Looney Tunes is a series of short theatrical films released between 1930 and 1989 by Warner Bros. Animation. The series' main purpose when it begun was simple: Imitate The Walt Disney Company. But in their 1,000+ short films, they have reached a level that The Walt Disney Company would never reach. Its characters, for the most part Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig, have become some of the most recognizable in the world. It has also spawned a sister series, Merrie Melodies, and have been syndicated on television on most of the major TV networks, as well as creating many spin-off TV series like Tiny Toon Adventures.
In the middle of the Great Depression (1929), Warner Bros. wanted a quick and easy way to promote their vast music library. So they approached Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising to make a series of animated cartoons, a market dominated by The Walt Disney Company, with their star characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, etc. In April that year, they created a test cartoon, entitled Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid, starring the eponymous character Bosko, "a cartoonized version of a young black boy." The short, plotless cartoon opens with live action footage of Ising at a drafting table. After he draws Bosko on the page, the character springs to life, talks, sings, and dances. Ising returns Bosko to the inkwell, and the short ends. The short is a landmark in animation history as being the first to include synchronized speech, and set WB apart from Disney by focusing not on music, but on dialogue.
Finally, on April 19, 1930, exactly one year after creating the pilot cartoon, WB released their first Looney Tune, entitled "Sinkin' in the Bathtub." The cartoon was a moderate success, so Warner Bros. ordered more shorts starring Bosko, Honey, and Bruno. This would not last long. In 1933, after a buying dispute with executive producer Leon Schlesinger, Harman and Ising left for MGM, taking Bosko with them. Later that year, they created a bland, white-washed version of Bosko, named Buddy. His first 2 cartoons were so lame that WB refused to release them and fired his creator, Tom Palmer. Friz Freleng was hired to edit them and merge them into one short, entitled "Buddy's Day Out." Buddy did not go over well with the fans, and it was clear to WB that they needed a new star, FAST.