And when I say old, I mean old. Most of the Looney Tunes are far too new to be considered for this list. I’m talking about the old, old, incredibly old school* stuff that’s in black and white and probably didn’t even have sound when it first came out.
Why would you love these old “cartoons”? Here’s 5 reasons why:
- They’re uncomplicated almost to the extreme. No real character development or attempts at consistency. Heck, most of the time, the characters don’t even live in the same house between shorts. Why love this? It means you can enjoy them without any pretensions or worries about missing out on something, unlike say a TV series.
- They showcase a developing medium. There are errors aplenty but also plenty of experimentation and accidental discoveries. Ever wonder why cartoon characters often walk over the edge of a cliff? That was an accident that was never meant to happen. it survives to this day because it caused uproarious laughter from the audience. It all adds to the believability and luster and makes the films seem all the more human.
- They’re a great source of cultural history that spans the roaring 20s and the Great Depression; a fascinating period of American and indeed world history that hasn’t been equaled since. They capture the mood of the nation and as any Fleischer cartoon will demonstrate, the almost cult-like awe for modern technology and the supreme reign of the Art Deco style.
- The vast majority of them are in the public domain, so you can watch them just about anywhere. On your phone, on YouTube, even Netflix is catering to them as I spotted a collection of Ub Iwerks shorts the other day. The best part is that you can do it all without having to sneak around the torrents like a creature of the night. On top of that, there’s no shortage of discussion, analysis and commentary on them as either. You’re never tied to the ‘official’ version.
- Because they’re all from so early in the life of animation, many of the characters are slightly more [ahem] risque versions of themselves. Mickey Mouse for example is far more mischievous than he became after the war and many of the Fleischer’s cartoons celebrate the jazz-infused party atmosphere of the roaring 20s.