Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation
|Tiny Toon Adventures:
How I Spent My Vacation
Cover of the LaserDisc release, featuring (from left to right) Plucky Duck, Babs Bunny and Buster Bunny
|Produced by||Tom Ruegger|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (also known as Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toons: How I Spent My Vacation and Tiny Toon Adventures the Movie: How I Spent My Vacation) is a 1992 American direct-to-video animated comedy film from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment. Featuring the regular characters from the Fox Kids animated television program Tiny Toon Adventures, the film follows them during their summer vacation from school, mainly focused on Babs and Buster going downriver, Plucky and Hamton 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 animation studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now known as TMS Entertainment) produced the animation for the film. How I Spent My Vacation was released on both VHS and LaserDisc formats on Wednesday, March 11, 1992. 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.
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 simply ride the tour monorail around the park and then immediately 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, Bimbette, after she wraps and teases him with her tail. Fifi kicks Johnny out of the theater, causing him to end up with Elmyra (still wearing The Cheetah's fur she got at the zoo earlier) 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. The 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 falls off a 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.
|Charlie Adler||Buster Bunny and Theater usher|
|Tress MacNeille||Babs Bunny, Babs' Mother, Big Boo, Emily Duff, Roseanne Barr, Barbara Walters, Hotel chef, Drive-thru Waitress, Horatio's girlfriend|
|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, David Letterman and Elmer Fudd|
|Maurice LaMarche||Dizzy Devil, Ed McMahon, Arsenio Hall, and Superman|
|Frank Welker||Gogo, Furrball, Little Beeper, Byron Basset, Uncle Stinky, Vinnie, Road Runner, and various additional voices|
|Rob Paulsen||Fowlmouth, Johnny Pew, Mr. Hitcher, Banjo Possum, Hotel Manager, Horatio and the Parking lot attendant|
|Cree Summer||Elmyra Duff, Mary Melody, and Oprah Winfrey|
|Candi Milo||Sweetie Pie|
|Jonathan Winters||Wade Pig and|
|Edie McClurg||Winnie Pig|
|Sorrell Booke||Big Daddy Boo|
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. 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. 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. 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. According to Hal Erickson's Television Cartoon Shows: an Illustrated Encyclopedia, the budget of the average Tiny Toon Adventures episode was approximately $350,000.
How I Spent My Vacation was written by series writers Paul Dini, Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, and Sherri Stoner. Ruegger also produced the film, and Steven Spielberg was the executive producer. The film was animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, a Japanese studio. The film had eight directors: Rich Aarons, Ken Boyer, Kent Butterworth, Barry Caldwell, Alfred Gimeno, Arthur Leonardi, Byron Vaughns, and Aoyama Hiroshi. The film is about 73 minutes long.
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, Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey, and Sylvester Stallone. The film makes fun of other cartoon characters, such as those of Superman, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Beavis and Butthead, and The Little Mermaid. Babs and Buster's travels down the river are a parody of the film Deliverance.
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). 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). The film's fictional theme park, "HappyWorldLand", is a spoof of Disneyland. The film also parodies the THX logo and Deep Note when Fowlmouth and Shirley are at the movie theater.
Home media releases and broadcast
How I Spent My Vacation was released direct-to-video on March 11, 1992.[a] The film was released on VHS and LaserDisc formats. MacCurdy said that the film was released at that time to take advantage of the Easter market. Because retailers had high demand for the film, Warner Bros. shipped to them nearly one million copies, which the Los Angeles Times noted as "a record for direct-to-video programs".
How I Spent My Vacation was the first direct-to-video, feature-length animated film released in the United States.[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.
The film later aired on Fox Kids on September 5, 1993, as four Tiny Toon Adventures episodes, episodes 97 through 100. Warner Bros. began to release the Tiny Toon Adventures series on DVD, in volumes, on July 29, 2008. The company released How I Spent My Vacation for the first time on DVD on August 21, 2012 (20 years later). The Hub, which airs Tiny Toon Adventures, has shown the film as a "Hub Family Movie."
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". 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". TV Guide called the film a "firecracker", citing the film's many jokes. 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 be positive role models. Videos for Kids still concluded that the film "should provide an enjoyable viewing experience for the whole family". 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. 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.
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". 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.
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. In May 1992, How I Spent My Vacation rose to 9th in video sales. On July 18, 1992, How I Spent My Vacation had been on Billboard Magazine's 40 "Top Video Sales" for 16 weeks. On June 27, 1992, the film was ranked the 5th highest on Billboard's "Top Kid Video". On February 6, 1993, How I Spent My Vacation had been on the "Top Kid Video" list for 41 weeks. 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.
a. ^ Billboard Magazine and some reviews state that the film was released in 1991. The Miami Herald, Bowker's Complete Video Directory: 1997, The Animated Movie Guide, TV Guide, Toonzone's Tiny Toon Adventures episode guide, and the New York Times, state that the film was or will be released in 1992.
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