As the page image here illustrates, the 1960s marked a time of change for the Looney Tunes brand, and as The Dark Age of Animation was just starting, it was not one that long time fans would very much enjoy.
The practice of including cartoons before theatrical films was starting to disappear, as cartoons began to make the mass exodus to television, and the Animation Age Ghetto started to take effect in force. This would lead to many animation studios having their budgets slashed, as there was far less money to be made in theatrical cartoon shorts. To be sure, there was a lot of quality work in this era: the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons really hit their stride, along with some of the last great Bugs Bunny cartoons of the "classic" Looney Tunes era. But ever lower budgets meant a lot of shortcuts had to be taken, and the lush hand-painted backgrounds of previous decades would give way to flatter, more abstract designs, and character animation would become much less fluid and more formulaic, with the influence of the Avery/Clampett eras starting to slowly be placed to rest. On IMDB, the latest Looney Tunes cartoon to reach an 8.0 rating was Bugs Bunny's 1963 outing Transylvania 6-5000, while the 1965 Wile E./Road Runner cartoon Road Runner-a-Go-Go is the only cartoon released under DePatie-Freleng or Seven Arts to exceed a 7.0 there, possibly because it's leftovers from an unsold television pilot that eventually became To Beep or Not to Beep.
One of the things that would mark this era was the near-absence of series headliner Bugs Bunny, who would take his last bow of the classic era in 1964's False Hare. With Bugs now gone, Daffy would now take his frustrations on Speedy Gonzales; the lion's share of their output in this era would have them butting heads, though Sylvester briefly appeared during this time as well, as did Porky Pig in one short. Meanwhile, Wile E. Coyote continued to chase the Road Runner, most infamously in eleven cartoons directed by Rudy Larriva (plus one by Friz Freleng and two by Robert McKimson). Under the supervision of Alex Lovy and later McKimson, newcomers to the Looney Tunes stable would be introduced from 1967 onward, including Bunny and Claude (a Bonnie and Clyde parody with rabbits robbing banks of their carrots), Cool Cat (a beatnik tiger) and Merlin The Magic Mouse (a magician caricature of W.C. Fields). These characters were largely disliked, and today are regarded as being emblematic of the Audience-Alienating Era of Warner Bros. Animation. That didn't stop Cool Cat from appearing in The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, however.
The Warner Brothers animation studio was closed in 1963, but Looney Tunes animation continued as Warners subcontracted out to Friz Freleng's new studio, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.note In 1967, the then-renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts temporarily re-opened an in-house animation studio, which operated on vastly smaller budgets and mostly made cartoons with new characters that failed to catch on. The last cartoon short with any of the established characters would be 1968's See You Later Gladiator, another Daffy/Speedy match up. Warner Brothers got out of the animated short business for good in 1969, the original theatrical cartoons unceremoniously ending with the Cool Cat film Injun Trouble.
The 1960s Warner Bros. cartoons didn't really air much on American free-to-air TV (some shorts between 1960 and 1964 have airednote , but, compared to the popular shorts between 1948 and 1959, it was rare). However, Nickelodeon's daytime version of Looney Tunes on Nicknote was home to a lot of 1960s Warner Bros. shorts, both from the twilight of The Golden Age of Animation and the post-1964 shorts (barring 1969's "Injun Trouble", even though Nickelodeon did have legal permission to air it since it was in their broadcast library. They just didn't, due to Standards and Practices). In fact, for anyone who grew up watching Nickelodeon in the 1990s (and didn't just watch the Nicktoons or the live-action shows), they will remember that Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon aired a lot of the much-loathed Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzales shorts (and, on occasion, the failed new character shorts, like "Bunny and Claude: We Rob Carrot Patches", the Cool Cat cartoons that weren't "Injun Trouble", and "Chimp and Zee"). The Daffy/Speedy cartoons also aired on CBS in the 1970s and 1980s, though, compared to Nickelodeon's version, the CBS versions edited a lot of comic violence involving electrocutions and explosions.
Though the classic stable of characters would continue to reappear in coming decades, and that while they have still remained a positive image to the public, it's somewhat agreed that they have yet to once again match the dizzying quality they had in the 1940s and '50s (mostly due to the original directors and crew members dying and the fact that time and society has marched on and what one generation found funny may or may not fall flat for the next).
Up next is Looney Tunes in the '70s (and Onward).
- Fastest With The Mostest (LT) (Chuck Jones): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- West Of The Pesos (MM) (Robert McKimson): Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester.
- Horse Hare (LT) (Friz Freleng): Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam. Was rarely aired on TV and was one of 12 cartoons pulled from Cartoon Network's 2001 June Bugs marathon due to Indian stereotyping. Edited versions have appeared on Nickelodeon and The Merrie Melodies Show (The Nickelodeon version was mostly uncut, save for Bugs' line about one of the Indians he shot being a half-breed).
- Wild Wild World (McKimson)
- Goldimouse And The Three Cats (Freleng): Sylvester, Sylvester Jr.
- Person to Bunny (Freleng): Bugs, Daffy, Elmer. Notably the final short to feature Arthur Q. Bryan, who passed away in November 1959, as Elmer
- Who Scent You? (Jones): Pepé Le Pew. Last Pepe cartoon written by Michael Maltese
- Hyde and Go Tweet (Freleng): Sylvester, Tweety.
- Rabbit's Feat (Jones): Bugs, Wile E. Coyote.
- Crockett-Doodle-Do (McKimson): Foghorn Leghorn, Egghead Jr.
- Mouse and Garden (Freleng): Sylvester.
- Ready Woolen And Able (Jones): Ralph E. Wolf and Sam Sheepdog.
- Mice Follies (McKimson): The Honey-Mousers.
- From Hare To Heir (Freleng): Bugs, Sam.
- The Dixie Fryer (McKimson): Foghorn. Featurs the Southern redneck birds, Pappy and Elvis from "Backwoods Bunny"
- Hopalong Casualty (Jones): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- Trip For Tat (Freleng): Sylvester, Tweety, Granny. A "cheater" cartoon which reuses sequences from "Tweety's S.O.S.", "Tweet, Tweet, Tweety", "Tree-Cornered Tweety", and "A-Pizza Tweety Pie".
- Dog Gone People (McKimson): Elmer. Hal Smith replaced the deceased Arthur Q. Bryan as Elmer.
- High Note (LT) (Jones)
- Lighter Than Hare (MM) (Freleng): Bugs, Sam.
- Cannery Woe (McKimson): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Zip 'n Snort (Jones): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- Hoppy Daze (McKimson): Sylvester, Hippety Hopper.
- The Mouse on 57th Street (Jones): A one-shot cartoon about a mouse who gets drunk on rum cake and steals a diamond (which he mistakes for ice for his hangover). Notable as the final Warners short on which legendary storyman Mike Maltese receives credit, presumably due to his departure for Hanna-Barbera during early production of this short in 1958.
- Strangled Eggs (McKimson): Foghorn, Miss Prissy, Henery Hawk.
- Birds Of A Father (McKimson): Sylvester, Sylvester Jr.
- D'Fightin' Ones (Freleng): Sylvester.
- The Abominable Snow Rabbit (Jones, Maurice Noble): Bugs, Daffy.
- Lickety-Splat (Jones): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- A Scent Of The Matterhorn (Jones): Pepe. Features a Credits Gag in which everyone's name is in mangled French. The last of three Pepe Le Pew cartoons where Chuck Jones is also credited with writing it.
- Rebel Without Claws (Freleng): Sylvester, Tweety.
- Compressed Hare (Jones, Noble): Bugs, Wile E. Coyote.
- The Pied Piper Of Guadalupe (Freleng, Hawley Pratt): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Prince Violent (Freleng, Pratt): Bugs, Sam. Retitled "Prince Varmint" ever since the 1970s due to CBS' censors finding the title inappropriate (and other channels, including Cartoon Network and Boomerang, aired it that way, as they couldn't find the original version). As of 2020, the short has been restored with its original titles on HBO Max and the Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Blu-Ray collection. Airings of this short on MeTV starting in 2021 would also retain the original titles.
- Daffy's Inn Trouble (McKimson): Daffy, Porky.
- What's My Lion? (McKimson): Elmer. Elmer's last speaking role in the classic Looney Tunes series.
- Beep Prepared (Jones, Noble): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. The only Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon to be nominated for an Oscar. Sadly, despite the gorgeous dusk-to-night climax, it didn't win.
- The Last Hungry Cat (Freleng, Pratt): Sylvester, Tweety.
- Nelly's Folly (Jones, Noble, Abe Levitow), a one-shot cartoon about a giraffe who becomes a popular singer, but throws it all away when she flirts with a married male giraffe.
- Wet Hare (McKimson): Bugs. Last cartoon featuring short-lived enemy Blacque Jacque Shellacque (a French-Canadian adversary who first appeared in "Bonanza Bunny")
- A Sheep In The Deep (Jones, Noble): Wolf, Sheepdog.
- Fish And Slips (McKimson): Sylvester, Sylvester Jr.
- Quackodile Tears (Arthur Davis): Daffy. Arthur Davis's final cartoon (and his first one since 1949). Is the only time in which Daffy isn't drawn with his white collar.
- Crow's Feat (Freleng, Pratt)
- Mexican Boarders (Freleng, Pratt): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Bill Of Hare (McKimson): Bugs, Tasmanian Devil.
- Zoom at the Top (Jones, Noble): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- The Slick Chick (McKimson): Foghorn.
- Louvre Come Back To Me (Jones, Noble): Last Pepe Le Pew cartoon (and the first one since "Odor-Able Kitty" to feature a third-party character — Penelope's boyfriend who tries to get Pepe for stealing his girl). Only Pepe cartoon written by John Dunn and only Pepe cartoon with two directors instead of one.
- Honey's Money (Freleng): Sam. Is the only Golden Age cartoon that has Yosemite Sam with a human enemy (his wife and her son) rather than a talking animal (like Bugs Bunny)
- The Jet Cage (Freleng): Sylvester, Tweety, Granny. Milt Franklyn's final short (he Died During Production). Bill Lava (uncredited) replaced him for the last 3 1/2 minutes and would become the new composer for WB animation.
- Mother Was A Rooster (McKimson): Foghorn, Barnyard Dawg. The last released cartoon scored entirely by Milt Franklyn, not counting 1965's "Zip Zip Hooray" and "Road Runner a Go-Go", which were merely edited from The Adventures of the Road Runner pilot.
- Good Noose (McKimson): Daffy. The first cartoon which credited Bill Lava. Is hardly shown on network TV due to the many noose gags and the scene of Daffy locking himself in a trunk (as the censors feared kids would be stupid enough to imitate what Daffy did)note , but was shown on Cartoon Network uncut and uncensored (despite that Cartoon Network has edited past Looney Tunes shorts to dispose of a lot of characters hanging from nooses).
- Shiskabugs (Freleng): Bugs, Sam.
- Martian Through Georgia (Jones, Noble, Levitow)
- The Adventures of the Road Runner (Jones, Noble): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. A made-for-TV pilot.
- I Was A Teenage Thumb (Jones, Noble)
- Devil’s Feud Cake (Freleng): Bugs, Sam. A "cheater" cartoon which reuses sequences from "Hare Lift", "Roman Legion-Hare", and "Sahara Hare". Also reuses the "Sam in Hell" premise from an episode of The Bugs Bunny Show and The Looney, Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie.
- Fast Buck Duck (McKimson, Ted Bonnicksen): Daffy.
- The Million Hare (McKimson): Bugs, Daffy.
- Mexican Cat Dance (Freleng): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Now Hear This (Jones, Noble): First WB cartoon to use the new "Abstract" WB opening/closing logos.
- Woolen Under Where (Phil Monroe, Richard Thompson): Wolf, Sheepdog.
- Hare-Breadth Hurry (Jones, Noble): Bugs, Wile E. Coyote.
- Banty Raids (McKimson): Foghorn, Barnyard Dawg. Final Foghorn Leghorn short released during the Warner cartoons' original run
- Chili Weather (Freleng): Speedy, Sylvester.
- The Unmentionables (Freleng): Bugs, Rocky, Mugsy.
- Aqua Duck (McKimson): Daffy.
- Mad As A Mars Hare (Jones, Noble): Bugs, Marvin the Martian.
- Claws In The Lease (McKimson): Sylvester, Sylvester Jr.
- Transylvania 6-5000 (Jones, Noble): Bugs.
- To Beep or Not to Beep (Jones, Noble): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Edited from the Adventures of the Road Runner pilot, with a brand new soundtrack by Bill Lava; the most famous segment taken from the pilot is the "catapult" gag.
- Dumb Patrol (Gerry Chiniquy): Bugs, Sam. Sam's last appearance during the Golden Age era. Porky Pig has a cameo early in the short.
- A Message To Gracias (McKimson): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Bartholomew Versus the Wheel (McKimson): Second WB cartoon to use the new "Abstract" WB opening/closing logos.
- Freudy Cat (McKimson): Sylvester, Sylvester Jr., Hippety Hopper. A "cheater" cartoon which reuses animation from "Who's Kitten Who?", "Too Hop to Handle", "The Slap-Hoppy Mouse", and "Cats a-Weigh". Hippety Hopper and Sylvester Jr.'s last classic-era appearance.
- Dr Devil And Mr Hare (McKimson): Bugs, Taz.
- Nuts And Volts (Freleng): Speedy, Sylvester.
- The Iceman Ducketh (Monroe): Bugs, Daffy.
- War and Pieces (Jones, Noble): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Chuck Jones's swan song (until "Soup or Sonic"). He would soon after form Sib Tower 12 and direct many brand new Tom And Jerry shorts with pretty much all of the same crew from his WB unit.
- Hawaiian Aye Aye (Chiniquy): Sylvester, Tweety, Granny. Last Golden Age-era short to feature Tweety.
- False Hare (McKimson): Bugs. Foghorn cameo. The final Bugs short of the classic era, also the final short with the "Bullseye" opening/closing logos and the famous "Merrily We Roll Along" opening overture.
- Señorella and the Glass Huarache (Pratt): The final short produced at Warner Bros. Animation. By this point, the "Abstract" WB logos will be used on all new WB-released cartoons from here on. Last one-shot short by the studio until 1968.
- Pancho's Hideaway (Freleng, Pratt): Speedy.: The first short produced at Depatie-Freleng Enterprises. Co-stars a Mexican variant of Yosemite Sam.
- Road To Andalay (Freleng, Pratt): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Zip-Zip-Hooray: Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Edited from the Adventures of the Road Runner pilot.
- It's Nice To Have A Mouse Around The House (Freleng, Pratt): Speedy, Sylvester, Granny, Daffy.
- Cats And Bruises (Freleng, Pratt): Speedy, Sylvester.
- Roadrunner A-Go-Go: Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Edited from the Adventures of the Road Runner pilot.
- The Wild Chase (Freleng): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Speedy, Sylvester. The only Road Runner short directed by Friz Freleng and the final LT short personally directed by him.
- Moby Duck (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Assault and Peppered (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Well Worn Daffy (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Suppressed Duck (McKimson): Daffy.
- Corn On The Cop (Irv Spector): Daffy, Porky, Granny. Last classic-era short to feature Porky Pig and Granny.
- Rushing Roulette (McKimson): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner.
- Run, Run, Sweet Roadrunner (Rudy Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. The first short sub-contracted to Format Films, and the only Larriva Road Runner with a scene-specific score.
- Tease For Two (McKimson): Daffy, Goofy Gophers.
- Tired And Feathered (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Boulder Wham (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Chili Corn Corny (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Just Plane Beep (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Harried And Hurried (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Go Go Amigo (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Highway Runnery (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Chaser On The Rocks (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- The Astroduck (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Shot And Bothered (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Out And Out Rout (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Muchos Locos (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy. Only cartoon scored by Herman Stein. Ostensibly a Clip Show but if you look carefully, the old footage was actually re-animated.
- The Solid Tin Coyote (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films.
- Mexican Mousepiece (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Clippety Clobbered (Larriva): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Produced at Format Films; last of the Larriva 11.
- Daffy Rents (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy. Only cartoon scored by Irving Gertz.
- A-Haunting We Will Go (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy, Witch Hazel.
- Snow Excuse (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- A Squeak In The Deep (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy. First of six cartoons scored by Walter Greene.
- Feather Finger (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Swing Ding Amigo (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy.
- Sugar and Spies (McKimson): Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner. Last Golden Age-era Coyote and Road Runner cartoon.
- A Taste Of Catnip (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy. Sylvester cameo, which marks the puddy tat's last Golden Age-era appearance.
- Daffy's Diner (McKimson): Daffy, Speedy. Final cartoon scored by Walter Greene, final short produced at DePatie-Freleng
- Quacker Tracker (Larriva): Daffy, Speedy. Only cartoon scored by Frank Perkins, first of three Daffy/Speedy shorts produced at Format Films.
- The Music Mice-tro (Larriva): Daffy, Speedy. Produced at Format Films.
- The Spy Swatter (Larriva): Daffy, Speedy. Produced at Format Films.
- Speedy Ghost To Town (Alex Lovy): Daffy, Speedy. The first short produced at Warner Bros. Animation in three years.
- Rodent To Stardom (Lovy): Daffy, Speedy.
- Go Away Stowaway (Lovy): Daffy, Speedy.
- Cool Cat (Lovy): Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire. The first cartoon to feature updated Looney Tunes title sequences with the Warner/Seven Arts logo.
- Merlin The Magic Mouse (Lovy): Merlin the Magic Mouse, Second Banana.
- Fiesta Fiasco (Lovy): Daffy, Speedy.
- Hocus Pocus Pow Wow (Lovy): Merlin the Magic Mouse, Second Banana.
- Norman Normal (Lovy): Neither a Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoon; released as a Cartoon Special. Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul, and Mary produced the opening and ending songs.
- Big Game Haunt (Lovy): Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire.
- Skyscraper Caper (Lovy): Daffy, Speedy.
- Hippydrome Tiger (Lovy): Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire.
- Feud With A Dude (Lovy): Merlin the Magic Mouse, Second Banana.
- See Ya Later Gladiator (Lovy): Daffy, Speedy. Last short to star the "classic" characters.
- 3 Ring Wing Ding (Lovy): Cool Cat, Colonel Rimfire.
- Flying Circus (Lovy)
- Chimp And Zee (Lovy)
- Bunny And Claude: We Rob Carrot Patches (McKimson): Bunny, Claude.
- The Great Carrot Train Robbery (McKimson): Bunny, Claude.
- Fistic Mystic (McKimson): Merlin the Magic Mouse, Second Banana.
- Rabbit Stew and Rabbits, Too! (McKimson): Intended as a series, but never got off the ground due to the WB animation studio closing, thus making it the last one-shot cartoon in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies franchise.
- Shamrock And Roll (McKimson): Merlin the Magic Mouse, Second Banana.
- Bugged By A Bee (McKimson): Cool Cat.
- Injun Trouble (McKimson): Cool Cat. Rarely aired on American TV due to Native American stereotypes. Often regarded as one of the hardest Warner Bros cartoons to find, both because of the aforementioned racial stereotyping and its poor reception among contemporary and modern audiences. Last short made by the original Looney Tunes studio and the 1000th Warner Bros. cartoon released. Should not be confused with the 1938 Bob Clampett cartoon of the same name.