Authors@Google: Jerry Beck


Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 30.08.2010

Transcript:
narrator: I'm very excited today to welcome Jerry Beck. He is going to talk to us about
his new book "The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes". Just a little background on Jerry. He's an
animation historian and cartoon producer. He's written over 15 books on the subject,
including: "The Animated Movie Guide", "Looney Tunes. The Ultimate Visual Guide", and "The
50 Greatest Cartoons". And he's also the co-founder/co-writer of the popular animation blog Cartoon Brew.
And Jerry is a former studio executive with Nickelodeon and Disney and currently a consulting
producer to Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney for their classic-animation, DVD compilations.
He's also taught animation history at NYU, SVA, the AFI, and UCLA. So please join me
in welcoming Jerry Beck.
[audience applause]
Jerry: Thank you. Okay. Well, this first for me actually, I haven't really gone out talking
about this particular book, but I'm really grateful for the opportunity to do so. I guess
what I'm going to do is tell you a little bit about how I got into cartoons, and I'm
also going to read a little bit from the introduction that I wrote, and then hopefully we'll have
time to look at a couple of clips. I guess everybody thought they would be coming to
lunch and seeing some cartoons today and that kind of thing but we'll do our best to try
sneak some clips in.
I, I- when I was a kid I really -- I watched cartoons on TV and actually never laughed;
I remember not laughing at cartoons; I never thought they were funny. It was only later,
when I did laugh at them that I realized I had never laughed at them before. I just took
what was going on the screen as real, you know. It was just things that I'm supposed
to watch. And somewhere in my teenage years I used to come home from school around three
o'clock and my local -- I was in -- from New York. The local station was running a Bugs
Bunny and Caspar cartoons at like three o'clock and I would just come home, I'd flip the TV
on, I'd do some other stuff, and I started to notice how great these Looney Tunes were.
Not only were they better than those Caspar cartoons [a.], but [b.] they were actually
funny. I was laughing at them. And I also started noticing the artistry.
I was like a kid who always wanted to draw comic books and drew comics in school. And
how did they make those things move, and, and, and what is the story on these cartoons?
They're hilarious. I got sss-, I cou-I knew about Mel Blanc from the credits. I slowly
began to notice the names of the directors. And one day, one fateful Saturday morning,
I turned on -- after watching a lot these cartoons, I turned on Saturday morning's Bugs
Bunny show. And it was already started, and a cartoon was on. It was that one with, "Not
happy birthday, not happy birthday." Does anybody know that one?
Laughing.
It's the one. It's- it's a- it's one where a cat's versus a-a dog, and there's penalties.
And the cat character always is -- every time he gets caught, he screams something like,
"Not the bridge, not the bridge." And then they do some crazy punishment that had something
to do with a bridge. And I had seen that cartoon before and here it was again, and I realized,"Okay.
What's the name of this cartoon?" I needed to know. I-I want to know, where can I go
to look for that? And there was no Google then. There was no Internet then. There was
no books on the subject of Looney Tunes. I mean really this was in the 70s, and it was
pretty isolated out there. There were a couple books on Disney, and that's about it. And
even those weren't thorough reference books. And how could anybody find out the name of
this thing unless I have to watch all these cartoons again, in rotation. Maybe six months
from now, they might rerun it, and I'd have to have written down the title. Well, that's
exactly what I did.
I started writing down the titles, and I started to research these cartoons more thoroughly.
I needed to know everything about them and that led me to, in my case, and being in New
York, I-I -- and this is the 70s, but I ended up finding out there was a college class.
This was after I had gotten out of high school. And I was going to the School of Visual Arts
in New York to be an animator. That was my-my goal. But I found out there was a class being
taught at the new school by a-a guy that, that -- an author named Leonard Maltin. And
Leonard had just did-did a book on the Disney films and had his Movie Guide, his first Movie
Guide had just come out and was doing a class on animated cartoons. And I said, "I have
to meet this guy, and I have to, have to take this class." And I ended up meeting him, and
we ended up becoming great friends and colleagues throughout this time, and I ended up helping
him on a book called "Of Mice and Magic", which came out in 1980. And that was really
the first big history book of all the American animated cartoon studios and doing the research
for about three or four years immersed me. I was his research associate. I got kind of
a credit like that on the front page, but I -- it immersed me into the world of the
Hollywood Cartoon and who the players were and what the films were and what the studios
did and which cartoons came out from which place and it was ľit was-. And it's, and
I thought when we did that book -- and it came out in 1980 -- that that would be- that
was it. We-we-we-we researched it and we published a book and it's all in here and there's nothing
else to do.
And here I am, how many years later? ľ 30 years later or something? And, and I have
a blog where we publish new information every single day about the history of animation
and in our blog, we do history and we do what's going on today and hopefully, what's happening
in the future. But in doing it, I never thought, uh. I didn't intend to write, make a career
of writing books about Looney Tunes, but it just sort of ended up that way. After "Of
Mice and Magic," I did a more thorough book that listed all the 1001 Looney Tunes cartoons
with all the credits and plot synopsizes and all that stuff. And, and, and beyond that,
I was then asked by Warner Bros. to actually help me- help them put together some other
books.
I did one on Tweety and Sylvester and one that was like a visual guide to the, to all
the characters. And about 15 years ago, about 1994, I was talking to a publisher and I-
we had this brainstorm about doing a book called "The 50 Greatest Cartoons" and, and
we did it. And this was again before the internet and before Google and before blogs and all
that stuff. And so what we did was we sent out surveys. Printed surveys to, I think five
th-, I think it was 5000 anybodies . Five thousand people in animation societies, animators,
schools, film critics, writers, anyone we knew who should know people around the world.
We got back about a thousand. And that's normal, you know, you get back about a 1000. And we
did a consensus of that and we did a book called the "The 50 Greatest Cartoons". And
in that book, about half of those cartoons were Warner Bros. cartoons, and, and that
book came out and it was, it was a big deal the year it came out. It was actually quite
popular, and sold out a lot of the,-- a lot of the animation schools use it as a reference
and all that. And actually regular schools. And they, and it went out of print. It was
published by Turner publishing, and it went out of print. And that company went out of
business, when Turner got rid of things like that. And it's been in limbo and luckily now
because of the Internet with Amazon and eBay and things like that, you can actually buy
a copy of it if you want to, but it was really hard to find it for years and years and years.
I thought to myself, "I really want to do that book again". I want to do it over again
'cause now there's more films. There's more things to think about. And long story short,
this publisher in San Francisco that did this new book called me up and they had just gotten
a license. They'd decided to license Looney Tunes from Warner Bros. and they asked me
if I had any ideas for a, for a new book. And I said, "You know what? I'd love to do
my book, "The 50 Greatest Cartoons" again, but maybe we can adapt it to Looney Tunes
since so many of those were in there. And I learned one lesson from that previous book
-- make it a 100 because 50 is not enough. And a 100 is not enough when it comes to Looney
Tunes. They're, there, there's probably honestly ľ there is possibly 50% of that -- maybe
a little less than 50, but maybe 40% that honestly are not great cartoons. There's a
lot of them that were made in the 60s when the budgets were very low, and in the 30s
when they hadn't reached- gotten to the style that we know of, the, and before Chuck Jones
and Tex Avery the great animators got there. So, you can kind of get rid, dismiss a lot
of those, although I like a lot of them.
And then you still, you still have hundreds that are really good. And, so what I say at
this book in the beginning in the introduction is that we're probably going to disappoint
some people by not by what's in here but by what's not in here. The ones we couldn't,
that wouldn't fit into the 100. And I'm going to read just a notch from the beginning of
my intro because it really is what I feel about these cartoons. I sayů
"No doubt about it the Looney Tunes are the funniest cartoons ever made. In fact, I'll
take that statement a bit further. I believe the Warner Brothers' cartoons are as classic
as anything in American cinema and should be ranked alongside the likes of the "Wizard
of Oz", "Casablanca", "Gone with the Wind", and "Citizen Kane"."
And I really believe that. I mean when I, when I deal with Warner Bros. as a consultant
and the people I deal with there are great, the people at Warner Home Video. They get
it. That's why we were able to do -- I was involved with their Looney Tunes Golden Collection
DVDs that came out. And if you have that, if you seen those you know that they're really,
really good. And so that means that the people there really get it. But, but there is an
attitude at Warner's on-on other levels that that this is just old kids stuff. This is
why right now, right at this moment they're not on TV. They're nowhere to be seen. The
only place you can actually watch them outside of , well, they're not on anywhere. They're
only on DVD and if you can possibly find some of them on YouTube. And I say that because
Warner's is pretty good about going in and getting rid of them if they are on YouTobe
YouTube. But basically they're nowhere to be seen. And when I, when we grew up everybody
in this room, they were actually on several different channels. They were on The Cartoon
Network, Nickelodeon. They were on the Warner Bros. the WB. They were on ABC Saturday morning.
They were all they were ubiquitous. They were everywhere. And we all grew up with them and
right now there's a-a, and that's been that way again for 40 years or more. Only in the
last five they've been completely gone and so I -- when somebody just told me a moment
ago the first, the first DVD that they bought for their kid, I think that's how you put
it, was one of the Looney Tunes Sets, I said, "Good Dad." -- that definitely we have to
spread the word. I feel like I'm a preacher preaching the gospel right now. As I write
hereů
"True we're talking about seven minute cartoons. Humorous drawings made with pen-pen, ink and
paint that usually featured talking animals in impossible, hilarious situations. But the
Warner Bros. Cartoons created, as do all great films, original characters with believable
personalities and motivations. Who doesn't, who doesn't know someone like Daffy Duck?
Who doesn't sometimes feel like Wile E. Coyote? Who doesn't want to be Bugs Bunny? The cartoons
themselves are miniature works of art that often mix sophisticated filmmaking techniques
and brilliant artwork with witty dialogue and hysterical situations. It should be noted
that despite the popular misconception, these cartoons were never aimed exclusively for
kids. In fact, the filmmakers claim to have made them for themselves. Because of their
technical brilliance and sharp-eyed humor, the Looney Tunes have stood the test of time.
They've become permanent fixtures in global pop culture and as with all fine art can be
enjoyed again and again, touching us with something new upon each viewing."
Anyway, I would like to just-what I'll do right now is --h I will show some clips, and
if you have any questions about the history of Looney Tunes or anything else I'm involved
with, anything to do with the world of animation I'd be happy to answer that.
male #1: So how's the condition of the -- of all the materials over at Warner Brothers?
I mean, there's a lot of times when people considered that the cartoons would have just
had their short life and then that would be it.
Jerry: Yeah.
male#1: But now they're restoringů
Jerry: Yeah.
male #1: ůand putting everything together and how do you feel about the-the difference
in -- given how involved you are with, with classic cartoons for all the studios about
-- cleaning the elements to the point where none of the flaws are visible. I mean, Disney's
reissues right now are, are pristine. And it is a question ofů
Jerry: Rightů
male #1: ůis the film grain, is the way that it looks from a theatrical experience the
art or is it the animation itself? Where do you stand on all of this? And what do you
know about the state of our elements right now?
Jerry: Wow. That's a great question. I'm happy to answer it. I hope it doesn't bore anybody
because I usually get the trivia questions or something about Looney Tunes. So, great,
this is my subject. I usually look at the glass half full. There's a lot of the elements
outside of Disney, outside of the Disney Company. They always preserved all their films really
well for the most part. And then they they-they almost over do it when they do their-their
restorations. I'm not crazy about thů some of the super recent ones they put out like
"Pinocchio", I think they did a really good job. Some of the earlier versions of "Bambi"
that I have seen, "Peter Pan", "Snow White" that are coming to mind, they are cleaned
up to a ridiculous degree that it almost looks like artificial. It doesn't look real. It
doesn't look-it looks strange for some reason. It's clean, but it's it looks-it doesn't look
right. I don't understand that. I don't understand why I feel that way or why it is. I think
they just over did it. So, I'm-I'm-I'm somebody who thinks you-it should be an honest transfer,
where you, where you can still see that it was. There's chemical mistakes that were made
in the lab on one frame. You could kind of leave it. You don't have to really clean every
little speck up. There's-there is unfortunately the other end of the spectrum. There's a cleanup
process that exists called DVNR which is the digital video cleanup removal whatever. It's-It's
a, what it does is it takes out- if they're restoring a live action film and they're putting
it through the digital cleanup and if there's a bit of dirt on one frame it'll take the
dirt out and replace it with the image or the color. Fine. But when you do that with
animation-- animation is frame by frame -- there could be a different drawing on every
frame. So it reads this -- it reads the drawings as dirt, and it eliminates the outline. This
is a weird thing. And there are videos out there that you can see this on. So, it just.
Suddenly the characters are moving and they have no- they don't have that outline that
they have. Now this is-isn't on any of the Looney Tunes sets but there's there's definitely
some examples in the past where this has happened and it's something that people like me have
to go in there and say, 'Don't use that cleanup system."
I'm very proud of the Popeye, I don't want to get off the subject, but Popeye- we did
Popeye for Warner Home Video and we've restored those. Those fantastic Flasher cartoons. They're
classics and the highlights of those sets are these two reelers, these Technicolor ľ
"Popeye Meets Sinbad", "Popeye Meets Aladdin". And if you've seen them before on public domain
videos or anywhere else, you haven't seen them the way they look on this DVD set. They
look like, they are jaw-dropping. They are in restored Technicolor with 3-D backgrounds
and gorgeous with the original titles back on that say "Paramount Pictures Presents"
and all that. One of my big campaigns for 20 years now -- and I'm still not done because
it hasn't happened yet -- is the "Bugs Bunny Show".
In 1960 on ABC TV, there was a series called the "Bugs Bunny Show" that lasted two years.
It was something like 56 episodes. Maybe there's more than that. And it was basically, it was
brand-new footage that they animated with Mel Blanc doing the voices of Bugs Bunny coming
out on stage. You've all seen the opening 'cause they use that opening over and over
again for Saturday morning where they march out on stage. That was part of the original
opening of this show, and they, they had the characters come out and they'd be on stage
and they'd be talking and it would go into an old cartoon. And there'd be three old cartoons
and this bridging material in between. Well, this show was never syndicated. It was only,
after it went off the network in 1962, it was then put on Saturday morning network and
it stayed on Saturday morning network technically becoming-under various names "Bugs Bunny Show",
the "Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show", the "Bugs Bunny Tweety Show", whatever. It stayed on
network Saturday morning for like 30 years. So it, so the original show, the original
version, which was a half hour, was never syndicated. You've never seen ľ it's, I mean
it's never been rerun the way it was originally shown.
We, we tried on some of these DVD Golden Collections to restore a couple of episodes. When they,
when they, when they, when they kept it going on Saturday mornings throughout the years
they just chopped up the original negatives. Every year they would just chop them and slice
'em and dice 'em. And so the original materials were kind of gone, they were just just chopped
up, and we could only find black-and-white white prints of some of those episodes. So
on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection DVDs that I was involved with we-we usually put
one per-per volume we-we tried to restore in a Frankenstein way, where it goes from
black-and-white to color to black and white. We tried to give you an idea of what this
show was like. It's one of the great unrestored things still at Warner's. And every year,
every meeting I have with them, I bring it up. It's something we wanted to do. It just
costs so much money to do it and we don't know how we are going to do it. We don't know
if, we suspect there might be original negatives in Europe. We may have to colorize the black-and-white
parts. There's all these aspects to how you would actually restore this show. But it's
a real crime that it doesn't exist. I could go on and on.
So do we have any other questions? -that are a little easier?
female #1: There doesn't seem to be any Tweety Bird cartoons in this book.
Jerry: Oh, there are. There are.
female #1: There are?
Jerry: Yeah. I'll-I'll-I'll find one for you. I think, uhh, is Tweety Pie not there. The
list is in alphabetical order. So,...
Female #1: ůand also, I've always liked Looney Tunes because it's edgy. Like it, it's like,
it has violence, it has cross-dressing, and it has like all these crazy things in there.
And Disney was always like too goody-two-shoes, very goody-two-shoes and was there like. Did
the creators -- was that a specific response to the Disney cartoons?
Jerry: Yeah. Actually it is. First of all an answer that- "Bird's Anonymous" and I think
there's more than one, but "Bird's Anonymous", which is it doesn't have a picture of Tweety
in the, in the, on the first page of the thing that's a Tweety cartoon. That was an Oscar-winning
Tweety cartoon. And I think there might be another one. Yes, in the mid-30s, late 30s,
when Tex Avery, a young cartoonist, who was just loaded with ideas on what, what you could
do in animated cartoons, got hired by Warner Bros. as a director. He started the unit with
Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones, and, and also Frank Tashlin, another young cartoonist, an
animator who also joined the studio at that time, had a completely different mindset about
what these animated cartoons should be. And luckily their producer, Leon Schlessinger,
at that time really didn't care. He said, "Go for it, as long as it's funny. That's
what people seem to expect back from cartoons. Make them funny." And their attitude was,
everybody was following Disney. It's kind of like today. It's not that much different
today with all the animation that's out there. Pixar is really the leader. They're doing
innovative stuff every single year, every single time. And Dreamworks and Blue Sky and
all the studios that are out there from all the other movie studios are trying to keep
up with, with Pixar. They're not even trying ľ a lot of them aren't -- to do anything
different as far as I'm concerned, I think Sony is actually-- Sony's trying to do some
funny stuff it seems to me. But everybody's just trying to keep up with Pixar. Pixar is
leader.
female#1: Everyone's just trying to do familyů
Jerry: Right.
female#1 ůno one's edgy.
Jerry: Right, exactly.
female#1: It's the same storyů
Jerry: It isů
female#1: It's always the same story again and again and again. It's boring to watchů
Jerry: Yeah.
female#1: ůit's 3D. It's eye-popping, they're like so what. Well, the story's not everything.
Jerry: Yeahůyea-although did you see "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs"?
Female#1: No I didn't.
Jerry: I really like that film. That's a good one. Check that one out. Everybody here is
shaking their heads. [whispering] Good, good one.
But that's what was happening in the 30s. Disney was the leader in the shorts, winning
all the Oscars. Their shorts were just miles ahead. You look at a 1935 Disney cartoon short
versus a 1935 Warner Bros., Paramount, or any other studio's short subject. They were
literally three or four years ahead of them. It was just ahead of the pack. And then, Disney
announces they are going to do a feature. They are going to break through. They are
going to do "Snow White". "Snow White" comes out and it was the "Avatar" of its day. It
was the sensation of its day. And, and the other studios were like, and literally there's
articles, in my research, there's articles in all the trade magazines where they interview
the other studios and whether they're gonna make features or not to follow Disney and
Paramount was the only one that did it with "Gulliver's Travels". The other ones, some
of them said they were, and they ended up not doing it. The other ones were shaking
their heads. "We don't, we don't know, we're are not doing that."
Warner's said, "We're stickin' to shorts and we're gonna make the funniest shorts that
you, that you have. It was really an agenda there, to do that. And, and that's what they
did. You're right. Disney wasn't really doing funny. They had actually by the late 30s abandoned
it. They were doing, by then they were doing fairy tales and stories. If you really look
at their shorts, they're -- even the Mickey Mouse shorts, which has gags in them, are
story driven. Like the one where he's the "Brave Little Tailor", and there's one where
he goes through the looking glass. They were very story driven, and then the Silly Symphonies
Series, they were doing was also of course fairytales. And a lot of other competitors
said, "Well, we'll follow Disney in doing fairytales", and then you get a lot of again
in the late 30s -- there's Happy Harmonies and Color Rhapsodies and these are the names
of the other cartoons from the other studios. They just started copying Disney in a different
way.
Warner's just decided, "Let's break the fourth wall. Let's be the Marx Brothers of the cartoon
world and let's, let's expand that." I mean, that's, that, that was the thinking and that's
what they really ended up doing. And it really -- in the years from 35 to 40, they're there
-- you could see the experimentation happening and they're growing cartoon by cartoon. And
by the time we hit 1940 and we hit Bugs Bunny. And by the way, yesterday was Bugs Bunny's,
Bugs Bunny's what? Bugs Bunny's 70th birthday. It was his literally the day of his release
was yesterday, of the first, of the one that's considered the first Bugs Bunny cartoon. The
first time he said, "What's up?" or "What's up Doc?" "A Wild Hare" came out July 27, 1940.
And that's really the beginning right there with that cartoon we're hitting the Warner
Bros. we all know. The one for the next 20 years they're making these. They've got it
down and, and, and they're running with the ball. And what was great was they had the
facility of the Warner Bros. Studio, the music of the Warner Bros. Studio. They had the outlet
of, of, of the movie theaters to make these films for. And really unlike today they didn't
have executive interference. There was nobody in the front office telling them how to make
these cartoons or make more of these. Maybe they said, "Make more Bugs Bunny's" ľ maybe
that or "Tasmanian Devil's popular. Make some more of that." But that's about it. They got,
they got, they were able to make them for themselves, what they thought was funny.
People ask me all the time -- here's the big question people ask me all the time. "How
come they can't make them anymore like that even when they try? At Warner Bros., why aren't
they, why can't they do that. They can't. How come they can't recapture-" Tthey can't
and you know why it's the same ľ I've come to the conclusion it's the same thing like
ľ I'm trying to pick analogies -- like the Beatles or, I like Marvel comics of the 60s.
You know, Marvel comics of the 60s if you know that or the Beatles. These were specific
people -- the four Beatles, and Stanley, and Jack Kirby and Gene Colon and Steve Ditco.
Certain people at that specific time and that place, making these particular things. I-I-I
think that's the thing it was those people. It was Mel Blanc's voices. It was Chuck Jones.
It was Friz Freleng. It was Carl Stalling's music. It was the sound effects. It was just
those particular people at that particular time in that particular place made, equaled
making these cartoons this great. And it's really hard for the newer generation to do
it. I'd prefer when I talk to younger people, "Don't, don't do it. Make new stuff, do cool
new things." There's so many new things that can be done or move forward. I think if somehow
they were able to retain their eternal youth of their ages in the 40s and 50s and were
to continue into the 60s and 70s and 80s they would still have evolved -- the cartoons.
When people say "Bugs Bunny wouldn't do this or do that" -- I don't know because when you
look at the early Bugs Bunny's and you look at the late ones, a character evolved. That's
true of Daffy Duck and of all of them. They all sort of changed by the late 50s and yet
they're still good. They're still funny. They may even be funnier. The character of Daffy
Duck is hilarious by the late 50s when he's that, he's that egotistical foil for Bugs
Bunny. That's a great character. That wasn't the character that they originally started
with. But that happened with all of them. So anyway, that's, that's my answer to that
question
We had some of the questions over there
narrator: I just wanted to check if anybody over the VC had a question. Mountainview?
Go ahead.
translator for male#2: Oh hi. Yes. I'm probably about the
same age as you are. And what I 'm afraid of is that with Disney pushing back the copyright
deadlines, the fact is that we'll never live to see this content released to the public.
And I am wondering if you have the same fears?
Jerry: Well I have the same -- fears I wouldn't call it. I guess I'm an optimist, but I-I-I-I
agree with you, I'm-I'm not a big fan of this extension of copyright. At Warners, they're
very protective of it. I actually go into meetings with them and, and, and they're aware,
they're aware -- they actually want this stuff out there so that, that others won't bootleg
it and that and that sort of thing.
And as long as a company makes the material accessible, I personally have no problem with
them owning it. That's my thing. And on the other hand, we have companies like, I don't
want to name names but I guess I will because I'll happily call them out. Sony, Sony Pictures,
right now. They own Mr. Magoo. Viacom has Betty Boop and Mighty Mouse. They have tons
of these cartoons that are nowhere to be seen. There's some -- you'll go out and say, "Well
I just got a DVD of Betty Boop." Yeah, there's literally a handful of public domain ones
that people put out. But there's like 105 Betty Boop cartoons and they're, they're beautiful
and they should be restored. They should do what Warners has done with and Disney has
done with restoring their their --. I have to give credit to Disney -- except for "Song
of the South". I don't think there's a, I'm sure there's somebody who could name one or
something later, but I don't think there's any of their shorts -- well there might be
a few but there aren't any of their shorts they haven't put out and, and features. They
put everything out immaculately restored. And on the shorts side, they've put out a
fantastic set I highly recommend you finding called "On The Home Front" which is the war
time cartoons featuring "Der Fuehrer's Face" which is Donald Duck dreaming he's a Nazi.
These are cartoons they had suppressed for 50 years. There's a whole bunch of cartoons
on there that are things they did not want to let out a la "Song of the South" that are
on there, but they've put all of those things out now and I give them credit for that.
I don't like this copyright extension thing. It's ridiculous. And I just -- I guess I do
have the fear that it will happen again in 25 years, but I just hope that if the cartoons
are accessible, I think that's what's great about the internet is that, is that -- at
least they realize there's some kind of revenue stream and they can put them out digitally
and put them on Hulu or whatever and, and make them available and hopefully make some
money. As long as they make them accessible, that's all I care about personally.
male#3: Why did they stop?
Jerry: Stop what? Making Warner Bros. cartoons? Back in the old days? Yeah, they stopped several
times. The first time was mainly 1962. That was the big stop and mainly it was because
there was the perception that they weren't making very much money by renting them to
movie theaters for five dollars. That's actually what they, five or ten dollars was all it
cost a movie theater, one movie theater, to play a cartoon for a week. And that, that
market was disappearing in the 60s. So, they -- basically they didn't see the return of
their investment. Again, it was kind of old school thinking. They were thinking just theatrically
and they weren't really factoring in the future and television, but still. So, they closed
the studio down. They -- if everybody remembers that movie the "Incredible Mr. Limpet", that
was the last thing that was done by the old Warner Bros. cartoon studio. They, they stopped
-- making shorts, they made that feature the animation for that and they -- and then
and then they closed the doors. And it's been open and closed all throughout the years.
They've done some other cartoons since, but they've always kept a kind of departments.
In some years, that department was one person who was, who was, who was literally there
-- an editor who would just edit the Saturday morning Bugs Bunny Show and that was the one
employee of the Warner Bros. So, it kind of always existed even, even when there was nobody
really working there. Strange.
Yes.
male#4: Do you think there's still a market for the, for new cartoons in this format a
la kind of like short Looney Tunes, slapstick kind of style. Or maybe not even slapstick,
but just like that particular format? Cause we really don't see that.
Jerry: No, I mean yes and no. I mean on the one hand, one of the most popular things on
the internet is short animation. But that's, it's being used on mobile media and all sorts
of things. There is a market for people doing shorts more than ever, more than ever these
days. Itĺs a great way to be seen or get your name known if you create the next great
internet sensation. Warner Bros. Well, Pixar is of course doing shorts which they put with
their, with their feature films and they do it to develop talent at the studio. And they
have all kinds of reasons to try experimental things with the shorts and that's exactly
what Disney did back in the 30s with his Silly Symphonies. That's exactly what those were.
Warner Bros. for whatever reason they've -- and Fitz and Starts has been doing this
for about ten-fifteen years now. They had Chuck Jones doing some shorts at the end of
his life that they occasionally showed with a film. And right now they've revitalized
their little animation division that does mainly TV cartoons like the Batman animated
series. "The Brave and the Bold" and as part of that, they commissioned an animator in
that unit to work on three-three minute long Roadrunner cartoons. And the first of which
is going to be released this week with a movie I don't want to see. Called "Cats and Dogs"
-- whatever "Cats and Dogs II". And they're going to release one of these Roadrunner shorts
with the next three family films they put out. I think the Yogi Bear film at the end
of the year will have one as well. And I've seen them and they're in 3D. They're Roadrunner,
and they're very well done. They, they don't violate or hurt the memory of the classic
character. They are perfectly in league with it. They actually use the space of 3D. I-I-I
actually think it's kind of brilliant in retrospect I don't think they even thought about it.
The whole desert settings and the up top -- the mountains. It really works in 3D. And
they also have the characters reach out into the screen, which nobody seems to want to
do anymore with 3D. So, there really is there- they're only 3 minutes and it's just the chas-
it's just like three gags and a regular Roadrunner cartoon but they're really great. And the
explosions in 3D when the coyote gets blown up in the stereo 3-dimensional explosions
-- actually it's funnier. They're just bigger explosions so it actually makes it funny again.
Any other questions before we have to go back to work?
Oh, they left.
narrator: They left.
Jerry: They're gone.
narrator: They probably had to give up the room at one.
Jerry: All right well we don't have to do that down here in Southern California.
narrator: No. We we're good. Anyone else have another question?
Jerry: We have, we have one last one.
male #5: Just a minor question about, I remember a lot of cartoons of course don't know their
names, sorry. So this is so the people on VC can hear my question.
[everyone laughs]
Oh, okay, just kidding. So I remember one cartoon in particular, where it was Daffy
Duck and there was an animator and he's erasing him and different thingsů
Jerry: Oh, yeah. "Duck Amuck" It's in the book.
male #5: "Duck Amuck" Okay, I didn't get a copy of the book. I was just curious what
the name of that was.
Jerry: Oh, okay. I can't say I'm a 100% expert on every title but the Roadrunners are really
hard, because the titles really don't mean anything.
male #6: Since we're playing "Name That Cartoon"ů
Jerry: Yes. There is a gameů
male #6: I seem to remember a cartoon where Roadrunner, I think it was Roadrunner had
to, had to take a day off and Bugs Bunny took overů
Jerry: Oh, yeah, yeah.
male #6: And I've never been able to find anybody even remembering that.
Jerry: ůit's oh, actually they I think theyů
male #6: But that did happen? Right? And I think that Speedy Gonzalez showed up in a
cameo role or something.
Jerry: I think that one -- that one's actually a really sad one to me, because that doesn't
work. It was like a good idea, but it didn't work as a cartoon. It was, so Bugs Bunny is
like the Roadrunner in that cartoon, right?
male #6: Yes, a stand-in.
Jerry: It's weird. I think it's called -- I'd have to get my other book, my big guide
with every title. But I think it's called "Compressed Hare." You can look that one up
on the internet. I think that's the name of it. It's-Its
male #6: It's not that oneů
Jerry: No, it isn't. It's pretty -- it's one of those ones that's -- the one I ľ the worst,
the one I, my least favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon is one called "Pre-Hysterical Hare". It's
so bad. It's, it's one where he, I don't even remember the exact plot. But they're looking
at films of prehistoric man -- Bugs Bunny is I guess and he sees Elmer Fuddstone versus
a Neanderthal Bugs Bunny. And this is the first cartoon where the guy Arthur Q. Bryan,
who was the voice of Elmer Fudd, had just died. So they got in somebody else to do the
voice and the voice is like pathetic, "Bugs Bunny" It's really bad and Bugs Bunny is like
a Neanderthal so they drew him a strange way. It's ugly looking. It's got the wrong voice
for Elmer Fudd. It's a Robert McKimsom. It's a very late one. It's like oy - this is like,
like to me the worst Bugs Bunny cartoon. In case you were wondering.
Male#7: It just missed it.
Jerry: What's that the last?
male #7: The last few they made just kind of missed it.
Jerry: Yeah, they were, they kind of knew it was over toward the end there, but um.
audience member: It's on YouTube.
Jerry: Which one?
male #7: Which one?
Jerry: "Compressed Hare"
audience member: "Compressed Hare"
Jerry: Is that the one with the Bugs Bunnyů
audience member: Bugs Bunnyů
Jerry: ůand and then Wyle E. Coyote. Yeah, my favorite, one of my absolute favorite Bugs
Bunny's -- and I have too many, too. If I think about it, one of my super favorites
is in here is a Wyle E. Coyote "Super Genius" which is called "Operation Rabbit". Yeah "Operation
Rabbit". That's really a funny, funny cartoon in every, every shot. And I can go on and
on. Buy my book.
Male #8: One more "Name That Cartoon"ů
Jerry: Okay, one more.
male #8: ůBugs Bunny and he was in some type of Roman Coliseum or something.
Jerry: Yeah -- I think that one's "Roman Legion Hare" off hand. I think that's the name of
it.
male#8: "Roman Legion Hare"? There's one part where he says, "How now, Brown cow." and that's
all I remember.
Jerry: I think that's that one.
male#8: Okay.
[laughter]
Jerry: That one's a little easy.
narrator: Stump the historian.
Jerry: This is the kind of class I hope to teach someday. With just people asking me,
"What's the name of the one withů?" Then I get to, okay.
audience member: What was the John and Mary one?
Jerry: John and Mary?
audience member: Mary! John! Mary! John!
Jerry: Ohhh, thatĺs a gag in a cartoon.
audience member: There was another piece by a different comic card scheme.
Jerry: There's a cartoon that it isn't it, but there was one called "Wild Wife", which
is Czech, which is a really good one. But I don't think, I don't think that's it. But
that's == one that features two human characters and it's all about, it's all about from a
woman's point of view about what a hectic day she has while he's out at work. And she
just explains, itĺs all about her talking about her day. Itĺs a very odd cartoon with
human characters in it. Anyway and I think they're called John and Mary. It's called
"Wild Wife". It's actually one of my, I like that one just for the oddness of it. I'm pro-,
it's very hard to find one that I don't like. I've mentioned one already and -- but most
of these I really love.
narrator: Cool. Well, Jerry will sign books, if you'd like to. And I have another box of
books that's being held up by FedEx. So, if you didn't get a book, make sure I get your
name and, and we'll get you a book. So, thanks very much Jerry for comingů
Jerry: Thank you.
[applause]
Jerry: Thank you.