Thursday, May 29, 2014

Looney TV: The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour/Show (1968)

Bugs Bunny didn't last very long in primetime, but once ABC moved his show to Saturday mornings, the "wascally wabbit" found his niche, beginning an astonishing 38 year run on Saturdays, split between two networks.

In 1968, Bugs and pals moved from ABC to CBS, two years after the Road Runner had been spun off into his own series on the latter network. You will see how the style and quality of animation changes in the intro to The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour after the replay of the iconic theme song, "This Is It", which carries over from Bugs' earlier series.

The poster had originally included this in a montage with a black & white clip of Bugs from his ABC run. The hour long format initially ran for 3 seasons before Road Runner was split away from Bugs, and moved to ABC. Two years later, Bugs followed, but this time his solo series lasted just 2 seasons, and the gang moved back to CBS in 1975, spinning off Sylvester & Tweety into their own series a year in. However, that didn't work so well, either, and CBS decided to expand the series to 90 minutes for the balance of its run, which ended in 1986 after 11 seasons. ABC took the WB gang back in 1986 to replace Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo, whose initial ABC run ended after 10 seasons, and the Super Friends, as that franchise was retired after 13 years. The only change this time was that Tweety was given co-star billing over the Road Runner for reasons I have never fathomed. Still, this lasted 14 seasons until ABC, by this point owned by Disney, finally parted company with Bugs and co. for the 3rd & final time.

Following is the rarely seen close to the 1968-71 version of the series.

In the 80's, some genius decided to scrap "This Is It" in favor of a new theme song, which might've spelled "Jump the Shark" for Bugs' CBS run. Here's "It's Cartoon Gold":

We'll look at the 1986-2000 run another time.

Rating: A.

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