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Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures, usually referred to as Tiny Toon Adventures, is an American animated television series created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. It began production as a result of Warner Bros. reinstating its animation studio in 1980 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 early 1990s. The cartoon premiered in first-run syndication on March 2, 1990. In 1993, the show was licensed exclusively to The What-A-Cartoon!Show, and later to Kids WB. It ended production in late 1995.



Tiny Toon Adventures is a cartoon set in the fictional city of Acme Acres, where most of the Tiny Toons and Looney Tunes characters live. The characters attended Acme Looniversity, a school whose faculty primarily consists of the mainstays of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat and Elmer Fudd. In the series, the university was founded to teach cartoon characters how to become funny. The school is not featured in every episode, as not all of its storylines are school-centric.

Like the Looney Toons the series was derived from cartoon violence (e.g. anvils falling on someone, liberal use of explosives). and slapstick are prominent in episodes and sprit of being an update, parodied and referenced the current events of the early 1990s and Hollywoodmarker culture. Occasionally, episodes would delve into veiled ethical and morality stories of ecology, self-esteem, and crime.


The series centralizes on a group of young cartoon characters who attend a school called Acme Loonerversity 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 two main characters are both rabbits: Buster Bunny, a blue male rabbit, and Babs Bunny, a pink female rabbit. Other major characters in the cast are generally animals as well. These include Plucky Duck, a green male duck; Hamton J. Pig, a pink male pig; Fifi La Fume, a purple-and-white female skunk; Shirley the Loon, a white female loon; Dizzy Devil, a purple Tasmanian devil; Furrball, a blue cat; Calamity Coyote, a bluish-gray coyote; Gogo Dodo, a dodo. Two human characters, Elmyra Duff and Montana Max, also have secondary roles in the series, and are students of Acme Looniversity as well. Supporting characters included Little Beeper, a red-orange roadrunner; Li'l Sneezer, a gray mouse with powerful sneezes; Sweetie Pie, a pink canary; Concord Condor, a purple condor; Byron Basset, a usually sleeping basset hound; Bookworm, a green worm with glasses; Arnold the Pit Bull, a muscular white pit bull; Fowlmouth, a white rooster; Barky Marky, a brown dog, and Mary Melody, a young human girl.



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.


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 Charles 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 Bird, 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 voices.

During production of the series' 3rd season, Adler left the show due to a conflict with the producers. Adler was upset that he had not landed a role in the new show Animaniacs and that smaller-role voice actors like Rob Paulsen, Maurice LaMarche, and Frank Welker were given starring roles. He was found by Samuel Vincent 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 1st 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". De Celles said that he made 6 or 8 panels per scene instead of the usual 3 or 4 since the show required "a lot more key expression and attitude poses".


During the development of the show Steven Spielberg said that they would use a full orchestra, which some thought too expensive and impossible, but they ended up agreeing. They chose composer Bruce Broughton to write the Theme and supervise the music. Broughton would choose several composers for different episodes. Some of these composers include: Steven Bernstein, Steve Bramson, Don Davis, John Debney, Albert Olson, Richard Stone, Steven James Taylor, Mark Watters, and William Ross. On several occasions, Broughton would compose episodes.

Closing credits

Logo of a Buster Bunny solo cartoon.
Every episode of the show also featured a gag credit during the closing credits. After the credits, the episodes closed with one or more characters appearing in the Warner Bros. rings and saying a closing line:

A reference, not to The Burns and Allen Show, but to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In:
Buster & Babs: Buster: "Say good-night, Babs." Babs: "Goodnight, Babs."

Buster & Babs (in Hawaiian T-Shirts): "Aloha!!"

Quoting Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:
Plucky: "Parting is such sweet sorrow."

A reference to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer:
Furrball: seemingly "roars", then covers his mouth afterwards, softly mewing as if he had belched.

(Pastiche on That's all, folks!)
Buster: "And that's a wrap!"

Fifi La Fume: (waving her tail in her hand like a feather boa) "Au revoir, mon petite potatoes du couch!"

Dizzy Devil: "Show over!" (then spins around and destroys the Warner Bros. rings.)

One closer that breaks the fourth wall:(Gogo Dodo pops up in the rings, holding a TV remote control.)
Gogo: "It's been surreal!"
(Gogo points the remote to the viewer, presses the "POWER" button, and the screen irises out.)

Byron Basset: (sniffing around the Warner Bros. rings) "Woof!"

Elmyra Duff: "Let the show begin!"

These ideas for these closing gags were later used in Animaniacs, but in the Warner water tower instead.

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 special was re-edited for syndication and aired as part of the original series. Other features released for Tiny Toon Adventures include Spring Break Special, It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special, and Night Ghoulery. Christmas Special aired on Fox on December 6, 1992, and Spring Break Special was shown during primetime on March 27, 1994.


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. Though 13 episodes were produced, only half of the episodes were aired, as production of the series was aborted when Fox acquired exclusive rights to Tiny Toon Adventures's 3rd season.

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 and The Brain 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 as well.


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)
Nominated for Outstanding Animated Program (Steven Spielberg, Tom Ruegger, Sherri Stoner, Rich Arons, and Art Leonardi) (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)

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)


Tiny Toon Adventures has been criticized by cartoonist John Kricfalusi, creator of The Ren and Stimpy Show. In a 1994 issue of Animation Magazine, Kricfalusi wrote a column about the series, calling it a "superbastardization" of the original Looney Tunes characters, using "parasitism and other bad writing tricks until the premise becomes so twisted that it is beyond any coherent statement." Kricfalusi also criticized the improper use of the characters in the series, saying that "[e]very character is a 'comedy relief' character, even the ones who were originally straight-man characters[…] Glue an exceptionally unirreverent live-action director's name [Steven Spielberg] to it, then plug these stolen bastardization personalities into situations not suited for them. For example — into stolen movie plots. Then commit every single other bad writing crime known to man".

Tiny Toon Adventures director Jon McClenahan said that the people at Warner Bros. ignored Kricfalusi's criticism: "Nobody except John K's fans cared what John K thought. The thing about John K is, he's a really really talented guy who is also pretty good at hurling criticisms at others but unfortunately won't collaborate with anyone […] Very few people at WB were Kricfalusi worshippers. Certainly none of the decision-makers".


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 five 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 did not spin off its own comic book. However, the characters did make occasional cameo appearances in the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain comic books.

Marvel Produced a Comic Book for the UK

Toys and video games

Since its debut, numerous video games based on Tiny Toons have been released. There have been no less than 9 titles based on the series released after it's original television run and as recently as 2002. Many companies have held the development and publishing rights for the games, including Konami (during the 90s), Atari, NewKidCo, Conspiracy Games, Warthog, Terraglyph Interactive Studios, and Treasure. Toys for the series included plush dolls and plastic figures.

Home Video

In the early 90s, Warner Bros. had released several videos, including Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (a direct-to-video release which later aired as an 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.

On July 29, 2008, Warner Home Video released Season 1, Volume 1 of Tiny Toon Adventuress on DVD in Region 1, Much like the DVD releases of Animaniacs & Pinky and the Brain, Tiny Toon Adventure was also paired up with another DVD release, Freakazoid.

DVD name Ep # Release date Special Features
Season 1 Volume 1 35 July 29, 2008 From Looney Tunes to Tiny Toons: A Wacky Evolution, featurette
Season 1 Volume 2 30 April 21, 2009 None, aside from trailers.
Season 2 & 3 33 TBA
Note: Some of the episodes on the Season 1, Volume 2 collection are edited. Son of Wacko World of Sports has had the title cards for each of the shorts, and the introductory animation removed. Tiny Toons Music Television has had an entire segment about calling into the show to a special number, (1-800-555-ACME) removed.




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 2 and 3. Production of the series halted in late-1992 to make way for Animaniacs to air the following year.

Post-series syndication

Tiny Toon Adventures, along with Animaniacs, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the early-2000s after production of new episodes ceased. The series was first re-run on Nickelodeon from 1995-1999 and on 2002, also aired on Kids WB from 1997-2000, Cartoon Network from 1999-2002 and finally on Nicktoons Network and Teletoon from 2003-2005.


  1. Credits from various Tiny Toon Adventures episodes.
  2. Lenburg, p. 336. Accessed on 2007-06-27
  4. Lenburg, p. 336. Accessed on 2007-11-15

Further reading

External links

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