Friday, May 16, 2008

Why Is it "Sylvester and Tweety" and not "Tweety and Sylvester?"

Warner Brothers will release the first season of the WB network show The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries on DVD. I'm actually surprised it took them this long, given how important Tweety is to their merchandising these days.

This was one of the new shows that launched the WB's first Saturday morning lineup in 1995, aimed at younger audiences than their other animated shows. Tom Minton was the producer and head writer, but the format was not his idea. Warners had the idea that Granny (voiced by June Foray, but the original design from the Bea Benaderet years) should be an Angela Lansbury-type sleuth who travels around the world solving mysteries; Tweety, Sylvester and Hector the bulldog sometimes help her but mostly just do their usual chase routines. (I'll give the show credit for that much: despite the format, Tweety and Sylvester were usually in character.)

The show actually became pretty interesting after the first season. The first season suffered from doing all half-hour stories, way too long for a Tweety/Sylvester cartoon even with the mystery stuff. In the second season and for the rest of the series' run, Minton and his crew (including writer/storyboardist Carolyn Gair) made two big changes: one, they reformatted the show so the episodes had two separate 10-minute cartoons, and two, they revamped the design style of the show in the style of late '50s cartoons, with very stylized backgrounds and a different stylized design approach for every story. Add in the penchant for unusual cameos by WB characters of the past -- the writers had a Cool Cat obsession and would work a reference to him into just about everuy episode -- and a good knowledge of Sylvester/Tweety gags, and it was actually quite enjoyable to watch.

The first season, despite the flawed format, has one thing going for it: Tokyo Movie Shinsha animated many of the episodes (Warners decided that the "classic" characters would benefit from TMS animation, which is part of the reason why Animaniacs didn't have access to TMS that season).

8 comments:

Thad said...

This was a truly awful series.

Jorge Garrido said...

This was the worst show WBA ever attempted. Well, Duck Dodgers was bad, too.

Anyone see Tweety's High Flying Adventure? No, I didn't think so...

Mattieshoe said...

I'm pretty surprised that the WB would port it's TMS animation to THIS show, rather then to Animaniacs, which was suffering from a Decreasing-in-quality Wang and a Bad-as-ever Akom.

I suppose Animaniacs had moved from it's place in the spotlight at this point in it's run, so the WB wasn't willing to give it exclusive access to their best Animation studio.

by the time it DID have access to TMS animation again, It certainly wasn't as nice as I remembered.

The problem with a huge, multi-national Animation studio like TMS is that The quality is bound to fluctuate as new departments are brought in and old departments replaced.

then again, this probably had more to do with the state of the show as it was made then the overseas studio.

Thad said...

Anyone see Tweety's High Flying Adventure? No, I didn't think so...

I saw it. Just typical WBA eye rape. Nothing to get excited over.

PCUnfunny said...

On the subect of TMS, not one American company has EVER fully taken advantage of that company's wonderful talent. You may name any show you like, it's not true at all.


"Anyone see Tweety's High Flying Adventure? No, I didn't think so..."

Just like "Mysteries", the WB went down the crappy cartoon revival check list for that film:

1. All the main characters being sterotypes of themselves ? Check.

2. Un-inspired animation ? Check.

4. Ear-bleeding and just plain boring orginal music and bad imitations of Stalling's work ? Check

5. Old obscure characters that have no business showing up at all ? Check.

PCUnfunny said...

Correction, POPULAR and obscure characters that had no business showing up at all.

Mr. Semaj said...

The only valid thing about this show was that it was dedicated to the memory of Friz Freleng.

Mattieshoe said...

"On the subect of TMS, not one American company has EVER fully taken advantage of that company's wonderful talent. You may name any show you like, it's not true at all."

tiny toons: night Ghoulery did a pretty good job at taking advantage of TMS.

watch the shorts "sneezer the sneezing ghost" and "Hold that duck"

both of these segments would be terribly watered down had they been animated in Korea. But thanks to the fabulous TMS animation,

they can push the limits of their creativity without hitting a brick wall in the studio's capabilities as would happen with Akom or Freelance.