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R.I.P. WB Cartoon Mural

Here’s a sure sign of the apocalypse — or at least the end of a local cartoon landmark. Warner Bros. has quietly removed its huge Looney Tunes/Hanna-Barbera/Warner Animation mural (above) during Christmas week. Bugs Bunny and company have adorned the Burbank studio at Olive and Pass Avenues for over 15 years.

I was driving past the studio yesterday when I noticed (and snapped the photo below) the mural was gone. To give them benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are going to replace it with an even better graphic of Bugs Bunny and crew. I hope so… but who wants to bet that Harry Potter or the live action Dark Knight will soon be guiding us toward the Cahuenga Pass.

  • Jason

    If the mural does get replaced, I hope to god the Hanna-Barbera junk is left off of it. I still get a WTF? feeling every time I see Scooby-Doo next to Bugs Bunny. That’s like seeing Peter Griffin next to Homer Simpson. Not exactly a meeting of equals.



  • Shawn Jackson

    That’s a real shame. I always liked turning the corner and taking my eyes off the road for a split second to see the mural. :) Who knows, maybe they are just updating it.

  • I’m sure they took it down to put it in it’s rightful place in the Louvre.
    Hopefully they’ll replace it with something of near equal merit, like a blank wall.

  • Marc Baker

    It’s sad to see Warner Bros. take down their cartoon mural, but i wouldn’t be surprised if they made a new mural in it’s place with Harry Potter on it since they give him way more love, and attention than Bugs Bunny! Heck, Scooby-Doo gets more attention than Bugs these days!

  • Greg Ehrbar

    Ouch! That hurt, Jason. Whatever its relative bad or good points, the HB library was a part of many of our lives just as the Looney Tunes canon was. Why praise one at the expense of another?

    There is no fair way to compare the creative output of a theatrical animation studio during the mid century with a television animation studio in the sixties and seventies. The times, the budget and the restrictions were not the same.

    It’s also not fair to compare HB and WB with The Simpsons and Family Guy, since they both do exist within basically the same general media and circumstances.

    I love Warner cartoons. I love Hanna-Barbera cartoons. But I have to admit that it tears me up inside that the HB name has been obliterated from its work of origin (and yes, I know that geniuses like Ed Benedict and other unsung heroes really created characters — I’m talking about “HB” as an entity). Because of corporate branding, executive agendas and misguided marketing, Fred Flintstone will be forgotten on the inevitable day that the vitamins and the Pebbles cereals go away (who would have thought those products would be the last bastions of these once hugely popular properties?)

    It was so great to see that mural on the WB studio, just because some of these characters were still appearing somewhere. Now that’s over.

    Does everything have to be an award show, where we have to knock down one in order to honor another? It’s possible to like more than one studio’s work, being fully aware of their strengths and limitations — and perhaps because of them. Please forgive some of us for being a little sad and one more lovely piece being slipped out of our collective Jenga.

  • fishmorgjp

    I don’t know if it’s that great a loss; the mural depicted Fred Flintstone and Scooby-Doo right next to Bugs Bunny. As if Bugs would be caught dead hanging around those losers!

  • Carlos

    It’s a nice mural, but there is room for a better one. This seems too cluttered and busy. Hopefully the new one will remain animation centric.

  • Keith Paynter

    Amen, Jason. There’s a difference between properties you create and properties you own. (That Batman looks eerily like Space Ghost)

  • Mike Caracappa

    I passed by there last week and saw it was gone too. I’ll miss it for The Iron Giant, which was located at the top right of the mural…the one acknowledgement the WB actually made for that film. Too bad.

  • Maybe they should simply paint a huge dollar bill.

  • droosan

    Perhaps not a “meeting of the equals” .. but it was nice to see acknowledgement of Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, as well as the Batman and Superman animated series. The Iron Giant had also been added to the mural, a few years back.

    I saw this mural daily along my commute over the past decade. It will feel weird to pass that way for awhile, I’m sure.

    In (semi) related ‘disappearing animation landmark’ news from that area, Michigan J. Frog was removed from the gates of the Warner Bros. ‘ranch’ facility about a year ago .. and the ‘The Disney Channel’ logo has been removed from the top of the green-and-white skyscraper on Riverside Drive.

  • No big loss really, that thing is an eyesore.

  • At least they put mountains in the back of the building;)

  • Angry Anim

    How profitable has animation actually been to Warners in recent years? Bugs and the gang made a comeback in the 90’s, but I kinda had the impression that Back In Action signaled the end of that era. I may be wrong, but I think nowadays the only place to find ANY of those characters on that mural is CN’s Boomerang, which many cable outlets don’t even carry.

  • Emil

    If they paint a huge dollar bill, they’d render it worthless by putting Scooby at its center. Those geniuses still have no clue of the degree they sullied their once-hallowed, ‘crown jewel’ cartoon franchise by sheer rabid worship from 1997 on of the acquired H-B merchandising library. They were hot to globally move any product bearing the image of that retarded Great Dane, and they did. The Burbank mural cost over a quarter million bucks to paint and assemble when it was put there – one of the few expenses less justified than an executive’s salary. The great thing about it being gone is that Clint Eastwood no longer has to see it from his Malpaso office suite, which stands just across a parking area. Clint is no fan of cartoons. You’d think he’d turn that into a plot someday.

  • I would like to see a mural devoted to Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Bob McKimson & Tex Avery posing with their signature characters (similar to the limited edition the Warner Bros Store used to sell).

  • Not to be off topic, but in a similar vein, I read on Tom Sito’s blog that World Art Supply has gone out of business as of Jan. 1. This was THE place to buy animation and art supplies for many years. They were across the street from HB. They were centrally located for many of the animation studios. Sad to see them go. They really catered to the animation business.

  • PJ

    There’s something extremely unsettling to me about Batman’s facial expression in the original mural.

    It may be ridiculous, but I’m okay with it being gone just for that reason.

  • Giovanni Jones

    Maybe he was looking in Clint Eastwood’s window.

  • “Maybe they should simply paint a huge dollar bill.”

    Now THAT’S funny Floyd! Hahahahah! Good one!

  • Marc Baker

    Wow! I had no idea that Clint Eastwood hated cartoons. Then again, i don’t keep up with celebrity news, so that probably doesn’t surprise me. Out of all the Hanna-Barbera characters, Scooby always gets the most exposure, and that’s pretty frustrating when you consider how many low points the franchise has had. It’s almost as bad as how Disney is pushing Miley Cyrus, and The Jonas Brothers on us. there’s just no escape! It’s also sad to hear about the World Art Supply store go out of business. Seems like this is a very bad time to be an animation fan, but at least there’s Lightfoot Limited.

  • There goes the presence of Buster & Babs Bunny, Yakko, Wakko & Dot Warner and Pinky & the Brain. And next month marks 20 years since the start of production On Tiny Toon Adventures interestingly enough.

  • Nate

    World Art Supply was okay but Carter-Sexton in North Hollywood is thankfully still with us, as is Continental Art Supply in Reseda. For years Disney used Carter-Sexton as its main animation supplies vendor.

  • I was never a fan of it. Scooby and batman. It just seemed like another “lets group together our merch” thing. Groups of characters together always seemed lame..especially when they were from different cartoons. That always made me mad as a kid, it makes me mad today still. hahah.

  • a reader

    Let’s face it: it was visually ugly and a pretty lame idea. Mt. Rushmore. Boy, that’s a fresh one.
    It should simply have been the WB shield with Bugs Bunny’s head-the great one, from the 40s, I think. “Warner Bros Animation” was the House That Bugs Built regardless of latter-day Batman and Scooby acquisitions.
    As for World Art Supply it’s always a shame to see an independent store close, but they were a very high priced place. I still mourn H.G. Daniels myself.

  • jefftoons

    Does anybody have a large, more detailed, photo of the mural??
    I never saw it in-person, so I’d like to see more detail.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Is it just me or did Superman look gay in that pose?

  • The left side of the mural looks (or looked) pretty nice. Since I didn’t see it either (I live in Spain) I’d like to see a bigger picture too.

    It doesn’t look too ugly to me. A little crowded and of course Scooby will never be as great as Looney Tunes or Fred Flinstone, but not the most ugly thing they could come up with.

  • Jay

    A shame, but unfortunately Bugs Bunny and most of the other characters on that mural haven’t been relevant for decades.

  • dan

    Maybe they’ll take a cue from the updating of the sun wheel at Disney’s California Adventure! They’re putting the classic Mickey Mouse head in the middle. Maybe they’ll replace the mural with the Looney Tunes opening card with the classic Bugs’ head in the middle!

    Maybe not…my bet’s on Harry Potter. :(

  • Perhaps they could temporarily paint Porky waving “That’s All Folks!” there until they decide on a permanent scheme.

  • Adam

    I toured the studio today with a friend who works there (one of the few people working during the hiatus–an accountant). She says it has been removed to be refurbished and will return.

  • Meh.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    As Adam said, it sounds like it’ll come back after getting refurbished, so that’s a sigh of relief.

    As for that art store, I know how it must feel like for so many. I once had a place close to my house I spent any chance I had to go there and buy what I could with what meager earnings I had. It was sad when I found out they closed some years later without informing me why or what reason they had to do so. Best I have now is the usual chain stores like Michaels or the online route.

  • Jon

    Economic times are tough. Unless those animated characters are pulling in the cash Warner Bros needs, I suspect some of their higher earning properties are going to get placement. Its not a bad thing though, considering things need to change. As much as I like Bugs Bunny, I’d love for the studio to keep trying to develop new and original talent. They’ve pretty much beat Scooby and Batman into rehashed mush with the various series and movies.

  • Mike

    I have to agree with Greg Ehrbar. I think that ALL these characters are important to our past and our culture. I just found out today about the mural. I’ve driven past it a million times but I haven’t been out to LA in a year almost. I’m returning for a few weeks in May. Olive street will never be the same.