Sunday, 10 October 2021

Fine New Book About Fine Old Cartoons

This blog isn’t designed as a destination for people who want paragraph upon paragraph of analysis about old cartoons. The approach here is pretty casual. It’s me posting some frame grabs or newspaper stories I’ve found and saying “Hey, look at this.”

There are other places where you can get something a little more in depth and weighty, where something about old cartoons is propounded and you can spend your time thinking about it.

This brings us to word a new book has been published about the Warner Bros. cartoons. Jaime Weinman has written “Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite – The Unauthorized Biography of Looney Tunes” where he analyses the studio, some of its people and their attitude toward entertaining theatre audiences.

You won’t get an opinion from me about its contents because I haven’t seen the book. I’ll endorse it nonetheless because of its author. Jamie Weinman scores points with me because he’s Canadian (wave Maple Leaf flag here). Germane to the topic, though, he’s been talking about cartoons at least since the days when fans gathered on Usenet, where expert and intelligent opinions were traded back and forth. And he doesn’t pontificate with hundred-dollar words like some books that shall remain unidentified (or, I hope, begin a sentence with “and” as you have just read).

The book’s sub-title, alas, reminds me that a tombstone has been erected at the head of the grave of “Merrie Melodies.” Nobody uses the term any more. It’s as dead as Jerry Jester, or whatever the name was of the joker who appeared at the end of the “Merrie Melodies” shorts in the mid-‘30s. Today, fans have decided all the cartoons are “Looney Tunes,” even though they are not. Apparently some crappy movie is responsible. I say without erudition, “Bah!”

Anyway, this doesn’t have anything to do with the insight Jaime may have into the cartoons and their makers. What does he think about Chuck Jones? How about A Wild Hare? There’s only one way to find out, besides asking him. There are a bunch of different places where the book can be ordered on-line; a web search will easily find one that suits you.


  1. Agreed Pokey, looking forward to this one, also. Thanks Yowp for mentioning that there was a " Merrie Melodies ". When I mention them to some, I get that look of a dog hearing a whistle. That cock of the head, and look of confusion. The jester brings back memories of ; " So Long, Folks!! ". So forgotten over the years. Too bad.

  2. A few months back, the host of Toon in with Me referred to a Warner Bros. cartoon as a "Merrie Melodies Looney Tune". Yeesh.

  3. Hans Christian Brando11 October 2021 at 18:39

    Strange title, since the greatness of the Warner Bros. cartoons was that they depended less on these classic animation slapstick props than other studios. And it's never a good idea to illustrate a book about entertainment with a bomb.