Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Suppose it's your birthday and nobody threw a party.......

On this day 70 years ago, Bugs Bunny made his official debut in "A Wild Hare", thus discounting a couple of earlier shorts that featured a similar prototype character. The very character of Bugs continued to evolve over the course of two decades into the beloved, Oscar winning icon we know and love.

Unfortunately, the creatively challenged programming nerds at Cartoon Network and its sister channel, Boomerang, haven't bothered to mark the occasion with a day-long marathon of classic Bugs shorts or even the compilation features that came out in the 80's, like "The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Movie", for example. I'm not entirely certain if Bugs got so much as a "Happy birthday!" from Robert Osbourne at Turner Classic Movies. Like, with his body of work, you'd think that on his birthday Bugs would get some, ah, respect? As the "scwewy wabbit" himself would say, "of course you realize this means war!".

Consider the cartoon icon pecking order at CN/Boomerang. Scooby-Doo, who made his debut nearly 30 years after Bugs, is at the top, followed by Tom & Jerry, who can be considered contemporaries of Bugs. If you look up and down the program schedules of both CN & Boomerang, you will see no sign of Bugs or any of his buds, and this is despite the fact that CN has a new series, The Looney Tunes Show, starring Bugs and Daffy Duck, due later this year. And you have to figure that Bugs ain't all alone in being overlooked.......

In September, The Flintstones marks its 50th anniversary. 20 years ago, to mark the series' 30th anniversary, Fred Flintstone was used as a sort of "mascot" for Hanna-Barbera as part of its logo ID, as the studio retired its swirling star logo that had been in place for 21 seasons, only to bring it back when CN launched The Powerpuff Girls a few years later. With Flintstones about to turn 50, you'd think CN/Boomerang would actually, like, acknowledge the occasion? Given the short shrift given not only to Bugs, but other WB & H-B icons who've passed similar milestones in recent years, I'd not be at all surprised if Fred, Wilma, and their friends are given the cold shoulder as well.

Consider the content of the commercials for Post's Pebbles line of cereals. Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm have reverted to toddlers, and their spin-off series turns 40 next year. The only explanation I can think of is that the ad agency Kraft uses believes fans prefer to see them as kids rather than as adults, despite H-B allowing them to grow up in a series of specials a few years back. In contrast, when Scooby-Doo turned 40 last year, CN devoted a grand total of 8 hours across two days to reruns of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? leading into a live-action prequel. Would they do the same for The Flintstones? It'd be the right thing to do, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You'd have a better chance of seeing one of Fox's animated sitcoms, be it The Simpsons (most likely) or Family Guy, paying homage in some way, shape, or form, because without Flintstones, neither of those series would've gotten as far as they have.

CN/Boomerang has been raked over the coals on internet message boards for years because of their blatant ignorance of older, more cherished icons in favor of Scooby, H-B's last icon of the 60's. The only fair thing is to give the studio's first icons of the 60's the royal treatment. As for Bugs, I have to believe they're waiting until his new show is ready to go before giving him a party, if that. It's either that, or someone there needs to be handed a copy of the works of Santayana.

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