It seems to only make sense to start from the beginning, by viewing the “first” Looney Tunes cartoon, “Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid” from April 19, 1929
Though, I suppose technically it’s not officially a Looney Tunes cartoon since it was made before Looney Tunes as a brand was founded, but in a sense, it served to launch them. This is the “seed” you might say.
It has Rudolf Ising in live action, struggling to come up with something to draw. He creates a little “black boy” who introduces himself as Bosko, and he dances around.
There’s a cute little exchange that happens between them, where Bosko asks who all the people are “sitting in the dark”, and Ising tells him that they’re the audience and asks if Bosko can do something to make them laugh.
He draws Bosko a piano, and Bosko essentially plays and sings horribly, so Ising resolves to return him to his inkwell by sucking him up with a pen, and ending the cartoon.
The cartoon itself is actually pretty humorous in a cute sort of way. I enjoyed Bosko’s enthusiasm and attitude, and Ising wasn’t that bad to look at (LOL I’m terrible, forgive me).
I tried placing myself in that time period and imagined watching this for the first time, having never seen anything like it before. I think I would have been amazed by it.
There were a few things in the cartoon that would be considered offensive by today’s standards. For one, Bosko is a little black boy being controlled by a white guy, and he speaks in a very stereotypical “Southern Negro” dialect. Isling apparently later denied that he was a black boy and was more of an “inkspot kind of thing”, but come on, he’s clearly a little black boy. Own up to it.
There’s also a moment when Bosko pulls his hat down, squints his eyes and Chinese music plays while he dances. It all appears to be lighthearted though, and not intended to offend anyone, but still…you can’t go around stereotyping like that these days.
I’ll forgive it. The cartoon is over 80 years old after all XD
This episode can be found on the Looney Tunes Golden Collection vol. 1