Summary of The Last Days of Termite Terrace | THE MERRIE HISTORY OF LOONEY TUNES

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The video discusses the history of Warner Brothers Animation Studio and the Looney Tunes franchise. It covers the studio's decline in the 1960s, the dispute between Warner Brothers and Paddy Freeling Enterprises, and the eventual sale of the franchise to Turner Broadcasting. The video also features interviews with former employees and the final production of the 1000th Looney Tunes short.

  • 00:00:00 In the 1960s, America experienced great change with the cold war, the assassination of President John F Kennedy, and the Vietnam War. There was also social and cultural change, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the Sexual Revolution, and the hippie movement. Changes in music also occurred during the 1960s with the Beatles and the British Invasion revitalizing rock and roll. The animation industry also went through changes during this decade, with most of it not being positive. Warner Brothers cartoons was no exception to this, with budgets being cut, talent being bled, and television taking the throne. The internal Studio that produced all of the Looney Tunes and Mary Melodies was shut down in 1963, shortly after completing animation work on the Forgotten Don Knotts vehicle, The Incredible Mr. Limpets. However, events such as Jones' firing for breach of contract and freeling's jump ship to rival Studio Hannah Barbera did not make the Patty's job easier. The process of layoffs for animators was a slow bloodletting that happened over a period of time. When the main Studio shuttered, Warner Brothers offered David de Patty a new job.
  • 00:05:00 In 1964, Warner Brothers shut down its animation studio, but two men, producer Paddy Freeling and director Friz Freling, decided to keep working anyway. They formed their own production company, The Paddy Freeling Enterprises, and set up shop in the old Warner Brothers cartoons building on the Warner Brothers lot. The studio got lucky when they were contacted by director Blake Edwards for the title sequence for his upcoming comedy film, The Pink Panther. The success of The Pink Panther Shores (a series of short films featuring recognizable Looney Tunes characters) led Warner Brothers to keep the short format alive for at least another two years.
  • 00:10:00 The Last Days of Termite Terrace is a short produced by Patty Freeling in the late 1940s. The short is not a classic, but its surfaceable enough that it suggested that things would be better than they actually turned out to be. The short is picking up where the classic era shorts left off, despite the limited animation. The animators were forced to conform to a more limited style of animation that was commonplace on TV at the time. This parsimony could be seen on screen as the gags grew even stiffer than they were before. The Paddy Freeling Studio was shut down in the early 1960s, due to financial constraints, creative freedom, and the departure of Frizz and Pratt. This led to the final pairing of Sylvester and Speedy Gonzales, and the last theatrical outing of Frizz Freeling.
  • 00:15:00 Rudy Lariva's eleven Road Runner shorts are notoriously poor cartoons, and their animation budget didn't help. The jokes in these shorts have none of the rapid-fire timing of Jones's shorts, and the jokes in the Shores would often get too focused on a singular gag and have it play out as slowly as possible.
  • 00:20:00 The late 30s saw the rise of Lariva as the top animator at Chuck Jones's new units, and he was the best at recreating the Disney style. However, World War II interrupted his career and he was drafted. Rudy tried to petition for his old job back, but no dice. Jones's unit had already been filled up with new hires, and Johnson had moved on from his Disney past. Reba spent the next few years as a journeyman animator before becoming a stage animator at UPA. According to some who knew him, Lariva harbored a massive grudge against Jones for failing to rehire him after the war. This could explain why Lariva showed little respect for Jones's work in the Looney Tunes shorts of this era. The biggest and most glaring flaw of these shorts is that Bugs Bunny is conspicuously absent, which is likely due to Executives' orders after the final pre-shutdown short, "False Hair," was finished. These shorts were profitable for Warner Brothers, but were they good for the Looney Tunes? Sometimes I feel very sorry for the coyote, and sometimes I wish he'd catch him. However, the Looney Tunes brand kept chugging along by now
  • 00:25:00 The video discusses the history of the Looney Tunes, focusing on how they became an iconic part of television and culture in the 1960s. Warner Brothers decided to transition the Looney Tunes to television in order to keep them profitable, and the resulting show, "The Bugs Bunny Show", aired on CBS from September 10, 1966 to November 2, 1967. However, the contract between Warner Brothers and Paddy Freeling Enterprises included a clause that prevented them from producing new Looney Tunes shorts. This led to a dispute, and the Looney Tunes franchise was eventually sold to Turner Broadcasting in 1996.
  • 00:30:00 The Last Days of Termite Terrace tells the story of the last few years of Warner Bros.'s Looney Tunes cartoon studio, which was headed by brother and sister team, de Paddy and Pat Freeling. The studio was struggling to keep up with Warner Bros.' new television station, which was calling the shots on which cartoons were made and aired. In November of 1966, Jack Warner sold his share in the studio to production company seminars, which gave them a controlling interest in the studio. This led to a merger between Warner Bros. and Seven Arts, which was finalized in July of 1967. As a result, the studio changed its name to Warner Brothers Seven Arts. While the quality of Looney Tunes shorts did not improve, they did become worse due to the lack of budget and poor layout decisions made by the new studio head, Alex Lovey.
  • 00:35:00 The 1967-1968 season was tumultuous for Warner Brothers, as they introduced a slew of new characters, only to have most of them fail to catch on with the public. The standout short of the season was "Norman Normal," which was praised for its humor and visuals.
  • 00:40:00 In 1968, CBS snatched up the rights to Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner show from ABC, merging them into the Bugs Bunny Roadrunner hour. The change in format allowed the Warner Brothers to recover the licenses to all the black and white Looney Tunes that had been sold to Guild Films a decade earlier. Fred Ladd, a producer who specialized in the localization of foreign films and television shows, was brought in to help with the updating of the Looney Tunes shorts. However, the sloppy coloring choices for the shorts ruined them, removing any lighting or shadows and making the Animated World feel fake by design. Character designs also suffered as a result. By the late 1960s, color television had become the default setting, and the black and white shorts looked outdated in comparison. The changes to existing shorts did not stop there, as the content of the shorts became beholden to the ongoing social change in America. Some of these shorts were for the best, but the coloring choices ruined them.
  • 00:45:00 By 1969, the Warner Brothers seven Arts animation studio was in dire straits due to waning popularity of theatrical shorts and increasing focus on television. This led to a number of shorts being cut or reworked, including the final Daffy and Speedy shorts. This era of Looney Tunes would be the last to feature any of the original characters.
  • 00:50:00 The Last Days of Termite Terrace tells the story of the final days of Warner Brothers Animation Studio, which was shut down permanently in October of 1969. The video features interviews with former employees and the final production of the 1000th Looney Tunes short, Cool Cat Shorts Engine Trouble.

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