Growing up, I thought of Looney Tunes belonging more to the domain of after-school cartoons than the Saturday morning variety. But thanks to The Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show on CBS, they had a presence on the weekend as well.
The show seemed a little strange to me then, because it took classic Looney Tunes cartoons I knew well and seemed to either redo them or somehow change the film stock and audio to polish their look. You could tell that some of Mel Blanc's voices for the characters were ever so slightly different -- the work of a man twenty or thirty years older. And the cartoons usually didn't have the intro wind-up of that familiar Looney Tunes theme with the name bursting out of a series of fat circles.
But there is one part of The Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Show that always stuck with me: the opening theme. "Overtures! Curtains, lights!" Bugs and Daffy Duck sang as they marched up and down the stage with matching canes, hats and beige tuxedo jackets in a sort of Vaudeville by way of the Sixties style. I also liked the instrumental mid-point of the theme, when all the supporting Looney Tunes characters march across the stage in a line, from Yosemite Sam to Pepe Le Pew, as trombones blared.
Just as satisfying is the second song that comes as part of the extended BB/RR Show beginning. "Road Runner, the Coyote's after you!" a sort of 50s rockabilly-ish jingle goes. "Road Runner, if he catches you you're through!" It also includes a montage of several botched attemts by Wiley Coyote to catch him, my favorite perhaps being the lit stick of dynamite in a slingshot that explodes before the Coyote can release it. Like a lot of my friends, at least half of me was rooting for the Coyote to catch the Road Runner, but I loved the spareness of the desert backdrop and, considering the verboseness of Bugs and Daffy and most other characters, the fact that neither pursuer or pursued ever spoke. (The exception, of course, being Wiley Coyote's appearance in a couple of Bugs Bunny cartoons in which he very memorably speaks of himself in third person: "Wiley Coyote - super genius!"
Meanwhile, all I know is that when I walk dowtown in a few minutes, there will be many renditions of "Overtures! Curtains, lights!" as I amble down the sidewalk.