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Nickelodeon (originally called "Pinwheel" from launch on December 1st, 1977 until March 31st, 1979, often called "Nick" for short) is a 24-hour network dedicated to delivering programming geared toward children. The channel is currently owned by MTV Networks Kids & Family Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom (previously owned by Looney Tunes owner, Warner Brothers). Nickelodeon is known for programs such as SpongeBob SquarePants, and iCarly.
Nickelodeon began airing Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon on September 12, 1988. Initially, Nickelodeon's selection of Looney Tunes was made mostly of black-and-white pre-1943 cartoons and cartoon shorts of the post-1960 time period, plus poorly colorized versions of the Porky Pig cartoons from the 1930s and early 1940s. Nick did have access to some cartoons released between 1948 and 1960, though, and thus aired them very often. Until 1993, each installment tended to feature three or four cartoons, of which the second, usually black-and-white, starred Bosko, Buddy, or Porky Pig. During the first few years of Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon, the opening sequence with the Warner Bros. logo and the closing "That's all, Folks!" cards were not included on the cartoons, but the opening credits to the cartoon shorts were shown. The ending frame of each cartoon was often shrunk into a ball which bounced into a picture of a group of characters standing in front of the Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon logo. The one exception to this was Guided Muscle, in which, instead of the bouncing-ball ending, Wile E. Coyote dragged the Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon card across the screen at the end (whereas at the finish of the original cartoon, he dragged across the "That's All, Folks!" card). Each show would end with a single closing card. Unlike Cartoon Network or Boomerang, Nick did not have the rights to use the WARNER BROS. titles and the "That's All Folks!" title cards.
In addition to the version that aired during the day and early evening on Nick, the channel also packaged a version of the Looney Tunes program for its Nick@Nite block. The opening to this version showed clips from the cartoons of characters preparing for, or in, bed. These installments were also a half-hour long, and also usually included a black-and-white cartoon.
In September 1992, some shuffling of cartoons between broadcasters allowed Nick access to an additional number of Looney Tunes shorts. A new theme song was made, and the cartoons now shown with their full openings and closings intact. The black-and-white cartoons were dropped from the shows (one promotional spot lampshaded this by stating that Nick now had "More Bugs, more Daffy, more Tweety, and no Bosko"), and they dropped the show from Nick @ Nite, but on the plus side, the poorly redrawn, color Porky Pig cartoons were replaced with new, computer-colorized versions which were far superior (although Nick continued to air redrawn versions of "Porky's Midnight Matinee", "Rover's Rival", and "Slap-Happy Pappy"). For the whole 1994-95 season, Nick had the most variety of shorts in their Looney Tunes package; the following year, it dropped a small bit when The WB Network assumed possession of several of the cartoons for That's Warner Bros.! on Kids' WB! Censoring of cartoons had been ongoing, and on all Television showings, although Nickelodeon did not seem as concerned about violent gags. There were some gags that were considered too violent even for Nick. but their cuts are thankfully not as sloppy or as abrupt as those on ABC and The WB. However, while Nick had the TV rights to some cartoons like "Tokio Jokio", "Injun Trouble" (both the 1938 and 1969 versions), "Confusions of a Nutzy Spy", and "The Ducktators", these in particular were not shown. From 1995 to the end of 1997, Nickelodeon's batch of cartoons remained constant. "Wet Hare", "Mad as a Mars Hare", and "D' Fightin' Ones", having been A.B.C. staples since 1985, transferred to Nick in 1994. However, with the start of 1998, Nickelodeon and ABC swapped several cartoons. "The Fair-Haired Hare" and "Hoppy Daze" were finally relinquished by A.B.C. to air in uncut form on Nick, while A.B.C. reacquired "Mad as a Mars Hare", "D' Fightin' Ones", "Rabbit Rampage", "Ali Baba Bunny", "Dr. Jerkyl's Hide", "What's Opera, Doc?", "Hare Brush", and more. A number of initially black-and-white Porky Pig cartoons commenced transmission on Nick in computer-colorized format in 1998. In early 1999, it was announced that Nick's package of Warner Brothers would soon be relocating to Cartoon Network. The final installment of Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon ran on September 11, 1999, merely a day shy of the 12th anniversary of the shorts' first Nick broadcast. This notably makes Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon the longest-running animated program on Nick that wasn't a Nicktoon.
Tiny Toon Adventures
Following its departure from Fox Kids in 1995, Tiny Toon Adventures aired in reruns on Nickelodeon from 1995 to 1999. During this time, the episodes were always book-ended with animated bumpers depicting a group of kids going to a theater to watch the show right before it began, and then cheering after it was finished. Notably, it was on Nickelodeon that they were able to air the episode Toons From the Crypt, which Fox had refused to run. (However, fan-made episode guides were never updated to make note of this.) Tiny Toons eventually left Nickelodeon in September 1999, when its contract to run on the network expired, and the reruns were sent to Cartoon Network from 1999 to 2001. In September 2002, the Tiny Toons reruns returned to Nickelodeon for another two years. The show itself was presented no differently than before, but the shot of the WB Shield zooming out at the beginning of the intro sequence was replaced with a fade from black to the Tiny Toons logo.
Pinky and the Brain
Reruns of Pinky and the Brain began airing on Nickelodeon on September 4, 2000, and its TV rights would remain under Nick until 2005. The episodes themselves were generally unedited, but Nickelodeon literally wrote their name all over the intro sequence by having their logo replace the original colors of a background or foreground object. For example, Brain's mathematical equation during the line "One is a genius, the other's insane", was changed to a drawing of the Nickelodeon logo. Also, at the very end of the intro sequence, a lightning bolt would strike the sign on the Acme Labs building and change it to the Nickelodeon logo. Nick had never done this with any other show they had not created, and this caused quite a bit of controversy with the show's fans.
Appropriately following Pinky and the Brain joining the channel, Animaniacs reruns came to Nickelodeon on September 1, 2001, and aired on the channel for the next two years. But in what proved to be even more controversial than with Pinky and the Brain, Nick not only wrote their name on the intro (the zoom-in to the WB Water Tower at the start was replaced by the logo breaking through a screen with the Nickelodeon logo), but they also shortened down the song and replaced all the variable lines with a custom-made one of their own that did not even rhyme. Additionally, the first half of the lyrics were set to clips that came later in the song and sped up to the PAL recording speed. The shortened lyrics to the theme song were as follows:
- It's time for Animaniacs!
- And we're zany to the max! (set to "We have pay-or-play contracts!")
- So just sit back and relax (set to "We're zany to the max")
- You'll laugh till you collapse, (set to "There's baloney in our slacks!")
- We're animany,
- Totally insaney,
- Those are the facts!
The fans were outraged, so much that some of them refused to watch the show on the channel, on suspicion that Nick was even editing the episodes to change all mentions of Warner Brothers to mentions of Nickelodeon. The episodes were indeed edited on the channel, but instead it was some scenes being cut out for timing purposes (though in some cases, such as "Cutie and the Beast", it would ruin a joke).
References in Looney Tunes Related Shows
- The Tiny Toons Spring Break Special - While traveling home from Fort Lauderdale, the Tiny Toons gang's bus runs over a chicken and a beaver who resemble Ren and Stimpy. Given that Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi reportedly disliked Tiny Toons, this joke was probably done to get back at his criticism.
- Animaniacs: The "Animani-rats" segment is a parody of the intro sequence to Rugrats.
- Duck Dodgers: In one episode a character resembling SpongeBob SquarePants is seen as a busboy.
- In the first episode of Ren & Stimpy, Muddy Mudskipper chases Stimpy in a Yogi Bear parody and prompts him to say his line. Stimpy responds by spouting other cartoon characters' catch phrases, among them "I'm hunting fow a wabbit!"
- The Fairly OddParents movie Channel Chasers has a scene where series protagonist Timmy Turner and Cosmo & Wanda, along with an older version of himself from the future, chase Vicky through several parody scenes of other TV shows, including Looney Tunes. In this particular scene, Timmy is dressed like Elmer, his adult self is now a rabbit resembling Bugs, and Cosmo and Wanda have become rabbits resembling Buster and Babs. While searching through the woods, they encounter a white duck who has his beak twisted to the other side of his face, akin to Daffy in "Rabbit Fire". Cosmo asks, "Ehh, what's up, dork?", to which the duck replies by telling them that Vicky went in the same direction they're going in. Additionally, the very last shot of the film has Cosmo attempting to do Porky Pig's "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" bit, but is stuttering because he's cold.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Bikini Bottom Triangle", one of the mermaids addresses SpongeBob as "Freakazoid".
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Christmas Who" when Sandy was explaining Christmas to SpongeBob she looked like Road Runner at one point.
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Patrick SmartPants" Patrick falls of a cliff which looks like Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff.
- Charlie Adler voiced The Bigheads in Rocko's Modern Life and Ickis in Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
- Dee Bradley Baker voices extra characters in The Fairly OddParents and SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Clancy Brown voices Mr. Krabs in SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Jim Cummings voiced Skrawl in ChalkZone and Ultralord in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.
- Tim Curry voices Nigel Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys and Professor Calamitous in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron.
- Grey DeLisle voiced Vicky and Tootie in The Fairly OddParents, Sam Manson in Danny Phantom, and Frida Suarez in El Tigre: The Adventures Of Manny Rivera.
- Debi Derryberry was the voice of Jimmy Neutron.
- Jessica Di Cicco voiced Gwen Wu on The Mighty B!, and Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Danny Kaufman voiced the title character of Danny Phantom.
- Tom Kenny voices the title character of SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Maurice LaMarche did additional voices on several American made Nick shows.
- Tress MacNeille voiced Charlotte Pickles (Angelica's mom) in Rugrats, and Spy Fly in ChalkZone.
- Candi Milo voiced Snap in ChalkZone.
- Laraine Newman voiced Queen Jipjorrulac on The Fairly OddParents and Mrs. Jewels on Wayside.
- Rob Paulsen voiced Mark Chang in The Fairly OddParents, Carl Wheezer in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Peck the Rooster in Barnyard, and one of the seagulls in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
- Tara Strong voices Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents.
- Cree Summer voiced Susie Carmichael in Rugrats and All Grown Up!, Tiff Krust in My Life as a Teenage Robot, and Valerie Grey in Danny Phantom.
- Billy West was the original voice of Stimpy, as well as Ren's voice in the later years of Ren & Stimpy. He was also the original voice of Doug. He also voiced Zim in the original pilot for Invader Zim.
- Kath Soucie did additional voices in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- Neil Ross voiced the Cyclops in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- Roger Bumpass voices Squidward in SpongeBob SquarePants and Professor Membrane in Invader Zim.
- Frank Welker voiced the giant clams in SpongeBob SquarePants and the howling of the coyotes in Barnyard.