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Don’t Forget the Classic Looney Tunes (and Merrie Melodies)!

In case you haven’t noticed, the classic Warner Bros. cartoons are nowhere to be seen on broadcast television or on cable. It’s been that way for a while (except for the New Years marathon on Cartoon Network). Folks (like us) on animation blogs and forums can bitch about it all day long — but does it mean anything to an average person? Has anyone in the “real world” noticed their absence?

This article, written by the local movie reviewer in Great Falls, Montana, provides an answer. Listen up, network execs: People still want their Looney Tunes back on TV where they belong.

(Thanks, David Gerstein)

  • The bulk of my childhood was spent watching Looney Tunes (both pre & post 1948 packages) on WNEW Channel 5 (NYC) Sun-Fri & The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour on CBS every Sat morning.

    It’s great that most of them are now on DVD, but nothing replaces the cherished memories of being a kid watching the old AAP prints everyday, very sad that a kid today can’t say the same.

    If anyone doubts the role LT & MM have played in our culture, I walk around Manhattan wearing a Chuck Jones cap & get quite a few ‘beep beep’s’ from passerbys around my age. Put Bugs & Company back on TV and keep the legacy of Jones, Clampett, Frieleng & McKimson alive for future generations (and not limited to DVD collections).

  • Ross W

    I loved watching LT/MM when I was growing up, and I find it quite baffling that they are not show on TV at all, especially since the company that owns them also owns 2 cable networks dedicated to animation. These cartoons were so popular at one point that the CBS network aired 2 hours of The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner show each Saturday Morning and used it as a summer replacement series in prime time. Thank God the dvds are available so I can show my kids such a beloved part of my childhood (and adulthood).

    John Lasseter has professed his love for these cartoons, maybe he could use his influence to get them on a Disney owned network- no, scratch that- they don’t even show the classic Disney shorts.

    Someone needs to organize a protest outside of Warner Bros. studios. We could all sing:

  • I guess it’s all about money. If LT & MM got big ratings they would be on. I don’t know who own the ancillary rights but if they belong to another company the TV outlets may prefer to feature characters that they make more money on.

    Jerry, I love those colorful posters. Does the first one actually make a reference to 3-strip Technicolor? That’s really interesting, I didn’t think the public was aware of those technicalities. Post bigger samples (if you have them).

  • Kevin Martinez

    It’s not helping that Warner is abandoning their Looney DVD releases for at least all of 2009.

    Since GC Volume 6 is very likely the last we’ll see of Looney Tunes on DVD, the characters will sadly continue to fade into obscurity

  • uncle wayne

    The bulk of every one of these Readers’ childhood[s] was, of course, the WB films….both network & syndicated. This is tragic, indeed!! What gives!? Why HAS it disappated!? Ridiculous!

  • I work with kids and they all know about Looney Tunes because up here in Canada we have a station called Teletoon Retro which shows reruns of the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, the Road Runner Show and the Porky Pig Show!

    The station also shows the Woody Woodpecker Show, the Pink Panther Show, and the Tom and Jerry Show!

    It is wonderful that there is a station in Canada that is showing these classic cartoon to children. If only the US would do the same….

  • Steve Siegert

    Before that New Year’s marathon, I can’t remember the last time I spent that much time watching TV. These were my favorite cartoons growing up. There was just something about them that made them stand out from everything else, including all the new cartoons that came out in the 80’s and 90’s.

    If a petition hasn’t been started already, we should start one. If the programming execs. at Cartoon Network are concerned that more adults and less kids will watch their network with Looney Tunes on the air, then how about a half hour block weeknights on Adult Swim (at 10 or 10:30), or maybe a 2-hour block Saturday nights (10-midnight), and for the love of God…no more edits…PLEASE!

    Well, these cartoons need to be regularly shown on TV first. Thank you Jerry for those wonderful Golden Collection DVD sets. Without them, the situation would be worse than it already is.

  • Robert Barker

    Programming for children has become as specialized as programming for adults. The Looney Tunes Marathon did not deliver the 9-14 year old eyes the sponsors for Cartoon Network pay for. I have made sure the people I know, and their children, are regularly exposed to Looney Tunes through the DVD sets. Still, they are rarely interested in the pre-48s, generally preferring the 1950s era LTs. I accept that these are now museum curios. Even I sometimes don’t get an occasional reference, or recognize a caricature. Future generations will re-discover these classics.

  • Ted

    Looney Tunes are still available on American cable services via on demand (a dozen or two at a time), well hidden tho they may be. On Comcast, I believe they’re under Kids:KidsWB:Looney Tunes. Not that that’s sufficient, but they are there.

  • Sadly, whenever I show someone the classics that I love they despise them. I have showed many people around my age (I’m 19) and they just don’t get it.
    They tell me they’re archaic or that there is a reason they aren’t on tv anymore.
    Makes me weep for our youth.

  • letter writing campaigns sometimes work. How can we get the addresses of people who make the decisions? Any readers out there want to post some mailing addresses?

  • The basis of humor in the Warner Bros. cartoons was slapstick and caricature. Currently, people seemed to feel threatened by these comic elements. In the upcoming autobiography of Iwao Takamoto, Iwao makes one of the wisest statements I’ve ever read about comedy: (paraphrasing) Physical comedy is on the wane in cartoons now, it will ultimately be replaced with scatological humor.
    That’s contemporary comedy in a nutshell. What stated in Great Britain years ago, has come to dominate the animated world of comedy.

  • Look guys, it’s pretty obvious what we have to do. Networks don’t want to hear that a bunch of nerdy animators want to see old cartoons on their stations, they want to hear that NORMAL people want to see old cartoons on their stations.

    So let’s all adopt a second personality, act like a normal person who doesn’t know about animation, and then write letters to the networks!

    It’s brilliant!

  • Brad Constantine

    thanks to DVD, My kids get a full dose every saturday morning. Also vintage Popeye and Droopy are required weekend viewing..How else are the kids gonna learn about classical music?

  • I wish they would show those old cartoons again. I have a few of the VHS Looney Toons collections with Buggs. But I also love those with the celebrity caricature, like Clark Gable with big flapping ears at the Brown Derby. has anyone written a good art book about those particular cartoons?

  • Autumn

    I know my mom is upset that they’re not on the air anymore. I bought her a Spotlight collection just to tide her over. We relished that marathon on New Year’s.

    I grew up with the LT being available EVERY SATURDAY and I would make SURE I was up to watch them, just the same as my parents had. And when they were on Cartoon Network during the week, I always watched them, and so did everyone else I knew.

    It’s part of our culture and our childhood, and even part of our adulthood. Frankly, it’s ridiculous that they aren’t on TV, but Tom and Jerry is. It makes no sense to me.

    I think, even without being on the air, the LT will live, because “if you hook them, you’ve hooked their children” and people will pass them along to their kids for all time. If I didn’t have those Golden Collections, I don’t know what I would do with myself.

  • Sad indeed.
    I never thought I’d outlive the Looney Tunes.
    But it’s starting to look that way.
    Maybe I should take up smoking.

  • Well, judging by these comments, it is clear to me that, if the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION series was indeed continued, the volumes would sell just over the news of the scarcity of the LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES on TV alone, but we do need coverage on television, too, because that gets the word out there to curious channel surfers on a given Saturday morning. Yes, letter-writing, from any perspective, is necessary. The only address I know of is:
    Warner Home Video
    4000 Warner Blvd.
    Burbank, CA 91522
    We should be heard and understood as film fans. The classic material is important and none of this stuff should sink into obscurity. Also, I don’t think any of this stuff should go down as kids’ entertainment. That is why “THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW” existed at one point in prime time. Kids and parents could enjoy it on all levels. The kids who watched these things years ago, like me, are now discovering the references and why they were originally funny. Also, thankfully, Warner Home Video has issued many of the films referenced in the various cartoons. So give yourselves a major history lesson. It is intriguing!

  • billburgNYC

    What I can’t understand is why these cartoons were everywhere on TV 15 years ago, but nowhere now. In the early 90’s, Looney Tunes were on TV at least 8 times a week, including TNT at 5 or 6 every night. Has so much changed in the culture since then? Are people okay with watching cartoons that are 50 years old, yet suddenly lose interest when they approach, say, 65 years old? I don’t think so. With the cartoons long paid for, it seems by showing them Warner’s would be printing money. Can someone please explain this to me?

  • I’m glad that Canadians still have a chance to witness classic Looney Tunes on Teletoon Retro with such shows like Merrie Melodies, The Roadrunner Show, The Porky Pig Show and The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show.
    My friend’s 4 year old has discovered and enjoys watching “Coyote” and “Bugs Rabbit” not ‘bunny’, ‘rabbit’. He even showed me his “beep beep” imitation. Glad to see that Looney Tunes can still appeal to a youngster who also enjoys CG animated programs.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Don’t think I have much to add here than for yearning for the days when LT was still part of broadcast TV’s golden Saturday mornings and weekday afternoons of my youth. Funny how things just change before you know it, and now you wish it was back.

  • Mike Tiefenbacher

    My best guess would be that the absence of WB cartoons is not accidental, but quite intentional. Just look at all the interest they’ve drummed up here in stuff that was once ubiquitous. If asked, I’m sure you’d probably hear Warner execs tell you that they’re resting the property to make it more appreciated when they bring it back. Whether or not this is wise marketing is debatable. Though I suppose there are no limits to the number of times you can view classic cartoons, for me, I’ve ceased actually “seeing” them (at least the color ones–and they weren’t showing the b&w’s anyway), for many years, even if I’m sitting in front of the TV while they’re on. So maybe this moritorium is for people like me, who’ve imprinted them in their brains and no longer need to actually watch them to “see” them…

  • Chuck R.

    I’ll be the loner that says there is NOTHING sad in the realm of Looney Tunes fandom. I believe Bugs Bunny still has the highest Q-score of any cartoon character past and present. It doesn’t matter if toddlers can recite his lines. These cartoons aren’t for babies!

    The DVD sets available now are a major gift to fans (thanks, Jerry) —something I would never have dreamed of as a budding animation fan in the early 80’s (when an issue of Film Comment devoted to animation was a source of great rejoicing.) Now we can watch these gems whenever we like and pick through them one at a time like Jelly Bellys. All restored! With commentary or without commentary. from expensive “golden” sets or cheaper abridged sets.

    Write letters if it makes you feel better, but if you really need your fix, just buy one of the six 4-disc sets that are out there. Money talks. If you need Looney Tunes and you aren’t willing to drop a buck or two, shame on you, but you can still go to your local library and check out the cartoons for free.

    Sorry to rain on the pity party, but I just can’t figure out why watching cartoons on DVD is any different than watching them on Tivo. We don’t need more programming. We need less whining.

  • zavkram

    I remember that I gave a dear friend of mine a copy of LTGC1 a few years ago for Christmas; thinking that it might provide a nice trip down memory lane for him. At the same time, I was also thinking of my friend’s three young children (at that time aged 8, 6 and 3, respectively), who I wanted to make sure will grow up having seen and appreciated these wonderful cartoons and their assorted characters.

  • Andre

    I don’t get it either. If Bugs and his pals were good enough for the movie Space Jam years ago why aren’t they good enough now?

  • We want more Looney Tunes (Golden Collection vol.7 or any DVD format: 1 dvd, 2 dvd’s,etc.)

    Thanks a LOT Jerry!!!
    You are my Hero!!!

  • They’re on Teletoon every single day in at least three different forms: Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show, The Porky Pig Show and The Road Runner Show. To say they’re nowhere to be seen on network or cable television is misleading. Maybe preface it with AMERICAN network or cable television.

    We have all these DVDs that look a lot better, contain a lot more, and are a great deal more convenient. Although it is nice to know they are airing on TV, I wonder how many of us with the DVDs would bother to watch them in an inferior way on television.

  • A petition to keep the Golden Collection of DVDs coming was started last fall. Few know about it. If you’re interested in adding your support, heres the link….

  • Andy

    Can anyone tell me what really is happening with the golden collection? Volume 7??? I sure hope so. It is cheaper than valium!

  • Tony

    You know, at least here in good old Boise, ID, it is fairly hard to find the Golden Collection DVDs. The only place I’ve seen them is at Barnes and Noble and occasionally Best Buy. Even when you do find them, they are in the children’s section, next to the pokemon DVDs, even though it says they are for the adult collectors on the back of the box. What’s up with that?!?

  • Gee Dee

    I’ve noticed that the previous sets are now on sale at greatly reduced prices, almost half of the original retail.

  • gary charles

    im 47, and i havent set and watched a lt or mm cartton for a long time. i just have gotten my grand kids a dvd, and i watched it with them. but i just now noticed the adult inuendos in some of them, like one had bugs bunny riding in a car as a hostage with gangsters,and they pass a billboard showing a cigarette and its spelled SMOKE!

  • gary charles

    Ive just seen some LT/MM cartoons on dvd. with my grand children. they are great. I havent seen these in years. bugs bunny and porky pig, and others. I also noticed something I never rememberd as a child. adult content hidden in the back ground,but not too hidden. one cartoon, bugs bunny and thugs. a bilboard advertising smoking. and an other showing 2 naked women in a portrait on the wall. and one called bugs bunny and the 3 bears showing a naked woman on a calender. just wonderd if im the only one that noticed?

  • timbo-in-jawja

    just had a great reflective talk with a friend of mine who lives in Clvd. She’s 10 years younger, but, she too used to watch Buggs and the Gang (On With the Show-Overture) on Satday mornings. I live in Ga. Those toons are a national treasure for anyone 40-plus. I’m 51, but if i could, i’d still DVR my LTs. Why can’t Cartoon Network do as they once did and show us some WBs, LTs, Speed Racer and some old Super Man, Super Boy, Shazzan, all the good stuff. Cartoon Network, right now, is a waste of time and money. Today’s kids don’t even like half of their programming. It’s truly wasteful. Wake-up Cartoon Network, before it’s too late.

  • john

    I liked when I was a kid that they had the cartoons on count them 7 different networks now you are lucky to see them on tv at all, Turner Classic Movies used to show them as part of Cartoon Alley which they don’t air anymore which is a shame then for a time they showed some of them as filler material, you wonder why cartoon network airs some of the specials and not the cartoons separately so kids have a better understanding of them that the clips shown are separate from the movies, I was glad to get cable back after 5 years and could watch them on tv again but come two years later they are taken off the air then after another five years they finally show them again as a marathon but unfortunately the network executives decide that it would be a one day only thing, thank god for the dvd collections and youtube, when I get married and have kids I will buy the dvds and vhs tapes for them to enjoy for years to come.

  • Hunter

    I grew up watching the LT/MM cartoons and the 2-hour Saturday morning broadcast on CBS and those are some of my fondest childhood memories. I am 24 and still have a great time watching those classics. The underlying adult humor that a child misses when watching the cartoons makes watching them so much more enjoyable as an adult. Many of my friends cannot appreciate the good, clean fun in these cartoons, something that is nonexistant in cartoons these days.
    My grandfather and I have the best of times watching Bugs Bunny DVDs over a cup of coffee. I hope that WB considers releasing GC: V7 because there are so many cartoons that are favorites that are not included on the first 6.

  • stinky

    Well it’s been quit a while since I watched a loony toons or bb-rr hour on tv and I was wondering why.Well as I am looking through all the different sites for them Ifind out that animal right activist and other cruality to animal sponcers are partley to blame,along with parents who think the toons are to violent for little Johnney or whoever but yet they will let them watch the powder puff girls or similar toons where no people are spared at times.Remember people, cartoons don’t kill people, people kill people,just the same as guns don’t kill people without a brain or lack there of behind the trigger.So lets get are old cartoons back.I have two daughters 26-27 and they both grew up on these kind of toons and they are both upstanding citizens.

  • Don

    I’ve written Boomerang countless times through their Contact page and have NEVER even gotten a response. LT’s are superior to 90% of the junk they shove in front of kids today. A world without Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Elmer, or Foghorn Leghorn? UNTHINKABLE!

  • Maggie Simpson

    That middle poster makes Bugs look like proto-Bugs

  • Maggie Simpson

    To reword Lucy Van Pelt:

    “Happiness in Uncensored Looney Tunes”

  • Maggie Simpson

    I don’t get it why they’re labeled “children’s fare.” I’m 12, and I know 30-year-olds who don’t know who Bugs Bunny is… in this particular case, label them “new reality show”