With so many subscription streaming options available, is there room for one dedicated to vintage animation? Cartoon Network seems to think so. The network already has a classic cartoon channel on cable, Boomerang, and this month they launched a streaming service with the same name. For $5 a month, you can watch more than 5,000 titles including Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. classics like Scooby Doo, Huckleberry Hound, and Tom & Jerry. The UI is kid-friendly on desktop and mobile, making it simple to search via show title or sift through various Boomerang-curated”Best Of” playlists. Said playlists range from character specific (Bugs Bunny) or themed lists:”Top Dogs” features a list of dog-related toons, while “Boomerang Favorites” runs the spectrum of the array of characters within the app.
Boomerang plans to house all new, original cartoons in the future, but the crown jewel of the service is undoubtedly Looney Tunes. Never before on a streaming service, the classic Warner Bros. cartoons featuring Bugs, Daffy, and pals are now readily accessible for you and your kids. Here are the six best to rewatch with your kids.
Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½ Century
This short has only become better with age. There’s space exploration, blasters, teleportation pretty much everything you’ve seen in sci-fi, but decades before Star Wars and Star Trek. The 1953 classic features Dodgers going to Planet X to search for the atom needed to create shaving cream. It’s a red herring because the episode shines in its details: the 1950s sci-fi art backgrounds are beautiful and there are great techy gags (a bullet freezes in mid-air, opens up and unfurls a “Bang” flag). A classic.
t’s a cartoon talking to a cartoon about cartoons. When Daffy walks off the scenery into blank space, he ends up having a massive fight with the animator, who keeps changing the backgrounds. The animator turns out to be Bugs Bunny (ain’t he a stinker?) sitting at a real life animator’s desk. The premise is mind-blowingly meta, but also the first time you feel like Bugs and Daffy are self-aware and totally in on the joke.
It’s a Road Runner vs Wile E Coyote style episode, but just without that smug asshole, Road Runner. In its place is Sam, a burly sheepdog with a mop of red hair covering his eyes (although both characters are misnamed as Ralph and Fred because fuck consistency). All the usual gags are there for Coyote: falling rocks, exploding dynamite, plummeting off cliffs with a whistle. The big payoff comes at the end when the dog stops beating the coyote to a pulp when the work whistle blows. They perform a shift change with an identical dog and coyote who pick up where they left off. It’s a fourth-walling reaching gag from 63-years ago, one that’s still used regularly in today’s animation from Family Guy to Peg + Cat.
The Rabbit of Seville
Bugs Bunny just flat out fucks with Elmer Fudd for seven minutes and does it in the classiest way possible: to opera music. Fudd, for some reason, never leaves the stage as Bugs attacks him with electric clippers and cannons, or when he uses Elmer’s head as a salad bowl. Really, those are all gags for kids to laugh at. The true marvel of the short is the impeccable timing of the animation to music from The Barber of Seville.
Rabbit Seasoning is just one joke on repeat but it’s done incredibly well. Kids will laugh at the pronoun mix up between Daffy and Bugs, sure, but the real humor is in Daffy’s bulletproof beak as Elmer Fudd shoots it off his face repeatedly nearly every 30 seconds. Daffy’s aggravation carries the short especially when Bugs pulls out the old cross-dressing trick. Daffy argues, “Surely, you’re not going to be taken by this old gag?” to Fudd. It’s a simple premise with a huge inside joke.
What’s Opera, Doc?
It’s what many consider to be the greatest cartoon of all time. Even though the short is a parody of Richard Wagner operas, the episode strangely defines the relationship between Bugs and Elmer. The episode is also an animated film compressed in just seven minutes with elaborate backgrounds and a wide range of locations. The goofs on Fantasia, opera, and ballet might fall flat on your kid, but they’ll be singing “Kill the wabbit” in no time.