Monday, April 20, 2009

That's Nobody's Business But the Turks

For those who are wondering about the second DVD collection of Tiny Toons (comprising the second half of the 65-episode first season), yes, all the music appears to be intact in the "Tiny Toons Music Television" episode: the two They Might Be Giants songs, "Money" and "R-E-S-P-E-C-T." Hamton singing "Happy Feet" in a not-very-good episode called "Hero Hamton" is also intact. And in the second season of Freakazoid!, "We'll Meet Again" is also intact.

The "Music Television" episode is kind of typical of early Tiny Toons in that it's a mix of really good moments and moments that aren't so good at all. The first two videos, with the TMBG songs, are terrific, among the most enduringly popular tings WBTVA ever did. (The split-second gag that always kills me in "Particle Man," directed by Art Vitello and boarded by Bruce Timm and Doug McCarthy, is Plucky pulling a dog sled with the dogs whipping him; a throwaway reversal of an old cartoon cliché.) The next two segments aren't nearly as good, and the finale, a "Sorcerer's Apprentice" parody without the real "Sorcerer's Apprentice" music, is downright boring. The second-season follow-up to this episode, "Toon TV," was better overall, though I don't know if Warners has any plans for future DVDs; it's kind of a minor miracle that we got this and, best of all, the complete Freakazoid! series.

This Tiny Toons set also contains the episode that was so badly animated that the director took his name off two of the shorts. It's "Strange Tales of Weird Science," animated by a company called "Encore Cartoons" (though there's a one-minute unrelated prologue, probably originally intended for some other episode, animated by Kennedy Cartoons). That's the one where the gag credit reads: "Number of retakes: Don't ask!" In 2007, in comments on this blog, Tom Minton gave some background on this episode and how it was "buried deep for as long as possible".

The first of the three shorts in this episode, "Scentimental Pig," was written and directed by Eddie Fitzgerald, and is a rather gruesome but reasonably funny story where Plucky and Hamton literally try to eat each other. (Hamton also sings the original lyrics of "Merry Go Round Broke Down" in this one.) The other two shorts are credited to director "Allen Smithee"; I would suspect that Fitzgerald directed them too, since one director usually did all the shorts in a given episode, but I don't know that for a fact, and it might have been another director. Anyway, here is the last of the three, "Duck In the Muck" (written by Minton). Update: Minton, from comments: "It was not directed by Eddie, but the real director probably wouldn't care to be identified even now so I won't expose the person."

Minton, by the way, is pictured on the bottom left-hand corner in the staff caricature above, which appears in the Tiny Toons episode "K-ACME TV"; that caricature of Minton (by Bruce Timm) was also used for his cameo in the second season of Freakazoid!


Anthony Strand said...

My grandmother had (still has, I'm sure) the VHS release of the two Tiny Toons video episodes. The second one was funnier, in that the songs were original parodies that lent themselves more to verbal humor than the actual songs used in the first one.

Still - I, along with many around my age I'm sure, owe that first episode immensely for introducing me to TMBG, who remain my favorite band to this day.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

Though my favorite sequences in the second one are two of the ones with actual recordings: "Do You Love Me" and "Yakkity Yak."

Mattieshoe said...

I'd like to know more about who's who in that frame.

I recognize Tom, Ken Boyer, Mike F and Eddie, but not anyone else.

(you can bet none of the writers were caricatured)

Anonymous said...

Good to hear that the songs are intact. Whew, all that worrying for nothing. :)

Ricardo Cantoral said...

I must admit as joyless Tiny Toons was, these music videos were very well put together.

Unknown said...

Good grief, this thing was made twenty years ago. It was not directed by Eddie, but the real director probably wouldn't care to be identified even now so I won't expose the person. Bruce's inked drawing of the crew is magnificent but this cel setup sports some inaccurate hair hues, one of them brown for Bruce Timm's blond locks. The guy holding the smelt at right is Byron Vaughns, Jim Reardon wears the fedora and suspenders at lower right, Doug McCarthy is front and center with the beard and Kent Butterworth is to the right of Art Vitello, who slouches between him and Doug. Mike Fontanelli wears the red ball cap, and is flanked by Laura Lizak and Rich Arons. I can identify most of the others but they get too small to point out without Google Earth software on a blog.

Thanks for posting this epic, I think.

Tom Minton

Snowed In said...

In case anyone wants to remove any evidence, Wikipedia's entry for Allen Smithee outs the director, or claims to.

Joy McCann said...

I thought I saw Paul Dini in there, and possibly Sherri Stoner.

But I can't find Reugger.

Anonymous said...

You did see Dini, toward top left side, and Wayne Kaatz is to the lower left of him. That might be Stoner in the second row from the top on the right of Babs, with the black Veronica Lake hair. There ARE writers in this drawing, a few at least.

Mattieshoe said...

Attila Girl:

I doubt that Bruce would caricature any of TTA's writing staff.

At least Willingly.