Normally, when a DVD series reaches its sixth volume, it’s safe to assume the good stuff has all been used up, and you’re stuck with leftovers. But in the case of the just-released sixth volume of the “Looney Tunes Golden Collection,” this is where things begin to get interesting. Very interesting.
Normally, when a DVD series reaches its sixth volume, it’s safe to assume the good stuff has all been used up, and you’re stuck with leftovers.
But in the case of the just-released sixth volume of the “Looney Tunes Golden Collection,” this is where things begin to get interesting. Very interesting.
That’s because all the well-known classics already have appeared, and so the cartoon historians over at Warner Bros. were forced to dig deep into the vaults to find something to fill these four DVDs. And what they found was very good indeed.
So good, in fact, that the first disc, which stars Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the gang, is by far the least interesting. These aren’t bad cartoons, but you’ve seen them before. That’s something you can’t say for the rest of the set.
Pop in disc two, “Patriotic Pals,” and you instantly know you’re in uncharted territory. Sure, the first cartoon, “Herr Meets Hare,” features the familiar plot of Bugs in the woods battling a hunter, but in this case the woods are Germany’s Black Forest and the hunter is, believe it or not, Nazi bigwig Hermann Goering.
There’s something especially satisfying about seeing Bugs deliver his patented brand of violent mayhem on a hunter who also happened to be a real-life monster.
And speaking of monsters, Hermann’s boss is the focus of the next ’toon on the disc, “Russian Rhapsody.” That’s right, Hitler himself stars in this wild short, trying to fly a bomber into Russia and finding himself bedeviled by “gremlins from the Kremlin.” There’s not much plot, but the animation (including several caricatures of Warner Bros. animators) is beautiful, and it’s a real kick seeing Hitler abused by these cute-but-brutal cartoon characters.
The are plenty of other fascinating World War II shorts here, including “The Ducktators” (barnyard birds play the roles of Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito), “Daffy the Commando” (you-know-who fights the Nazis) and “The Weakly Reporter” (a faux newsreel about life back home).
Disc three goes even further back, showcasing Bosco and Buddy, two Warner Bros. characters who predate Bugs, Daffy and the rest. These black-and-white cartoons aren’t as polished or funny as the later ones, but they do offer a peek into the distant past of animation.
And a couple are just plain strange enough to be worth repeat viewing: “A Cartoonist’s Nightmare” is downright surreal, and “Bosko’s Picture Show” has Bosko uttering a word I hadn’t heard in a cartoon until the “South Park” movie — and that Bosko ’toon is 75 years old!
The final disc on the set features various one-shots and rarities. There’s the Dr. Seuss-inspired “Horton Hatches and Egg,” the sci-fi flavored “Martian Through Georgia” and the interplanetary baby switch epic “Rocket-bye Baby.” I saw that last one decades ago, when I was a little kid, but it was so funny and imaginative that I never forgot it. It’s a real pleasure to see it again, and it’s even smarter and funnier than I remembered.
The “Looney Tunes Golden Collection” has plenty of extras, including a well-done bio of voice artist Mel Blanc and some fascinating home movies from the animation studios. But the real gems are the cartoons themselves — rarely seen, but never forgotten.
Contact Will Pfeifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1244. Read his Movie Man blog at blogs.e-rockford.com/movieman/.
Some DVDs out today ...
“A Christmas Story”
“Confessions of a Pit Fighter”
“Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas”
“Futurama: Bender’s Game”
“Jag: The Seventh Season”
“Killing of a Chinese Bookie”
“Popeye the Sailor: 1941-43 Volume 3”
“The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series”
And CDs ...
Brad Paisley, “Play”
Hinder, “Take It To The Limit”
The Game, “The Black Wall Street Volume One”
Shiny Toy Guns, “Season Of Poison”
Chris Cornell, “Scream”
Hezekiah Walker, “Souled Out”
Big Boi, “Sir Luscious Left Foot”
OhGr, “Devils In My Details”
Jeff Dunham, “Don’t Come Home For Christmas”
Sources: dvdtalk.com, tophitsonline.com