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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Looney Tunes And Leonardo DiCaprio

Overture, curtain, lights! This is it, the night of nights. No more rehearsing and nursing a part---we know every part by heart. Overture, curtain, lights! This is it, we'll hit the heights. And oh what heights we'll hit---on with the show this is it!

Millions of people grew up watching Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck introduce the Looney Tunes on television each week with their famous song, "This Is It!" In the Fall of 1990, The Warner Brothers Collection (the Warner Brothers Catalog) introduced puppet versions of Bugs and his friends created by the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, allowing Looney Tunes super-fans to act out the musical number in their own homes. I'm guessing the curtain and stage were not included.

The Warner Brothers Catalog often featured famous faces modeling Marvin the Martian shirts or Tweety Bird slippers.

Before Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Titanic, he was a cast member on the TV series "Growing Pains." In 1992, he appeared in the Warner Brothers Catalog with co-stars Tracey Gold (Carol Seaver) and Jeremy Miller (Ben Seaver).

The Growing Pains Movie was created for The Wonderful World of Disney on TV in 2000 (DiCaprio's character was not in the film). This alliance between Warner Brothers and Disney could be credited to the popularity of Growing Pains reruns shown on The Disney Channel.

In 1990, Jeremy Miller and Pam Dawber (from Mork and Mindy) enjoyed playing tennis with Bugs Bunny and Tweety.

The Elmer Fudd "Wambo" shirt is pretty funny, and the Friz Freleng hand-painted bookmarks are cool.

It's a Mork and Mindy Reunion! Jonathan Winters plays Santa Claus here, but on the TV show Mork and Mindy, he was Mearth, the son of alien Mork (Robin Williams) and human Mindy (Pam Dawber). Yes, you read that correctly! Things worked differently on Mork's planet, Ork. Shazbot!!!

The large, deluxe Bugs Bunny Marionette towers over the other Bob Baker puppets. It's more impressive than the wooden Carrot and Grass on wheels for sale here.

The Warner Brothers Catalog featured some unusual items that you never knew you needed. Like an ACME dynamite alarm clock.

Tommy Puett (from the TV series "Life Goes On") models a Wile E. Coyote ACME shirt, cleverly packaged in an ACME TNT tube. These ACME items are from 1992.

Wile E. Coyote had a memorable guest appearance on an episode of "Night Court" (I'm not making that up, he really was on the show!). One of his co-stars, Markie Post (Christine Sullivan) also appeared in the Catalog in 1992, ready to play some baseball.

The Looney Tunes Comic Ball Cards featured special artwork created by legendary animator Chuck Jones.

Night Court viewers may also remember bailiff Bull Shannon and his puppet alter ego (yes, you could buy your own version!).

One of the many reasons I love watching Tina Fey's "30 Rock" is the fact that they did a tribute to Night Court. That and the fact that "30 Rock" mentioned the bizarre "Top That" rap from the movie "Teen Witch" and has referenced The Sims computer game multiple times.

Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold's "The Jackie Thomas Show" was all over the news when it debuted, due to what went on behind the scenes. Two actors from the series appeared as models in the Warner Brothers Catalog in 1993. Paul Feig later created the TV show "Freaks and Geeks." He's also directed episodes of "30 Rock," "Arrested Development," and "Mad Men" (some of my favorite shows!).

Breckin Meyer later appeared as Travis in "Clueless" in 1995. He's been in many films and TV shows, including "Garfield," "Road Trip," "Rat Race," and "Heroes." He's also a writer (nominated for an Emmy for work on the TV show "Robot Chicken") and a musician. Meyer currently stars with Mark-Paul Gosselaar on TNT's "Franklin & Bash."

"Head of the Class" was an ABC sitcom that aired from 1986 to 1991. The show originally starred Howard Hesseman (WKRP in Cincinnatti) as the teacher to a class of gifted students (including actress Robin Givens as pupil Darlene Merriman).

Khrystyne Haje (Simone Foster), Tony O'Dell (Alan Pinkard) and Kimberly Russell (Sarah Nevins) were cast members on the show for all five seasons (though Kimberly Russell was not in the pilot). Here they are sporting some nice retro-looking Looney Tunes bowling shirts in 1990.

"Head of the Class" went through some major changes, with characters leaving the show and new students taking the class. Billy Connolly joined the cast as the new teacher in 1990.

The Yosemite Sam "Back Off!!" Tire Cover appears to use artwork of the Pirate version of Yosemite Sam against a desert backdrop. Oops!

Find that Kenny Loggins CD and crank up "I'm Alright," because the Caddyshack Gopher and the Looney Tunes are here to improve your golf game.

The late, legendary animator Friz Freleng is also here to see Elmer Fudd (as "Wocky") defeat Yosemite Sam in a boxing match back in 1990.

With all these actors around, Gene Shalit just couldn't resist the opportunity to show up and criticize their work.

It's curious that a mug of Bugs Bunny was not available at this time (1990). One was available later.

All these celebrities are getting hungry. I bet they'd like some food from Spago's, the famous Hollywood restaurant. Wolfgang Puck will make them something tasty.

In 1990, Wolfgang Puck was joined by Daffy as Wolfgang Duck. The partnership ended when Wolfgang Puck started making Duck a l'Orange for dinner. Wolfgang Puck thought Daffy wouldn't mind, since Foghorn Leghorn the rooster had no problem being the mascot for Kentucky Fried Chicken for years. Seriously, Foghorn, that's messed up!

Looking for a piggy bank with a twist? In 1990, Porky Pig kept coins safe and famously brought things to a close.

Daffy Duck shows us that Scrooge McDuck is not the only mallard obsessed with money. This bank was pretty popular, as it showed up in another catalog in 1990 with a "Sold Out" notice plastered over the image. Or maybe it really wasn't sold out, and it was a calculated move to make people think it was rare, so they would want it, and contact the catalog to order it. I'm so jaded now.

As Porky Pig says, "That's all Folks!" For now, anyway.


  1. Whoa, there was some serious cross-promotion going on in this catalog! That last pic with a small Daffy Duck hugging the large sack of money makes me think of Daffy's line, "I'm a wealthy miser!"...at least I think that's the line (from the one with the cave and the genie.)

    I really like those marionettes. They look like they were very nicely done....probably because Bob Baker was associated with them.

  2. Shazbot! What a cool catalog. I used to watch "Growing Pains" but had no idea DiCaprio was one of the characters.

  3. TokyoMagic!: Yes, the Warner Brothers Catalog featured quite a few actors from Warner Brothers shows and films, including the cast of Full House, Perfect Strangers and China Beach. Yup, that Daffy Bank also reminded me of the cartoon "Ali Baba Bunny" with Bugs, Daffy and the Genie. I always thought the Bob Baker Marionettes were some of the neatest collectible items. I only remember seeing them in one catalog, so I'm guessing they are pretty rare.

    Hey, A Snow White Sanctum! When Mike Seaver became a teacher on Growing Pains, Leonardo DiCaprio played Luke, one of Mike's students. Luke lived with the Seavers in the show's final season.

    I can also remember Matthew Perry playing one of Carol Seaver's boyfriends. It was quite memorable because his character died.