Sunday, November 22, 2009

Toons 2 - Elmer In Drag


I remember being shocked when I heard that Elmer was going to have gender reassignment. I wonder who assigns you a new gender? God? Did He call down to Chastity and command her to "Report to Reassignment Quarters, pronto!" It makes it sound like it's against your will.Eddie though, seemed to like the idea. He really latched on to the transvestite Elmer.
Here are my versions of the reassignment below.


The thing I couldn't figure out about Tiny Toons, was why use the WB characters at all? And then change their names, ages and even genders. Why not just create new wacky characters? It's just asking for trouble to draw comparisons to the original Looney Tunes - which can't be topped.

But they did hire a lot of talented people, that's for sure.Eddie comes down with a mild case of reassignment.

29 comments:

Isaac said...

The figure-eight mouth is a Tiny Toon and Animaniacs hallmark, along with the chin-lip and squash-squint.

RooniMan said...

Wow, Elmer has gone to the deep end.

Rusty Spell said...

I actually liked the premise of Tiny Toons when I watched it as a young teenager: counterpart characters from a different generation who go to Acme Looniversity run by the WB characters themselves. The connection we have to the original characters seems like the reason for not doing brand new characters (mixed with the idea that younger equals cuter). Anyway, I thought it was a better idea than the eventual Baby Looney Tunes. (Also Elmyra was played more like the Abominable Snowman than Elmer. I guess they couldn't give her a gun.) The show wasn't perfect, but I thought it was better than most TV cartoons from that era.

richfeet said...

Wow! i thought elmira was granny!
That really is a shock!

Sean said...

Heh, censor

Peggy said...

Wow, I never realized until now just how much Eddie's fingerprints are all over Tiny Toons - those drawings all look exactly like I remember the show looking.

It may have felt like a weird joke to you, but to my early-twenties (I think?) eyes, seeing people draw that crazy on an afternoon show that came out every weekday was a revelation. I was into it enough to occasionally freeze-frame my way through some of the crazier takes.

Weirdo said...

I guess Elmira is Elmer's tree-hugging, animal loving protege. Nice drawings by you and Eddie.

Kaiser Fate said...

But remember, John!
Characters have inherent value! *Brick'd*

Speaking as a gender bender, I have to say your evaluation of the term "gender reassignment" is thoroughly amusing. I never even thought of it that way before.
You make it sound like a military procedure.

JohnK said...

Ha ha. That's even funnier. "MR! I'm taking you off the hominid role and assigning you to sheep duty."

Species reassignment.

Mr. Semaj said...

The premise for Tiny Toons, and probably the characters themselves in a way coincided with the change of guards for Warner Bros. artists at the time. Most of the old timers had already checked out, and most of those that stayed took the time to guide a new generation of artists handling the mainstream characters.

For a time after Tiny Toons, WB briefly began making theatrical shorts again, one unit run by Chuck Jones, which housed a lot of young animators. The fact that it was so brief was a missed opportunity on WB's part.

Today, Buster and Babs are irrelevant almost 20 years later and their animators barely known in the industry, while Bugs and Daffy and their animators are still well-known, respected, and relevant many decades later.

Jenny Lerew said...

John, someone on the other TT post of Eddie's drawings mentioned your own work for the show-you said you didn't remember. Can't say I'd blame you since you were pretty busy at the time but you did do some really beautiful drawings for Kent, which I posted almost 4 years ago on my blog. I just reposted them for you & everyone to have a look.
Here.

Not only because they're great drawings that you pretty much tossed off, but because they represent how cool it was at WB then--these were commissioned from you, you did them and they were used. It was a fun place to work then, and to be surrounded by drawings and draughstmen like this was really incredible. I always like to emphasize that because it was mandatory to sneer at TV--almost all TV(with two notable exceptions of the time being your shows and the Simpsons). People today completely forget how unreal it was to have GOOD TV animation on the air.

joAco said...

I think the gender reassigment is a clever move, cos it's a good way to relocate the antagonism factor in looney tunes' Elmer to the new space.

And, I think, It ended as complete different character. You got to make this post to make me realize that it is teh same character. (Besides, in Latinamerican translation she was called Elvira, and I met her in the animaniacs spin off Pinky & The Brain).

Chip Butty said...

The Elmer-in-drag gals of Harveytoons are somehow a little more, uh, feminine than Elmyra.

Nicolás Rivera said...

Elmira actually made alot of sense. How would you've made the harassment Elmer did to the grown-up animal characters otherwise? A mini-elmer with a mini-gun? I think having a female Elmer chasing them for hugs was a clever idea.

And yeah, I loved Tiny Toons. I know it must be hard for people who'd rather have the same characters from the golden era doing the same stuff foreeeever, but I'm sure most younger cartoon lovers who don't have that biased opinion liked Tiny Toons. It's a shame that they didn't come up with fresh ideas like that later on, and the only place where you see Looney Tunes characters alive nowdays is in merchadising.

Jeff Read said...

The cute girl who takes Ren and Stimpy home in Big House Blues -- when I saw her I thought to myself, even then, "Is that supposed to be their version of Elmyra?"

To me Elmyra symbolized something about nearly every little girl. Elmyra was my sister at that age when she got near a kitty.

Greg (not my name is earl) G said...

John, everything you said about WB is everything old Trekkers said about the new Trek Movie.

I'm sure the old Pharoahs complained about the pyramids the new kids were designing. "They didn't have obelisks like that in my day."

All you can do is what you do and don't compromise about who you are.

JohnK said...

"The cute girl who takes Ren and Stimpy home in Big House Blues -- when I saw her I thought to myself, even then, "Is that supposed to be their version of Elmyra?""

BHB was made before Tiny Toons started. They didn't air it till the second season of Ren and Stimpy though.

The personality is much older, going back to Tex Avery.

S. M. Denman said...

Your drag-Elmer drawings are pretty awesome, I laughed :D

When I first heard of Tiny Toons when I was little, I thought it'd be pretty cool. When I actually got to watch it, I thought it was a horrible fake version of Looney Tunes and never watched it again, haha.

Eddie's drawings sure make the characters look fantastic though, I love them!

Roberto González said...

Yeah, it also took me a while to discover Elmyra was Elmer cause in Spain we also see he latin american version and she was called Elvira.

I agree with you that it was probably better to create new characters, like they did in Animaniacs, but they did a half-decent work giving an slightly different personality to these characters. Even the ones that were more similar to the real Looney Tunes, like Plucky, had a slightly different personality than Daffy.

The thing that got me a little off was that the Tiny Toons designs didn't totally fit with the Looney Tunes. When you see Bugs and Buster together you immediatly notice Buster is a "new" character, a different type of design they wouldn't use in LT, maybe it's the bigger nose or the bright color or the clothes...I think the show would have worked better if the designs had looked like characters they COULD have created for the original shorts. So maybe Buster should have looked a little more like the little bunny in "Rabbit's Kin", Plucky a little more similar to the "young Daffy" in "A Corny Concerto" and so on.

Are you sure you would have liked it more if they have used the original characters? I don't know, if they use the real characters and they do a half-assed work with them, I kinda find it more annoying. Especially when it comes to give them modern clothes and attitudes. At least when Bugs or Daffy appeared as the university teachers in Tiny Toons they were portrayed in a pretty respectful manner.

There were some TTA episodes that looked totally like these Eddie's drawings. Others look very different. That was something about this show, episodes looked extremely different depending of the studios behind each episode. I kinda liked that, alhough sometimes it was a little distracting.

Steve Hogan said...

It's Bob Clampett's fault for tranny-ing up Elmer in "The Big Snooze". Poor little guy almost got gang raped by wolves in zoot suits!

Mouse said...

Just a lurker here, but let me chime in...

John, as a non-artist, I love your blog. I get lots of insight into the animation world from you. But sometimes the "grumpy old timer" shtick just goes to far.

I grew-up on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and they were EXACTLY what you were clamoring for in an earlier post: "cartoons kids wanted watch". They were wacky, funny, crossed some barriers other kids shows wouldn't, and had original, memorable characters. (Even if spun-off existing ones)

One poster above said Tiny Toons characters are unmemorable, I have to strongly disagree. My 20-something manchild friends and I still utter "Water go down the hole..." or "...love him and squeeze him and never let him go!" from time to time.

Guy said...

Greg: Being new doesn't automatically make something valid.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Many thanks for the kind comments, but the credit for those heads should go to Glen Kennedy, whose contract studio did the best Tiny Toons animation. I just sketched his heads off a TV monitor so my unit could have them as reference.

Glen was the star animator at his own studio. He had a funny full animation style that looked like it was influenced by Scribner and Jim Tyre. I used to tell the tiny Toons management that whatever Glen cost was worth it, because we only had to pay him for journeyman animation...the unique styling was free.

I did everything I could to promote Glen at the studio, but eventually the studio soured on him. He may have had a problem with deadlines, or with quality control. Most of his artists were freelancers who were unfamiliar with his style, and the deadlines were tight.

I imagine nightmare scenarios like a freelancer coming in the night before a deadline and saying," I could only finish half, but I can't work on it anymore because I just got an offer for more pay from another studio." Poor Glen probably had to burn the midnight oil, just correcting and finishing other people's animation, then was expected to do scenes of high quality of his own. It must have been grueling. His memory of that period must be one of constant sleep deprivation.

In my book Glen is one of the true heros of modern full animation. If he'd had an opportunity to have a year-'round studio with regular paychecks and a reliable crew, who knows what he could have accomplished? Sounds like John, doesn't it?

Talking about John, what do you think of the Elmyra sketches he put up here? I think they're merely...oh, merely...let us say...mmmm, FALLING DOWN MASTERFUL!!!!! Your children's hildren will no doubt have an opportunity to see the originals, but they'll have to make a trip to the Louvre to do it.

talkingtj said...

The thing I couldn't figure out about Tiny Toons, was why use the WB characters at all? And then change their names, ages and even genders. Why not just create new wacky characters? It's just asking for trouble to draw comparisons to the original Looney Tunes - which can't be topped.
the answer? marquee value-corporate types love repeating something rather than be original.

Guy said...

I grew-up on Tiny Toons and Animaniacs and they were EXACTLY what you were clamoring for in an earlier post: "cartoons kids wanted watch". They were wacky, funny, crossed some barriers other kids shows wouldn't, and had original, memorable characters.

Compared to... what?

Yeah.

I'm sure John would say they're better than most other cartoons of the time, but that's a completely pathetic accomplishment. It doesn't change that they fail in every way at being a cartoon. They just sort of imitate cartoons, and that's a big step up for people who grew up with trash.

Chris_Garrison said...

> Why not just create new wacky characters?

>> (talkingtj) the answer? marquee value-corporate types love repeating something rather than be original.

Yeah, execs love known names. Like the lady who bought Mighty Mouse from Bakshi. Also, non-execs. It's really the fault of the audiences who go in droves to see horrible, horrible movies, just because they have a title that they've heard before.

JohnK, I was thinking you should take advantage of this by pitching a known commodity. But it can't be a cartoon, like Yogi Bear, because execs hate cartoons. The original has to be live action. I was thinking you should do an animated version of Barney Miller. I would LOVE to see your drawings of Fish and Yemana and that old inspector. And especially Wojo. Please draw Wojo for us. Only you might have to bend your rules about giving plenty of brain space, because he has a bizarre neanderthal big head with a small cranium.

And based on name recognition, you can sell it.

Echidnite said...

Oh wow, I absolutely loved Tiny Toons as a kid and it never once occurred to me that Elmyra was their version of Elmer. And now comes the shame.

Raven M. Molisee said...

"The thing I couldn't figure out about Tiny Toons, was why use the WB characters at all? And then change their names, ages and even genders. Why not just create new wacky characters?"

That's a good question. I wonder about that every time there's a remake/revamp of any old property. I watched Tiny Toons because it was a good show, -not- because I was already familiar with Looney Tunes.

-RM

Cartoon_Screen_Caps said...

i would donate if that elmer was uncensored lol