#1 -- Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century


Title -
Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1953

Reason for Placement --

For me, it really doesn't get much more perfect than Duck Dodgers; Jones gives us a brilliantly animated & hilarious voyage through space by everyone's favorite little black duck, Porky tagging along as his Eager Young Space Cadet, as the two go up against Marvin the Martian for claim over Planet X.

I don’t even know where to begin on why I love this cartoon so much; there’s the playful banter between Dodgers and the Cadet, the incredible background designs of Maurice Noble, the fun futuristic feel that really helped capture the awe left in wake of the Space Race… I could go on for hours.

Not only is the humor and style top-notch in this toon, but you also have to look at the legacy that Duck Dodgers has left behind. The short was voted #4 of the top 50 greatest cartoons by members of the animation field, nominated for a Hugo Award, later got a sequel (titled Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24½th Century) released in 1980, and an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures was made featuring Plucky as Daffy's new eager young space cadet. The short even inspired a TV show on Cartoon Network, featuring new adventures as Dodgers and the Cadet (aka, Daffy and Porky) faced off with Marvin the Martian.

This short was so popular with sci-fi fans that when George Lucas re-released Star Wars, he included Duck Dodgers as a preceding cartoon!

And with that, this countdown is hear by “Completed” in the name of… DUCK DODGERS OF THE 24½TH CENTURY!!!

Honorable Mentions
















Well, we're almost done, just one more cartoon to go and the list is officially complete! However, before we wrap this up, I wanted to take a moment to give honor to the cartoons that I really wanted to put on the list, but sadly didn't get the chance to. There were a few shorts that I'd planned on putting further up on the list but later found I couldn't fit them in, some that I simply forgot, and a few that fellow readers requested I add but I didn't get a chance. I'm actually surprised at the amount of feedback I've gotten on this list, it's really fun to see how many people on this site are just as big of fans of Looney Tunes as I am.

Now I'm not saying that I regret my list in any way: I chose the ones that I felt were the best, and I'm sticking to it, but that doesn't mean that I'm not upset that there weren't more cartoons that I had room for. After all, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection sets feature a grand total of over 380 cartoons alone, and they're still not done releasing DVDs!

And, on a side note, I want to thank you all for reading this blog and invite you to check out Stickman & Inkblot, a new animation blog that I'll be contributing to regularly.

So let's not waste any more time. Here are my Honorable Mentions:

- Transylvania 6-5000 (1963), directed by Chuck Jones
---Bugs goes up against a vampire, who doesn't love that?

- Buckaroo Bugs (1944), directed by Bob Clampett
---Believe it or not, this was a special request from one of my readers, and I really felt bad that I wasn't able to include it.

- No Barking (1954), directed by Chuck Jones
---Not only is this a fun cartoon, but it was animated entirely by Ken Harris, one of Jones' top animators.

- The Hole Idea (1955), directed by Bob McKimson
---The premise of creating a portable hole is funny enough, but there's also the fact that McKimson not only directed this short, but animated it all on his own. Now THAT'S impressive!

- Hollywood Steps Out (1941), directed by Tex Avery
---Termite Terrace was well-known for putting caricatures of famous actors and actresses in their shorts, but this is probably the most famous one, staring an entire ensemble of Hollywood's finest in all their animated glory.

- Water, Water Every Hare (1952), directed by Chuck Jones
---Bugs finds himself locked in a castle with a mad scientist (parodying Vincent Price) and everyone's favorite giant orange monster, Gossamer (called Rudolph in this short)!

- Daffy Dilly (1948), directed by Chuck Jones
---While struggling as a salesman for joke and novelty items, Daffy learns that a dying millionaire will bequeath his fortune to anyone who can make him laugh again... if only Daffy can get past the butler first!

- Bugs and Thugs (1954), directed by Friz Freleng
---Bugs has his first encounter with Rocky and Mugsy, a pair of low-life gangsters who learn the hard way not to mess with everyone's favorite rabbit.

And finally... a tie between A Wild Hare (1940) and Porky's Duck Hunt (1937), for being the first cartoons to feature the modern version of Bugs (as well as his first pairing with Elmer Fudd), and the introduction of Daffy Duck!

So remember, that's not all, folks! See you back here soon with my pick for the #1 greatest Looney Tunes Cartoon of all time!

#2 -- Duck Amuck


Title - Duck Amuck
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1953

Interesting Fact -- Voted #2 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field in 1994

Reason for Placement --

I can actually remember getting excited when this cartoon came on. Everyone's favorite little black duck starts out the toon as a swashbuckling action hero... only to soon run out of background. And so we begin a battle for the ages, as Daffy dukes it out with the "unnamed" animator to get the cartoon underway (and just to give you an idea of how big a nerd I am, I can actually remember geeking out when they revealed who the animator was).

This cartoon was actually started as a kind of experiment by Jones; he wanted to see that if you really changed a popular cartoon character around, would you still recognize him? If you took away his voice, or made him look like THAT (see above photo), would you still know it was Daffy Duck? Plus, this was one of the first cartoons to have the main character break the 4th wall, directly addressing that he knows he's in a cartoon and he knows there's an audience. Daffy is in rare form as he tries to get the toon under control, only to be thwarted constantly by the animator. We all love watching Daffy lose his temper and go nuts at his foe, and the short makes it even better by not letting us see the antagonist: it's just Daffy on his own, pulling out his own feathers and losing every shred of dignity he has.

Even now as an adult, I still find myself reciting the dialogue along with Daffy; it's like listening to your favorite song on the radio, you don't even realize you're doing it.

This toon has been parodied to death by nearly everyone: my personal favorites include the Nostalgia Critic's homage during his "Old vs. New: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory vs. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" video, and the final episode of Clerks: The Animated Series. It's also worth mentioning that this short had a sequel made only two years later: Rabbit Rampage, which featured Bugs Bunny in the same situation, forced to participate in a cartoon where he knows the animator is going to make his work a living hell. This is an absolutely hilarious short, and yes, I really wanted to find room for it on the countdown, but decided that I could only give one spot to this story, and I had to give it to Duck Amuck.

#3 -- To Beep or Not to Beep


Title - To Beep or Not to Beep
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1963

Interesting Fact -- The only WEC/RR short to not feature their "Latin" names

Reason for Placement --

Ok, I've probably got some explaining to do.

This was one of the last WEC/RR shorts to be directed by Jones and his co-director Maurice Noble, and in my opinion, probably one of their best. Rather than opening in mid-chase, we start on Wile E. looking through a cookbook, only to be startled by the Road Runner. This is actually a great visual start to the chase, the viewer is given a real initiative as to why the coyote is going after this bird in the first place.

I'll go ahead and admit that To Beep or Not to Beep was easily my favorite cartoon when I was a kid. Not just one of the top 5 shorts, this was it. So what made this short so special to me? Plain and simple: the catapult sequence.

When it came to Wile E.'s traps and tricks, the coyote would try it once, it would backfire/blow up in his face, and he'd move onto the next idea. Not so in this short: he keeps trying and trying again with the same catapult, hoping that the next time he would be successful. After all, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. But of course, for the poor coyote, it doesn't matter how many times he tries; the Fates have spelled it out nice and clear: NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

I'm sure I'll get some backlash on this one, but I guess I'm just about as stubborn as the coyote, because for me, To Beep or Not to Beep will remain one of the best Looney Tunes shorts of all time.

#4 -- One Froggy Evening


Title - One Froggy Evening
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1955

Interesting Fact -- Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress

Reason for Placement --

I know I've mentioned one-shot cartoon characters before on the countdown, but in the realm of Looney Tunes, there is no bigger one-hit-wonder than Michigan J. Frog and his debut toon, One Froggy Evening.

A construction worker comes across a black box containing a single frog, who dons a top hat and starts to sing! Thinking he has a chance at turning the frog into a quick profit, the worker takes the frog to a talent agent, and later rents out a theater for his performance, but runs into a small problem: the frog refuses to perform for anyone but the worker.

Critics and animators all over the world consider this short to be one of the greatest ever created; Steven Spielburg, at one point, called this short the "Citizen Kane of animated film." And despite only appearing in one short during the Golden Age of animation, Michigan J. Frog has gone on to become one of the most recognized characters in the business, and was featured as the mascot for the WB Network for 10 years.

Though some may not know it, Michigan did in fact make one more cartoon: 40 years after his debut, Jones released Another Froggy Evening into theaters, which shows various men through history (whom all bear a striking similar appearance to the worker in the original film) as they encounter our favorite singing amphibian... and all find out the same way just what happens when they try to get him to sing.

Either way, the shorts do teach us a valuable lesson: when you are blessed with a gift, treasure it for what it is, not what it could become.

#5 -- What's Opera, Doc?


Title - What's Opera, Doc?
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1957

Reason for Placement --

Where do I begin? What's Opera, Doc? is widely considered one of the best, if not the best, cartoon ever created. It was the first cartoon selected for preservation by the Library of Congress, was voted the #1 cartoon of all time by a selection of 1000 members of the animation field, and many consider it to be director Jones' greatest creation ever.

The story starts with a fast-paced chase between Elmer and Bugs, set amongst parodies of classic Wagner operas, with select parts of dialogue sung to well-known pieces (probably the most popular being Elmer's "Kill da Wabbit!" set to the Ride of the Valkyries).

The production behind this piece is nothing short of amazing. Whereas production units at Termite Terrace were only allowed to work on one specific cartoon for 5 weeks (to maximize the output of cartoons), Jones and his team doctored their timecards to read that they were working on Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons for an extra two weeks so they could continue working on this short. To help create the dance sequence between the characters, actual ballet dancers were studied to depict realistic movements. Maurice Noble's backgrounds are, as always, breathtaking, and the musical arrangements by Milt Franklin work incredibly well with Michael Maltese's dialogue.

And of course, even after you strip it down, you have the basic storyline that we all love: a classic chase between Elmer and Bugs (complete with Bugs in drag, of course).

While it didn't get the appreciation it deserved when it was first released (it was never nominated for an Oscar), What's Opera, Doc? remains one of the greatest pieces of animation ever created, a classic triumph of art and music that will continue to be loved by fans for years to come.

#6 -- The Hunting Trilogy



Title - Rabbit Fire, Rabbit Seasoning, and Duck! Rabbit! Duck!
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1951, 1952, 1953

Reason for Placement --

I know, I know, I'm technically cheating here, I'm sorry!! I know I established the rules, but try as I might, I just couldn't split these three cartoons up.

These three cartoons make up Jones' 'Hunting Trilogy', the three cartoons to feature Bugs, Daffy, and Elmer as they go up against one another during hunting season. All three have the same core plot line (in fact, the only major difference between them is that Duck! Rabbit! Duck! takes place during the winter, while the other two take place during the spring/summer & fall): Elmer is hunting in the woods, Daffy doesn't want him to find out that it's actually Duck Season, so he manages to trick the hunter into going after Bugs... which, of course, does not work out that well.

So what's so great about these shorts? Well, for starters, they were the first toons to really showcase a rivalry between Bugs and Daffy, and they were the first cartoons to feature Daffy's new catchphrase, "You're desthpicable!".

Taking them apart, each of these shorts gave us some of the most popular and famous jokes ever to come out of Termite Terrace. Whether it's Rabbit Seasoning's "Pronoun Trouble" scene, Duck! Rabbit! Duck!'s gag of pulling out new hunting season signs, or even the now infamous "Duck Season/Wabbit Season" scenes from Rabbit Fire, there's no denying that these are some of the most influential cartoons of all time.

Oh, and how could I forget! These were also the first shorts to showcase a new gag: every time Daffy got shot, his bill would fly off in a different style. Probably worth mentioning that this part was parodied in the opening scene of the movie Looney Tunes: Back In Action (and I want it on record that was probably the funniest part of the whole movie, not a good sign).

So we can debate for hours about which of these shorts was the best and whether or not I should have separated the three on the countdown (and whether it's Duck, Goat, Dirty Skunk, Mongoose, or even Baseball Season), but there is really no question that these are, without a doubt, three of the best Looney Tunes cartoons ever released.

#7 -- Operation: Rabbit


Title - Operation: Rabbit
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1952

Reason for Placement --

Wile E. Coyote had made his debut 3 years prior in the classic Fast and Furry-ous, and having proven himself such a great character and classic villain, it seemed only natural to have him go up against everyone's favorite wascally wabbit.

It's pretty debatable whether Wile E. makes a better foe for Bugs or the Road Runner, but I personally have always loved it when he went up against Bugs, not only because he could now talk, but Jones and Maltese really gave us a character to hate. Wile E. is so stuck-up and full of himself that we love it all the more when his traps misfire and he gets it in the end. During his first introduction to Bugs, he goes on a long (obviously prepared) speech about why Bugs won't stand a chance against him, and Bugs gives him a look that clearly says, "Buddy, you deserve everything you're going to get... and more." The more he gloats about being a genius, the more we love it when Bugs gives him his comeuppance.

While Wile E. would return to hunting the Road Runner later that year in his next cartoon, Beep Beep, and would not be paired with Bugs again until 1956's To Hare Is Human, there is no doubt that Operation: Rabbit is one of the coyote's (and Bugs') best shorts. Wile E. may be a super-genius, but it's clear from the start of this short that as smart as he may be, he never stood a chance against one well-prepared rabbit.

#8 -- Now Hear This


Title - Now Hear This
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1963

Interesting Fact -- Nominated for Academy Award in Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Reason for Placement --

This was the first Warner Bros. cartoon to use a brand new opening animation with a new abstract logo and modern rendition of "Merry Go-Round Broken Down". This alone should make it abundantly clear that what we're about to see is very VERY different.

An elderly gentlemen comes across a brand new hearing horn, only to discover that by using it normal everyday sounds are magnetized and the man starts experiencing increasingly strange aural and visual hallucinations. It isn't until the end we see the cause of all his grief: the horn he found isn't a hearing horn, but is quite literally the devil's left horn!

Now Hear This is an amazing cartoon, not only because of its incredible animation, but also because of sound effects created by film editor Tregoweth "Treg" Brown. Unlike other non-dialogue cartoons, this short doesn't rely on music, but rather on Brown's outstanding sound effects. There are two parts of this short that use music created by Bill Lava, but the rest of the sound all belongs to Brown (any other music not supplied by Lava is stock music that Brown edited in). The randomness of the sound showcases real creativity and spontaneity: a single bug sounds like a train, an inquisitive look brings out the sound of morse code being tapped over a wire, a man's heartbeat sounds like a traffic jam, and in the climax, the animators give Brown a little help by putting the words "GIGANTIC EXPLOSION" on the screen, just to make sure we get the full emphasis of what's going on.

So while Jones and co-director Maurice Noble get the credit for this incredible creation, I've got to give credit where credit is due, and it's Brown's work with the sound effects that allows this cartoon to leave such an impact. Now Hear This is a great short that really grabs our attention, and we hear every little bit of it.

#9 -- High Note


Title - High Note
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1960

Interesting Fact -- Nominated for Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Reason for Placement --

This goes down as one of the most creative ideas ever put to pen and paper. A group of music notes come to life and create sheet music for the classic waltz, "The Blue Danube". However, one of the notes has stumbled into Joseph Winner's song "Little Brown Jug", has become intoxicated, and proceeds to run amok throughout the waltz, causing the conducting note to chase after him and get him back where he belongs in the song.

I've got to confess that, as an artist, this was probably the most inspirational cartoon I've ever seen; the idea of giving life to music notes and the way Jones and his team were able to create every-day objects out of musical symbols really helped jump-start my creativity and open my eyes to what could be done with art and animation.

I should also point out that when I got to junior high and joined the school band, I couldn't look at my sheet music without thinking of this cartoon. Some people might have just seen music notes, but for me, whole notes will always be eggs, sharps will always be tic-tac-toe boards, and quarter rests will always be dogs.

High Note, a classic cartoon that is, quite literally, music to everyone's eyes.

#10 -- Knighty Knight Bugs


Title - Knighty Knight Bugs
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1958

Interesting Fact -- May I have the envelope, please? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the only Bugs Bunny cartoon to ever win an Oscar.

Reason for Placement --

Using Freleng's usual method of placing our characters in historic locations, Bugs finds himself the court jester of King Arthur himself, who is looking for someone to retrieve his mystical Singing Sword from the Black Knight (played by everyone's favorite hot-tempered villain, Yosemite Sam). Bugs tells the King that, "Only a fool would go after the singing sword!" King Arthur's response: "A good idea... Fool!!" And so Bugs is sent to retrieve the sword from the Black Knight and his fire-breathing dragon.

Freleng and writer Warren Foster really outdid themselves with this masterpiece, it's probably one of the most well-written toons to come out of Warner Bros. The visual gags here are plenty, but the one-liners that Bugs and Sam throw back at one another give this short a real life that most other cartoons never got close to touching. It really all goes back to Freleng's remarkable sense of timing: it wasn't just with music and sound effects, it applied to the character's lines as well.

It's also probably worth mentioning that the Oscar for this short was a major plot-point in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, titled, "Who Bopped Bugs Bunny?" In the episode, Bugs is kidnapped by a jealous rival, Slap-Happy Stanley the Elephant, whose cartoon he beat out for the Academy Award. While Stanley was never seen outside this short, it does parody another cartoon, Terrytoon's Sidney's Family Tree (staring Sidney the Elephant), which was indeed nominated the same year as Knighty Knight Bugs.

#11 -- Show Biz Bugs


Title - Show Biz Bugs
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1957

Reason for Placement --

It's well known that of all the great pairings/rivalries in Looney Tunes history, none stick out so much like the classic combination of Bugs vs. Daffy. The pair worked so well together on the screen, it's no surprise that the two are still considered the mascots of Warner Bros. animation. Show Biz Bugs was a great short that really put the rivalry between the two characters into the spotlight and showed us just why Daffy hates the long-eared rabbit so much.

The toon starts with our main characters preparing to do a show together at a theatre. Daffy is determined to prove that he's the star of the show, but no matter what he does, he just can't get any respect (or applause for that matter) from the audience. This is the start of one of the longest gags in this pairing: all Bugs has to do is show up on stage, smile, and the audience goes nuts; Daffy pulls out all the stops in his singing and dancing, but all we hear are crickets. But this is what really fuels Daffy's jealousy: he's not just arrogant and competitive, he really wants to get his due on the stage, and we can all identify with that. It's not just about wanting to be on top... it's about wanting to be noticed in the first place.

Personally, I don't think I'll ever fully understand why Daffy never gets a hint of applause from the audience, but in reality, I don't really want to know. Part of the fun is knowing that no matter what Daffy does, no matter how hard he tries, he's always going to come in second place... that is, until the last gag in the show.

Daffy decides to whip out his biggest act, dresses in a devil costume, and literally drinks a number of flamable liquids, swallows a match, and EXPLODES! (And yes, this scene has been edited countless times for broadcast, Lord knows parents can't have their kids thinking it's cool to drink gasoline and nitro glycerin). Well, the act is a success and Daffy finally gets the applause he wanted so badly... it's too bad that he can only do the act once.

#12 -- Porky in Wackyland


Title - Porky in Wackyland
Director - Bob Clampett
Released - 1938

Interesting Fact -- Selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress

Reason for Placement --

If you took the images of movies made by David Lynch, Terry Gilliam, and add Salvador Dali to taste... you'd have a tenth of the surrealism featured in Clampett's early opus, Porky in Wackyland.

This cartoon is like an acid trip, it is so bizarre. Porky goes on an expedition to find the long-thought extinct Dodo Bird, finding him in Wackyland (which is apparently located in the darkest regions of Africa). As the sign on the entrance explains, "IT CAN HAPPEN HERE"... and it pretty much does. I really wish I could explain half of the stuff Porky runs into, but frankly, it's all so abstract and strange that I honestly don't think I could do it justice. That's how crazy it all is. The design of this cartoon brings to mind one of those nightmares you had but refused to tell anyone about it because you were scared they'd think you'd lost your mind.

Also, this is one of the few cartoons that was pretty much remade in later years. In 1949, Friz Freleng oversaw a new version of the cartoon in full color, re-titled Dough for the Do-Do. The two films are nearly identical, though there are a few changes: a couple of gags are cut and a few new ones are put in, the voices are slightly different, and most of the backgrounds are altered just a bit.

Still, despite being so unbelievably bizarre, this cartoon really helped pave the way for Clampett's career with Warner Bros., and was a major jumping point for Termite Terrace to distance themselves from their Disney rivals. The plain & simple truth is that despite its updated remake from Freleng, there really was no other cartoon like Porky in Wackyland, and honestly, I don't think there will ever be another one like it.

Porky in Wackyland, a heavy-dose of eye-popping surrealism that serves as a reminder that no matter where we end up in life... at least it's not there.

#13 -- Birds Anonymous


Title - Birds Anonymous
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1957

Interesting Fact -- Won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject

Reason for Placement --

Ask any die-hard Looney Tunes fan, and they'll tell you in a heartbeat that Birds Anonymous is an essential part of their collection. And it's not just the fact that it's one of the five Termite Terrace creations to win an Oscar.

First of all, this short parodies what is actually a rather adult topic: addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous wasn't a new program, but it wasn't until around this time that the general public really knew about it. In Birds Anonymous, Sylvester is invited to join the group of said name, in hopes that he will stop chasing Tweety (one cat at the meeting mentions that he joined B.A. after his addiction cost him five homes, but as Granny doesn't make an appearance in this short, it's hard to think about whether or not Sylvester would lose his happy home). So yeah, it's pretty obvious that for Sylvester, his obsession with Tweety is not one that can be so easily kicked.

There's also the fact that Mel Blanc himself said that this was his favorite toon to do voices for. Not all that surprising, the short features what could easily be considered a powerhouse performance by Sylvester, especially as he tries to fight off his addiction. Near the end, Sylvester finally breaks down and starts throwing a tantrum on the floor. Even though it's animated, we can actually feel the cat's frustration and depression as he falls victim to his desire for birds, sobbing and pounding the floor with his fists.

It's also worth mentioning that this was the only short that Blanc actually got an Oscar for: when Eddie Selzer (producer for Termite Terrace) passed away, he bequeathed the statuette to Blanc (in the "Behind the Tunes" on the Golden Collection Vol. 3, it's mentioned that Selzer promised Blanc he would get him an Oscar for his performance).

And, of course, there's the moral that Tweety gives at the end:

"Once a bad ol' puddy tat, ALWAYS a bad ol' puddy tat!"

**I'd like to apologize to my readers for taking so long to get back to the list, I am currently trying to start my own business, and had my hands full this month. Again, I'm sorry.

#14 -- Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z


Title - Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1956

Interesting Fact -- Last cartoon where Jones credited himself as "Charles M. Jones".

Reason for Placement --

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you what is probably one of the quintessential Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner cartoons. This was the 8th toon featuring this classic pair, but it contains some of the most memorable visual gags ever featured in the Looney Tunes.

So, let's get right down to it and look at the gags that help make this such a great cartoon. For me, there are two moments that help Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z really stand out. In the first one, Wile E. orders a Bat-Man suit that will allow him to fly after the Road Runner (no, not DC's Batman, this is a green suit with bat wings [see above photo], no Christian Bale jokes necessary). He spreads his wings all menacing-like, dives off the cliff... and starts plummeting to the ground. But instead of splatting as usual, Wile E. actually gains control at the last minute and start soaring! We see Wile E. flying, smiling proudly (no music in the background, just great sound effects provided by Treg Brown), it looks like he's really got the hang of the suit, and... WHAM! Right into the cliffside! And NOW we get the scene of him falling and splatting on the ground. Great build-up with even better pay-off, this is easily one of the greatest moments ever in WEC/RR history.

The second is the last gag: Wile E. straps a pair of handlebars on a jet engine and uses it to zoom after the Road Runner (accompanied by everyone's favorite Raymond Scott selection, "Powerhouse"). However, as the Road Runner nears the edge of a cliff, he does a U-turn, and Wile E. zips right past him, off the cliff! But he doesn't fall, and the engine keeps going with the coyote onboard, completely unaware that he's gone off the road. Disgruntled at having lost his dinner, Wile E. turns off the engine to think, still in mid-air, just inches away from the other cliffside. The Road Runner (who made it to the other end of the cliff), beeps to alert his foe of what is going on. Wile E. then violates the #1 cartoon law of physics: when defying the law of gravity... NEVER LOOK DOWN!

As he falls to his doom (yet again), Wile E. hold up a sign asking the director to end the cartoon before he hits. Jones is apparently willing to grant the coyote his last wish and irises out, but not before Wile E. can hold up another sign, thanking the animators.

#15 -- The Scarlet Pumpernickel


Title - The Scarlet Pumpernickel
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1950

Interesting Fact -- Voted #31 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field in 1994

Reason for Placement --

Who would have thought even cartoon characters get tired of being comedians? In this short, Daffy begs his boss to let him do a dramatic part, and reads to him a script that he wrote, "The Scarlet Pumpernickel". This was a major change for Daffy, as we see him in this new role as a masked bandit, channeling his own version of Errol Flynn as he saves his lady love, Melissa from the tyranny of... Sylvester and Porky. Yep, they're the villains in this one.

The Scarlet Pumpernickel is one of those cartoons that is not only fun to watch, but has so many interesting little details. First of all, this short has one of the biggest casts of Looney Tunes stars: you have Daffy, Sylvester, Porky, and even Elmer Fudd and Henery Hawk make cameo appearances. Second, this was only one of a few shorts that had numerous references to its birthplace, Warner Bros. Studios (Daffy even holds a conversation with co-founder Jack Warner, who remains off-screen and is referred to as J.L.). Also, there's the fun fact that as Mel Blanc used the same voice for Daffy and Sylvester (Daffy's voice was sped-up to give him a higher pitch), so the scenes of them together is essentially Blanc talking to himself... in the same voice!

And finally, you have what is probably the most controversial ending ever in a Looney Tunes short: after he finished plugging his script to J.L., Daffy pulls himself up, completely exhausted, and says, "...there was nothing left for the Scarlet Pumpernickel to do, but blow his brains out... which he did."

BANG!

"It's getting so you have to kill yourself to sell a story around here!"

#16 -- Rabbit of Seville


Title - Rabbit of Seville
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1950

Interesting Fact -- Voted #20 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field in 1994

Reason for Placement --

It's Rabbit Season again, and Bugs is on the run from Elmer, hiding out backstage at a large theater. However, as Elmer accidentally runs onstage looking for his prey, the curtain goes up, and Bugs and Elmer find themselves the stars of a new twist on the classic opera, The Barber of Seville.

While it goes without saying that Friz Freleng was the master of timing to music in Looney Tunes, the few music-based shorts that Jones directed truly stand out amongst some of the most memorable cartoons ever created. Carl Starling outdoes himself with this short, combining Rossini's brilliant opera with his own arraignments to help give the short an amazing musical score, punctuated with Elmer and Bugs' singing (interestingly enough, the two only sing through the first half, the rest is done without dialogue). The animation matches perfectly with each note; in fact, during the scene where Bugs "plays piano" on Elmer's head, Jones gives us the only animated sequence where Bugs is featured with five fingers to help match up with the hand of a piano player.

#17 -- Baby Bottleneck


Title - Baby Bottleneck
Director - Bob Clampett
Released - 1946

Reason for Placement --

Each of the Termite Terrace directors were known for having one particular trait that helped their toons to stand out: Friz Freleng was known for his timing, Bob McKimson had personality, and Chuck Jones was known for his style. Clampett, however, was known for his squash-and-stretch animation techniques which helped Warner Bros. to take the leap needed to disassociate themselves with Disney's animation department.

Baby Bottleneck is probably the best example of Clampett's animation. The Baby Boom had started, couples were all ready to start families, and Clampett played off of this by featuring what is literally a "baby factory": a facility designed to help get newborns to their expecting parents. Porky and Daffy are managing the factory, but run into some serious difficulty when they come across an unhatched egg with no address or name.

If you go frame by frame in this cartoon, you will actually see dozens of poses in each shot; the characters literally stretch themselves all over the screen, nothing is done in a simple blur shot. In one scene, Porky tries to force Daffy to sit on the unhatched egg, constantly pushing the duck across the screen and towards the egg. Just take a look at the screen shots and you'll see how much detail Clampett put into the animation.

It's also worth noting that the factory scenes include probably the most well-known use of "Powerhouse" by Raymond Scott, playing off the "assembly line"-style of the music with the babies as they are rolled out in the factory.

#18 -- Chow Hound


Title - Chow Hound
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1951

Reason for Placement --

If any of the Looney Tunes shorts developed a "cult following", it would have to be Chow Hound. This is one of those unique cartoons that doesn't have any recurring Looney Tunes stars and never really got any kind of recognition when it was released, but virtually everyone knows it.

Part of what makes it stand out is that it goes against the normal cat vs. dog formula that multiple cartoons had done in the past: instead of the cat being the villain against the noble dog, the dog in Chow Hound is a merciless bully, who puts the cat through various scams to earn him more food.

The other part that helps this toon to stay so popular is the ending, which shows the cat (and a mouse also used for a few of the scams) finally getting their revenge on the dog. I'll go ahead and admit that for a cartoon, this was a pretty dark ending, with the cat and mouse torturing the dog as he lies helpless on a vet's table after eating too much food. Ever heard of water-boarding? Well, this cartoon introduces us to "gravy-boarding"!

#19 -- Bully for Bugs


Title - Bully for Bugs
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1953

Reason for Placement --

There are actually two reasons I'm putting this toon on the countdown. First of all, there is the simple fact that this is a fun toon with one of the most famous moments in Looney Tunes history: the Slap Dance, set to the tune of "Las Chiapanecas".

The second reason is the story behind why Jones and Michael Maltese decided to make this short: while working at Termite Terrace one day, Eddie Selzer, who took over the position of studio head after Leon Schlesinger in 1944, burst in and announced (for apparently no reason whatsoever) that bull fights were not funny and they were not to make a cartoon about one. So what do Jones and Maltese do? Yep, make a bull-fighting cartoon. According to Jones' biography Chuck Amuck, they felt they had to as Selzer had proven time and time again to be wrong about virtually anything. And of course, he was easily wrong about this.

#20 -- Robin Hood Daffy


Title - Robin Hood Daffy
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1958

Interesting Fact -- According to the commentary on Looney Tunes Golden Collection #3, this is the favorite short of Linda Jones Clough, the director's daughter

Reason for Placement --

Let's face it: if you ran into this guy in the woods and he claimed to be Robin Hood, you probably wouldn't believe him. And neither does Porky, setting up one of Jones' best shorts, Robin Hood Daffy. Porky is on his way to join up with Robin Hood, but refuses to believe that the little black duck in front of him is the hero he searches for. In an attempt to prove himself, Daffy sees a rich traveler in the woods, and decides to steal his gold.

I'll go ahead and admit that this is one of my all-time favorite shorts, and I could watch it a million times over again. But more than that, it's a prime example of why Jones remains one of the top animation directors in history. First, the writing of Michael Maltese is great, with classic one-liners that virtually any animation fan knows. All one has to do is say, "YOIKS... AND AWAY!", and we all know what you're talking about.

Second, the animation in this short balances perfectly. On one end, you have heavy cartoon slapstick, such as the scene over the bridge, where Daffy challenges Porky to a duel with his "trusty quarterstaff" ("Actually, it's a buck-and-a-quarter-quarterstaff, but I'm not telling him that!"). Then you have a great piece of subtle animation when Daffy fails yet again to catch the rich traveller in the woods: all we see is Daffy's disappointed face, and in the distance we can see Porky with his sarcastic grin, waving to Daffy. It's not over the top, nor does it need to be.

I could probably go on for hours about how beautiful the animation in this short really is. The background shows us yellow skies with blue trees, which sounds weird but actually works well. Then you have great little bits like the rich traveller riding through the woods (gotta love how he never actually moves besides the mule's skipping), the recurring gag of Daffy's bill getting bent as a sign of frustration, and even something as simple as Porky's heaving belly as he laughs at Daffy. It's these little details that pull the entire short together and help Robin Hood Daffy leave such a memorable impression.

#21 -- Hyde and Go Tweet


Title - Hyde and Go Tweet
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1960

Reason for Placement --

After taking a nap on a window ledge (outside the office of one Dr. Jekyll), Sylvester starts doing what he does best and goes after Tweety. In an attempt to lose the puddy-tat, Tweety ducks into the doctor's office and hides in a bottle... too bad he didn't see the label that said "Hyde Formula". Meanwhile, Sylvester starts going through the doctor's office, only to confront a huge monstrous Tweety Bird!

This was the third cartoon Freleng made that parodied the classic story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the first two being 1954's Dr. Jekyll's Hide and 1955's Hyde and Hare, but this one is easily the best, if for no other reason that the chase scenes. Throughout the toon, Tweety repeatedly changes back into his monstrous form, quickly turning Sylvester from predator to prey and back again. The whole thing is made even funnier with the fact that Sylvester fails to put 2 and 2 together and see that the little canary he's been chasing is actually the monster that keeps coming after him!

#22 -- Hare-Way To The Stars


Title - Hare-Way To The Stars
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1958

Reason for Placement --

This is going down as probably one of the toughest decisions I've had to make in a long time: which Bugs Bunny/Marvin the Martian toon most belongs on the countdown? These are some of Jones' best shorts, and I love all of them, but sadly, there is only room for one.

Marvin had appeared in two other shorts which stared Bugs Bunny. In the first one, Haredevil Hare, Bugs runs into Marvin on the moon and must stop him from blowing up the Earth. This was a great short, but Marvin really didn't make much of an impression on audiences. In the second short, The Hasty Hare, Marvin and K-9 (his Martian dog) come to Earth to find and capture an Earth creature for study... and I'll give you three guesses who they find. This one was definitely funnier; plus, Marvin's voice was changed from the nasally high-pitched one to the deeper, but still soft-spoken voice we all know and love.

So that leads us to Hare-Way To The Stars, in which Bugs is accidentally sent to Mars (via a rocket that was placed over his hole), and runs into Marvin, once again trying to destory the Earth with his Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator. This time, however, they do give us a reason for his desire to get rid of the Earth: it obstructs his view of Venus.

There are actually a couple of reasons this particular toon gets the coveted spot. First of all, the Space Race had just started when this toon aired, and you can really feel the excitement behind the world's fascination with outer space (especially since the satellite that hits Bugs is modeled to look exactly like Sputnik). Second, Jones re-uses a previous creation of his from Jumpin' Jupiter: the dehydrated Martians, which actually give us one of the best chase sequences outside of a Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner toon. Finally, the background designs are incredible; Maurice Noble really outdid himself with the look of Mars, showcasing a one-of-a-kind abstract style that I honestly cannot get enough of.

#23 -- The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall


Title - The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1942

Reason for Placement --

While this toon doesn't contain any Looney Tunes stars, and the humor is more subtle than usual, most consider this short to be the first real classic piece that Chuck Jones churned out while at Termite Terrace.

This was the first short that Jones really experimented with stylized animation (using shape-heavy designs with minimal movement), and he would later say that this was the first toon he made that he actually found funny.

What always intrigued me about The Dover Boys was its ability to remain so classic. After all, the story parodies a juvenile book series from the early nineteenth century, so it's not like anyone today remembers where the original source material comes from. Plus, the humor manages to stay away from some of the stronger visual gags that Jones would later make part of his signature style.

If I had to pick why I love this short, I'd have to go with the scene in Dan Backslide's cabin, as "dainty" Dora Standpipe cries for the heros to come and rescue her... all while giving Backslide a savage beating that would make Anderson Silva shed a few tears! In the end, you really can't blame him for crying out for help as well!

#24 -- Mexican Boarders


Title - Mexican Boarders
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1962

Reason for Placement --

Slowpoke Rodriguez is one of those characters that only appeared in a few cartoons (in this case, two), but everyone knows who he is.  The much slower cousin of Speedy Gonzazles, Slowpoke made his debut in 1959's Mexicali Shmoes, but it was in Mexican Boarders that he finally got his starring role.

Slowpoke shows up at Speedy's door for a visit, much to the surprise (and joy) of Sylvester, who's flat-out exhausted from chasing the fastest mouse in all of Mexico.  Speedy warns his cousin that he can't leave the mouse hole because of Sylvester, so Speedy ends up running back and forth for Slowpoke.  It's probably worth pointing out that this is actually the only time where Sylvester does indeed catch Speedy, but thanks to the bottle of tabasco sauce the mouse is carrying, he manages to escape.

What we all remember is what happens when Sylvester does manage to get his paws on Slowpoke, only to find out that the slow mouse isn't all that helpless.  In his first appearance, Slowpoke surprises the other two cats by pulling out a gun, but in this short, I guess Termite Terrace decided to make him a little less violent by having him hypnotize Sylvester into becoming his slave!   Slowpoke says it best: "Maybe Slowpoke is slow downstairs in the feet, but he's pretty fast upstairs in la cabeza."  

#25 -- Ali Baba Bunny


Title - Ali Baba Bunny
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1957

Interesting Fact -- Voted #35 of the Top 50 Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field.

Reason for Placement --

This was always one of my top favorite cartoons growing up, I must have watched it countless times.  Bugs is once again on vacation, and as usual, misses that right turn at Albuquerque, but this time, Daffy is tagging a long ("What a way for a duck to travel, underground.").  The two end up in a sealed cavern filled with treasure, so of course, while Bugs is only concerned with getting to Pismo Beach, Daffy becomes obsessed with the treasure, leading to some of the duck's greatest dialogue:

"IT'S MINE, YOU UNDERSTAND?!?  MINE, ALL MINE!  GET BACK IN THERE!  DOWN!  DOWN!  DOWN!  GO!  GO!  GO!  MINE!  MINE!  MINE!"

"I can't help it, I'm a greedy slob... it's my hobby.  Save me!"

Jones definitely perfected the calm Bugs vs. greedy Daffy formula, and this short is a perfect example of the characters' relationship with one another.  Now I do have to point out that there are several other cartoons that Jones made using this same principle, including The Abominable Snow Rabbit & Beanstalk Bunny, which I love just as much, but sadly, do not have room for on the countdown.  So while I highly recommend checking out those shorts as well, I've got to give the spot to Ali Baba Bunny.

Besides, if nothing else, the line "HASSAN CHOP!" remains one of my fiancĂ©e's favorite Looney Tunes moments.  

#26 -- Often an Orphan


Title - Often an Orphan
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1949

Reason for Placement --

I can actually remember getting upset as a kid during the first moments of Often an Orphan: a man sets up a picnic with his dog, but when the dog runs after a stick to play fetch, the owner actually grabs his stuff and drives off, essentially leaving the dog on the side of the road. Being the die-hard animal lover, that moment made me pretty uneasy... until I figured out that the owner wasn't so much abandoning the animal, as escaping from Charlie Dog!

This short earns its spot on the countdown if for no reason than the speech Charlie gives Porky so he can stay on his farm, detailing how many breeds of dogs he comes from:

"I'm 50% Pointer (There it is! There it is), 50% Boxer, 50% Setter... Irish Setter, 50% Watchdog, 50% Spitz, 50% Doberman Pincher, but mostly, I'm all Labrador Retriever."

And remember, if you doubt his word, just go get a Labrador and he'll retrieve it!

#27 -- Really Scent


Title - Really Scent
Director - Abe Levitow
Released - 1959

Reason for Placement --

While taking the usual formula for a Pepe Le Pew short, Really Scent takes it upon itself to give us a few significant changes that help it to stand out.  First of all, the action takes place in the US, specifically New Orleans, rather than France.  Second, the victim of Pepe's chase, a black cat named Fabrette, is not a normal black cat with a stripe painted down her back; instead, she was born with the stripes, making her look exactly like a skunk.  

And finally, as the narrator explains to both us and Fabrette, the cat actually wants to be with Pepe!  While she does run away from his stench, all Fabrette wants is a boyfriend, and she's willing to do anything possible to be with Pepe (since regular cats run away when they see her stripe), even going so far as to hold her breath as long as possible.  

I'm sure there's a lot of people who probably think that last element is probably a bit sexist and outdated, but to me, Really Scent will always be one of my favorite Pepe Le Pew toons.  

#28 -- Falling Hare


Title - Falling Hare
Director - Bob Clampett
Released - 1943

Reason for Placement --

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you one of only a handful of creatures to ever get the better of Bugs Bunny... the Gremlin.  

We open the short with Bugs reading a book titled, "Victory through Hare Power" (nice pun), which says that gremlins are a constant threat to pilots, often sabotaging their planes and instruments.  Of course, Bugs laughs this off... until he comes face-to-face with an actual gremlin, trying to detonate the blockbuster bomb Bugs is sitting on! 

This is probably Clampett's best Bugs cartoon, showcasing some of his signature squash-and-stretch style, though it goes without showing that the gremlin gives Bugs probably the biggest beating of the rabbit's life!  Seriously, I have watched maybe a couple hundred Looney Tunes cartoons, and I don't think that there has been another one made where Bugs gets as thrown around as much as this one.  The gremlin hits him with a mallet (twice), throws him out of a plane (again, twice), and then sends the plane with them in it hurtling to the ground!  It's not like there haven't been any other shorts where Bugs was the victim in the end or ending up losing, but this.. this is too much!  I challenge you to find a toon where Bugs gets beaten up so badly.

Falling Hare, the Termite Terrace creation that really gave parents a reason to worry about violence in cartoons.

#29 -- Satan's Waitin'


Title - Satan's Waitin'
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1954

Reason for Placement --

There's always been a long-standing belief that when it came to cartoon characters, they couldn't be hurt and they couldn't die.  Well, next time someone tells you that, show them Satan's Waitin'.  Sylvester, while chasing Tweety, falls off of a building and actually dies and goes to Hell!  Geez, I knew Sylvester was more of a villain than hero in the Looney Tunes, but did he really deserve to go to Hell? 

Well, as it turns out, Sylvester isn't completely dead, as cats have nine lives.  So he goes back up to Earth, but a Satanic bulldog is there to goad him to continue chasing Tweety, and in doing so, use up his remaining 8 lives.  I give a lot of credit to Freleng and Warren Foster for coming up with the elaborate ways Sylvester uses up the lives.  

It's probably worth mentioning that the general idea behind this short was re-used by Freleng in a clip-show-style short titled Devil's Feud Cake, where Yosemite Sam goes to Hell and tries to win his freedom by bringing back Bugs Bunny.  However, because it uses scenes from other shorts, I'm not putting it on the countdown.  

Satan's Waitin', while a bit on the creepy side, is still fun, clever, and shows us that cartoon characters could, in fact, kick the bucket.  

#30 -- My Little Duckaroo


Title - My Little Duckaroo
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1954

Reason for Placement --

I'm probably going to get roasted alive for including this short and not its predecessor, Drip Along Daffy, but honestly, I've always liked this short a bit more.  There's more action, the animation is brighter, and the jokes are a lot funnier.

Daffy plays the Masked Avenger (Porky reprises his role as the Comedy Relief), and sets out to arrest and turn in Nasty Canasta for the $10,000 reward.  However, once he gets to Canasta's hide-out, he finds out that trying to get the upper hand on Canasta is easier said than done.  When the villain doesn't respond to his Masked Avenger costume, Daffy changes into the Freesco Kid (a scene often edited out of broadcasts), and then as Super Guy (a rather blatant Superman parody), but still doesn't get Canasta's attention.

The toon goes on with Daffy trying to find some way to take Canasta down, but failing miserably.  You just have to love the duck's determination to turn him in and claim the reward, even though it's common knowledge he doesn't stand a chance.  Even when he handcuffs him and tries to take him away, Canasta still doesn't move (even breaking the handcuffs like they were made out of paper).  

So like I said, this short always stuck with me a bit more than Drip Along Daffy (please don't get me wrong, I love that cartoon as well).  Plus, let's face it: it's Daffy being the greedy duck we all know and love so well.  He's not interested in justice, he just wants the reward.  

"After all, it's not the principle of the thing... it's the money."  

#31 -- By Word of Mouse


Title - By Word of Mouse
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1954
Italic
Reason for Placement --

In the mid 1950s, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation underwrote three Looney Tunes cartoons to educate viewers about consumerism and business, all directed by Freleng.  

In the first one, By Word of Mouse, a German mouse named Hans comes to visit his cousin Willie in America, but doesn't understand the idea behind mass-consumption and mass-production.  When Willie fails to explain it to him, they go to see a professor mouse who gives them a brief lesson on how economics work.  However, the mice must go over the lecture while being chased around the classroom by Sylvester!

The other two toons follow similar paths: in Heir Conditioned, Sylvester inherits a fortune, but his financial advisor, Elmer Fudd shows him why he should invest the money.  And in the last one, Yankee Dood It, Freleng takes the classic story The Shoemaker and the Elves and demonstrates how a business runs.  

Sure, sounds boring, but I give these shorts high marks because I learned more from these three cartoons than I ever did about business in high school or college (it's often been my opinion that schools need to start offering a personal finance course for people like me who never had much of a chance to learn about basic economics and such).  Truth be told, you could probably put any of these three cartoons in this spot on the countdown, but I'm going to give the extra point to By Word of Mouse; it's just as educational as the others, but the chase during the lesson plan is what does it for me.

#32 -- A Witch's Tangled Hare


Title - A Witch's Tangled Hare
Director - Abe Levitow 
Released - 1959

As before in Broom-stick Bunny, Bugs finds himself as the last ingredient in Witch Hazel's potion, but this time, he manages to run off to a nearby castle, with Hazel close behind.  All while doing this, a man in Renaissance-era clothes is following them and taking notes... gee, who could this be?  

One element about this toon to help it stand out is the location: in the other toons Witch Hazel starred in, the setting was her house (complete with the abstract style of Maurice Noble), but in A Witch's Tangled Hare, we're actually in the Scotland Moors.  This isn't a crack at Noble, he remains one of my favorite artists, but for this short, the new background really works.

Another part of what makes this short so fun is the subtle nods to Shakespeare that Levitow and Michael Maltese throw in: the castle has a mailbox with the name 'Macbeth' on it, Hazel performs part of the Witch's Spell from the same play, and in an attempt to confuse her, Bugs puts on a performance of Romeo & Juliet.   

This wasn't the first toon to star Witch Hazel, nor the last, but in my opinion, it's probably the best.  

#33 -- The Three Little Bops


Title - The Three Little Bops
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1957

Interesting Fact -- This was the only time another voice actor (Stan Freberg) was given solo screen credit other than Mel Blanc.

Reason for Placement --

The directors at Termite Terrace were famous for putting their own spins on classic stories and fables, but this is probably the most unique and famous of them all. Freleng's The Three Little Bops takes the story of the Three Little Pigs and updates them to jazz musicians. The pigs are now in a band, and the Big Bad Wolf actually just wants to join them... except that he is probably the worst trumpet-player in the history of music! So that's where we get the original story pulled in: each time the Wolf is kicked out of the club the pigs are in, he huffs and puffs and- you know what, you all know the story, you know what happens.

Freleng really gives us a brilliant short, with all of the sound (including the sound effects) provided by an actual jazz combo. Freburg also proves himself as one of the most talented voice actors ever to work at Termite Terrace by providing the voices of every character in the short, including the singning narrator (Blanc had a contractual agreement that only his name would appear in the shorts, but Freleng gave this one to Freburg as Blanc did not provide any of the voice work).

Great music, clever twist on a classic story, terrific voice work, impressive style... it's easy to see why The Three Little Bops remains one of Freleng's best pieces of all time, and more than earns it's spot on the countdown.

#34 -- Devil May Hare


Title - Devil May Hare
Director - Bob McKimson
Released - 1954

Interesting Fact -- First appearance of the Tasmanian Devil

Reason for Placement --

When it came to antagonists for Bugs Bunny, you really couldn't get a whole lot better than the Tasmanian Devil. Elmer and Yosemite have their guns, Wile E. has his wits, but Taz... he's just hungry! I mean, he's essentially a stomach with legs, he has no motivation and no desire but to eat; he doesn't set traps like the others, he just comes in, spinning through the boulder, then the tree, then the ground, then another tree, and there he is. Bugs was the master at outwitting his opponents and escaping their traps, but McKimson gave us a new type of character, one that relied on strength and bite alone.

Making his Looney Tunes debut, the Tasmanian Devil decides to add Bugs to his menu, but the rabbit offers to give Taz a gourmet feast instead. I always loved that Taz, while easily the dumbest villain Bugs ever faced, was also probably the hardest to get rid of. In one scene, Bugs offers to cook up some groundhogs, so he and Taz start digging for them... only for Bugs to completely bury him! He thinks he's gotten rid of the menace, when Taz appears behind him and asks, "What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?" I loved that line when I was younger, but when I watched this short again as a teen (with all of my friends), this was the moment we all started laughing.

#35 -- Pizzicato Pussycat


Title - Pizzicato Pussycat
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1955

Reason for Placement --

When I was a kid, one of my teachers told us a story about how her cat would get on the piano and walk across the keys in the middle of the night. So when I first saw Pizzicato Pussycat, all I could think of was how she'd react if instead of hearing the random notes of the cat walking on the ivories, she actually heard music!

A cat discovers that a mouse can play the piano (and really well actually, the music in this short is pretty impressive). However, instead of letting the mouse get the credit, the cat hides him in the family's grand piano and lets his owners think he is the one making the beautiful music. When the owners call the press, the cat agrees to spare the life of the mouse, if he helps him keep up the charade.

I think that one of the reasons this toon stands out was Freleng's decision to not include any major stars. While he could have easily put Sylvester in the short, Pizzicato Pussycat works best with these one-note characters (pun intended, get over it). And like I said before, the music in this short is great, especially the jazzed-up version of Chopin's Waltz the mouse performs.

#36 -- Martian Through Georgia


Title - Martian Through Georgia
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1962

Reason for Placement --

I think we can all identify with the alien in this short; he lives in what is essentially a utopia, has a girl who's crazy about him, but he's bored, plain & simple. How often have we felt that, just fed up with everything in our lives and seeking something... anything, that can take that boredom away?

Though Jones get a big chunk of the credit for this episode, I give a lot of points to Maurice Noble for his eye-catching abstract background. The design in Martian Through Georgia is beyond cool, not only giving us a killer design for the alien world, but even the design on Earth, showing us why Jones would would credit Noble as a co-director in a lot of his later shorts (this one included).

#37 -- Scrap Happy Daffy


Title - Scrap Happy Daffy
Director - Frank Tashlin
Released - 1943

Reason for Placement --

Of all the WWII-themed toons to come out of Termite Terrace, Scrap Happy Daffy is probably my all-time favorite. Daffy is helping collect a massive amount of scrap metal for the warfront, but the Nazis decide to send a hungry billy goat to eat away the metal before it can be put to good use.

After getting his feathered behind kicked by the goat, Daffy is about ready to throw in the towel (he actually asks for a can of spinach, nice little nod to Popeye cartoons), but images of his ancestors (who all took part in historic moments in American history) call on Daffy to keep fighting, because, "Americans Don't Give Up!" This is probably one of the most patriotic moments every to come out of the Looney Tunes, and while a line like this can probably raise a few eyebrows nowadays, you can just imagine how empowering a scene like that was to people during WWII. Corny, sure, but this is a toon that can really give us a sense of pride about our country.

#38 -- Compressed Hare


Title - Compressed Hare
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1961

Reason for Placement --

While taking a shower, Bugs gets a phone call from his new neighbor, asking for a cup of carrots to add to a stew. Bugs, being the good neighbor, is more than happy to bring over the carrots, but that's when he sees the name on the mailbox: "Wile E. Coyote -- Genius". A twitch of the whiskers, Bugs looks over his shoulder, raises his eyebrow, and that's all we need to see: we now know exactly what is coming.

While probably not Jones' best work, Compressed Hare is still a lot of fun, especially when we come to the last trap: Wile E. builds an extra-powerful electro-magnet, and gives Bugs an iron carrot (personally, I never understood why Wile E. thought Bugs would go for the faux carrot, he obviously can't bite into it, did he think he'd just swallow it whole?). Bugs, wise to the plan, pretends to eat the carrot and let's Wile E. turn on the magnet, sending not only the carrot, but also every single metal item in the rabbit's hole at him! Bugs turns to the audience to give his closing line... only to turn and see that pretty much every single metallic object on the planet is now heading straight towards them! You gotta love the idea of Jones' putting in one last joke, one that apparently, Bugs didn't even see coming!

#39 -- Canned Feud


Title - Canned Feud
Director - Friz Freleng
Released - 1951

Reason for Placement --

Of all the Looney Tunes stars, Sylvester was one of the few that didn't need a specific counterpart. He worked just as well against Speedy Gonzalez and Tweety as he did about half-a-dozen one-shot characters, including in Freleng's Canned Feud.

Sylvester's owners forget to put him outside before leaving on a long vacation, leaving him locked in the house. While Sylvester finds plenty of cans of food, the only can opener is being held by a mouse, who delights in torturing the poor cat over it!

Everytime I watch this toon, all I can do is wonder what Sylvester did to deserve to be treated like this. Did he chase or try to eat this mouse in the past, or is the mouse just a sadist? Seriously, he's pure evil!

#40 -- Early to Bet


Title - Early to Bet
Director - Bob McKimson
Released - 1951

Reason for Placement --

"Better watch out, folks, or the Gambling Bug will get you!" Might sound like a simple enough warning to stay away from gambling, but in Early to Bet, it's actually a warning about a real-life Gambling Bug, whose bites cause the victim to start compusively gambling (geez, Gamblers Anonymous would have a field day with this episode).

Anyway, the focus of the short is actually McKimson's nameless cat (who appeared in multiple other shorts, including A Fractured Leghorn), who is bitten by the Gambling Bug and continually plays cards with a bulldog. Sadly, the bite doesn't bring luck with the cards, as the cat loses every time. And, for some reason, when the cat loses he has to be the victim of random penalties, which to me seem like a precursor to the Physical Challenges of Double Dare.

It's probably worth pointing out that the idea of the penalties being inflicted by the dog to the cat was previously used by McKimson in 1950s It's Hummer Time. However, in my opinion, Early to Bet works out as the better of the two, if for no other reason than the extra humor the Gambling Bug brings to the screen.

#41 -- Ready, Woolen, and Able


Title - Ready, Woolen, and Able
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1960

Reason for Placement --

As I stated before in a previous post, I had a pretty hard time originally telling the difference between Ralph Wolf and Wile E. Coyote, mostly because a few of the Ralph Wolf/Sam Sheepdog shorts were on my WEC/RR tapes.  However, looking back on it, I think this was the short that always confused me into thinking that Ralph and Wile E. were the same character... which is also probably why I loved this short so much as a kid!

The premise is the same as other Ralph/Sam shorts: they punch the clock, Ralph tries to steal sheep, and Sam has to guard them.  But the gags in this one really reminded me of Wile E.; for example, there is one part where Ralph decides to put a pair of bed springs on his feet so he can jump over Sam and get to the sheep.  We have a few moments where he tries to get the springs under control, only to keep falling on his face.  Watch that scene and tell me that doesn't remind you 100% of everyone's favorite coyote!

Still, I have to go with the final scene for my reasoning behind choosing this short.  Ralph uses a trapeze to swing over Sam, but when he gets to the cliffside the sheep was sitting on... he finds Sam again.  A little confused, Ralph climbs up the trapeze, and finds Sam sitting up there, holding the trapeze!  He goes back down to his seat, and there's Sam again!  He jumps from the trapeze into the water below, and as he falls he sees Sam no less than 6 times before he hits!  He goes underwater... OK, I think by this point you get the point.  Ralph makes it to a beach, which is for some reason, filled with at least two dozen Sams!  Fade-in to the end of the day, Sam is going home, and Ralph is being led away in an ambulance, tied up in a straight-jacket.  They never explain what exactly happened or if Ralph is actually going nuts, but frankly, we don't care, we enjoy the ending all the same.