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I HATE TO BE AN ICONOCLAST BUT...
on June 7, 2007
Like most animation fans I love the work of Tex Avery for its rich, varried and fast paced humor. As a teacher of animation history I show my students about 2 hours of Avery's best work after their midterm exam each semester to cheer them up. That selection always includes at least one Droopy short.
I assume the producers of this collection thought the best way to sell Avery's work is to give the public a well known star who had a TV show years ago. That may sell more DVDs than a disc set called The Crazy World of Tex Avery, but in Averys case they are simply selling a once popular name and not the artist's best work. Avery's best shorts were not cartoons that featured the same star over and over. While a few of the Droopy shorts are brilliant, it appears Avery's producer or the front office at MGM told him they wanted more of the same. As a result too many of the shorts on the disc are full of variations of the same plots and gags. To make matters worse there are several late Droopys directed by Mike Lah after Avery left MGM that are disapointing for many reasons.
If you are an Avery fan the set is worth buying for the 5 or 6 gems on it and to understand what happens when the boss says give me more of the same. Seeing the set also helps explain why Avery felt he had to leave directing theatrical cartoons. I hope enough copies of this DVD set sell so in another year or two we will be treated to a much better selection of Avery classics. Many of those shorts do not feature a star, but are brilliant "one off" films; wonderful works of surreal humor. Avery is still in my mind the king of cartoons, but you might not agree he was that great after seeing this selection that features too many of his lesser works.