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Nyehhhh...What's up, doc? We'll tell you what's up: HBO Max brought a never-before-seen Looney Tunes Cartoons short to Comic-Con@Home this weekend. Titled "Postalgeist," the supernatural adventure finds Daffy Duck (Eric Bauza) and Porky Pig (Bob Bergen) trying to deliver a package to a haunted inn. Their presence awakens an irritable ghost (Corey Burton), who starts messing with them. There are some really fantastic visual gags, including a line of ominous portraits that detail Porky's death via baked ham (spoiler alert: his headstone reads "That's all, folks!").
More importantly, the short feels incredibly old school, as if it were made during the Golden Age of American animation in the 1930s and '40s when legendary illustrators like Tex Avery and Bob Clampett reigned supreme. According to the show's creative team, that's entirely by design.
"It was just honing in on the aesthetic that I loved," executive producer/showrunner Pete Browngardt said. "[It was] trying to recapture that visual look and style from the '30s, '40s, and '50s. And trying to recreate it in this modern age." To get his point across, Browngardt recalled how the executives at HBO Max couldn't even tell the difference between the new cartoons and the old ones.
"We wanted to tap into the zany energy of the 1940s stuff," added supervising producer Alex Kirwan. "That was our favorite era of the shorts and we just wanted more of that. 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."
Art director Aaron Spurgeon explained that "things now are really edgy and really clean" in the world of modern day animation. "So, we just kind of mix the aesthetic of how things might've been manufactured in the past and bring it into the new age."
Watch the full panel below:
Harkening back to the early days of Merry Melodies applies to the acting side of things as well. How do you even carry on the torch that was lit by immortalized voice actors like Mel Blanc? Bauza (who also voices Bugs Bunny, Tweety, Pepé Le Pew, and Marvin the Martian among others) described it as "taking our best memories from the original run of Looney Tunes and going with the whole 'imitation vs. performing' these characters."
"So what if you can do a catchphrase or two as a voiceover performer?" he continued. "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?'"
The Looney Tunes reboot is currently streaming on HBO Max.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2020.