What were those circles at the begining of Merrie Melodies & Looney Tune cartoons?
They is what they is – a series of concentric circles of gradated colour.
In the thirties, the design was simpler, and it was more obvious that it was just an abstract frame for the text. (The circles were evenly spaced, the black-and-white gradient was more simpler and didn’t give the appearance of three-dimensionality, and the “Merry Melodies” title stayed within the boundary of the black inner circle.)
It was just elaborated on a few times until it had that distinctive appearance. It doesn’t represent anything.
For a long time I thought it was some kind of super drum, because some of the cartoons ended with Porky busting out of a bass drum to stutter the wrap, instead of the orange rings. (Six-year-old logic at work there. :D)
To me, they always seemed suggestive of the heavy theatre drapes that would gather and tuck as they opened in the old movie houses.
I always thought the circles were just art-deco-style curtainy things.
A third vote for a curtain/proscenium effect.
Fifthed, or is it Fived?
I can see how the shading reminds people of gathered curtains – but it doesn’t really make sense, what with them being concentric circles and all.
I wonder if the three-dimensional quality was supposed to evoke the architectural feel of an amphitheater, although the coitan idear ain’t too shabby, Doc.
Actual WB Cartoon Title Cards. By the late 1950s, they seem to have realistic shading, although my hypothesis is that they are just abstract concentric circles and not curtains (who ever heard of a round curtain?).
I’m not saying it is a curtain, just that it’s supposed to evoke one.
Who ever heard of a talking rabbit?
I always thought it looks like the interior of a hollowed-out carrot.
I was watching a lot of Time Tunnel reruns at the time…I always thought it was a portal into the cartoon, that Porky breaks free of to say “That’s all folks!”
In the film Space Jam, the circles are depicted as a portal into the world of the Looney Tunes (Michael Jordan is pulled through it by Bugs Bunny via a hole in the ground), so there is a plausibilty to that one.
Me too. I think it was because when I was first exposed to it, it was A) orange and B) on the Bugs Bunny show. The opening always said “Grab a carrot”.
Oooh, I think The Mad Hermit nailed it!
When I was a kid, I always thought we were zooming into someone’s eyeball, with the black pupil in the center. It was creepy to see Porky Pig bursting out of an eyeball.
Years later, when I was teaching myself Adobe Illustrator 1.0, I recreated those circles in my first attempt at gradients.