Foundational Quotes from the Looney Tunes Canon

It would be hard to overstate how much Looney Tunes means to me. When that WB logo blossoms out of the void, it’s like a flower of joy blooming in my heart. That’s what it’s like, okay?

We all have our favorite scenes from Looney Tunes, and the kids can recite long swaths of dialogue by heart. But some phrases have actually worked their way into our everyday speech, to the point where we don’t even realize we’re quoting, say, a puma. Here are a few Looney Tunes phrases that have become Fisherized:


Oh, t’ree or fou-er.

Source: Rabbit’s Kin
Typical use: “What time do you think you’ll get out of that meeting?” – “Ohhh, t’ree or fou-er.”

It’s a sticky one, but I’m not happy about it. When Bugs Bunny is being sadistic to Daffy Duck (who would kill him if he could) or Elmer Fudd (ditto), it’s not so bad, because they were definitely asking for it. Even that poor fat opera singer somehow doesn’t gain our sympathy.  But Pete Puma — okay, he is an unpleasant character, and he did want to eat Bugs Bunny, but this is a creature who should be gently led by the hand to learn basket weaving. He shouldn’t have his head lumps hammered back into his skull with a special little sadism hammer Gosh. Bugs Bunny goes too far in this one. Anyway, “Oh, t’ree or fou-er” does pass my lips pretty often. I just can’t help it.


An innnnn-teresting monster

Source: Water, Water Everyhare

Typical use: “Is Irene dressed yet?”
“I guess so. She is wearing pajamas, a vampire cape, and a bucket on her head.”
“Well, she is an interesting monster.”


Ah’m a-splurgin!

This is the only YouTube clip I could find, and they’ve messed with the sound; not sure why. But the pertinent phrase in intact.  (You can see the same clip here, but I can’t embed it.)

Source: High Diving Hare
Typical use:  I’m in the supermarket with my daughter, looking at hot sauce. I decide to go for the big bottle, and turn around to shout at my daughter, “Ahhhh’m a-splurgin!” Of course it turns out to be not my daughter, but some nervous-looking stranger who scoots out of there pretty quick.


“Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” ” Pronoun trouble”  “Yays?” and ” . . . not again! . . . ” “You’re despicable.” and “Still lurking about.”
Also “Out of sheer honesty!” 

Source: All from that masterpiece, Rabbit Seasoning
Typical Use:  My kids can recite this entire cartoon. I think it’s pretty easy to imagine how the phrases “Yays?” “Not again!” “You’re despicable” and “Still lurking about!” and even “Shoot him now! Shoot him now!” would get used. “Pronoun trouble” is a little more arcane, but when your household is full of people who are just learning how to talk. So when someone is trying to tell you, “MAMA, he said hit me back because I told him she took my spoon but she hit him first and you said he was supposed to give it to meeeeeeeeee,” you can imagine how there is often, in fact, pronoun trouble.

“Out of sheer honesty!” is for when you are a terrible human being and you’re not going to deny it, and yet even you are unable to believe what the other guy is trying to get away with. Useful for conversations about Joe Biden, or Robert Sungenis, or when you are checking over the kitchen after the kids cleaned it, and you discover that, rather than wash a pot, they have hidden it inside the toaster oven.


No one will ever know!

Source: “The Dover Boys at Pimento University”
Typical use: “I’ll just slip this tooth fairy money under the pillow of the twelve-year-old, who is wide awake. NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW”

Kind of a weird and forgettable cartoon. I have no idea why this phrase stuck. Probably because, around the time we first saw it, my son was about three and could be found running circles around his three older sisters, shrieking, “SNEAKIN’ AROUND!” My kids are subtle that way.


What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?

I can’t find a clip and I’ve been working on this post, off an on, for six days. If you haven’t seen it and/or can’t call it to mind, I’m just sorry for you.

Source: “Devil May Hare”
Typical Use:  You have just given the toddler everything she asked for: an apple, a banana, a banana that is peeled right, instead of one that is peeled wrong; a cracker, a cup of water, a cup of water in the right kind of cup, instead of the wrong kind of cup; the right kind of cup with MILK in it, not WATER. You offer to read her a favorite book, and she freaks out, flails around, gives you a bloodly lip with her flailing head, and then settles down on your lap, and pees on you.

“What for you bury me in the cold, cold ground?” is one of the few things the Tasmanian Devil ever actually says. To me, this speaks of the desperate genius of classic Looney Tunes. You just know that the writers were half in the bag at all times, and probably battling against the manic despair that most creative people feel when they do the thing that ends up making them money. Did they have dreams of rubbing elbows with Checkov? Did they imagine themselves writing dialogue for rabbits and ducks?  Anyway, rarely has heart spoken to heart more poignantly than when this cri de coeur slips past the Tasmanian Devil’s spittle flecked lips. I weep for the Taz and the Daffy Duck, and of course the Wile E. Coyote, in all of us. I am despicable, and I know it.

PIC How about ending this cartoon before I hit?

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