Pop Culture | TV | 90s
13 Facts About 'Tiny Toon Adventures' That Are A Little Loony
The cartoon that defined our Saturday mornings growing up picked up where the classic Warner Bros. cartoons left off, with a new cast of characters inspired by our old favorites.
But we bet there's a lot you never knew about this classic series. Here are 13 tiny but toony facts about the show.
1. The animator's followed the "Mother's House" rule
Unlike the original Warner Bros. cartoons, you never saw characters pointing guns at each other in Tiny Toon Adventures. But you also didn't see many characters being hit with chairs, smacked with rolling pins, or threatened with knives.
That's because the animators avoided including "anything that could be found in a mother's house," in case kids got any dumb ideas from what they saw on TV. Of course, giant anvils and dynamite sticks were still fair game.
2. Steven Spielberg was the show's executive producer
He was involved in making a feature-length animated film that eventually morphed into Tiny Toon Adventures. He even made a small cameo, as none other than Roger Rabbit.
3. There were two spin-off shows
Producers tried to turn one of the show's recurring characters, Elmyra, into the star of her own cartoon. The tiny toon episode "Elmyra's Family" was actually a pilot for the new series, but it never took off. Still, Elmyra co-starred with Pinky and the Brain on a later version of their own show.
There was also a failed attempt to give Plucky Duck his own show (The Plucky Duck Show). Only one episode was ever produced, but The Plucky Duck Show still ran, with recycled Tiny Toon episodes used to fill in the rest of Plucky's "season."
4. Gogo the Dodo wasn't a new character
One of the show's most bizarre characters (and that's saying something) was Gogo the Dodo. While younger fans probably didn't realize it, Gogo was also based on a classic Warner Bros. cartoon character.
Porky Pig and a surreal character named the Do-Do crossed paths in 1938's Porky in Wackyland, and Gogo is based on that character.
5. The music for each episode cost about $60,000
That figure is based on the best guesstimate of composer Bruce Broughton, who was at the head of a 30-piece orchestra creating the score for Tiny Toon Adventures.
The reason for the expensive set-up is Steven Spielberg's perfectionism. The huge band was crucial to make each episode sound like a classic Warner Bros. cartoon.
6. Mel Blanc's son filled in for him after he died
Known to cartoon fans as "the man of 1,000 voices," Blanc played Bugs Bunny, Dafffy Duck, Porky Pig, both Tweety and Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, and almost all of the other Warner Bros. characters.
Sadly, Blanc died before he could record any lines for Tiny Toon Adventures, but his son Noel took his place, voicing Taz and Porky Pig.
7. Three teenagers wrote one of the episodes
A trio of 13-year-old girls, Renee Carter, Sarah Creef, and Amy Crosby, wrote up a 120-page script titled "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian," which they mailed to Warner Bros. Animation. To their surprise, the writers actually read their script and were impressed.
The girls were invited to visit the studio and watch the episode be made, and were each paid $3,000 for their idea. That's one way to break into show business.
8. One of the writers was the model for Ariel from The Little Mermaid
Yes, it's true that Alyssa Milano was the model for the mermaid's face, but to get a sense of how Ariel would look in motion, Sherri Stoner was called in as an animation model.
Stoner also modeled for Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Plus, she wrote a combined 90 episodes between Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. Talk about multi-talented!
9. Ren and Stimpy used a rejected Tiny Toon episode
Writers Jim Smith and Bob Camp wrote an episode about Hampton and Gogo causing trouble in a haunted house. Their plot was even story-boarded before it was rejected, then later retooled into another episode about a haunted house.
But cartoon fans will recognize their gags in the classic Ren and Stimpy episode "Haunted House." You can tell Tiny Toon staff were feeling a little sore about the writers taking their idea to another show, based on this appearance by "Rank and Stumpy."
10. Where in the world is ACME Acres?
Despite the fact that Tiny Toon Adventure is...well, a cartoon, some fans go the extra mile trying to figure out just where it takes place.
In a few episodes, ACME Acres seems to be in California, but it also snows there. But when Shirley Loon runs across the country to escape from Plucky, she arrives back home in Missouri.
Finally, the "Spring Break" special sees the cast driving 1,000 miles down I-95, which makes it seem like the town is in New York or Philadelphia.
Maybe we're just taking this show way too seriously?
11. Fan trouble
One of the show's funniest gags was based on a very serious run-in with a fan. Voice actress Tress MacNeille, who plays Babs, received a series of disturbing letters from a stalker named Dennis "Quozi" Falk.
MacNeille was so disturbed by the letters that she cancelled a number of convention appearances. Falk inspired the World's Biggest Tiny Toon Fan character, and a character based on Falk can also be seen in the Animaniacs skit "The Please, Please, Please Get a Life Foundation."
12. The show used six different animation companies
Producers were under the gun to make 65 episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures in less than 18 months. The insane production schedule meant hiring a team of studios to churn out episodes as fast as possible.
Some were better than others. While fans love episodes made by Tokyo Movie Shinsha studios, the episodes by Kennedy Cartoons were so notoriously bad that the studio was actually fired.
13. The Banned Episode
The episode "Elephant Issues" tacked serious issues like illiteracy and bullying as a sort of very special episode. But the final segment, "One Beer," proved to be too controversial for TV.
After watching Buster, Plucky and Hamton get drunk, kids were shocked to see them drive off a cliff and die. The network was flooded with complaints, and "Elephant Issues" didn't rerun on TV for almost two decades. Warner Bros. even considered leaving it off the show's DVD set in 2012, before backlash from fans changed their minds.
I grew up watching this show!