Explosions of Acme products and the sounds of classical music blast from the Museum of the Rockies’ newest exhibit. The Warner Bros. cartoons that we all came to know and love are back for a limited time, and once again are appealing to all ages. Students and visitors alike will be reminded of lazy Saturdays spent watching Pepe le Pew attempt to woo a cat and the Tasmanian Devil lose his temper.
The museum’s two-room exhibit consists of all kinds of Warner Bros. artifacts, from model sheets to story sketches and background paintings. All of the production art is from the 30s to the 60s. Warner Bros. opened in 1930, when even six or seven minute cartoons took several months to a year to create.
Marketing Director Mark Robinson stated that the exhibit, which shows pieces that are currently being rented from a representative, took about a week to set up. Besides artwork and information boards, the exhibit also includes two projection screens, one set up in each room of the exhibit. Visitors to the museum can sit in front of the screens and watch the famous cartoons for as long as the museum is open. Robinson said that his favorite character is Marvin the Martian, as well as his dog, K9, because Marvin, unlike other Warner Bros. characters, can come out on top and be “almost equal to” Bugs Bunny.
Surprisingly, the cartoons were not largely popular in their own time. During their finest years of production, people did not consider them worthy of serious attention. Though television helped bring more attention to the cartoons, Warner’s Cartoon Division was shut down in 1969. The cartoons were later rediscovered in the mid-1970s. In spite of the limited audience of their time, in 1943 critic Manny Farber said of the cartoons, “the good ones are masterpieces and the bad ones aren’t a total loss.”
Another important point to note about the Warner Bros. cartoons is the way they are presented to the audience. One of the many information boards placed on the walls around the exhibit notes that the Warner Bros. cartoons are noticeably different from the “soft and sentimental and storybookish” Disney. The Warner Bros. cartoons are unafraid of violence, as opposed to Disney, which is famous for its princesses. As Warner Bros. storyman Michael Maltese stated, “We wrote cartoons for grown-ups.”
The museum is known for its dinosaur displays and planetarium shows, but nothing really beats a good cartoon. Students who drop by the museum are welcomed in with open arms and a discount on the entry fee. In the words of Porky Pig, “T-th-that’s all, folks!”
The Warner Bros. exhibit will be presented at the museum until January 31st, 2016.
Tickets are $10 for students, $14 general admission.