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Western Animation / See Ya Later Gladiator

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What a way for Daffy and Speedy to go out...
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See Ya Later Gladiator is a 1968 Looney Tunes animated short film starring Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales, who had been paired together in a series of cartoons from 1965 to 1968. This was their final theatrical pairing, as well as the final cartoon to star "classic" Warner Bros. characters. After this short, until the cartoon division closed in 1969, new characters like Cool Cat, Bunny and Claude, Merlin the Magic Mouse, and a few one-shot cartoons made up all of WB's output.

The plot concerns Daffy and Speedy accidentally being sent back in time via a time machine to Rome, 65 A.D., where Emperor Nero plans to feed them to the lions as entertainment in a gladiator arena. Daffy and Speedy work together to thwart the lions and manage to make it back to the present. However, Nero has accidentally returned with them, and joins Speedy's band by playing his fiddle.

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Not to be confused with the Time Warp Trio book of the same name.


Tropes associated

  • Close-Call Haircut: Daffy tries swinging his wooden sword at the lion, but ends up chopping off much of his mane, giving him a Bart Simpson-esque crew cut. Despite being the antagonist of the fight, the lion is not amused.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Very brief, but when Daffy accidentally starts the time machine and transports him and Speedy to 65 A.D., weird shapes flash on a back background for a few seconds accompanied by discordant ringing sounds before cumulating in an explosion. It happens again when Daffy and Speedy are returned to the present.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Daffy and Speedy get sentenced to be eaten by lions, just because Daffy called a centurion “fathead” when he first arrived in Rome.
  • Enemy Mine: Daffy and Speedy are forced to align when made Gladiators.
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  • Fire-Breathing Diner: This happens when Speedy Gonzales feeds chili peppers to the lion as an attempt to escape his clutches.
  • Gladiator Games: When sent to 65 A.D., Daffy and Speedy are forced to fight against a lion in the Coliseum.
  • Incessant Music Madness: Speedy's mariachi band playing music drives Daffy "bats" at the start of the short.
  • Limited Animation: Which is one of the reasons why this cartoon is considered the worst in the original Looney Tunes series.
  • Limited Sound Effects: The small minuscule of Hanna-Barbera Stock Sound Effects that Warner Bros. Animation had during this time gets very repetitive at times, as per standard of the Seven Arts era.
  • Looney Tunes in the '60s
  • Off-Model: Daffy and Speedy frequently fall victim to this throughout the short.
  • Rearrange the Song: Bill Lava's strange atonal version of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" theme music gets an even stranger variation used in this cartoon, notably with brass horns and a piano accompany the "swirling lines" effects. It also got used on the next cartoon, Cool Cat's 3 Ring Wing Ding, before reverting back to the standard Seven Arts-era version of the opening theme.note 
  • Recycled Animation / Stock Footage: The same animation of Daffy walking to the lab window is used twice, with Daffy holding a broom in the first and without in the second.
  • Took a Level in Badass: One of the short's few remarkable qualities is briefly giving Daffy back his old trickster qualities when put in an Enemy Mine with Speedy.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Whereas the previous two Daffy/Speedy cartoons had tried to pare back Daffy's jerkass qualities — in "Fiesta Fiasco" he only went after Speedy due to a misunderstanding and made up with him at the end of the short, while in "Skyscraper Caper" Daffy wasn't antagonistic at all — this cartoon turns them back Up to Eleven, making Daffy seem excessively bad-tempered and vindictive even compared to the prior shorts in this series.
  • Trapped in the Past: Daffy and Speedy can't get back to the 20th century on their own, as the time machine the professor has invented does not have such a feature. Lucky for Daffy and Speedy, the professor sees what was happening on the time machine's monitor and returns them to the present.
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