An unproduced television pilot about the creators of the Looney Tunes.
In 2006, I was in our living room, holding my infant son in my lap. In an attempt to get a head-start on good parenting, we were binging a Looney Tunes box set. For the first time I turned on one of the special features, a documentary called The Boys of Termite Terrace, all about the guys who created Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the rest of the Looney Tunes cast. As my wife Jan walked through the room, I said, "Honey, watch this." She did, then looked at me and said, "That's a movie."
We started researching at once. We read, listened, and watched everything we could find. Then we reached out to Martha Sigall, author of Living Life inside the Lines: Tales from the Golden Age of Animation, who had been an ink-and-paint girl at WB starting in 1936. She was lovely, incredibly kind and generous, and very excited to help, giving us interviews and access to documents that only a handful of cartoon historians have.
In the end, we decided we had too much great material to only make a movie. It was a TV series. We not only wrote the pilot and second episode, we plotted the entire first season. But neither of us were in TV, so we tried to backdoor it by having it made into a graphic novel first. Our pitch was simple:
In 1936, Leon Schlesinger exiled Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, and Bob Clampett to a falling-down warehouse on the Warner Brothers lot and sentenced them to hard labor - making the black-and-white Porky Pig cartoons.
Little did Schlesinger realize he was giving the lunatics the keys to the asylum.
It was on the verge of being bought by DC's Vertigo line in 2009 (it had approval from both the Vertigo head and DC's EIC) when someone up the food chain at Warner Bros. killed it. Ah well! C'est la guerre.
Since then, it's been in a drawer as we moved on to other things. Every couple years, though, we dust it off for a reading, or reach out to friends in Hollywood with connections. There's a brief bustle of excitement before we're inevitably told it's too hard to make. We've thought about turning the script into a play, or a podcast, or a book, or any other art form. But no. This is a TV show.
So, just as the Termite Terrace boys threw laughter into the world to counter the Great Depression and World War II, Jan and I are combating this time of frightening boredom the best way we know how - by sharing our funny with the world.
Here's the pilot episode, "The Boys Of The Chorus." Buckle in for a real-life cast of crazies who created the very best humor the world has ever seen.
And trust me - this ain't all, folks! Ta!