Hey everybody, MarioSonic94 here. I've seen lots of articles about Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs in RetroJunk. So I've decided to break the mold and talk about the good old Looney Tunes shorts. Credit goes to davemackey.com
(Note- The reason I use title cards from these 25 shorts, is because I couldn't find much screenshots)
Anyway, on with the countdown
25. The Hole Idea (1955-Robert McKimson)
Each director at Termite Terrace (nickname for the original Warner Bros. cartoon studio) has made a few one-shot shorts. What sets this one out from all the other one shots, it that this particular short was animated by only the short's director. The premise of this short is that an inventor (who is verbully abused by his dominate wife) invents a portable hole. A burgler steals all the scientist's holes and goes on a crime spree with them. This short has really funny gags and a hilarious ending.
24. Bartholomew Versus the Wheel (1964-Robert McKimson)
Another one shot Bob McKimson did was this unusual oddity. This short features a dog named Bartholomew who has a grudge with wheels. All types of wheels. The artwork of this cartoon is based on James Thurber-esc artwork. This story sort of reminds me of a typical forgotten children's story
23. Porky's Duck Hunt (1937-Tex Avery)
Even though he never had any intentions, Tex Avery created some characters that had series that are still popular today, and all the time, it was by complete accidents. This short introduced Daffy Duck and the new character instantly exceeded Porky Pig's popularity. Three years later, Tex Avery introduced another hunter vs. forest cartoon that also marked the debut of a superstar.
22. High Note/Nelly's Folly (1960/1961-Chuck Jones)
In the 1960's, Chuck Jones and Bob McKimson said "I'm sick of doing the same cartoon over and over again. I want to try something that is out of the box". And they did. Chuck Jones, however, took this opportunity more often and the shorts got Oscar nominations as a result. High Note is one of those cartoons that rely on no diologue and only music gags. The short is about a conductor who is trying to catch a musical note who is drunk from being to long in the Little Brown Jug sheet music book. Nelly's Folly is an example of Chuck Jones going back to using loose and gentle animation. The plot of this short is that a hunter (who is also a talent agent) discovers a giraffe named Nelly, who has a beautiful singing voice. She has a lot of fame and fortune, but all that changes when gets in a scandal involving a married giraffe. This short pretty reminds me of a typical riches-to rags- to happy ending short (i.e. Disney's Susie the Little Coupe), and that's pretty good.
21. Norman Normal (1968-Alex Lovy)
This is one of the few cartoons of Termite Terrace to gain a cult following after it's release. This short, which was a collaboration between Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary fame) and the cartoon studio, is a sartirical look at society. Prior to it's inclusion in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection volume 6 in 2008, this short was one the rarest Looney Tunes shorts (Most of the shorts released in the era of 1967-1969 are rare).
20. Rabbit Stew and Rabbits Too! (1969-Robert McKimson)
Throughout the late '60s, Termite Terrace created a lot of shorts that would possibly create a new series and have a new character that would be a popular as Bugs Bunny. This cartoon actually had a series that was given the green light, but the series was cancelled when the studio closed later that year. This cartoon is pretty a Road Runner and Coyote type cartoon, only with a fox in the Coyote's role and a fast rabbit in the Road Runner's role. This short has some pretty funny gags and would have made a great series.
19. Rhapsody in Rivets (1941-Friz Freleng)
Friz Freleng was known for making cartoons that used clasical music during his tenure at Termite Terrace. This, Pigs in a Polka, and Rhapsody Rabbit were examples of these shorts that were nominated for Oscars. This short features animals building a skyscraper to the tune of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. It's a shame Friz never got his Oscar that he deserved, since he is a musical genius
18. DePatie-Freleng Road Runner shorts(1965-1966-Robert McKimson/Rudy Lavirra)
A lot of animation critics don't seem to like these Road Runner shorts, but in my honest opinion, these shorts are actually really underrated. Sure Chuck Jones didn't direct these Road Runner shorts, but what makes these shorts great is that the directors and writers created new ways for the Coyote to humiliate himself. As well as buying stuff from the ACME corporation, the Coyote made use of other methods of catching the Road Runner like a robot made of scrap metal (The Solid Tin Coyote) and even a spy kit (Sugar and Spies).
17. Puss N' Booty (1943-Frank Tashlin)
This cartoon is known for being the last Looney Tune short made in black and white (For a period of time, the Merrie Melodies were in color, while the Looney Tunes were only in black and white). This short is pretty much a typical cat vs. canary story, only with a few funny gags where the canary outsmarts the cat. This short also have some camera angles that are reminiscent of camera angles in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. This short was remade in color five years later with Tweety and Sylvester.
16. A Pest in the House (1947-Chuck Jones)
For the late '30s and most of the '40s, Daffy Duck was had his crazy and unhinged personality. In the '50s, he was given his greedy and villianous personality (which he also kept into the '60s). In between, he was given an "inbetween" personality, meaning that he pretty much had the personality of an elfin creature. In this hilarious short, Daffy works as a bellboy in a hotel (as the result of a labor shortage that made employers hire anybody or anything!). The person he attends to is a tired businessman (voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan) who wants nothing but peace, quiet, and a whole lot of sleep. As you probably guessed, Daffy prevents this guy from sleeping. This short was given a sequel by Bob McKimson, only change is that Daffy is sharing a room with Porky Pig. He still prevents Porky from sleeping though.
15. Scaredy Cat/Claws for Alarm (tie)(1948/1954-Chuck Jones)
The Looney Tunes shorts were known for having some freaky and weird moments. These two shorts however, were full of them. Both cartoons involve Porky and his cowardly cat Sylvester (Chuck Jones was the one who created the name for the previously unamed cat) staying in a new home (In Claws for Alarm, it was a hotel) that is full of mice who have intentions to do nothing more than murdering a person who stays there. Everytime Sylvester saves his owner, Porky thinks that he
is trying to kill him. This short is great for Halloween and needs more airtime on that holiday on a certain network gone to crap. *cough* Cartoon Network *cough*
14. Deduce You Say/Robin Hood Daffy (1956/1958-Chuck Jones)
Out of all the directors who used the Daffy and Porky formula, Chuck Jones used it the most and did it best. Even though both shorts take place in different time eras and both main characters have different identities, both have the same premise: Daffy is trying to prove to the world that he is the greatest. Both cartoons have pretty funny gags and always have Daffy failing miserably and Porky's straight man personality beating Daffy.
13. Supressed Duck/Tease for Two (tie) (1965-Robert McKimson)
In the early years of the DePatie-Freleng Looney Tunes era, Daffy Duck became Speedy Gonzales' new adversary. After their first few confrontations, Daffy appeared in three shorts that didn't have him with Speedy. In Supressed Duck, Daffy is trying to shoot a bear during hunting season. What results is Daffy making schemes to catch this bear and always ends up with the bear outsmarting him and Daffy getting reprimanded by the ranger. In Tease for Two, Daffy is pitted against the Goofy Gophers (in their last Looney Tunes appearence in the Golden Age) for gold that is located right in the gophers' home. After this cartoon, Daffy would be only seen alongside Speedy Gonzales. Both shorts have funny gags that make Daffy's failures more miserable than the last.
12. Knighty Knight Bugs (1958-Friz Freleng)
It took a while, but here is a Bugs Bunny cartoon. After mentioning three Oscar nominees, I might as well mention an Oscar winner. This cartoon was the only Bugs Bunny short to win an Oscar and the last Warner Bros. cartoon to win an Oscar. This short is pretty much a Yosemite Sam vs. Bugs cartoon. Only this time, it takes place in the medival ages. Out of all the Yosemite Sam cartoons, this one is my all time favorite.
11. Transylvania 6-5000 (1963-Chuck Jones)
This was the last Bugs Bunny cartoon Chuck Jones directed (Chuck Jones wouldn't return to direct more Bugs Bunny shorts until the late '70s). It seems he saved the best for last. The short features Bugs accidently entering Transylvania and pits against the vampire named Count Blood Count. Like Norman Normal, this cartoon has a cult following. The people who love this short are mainly younger fans who are also into Nightmare Before Christmas. In Japan, figures of Count Blood Count are very popular in stores. In this day and age, I would rather watch this short than watch (or read) that over rated piece of crap book and movie sensation known as Twilight.
10. Now Hear This (1963-Chuck Jones)
Released seven months prior to Transylvania 6-5000, Chuck Jones released his best one-shot short. From making a short that relied on music, he made a short that relied on sound and graphics. Like High Note and Nelly's Folly, this was nominated for an Oscar (this was the last Warner Bros. cartoon to be nominated for an Oscar). This cartoon should have won the Oscar. For a studio cartoon, it looked like one of the independent cartoons that were released around this time.
9. Road to Andalay/Cats and Bruises (1964/1965-Friz Freleng)
Throughout the DePatie-Freleng and briefly in the Seven-Arts era, one of the studio's biggest stars was Speedy Gonzales. Both those cartoons are the usual Speedy vs. Sylvester formula. Cats and Bruises is the penultimate cartoon to feature Sylvester as Speedy's adversary.
8. The Duxorist (1987-Greg Ford/Terry Lennon)
Yeah, the only post-Golden Age short to make the list. This short was released to coincide with Daffy Duck's 50th birthday. This short has Daffy perform an exorcism of another duck (who looks like Melissa Duck). The only thing I don't like about the short is the lack of a new score. The score in the cartoon is nothing but ramdom pieces of exsisting scores from Carl Stalling and a little bit of Bill Lava.
7. A Squeak in the Deep (1966-Robert McKimson)
Throughout most of the DePatie-Freleng era, Robert McKimson worked on all the the Daffy and Speedy shorts in this era. Though most of them suck, there were a few that were actually funny and entertaining, and this is one of them. This short involves Daffy and Speedy taking part in a boat race from Mexico to Hawaii. After a few funny gags of Daffy destroying Speedy's boat, Speedy gets back at Daffy and he is forced to team up with the mouse. Many Looney Tunes fans consider this to be one of the better, if not best, Daffy vs. Speedy cartoon.
6. Duck Dodgers in the 24Â½th Century (1953-Chuck Jones)
What favorite Looney Tunes short doesn't include this short. This is possibly the best Daffy-Porky short ever made. In case you don't know what the plot is, Daffy and Porky have to go to a planet that has the only remaining source of "the shaving cream aton". Just when he claims the planet for earth, Marvin the Martian comes and a battle of wits starts. Many scholars has used this cartoon to parallel the futility of the Cold War and the arms race. This short recieved three sequels over the years: Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24Â½th Century (1980), Marvin the Martian in the Third Dimension (1996), and Duck Dodgers in Attack of the Drones (2003). This is also the only Looney Tunes short to have it's own TV show based on it.
5. Duck Amuck (1953-Chuck Jones)
Isn't it amazing that two Daffy Duck classics were released in the same year. The premise in this short is simple, Daffy is being harassed and tormented by an offscreen animator (who turns out to be Bugs Bunny). The premise was used in an additional short and a video game. This time, Bugs Bunny is the victim and his tormentors are Elmer Fudd (short) and Daffy Duck (video game).
4. The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (1946-Bob Clampett)
Bob Clampett's tenure at Warner Bros. was coming to an end and this and the later short, The Big Snooze, were great ways for Clampett to end his career at Warner Bros. This short has Daffy Duck as Duck Twacy (an obvious spoof of Dick Tracy) going after all the piggy banks that were stolen by gangsters. I consider this, Porky in Wackyland, and Big Snooze to be my favorite Bob Clampett shorts
3. A Wild Hare (1940-Tex Avery)
Once again, here's an Avery short. Like the earlier Porky's Duck Hunt, this short introduced a character who would become a superstar. The only difference is that this short was nominated for an Oscar. This is pretty much the very first Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd encounter. It's a shame Tex never got the Oscar and lost to a sappy MGM cartoon. Tex pretty much influenced the medium of animation with his quick timing and exgageration and never won any Oscars
2. One Froggy Evening (1955-Chuck Jones)
As like Duck Dodgers, what Looney Tunes fan wouldn't add this to their favorite Looney Tunes shorts list. As most of you probably know, the plot is that a man discovers a singing frog and whenever he tries to show people his discovery, the frog does nothing and the man is percieved as insane. The younger fans, they know the singing frog through The WB Network when he was the mascot from 1995-2005. This short also recieved a sequel in 1996. Both this and the sequel are both Chuck Jones' funniest work
Before we get to number one, here are three honorable mentions
1. Show Biz Bugs (1957-Friz Freleng)
2. Chuck Jones' Hunting Trilogy (1951-1953)
3. Daffy Duck in Hollywood (1938-Tex Avery)
Now, the number one Looney Tune is....
1. What's Opera, Doc? (1957-Chuck Jones)
Oh yeah, just reading the title of this the article you could tell that this was number one. Out of all the classic Bugs and Elmer encounters, this, Rabbit of Seville, and A Wild Hare are the best. This short is pretty much a combination of the Bugs and Elmer formula and parodies of famous operas. Many people consider this to be Chuck Jones' magnum opus and this short always appears on top 10 animated shorts list. I can't believe that this short wasn't nominated for an Oscar. This letdown is on the level of The Dark Knight not getting nominated for Best Picture.
So ends a great list. Thanks for reading.