Fans of cartoons of old rejoice! Those who tuned into the HBO Max: Looney Tunes Cartoons panel were in for a treat, as on Sunday a brand new, never-before-seen Looney Tunes cartoon debuted. Titled “Postalgeist”, the short featured a Daffy/Porky Pig duo as they attempt to deliver a package to a haunted house, intent on not losing their beloved “Five Star Rating” as a ghost tries to scare them off.
And that’s not all – moderated by Damian Holbrook, the panel featured Looney Tunes Cartoons executive producer Pete Browngardt, supervising producer Alex Kirwan, art director Aaron Supregon, and voice cast members Eric Bauza, Bob Bergen, and Candi Milo.
This was a really fun panel to tune into, as it was great hearing everyone talk about their experience working on the cartoon, and what these cartoons mean to them now and back when they were growing up. You get a real sense that this is a cast that wants to respect the original source material and bring the fun, entertainment, comedy, and energy that the old cartoons had.
From the word “go!” they had me convinced. The panel even opened up with an ad for Looney Tunes Cartoons and it got quite a few chuckles out of me. Modern reboots always have me sweating, as they can go either really good or really, really bad.
As a gamer and fan of older material, trust me I know that pain really well. Sometimes you get a Killer Instinct 2013 or DOOM, other times you get Golden Axe: Beast Rider or NARC. Seriously? Using narcotics as power-ups? Did these people even play the original NARC? I guess they didn’t have the guts.
On the other hand, you get “reboots” that honestly have me doing my best Angry Video Game Nerd “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!” impression. Looking at you The Banana Splits Movie.
But this is a cast and crew that’s dedicated to bringing back that good ol’ Looney Tunes feel. Sure, they might use modern-day trappings, like Bugs holding out a smartphone or how Daffy doesn’t want to lose his gig-economy Five Star Rating, but the older cartoons did that too, so that’s fine. It’s not like they’re trying to be all hip and cool by having the characters reference memes or do any other weird things to “appeal to younger audiences”.
Pete said during the panel, “It was just honing in on the aesthetic that I loved. . .trying to recapture that visual look and style from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. And trying to recreate it in this modern age.”
Apparently, he did such a good job that when he sent in the demo reel to HBO Max, they wrote them back asking for the “new” cartoons. You know you’ve knocked it out the park when the studio you’re producing for can’t tell it’s modern!
Alex would add to this, saying, “We didn’t want to set out to reinvent it and we didn’t want to set out to put new sensibilities on it … What we love about the shorts is that they’re wonderful slapstick humor and we just wanted to get back to [that] and be really true to the way they paired the characters and the way they built comedy dynamics.”
This came right down to the voice actors too, who recalled that not only did they have to get the voices down, but they also had to get the comedic timing of the times down.
Eric, who’s doing the honors as the voice of Bugs Bunny, also mentioned during the panel, “You have to kind of almost predict and even think, ‘What would [the original voice actors] do in any of those situations where this dialogue has never been performed before by anyone, but us in 2020 or the last couple years?”
I’ve heard of getting into character, but getting an actor is a new one!
The short debut was what ultimately sold me on this though. It really does feel like they plucked the original feel out of the old ’30’s – ’50’s and plopped it down in the present day. The back and forth between Daffy and Porky, the style of slapstick, the music timed to the action, everything just felt so right.
And not like it was just trying to “imitate” it either, because you get reboots that do that. Or annoying callbacks. Nah, this was something that wanted to do justice to its source material. It respects and understands these characters, and that’s important.
So if you’re looking for some zany old-but-new cartoon fun, check out the Looney Tunes Cartoons streaming now on HBO Max. And I didn’t even begin to crack all of the cool stuff that went on in this panel. Listening to the cast talk about their experience and their thoughts going into things is great fun.
And not to mention, you get to see the debut of Postalgeist! So get to toonin’ in, Doc!