Other TV Appearances of the Looney Tunes Characters
Written by Jon Cooke
In addition to their numerous regular series and specials, Warner
Brothers' classic cartoon characters have over the years made countless
appearances on television in other capacities.
The first, and perhaps hardest to keep track of, would be their
appearances on television commercials. In the days of The Bugs Bunny
Show, hosts Bugs and Daffy would promote their sponsor, Post Cereals, by
promising that viewers could, "start the day a little bit better," with
a big bowl of cereal from Post.
In the 1990s, Post's rival company, Kellogg's, has used Bugs to promote
its Raisin Bran cereal. With his classic woodland confrontation with
hunter Elmer Fudd, Bugs appears in a commercial for Kellogg's Raisin
Bran, as do the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote in their own
thirty-second ad. These two commercials end in the same way: Bugs and
the Road Runner both manage to extend themselves out of a television
screen to eat a boy's bowl of Raisin Bran right under his nose as he is
laughing at their antics with their classic foe (Fudd, Wile E.) on
Bugs appeared in ads for Kool-Aid for quite awhile during the late 1960s
and early 1970s. These commercials were done by none other than Tex
Avery! In Joe Adamson's book, Tex Avery: King of Cartoons (1975), Avery
told Adamson in a 1971 interview that, "We've been doing Bugs Bunny
Kool-Aids for six or seven years, and when they started doing those the
agency people said, 'Wonder if Avery can draw Bugs Bunny.'"
Through the 1970s and 1980s, Bugs and the other Looney Tunes characters
were used in many commercials. Bugs appeared in an ad for the Yellow
Pages, Sylvester promoted 9 Lives cat food, Foghorn Leghorn and Henery
Hawk were featured in spots for Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1987, and Wile
E. Coyote appeared in an ad for Purolator Courier in the same year. Bugs
has even come to the aid of the Trix Rabbit for Trix Cereal in a couple
of ads. The Honey Nut Cheerios Bee interrupted a Coyote/Road Runner
chase in one ad, so the little bee could give Wile E. a bowl of the
sweetened cereal, and to the viewer's surprise, Wile E. preferred Honey
Nut Cheerios to the Road Runner! Tang, Hershey's Chocolates, and other
companies also had the Warner Brothers' cartoon characters appear in
The popularity of the characters as commercial stars grew in the late
1980s and into the 1990s. In the early 1990s, Bugs Bunny and Marvin
Martian appeared in a couple of popular spots for Nike shoes, along with
Michael Jordan (with whom they would team again in the 1996 feature,
Space Jam). The Looney Tunes gang even did an ad for Welch's Jelly to
promote a series of jars with their likenesses on them. A few years ago,
Wile E. Coyote appeared in ads trying to catch the Engergizer Bunny and
in a commercial for Pepsi-Cola. The gang also appeared in a spot to
advertise the new Kraft Macaroni and Cheese shaped like the Looney Tunes
stars. Elmer Fudd was even used in a commercial to promote lawn
tractors and equipment!
The characters have been used several times to promote fast food
restaurants. McDonald's has used the Warner Brothers' cartoon characters
for occasional prizes inside their Happy Meals, and the characters
appeared in the commercials to advertise the prizes. The first of these
was a set of Super Looney Tunes figures in which Daffy, Tasmanian Devil,
Bugs, and Petunia Pig were dressed as popular D.C. Comics Superheroes
(e.g. Batman, Superman). This was followed by a set of Looney Tunes
Quack-Up Cars with an ad that featured Bugs, Tasmanian Devil, Daffy, and
Porky Pig. McDonald's has also used ads combining the characters with
various sports stars, ads that showed the characters playing basketball
and later football to tie-in with a series of plastic cups the
restaurants were selling. Kentucky Fried Chicken used Foghorn Leghorn in
1987, and more recently (1994), KFC offered a set of Looney Tunes mugs,
with an ad containing a clip from "Devil May Hare" (e.g. "I smell
In 1995, the WB Television Network was launched, and new animation was
made for various advertisements with network mascot Michigan J. Frog
("One Froggy Evening").
Holiday, 1996 saw the characters in a few more ads. In a commercial for
Visa Card, Daffy Duck is at a Warner Brothers Studio Store with a huge
pile of merchandise to buy, all of which is Daffy-related, of course.
The clerk says, "Wow! Daffy Duck!", but refuses to take Daffy's check
without proper ID. Just then, Bugs burrows through the floor to purchase
a Bugs Bunny coffee mug. His purchase is more successful because he carries the Visa Check Card with ID as part of the card.
Also, for the 1996 Holidays, a series of ads for Target Stores were
made. One of them promotes a Thanksgiving sale, with Daffy, Porky, and Foghorn Leghorn debating which is the right kind of meat to eat on Thanksgiving. "Everybody knows it's ham for the holidays!" says Daffy as he points to a chart. "N-n-no....it's
t-t-tur-t-chicken!" argues Porky, to which Foggy responds, "Now boy, I
resemble that remark!". Another had Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road
Runner, but only to have Wile E. run into a Christmas tree (why a pine
tree is growing in the desert is anyone's guess), and yet another Target
ad featured a typical Sylvester and Tweety chase.
The final Target ad mixed live action with animation as a band arrives
in a bus to perform at the Looney Tunes Holiday Party. At the party,
the regular Warner Brothers cartoon chaos is taking place: Elmer is chasing Bugs, Sylvester is chasing Tweety, Wile E. Coyote is chasing the Road Runner, Taz is chasing Daffy, Yosemite Sam is wrecking the place, and the barnyard dog is heckling
Foghorn Leghorn. As soon as country singer LeAnn Rimes starts to sing,
the characters literally stop in their tracks and start to dance with
the music, and the foes are now friends (at least for the rest of this
commercial). This ad also featured brief appearances from Witch Hazel,
Pepe Le Pew, Penelope the Cat, Speedy Gonzales, Porky Pig, Sam Sheepdog,
Miss Prissy, the Crusher, and the Three Bears!
Another animated commercial from this period appeared on the QVC cable
shopping network. Bugs and Daffy are doing their Rabbit Season/Duck
Season routine, and Elmer appears to have figured out what "Season" it
really it is: shopping season!
In 1998, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote appeared in a commercial
which premiered during the Super Bowl. It starts with their regular
chase, but then Wile E. realizes that he could better catch up with his
prey by driving a new car ! The Coyote almost does catch Road Runner, but
the ad ends and the Road Runner is safe!
Public Service Announcements:
In the 1970s, two public service announcements on household safety were
made, one with Bugs, the other with Daffy. The one with Bugs told kids
not to touch boiling pots (a boiling pot with eyes talks in a distinct
Mel Blanc voice) and to be wary of power plugs (one of which slithers
like a snake and talks with a hiss). The one with Daffy has to do with
fire procedure, that is what kids should do if they find themselves in a
house on fire.
During the late 1980s, ABC aired educational spots during broadcasts
of The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show. These short segments
told children about American history and the Constitution.
"The Constitution works for Everyone" was the theme of one,
affirming the freedom of the individual to succeed
or (showing the Coyote falling off of Mount Rushmore) to fail. Another
one featured Porky and Petunia Pig. Petunia tells Porky how she
wants to be the President of the United States. Porky laughs and tells
her that there can't be a female President. Petunia proves
In 1992, to accord with Tweety's fiftieth birthday, it was announced
that there would be a TV series based on a Tweety's Global Patrol
concept. Although there was no series, the idea was used for a couple of
public service announcements in which Tweety urges the audience (and a
certain putty tat) to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Other TV Appearances:
Not all of the miscellaneous appearances of the Looney Tunes cast have
been in sponsor or public service spots. They have also been seen on
various television shows over the years. If you thought Speedy Gonzales
and Daffy Duck made a bad pair, then you haven't heard of the 1972 TV
special, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies. Warner
Brothers leased Daffy and Porky to Filmation Studios for this hour-long
special that teamed the beloved Duck and Pig with the Groovie Goolies, a
group of characters who resembled the old monster movie creatures (Count
Dracula, Frankie, Bella La Ghosty, Wolfie, etc.). The special premiered
on ABC Dec. 16, 1972 on The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie, the home of
such other ridiculous animated specials as The Brady Kids on Mysterious
Island, Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain, That Girl in
Wonderland, and The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park.
During the 1970s, Chuck Jones directed a series of segments for the PBS
series, The Electric Company, featuring the Road Runner and Wile E.
Coyote. In one segment, Wile E. saw signs with commands reading: "Slow",
"Walk", "Hop", "Skip", "Crawl", and finally, "Run." He obeyed all the
signs, doing as each instructed. When he saw the road coming to a dead
end, blocked by a sign that said, "Jump", he jumped and went over the
sign and off a cliff too. Just before he fell off the cliff, he saw one
more sign on the cliff's edge: "Fall!"
In another one of these clips, he fell ten thousand feet, of course, and
landed in a muddy lake, where a sign there said, "Splash!" In another of
these segments, he fell ten thousand feet and landed on a strategically
placed trampoline. A sign next to the trampoline said, "Bounce." So, he
bounced and landed onto another trampoline. And another one. And
another, and another, and another, leading over the horizon. Finally,
we saw the Road Runner, standing and watching all this, with a bunch of
signs grouped over his shoulder. He was the one who had placed the signs
in the Coyote's path! He turned and saw one final sign that said, "Beep."
So, he did. "Beep, beep!"
Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf punched a time clock as they arrived for
work each day; likewise, another Electric Company segment with the Road
Runner began with the Coyote and Road Runner coming to a starting line
and preparing for the signal that would send them off on another day of
chasing. A traffic light rang a bell and flashed, "Ready". The two
characters hunched down... Then, "Get set". They tensed their muscles...
A bell sounded, and the Coyote took off like a rocket. But the Road
Runner did not; he was still standing at the starting line. He whistled
to the Coyote and called him back. Wile E. looked at the traffic light,
and it wasn't saying, "Go." Instead, the light started flashing a series
of commands like "Laugh," "Cry,"
"Scream," etc.. The Coyote followed all these commands, going faster and
faster, into a rapid-fire series of facial expressions and sudden mood
changes, until finally, we saw that the traffic light commands were
being operated by the Road Runner.
On April 20, 1990, a TV special called Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue
was broadcast as a public service on the three major U.S. networks, PBS,
some 200 independent stations, and numerous cable services. The
half-hour, commercial-free show had a message of, "just say no to
drugs." The plot involved a drug-using teenager learning the dangers of
drug use from nearly twenty Saturday morning stars, including Bugs and
Daffy, Garfield, the Muppet Babies, the Chipmunks, Winnie the Pooh, the
Smurfs, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Alf, and others.
Other television shows had the Looney Tunes characters as guest stars.
For instance, Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour guest starred Daffy Duck
on January 22, 1970.
The Academy Awards had Bugs on stage on three occasions to present the
Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject. In 1987, he awarded it with Tom
Hanks and returned again in 1990. In 1994 Bugs presented the award with Daffy Duck!
The classic characters have even had guest appearances on recent Warner
Brothers Animated programs. Tiny Toon Adventures (1990) made frequent
use of the classic characters in cameo appearances, as the Looney Tunes
gang were supposed to be the teachers to a new generation of cartoon
characters. Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tasmanian Devil, Foghorn Leghorn,
Sylvester, Tweety, Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew, Granny, the Three Bears,
Charlie Dog, Bosko and Honey, Egghead Jr., Michigan J. Frog, Speedy
Gonzales, Marvin Martian, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Gossamer, the
Gremlin (from "Falling Hare"), and Wile E. Coyote all made appearances
on the show. One memorable episode involved Bugs tutoring Buster Bunny
on dance steps, using footage of Bugs' wacky dance in "Hot Cross Bunny"
(the one he does just before the bespectacled doctor hits him with a
mallet). Buster duplicates this dance at a party with his girl, Babs.
Another episode used references to the Oscar-winning cartoon, "Knighty
Knight Bugs", in a plot about Bugs being kidnaped by a jealous rival for
the Oscar for Best Animated Short.
The next show from Warner Brothers Television Animation, Taz-Mania
(1991), starred the Tasmanian Devil, but some of his old Looney Tunes
co-stars would make brief appearances in the show's run. They included
Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite Sam, Sam Sheepdog, and Marvin Martian.
Animaniacs (1994) had a few cartoons with some of the classic characters
making guest appearances. In one short about a garage sale (where Yakko,
Wakko, and Dot believe a garage is being sold!), Papa Bear is seen as
the vendor. An episode, "The Warners' 65th Anniversary Special",
features interviews with the major Warner Brothers cartoon stars, and
their feelings about Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Tweety,
Yosemite, and Foghorn all share their memories. Even 1930s Looney Tunes
star Buddy had a role in this episode. In other episodes, the Coyote and
Road Runner have appeared. So has Michigan J. Frog. One short, "Critical
Condition", starts with clips from "Duck Amuck", "What's Opera, Doc?",
and "Porky in Wackyland". A Pinky and the Brain short on Animaniacs was
set in Victorian London and involved Brain's plot to stop the gears of
Big Ben by metamorphosing into a hulky brute at the opportune time. He
does so by means of formula from Dr. Jekyll's lab. An early scene of
Jekyll drinking his potion and becoming Hyde, features the Jekyll from
"Hyde and Go Tweet".
Many minor characters (like Red Riding Hood, Colonel Rimfire, Hippety
Hopper, and Hubie and Bertie) have shown up on The Sylvester and Tweety
Finally, on Freakazoid (1995), one cartoon in a parody of E.T. had
Freakazoid explaning to a dopey alien the most important things to
remember while on Earth. One of them, he explains, while watching a clip
from "Whoa Be-Gone!": "Don't ever try to catch a Road Runner. It's
Congratulations for your wonderful site. It's the best resource font I
found about WB cartoons. Keep the good work. And, you may be interested, here some Looney Tunes appearances in
commercials for the Brazilian market:
- In 1995, Coyote and Roadrunner apear in a Bendix Brakes ad: it
features a clip of a cartoon were Wile appears in a dragster, only to
fall on a cliff. The slogan: "Freios Bendix. Because there's times in
life that the most important thing is to stop in the right time."
- Also, since 1995 Bugs Bunny is the easter bunny of the Garoto
Chocolate Company. I'll try to send you a image of this film.
Well, congratulations again and forgive my fractured english
Neto Andrade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All images and characters (c) Warner Bros.
Images of Bugs Bunny at the 1994 Academy Awards from James & Alan Rice's Animation Page
Image from Bugs Bunny Post Cereal Commercial from Toon Tracker's RealAudio Page 2
Tex Avery: King of Cartoons by Joe Adamson
Cartoon Confidential by Jim Korkis and John Cawley
Of Mice and Magic by Leonard Maltin
The alt.animation.warner-bros Newsgroup (mostly for the Electric Company infomation).
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