Looney Tunes On Television
By Kevin McCorry and Jon Cooke
Warner Brothers and Warner Brothers-Seven Arts television series.
Produced in 1960-2 by Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones.
Produced in 1966-8 by David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng.
Produced in 1968-75 by William L. Hendricks, Peter Morales, and Andrew Stein.
Produced in 1975-7 by William L. Hendricks and Hal Geer.
Produced in 1977-85 by Hal Geer.
Produced in 1985-6 by Hal Geer and Steven S. Greene.
Produced in 1986-9 by Steven S. Greene and Kathleen Helppie-Shipley.
Produced in 1989-90 by Jean H. MacCurdy and Kathleen Helppie-Shipley.
Produced in 1990-2000 by Lorri A. Bond and Kathleen Helppie-Shipley.
Animation, layouts, and backgrounds by members of Motion Picture Screen
Cartoonists Local 839.
Voice Characterization by Mel Blanc.
Music by Carl W. Stalling, Milt Franklyn, John Seely, William Lava,
Walter Greene, Eugene Poddany, Doug Goodwin, Rob Walsh, Quinn Amper,
Fred Strittmatter, and Dean Elliot.
The Warner Brothers cartoons have been shown on television for more than
four decades! Their success on the small screen has confounded their
creators, who only intended for them to be exhibited in theatres within
a year of production.
While it is true that some of the cartoons have outdated themselves with
reference to forgotten Hollywood celebrities, films, or early television
series, most have a timeless quality that has appealed to the comedic
and visual sensibilities of more than four generations of viewers.
There are very few people who do not know about The Bugs Bunny/Road
Runner Hour or The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show. Saturday morning
did become synonymous with the animated cartoon, and it was the Saturday
morning Warner Brothers cartoon series that largely established this
connection between the sixth morning of the week and cartoon mayhem.
Before 1960 and the prime-time Bugs Bunny Show, the only Looney
Tunes and Merrie Melodies to appear on television were those of the
black-and-white variety, produced before July, 1948. The "mature" era of
the Warner Brothers cartoon characters was not represented on television
until The Bugs Bunny Show, but thereafter, the post-1948 cartoon
shorts have enjoyed constant exposure on the broadcast airwaves.
From 1960 to the late 1990s, the Warner Brothers cartoons were distributed
for U.S. television in four packages. The primary package, consisting
usually of the most popular post-1948 cartoon shorts, was allocated to
one or some of the traditional three American television networks, ABC,
CBS, and NBC, for weekly, Saturday broadcast, hence The Road Runner
Show, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour, The Bugs Bunny & Tweety
Show, etc.. A secondary package of quite highly regarded post-1948
cartoons, often assembled into series of half-hour compilations (e.g.
Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends and That's
Warner Bros.!), was syndicated, released for weekday transmission
on individual television stations. The remainder of the post-1948 cartoons
were randomly circulated to television stations to air in whatever order
that those stations chose. Finally, the pre-1948 cartoon shorts, having been
sold by Warner Brothers to Associated Artists Productions in the 1950s, were
also syndicated and often shown with Universal's Woody Woodpecker cartoons
and introduced by local television personalities, and in the 1980s, they
were purchased by media mogul Ted Turner for broadcast on Turner's cable
television stations, TNT, TBS, and Cartoon Network.
Before 1997, there was virtually no overlap in these four distribution packages.
When a cartoon was available in one post-1948 package, it could not be
included in another. However, the post-1948 packages were changed somewhat
at two-to-four-year intervals, with cartoons being shuffled to appear in different
capacities. The shuffling was minimal through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, with
the same package of cartoon shorts seen year after year after year on Saturday
morning and only slight modification to the list of cartoons that were offered on
the network (ABC, CBS, NBC) running the Saturday morning television show. However,
in 1990, the selection of cartoons offered at that time on ABC was altered significantly,
as were the cartoons in the other post-1948 packages, Merrie Melodies: Starring
Bugs Bunny and Friends and Looney Tunes On Nickelodeon.
Until YTV's miraculous acquiring of 233 Warner Brothers cartoon shorts in 1997 for
uncut broadcast, English-speaking Canadian viewers were dependent upon the U.S.
distribution formula for episodes of the Saturday morning American network television
series or for the weekday compilations like Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny
and Friends. As a result, for English-speaking Canadians without satellite
television dishes to receive Looney Tunes On Nickelodeon, several Warner
Brothers cartoons were not experienced on television in English, and because YTV
did not show them, they may continue not to be experienced. "Boyhood Daze",
"China Jones", "Wild About Hurry", "Hip- Hip- Hurry!", "Unnatural History",
"Swallow the Leader", "Now Hear This", and others are virtually unknown to Canadian
television viewers without access to Nickelodeon.
In 1997, a specialty cable television animated cartoon channel, Teletoon, began transmission
across Canada, offering The Road Runner Show and, starting in 2002, The Bugs Bunny
& Tweety Show, though the former was in its 1970s incarnation only, with one episode
quickly dropped from the rotation, and the latter was reassembled into 26 compilations of
cartoons included in the 1989-90 and 1990-1 seasons. Both The Road Runner Show and
Bugs Bunny & Tweety were exported to Teletoon Retro, which commenced broadcasting in
2007 as an adjunct to Teletoon, and were joined there by The Porky Pig Show, which
consisted only of cartoon shorts, i.e. it having no opening or closing credits to The
Porky Pig Show's 1964-7 incarnation.
South of the U.S./Canadian border, 1997 saw a Warner Brothers and Turner Entertainment
merger that allowed for Warner Brothers' and Turner Entertainment's cartoon packages to
intersect, and pre- and post-1948 cartoons aired together on television networks/stations
owned by Warner Brothers and Ted Turner. Turner Entertainment's Cartoon Network then sought
to acquire exclusive broadcast rights to all of the Warner Brothers animated cartoon
canon, Nickelodeon and ABC obliged accordingly, and in 2000, Cartoon Network became the
only broadcaster of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies in the United States.
As time passed, however, Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies showings on Cartoon Network
became less and less frequent, in that Cartoon Network was interested more in promoting
its own "in-house", current, original animated cartoon television programs. By mid-2004,
classic Warner Brothers cartoons were reduced on Cartoon Network to a mere half-hour
per week, at 7:30 A.M. Atlantic Time on Saturday mornings. The final Looney Tune and Merrie
Melodie broadcast on Cartoon Network was on October 3, 2004. The Warner Brothers cartoon
shorts were then moved to the Boomerang television channel, a somewhat obscure appendage
of Cartoon Network, on which they ran until 2005.
Cartoon Network/Boomerang's rights to televise the Warner-Brothers-owned post-1948 Looney
Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon package expired at the end of 2005, and no new broadcast
agreement was reached between Cartoon Network and Warner Brothers for the post-1948
cartoons. The Ted-Turner-owned pre-1948 cartoons were shown for a few months, but even
those are no longer being shown on Boomerang. Now, the pre-1948 cartoons only appear
once in awhile as time filler on the Turner Classic Movies specialty cable television
Below are articles and in most cases episode guides to nearly every television show
to feature the Warner Brothers cartoons.
The Bugs Bunny Show
The Road Runner Show
The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour
The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show
Merrie Melodies: Starring Bugs Bunny and Friends
Looney Tunes On Nickelodeon
The Bugs N' Daffy Show
The Other Television Shows Starring the Warner Brothers Cartoon Characters
Looney Tunes (1955)
The Porky Pig Show (1964)/Porky Pig and His Friends (1971)
Bugs Bunny and Friends (1970s)
The Merrie Melodies Show (1970s)
Bunny et ses amis (1970s; Canada)
The Sylvester and Tweety Show (1976)
The Daffy Duck Show (1978)
The Sylvester & Tweety, Daffy & Speedy Show (1981)
The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour (1985)
Bugs Bunny et ses amis (1989; Canada)
Bugs Bunny (1997; YTV Canada)
Quoi de neuf, Bugs? (2000; Canada)
The Looney Tunes Television Specials
Other Television Appearances of the Looney Tunes Characters - commercials, cameos, and more
Tex Avery Show/Toonheads Episode Guides
All images © Warner Bros.
Textual content © Kevin McCorry and Jon Cooke, with all rights reserved
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