Animation History
April 12, 2021 posted by Jerry Beck

My Least Favorite Warner Bros. Cartoons

I don’t usually build posts here around email I get, but this past Saturday reader Jonathan Adair sent in this question:

Dear Mr. Beck,
I have been a major fan of the Warner Bros Cartoons since I was 9 years old and am very impressed with your work and knowledge of their history. There is a question I would like to ask you.

What is your least favorite Warner Bros. Cartoon?

This is the kind of question I get virtually all the time. As a major enthusiast of the Warner Bros. cartoons, such a question is more difficult to answer than you’d think. Of the over 1000 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts – I honestly could find something of value in 990 of them. Yes, even the ones pre-1936 and the ones post-1964.

That said, there are a handful I could do without. For various reasons, I don’t like them. They could burn in a nitrate fire and… well, maybe I wouldn’t go that far.

Here’s a quick list of the ones that annoy me. The mis-fires; the ones I would have a hard time defending. I’m listing them in chronologic release order. I’m not going to embed all the films. I’m not that sadistic.


PART 1: My Absolute Worsts

Good Night Elmer (1940) Directed by Charles M. Jones.

BOR-ring! One of the slowest moving animated shorts I’ve ever seen. First he can’t take off his jacket. Then he can’t blow out the candle. The character is so stupid its painful. The short ends with him crying in frustration (something we in the audience can identify with).

It’s the equivalent of an Edgar Kennedy live action comedy short… only without the humor, the pacing… or Edgar Kennedy. The animation is beautiful, but there is nothing – I repeat nothing – in this film that couldn’t have been done in live action. A depressing film – far opposite of what Jones would start producing in a year or two.


Tokio Jokio (1943) Directed by Norm McCabe

Painfully unfunny cartoon, showing a captured “Nippon Newsreel” highlighting ugly racial caricatures of our World War II Japanese enemy. The whole joke of the film seems to rest on how offensive each gag can be – and none of them are funny. The Japanese “King of Swat” can’t hit a insect; Japan’s Finest Air Raid Siren requires pins in the butt; Honorable Air Craft Spotter paints spots on airplanes. You get the idea. Yawn! Must have been a hoot on the homefront – not! Summing up the whole cartoon, I quote the final line: “Regrettable incident, please!”


Corn Plastered (1951) Directed by Robert McKimson.

There are several cartoons I can think of where the lead character’s voice is such a turn off and so unappealing (One Ham’s Family, for one) that I can’t even stand to listen to it, much less watch it. The voice in question here belongs to Pat Patrick (better known as “Ercil Twing” on the Charlie McCarthy radio show). The cartoon plays like an intentional introduction of a new zany character – a wacky crow with a propeller beanie cap, bow tie and a tuxedo bib (hilarious, right?). Stalling’s score is appropriately wacky, but none of the humor lands. At one point “Corny Crow” (or whatever his name is) locks the farmer in an icebox… literally “nuking the fridge” by every definition of that expression. The fact this was the character’s one and only appearance tells us all we need to know. Hate it!


Pre-Hysterical Hare (1958) Directed by Robert McKimson.

Bar none, the worst Bugs Bunny cartoon. Unfunny, unappealing… in fact, downright ugly. Where do I begin? The John Seely stock music, Dave Barry’s poor replacement voice for Elmer Fudd (or rather “Elmer Fuddstone” – sheesh!); the garish design for the prehistoric sabertooth rabbit… This is a real stinker and needs to be buried way out in the woods.


Dumb Patrol (1964) Directed by Gerry Chiniquy

The second worst Bugs Bunny cartoon, in my humble opinion. At least, Blanc is doing Bugs and Sam here in top vocal shape, and Bill Lava’s music is somewhat tolerable. Porky has a unfortunate cameo… Bugs is barely on screen himself, as this is really’s Sam’s show – as “Sam Von Schamm” a World War 1 German flying ace. Lots of lame aerial antics. Writer John Dunn sort of redeemed himself by re-writing the basics of this “Dawn Patrol” spoof and turning it into the first DePatie Freleng “Roland and Ratfink” cartoon Hawks and Doves (1968).


Part 2: Not A Fan

Each Dawn I Crow (1949) Directed by I. Freleng

I get it. It’s a parody of radio’s The Whistler, which featured a “stream of consciousness” voiceover narrator. Tain’t funny, McGee. In fact, it’s a little disturbing. Clearly its a bit dated. We are used to the Warner characters trying to kill each other, but the subconscious dramatic narrator bit (Frank Graham, who is great) is creepy. It’s simply a cartoon I have no feeling to ever rewatch.


Strife With Father (1950) Directed by Robert McKimson

There must have been a mandate from the merchandising department (or from Eddie Selzer himself) to make a few more Beaky Buzzard cartoons in 1950. Freleng made a somewhat amusing one that year called The Lion’s Busy, and a few months, later McKimson unleashed Strife With Father – a complete misfire. Here you have Blanc (replacing the original voice Kent Rogers, who died during the war) and there are some great drawings and animation here – via Rod Scribner, Bill Melendez and Emery Hawkins – but to me, the “Ronald Coleman-esque” British father (“Monte”) is a poor foil for the buzzard and brings the whole thing down.


Hare Breath Hurry (1963) Directed by Chuck Jones

This must have felt like a good idea on the boards… but in execution it didn’t work. It feels like an extended interstitial intended for The Bugs Bunny Show (where such a way-out idea might have worked). This is the one where Bugs Bunny takes the place of the Road Runner – and the mute Coyote chases Bugs as such – seemingly unaware that the Looney Tunes multiverse got its wires crossed. Bugs’ constant breaking-the-fourth-wall to comment on the action feels out of place for both Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner. I appreciate the experimentation – but its a rare Jones’ boo-boo.


Part 3: Post 1964

It’s too easy to select a cartoon post 1964. The DePatie-Freleng productions were Freleng’s revenge on his former employer. Talk about time-fillers – these are simply time-wasters. I don’t hate the Format Films and Bill Hendricks cartoons as much as you’d think – in fact they are, if anything, guilty pleasures. If there is any one thing to single out for shame during this period – it’s this:

The Rudy Lariva Road Runners.

All eleven, released in 1965 and 1966. Awful. The Solid Tin Coyote, Just Plane Beep and Chaser On The Rocks are but three that can make you forget why Jones cartoons are so brilliant.

I’m not singling out BOULDER WHAM – it’s just representative of this awful period of Warner cartoons.

Obviously this list is subjective. Please feel free to submit your own list of least-favorite Warner Bros. cartoons in comments below.

56 Comments

  • By far my all-time least favourite Warner Bros. cartoon is “Old Glory”, but I also don’t like “Elmer’s Pet Rabbit”, “Elmer’s Candid Camera”, “Angel Puss”, and “Hamateur Night”. Not a single laugh in any of them.

    I don’t recall seeing “Good Night Elmer” before, but you’re right, it’s an awful cartoon. I’ve always had a strong dislike for that whole genre of cartoons in which a character just wants to go to sleep but is continually prevented from doing so. I don’t find any of them funny, just frustrating and annoying. The worst offender is probably Famous Studios’ “Shuteye Popeye”, but as much as I like Art Davis, I’d have to put “Odor of the Day” on the list as well.

    There were eleven Rudy Larriva Road Runner cartoons??? I thought it was the same one over and over again. For my money the worst of the Daffy/Speedy collaborations is “Astro Duck”. Their final cartoon, “See Ya Later Gladiator”, generally held to be their worst, I actually find pretty funny. It’s so stupid, I laugh myself silly at it.

  • Goin To Heaven on a Mule (probably the most racist one involving African Americans), Buddy’s Day Out (a mess even an an uncredited Freleng couldn’t fix), Tokio Jokio (which had an interesting idea with the discovery of a newreel from the other side – the execution is painful) and Angel Puss (which was one big WTF for me) are my current top four worst ones while I am delving through them in chronological order!

  • Cartoons like “Good Night, Elmer” were part of a series of cartoons where Jones was trying to do a mood piece ala Silly Symphonies. Even the most dramatic Silly Symphony was far funnier than these, and better paced too.

    The John Dunn-boarded Looney Tunes are hit and miss; Dunn was a genius at zany sight gags, but lacked the verbal wit of the Maltese-Pierce-Foster triumvirate, and his sense of structure is lax. Typically the ones that came off worst were the ones delegated to senior animators like Gerry Chiniquy and Phil Duncan; they would become better directors later on, but at the time they were too green to compensate for weak scripts.

    The Larriva Roadrunners were pretty lame overall, so much they mainly blur into each other (with the exception of “Solid Tin Coyote”). One gag I particularly dislike (can’t even remember the title it came from) is one where Wile E. disguises a phone booth as a bird sanctuary and set it to explode. The problem is not the payoff, predictable as it was, but the setup, which took far too long and ground the cartoon to a halt. (Jones usually kept the set up as brief as possible.) Compare that to the two Roadrunners McKimson did at DePatie-Freleng, “Rushin’ Roulette” and “Sugar and Spice”, which while not as great as Chuck’s, were still far preferable to Larriva’s.

    The two “Bunny and Claude” cartoons are especially disappointing. The movie they’re based on, “Bonnie and Clyde”, is one of the seminal films of the New Hollywood era, and had it premiered during Looney Tunes’ prime, it would have gotten a bang-up spoof. What we got instead is insipid, discount Bugs-vs-Elmer-type gags, minus the finesse and style of the originals.

    • Phil Duncan? You sure you don’t mean Phil Monroe? AFAIK Duncan never had any directing credits.

  • Probably Lovy’s Daffy and Speedy shorts. I don’t think he was that interested in the pair.

    Regarding your choices, “Pre-Hysterical Hare” could’ve been decent if it weren’t for the two soundtrack problems-Seedly’s music (which you can’t really time with) and Dave’s poor Elmer voice. Regarding the design of Bugs’ ancestor, depictions of prehistoric species aren’t usually pretty.

    I’m a bit surprise about you not liking “Each Dawn I Crow” as that’s is usually a crowd pleasure.

    • Yeah… I do like “Each Dawn I Crow” and I have a feeling it may have been a crowd pleaser… at the time it was released. I think the big issue with both it and “Strife with Father” is that they spoof popular radio programs of the era that modern viewers know little or nothing about. The former not just spoofs “Inner Sanctum”, but that whole genre of spook shows like “Quiet Please”, “The Whistler”, “The Mysterious Traveler” and even the earlier “Lights Out”. It may have also been influenced by Disney’s “Donald’s Crime” with its heavy narration as well, that one being an Oscar nominee. Not that it resembles any specific earlier cartoon or even radio show all that exactly, but is a composite of multiple period entertainment influences that a post-war 1940s moviegoer would “get” in a way a modern viewer may not.

      “Strife with father” is essentially a one joke idea: a vocalization spoof on Ronald and Benita Colman’s recurring comic roles on the “Jack Benny Program”. Therefore, it fits in with so many future Robert McKimson directed radio and TV parodies, including the future Jack Benny voiced “The Mouse that Jack Built”. Of course, any Old Time Radio fan will understand the silly dialogue involved, with Beaky Buzzard playing the constant nuisance to the “tip top” Brits in much the same fashion as Jack Benny was a constant annoyance who borrowed all of the Colman’s household items on that particular show.

      I consider such films as experiments that weren’t entirely successful, but the creators had to put out a LOT of six minute cartoons annually. Obviously the home runs can’t be achieved all of the time, as they were trying their best not to run out of fresh ideas. The fact that so many of them still remain fresh today, given the occasional flops that we are discussing here, is truly amazing.

      It appears that “Pre-Hysterical Hare” has developed a “It was so bad that it is good” cult reputation over the decades. Many get the same pleasure viewing it as they do seeing a bored Orson Welles in his countless later doing-it-for-the-money roles.

  • I don’t like “Elmer’s Candid Camera” because it’s very slow and Elmer is really dumb in it. “Elmer’s Pet Rabbit” has the worst Bugs Bunny voice (he sounds like Edward G. Robinson!). I agree with Jerry that “Pre-Hysterical Hare” is THE worst Bugs Bunny cartoon of all-time. As for “Tokio Jokio,” you can forget the Censored 11. It’s the most racist cartoon Warner Bros. ever made.

  • I remember really disliking the Sylvester and Hippety Hopper cartoons as a kid. Just so repetitive and not particularly funny. I’ve revisited a few of them during the pandemic and can’t say my opinion of them has changed much.

    Definitely agree with Good Night Elmer, some other early Jones shorts that come to mind for me are Tom Thumb in Trouble and Joe Glow the Firefly.

    • The concept of Hippety Hopper — the “giant sized mouse” — was clever enough for the initial (and quite funny) cartoon, but after that it got old fast. I was never a fan.

      • At least there were some highlights such as the gun preparing gag in Slap Hoppy Mouse”.

  • Most of my least favorites fall in the post-shutdown era with a few exceptions. All the vitality of WB animation was drained. I’m with you on some of the post-1964 shorts being guilty pleasures, even though they’re indistinguishable from the TV cartoons from the era. Merlin The Magic Mouse is nostalgic for me.

    Ben Hardaway & Cal Dalton’s output is hit or miss. Love And Curses doesn’t resemble a WB cartoon and Gold Rush Daze has worse timing than Jones from that period.

    Other least favorites for me are Let It Be Me, A Sunbonnet Blue (save for Irv Spence’s animation of the Ratz Brothers), The Good Egg (1939), and Notes To You.

  • I saw “Pre-Hysterical Hare” again last week and yeah it’s just not good. But “Strife with Feather”? I’d take a bullet for that short. Two of the great delights in life are hearing Mel scream a full-throated “OK, GIVE IT TO HIM!” or
    deliver a perfect”NOOOOOOHHHHHH….”

  • (1) Angel Puss is egregious on a number of levels, most notably that by the time it was released, a lot of Hollywood had passed this (alleged) “darky” humour behind; furthermore, what was a liberal like Jones doing with stuff like this? It’s gawd-awful on a number of levels. Even “Coal Black,” a cartoon I’m not overly fond of, is leagues better.

    (2) Tokio Jokio at least has a thin excuse of being a propaganda product of its time. Ditto “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips,” which to my mind is either the weakest or second-weakest Bugs of the 1940s (overshadowed only by “All This and Rabbit Stew,” which has some funny gags but comes to a crashing halt when the patsy appears). But they do suffer in a way that “Daffy – The Commando” does not. DtC is still extremely funny, and still works as propaganda. It’s just not as vitriolic as the other two.

    (3) I’m a little lenient on “Good Night Elmer,” in part because the animation is terrific, and I’m willing to grade Jones on having it as an experiment. I actually like “Each Dawn I Crow,” partly because of the very poking it does at Inner Sanctum.

    (4) “Forward March Hare,” with a stoopid Bugs Bunny, has always stuck out with me as a major misfire, since it was so out of character.

    (5) “Dumb Patrol” I grade on a curve. Coming out when it did, it’s not bad. Nothing compared to the work that had gone before it, but just not bad.

    (6) Chacun a son gout: I see above someone doesn’t like “Hamateur Night,” which I’ve always thought was one of the funnier Averies of the late 30s.

    • I’ll always have a soft spot for Dumb Patrol as part of the Bugs Bunny All-American Special.

  • “A Pest in the House”, as Elmer is too hapless to be funny, and it should have had the scheme backfire on Daffy in the end somehow, like later ones did (what a contrast to the way Daffy later went).
    Similarly, “Buggsy and Muggsy” (which was a remake of “A Stooge for a Mouse”, but at least in tlat one the mouse got his too, in the end).

    I just think they went too far in beating up on characters too dumb to be true antagonists.

    For all around lameness (tries to be so funny, but just fails), there’s “Yankee Doodle Daffy”.

  • “Sunday Go To Meeting Time”, basically repulsive with no redeaming qualities. Same for similar shorts that have already been mentioned. “Gopher Broke”, an awkward remake of the Hubie and Bertie shorts with the Goofy Gophers and Barnyard Dawg that felt a bit out of character and not as funny.. Also recalled a Foghorn Leghorn short with Henry Hawk pretending to be a baby with no intention of eating Miss Prissy. The two curious pups Chuck Jones directed in the late 1930s and early 1940s were a bit bland with the only memorable short being “Prest-o Change-o” with the proto-Bugs. Even Sniffles, which tend to get a lot of flack, had memorable shorts.

    • ” Also recalled a Foghorn Leghorn short with Henry Hawk pretending to be a baby with no intention of eating Miss Prissy.”

      Strangled Eggs (1961). Redeemable just for some of Foghorn’s one-liners: “Bare as a cooch dancer’s midriff!”; “I got this boy is as fidgety as a bubble dancer with a slow leak.”; “A squab! How do you like your squab? Fried or boiled?”

  • There is one exchange from “Strife With Father” that gets a good laugh out of me.
    “Beaky, wha makes you so incredibly stupid?”
    “Aw, shucks! I get around!”

    Re: “What was a liberal like Jones doing with stuff like this?”

    Given the writer for the short (Lou Lilly), it may have simply been a short he was forced to do. Jones essentially disowned it years later (aside from including it in his filmography Chuck Amuck in the late 80s).

    With the exception of the first 3 Pepe shorts, as well as the Art Davis one, I’m not a fan of Pepe Le Pew as a whole. No, it has nothing to do with the sudden “cancelling” of the character. Even as a kid, I wasn’t into his cartoons.

    And, while it’s far from being the worst, as far as the Hunter’s Trilogy goes, I never really liked “Rabbit Seasoning” much. It’s fine, has some nice animation, and facial expressions from Daffy, but ultimately it just feels like leftovers from “Rabbit Fire”, released the previous year.

  • A lot of my choices have already been listed (Larriva RRs, most of the Censored 11, Tokio Jokio, etc.), but I’ll add a few more:

    -Any of the Caveman Inki shorts: I know they have their fans, but I am not one of them.

    -Now, Hare This!: It’s not excruciating or anything, but every time I watch it, I feel like it should be a lot funnier than it is. One of the problems is that Bugs seems kinda bored to be there, which reflects the challenge that the directors occasionally faced with the series: That Bugs is SO ahead of his adversaries’ lack of threat that there’s no comedic tension. He just thwarts them with ease.

    -Mexican Cat Dance: Re-used animation from Bully For Bugs, forgettable gags, and yet another example of why Sylvester is the most unlucky Looney Tunes character.

    -Martian Through Georgia: Leave it to Bill Lava to take what might’ve been a whimsical, off-beat short about an alien vacationing to Earth and getting mistaken for a threat and making it seem like a horror movie with his penchant for harsh, dissonant and shrill music.

    -The Slick Chick: Let’s just say that the little rabble-rouser is no Bart Simpson. Slow-as-molasses pacing. Probably Foghorn Leghorn’s weakest entry. Even Milt Franklyn, whose music could elevate an otherwise average short, seems bored by this material.

    -Devil’s Feud Cake: Kinda interesting if you’re a Looney Tunes buff, since it lifts so much footage from various sources (the new material only accounts for about 10 seconds of the whole cartoon!), but… it’s still a cheater cartoon. You can tell Mel Blanc was still recovering from the car accident because his Sam and Bugs sound noticeably weaker here. And not to beat a dead horse, but… Bill Lava’s new soundtrack pales in comparison to the cartoons it took clips from.

  • Wow, Jerry! you’ve opened up a real “Pandora’s box” here!

    It seems to me that the Rudy Larriva ROAD RUNNERS are trashed just a bit too much. I grew up watching them interspersed with the Jones classics in my childhood days of watching THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW as a kid and didn’t see THAT MUCH difference between them! I actually like GOOD NIGHT ELMER for the quality of the animation, so it’s not on my list of W.B. cartoons that I’ll immediately not watch. I’m with you on some of your other picks, like PRE-HYSTERICAL HARE or TOKIO JOKIO.

    Paul Groh just seems to hate American patriotic films. That’s his privledge, but I like OLD GLORY for the animation of Porky and Uncle Sam. The rotoscoped stuff could have been done a little better, but I suspect that Chuck Jones and Co. had to rush this one through. Pepe Le Pew I’m liking a little more than I did as a kid. Anyone man old enough – single or male – can emphasize with Pepe doing just about anything to win over the over-reluctant “woman of his dreams” and failing miserably. Chuck Jones and his writers were sly enough to have the “tables turned” on Pepe every so often and he sure DID NOT like being pursued, did he? It’s a ritual all males go through, whether one likes it or not! I never read the idea of “rape” into it as a youngster and I still think that’s way, way too “Politically Correct” for people today to want to “censor” Pepe Le Pew. Chuck Jones and Co. saw the humor in the caricature of screen actor – Senior moment! Why can’t I think of his name, right now? – and fancy “French culture,” but noting else that the “P.C. crowd” right now finds objectionable about the character. He was the obnoxious and vain caricature of a movie star character, noting else!

    Anyway, interesting topic you’ve opened up!

  • Charles Boyer, is who I was thinking of! How could I forget that?

  • What I think is the worst, eh? Well, since you asked…

    1. The “Wabbit Season” Trilogy as a whole: I know for a fact I’m going to get some flack for this choice. They played them (they seemed to LOVE Rabbit Fire) on TV almost every other week, and the whole “RABBIT SEASON! DUCK SEASON!” shtick got old REAL fast.

    2. The Big Snooze (1946): A big sloppy mess that should’ve been polished a little more before it got released. The story itself is just…fine, but the animation is not up to Clampett’s usual standard. At all.

    3. Crazy Cruise (1942): I love almost every single Avery spot-gag cartoon…but this one is the reason why I say “almost.” The film is stupidly inconsistent (They go on a plane randomly, even though this is Crazy CRUISE–I wonder if that was a rejected Aviation Vacation gag repurposed for this short.)

    4. What’s Opera, Doc? (1957): Another choice I’m sure most of you will disagree with, but I always found this one sluggish. And, much like Rabbit Fire, it played on Cartoon Network almost every time they had Looney Tunes scheduled. Does not live up to its title of supposed “best cartoon of all time.”

    5. Now Hear This (1962): Too artsy-fartsy for me. If you’re into sound design, you’ll probably get a kick out of it, but to me, it’s just boring.

    • Honestly, I can’t see how any of those cartoon can be considered bad. Heck, I was disappointed that “Now Hear This” didn’t make it to the book.

    • The only problem I had with the “Wabbit Season” trilogy was the one you mentioned: They were always on. It takes a whole lot of repeats to make it so a 5-8 year old doesn’t want to watch them again, but they did it. I really wasn’t a fan of the greedy and cowardly Daffy anyway. The only 2 Daffy’s I liked with this characterization was ‘Duck Amuck’ and ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century’. They aren’t the only Daffy Ducks that I like, but the only greedy/inept/cowardly ones that I thought were inventive. My favorite Daffy was ‘The Great Piggy Bank Robbery’.

      I was close enough to the WW2 years (viewing in the early 60’s) that the propaganda cartoons were still in relatively heavy rotation on my local channels afternoon cartoon show. I remember them but don’t re-watch them now, but it’s more indifference than than hatred here. And I’m not talking about Pvt. Snafu or Mr Hook. Still think they are pretty good.

      Also not part of the newest protest against Pepe but he was a one joke character spread out over a lot of cartoons. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen most of them. There is one where his victim turned predatory towards him at the end (I forget why) that was ok but only because it turned the trope. As long as you can buy them I don’t care that they don’t re-use him. Maybe they can come up with something else for him to be, but that usually doesn’t go over well either.

    • 1. The Hunting Trilogy is totally a classic. I’m personally attached to Chuck Jones’ animators, even if he caused Daffy’s flanderization. Rabbit Fire is the strongest cartoon with the best ending, Rabbit Seasoning is indeed a classic, but its ending is not as good and Duck! Rabbit! Duck! is slightly repetitive.

      2. I kinda like The Big Snooze, Clampett’s animation staff is solid, but not his best (Scribner, Gould and Melendez are phenomenal, but there’s no more McKimson and Ellis is kinda eh). Gould’s “this way” is a classic, but to be honest, Clampett has always been kinda hit and miss.

      4. YES. What’s Opera, Doc is extremely OVERRATED. On paper, Jones’ staff is good, with Harris, Thompson and Levitow… but RABBIT OF SEVILLE IS SO SUPERIOR IN ANY POSSIBLE WAY. The beginning with the magic helmet is good and all, but it goes downhill as soon as Bugs appears in drags. The power of Rabbit of Seville was keeping some dynamics while Bugs and Elmer were singing, they were still active. On the other hand, they don’t do anything in What’s Opera Doc while they’re singing. I also consider this part very boring and unimpressive. Ken Harris was a master at standing out by never standing out, but his post-1956 work was kinda stale.

    • I agree with What’s Opera Doc?. I got the satire, but it was too “intellectual” instead of funny. Overall I always hated the “A-hole Daffy who always loses” of the 50s. I’m just glad that Daffy is portrayed with a more “daffy” personality again in these recent decades.

  • “4. What’s Opera, Doc? (1957): Another choice I’m sure most of you will disagree with, but I always found this one sluggish. And, much like Rabbit Fire, it played on Cartoon Network almost every time they had Looney Tunes scheduled. Does not live up to its title of supposed “best cartoon of all time.”

    I wouldn’t put this on my Least Favorites list by a long shot (it earns praise for its art direction and music alone), but I do agree it’s not the best cartoon that year. That honor goes to Birds Anonymous. And in terms of other much-acclaimed Jones cartoons, I thought One Froggy Evening from two years prior was better.

  • Always WAS my utmost un-fave : the Ac. Aw. one, for Christ’s sake, “Knighty Knight Bugs!” All the pow & pacings of a 60s Popeye!!!

  • I have no problem with Jerry’s choice for worst Bugs, but my selection would be Shiskabugs (1962). Shockingly pointless, with lame, unimaginative gags. It seems as if the story development was as rushed as Sam’s hasenpfeffer. “Cook! Cook! Where’s my funny cartoon?!”

    Possibly the dreariest of the Sylvester/Junior cartoons that didn’t feature “the giant mouse” is Cat’s Paw (1959). Monotonous and unfunny, with Junior at his most obnoxious. Oh, the shame of it…

    Finally, my candidate for The Overall Worst WB Cartoon is Dog Tales (1959), an astoundingly insipid attempt to revive the “spot gag” format. Each gag is stupider than than the one that preceded it. Put this one to sleep.

  • I’ll admit to having something of a nostalgic soft spot for the post-1964 shorts due to how often they played on Nickelodeon as a kid, but “Moby Duck” is just bad. The plot is essentially a retread of the far superior “Canned Feud” (with some “Rabbitson Crusoe” thrown in as well) and Daffy is thoroughly unpleasant throughout (not to mention unfunny). In terms of earlier cartoons, most of Chuck Jones’ late 30s/early 40s output does nothing for me, and I’ve never liked “Bugs’ Bonnets.” The premise itself isn’t bad, but it feels more suited to one-off characters as opposed to Bugs and Elmer; it’s really not a good fit for them (no pun intended).

    • “and I’ve never liked “Bugs’ Bonnets.” The premise itself isn’t bad, but it feels more suited to one-off characters as opposed to Bugs and Elmer; it’s really not a good fit for them (no pun intended).”

      That’s one of my favorites. Just goes to show you: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  • Not really a big Road Runner and Coyote fan. The cartoons are good and all just don’t have much interest in watching them for whatever reason.

    Got to agree on “Pre-Hysterical Hare” after re-watching it’s not very funny at all period, and the John Seely music sounds out of place in a Warner’s cartoon.

  • The Larriva RRs look interchangeable, but on close analysis (best done by playing the “Supergenius Hijinks” DVD), an evolution of sorts is discernible. Animators increasingly conform to a “house style”; the revolving door of layout artists and story men produces varying results. The overall quality of a Larriva RR depends largely on the ambitions of its story man. Len Janson’s “Boulder Wham” is freshened by some nice expressions, poses and suspense-building (a “THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!” sign near the end also helps). Nick Bennion (“Hairied and Hurried,” “Shot and Bothered”) wanted some extra animation, as did Al Bertino at the end of “Highway Runnery.” Dale Hale (“Out and Out Rout”) sought speed. Other story men seemed to be more concerned with keeping their cartoons under budget.

    To me the worst WB cartoon is “Devil’s Feud Cake.” Most of its clips are too short to be of much help; the only potentially decent one, from “Hare Lift,” is ruined by a *horrible* new soundtrack. The music belongs in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” and Mel Blanc’s post-accident voice is depressing to hear.

    • What I don’t understand is that it was a modified version of an episode of “The Bugs Bunny Show” and why they thought it worked as well as a 5 minute cartoon.

  • I am sorry, but anything in the 1960’s with that horrendous honky tonk guitar strumming for the score.

  • Oh, where to begin?

    1. “A Kiddie’s Kitty”. Seriously, how much did Freleng hate Sylvester? The poor cat is mute again and isn’t allowed a single moment of relief in the entire cartoon. Pound, smash, terrorize, torture and bad animation. He dies at the end of a lot of his films, but not here, where it would have been a mercy-killing.

    2. “Sunday Go to Meeting Time”. Our hero goes to hell for “stealing watermelons”. If you actually do go to hell, they run this cartoon on a loop.

    3. “Hare-breadth Hurry” from the Smugs Bunny period. If ever there was good reason to root for Wile E. this is it.

    4. “The Slick Chick” Put that little creep back in the egg and boil it.

    5. “Mother was a Rooster”. Neck and neck with The Slick Chick for the worst Foggy.

    6. “Tokyo Jokio”. Suckio Train-wreckio.

    7. “The Lady in Red”. Cockroaches invade a restaurant and set the owner’s pet parrot on fire. Apparently we’re supposed to root for the roaches.

    8. “The Iceman Ducketh”. Remember how funny Daffy was when he made his debut in “Porky’s Duck Hunt”? Now he’s a hunter going after a scwewy wabbit. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

    • “Iceman Ducketh” feels pretty close to what a DFE-era Bugs short might have been like (Daffy was also cast as a hunter in a few DFE shorts, like “Suppressed Duck”).

  • Very few WB cartoons are hard for me to watch, but the ones where Sylvester gets bashed around just for its’ own sake have a sadistic feel not found in his encounters with Tweety and Speedy.
    LIGHTHOUSE MOUSE – If that little rodent had just moved his bed, Sylvester could have been saved a lot of beatings (and electrocution!) he didn’t deserve.
    Chuck Jones’ “Porky and Sylvester” trilogy – Casting Porky as a Magoo-like blunderer oblivious to the danger around him was inspired…but watching Sylvester get punished every time he saved Porky’s bacon (sorry) is disturbing to say the least.
    PAPPY’S PUPPY – Along with the abovementioned A KIDDIE’S KITTY, Sylvester is trapped in a situation he didn’t create and can’t control. Kel Crum said it better than I can.
    A MESSAGE TO GRACIAS – A Speedy cartoon that doesn’t get a pass. Dunn and McKimson seem to be waiting on each other to do something funny–and neither of them does. In place of actual gags, they hope Sylvester’s various manglings will be funny in and of themselves.

    • Man, so many haters of cartoons where Sylvester get attacked. Keep in mind he was a foil character for most of the time. Plus, at least in the end of “A Message to Gracias” he got to upper comings to chase the mice.

      • You’re right! I hadn’t looked at thing in so long I forgot about Sylvester’s rare and well-deserved victory of sorts. It’s rare to see Speedy and Sylvester end up on the same side I grant you, but it adds little pep to one of McKimson’s most lifeless cartoons.

  • STRIFE WITH FATHER and EACH DAWN I CROW I kinda like. I pretty much agree with you on everything else; I rank SWALLOW THE LEADER down there with CORN PLASTERED. “Rank” being the operative word here.

    • I’m kind of “Meh” on “Strife with Father”, but I loved “Each Dawn I Crow”. Even for those unfamiliar with “The Whistler”, as I am, I think it works wonderfully as a comic thriller.

      “Corn Plastered” is a guilty pleasure. Maybe “Guilty Pleasures” should be the next post.

  • Well, like others who have responded here, I find it very, very hard to dislike most Warner Brothers cartoons because there are so many of them. There isn’t a year in production without its minor or major classics. So I guess my basis for disliking a cartoon is whether or not it is shown way too often or not.

    PS I remember attending cartoon festivals, looking at the list of cartoons to be shown and wincing if I didn’t see a title that I’d not encountered before. Every BUGS BUNNY or Chuck Jones fest contained “WHAT’S OPERA, DOC?”, so I grew to dislike it, but if I just refuse to watch the cartoon for a year or two (or less), I can appreciate it all over again for what it is in animation history the next time I watch it. The same could be said of “BIRDS ANONYMOUS”. Yes, it is a fantastic cartoon, a brilliant parody, but it is the “go to” cartoon for almost every Warner Brothers cartoon festival!

    It truly annoyed me when volume six of the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION came out with a nice array of the black and white years, and comments on Amazon were brutal, screaming “Where’s ‘WHAT’S OPERA, DOC’?” And that title had already been released!! Again, because Warner Brothers created so *MANY* cartoons, I can hardly loathe almost any of them, but “ANGEL PUSS” is definitely not a favorite, and my somewhat lame reason isn’t because it is not politically correct. I just never understood this fascination with characters trying to get rid of unwanted cats!

    Many of the censored 11 were not shown on local TV. It was due to books written on the Warner Brothers cartoons that I became aware of these forbidden titles, and I agree with the list, except to say that we should retain them among the larger array of Warner Brothers cartoons that also represent the time in which they were created; but cartoons like the afore-mentioned “ANGEL PUSS”, “COAL BLACK AND THE SEVEN DWARFS” or “SUNDAY GO TO MEETIN’ TIME” or “CLEAN PASTURES” were cartoons I don’t recall literally seeing on local TV, and there were other titles now deemed censorable that did often air on TV from the major studios, but Warner Brothers were careful about certain titles.

    As for cartoons I really dislike, well, I have to agree with others regarding the BEAKY BUZZARD cartoons; once Kent Rogers no longer provided the voice, the character was just dumb. Rogers gave the character some personality beyond the simpleton, as anyone can tell in the first two titles. “TOKIO JOKIO” should no longer be included for mere entertainment alone, because its subject matter is far too dated. It is a wartime cartoon and should be dealt with on that level.

    I’d never seen cartoons like “GOING TO HEAVEN ON A MULE”, so I can’t really comment on it. The “offensive” titles are so few, especially when our favorite group of animation directors really got going and improved on the humor, and the music tracks, for the most part, make some of these titles viewable. If we all owned a set of the complete LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES, chances are we’d find rare titles that we never saw before; this was true of me when checking out the PORKY PIG 101 collection. Out of those, I’d have to say that my least favorite is “PORKY’S PET”, and I hope I have the title correct. It is the one with that annoying bird known as Lulu whose only utterance is this squawking that seems to play again and again. It is a hard cartoon to listen to, and I find something to like about most of the pre-Mel Blanc PORKY PIG titles.

    Despite what I’ve said here, I would not refuse fans of any of these cartoons, and at times I put the term “fan” loosely, their chance to view titles whenever they want. I’m happy whenever there is a discussion on the wildly inventive cartoons that came out of the halls of Termite Terrace and beyond!

  • I’d have to add “All this and Rabbit Stew” to my least favorite list. It’s a rehash of gags that Bugs generally perpetrates upon Elmer, but Elmer is replaced with a sho-nuff stereotype and the result is just cruel. At the end, Bugs beats him at a dice game, leaves him with nothing but a fig leaf, and then at the iris-out, makes off with the leaf and holds it up as some sort of trophy. A big bucket of cringe!

  • “All This And Rabbit Stew”. Period piece or no, you can TASTE the cringe nowadays.

  • I’ll take any post-Jones Roadrunner short over those abysmal Daffy/Speedy team ups. I love that one Pepe toon directed by Arthur Davis…no dialogue, French or otherwise needed to tell a funny story. Transylvania Bugs never did a thing for me, too stylized for my taste. Really, any Elmer Fudd toon voiced by anyone other than Arthur Q. Bryan is a dud. I guess that’s why so few of these shorts showed up on the excellent Golden Collection series.

  • Warner Bros Cartoons are one of the best Entertainer show in ’90s.

  • I have to agree that the aggressive – and sometimes nasty – Bugs Bunny is my least favorite of his characterizations, whether he antagonizes two shipwrecked sailors, a Western hero or the guy that jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge. Elmer Fudd and certainly Yosemite Sam deserve what Bugs dishes out to them. Ditto for the pompous opera singer and most of the other characters that Bugs has to deal with.

    I haven’t seen ALL THIS AND RABBIT STEW for years, and I may only have seen a bit of it, but you’re probably right. On the other hand, I still believe that TIN PAN ALLEY CATS and COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS are not meant to be offensive, just fun!

  • The working title for corn plastered was “Shmoe Crow.”
    I can see why this character only appeared in one cartoon.

  • I think that the TOON IN WITH MeTV morning show is reminding all of us that Warner’s made a lot of incredibly non-performing cartoon shorts. We only remember the “good ‘uns” but manoman, there’s a surprisingly large percentage of WB cartoons that simply aren’t funny.

  • All these examples notwithstanding, the Warner Bros. cartoons, as a body of work, are easily the most satisfying. My own contribution to the list is that Oscars went to the wrong ones. I’m convinced that “Birds Anonymous” and “Knighty Knight Bugs” won only because Disney was no longer interested in short cartoons, MGM had closed its animation unit, and UPA had run its course as a graphic innovator. But even the Warner Oscar winners before that were hardly best of breed.

    To give Derek S. his due, anybody can put down the truly hateful “Tokio Jokio,” but it takes guts to dislike the “Rabbit Seasoning” trilogy (quartet if you count “Beanstalk Bunny”). Actually, the primary weakness of these cartoons is that they bear out what Chuck Jones called mid-century TV cartoons: radio with pictures. They’re almost entirely dialogue-driven (admittedly clever dialogue, but still…); you can tell what’s going on without the picture; the animation is secondary. But how could anybody not be fond of “The Big Snooze”? Its Bob Clampett zaniness may be a bit out of control, but it beats the increasingly formulaic and repetitious postwar cartoons with the stars gradually losing their charm (Bugs becoming almost insufferably smug, a disagreeable Daffy, Porky either persnickety or deadpan, Tweety’s baby talk grating; and that effing baby kangaroo). Give me Clampett, Tashlin, and Avery any day.

  • To be honest, I never liked the Three Bears shorts. Papa Bear was such a child abuser and he was harsh with his wife.
    I also don’t like NOW HEAR THIS (1963). I mean, what is this? What is going on here? It is hard to follow the plot because of all those strange things going on range from unsettling mood-swing whiplash to all that trippiness. It makes you forget that you are watching a Looney Tunes cartoon and more like an experimental animation from Europe mixed with a UPA cartoon. The worst part was, that it got nominated for an Oscar. At least Disney’s A SYMPOSIUM OF POPULAR SONGS got nominated, but it didn’t confuse anybody. It is all about style over story. The imagery steals the thunder of the story. For crying out loud, just tell the story!
    With that I began to like Bob McKimson cartoons, at least they told a story and didn’t confuse anybody.

  • Whenever I hear this question, the title that immediately leaps to my mind is OLD GLORY. I can get why they might want to do something sorta kinda patriotic, but jeez, what the F were they thinking? Less than zero entertainment value.

  • I seem to remember reading that on its original release, “Tokio Jokio” was considered unfunny and egregious by audiences and was pulled from distribution, and that it led to Norm McCabe, the director, being fired from the studio.

  • To be honest, I do have my list of rather unfavorable cartoons such as the later McKimps and especially The Million Hare (although that might be my subjection at this point), but it’s important to note that there were misfires in the past.

    Unrelated, I can imagine Gene Deitch at the helm directing at least four Road Runners in the mid-60s at Rembrandt films, but I guess the world refused to change. Deitch did come out with favorable line of shorts such as How to Avoid a Friendship, the Nudnik shorts for Paramount, and especially his stint at Terrytoons in the late 50s. His stint as an outsourced studio on subcontract for Warner Bros would be no different than whatever they were producing at the time.

    One more note, out of all the stars they could’ve done during this time frame, why Speedy Gonzales of all characters?

  • All of you guys sticking up for Sylvester warms my heart. One of these days, I’d just like to see him eat that damn bird once and for all.

    Anyway, my least favorite WB cartoons are, in no particular order…

    • Any of the Larriva 11 – WB censored the wrong 11 cartoons, if you ask me.
    • Pre-Hysterical Hare – The stock music is distracting, Dave Barry’s Elmer is AWFUL, and it’s just not very funny.
    • Half-Fare Hare – Why are there two Honeymooners knock-offs after Bugs? I dunno. Because it was popular at the time?
    • Fresh Airedale – I don’t like when bad things happen to good people that don’t deserve it. The semi-remake, Chow Hound, is much better.
    • Jungle Jitters – Apart from the merry-go-round gag, this cartoon is really bad, and the stereotypes aren’t the problem. That salesman character is an annoying nuisance, and you just want to see him get cannibalized at the end.
    • I’ve Got To Sing A Torch Song – How has nobody mentioned this one yet? The animation is appallingly bad, the voice acting sucks, and the celebrity caricatures are downright frightening to look at.
    • A Pizza Tweety Pie – Nothing but bad Italian stereotypes.

Leave a Reply to Kevin Wollenweber Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *