Could music rights issues be holding up the Spielberg/Warner cartoons?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by John Kilduff, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. John Kilduff

    John Kilduff Screenwriter

    Oct 27, 2001
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    Several sources have told me that the delay with the Spielberg/Warner cartoons ("Tiny Toon Adventures", "Animaniacs", et al) has to do with Spielberg himself.

    I think music rights issues might be playing into this as well. At least 3 of the series ("Tiny Toon Adventures", "Animaniacs" and "Freakazoid") often utilized popular music.

    For example:

    With "Tiny Toon Adventures", there are the music video episodes...Perhaps that might be a hurdle (although the They Might Be Giants videos can be found on one of their DVDs). I also know that a lot of the music was utilized in a Carl Stalling-like fashion. One episode used a bit of "As Time Goes By", while another featured the song "Happy Feet". In the episode "Her Wacky Highness", the song "Summertime Blues" was utilized with rewritten lyrics about Elmer Fudd. The parody was done in a "Weird" Al Yankovic-type manner, if you will.

    With "Animaniacs", they started to ease into public domain for the most part. Still, they did use Canned Heat's "Going Up The Country" in the episode "Woodstock Slappy". They did a Slappy Squirrel short set to Jan And Dean's "Little 0ld Lady From Pasadena". They also quoted the David Bowie song "Space Oddity" in the short "Broadcast Nuisance".

    Finally, there's "Freakazoid". Once again, it was mostly public domain music. Still, they did use Percy Faith's "Theme From 'A Summer Place'" in a few episodes. Also, the cast sang Vera-Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" in the final episode.

    I do know that Warner sold their music properties to Universal Music a few years back. Even if they didn't, Warner Music and Warner Brothers Television are still two seperate entities, so rights issues would still have to be neogtiated.

    Sorry if my writing isn't as normal as usual, but this was something that crossed my mind.


    John Kilduff...

    Starting to give up hope that the Spielberg/Warner cartoons will be released on the current format.
  2. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

    Mar 19, 2001
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    I really, really doubt it's music issues. When it came to these shows, Warner was fanatical about not allowing the producers to use any piece of music they'd have to pay for. They couldn't use "Powerhouse" because WB didn't own it any more (finally they allowed them to use it once, in one cartoon). For the second "Tiny Toons" music video episode, choice of music was based in part on what songs they could get cheap.

    I'm as frustrated as you that these shows -- every bit as good as the more-hyped "Batman the Animated Series" -- aren't being released, but it isn't music issues. There's just not enough licensed music in the shows to make any significant difference in the cost of releasing them.

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