|“They’re tiny, they’re toony, they’re all a little loony,
And in this cartoon-y they’re invading your TV!”
Warner Bros.’ Tiny Toon Adventures was a refreshing shot in the arm to afternoon TV. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and starring updated versions of classic Warner Bros' characters, Tiny Toons was destined for greatness before the show even hit the airwaves.
Unlike other shows that made their stars into “kids” (see Tom and Jerry Kids and Flintstone Kids), Tiny Toons centered around a batch of animal youngsters that could have been offspring of some of Warner Bros. biggest stars, but instead were their own original entities.
Set in the animated toon town of Acme Acres, the show’s leads were Babs and Buster Bunny (no relation to each other), Plucky Duck, and Hamton Pig. Although these characters looked eerily similar to Warner Bros. stars of a different era-a bunny called Bugs, a duck named Daffy, and a pig who went by Porky-they weren't even relatives. That didn’t keep them from acting like their predecessors, however. Both Babs and Buster were crafty and forever victorious like Bugs, Plucky had a jealousy streak reminiscent of Daffy, and Hamton s-s-stuttered like Porky. Meanwhile, Fifi Le Fume could be detected a mile away like Pepe Le Pew, Calamity Coyote was as born to lose as the hapless Wile E., and Furball Cat had a lisp that evoked memories of the perpetually hungry Sylvester.
The Tiny Toons were enrolled at Acme Looniversity where they were educated under the tutelage of their elders, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and Tweety Bird (all of whom were voiced by Mel Blanc’s son, Noel). Another character to appear on the show was little human girl Elmyra, an overly affectionate-not to mention overly aggressive-animal lover, who tended to squeeze the Toons a little too hard for their liking. Other recurring characters were the Valley Girl-like feathered friend Shirley the Loon, rich brat Montana Max, and Dizzy Devil, who was every bit as manic and slobbery as Taz.
Due to clever writing and original plotlines, Tiny Toons was just as appealing to adults as it was to its younger viewers. Most of the episodes chronicled the tykes’ wacky adventures, often through parodies of popular films and TV shows, as well as in loose remakes of classic Warner Bros. shorts.
The cast of the Emmy-winning show appeared in a variety of prime-time specials, including their debut Tiny Toon Adventures: The Looney Beginning, It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas, How I Spent My Vacation, Tiny Toons Spring Break Special and Tiny Toons’ Night Ghoulery. Repeats of the show were shown on Saturday mornings in 1992 under the name The Plucky Duck Show, before reclaiming its original moniker a few months later.
The enormous success of Tiny Toon Adventures not only spurred a host of imitators, it solidly established the supremacy of the new Warner Bros. animation unit, later responsible for Batman: The Animated Series, Animaniacs, Freakazoid!, and many others.