to just work on characters that Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson and Bob Clampett made famous and created. He wanted to be involved with the creation of some new characters." The result was a series similar to Looney Tunes without the use of the same characters.
In 1987, the Warner Bros. Animation studio approached Steven Spielberg to collaborate with Semel and Warner Bros. head of licensing Dan Romanelli on Semel's ideas. They eventually decided that the new characters would be similar to the Looney Tunes characters with no direct relation. However, Tiny Toons did not go into production then, nor was it even planned to be made for television; the series initially was to be a theatrical feature-length film.
In December 1988, Tiny Toons was changed from a film to a television series, with Jean MacCurdy overseeing production of the first 65 episodes. MacCurdy said that Tiny Toons was changed to a television series to "reach a broader audience". For the series, MacCurdy hired Tom Ruegger, who previously wrote cartoons for Filmation and Hanna-Barbera, to be a producer. In January 1989, Ruegger and writer Wayne Kaatz began developing the characters and the setting of "Acme Acres" with Spielberg.
In January 1989, Warner Bros. Animation was choosing its voice actors from over 1,200 auditions and putting together its 100-person production staff. In April 1989, full production of series episodes began with five overseas animation houses and a total budget of $25 million. The first 65 episodes of the series aired in syndication on 135 stations, beginning in September 1990. During that time, Tiny Toons was a huge success and got higher ratings than its Disney Afternoon competitors in some affiliates. After a successful run in syndication, Fox got the rights for season 3. Production of the series halted in late 1992 to make way for Animaniacs to air the following year.
Tiny Toon Adventures, along with Animaniacs, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the mid-2000s (decade) after production of new episodes ceased.
In the US, the series re-ran on Nickelodeon from 1995–1999 and again from 2002–2004, and also aired on Kids' WB from 1997–2000, Cartoon Network from 1999–2001 and finally on Nicktoons from 2002–2005. On October 27, 2012, the series aired on broadcast television once again on Vortexx with the special "Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery" and again on November 24, 2012. The series began airing re-runs on the Hub Network on July 1, 2013. Tiny Toon Adventures was one of the few shows carried over when the Hub Network was re-branded as the Discovery Family on October 13, 2014. Discovery Family stopped airing reruns of Tiny Toon Adventures in early 2015. Tiny Toon Adventures returned to Discovery Family on June 6, 2015, but was removed again shortly after.
In the UK, the series aired in reruns on Cartoon Network from 1999–2002, Boomerang from 2004-2006 and again, one more time on December 17, 2011 with the episode "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special". and Cartoonito from 2015–present
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