Tazmania: when the devil challenged Noam Chomsky

In the 1990s, Warner Bros brought the Tasmanian devil back into the limelight, the only true, authentic Taz. And it was an authentic Tazmania!

he last school bell in June 1993 was a cry for freedom and the beginning of satisfying routines that, years later, recreate that magical nostalgic aftertaste that makes children suddenly return.

The purchase of the Super Santos to face in the best way a summer in which you wanted to be more daring than the classic Super Tele blue and black, but without overdoing it by buying an expensive Tango, an evident symbol of the upper class. On TV the summer had two faces. On the one hand we witnessed with trepidation and pathos the eternal bitter challenge between Italy and Switzerland a Games without Frontiers, with an unbridled cheering made for Lignano Sabbiadoro against Locarno. In the meantime, a Fiorello still in a pigtail version that on the stage of the Verona arena announces his presence at FestivalBar of a group that has been reformulating Italian pop for two years, the 883. While every jukebox on the peninsula broadcasts You’re a mythwe proceed to the tour of the cabin cruisers in search of Street Fighter II. Once back under the umbrella, we proceeded to find the right angle to be able to look at the screen of the Game Boy without losing additional diopters.

In that summer when the utmost concern was blowing on a cartridge that did not start, the first episode of a series that rewrote the rules of dubbing is broadcast on Canale 5, thanks to an extraordinary Pietro Ubaldi. In full summer season Tazmania it made its debut on the flagship network at a time when cartoons were included in the two main programs: Bim Bum Bam And Big!, which in that year would have aired for the last time, hosted by Maria Teresa Ruta and a very young and always very tanned Carlo Conti. But who was that character completely over the top with language that would have short-circuited any linguist? To understand the meaning of the series and his (his) life, you have to go back in time.


We are in the heart of the thirties, in the land where dreams and stars illuminate the cinematic firmament. In the cartoon field in Hollywood, two characters who monopolized the scene dictated the law: the inevitable and irreproachable baby mouse and the diva Betty Boop that in a few years he would have lost his scepter and fame as Pro Vercelli and Vado in football. Hugh Harman And Rudolf Isingtwo virtuous film producers and directors, proposed to their wealthy colleague, Leon Schlesinger, the production of two series that would revolutionize the world of cartoons tout court. Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies. Harman and Ising’s shorts hit it off immediately, their style and characters worked. All but the very first creation, Bosko, who had a troubled life but entered the history of animation by right, as a short film of him is the first to contain the synchronized discourse.

The success of the Looney Tunes it is planetary and Schlesinger decides to take advantage of this unexpected boom, so he sells his studio to the Warner brothers who rename the company Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. In the Warner phase, the Looney Tunes multiply and make their debut many characters who will then become iconic. On July 19, 1954, he finally arrived Taz. In the short film Devil May Hare our dear Tasmanian devil chases Bugs Bunny, in a riot of snarls, screeches and strange noises. The character can read, write but cannot speak, sending the rabbit symbol of Warner Bros. into a beast.

Taz it was conceived by the animator Robert McKimson, which for its aesthetic appearance and its violent nature was based on the Tasmanian devil marsupial. After the debut in the room, the opinions are mixed and the manufacturer Ewdwars Selzer, Head of the Warner animation studio, Edward Selzer orders Mc Kimson to shelve the character, deemed too violent for the younger audience, forever. Following a period in which Taz is sidelined, the head of Warner Bros Jack L. Warner loudly demands the return of the character, after having received thousands of letters from people who had particularly liked that funny creature suffering from a serious dysnomy.

Four more Taz cartoons are thus produced: McKimson would direct four more Taz cartoons: Bedeviled Rabbit (published April 13, 1957). Ducking the Devil (August 17, 1957), in which Taz is paired with Duffy Duck, Bugs in Bill of Hare (June 9, 1962) e Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare (March 28, 1964).
In 1964, after a series of bizarre vicissitudes, the Warner Bros animation studio is closed and the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series were briefly subcontracted to DePatie-FrelengEnterprises from 1964 to 1967.

The studio was then completely refounded by Hal Geer with the new name Warner Bros. Animation in 1980, to carry on the works related to the Looney Tunes world. But it is in 1990 that Warner Bros. Animation gets a second life in the world of television animation. To rejuvenate its roster of characters and to intercept the new generations born in the nineties it is created Tiny Toon Adventures in collaboration with the Amblin Entertainment from Steven Spielberg. In the series, a group of young cartoon characters attend Acme Looniversity to become the next generation of characters in the Looney Tunes series. Among the various protagonists there is also a baby Taz, Dizzy Devilwhich in Italian will be voiced by Pietro Ubaldi.

The success of the series leads Warner to focus again on television products, continuing with that typical style of the Nineties, colorful and pop. There Warner Bros. Animation so he decides to deepen a character with great potential, but who until then, thanks to the stop after the closure of the first studios, had not had the right spotlight. On 7 September 1991 the Foxwhich distributed WB cartoons in the US, is broadcasting for the first time Tazmania. The Dog the Turtle Story will be the first of 65 episodes, divided into four seasons, which aired until 1995.


The character is completely revolutionized compared to the first appearances of the fifties. In Tazmania the more violent nuances of the protagonist are smoothed, Taz remains wild and unwilling to good manners, but in this series he becomes caring, affectionate, especially towards his large family. In fact, all the family members are included: the father, who is a clear parody of the 1940s actor and singer Bing Crosbythe busy mother, the brother who idolizes him, his sister in constant competition and his uncle, whose character is a tribute to Bob Hope. Tazmania has constant references to films and musicals of the forties, often citing the couple Crosby / Hope, protagonist of numerous films in the parodies of Hope and Crosby’s whose road movie series of the fifties is often mentioned in several episodes.

Another novelty is included in the series, the fulcrum of the narrative: Taz is a porter at the hotel Tazmania, in which most of the episodes rotate. The hateful and misanthropic chief is present in the hotel Bushwhacker Bobanother enjoyable tribute to the series, this time to the English sitcom Fawlty Towers. In the residence, in addition to Bob’s mother, always in contrast with the crazy ideas of his son, the waitress Costance Koala and the wallaby Mr. Thickly work, who in the original version is voiced by Dan Castallenetahistorical voice actor of Homer Simpson.
To complete the cast of Tazmania we find a myriad of anthropomorphic characters of the most disparate origins: wild boars, alligators, dingoes, platypuses. In short, the whole of Oceania in one series.

The Italian version was a true masterpiece of adaptation. As often happened in the nineties, the liberty was taken to completely revisit the original, with mixed success. In this case the innovations made characterized even more Tazmania. Pietro Ubaldi, Taz’s voice, alternated verses with actual sentences, often inserted even when the character did not open his mouth, increasing being totally over the lines of the devil. Adding to Tazmania’s sense of madness were countless moments when Taz broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience directly.

Unforgettable then the videogame transposition, a 2D platformer, whose version Mega Drive it was one of the most desired games of 1992. Because Taz may have been linguistically impractical, but her character was an icon of the nineties. Zaza Bazula as a way of life.

Tazmania: when the devil challenged Noam Chomsky – Stay Nerd