Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Warner Brothers or Disney

Warner Brother or Disney; it is a question that has vexed generations.

There has never been a better cartoon character than Bugs Bunny. That rascally rabbit is the funniest character extant. He works on so many levels. Bugs is funny to a kid of four, he is funny to a teenager and then there is a whole other level for the adult viewer. Probably a large part of the appeal for me personally is the basic smart ass attitude. I can relate. Classic: “This aint Pismo Beach, I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.” That makes me laugh every time. And of course the phrase that has almost become a part of normal discourse; “what a maroon!”

The rest of the stable; Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Speedy Gonzales, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, these are classic characters. Again, Foghorn Leghorn appeals strongly to me, for the same reason that Bugs Bunny does.

Warner Brothers – Looney Tunes are edgier than Disney. They are not necessarily politically correct and some of the classic shorts are not available because they might offend the sensibility of some victim group, but they are damn funny.

Disney gives us Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Chip and Dale. Of this stable of characters the only ones who ever elicit a belly laugh are Goofy and Chip and Dale. The exaggerated politeness of Chip and Dale while they create mischief is a howl.

Disney is like “Father Knows Best” and Warner Brothers is like “Married with Children”. There is nothing to offend in a Disney cartoon and therefore not much of an edge. Looney Tunes thrive on pushing right up to the edge of acceptable. For example: Bugs walking past a phone booth and answering the ringing phone. It is a radio quiz show with a question like what is 234,238 times 437, he rattles off 1,266,806 immediately. The caller asks how he could do that. The response, “if there is one thing we rabbits can do it is multiply.” Now that is funny. This from a 1954 cartoon!

Count me solidly in the Warner Brothers corner. Even at my age I watch those shorts and laugh along with Bugs.

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