Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The People Who Made "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs" -- Part One

Here's Part One in a gallery of some of the very talented people responsible for making Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.

Barry Caldwell

Barry Caldwell, director, designer and storyboard artist on both Animaniacs and Tiny Toons, is pictured here in his office at Warner Bros. Television Animation in Sherman Oaks, California, circa 1994. 

Among Barry's many achievements, his story board designs breathed new life into the personalities of Babs Bunny, Shirley the Loon, Fifi LaFume and Elmyra in many of the best Tiny Toon episodes, including "Prom-ise Her Anything" and "Fields of Honey."  

And Barry's boards and direction gave us some of our funniest and most memorable Animaniacs segments, including "Bumbie's Mom," "Sir Yaksalot," "Ragamuffins," "The Flame Returns" and "Puppet Rulers."  


Also on Animaniacs, Barry directed both the first Minerva Mink cartoon produced ("Meet Minerva") and the first Mindy and Buttons cartoon produced ("Cat on a Hot Steel Beam").


The People Who Made "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs" -- Part Two

Sherri Stoner

Sherri Stoner served as a writer, story-editor and producer on Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.  Here, she holds up one of the segment cards from Tiny Toons.

Sherri started writing cartoons with Babs Bunny's very first Tiny Toons script, "Debutante Devil," and Sherri hasn't stopped since.  She wrote a bunch of Tiny Toon episodes that have become fan-favorites, including "Hollywood Plucky," "Fields of Honey" and "Thirteen Something."  

In the photo above, Sherri stands in front of the Wall of Cards, which we used to build half-hour shows from various segments, each segment written up on an index card.  Sherri is holding up the card for the Tiny Toons segment "Milk It Makes A Body Spout."

By the way, directly behind Sherri is a Steven Spielberg Bop-Bag, drawn by Bruce Timm (on the back of a Yogi Bear Bop-Bag.)   This sits in my office to this day, still fully inflated with 1992 air!  

On Animaniacs, Sherri not only helped write and produce the series, but provided the voice for one of the show's stars, the cranky octogenarian, Slappy Squirrel.  

Above, Sherri and fellow Tiny Toons story-editor Paul Dini  celebrate Easter 1991 by posing with the Easter Bunny at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.  Apparently, Paul was traumatized by the bunny and had a meltdown.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Tiny Toon Adventures" Promotional Art

Here's an image of a postcard that was sent out to "Tiny Toons" viewers who wrote fan letters to Warner Bros. during the heyday of "Tiny Toon Adventures" in the early-to-mid 90's.

This was clearly not produced by the animation department.  Looks more like the work of Warner Bros. Worldwide Licensing.  Animators tend to avoid having characters float aimlessly in midair, as is the case with Elmyra and Little Beeper in this promotional piece.  I'm not sure what Furrball's problem is, but he looks like he's in desperate need of a litter box.   Calamity Coyote appears to be missing his neck and has no clear purchase on the rope by which he may or may not be swinging.  Dizzy Devil has no left foot, and it looks like he's about to eat a drumstick that is dangerously undercooked.  Babs is making a proactive pass at Hamton, or at least, at Hamton's hind quarters.  Fifi LaFume is positioned closer to us than Buster, and Buster is closer to us than Shirley the Loon, but Shirley the Loon's head is closer to us than Fifi.   It's sort of like an M.C. Escher drawing, but not in a good way.  

Thank you, Warner Bros., for this lesson in promotional art run amok!  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Premiere of Platypus Duck -- Part 7

A thirty-five-year-old pencil sketch of the title character, Platypus Duck, reflecting on the beach at sunset.  

More to come...

"The Warner Brothers Cartoons" by Will Friedwald and Jerry Beck

2011 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of "the bible" of Warner Bros. cartoons: "The Warner Brothers Cartoons" by Will Friedwald and Jerry Beck.  It offered up plot summaries and credits for every WB short cartoon from 1929 to 1969.  It included overviews of the studio, profiles of the major cartoon stars, the directors, actors, animators and artists, and offered historical context for many of the cartoons.  Packed with intensely researched and invaluable information.  An awesome book.  Infinitely readable.   And published by Scarecrow Press which, at that time, was headquartered in my home town of Metuchen, NJ!    
Happy anniversary, Jerry! 
Jerry and Will's "Warner Brothers Cartoons" book has been retitled and repackaged as "Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies:  A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons."  Highly recommended!    You can find that book and others by Jerry at this link:   Books by Jerry Beck

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cartoon Constellations Chart from "Film Comment" (1975)

Back in 1975, when I was in the thick of making my first animated cartoon, Film Comment came out with an all-cartoon issue, which included an interview with Chuck Jones, one of my major animation heroes.  This issue also featured a poster-sized wall chart by Joe Adamson (author of "Tex Avery:  King of Cartoons") that highlighted the major cartoon stars from each Hollywood studio during the Golden Era.  This chart went on my wall in '75 and stayed on my wall, wherever I happened to be working, until the early 90's when it started to disintegrate.  I took it down, put it in a drawer, and I never saw it again.  Until today!   I was looking for some papers in a drawer and instead I found, lo and behold, the long-lost "Cartoon Constellations" chart by Joe Adamson!  I spent the last few hours scanning and restoring my old copy of it, cleaning up some of the scratches and pushpin-holes that it's collected over the past 36 years.  I can't find another copy of it on the web, at least at the moment, so I thought I'd share it with you.  I've always found it very inspirational.

Joe Adamson's book on Tex can be found at

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Premiere of Platypus Duck -- Part 6

More artwork from "The Premiere of Platypus Duck."  Preliminary design for the platypus home and pond.  Pen and ink and watercolor.

More to come...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Premiere of Platypus Duck -- Part 5

"The Premiere of Platypus Duck" had a lot of cel animation in it, but I hand drew, inked and colored some  sequences completely on paper.  This image is from one of those paper sequences.  After the platypi reunite, they do a song and dance routine on the stage of the Sydney Opera House.   And, once again, the little platypus kid upstages his brother.  

Parker MacDonell provided the music, lyrics and performance of the song.  

More to come...

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Premiere of Platypus Duck -- Part 4

Some cel set-ups from "The Premiere of Platypus Duck":  The three platypi approach the Sydney Opera House and enter, in hopes of tracking down the missing platypus duchess.

The third platypi is the little guy on top...He's always the last in, and the one who always acts a little bit nutty.

More to come...