Flaming Lips, Tom Jones, and Dave Mustaine on Duck Dodgers
I wish I could tell you that this was the Flaming Lips, Tom Jones, and Dave Mustaine performing on the same track. How unfathomably cool would that be? But alas, Mustaine is the odd man out there; the Duck Dodgers theme was sung by Jones, fronting the Flaming Lips, while Mustaine played himself in one episode, even performing the Megadeth song "Back In The Day" from the album The System Has Failed.
At first it may seem strange for Mustaine to use a kids’ show to promote a new Megadeth album, but Duck Dodgers was spun off from a 1953 cartoon in which Daffy Duck played a parody of sci-fi superhero Buck Rogers. Mustaine’s inclusion was giving the game away, admitting that the show was for nostalgic boomers and Xers rather than the children of 2004.
The plot is paper thin, even for a ten-minute cartoon. Daffy Duck and Porky Pig in the "twenty-fourth-and-a-half century” must recruit Mustaine, who is cryogenically frozen in the basement of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, to defeat Marvin the Martian for reasons I couldn’t follow. After walking past the bodies of Paul McCartney, Madonna, and Jim Morrison, they come to Mustaine, thaw him out in a microwave, and use a tape of VH1’s Behind The Music to restore his memories. These references are probably more shout-outs to the more grown-up audience members, but Looney Tunes has always had a weird tradition of conspicuously grown-up pop-culture references. How many Millenials know who Peter Lorre was because of Bugs Bunny?
The Tom Jones/Flaming Lips theme is more uncontroversially awesome. It reminds me of that When You’re Overqualified meme. They were going for a mid-century Saul Bass meets James Bond theme vibe. Tom Jones fits right into that, except it’s one of those situations where the real thing is a bit too real. Cartoons are not about being real; a sound-a-like would’ve made way more sense.
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