It began production as a result of Warner Bros. reinstating its animation studio in 1989 after a decade of dormancy. During the 1980s, the new studio only worked on revivals of the classic characters, meaning that Tiny Toon Adventures was the first of many original animated series from the studio. The cartoon was the first animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and the early 1990s.
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. The last season was aired on Fox Kids. The series was cancelled and ended production in 1992 in favor of Animaniacs; however, two specials were produced in 1994. The series has since aired in re-runs on Nickelodeon, Kids' WB!, Cartoon Network and most recently on The Hub. These have all stopped as of August 2017.
Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional town of Acme Acres, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attend 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, Wile E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university is 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 is derived from cartoon violence (e.g. anvils falling on someone, liberal use of explosives) and slapstick. The series parodies and references the current events of the early 1990s and Hollywood culture. Occasionally, episodes delve into veiled ethical and morality stories of ecology, self-esteem, and crime.
Tiny Toon Adventures consists of a wide variety of 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 first nine are listed in order by introduction of the theme song.
- Babs Bunny, a pink female rabbit (no relation to Buster), voiced by Tress MacNeille
- Buster Bunny, a blue male rabbit (no relation to Babs), voiced by Charlie Adler and John Kassir
- Montana Max, a greedy kid with rich parents who enjoys destroying his toys, bullying Buster, or polluting factories and is also considered to be the main antagonist of the show, voiced by Danny Cooksey
- Elmyra Duff, a sweet, good-intentioned girl, who loves animals to the point where she can squeeze them to death, voiced by Cree Summer
- Hamton J. Pig, a pink male pig, voiced by Don Messick
- Plucky Duck, a green male duck, voiced by Joe Alaskey
- Dizzy Devil, a purple Tasmanian devil, voiced by Maurice LaMarche
- Furrball, a blue cat who rarely speaks, voiced by Frank Welker
- Gogo Dodo, a zany dodo, voiced by Frank Welker
- Fifi La Fume, a purple-and-white female skunk, voiced by Kath Soucie
- Shirley the Loon, a white female loon
- Sweetie Bird, a pink canary
- Calamity Coyote, a bluish-gray coyote, voiced by Frank Welker
- Little Beeper, a red-orange roadrunner, voiced by Frank Welker
- Li'l Sneezer, a gray mouse with powerful sneezes, voiced by Kath Soucie
- Concord Condor, a purple condor, voiced by Rob Paulsen
- Byron Basset, a usually sleeping basset hound, voiced by Frank Welker
- Bookworm, a green worm with glasses (Bookworm originally appeared in the classic cartoons with Sniffles)
- Arnold the Pit Bull, a muscular white pit bull, voiced by Rob Paulsen
- Fowlmouth, a white rooster who curses, voiced by Rob Paulsen
- Barky Marky, a brown dog, voiced by Frank Welker
- Mary Melody, a young African-American human girl, voiced by Cree Summer
- Ralph T. Guard, known as "Fat Guard", a police for the Warner studio who would later appear in Animaniacs, voiced by Frank Welker
- Steven Spielberg as himself
Looney Tunes original series characters
Many of the characters from the original series also appear in recurring roles as well. Since the show was being produced the year Mel Blanc died, various voice actors came to replace him. Some of the original characters were voiced by more than one different voice actor during the run of the series.
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, "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian", was co-written by three then-teenage girls who were fans of the show.
Voice director Andrea Romano auditioned over 1,200 voices for the series and chose more than a dozen main voice actors. The role of Buster Bunny was given to Charlie Adler, who gave the role, as producer Tom Ruegger said, "a great deal of energy." The role of Babs Bunny was given to Tress MacNeille. Writer Paul Dini said that MacNeille was good for the role because she could do both Babs' voice and the voices of her impressions. Voice actors Joe Alaskey and Don Messick were given the roles of Plucky Duck and Hamton J. Pig, respectively. Danny Cooksey played Montana Max and, according to Paul Dini, was good for the role because he could do a "tremendous mean voice." Cooksey was also the only voice actor in the cast who was not an adult. Cree Summer played the roles of Elmyra Duff and Mary Melody; former Saturday Night Live cast member Gail Matthius played Shirley the Loon, and Kath Soucie had the roles of Fifi La Fume and Li'l Sneezer. Other actors for the series included Maurice LaMarche as the voice of Dizzy Devil; Candi Milo as the voice of Sweetie, Frank Welker as the voice of Gogo Dodo, Furrball, Byron Basset, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Barky Marky, and other voices; and Rob Paulsen as the voice of Fowlmouth, Arnold the Pit Bull, Concord Condor, and other characters.During production of the series' third season, Adler left the show due to a conflict with the producers. Adler was upset that he had not landed a role in Animaniacs while voice actors with smaller roles in Tiny Toon Adventures like Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, and Frank Welker were given starring roles in the new series. John Kassir replaced Adler for the remainder of the show's run. Joe Alaskey, the voice of Plucky Duck, also left Tiny Toons for financial reasons, but returned when an agreement was reached with the studio.
In order to complete 65 episodes for the first syndicated 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.
In 1992, The Plucky Duck Show was produced as a spin-off for Fox Kids, based on the character Plucky Duck. Except for the premiere episode "The Return of Batduck", the show was composed of recycled Plucky-centric episodes from the series.
In 1998, a spin-off entitled Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain debuted on Kids' WB. This series featured the Elmyra character, as well as Pinky and the Brain, two characters who were originally on Animaniacs before receiving their own series, also entitled Pinky and the Brain. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain picks up after Pinky leaves off where Pinky and the Brain become Elmyra's pets after Brain accidentally destroys their original home, ACME Labs, during an experiment. Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain lasted for thirteen episodes.
Awards and nominations
Daytime Emmy Awards
- Won award for Outstanding Animated Program (presented to Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Ken Boyer, Art Leonardi, Art Vitello, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner) (1991)
- Won award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition (presented to William Ross for “Fields of Honey”) (1991) Won award for Outstanding Original Song (presented to Bruce Broughton, Wayne Kaatz, and Tom Ruegger for "the main title theme") (1991)
- Nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, and Art Leonardi) (1992)
- Won award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition (presented to Mark Watters for “The Love Disconnection”) (1992)
- Won award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program (presented to Nicholas Hollander, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, and Sherri Stoner) (1992)
- Won award for Outstanding Animated Program (presented to Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, Byron Vaughns, Ken Boyer, Alfred Gimeno, and David West) (1993)
- Won award for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition (presented to Steven Bramson for “The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain”) (1993)
- Nominated for Best Animated Television Program (1992)
- Nominated for Best Animated Television Program (1993)
- Nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Paul Dini, Sherri Stoner, Dave Marshall, Glen Kennedy, Rich Aarons) (1991)
Young Artist Awards
- Won award for Best New Cartoon Series (1989-1990)
- Nominated for Outstanding Young Voice-Over in an Animated Series or Special (Whitby Hertford) (1991-1992)
Environmental Media Awards
- Won EMA Award for Children's Animated series (for the episode Whales Tales) (1991)
In January 2009, IGN named Tiny Toon Adventures as the 41st in the Top 100 Animated TV Shows.
Among the same time that Tiny Toon Adventures premiered, a quarterly children's magazine based on the series was published for at least seven issues. Also, various storybooks were published by the Little Golden Book company, including a few episode adaptations and some original stories (Lost in the Fun House and Happy Birthday, Babs!). Tiny Toon Adventures also had a comic book series made by Warner Bros. and DC Comics. The characters also made occasional cameo appearances in the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain comic books.
Toys and video games
Since its debut, numerous video games based on Tiny Toons have been released. There have been no less than nine titles based on the series released after its original television run and as recently as 2002. Many companies have held the development and publishing rights for the games, including Konami (during the 1990s), Atari, NewKidCo, Conspiracy Games, Warthog, Terraglyph Interactive Studios, and Treasure. Toys for the series included plush dolls and plastic figures.
On July 29, 2008, Warner Home Video released Season 1, Volume 1 of Tiny Toon Adventures on DVD in Region 1. Much like the concurrent DVD releases of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, the series was released concurrently on DVD with Freakazoid. How I Spent My Vacation was released on DVD on August 21, 2012. The third volume, entitled Tiny Toon Adventures - Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescue was released on January 8th, 2013. It includes all 13 season 2 episodes and the first 4 episodes from season 3. Initially when the set was announced, the content list did not contain the season 2 episode "Elephant Issues" due to it including the controversial "One Beer" segment. However, it was later announced that Volume 3 would, in fact, contain the episode, thanks to lobbying from fans of the series. In the early 1990s, Warner Bros. had released several videos, including Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (a direct-to-video release which later aired as a four-part episode), Best of Buster and Babs, Two Tone Town, Tiny Toon Big Adventures, Tiny Toon: Island Adventures, Tiny Toon Adventures: Music TV, Tiny Toon: Fiendishly Funny Adventures, Tiny Toon: Night Ghoulery and Tiny Toons: It's a Wonderful Christmas Special.
|DVD Name||# of Episodes||Release date||Special Features||Notes|
|Season 1 Volume 1||35||July 29th, 2008||From Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Wacky Evolution|
|Season 1 Volume 2||30||April 21st, 2009||None, aside from trailers.||Two episodes are edited on this set: "Tiny Toons Music Television" (a brief bit about a phone number to call during the wraparounds) and "Son of the Wacko World of Sports" (wraparounds and title cards removed).|
|Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues||17||January 8th, 2013||None, aside from trailers||The previously banned Season 2 episode,"Elephant Issues" is included in this set.|
|Volume 4: Looney Links!||16||May 28th, 2013||None, aside from trailers||On the first release of the DVD, Weekday Afternoon Live's master was messed up, as instead of the 2nd half of that episode, the 2nd half of a Disc 1 episode, Toon TV, played instead. Warner Brothers has since created a disc replacement program and corrected the problem on all future publishings of the DVD.|
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 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.
In the US, 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 from 2002–2005. On October 27, 2012, the series aired on broadcast television once again on Vortexx with the special Tiny Toons' Night Ghoulery and again on November 24, 2012. Tiny Toon Adventures joined The Hub in re-runs on July 1st, 2013.
In Canada, the series re-ran on YTV from 1996–1999 and Teletoon from 2002–2006. It now runs on Teletoon Retro, a sister channel of Teletoon devoted to classic cartoons.
In the UK, the series aired in reruns on Cartoon Network from 1999–2002 and Boomerang from 2000–2006 and again, one more time on December 17, 2011 with the episode It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special.
In Australia, the series re-ran on Cartoon Network from 2002 to 2005 and on GO! from 2009 to 2010.
- Main article: Tiny Toon Adventures/Gallery