Monday, 10 June 2013

QTTV and the Irvin Jay Story

There are a couple of inside jokes at play in the Bob McKimson cartoon “Video Wabbit,” which opens with Bugs Bunny reading an ad looking for a rabbit to appear on TV.

You’ll notice the address of the TV station is 1351 North Van Ness. That was the address of the Warners cartoon studio. But by the time this cartoon was released in 1956, Warners had moved its studio to Burbank. Warners turned the old Van Ness building into—a TV station. But the station was KTLA. QTTV was a smirking reference to KTTV, the Los Angeles Times’ station which had brought Angelenos the fine programming of the Du Mont Network.

Here’s Bob Thomas’ rendering of the QTTV building which bore no resemblance to the old Warners cartoon studio on Van Ness. Layout by Bob Gribbroek.

Incidentally, this is one of the two cartoons where Irvin Jay filled in for Treg Brown as the sound cutter. Irvin Frederick Jay (Sr.) was getting close to 50 when he worked on this short. He was born September 27, 1908 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the third child of William Harrison and Elizabeth S. (Weber) Jay. His father was a bookkeeper who later became treasurer of a bond company. Around 1915, the family moved to Miami. Jay’s aunt was acclaimed director Lois Weber and he moved in with her and his grandmother in Los Angeles, likely by 1927 when the Times reported he attended the opening of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Jay was employed in 1940 as a sound cutter as a motion picture studio (and making more money than his father at the time). Whether he was Brown’s assistant or had come over from the main Warners lot for a brief time to work on cartoons, I don’t know. He died in Los Angeles on April 29, 1981.


  1. The studio background was based on CBS' Television City (in Hollywood!), which opened four years before the cartoon came out, and which the network was very, very proud of, featuring exterior shots of the building at the start or finish of some of their daytime and prime-time shows well into the 1960s (and once The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour began it's nearly two-decade run on CBS in the mid-1960s, the image created an in gag about where Bugs was going that wasn't even there in 1956).

  2. A few clips from this cartoon were incorporated into a 1980'S TV special in which Bugs Bunny became head of programming for the QTTV network.

    I haven't seen that special since it's original broadcast, but at the beginning, I believe that someone named Grant Tinkertoy (a take-off of Grant Tinker) got kicked-out of QTTV, literally kicked out a top-floor window of their New York headquarters (which I think was called "Acid Rock", a takeoff of NBC's 30 Rockefeller Plaza (30 Rock) and CBS's West 52nd Street ("Black Rock") buildings in New York.

    I'm also certain that someone said when Tinkertoy got the heave-ho that QTTV had also recently axed "General Signoff" (a play on word of General David Sarnoff), "Frank Standup" (a takeoff of CBS vice-chairman Frank Stanton), and "Fred Silverboy" (a spoof of Fred Silverman, a top TV executive of the 1970s and 1980s).