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TTA Episode Discussion: "Gang Busters"

Discussion in 'The Warner Bros. Club' started by wiley207, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. wiley207

    wiley207 Well-Known Member

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    In semi-response to Speedy Boris's discussion of "Henny Youngman Day," i am making this discussion thread of ANOTHER one of my all-time favorite episodes; "Gang Busters!" Like the "Prom-ise Her Anything" thread, there's gonna be more pics than usual, so get ready...


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    "Gang Busters"
    Written by: Wayne Kaatz and Jim Reardon
    Storyboards by: Byron Vaughns, Barry Caldwell and John Dorman
    Directed by: Ken Boyer
    Animation by: Kennedy Cartoons

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    We start off with a "Dragnet" parody of sorts, complete with a WB shield badge spelling out the beat of the theme tune! Buster and Bunny introduce the story in Dragnet-style as it is "Justice Day" on the show...

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    So it starts out as a nice typical day in Acme Acres (even if there is a kid dancing for no reason on the street).

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    But all that changes when Montana Max and his new gang invade the streets. To me, one of them looks kinda like the Joker, and the one in blue reminds me of an orange-haired Ozzy Osbourne!

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    Their latest crime? Monty and his homies robbing a Slushie machine from a convenience store!

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    Naturally, the store clerk is pretty mad (he doesn't even stop to tell them "Thank you, come again!") and Buster overhears this. The store clerk is the same one that was in "Best O' Plucky Duck Day."

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    Buster tries to stop them, but to no avail...

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    They wind up framing Buster for the so-called Grand Theft Slushie! (They do so by leaving the scene and the Slushie machine so Buster is the only one there.)

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    We then fade to a Peoples' Court parody with Babs Bunny as the host (and she manages to throw in a few impressions as well.)

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    The defendant Buster is LITERALLY being railroaded! I always find this sort of gag funnier, even when it was also mimicked on the Animaniacs segment "And Justice for Slappy" three years later.

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    Unfortunately, Buster's lawyer is Plucky Duck. You know things aren't going to go well with HIM on the job.

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    Babsie also tries some of her impressions of Looney Tunes characters to win the judge over, but that fails too.

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    The jury of Yosemite Sams finds Buster AND Plucky guilty!

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    Naturally, Monty and his gang are pleased that this has occured.

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    So Buster and Plucky are sent to ACME Juvenile Hall. Naturally, Plucky hates it and keeps freaking out. It especially doesn't help that they have a rather mean guard. An attempt to bust out (planned by Plucky) ends with our heroes being put in The Hole.

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    Inside the Hole, we get what is perhaps the ultimate "eyeballs in the dark" bit. I especially love Plucky's comment "If we stay in here long enough, think of the savings on animation!"

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    To pass the time, they use their eyballs to imitate a game of Pong...

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    ...which then leads into a Pac-Man parody! I especially love Plucky's "Wahble-wahble-wahble" sounds.

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    But when they light a match, they get a rather shocking surprise!

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    On Buster's first attempt to burrow out, they come across a "Pirates of the Carribean" parody.

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    Then they wind up in a pile of snakes (complete with an Indiana Jones look-alike!)

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    Then they get into a Batcave parody. The Batman-lookalike here is obviously a parody of the Michael Keaton version. I love Plucky's comment to him, "See if I stand in line for YOUR sequel!"

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    The fourth attempt takes them to the warplus supply at the Acme Juvenile Hall, where Rocky and a weird-looking Mugsy force them to dig a tunnel out of the place, which Buster takes advantage of by bringing them to the warden!

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    At the same time, Babs, Hamton and Gogo Dodo are trying to get Buster freed, but the warden allows Buster to go on with his plan to clear his name...

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    Now we get to my favorite part of the episode; the Tiny Toons put on a big rap number as they attempt to catch Montana Max and make him confess. John Debney does a really great job here with the music, it really sounds good for its time. (Too bad he only scored two Tiny Toons episodes and left after that, I would've loved to hear his work on "Animaniacs!")

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    Perhaps one of the funniest bits is when Hamton attempts to rap; first he performs the Charleston (which was done in a few old Looney Tunes shorts, actually), but this doesn't go over very well...

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    THEN he does a disco number on his second attempt! "Disco is dead. Join the '90s," Babs tells him.

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    Another funny bit is when Buster, Plucky and Gogo suddenly become bloated during part of the chase and rap, "We're the fat guys and we'll tell you what to do, better turn yourself in or we'll sit on you!" The distortions for Buster, Gogo and Plucky typically found in a Kennedy-animated episode work pretty well at this part, too.

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    Eventually, Montana Max gives up, turns himself in, and is committed to community clean-up service. Oh, and Buster's name is cleared too.

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    I'm pretty sure you can guess how Hamton's final attempt to "rap" turns out ;)

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    Animation-wise, this is one of my favorite Kennedy Cartoons episodes ("Best O' Plucky Duck Day" is my other favorite). There is TONS of Glen Kennedy animation in the third act when they are kickin' it old school. But let me start at the beginning...

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    If I'm not mistaken, this bit and the snake pit scene were animated by Jon McClenahan. It has the Startoons look to it, somewhat.

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    The judge going nuts and charging Buster and Plucky as guilty was animated by Willy Ashworth.

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    As for Glen Kennedy's animation in the third act, a lot of it has that smooth, bouncy look to it and for the most part looks pretty good. However, my only complaint with this scene is how some of the characters are drawn. Montana Max kinda reminds me of Nelson Muntz here, and I'm not too keen on how Buster and Babs look.

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    But Glen's Plucky looks somewhat decent, and his Gogo looks VERY cute, IMO.

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    Another plus is that the "Pup Named Scooby-Doo"-esque dancing cycles actually DO fit with this scene, because you expect them too, with the big rap number and everything. I wouldn't be surprised if the script did call for dancing here, unlike "Hare Today Gone Tomorrow" or "Buster and the Wolverine."

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    Speaking of Glen Kennedy's quirks/cliches, there's also quite a bit of them in this act as well, such as characters sticking their index finger in the air when speaking, the shuffling feet, that "confused mouth is a small 'o'" look (Monty does this QUITE a bit, and he looks like the young Shaggy Rogers as he does so, too!)

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    Here's one of my favorite weird drawings from this episode; this smear shot when Monty zips into the juvenile hall after screaming. Glen Kennedy often seemed to make them look like one-eyed blobs when doing smear animation!

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    Another one of my favorite weird shots, when Monty relaxes in the cell right before Rocky says "Start digging, chum!" (At least Kennedy drew Rocky pretty well!)

    Overall, while the third act would be pretty much outdated these days, at least by this point the writing staff wasn't afraid to mimic the then-current trends of the time, like the classic Looney Tunes did.
    Any comments?
     
  2. Dr. Toonhattan

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    Could be worse. ;) Anyway, sometimes I find myself wanting to do that too.

    But what really gets me about Kennedy's animation is his obsession with that hand-bent-back-at-90-degrees pose, which is all over his work, I mean it just looks uncomfortable. And indeed it is, as I tried doing that once. It hurt my wrist.
     
  3. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
    Staff Member Moderator Reporter

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    While the third act is enjoyable and the rap song is actually catchy, the second act is my favorite. The "only eyeballs when the room lights up" gag, "Aw jeez, Alfred, why don't you just tell the whole WORLD we're down here!", Pirates of the Caribbean parody, Pong/Pac-Man with eyeballs, all good stuff.

    BTW, wiley, I think that first bit of animation with Buster and Babs as Dragnet-style characters isn't by McClenahan, but by somebody else. That style shows up in other episodes, and it's definitely different than Jon's work. A good way to spot it is if the characters randomly "pop" towards the camera. It can be seen in "Best O' Plucky Duck Day" when Buster says, "I knew it! You're scared! It's those dumb horror flicks!" This style also frequently has the characters talking out of the sides of their mouths, although it isn't very present in "Gang Busters". I don't know whose animation this is, unfortunately.

    I believe the only animation Jon provided for this episode is the introduction of Max's gang in act 1 and some bits from act 2 (like the Batman, Indy, and Pirates parodies, as well as the petition to free Buster).
     
  4. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    I've said it before, but I love the third act song. Very professionally done and catchy. A lot of third acts in the first season felt different from the rest of the episode, sometimes because someone rewrote them, but in this case, probably because the plot had to be padded out.

    Count me among those who love the extended "Hole" sequence. You'd think they'd be able to use Batman, though. They could later. For some reason the guy reappears for a few frames in the opening shot of Act III. He's just...there for no reason.

    For those who don't know, and that's probably most of you, "The Fat Boys" was a popular rap group in the late 80's, and yes, they really were that wide.

    Here's something I still don't know the answer to. You know the scene at the beginning of the rap where Buster is standing in front of that bright spotlight? How do they get it so bright? Is it a highly reflective paint or something?
     
  5. Fifi Fanatic

    Fifi Fanatic Certified Skunkologist

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    A kid randomly dancing in the street is FAR from being the strangest thing we would see on a typical day in Acme Acres. :p

    I've seen about a billion "eyeballs in the darK" routines in my time.... but this is without question the best one ever! :)


    I've always wondered: Is that the original Rocky and Muggsy or their Acme Acres apprentices? Makes sense that they would be at Juvenile Hall instead of the Looniversity...
     
  6. Goldstar Neo

    Goldstar Neo Good Morning!

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    I've always assumed that they were supposed to be kid versions of Rocky and Mugsy. perhaps their apprentices, as you guessed. Mugsy in this episode appears to be designed to look like a kid, albeit a moronic, hulking bully of a kid.
     
  7. TServo2049

    TServo2049 THE WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE

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    One thing I've always wondered; what scenes in the Kennedy episodes were done by the Korean animators? Kennedy brought over some ex-Hanho animators to Toronto (one of them, Sang-Jin Kim, eventually ended up at Disney Feature Animation); why haven't they ever been mentioned?
     
  8. TServo2049

    TServo2049 THE WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE

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    It's probably a litho sheet filled in with black, with a clear section for the spotlight, shot on a backlit animation stand, but I know little about the relatively mysterious art of effects animation, so I can't be sure.
     
  9. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
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    I'd love to know what the Korean animators did too (as well as the non-Korean animators like Darren Vandenberg and Mike Longden). Unfortunately, I have no idea how to contact them to ask what they animated.
     
  10. The Spectre

    The Spectre Member

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    Unfortunately, it only spells out the beat of the real Dragnet theme, not the copyright-avoiding version used in this episode.
     
  11. dth1971

    dth1971 Active Member

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    Fifi only makes 1 appearance in the episode singing the "Disco Inferno" part.
     
  12. Rod Beauvex

    Rod Beauvex The lead memory.

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    The only thing I remember was the eye scene and Hamton trying to "wrap".
     
  13. speedy fast

    speedy fast Active Member

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    This was a very funny episode. You know, for some reason I didn't realize that Hamton's final attempt at rapping was meant to be a pun... I was confused as to why he was putting Buster into a box.
     
  14. Robochao

    Robochao Member

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    I think every animator's journey should be documented that way I can study which parts were animated by who and who did this/that. Korean, French, American I don't care, every animator is special. It would be amazing to see each person's animation style highlighted and explained. Back then animators seemed to have some variety in the way they did things but today everyone does everything the same. I think consistency is what everyone is looking for, but lately consistency is boring. Plastic animation is annoying to look at and this stuff is just eye candy because everyone didn't animate the same.
     
  15. cheril59

    cheril59 Member

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    Looking at Buster wearing an outfit while uttering, "Namely, yours truly." She is dressed similar to Helen Knable from live-action WB movie, "Stay Tuned". That's probably what she should have looked like if she were turned into a rabbit instead of a mouse.
     
  16. SB20xx

    SB20xx Oooooh!
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    Yesterday I had an email conversation with Mike Milo. He did uncredited inbetweens for this episode and "Buster and the Wolverine" (and possibly others). It was one of his first jobs in the industry, before he was hired at WB itself. Pretty cool stuff!
     
  17. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Knows about rock people
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    For all the grief Kennedy gets, at least they gave a lot of talented people their foot in the door.
     

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