The pilot episode, "The Looney Beginning," aired as a prime-time special on CBS on September 14, 1990; while the series itself was featured in first-run syndication for the first two seasons. In 1992, the show was licensed exclusively to Fox Kids. The show ended production in 1992 in favor of Animaniacs, however, two specials were produced in 1994.
Tiny Toon Adventures was a cartoon set in the fictional town of Acme Acres, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attended Acme Looniversity, a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university was founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines are centered around the school.
Like the Looney Tunes, the series was derived from cartoon violence (e.g. anvils falling on someone, liberal use of explosives) and slapstick. The series parodied and referenced the current events of the early 1990s and Hollywood culture. Occasionally, episodes would delve into veiled ethical and morality stories of ecology, self-esteem, and crime.
The series centers on a group of young cartoon characters who attend a school called Acme Looniversity to be the next generation of Looney Tunes characters. Most of the Tiny Toons characters were designed to resemble younger versions of Warner Bros.' most popular Looney Tunes animal characters by exhibiting similar traits and looks.
The two main characters are both rabbits: Buster Bunny, a blue male rabbit, and Babs Bunny, a pink female rabbit. Other major characters in the cast are generally nonhuman as well. These include Plucky Duck, a green male duck; Hamton J. Pig, a pink male pig; Fifi La Fume, a purple-and-white female skunk; Shirley the Loon, a white female loon; Dizzy Devil, a purple Tasmanian devil; Furrball, a blue cat; Sweetie Bird, a pink canary; Calamity Coyote, a bluish-gray coyote; Little Beeper, a red-orange roadrunner; and Gogo Dodo, a dodo. Two human characters, Elmyra Duff and Montana Max, are regarded as the main villains of the series and also are students of Acme Looniversity. As villains, Elmyra is seen as an extreme pet lover while Montana Max is a spoiled rich brat who either owns lots of toys or polluting factories. Supporting characters included Li'l Sneezer, a gray mouse with powerful sneezes.
Feeding off the characters are the more traditional Looney Toons such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig among others. Much of the adults teach classes at Acme Looniversity and serve as mentors to the Tiny Toons while others fill secondary positions as needed.
The series and the show's characters were developed by series producer, head writer and cartoonist Tom Ruegger, division leader Jean MacCurdy, associate producer and artist Alfred Gimeno and story editor/writer Wayne Kaatz. Among the first writers on the series were Jim Reardon, Tom Minton, and Eddie Fitzgerald. The character and scenery designers included Alfred Gimeno, Ken Boyer, Dan Haskett, Karen Haskett, and many other artists and directors.
One episode was co-written by three then-teenage girls who were fans of the show.
In order to complete 65 episodes for the 1st season, Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment contracted several different animation houses. These animation studios included Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now known as TMS Entertainment), Wang Film Productions, AKOM, Freelance Animators New Zealand, Encore Cartoons, StarToons, and Kennedy Cartoons. Tokyo Movie Shinsha also animated the series' opening sequence. Warner Bros. staff disliked working with Kennedy Cartoons due to the studio's inconsistent quality, and episodes that they animated were often subject to multiple re-takes. In other cases, such as the debut episode "The Looney Beginning", portions of Kennedy-animated episodes were re-animated by another studio.
Tiny Toon Adventures was made with a higher production value than standard television animation. It had a cel count that was more than double that of most television animation. The series had about 25,000 cels per episode instead of the standard 10,000, making it unique in that characters moved more fluidly. Pierre De Celles, an animation producer, described storyboarding for the series as "fun but a big challenge because I always had a short schedule, and it's not always easy to work full blast nonstop".
During the development of the show Steven Spielberg said that Warner Bros. would use a full orchestra, which some thought too expensive and impossible, but they ended up agreeing. Warner Bros. selected Bruce Broughton to write the theme (for which he would win a Daytime Emmy along with Tom Ruegger and Wayne Kaatz, who both worked with Broughton on the lyrics) and serve as music supervisor. In addition to scoring 11 episodes, Broughton chose 26 other composers to score each different episode:
- Julie Bernstein (1 episode)
- Steve Bernstein (2 episodes)
- Steven Bramson (5 episodes; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
- Don Davis (5 episodes; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
- John Debney (2 episodes)
- Ron Grant (5 episodes)
- Les Hooper (1 episode)
- Carl Johnson (1 episode)
- Elliot Kaplan (1 episode)
- Arthur Kempel (4 episodes)
- Ralph Kessler (1 episode)
- Albert Lloyd Olson (13 episodes; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
- Hummie Mann (2 episodes)
- Dennis McCarthy (2 episodes)
- Joel McNeely (3 episodes)
- Peter Myers (1 episode)
- Laurence Rosenthal (1 episode)
- William Ross (9 episodes)
- Arthur B. Rubinstein (3 episodes)
- J. Eric Schmidt (1 episode)
- David Slonaker (1 episode)
- Fred Steiner (7 episodes)
- Morton Stevens (4 episodes)
- Richard Stone (17 episodes; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
- Stephen James Taylor (1 episode; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
- Mark Watters (8 episodes; also a contributor for Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation)
Films and television specials
A feature-length movie was released direct-to-video in 1992, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. This was later re-edited and aired as part of the series. The length of the movie is 73 minutes. Fox aired It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special in primetime on December 6, 1992. This episode is a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life. The Tiny Toon Spring Break Special was aired on Fox during primetime on March 27, 1994. Fox aired Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery in primetime on May 28, 1995.
According to writer Paul Dini, Tiny Toons originated as an idea by Terry Semel, then the president of Warner Bros., who wanted to "[…] inject new life into the Warner Bros. Animation department," and at the same time create a series with junior versions of Looney Tunes characters. Semel proposed that the new series would be a show based on Looney Tunes where the characters were either young versions of the original Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters or new characters as the offsprings of the original characters. The idea of a series with the basis of younger versions of famous characters was common at the time; the era in which Tiny Toons was produced had such cartoons as Muppet Babies, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tom & Jerry Kids and The Flintstones Kids. Warner Bros. chose to do the same because Spielberg wanted to make a series similar to Looney Tunes, as series producer/show-runner Tom Ruegger explained: "Well, I think in Warner Bros. case, they had the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg on a project (...) But he didn't want to just work on characters that Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson and Bob Clampett made famous and created. He wanted to be involved with the creation of some new characters." The result was a series similar to Looney Tunes without the use of the same characters.
In 1987, the Warner Bros. Animation studio approached Steven Spielberg to collaborate with Semel and Warner Bros. head of licensing Dan Romanelli on Semel's ideas. They eventually decided that the new characters would be similar to the Looney Tunes characters with no direct relation. However, Tiny Toons did not go into production then, nor was it even planned to be made for television; the series initially was to be a theatrical feature-length film.
In December 1988, Tiny Toons was changed from a film to a television series, with Jean MacCurdy overseeing production of the first 65 episodes. MacCurdy said that Tiny Toons was changed to a television series to "(...) reach a broader audience". For the series, MacCurdy hired Tom Ruegger, who previously wrote cartoons for Filmation and Hanna-Barbera, to be a producer. In January 1989, Ruegger and writer Wayne Kaatz began developing the characters and the setting of "Acme Acres" with Spielberg.
In January 1989, Warner Bros. Animation was choosing its voice actors from over 1,200 auditions and putting together its 100-person production staff. In April 1989, full production of series episodes began with five overseas animation houses and a total budget of 25 million dollars. The first 65 episodes of the series aired in syndication on 135 stations, beginning in September 1990. During that time, Tiny Toons was a huge success and got higher ratings than its Disney Afternoon competitors in some affiliates. After a successful run in syndication, Fox got the rights for season 2 and 3. Production of the series halted in late-1992 to make way for Animaniacs to air the following year.
Tiny Toon Adventures, along with Animaniacs, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the early-2000s (decade) after production of new episodes ceased. The series re-ran on Nickelodeon from 1995–1999 and again from 2002–2004 (albeit the Warner Bros logo omitted from the intro), and also aired on Kids WB from 1997–2000, Cartoon Network from 1999–2001, and finally on Nicktoons Network and Teletoon from 2002-2006. In the UK "It's A Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" is shown again on Boomerangon the 17th December 2011. Copyright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny_Toon_Adventures