Monday, October 10, 2011

Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation

Question:  What part of the animation industry began with Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation

Answer:   Direct-to-home video animated features.  Steven Spielberg presents "Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation" was the first animated feature film released directly to home video by one of the major studios.  It hit the retail stores March 11, 1992.  Disney's first direct-to-video animated feature, The Return of Jafar, came in 1994, as did the first of The Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels.  

I just uncovered my copy of the original promotional poster, which I scanned and posted directly above.  

Below are a few of the gag credits that appeared during the end scroll of  How I Spent My Vacation...

Reason This Movie Went Straight To Home Video
Cuz It's So Darned Good!

Original Running Time:    
8 Hours, 47 Minutes

Hey, What About That Urkel Kid?  
Is He Funny Or What? 

First Theatrical Screening:   
June 8, 1991, Old Orchard Theatre,  Skokie, Illinois

Last Theatrical Screening:  
 (Same As Above)

This Film Has Been Edited 
For Your Protection.

Do Not Back Up 
Severe Tire Damage

Man In Sound Recording Booth Who Pushes That Funny Red Button A Lot 
Link Poonie

Moral of the Story (Pick One):
1. Enjoy Your Vacation.
2. Relish Your Youth.
3. Don't Pick Up Chainsaw-Wielding Hitchhikers.
4. Feature Length Movies Should Not Have 18 Different Plots. 

These End Credits
Are Interminable. 

Top 4 Reasons A Caricature Of David Letterman Is In This Video:
4. We Admire His Comedy Stylings.
3. We Wanted To Use Merv Griffin, But He Threatened To Sue.
2. We Needed Some Filler.
1. We're Brown-Nosing Weasels Who Want Him To Mention Us On His Show.

Other Stuff Done By
Some Guy Named Bob. 

And That's The Final End Credit. 

We Lied.

The Cast
Valhalla ....... As Himself 

Suggested Retail Price
$19.95 Without Rebate

With Rebate 
About A Buck And A Quarter


  1. "Moral of the Story (Pick One):
    1. Enjoy Your Vacation.
    2. Relish Your Youth.
    3. Don't Pick Up Chainsaw-Wielding Hitchhikers.
    4. Feature Length Movies Should Not Have 18 Different Plots."

    Love it. I remember really enjoying trying to catch all those end credits.

    It's a shame almost all the other direct-to-video movies out there ---"cheapquels," usually --- aren't anywhere near as good as HISMV. Sure you want to brag about this being the first one, Mr. Ruegger? ;)

  2. Yeah, I'm sure. A lot of great artists and directors and designers and animators and actors and writers did a great job on this. One day I'll take the time to write up the adventure of the test screening TTA:HISMV in Skokie IL.

  3. You know, I've still got my old VHS hiding somewhere, and I've never noticed those gag credits (or at least I didn't get half the jokes then as I do now) - all the more reason to dig it out and rewatch again :D

    Thanks for the refresh, Tom!

  4. What's with this one:

    "Do Not Back Up
    Severe Tire Damage"

    I never knew what that's about... so maybe here's a good moment to ask?
    Could someone explain this to me, please? :)

  5. Hey Tom. Look at this.

  6. You bet, Chris.

    Wissle: It's a sign in some parking entrance/exit where spikes stick up out of road. To prevent you from leaving without paying. If you back up, the spikes will pop your tires.

  7. "Lights are dimmin'! Lights are dimmin"! Look out, Horatio!"

    I remember very clearly that this was the first direct-to-video movie and it is still the best. I laughed so hard that I had to pause the movie in order to get a hold of myself to continue watching the rest. There are so many classic scenes. To this day whenever I go to a movie in the theatre, I will start saying, "Lights are dimmin'!" Also, when someone asks me where I am going on vacation, I will tell them that I want to go to Happy World Land.

    Great movie. Wish it was on DVD.

  8. This was a fun movie, the Tiny Toons' first, even if it was direct to video. Only released on VHS, and twice I might add, but no DVD release nor even a digital download through iTunes ("Wakko's Wish" is on iTunes, but not DVD) or NETFLIX. When will Warner Bros. get it together and release the movie on DVD? ...and the rest of "Tiny Toon Adventures" and "Animaniacs" for that matter? I don't know how much longer I can wait!

  9. Tom, you and/or Paul Dini and/or Sherri Stoner (and/or some of the other people involved with the making of this movie) need to do an audio commentary for this film, even if it's only a mp3 distributed online.

  10. I concur with John. Wanna hear!

    The Illinois screening was real? I had no idea. Why did they do it over there? And was HISMV considered for theatrical release at any point?

    I don't think HISMV was the FIRST direct-to-video kids' movie....there were probably some before that. Brave Little Toaster comes to mind if airings on the Disney Channel didn't count. Return of Jafar was the first DTV so successful that every major studio resurrected all their early 90's movie characters as quickly and cheaply as that's kinda the one that really counts historically.

  11. Peter,

    The Skokie Illinois screening was very real...and the test audience results were very positive...

    ...So positive that a theatrical release was seriously considered. So why didn't the movie receive a theatrical distribution?

    I'll reveal the answer to that question at a later date.

    I'd love to hear speculation on the subject from visitors of "Cartoonatics." Why do you think it wasn't released theatrically?

    As for what you write above, Peter --

    "I don't think HISMV was the FIRST direct-to-video kids' movie....there were probably some before that..."

    There probably were some kid movies released directly to home video before TTA:HISMV.

    But I'm talking specifically about feature-length animated movies released by major studios directly to home video.

    Until someone -- perhaps you-- comes up with the title of a direct-to-video animated feature film that arrived on home video before TTA:HISMV, I'll stick with my horse.

    "Brave Little Toaster" does not fit the bill, since it was broadcast on cable TV well before its release on home video.

    And "Jafar" was released to home video two years after HISMV, so historically it was not the first animated feature film from a major studio released directly to home video.

    When the issue is which came first, at this point it looks like TTA:HISMV is the one that counts.

    Warner Bros. Home Video's financial windfall from TTA:HISMV helped trigger Disney and Universal into diving feet first into the "direct-to-home-video" animation business.

  12. The easy guess would be some sort of contract issues.

    But y'know, I don't recall seeing this special letterboxed when it was on TV. Was it released as a pan'n'scan, or was it just not made in widescreen? That certainly could be a reason why it wouldn't go theatrical...

  13. Your first answer is in the correct ballpark, Keeper. Steven had commitments to Universal that created a problem for TTA going theatrical.

  14. Ah, figures. Same sort of deal as concerns those shows getting repeats on any U.S. television channel, I reckon.

    So... was this special done in theatrical widescreen? I guess we've only ever seen it in pan'n'scan then, or I just have forgotten that it was letterboxed.

  15. I see, thank you very much for the explanation, Tom :)
    I second the wish for an audio commentary - that would be neat!

  16. "Universal cuts deal with Mr.Speil,.
    They do a hundred thousand movies a year."

    I haven't had the opportunity to see HISMSV yet.

    Tom, on a scale of 1 ti 10 how important is it that I see this movie?

  17. K: It was shown widescreen in its theatrical screening in Skokie...I believe a special print was made for that screening. Or we just masked off the top and bottom.

    W: You're welcome. love the commentary idea.

    L: If you are a Tiny Toons fan, it's a fairly essential part of the package.

  18. I'll take a guess that another reason that it did not go theatrical was because Warner Brothers wanted to test the market for direct-to-video and it was easy to judge the success or failure with a known property like Tiny Toons. Hanna-Barbera did the Superstars 10 TV movies that were basically made for the video market, but those were originally shown in syndication on TV.

    Other legal issues were probably the Superman cameo because he was also obligated theatrically at the time and that bit part would have to been cut if it was released theatrically.

  19. The major issue, which we tried to get around but could not, was Steven's commitment to Universal for feature animation. Despite the fact that TTV:HISMV tested well, Universal was not willing to let Steven out of his exclusive feature animation deal. Thus, Land Before Time, American Tale, We're Back, and Balto from Steven and Universal, but no TTA feature release.

  20. My favorite end credit:

    Our Only Regret: Joe Piscopo

  21. This one was better than Wakko's Wish. I loved the various plots all interwoven. I was hoping more of that in Wakko's Wish. I don't think it was done as well as "How I spent my Summer Vacation." Still it was cool to have a movie for Animaniacs, I was hoping there would be one in the movie theater, though.

  22. Well if it was theatrically released, it wouldn't have been the first with the direct-to-video thing. :P I love the short with Thumbelina, "I'm Mad." I use to have the Animaniacs music cd's I would sing to them, try to memorize them and also, I would act them out sometimes to my family. I liked them that much. :) You should at least have some animated shorts if you can't every get a full reboot of Animaniacs, Tiny Toons or Pinky and the Brain.

  23. I hope I don't regret bringing this up but....
    being a Shirley the Loon fan, I really didn't like the plot in this movie involving her and Fowlmouth going to the movies because I felt so sorry for her having to deal with the unbearable Fowlmouth. Please tell me that you didn't intentionally mean to give Shirley such a hard time in this movie as a sign of contempt for the character.

  24. No contempt for Shirley whatsoever. For Fowlmouth's comedy to work, he needs someone to react to him...Shirley proved to be a great reactor...

  25. OK. Also, can I ask this question? Do you feel there were episodes in the series where Shirley was shown in a positive light or as a positive character? I feel she's under-appreciated and would feel better if I knew she had a few "shining moments".

  26. If anyone has particular fave Shirley moments they'd like to mention, please post. Personally, I liked her any time she tagged "and some junk" onto the end of a sentence.

  27. Well, I was asking your personal opinion, Tom. You do like Shirley, don't you?

    Generally, my main hope is that the show treated her fairly.

  28. Yes I like Shirley the Loon, AKA Shirley McLoon. Originally it was McLoon but Steven was concerned that Shirley MacLaine might protest. I particularly like the voice performance of Gail Matthius in the role. Gail was one of the original comediennes to perfect the "valley girl" voice, which she performed during her stint on Saturday Night Live. Gail's hilarious voice work proved just right for Shirley.

  29. Would you say the artists and writers of the show also contributed well to Shirley's character?

  30. Well, since you took me up on the offer, here are MY favorite Shirley the Loon moments from the series....

    Her as a psychic medium doing the wraparounds (and appearing as a nurse in the "Rear Window Pain" segment) in "Psychic Fun-Omenon Day".

    Her as a cheerleader in "Acme Bowl".

    Her greeting Buster and Babs in Hawaii and appearing as a Bikini girl in a Sarong (and calling them "Murderers!") in "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian".

    Her continually beating Plucky up every time he tries to get fresh with her in "13something" (Go, Shirley, go!).

    Her as a successful ballerina and overcoming the competition of those swans in "Loon Lake" (From "Music Day").

    ....and my favorite of all, her as a sexy glamor girl showing off her stuff (or trying to; along with Fifi and Babs) at a dance party in Love Disconnection's "Amazing Three" episode.

    I hope you think these are good choices.

  31. My fave is "Loon Lake." That's a great episode.

    1. I love all the episodes, however, my fave episodes are "High Toon", "TT Music Television", "Toon TV" & "Her Wacky Highness".

      There is a character in an old Looney Tunes cartoon entitled "Plane Daffy" named Hatta Mari. Was she the inspiration for Shirley's Aura in "The Return of Pluck Twacy"?

  32. I love Tiny Toons & I am known to everyone I know as the #1 fan. I have tons of merchandise and several cels from the series. I love it so much. I'm glad TTA:HISMV is being released on DVD. Will the rest of the series & specials be released? I hope so. By the way, are there going to be any special features on the DVD?

  33. Who voiced Blard Simpleton in the Tiny Toons episode "Weekday Afternoon Live"?