Thursday, June 15, 2006

Who Needs Cars?

No, I'm sure Cars is good (haven't seen it just yet), but Thad has posted the Tex Avery cartoon that may have inspired it, "One Cab's Family" (with voice work by Daws Butler and June Foray). It's the story of a taxicab whose son disgraces the family by wanting to be a hot-rod. It's unusually cute and whimsical for Avery, though he does manage to get away with showing the first bare butt in Hollywood cartoons; apparently it's OK with the censors if said butt belongs to a car.

Avery would follow it up by making virtually the same story with airplanes ("Little Johnny Jet"). Maybe that'll be Pixar's next feature.

Later on, Thad will be puting up some of the "Looney Tunes" cartoons produced by Larry Doyle. Doyle was a former "Simpsons" writer who was hired by Warner Brothers a few years back when they were looking to revitalize the Looney Tunes franchise with a movie (Doyle has the writing credit on Looney Tunes: Back in Action) and some short cartoons. Doyle staffed the short cartoons with writers and directors who had worked on "Family Guy" and "The Simpsons" ("Simpsons" stalwart Jon Vitti was one of the writers) and tried to emphasize that he was bringing a hip, contemporary feel to the characters. Unfortunately the results were generally pretty awful -- bad, out-of-character writing; design and animation that is strictly TV-level and TV-style; music (by Walter Murphy, of "Family Guy") that doesn't get the Carl Stalling style at all; and so on.

Most of the cartoons were so bad that WB didn't release them. They'd have done better to stick with the people who made "Little Go Beep" instead of assuming that they needed to bring in "Simpsons" people to give the franchise a boost; the failure of Back in Action (though Joe Dante and Eric Goldberg did what they could with the project despite studio interference) and the loss on the unreleased cartoons nearly killed off the franchise altogether.

8 comments:

VP19 said...

If Warners had been smart, instead of grafting the Looney Tunes characters to updated cartoons, they would have made theatrical cartoons featuring the Animaniacs characters. They probably would have been better suited for that type of contemporary humor, and they wouldn't have to contend with (or escape) ghosts of their past.

Thad K said...

Hey Jaime,

I was actually planning to post those to my blog this week with a rant on why they suck so badly.

I'll try putting two more up (yeah I have two more). The Duck Dodgers one was better than any episode of the TV series, but the Porky Pig one is just about the worst thing ever spawned.

- Thad

daringadventurer1 said...

I know the Avery cartoon you mean, and beyond certain things that go along w/ creating a world run by sentient cars...it's not all that similar to Cars (which, btw, also features sentient aircraft). I'm sure Lasseter's familiar with both Avery cartoons, since he's into animation in general in a big way, but since people have been anthropomorphizing cars and planes pretty much since there have *been* cars and planes, and Lasseter's family was in the car business and he's a NASCAR fan, blablahblah, I don't think it's a case of "w/o the Avery cartoons, Cars wouldn't exist" or "Pixar's so bankrupt in ideas they're gonna remake Johnny Jet next."

Karl said...

I wish Warner Bros. would just stop using their classic cartoon characters in new productions. Occasionally someone gets it right, but the results are usually pretty dismal.

Jorge Garrido said...

Where did Thad get these? As far as I know they were only shown once on Teletoon.

John Surname said...

they should stop trying to imitate the old ones and just leave the characters where they be, or better yet, give all the rights to me. shake it, shake it.

Jorge Garrido said...

I disagree wiht alot of people's thoughts that they should just be left alone. New Looney Tunes could eventually be made that are just as good as the old ones, you just need the right people!

Create pastiches of the characters and make them yourself, without any corporate interference. Get your best friends, do alot of funny drawings, write classic gags (take HOURS at a time for MONTHS thinking up good gags) and do it on flash, but handdrawn.

Here's my ideas:

Bugs Bunny = Jack Rabbit
DAffy Duck = Foul W. Fowl

Roberto González said...

I think it could have been an interest experiment. I don't get why they finally went SO bad. I don't remember the names involved in the cartoons, but I think Vitti is quite talented. I also remember there was another talented guy involved in the shorts, but I can't remember who he was.

I think it's nearly impossible to find the right people to do it right, but I think they still could do a much better LT movie than the ones they have released to this day.

Doyle is pretty average as a Simpson writer. LT: Back In Action was half-decent concerning the dialogue of the cartoon characters, life action stuff mostly sucked. The animation was average but I did like some of the facial expressions. Not the extreme ones, in fact there was few extreme stuff, but the regular ones were quite well drawn...at least they all have the same style, unlike Space Jam, which hasn't got style at all.