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"Baby Looney Tunes" Preview, Plus Interview with Producer Tom Minton

Discussion in 'toonzone News Archive' started by Brian Cruz, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. Brian Cruz

    Brian Cruz Surf's Up

    Apr 20, 2001
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    <a href="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/babylooneytunes-logo.jpg" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/t-babylooneytunes-logo.gif" alt="Click For Larger Image" align="right" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="175" height="151"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<b><a href="http://looneytunes.warnerbros.com/babylooneytunes/index.html">Baby Looney Tunes</a></b> presents the world's most beloved animated characters as precocious preschoolers, discovering the world one baby-step at a time!

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Taz and Lola are all here, living together in a whimsical old Victorian house under the watchful eye of Granny. From playground politics to naptime negotiations to the security blanket blues, these colorful characters face childhood's firsts with their one-of-a-kind aplomb.

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In these small-fry versions of the characters they will grow into, there are the early signs of the each of their distinct personalities: Young Bugs is establishing himself as the confident, no-nonsense leader of the playroom pack. Daffy is already scheming, double-talking and a bit self-centered. Tiny Tweety has a heart of gold and a disarming wide- eyed innocence. Sylvester exhibits the self-doubt that often lands him in hot water when he tries to overcompensate for it. Taz is a tot-sized tornado of tantrums, wrapped around a soft and cuddly center of good intentions. And, Lola is already more adventurous and inquisitive than most of the guys!

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Granny, of course, is the timeless Granny. While she knows the importance of a positive adult influence in these young 'toons lives, she also knows that they need room to grow and discover the world around them. She's always available with a kind word or a warm cookie, but for the most part, this font of maternal wisdom believes "kids will be kids" and that's not a bad thing.

    <a href="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/babylooneytunes1.jpg" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/t-babylooneytunes1.jpg" alt="Click For Larger Image" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="200" height="109"></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Granny's house, where most of the series' action takes place, is a kid's dream come-true. From a toy-filled playroom upstairs, to the circular slide that takes the 'toons to the nursery on the first floor, the house is part amusement park, part dormitory and all home. Once the tots venture outdoors, there are the backyard, the playground and the nearby forest, each filled with endless possibilities for excitement and adventure!

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Each episode of "Baby Looney Tunes" contains two 10-minute vignettes filled with fun, music, songs and colorful, quality animation. In each installment, we see the gang grow and learn — from the importance of sharing and working together to the rewards of telling the truth and being a loyal friend.

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The "Baby Looney Tunes" may be preschoolers, but they often exhibit wit and wisdom beyond their years that makes them endearing to audiences.

    &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Looney Tunes is one of the most recognizable and beloved brands in the world, and we are very excited about exploring a whole new aspect of these legendary characters," said Sander Schwartz, President, Warner Bros. Animation. "BABY LOONEY TUNES will give the audience a peek into how these cherished characters developed their distinct personalities and give Looney Tunes fans a great new opportunity to enjoy them."

    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-bugs.gif" alt="Bugs" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">BUGS
    When Bugs grows up he's going to be quick-witted, streetwise, supremely self-aware and into living the good life. But right now, Bugs is only a kid and just learning to do the things and have the attitudes that will make him a star. Winning is by no means certain. Yet even now, he already exhibits the innate spunk and cockiness that make him a born leader, even if he' s not yet sure he has all the right answers.

    SAM VINCENT (The voice of "Bugs")
    Sam Vincent has appeared in a number of stage productions, as well as feature films and television programs in Canada, where he resides. His television appearances include the series "X-Men: Evolution," "Seven Days," "Viper" and "Baywatch." His animation credits include "Casper," "Ed, Edd n Eddy," "Pocket Dragons," "Dangerous Dinos," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Funky Fables" and "ZZ Bots."

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-lola.gif" alt="Lola" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">LOLA
    The biggest dreamer of the gang, Lola thinks bigger and explores farther than anyone else. Always trying to prove her mettle, she's often the first to charge in, only to find she's a bit beyond her depth. As demonstrative emotionally as she is physically, Lola regularly hits the highest peaks and suffers the steepest drops on the roller coaster ride of childhood.

    BRITT McKILLIP (The voice of "Lola")
    Britt McKillip has assembled an impressive resume for an actress not yet in her teens. On television, she has appeared on such series as "Night Visions," "The Outer Limits," "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," "'Special Delivery" and "Wes Craven's Fear: Don't Look Down." Her previous animation work includes the title role in "Sabrina: The Movie," "Baby Looney Tunes Easter Special," "Barbie as Rapunzel" and "Barbie in The Nutcracker."

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-daffy.gif" alt="Daffy" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">DAFFY
    Daffy wants things his way — all the time! Completely self-involved, he is a frequent source of trouble for Bugs and the gang. If there's a mistake to be made or a wrong decision to be decided, Daffy does it, and in the end usually learns his lesson.

    SAM VINCENT (The voice of "Daffy")
    See bio above.

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-sylvester.gif" alt="Sylvester" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">SYLVESTER
    Even surrounded by friends, Sylvester is a lost kitten. He is the most easily frightened of the group and sometimes more self-absorbed than Daffy. He is eternally pessimistic, hungry for all the good things childhood has to offer — nowhere near enough of which are his. Sylvester often feels like he's getting the short end of the stick, and therefore is frequently looking to play an angle to get what he wants.

    TERRY KLASSEN (The voice of "Sylvester")
    Terry Klassen has literally hundreds and hundreds of voice credits to his name, between commercial work and animated series-he ' s also a vocal director and animation writer. Among his numerous animation credits are such series as "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch," "G.I. Joe," "Dragon Tales," "Card Captors," "Inspector Gadget," "Pocket Dragons," "Jungle Book" and "Double Dragon."

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-tweety.gif" alt="Tweety" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">TWEETY
    Representing the simple, pure heart of childhood, Tweety is filled with the optimism of someone who believes that dreams can come true. Sweet, kind and caring, his heart is on the surface. With Tweety, what you see is what you get. Sympathetic and empathetic, he often acts as translator of Taz's emotional "pre-language."

    SAM VINCENT (The voice of "Tweety")
    See bio above.

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-taz.gif" alt="Taz" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">TAZ
    Taz is pure id. His emotions are full "on" or full "off" — happy, sad, angry... or asleep. Easily distracted by anything more fun and colorful, he's simple and good of heart, with none of the meanness or brutishness of his adult counterpart. His speech patterns are a bit limited, though — think a two-year-old caveman.

    IAN JAMES CORBETT (The voice of "Taz")
    Ian James Corbett has been providing animated characters with voices for more than 15 years, as well as creating and writing for animated series. In 1999, he received a Gemini Award (Canadian Emmy) for his writing for the animated series "Rolie Polie Olie." Among his voice credits are the series "Dragon Tales," "The Wacky World of Tex Avery," "Beastwars," "Pocket Dragons," "The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog," "The Adventures of T -Rex " and "G.I. Joe. "

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    <img border="0" src="http://news.toonzone.net/images/2002-08/blt-granny.gif" alt="Granny" align="left" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="79" height="97">GRANNY
    Beneath a bun of white hair, Granny is the Mother Yoda of the young set. She knows when to let the kids make their own mistakes and when to actively help them. She's always ahead of them, but rarely lets them know it. Often a bookend and catalyst for the kids' adventures, she loves them dearly, but gives them room to grow.

    JUNE FORAY (The voice of "Granny")
    June Foray, dubbed by entertainment industry trade publication The Hollywood Reporter "the first lady of off-camera voice actors," returns to the role she created nearly 30 years ago, Granny, the warm-hearted grandmother whose loyal companions included a little yellow canary and a cunning cat. As voice-over matriarch of the cartoon world, Foray has worked alongside such animation legends as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob McKimson and Jay Ward. She began her career working with Walt Disney on "Cinderella" and later came to Warner Bros. where her talents were utilized to create dozens of characters for Warner Bros. cartoon shorts in the '40s and '50s.

    While she is probably best known for her work as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Natasha in "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show," Foray continues to create indelible characters today. In addition to her voice-over work, Foray served on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for more than 16 years, served as president of ASIFA-Hollywood for six years and has taught voice-over classes at the University of Southern California for a number of years. In 1999, Foray was honored with a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has toured the world speaking on the art of animation visiting countries such as France, England, Japan, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.

    <hr size="1" width="50%">
    The core ensemble above will be augmented from time to time by other Baby Looney Tunes characters including Porky, Elmer, Pepe, Wile E., Road Runner, Melissa, Petunia and Marvin, among others.

    Toon Zone: Baby Looney Tunes has existed as merchandise for many years, appearing on everything from toys to clothing to music CDs. Why hasn't there been an animated series until now?

    Tom Minton: I don’t know why there hasn’t been a Baby Looney Tunes series until this moment. All I know is that CN bought it very late in 2001, and we had to immediately get going with the project.

    TZ: Inevitably, people will make comparisons to previous shows with a similar premise, such as "Muppet Babies" and "Tiny Toon Adventures", and also to LT shorts with baby versions of the characters, such as "The Old Grey Hare" and "Little Go Beep". What are some of the similarities and differences between those cartoons and Baby Looney Tunes?

    TM: "Baby Looney Tunes" is designed for a younger audience than the classic Looney Tunes were. Tiny Toon Adventures was meant for a slightly older viewing public. Buster and Babs were around 9, though they came off sounding more like they were 40 at times.

    TZ: Who comprises the target audience for the show? Some fans have expressed an opinion that the premise of this series goes against the spirit of the classic shorts, many of which featured slapstick comedy and cartoony violence. Are there any elements of the show that would appeal to them?

    TM: The "Baby Looney Tunes" intended audience is children from two to five years of age. The fans should watch the shows, every single episode, and then decide which elements appeal to them. TV Critics are the only group who tends to judge an entire series by its first episode. You guys are way savvier than that.

    <a href="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/babylooneytunes2.jpg" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://www.toonzone.net/shows/images/cartoon-network/t-babylooneytunes2.jpg" alt="Click For Larger Image" align="right" hspace="5" vspace="3" width="170" height="109"></a>TZ: To complement the core cast, will any other Looney Tunes characters be making appearances on the show? Can we expect to see a Baby Pepe LePew, Baby Speedy Gonzales, Baby Yosemite Sam, or perhaps a Baby Cool Cat? Also, will any characters other than Granny appear in their original, "adult" form?

    TM: Baby Yosemite Sam appears in certain songs, but not in the context of the shorts. We do get to meet Baby Pepe and Baby Marvin, as guest stars. Granny is the only adult Looney Tunes character in the series.

    TZ: Isn't Baby Melissa (the female duck) based on the character that appeared in the classic Daffy Duck cartoon "The Scarlet Pumpernickel"? Why was it decided to feature such an obscure character?

    TM: Melissa has a history with Daffy and as a Looney Tunes character, no matter how abbreviated. No LT character is too obscure; the classic shorts are always in rotation somewhere. How else would you know about Melissa?

    TZ: Who are some of the people working on the series? Are there any familiar names fans may recognize from previous WB Animation programs?

    TM: You may recognize the names of writers and story editors Tim Cahill and Julie McNally Cahill from "The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries" and "Carrotblanca", writer Earl Kress from "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Pinky and the Brain" and the theatrical Baby Looney Tune short "Little Go Beep"; writer Tom Sheppard from "Pinky and the Brain" and "Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain," writer Marlowe Weisman from "Animaniacs." You know storyboard artists Lenord Robinson from "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Taz-Mania", "Animaniacs", "Pinky and the Brain" and "The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries", Mike Milo from "Animaniacs" and "The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries" and Wendell Washer from the "Tweety’s High-Flying Adventure" and "Tom and Jerry: The Magic Ring" home video projects. Other artists with WBA experience include background painter Rozalina Tchouchev, who worked on "Road Rovers", "Histeria!" and "The Zeta Project"; sheet timer Nelson Recinos, who directed several episodes of "Pinky and the Brain", and the music scoring duo of Steve and Julie Bernstein, who wrote tons of music and supplied certain backing vocals on "Taz-Mania", "Animaniacs", "Pinky and the Brain", "Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain", "Road Rovers", "Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries" and "Histeria!" These are merely the WBA experienced individuals who contributed to the making of "Baby Looney Tunes"; the show required a veritable army of talented folks.

    TZ: All of the voice work for the series is being done in Canada, except for June Foray who is recording her lines as Granny in the U.S. Why make that accommodation?

    TM: June Foray IS Granny. Her work defines the voiceprint of the character.

    TZ: How do the songs fit into the show? Do they all originate from the "Baby Looney Tunes: Born to Sing" albums?

    TM: The songs in "Baby Looney Tunes" are stand-alone elements, existing between two eleven minute shorts per half-hour. They comprise the first-ever animated visualizations of the "Born to Sing" material.

    TZ: How many episodes of Baby Looney Tunes are being produced? Are they still being worked on, or have most been completed?

    TM: Forty half hours, eighty shorts make up the "Baby Looney Tunes" initial season. We hope there will be more down the line, of course. This show provided much needed work for a great many people in the animation industry. Some of the forty half hours have already been delivered, many are now in post and quite a few are presently still being animated. All will be digital; yet with a classic look. You really should ask producer Gloria Jenkins about the challenge of getting the two half hours of script material she received, on a weekly basis, designed, storyboarded and ready to ship. Gloria is presently responsible for cutting down, calling retakes, doing music and effects spotting and overseeing the final mixes on absolutely every foot of the returning "Baby Looney Tunes" series, a gargantuan undertaking.

    TZ: Baby Looney Tunes is the second WBA-produced series to debut on Cartoon Network, following Justice League. How did the show end up on CN over Kids WB, and does future look bright for further WBA/CN collaborations?

    TM: I’ve never been involved at the network level. I don’t have the wardrobe and didn’t go to Harvard. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just write, edit and draw, and have done so for the past quarter century. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.


    Below are links to screen captures from Baby Looney Tunes. Thanks to Jon Cooke of The Looney Tunes & Merrie Melodies Page for creating them.

    01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |
    The Baby Looney Tunes opening theme is available to download as a Quicktime video. Please right-click on the link and save the file to your hard drive.

    Many thanks to Toon Zone's Multimedia Producer, TylerL, for creating this video and hosting it on his website, Toonami: Digital Arsenal.

    You can also download the video of the opening theme at the official Baby Looney Tunes website: BabyLooneyTunes.com.

    <table border=0 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0 style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor=#111111 id=AutoNumber1><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>FORMAT:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>30-minute animated comedy consisting of two 11-minute shorts and a one-minute song/music video</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>PRODUCTION &amp; ANIMATION:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Warner Bros. Animation</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>EXECUTIVE PRODUCER:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Sander Schwartz</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>PRODUCERS:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Gloria Jenkins<br> Tom Minton</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>ASSOCIATE PRODUCER:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Kimberly Smith</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>STORY EDITORS:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Karl Geurs<br> Tim Cahill<br> Julie McNally-Cahill<br> Carter Crocker</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>CREATIVE EXECUTIVES:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Christopher Keenan<br> Lorri Bond</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><b><font face=Arial size=2>MUSIC COMPOSERS:</font></b></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Steve &amp; Julie Bernstein</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><b><font face=Arial size=2>MAIN TITLE COMPOSER:</font></b></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Lisa Silver</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>CASTING/VOICE DIRECTOR:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>Michael Hack</font></td></tr><tr><td width=50% align=right valign=top><font face=Arial size=2><b>LEAD VOICE TALENT:</b></font></td><td width=50%><font face=Arial size=2>June Foray (Granny)<br> Sam Vincent (Baby Bugs)<br> Sam Vincent (Baby Daffy)<br> Sam Vincent (Baby Tweety)<br> Britt McKillip (Baby Lola)<br> Ian James Corlett (Baby Taz)<br> Terry Klassen (Baby Sylvester)<br> Chiara Zanni (Baby Petunia)<br> Janyse Jaud (Baby Melissa)</font></td></tr></table>

    Baby Looney Tunes airs weekdays at 9 a.m. beginning September 16 on Cartoon Network. Look for reviews of the series early next week here at Toon Zone.

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