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Western Animation / The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show

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On with the show, this is it!

This anthology show starring the Looney Tunes ran on ABC and CBS, with a dash of NBC, on Saturday mornings from 1960 to 2000, making it the longest-running American animated program of any capacity to date. If the current rights-holders for these cartoons allowed it (they don't), then they likely would still have been on network TV well into the 2000s.

It began during the era of local kids' shows, and this show was an all-animated variant on the format. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck introduced Warner Bros. cartoons, all in color and originally released after August 1948. note  Various animated antics happened in between. The basic format didn't change much.


The show lasted an entire hour (though some incarnations were 30 minutes, and some incarnations ran as long as 90 minutes), and Looney Tunes shorts were slightly shorter than the standard Saturday Morning Cartoon shorts, so you could see a lot of cartoons in that hour. Many of these cartoons were either originally aimed above the average audience of the show or the Larriva Eleven, but there was something for everyone.


Incarnations of this show:

  • The Bugs Bunny Show (ABC). First-run episodes in primetime 1960-1962, with repeats airing on Saturday mornings from then until 1968. Rearranged episodes aired on CBS from 1971 to 1973, and then back on ABC from 1973 to 1975.
  • The Porky Pig Show (ABC). 1964-1966. Featured first-run cartoons (the first always starring Porky) and replays of several seen on The Bugs Bunny Show. In syndication, it would also be known as Porky Pig and Friends.
  • The Road Runner Show (CBS). Run from 1966 to 1968. Repeats aired on ABC from 1971 to 1972.
  • The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour (CBS). Combination of the above shows. First-run episodes run from 1968 to 1969, with reruns airing until 1971. A new version aired from 1975 to 1978 and included several shorts not broadcast in the previous incarnation.
  • Sylvester and Tweety (CBS). Aired from 1976 to 1977.
  • The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Show (CBS). The name change reflected the show's increase in length from 60 to 90 minutes. Aired from 1978 to 1985, with a mix of older shorts and newer shorts originally made for primetime specials.
    • A short-lived, 30-minute primetime version aired with this title during the 1975-76 midseason.
  • Daffy Duck (NBC). Aired from 1978 to 1981.
  • The Daffy/Speedy Show (NBC). Aired from 1981 to 1982.
  • The Sylvester & Tweety/Daffy & Speedy Show (CBS). A new incarnation of the above. Aired from 1981 to 1982.
  • The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour (ABC). Aired from 1985 to 1986. Included shorts of every notable Looney Tunes character except Tweety and Speedy Gonzales.
  • The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show (ABC). Aired from 1986 to 2000, underwent various changes in format. Show was cancelled when Cartoon Network (and its sister channel, Boomerang) gained the sole rights for broadcasting the Looney Tunes shorts. Included cartoons seen on The Porky Pig Show and some not seen on any previous incarnations.

This series (and bridges) provides examples of:

  • Animated Actors: Everyone.
  • Animated Anthology
  • Bowdlerize: This happened to the more violent stuff like whaps on the head and guns being shot, especially on The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, where the cartoons were transferred to videotape and easier to edit.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall
  • Bullet Dodges You: In one episode, Yosemite Sam tries to shoot at Pepé Le Pew, but the bullets get repulsed by his stench and scurried right back into Sam's pistols.
    Sam: I hates cowardly bullets!
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In "Do or Diet", Bugs has the stage lights turned off to show how carrots are good for your eyes. The result is Bugs' eyes appearing in the dark, only for the eyes of the Tasmanian Devil to join his.
    Bugs: See? I can see you, but you can't see me.
    Taz: I can see you.
    Bugs: Oh, you eat carrots?
    Taz: No, I eat rabbits!
  • Christmas Episode: Largely averted, as the only overtly Christmas-themed Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies short that they could run from after 1948 was the 1952 Sylvester & Tweety cartoon "Gift Wrapped". Even after recycling the three new shorts from the 1979 TV special Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales in the 1980s and 1990s, that still left two or three openings, which typically didn't even go to winter-set cartoons. The Sylvester & Tweety short "Sandy Claws" was aired in a couple of Christmas episodes, even though its title was just a pun reflecting its beach setting.
    • Canadian broadcast network Global aired a special 90 minute Christmas-themed episode of The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show annually in the mid-late 1990s, as part of their annual Global Christmas Special marathon of holiday cartoon specials in late November. This included "Gift Wrapped" and all three shorts from Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales, with the remaining cartoons all being set in the winter.
      • Teletoon also had a Christmas episode of this show.
  • Comedic Spanking: At the end of "Tale of Two Kitties", Sylvester drags his son offstage to give him a spanking for muting out his stories about fatherhood so he can tell the audience their embarrassing truths. After a short break, Junior walks onstage with a pillow tied over his sore rear.
    Bugs: Uh, while Sylvester and his son are playing patty-cake, let's have a peek at next week's show.
  • Episode Title Card: The first season of The Bugs Bunny Show didn't have individual titles, but the second season had titles with cards at the beginning.
  • Evolving Credits: The "This Is It" opening went through a few changes over the years.
    • For The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour, new animation was created to create a transition between the "Bugs Bunny" and "Road Runner" theme songs.
    • In the early 1980s, the opening was rotoscoped so that, instead of a vaudeville stage, the characters are wearing tuxedos in a glitzy variety show set. Also, Speedy Gonzales was replaced in the marching procession of Looney Tunes characters by Sylvester Jr., while Pepé Le Pew was replaced by the Road Runner.
    • In 1992, The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show introduced a completely reanimated version of the theme with updated character designs. Pepé Le Pew and Porky Pig replaced Hippety Hopper in the line of characters marching.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: A few of the wraparounds were utilised to pair up Looney Tunes regulars who seldom if ever interacted. One case had Yosemite Sam fighting for the spotlight against an oblivious Pepé Le Pew.
  • Halloween Episode: Only really a presence in the ABC years. "Broom-Stick Bunny", "Corn On The Cop", and "Devil's Feud Cake" were commonly run in late October, among other supernaturally tinged shorts, though ABC didn't stick solely to this range for said episodes. Like with "Sandy Claws" at Christmas, you could occasionally see "Trick or Tweet" on Halloween episodes, despite the title just being a non-seasonal pun.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: One episode of The Bugs Bunny Show has Porky Pig do this when driven up the wall by Charlie Dog (as part of a reprise of their "Labrador Retriever" exchange from the short "Often an Orphan").
  • Hit Flash: In the outro for The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour, this happens when the car Bugs is driving through the desert collides with the boulder the Coyote is holding during his flight.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: One episode of The Bugs Bunny Show has Daffy do this. Another had Rocky and Mugsy take over.
    • Another episode had an unintentional example when Pepe Le Pew becomes the guest host after Bugs and the intended emcee, Yosemite Sam, get driven away by his stench.
  • Legion of Lost Souls: The episode "Foreign Legion Leghorn" had Foghorn Leghorn in the Legion, with older cartoons serving as flashbacks showing what drove him to join.
  • Limited Animation
  • No Fourth Wall/2-for-1 Show: The bridge sections. This show as a whole is for our benefit.
  • Noisy Shut-Up:
    • In one show, Daffy interrupts Bugs' monologue by putting on a song-and-dance act, prompting Bugs to pull out a megaphone and shout "DAFFY!!" to get him to stop.
    • In "The Honeymousers", Bugs invites the viewer into his dressing room to watch his favorite sitcom. At one point, he gives "you" carrots to eat, but he can't hear himself talking over the loud chewing, so he shouts "QUIET!" and swaps out the carrots for marshmallows.
  • Non-Indicative Name: ABC tended to ensure that The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show always featured at least one cartoon each starring Bugs Bunny and Tweety, but for the half-hour length episodes of the final 1999-2000 season, that was no longer a constant guarantee. Six of the final 14 episodes only featured cartoons starring one of the two title characters, and the February 5, 2000, episode featured neither.
    • One of the Teletoon episodes features nothing but Bugs Bunny cartoons.
  • On the Next: The Bugs Bunny Show featured a montage of short clips from the cartoons featured on next week's show.
  • Overcrank: The episode "Bad-Time Story" features Bugs demonstrating how a cartoon character zips out of a scene by doing one in super slow-motion.
  • Spiritual Successor: As of 2021, MeTV runs a "Saturday Morning Cartoons" block that resurrects the tradition of this show. The cartoons featured on the show's different incarnations are featured, as well as the black-and-white and pre-1948 shorts and other WB-owned classic cartoons. The show also uses the "This Is It" intro.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: Averted. There were never many Thanksgiving shorts to pick from even if you included pre-1948 cartoons, and even 1949's Holiday for Drumsticks tended to air outside of November.
  • Theme Tune: "This Is It" was the main theme from 1960 to 1984 (and again from 1988 to 2000), but the Road Runner segment had its own theme music. From 1968-71 and 1977-84, the two were combined.
    • Although the show had Evolving Credits visually, the original 1960 audio of "This Is It" was never updated or re-recorded, and it continued to be heard even after Mel Blanc's death in 1989. (In the last years of the show, the theme was extended with a new beginning and ending.)
    • For the 1984-1985 season only (the final CBS season), an all-new song, "Cartoon Gold," was used. Another opening sequence, using music from the Looney Tunes open and closing themes, was used for the early years of the ABC return (1985-1988).
  • Wrap Around Background: There is no backstage.

Alternative Title(s): The Bugs Bunny Show


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