Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Vol. 6
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Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Vol. 6 (DVD)
We’ve saved the best for last… more of your favorite Looney Tunes…your wish is our command. The concluding release from the Golden Collection Series is a 4-disc set with 60 more of the most looneytic Looney Tunes ever unleashed. Plus, 15 bonus shorts to make this the biggest collection of Looney Tunes ever! Indeed, some have never before been on home video! Disc 1 – Looney Tunes All Stars, featuring best loved characters in classic shorts Disc 2 – Patriotic Pals Disc 3 – Bosko, Buddy & Merrie Melodies. Enjoy rare treasures from the original looney toons before they were Looney Tunes! Disc 4 - Most Requested “Assorted Nuts” Favorite shorts that defy classification!]]>
Fifteen cartoons dating from World War II give Volume 6 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection more focus than previous sets. Many of the 1940's cartoons remain very funny. Bugs Bunny dresses up as Brunnhilda and rides in to the strains of "Tannhauser" in "Herr Meets Hare" (1945), a gag Chuck Jones re-used to greater effect in "What's Opera, Doc" a dozen years later. In "Russian Rhapsody" (1940) some of the gremlins who sabotage Hitler's bomber are caricatures of the Warner Bros. artists. Chuck Jones appears as a chunky, pinkish-tan homunculus swinging a mallet; Friz Freleng is a little green man with a saw-like nose. Younger viewers may find the references to wartime shortages puzzling--or fail to recognize the caricatures of Hermann Goering, Hideki Tojo and Joseph Stalin. Some of the other cartoons can still bring down the house, including "Satan's Waitin'" (1954), in which Sylvester manages to lose all nine of his lives in pursuit of Tweety, and "Bear Feat" (1949), another exercise in futility for Jones' Three Bears. The early musicals featuring Bosko, Foxy (or Freddy Fox) and Buddy have not aged well. Created by Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising, these characters were modeled on Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse, but lack charm and personality. Some more recent films reveal how social attitudes have changed. "Wild Wife," a spoof of a suburban housewife's tribulations, may have seemed hilarious in 1954; today, it's just a laundry list of sexist gags. Like the previous installments, Volume 6 comes loaded with extras. The rarest are five shorts Friz Freleng directed at MGM in 1938. Producer Fred Quimby lured Freleng away from Warner Bros.--only to insist he adapt the comic strip "The Captain and the Kids," Rudolph Dirks' version of "The Katzenjammer Kids." Freleng correctly predicted the films would flop as the characters were "the meanest little bastards in the world," and soon returned to Warners. (Unrated, suitable for ages 6 and older: cartoon violence, ethnic stereotypes, mild risqué humor, alcohol & tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
(1. Hare Trigger, 2. To Duck or Not to Duck, 3. Birth of a Notion, 4. My Little Duckaroo, 5. Crowing Pains, 6. Raw! Raw! Rooster! 7. Heaven Scent, 8. My Favorite Duck, 9. Jumpin' Jupiter, 10. Satan's Waitin', 11. Hook Line and Stinker, 12. Bear Feat, 13. Dog Gone South, 14. A Ham in a Role, 15. Often an Orphan, 16. Herr Meets Hare, 17. Russian Rhapsody, 18. Daffy the Commando, 19. Bosko the Doughboy, 20. Rookie Revue, 21. The Draft Horse, 22. Wacky Blackout, 23. The Ducktators, 24. The Weakly Reporter, 25. Fifth Column Mouse, 26. Meet John Doughboy, 27. Hollywood Canine Canteen, 28. By Word of Mouse, 29. Heir Conditioned, 30. Yankee Dood It, 31. Congo Jazz, 32. Smile Dam Ya, Smile! 33. The Booze Hangs High, 34. One More Time, 35. Bosko's Picture Show, 36. You Don't Know What You're Doin'! 37. We're in the Money! 38. Ride 'em Bosko, 39. Shuffle Off to Buffalo, 40. Bosko in Person, 41. The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, 42. Buddie's Day Out, 43. Buddie's Beer Garden. 44. Buddie's Circus, 45. A Cartoonist's Nightmare, 46. Horton Hatches the Egg, 47. Lights Fantastic, 48. Fresh Airedale, 49. Chow Hound, 50. The Oily American, 51. It's Hummer Time, 52. Rocket Bye Baby, 53. Goo Goo Goliath, 54. Wild Wife, 55. Much Ado About Nutting, 56. The Hole idea, 57. Now Hear This, 58. Martian Through Georgia, 59. Page Miss Glory. 60. Norman Normal)
Commentaries by Animators, Historians Profiling Specific Cartoons, Characters and Creators
Music-only and Music-and-Effects Tracks on Selected Shorts
Bonus Rarities from the Vaults, Including Friz Freleng at MGM Cartoons and The World of Leon Schlesinger Gallery
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Much of the cartoons on Disc 1 and Disc 4 were part of a Spotlight Collection I had previously bought and so I didn't watch the cartoons on those two disc's. I mainly focused on Disc 2, the early black and whites on Disc 3, and the documentary on Disc 4 about Mel Blanc titled Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices.
On Disc 1 and Disc 3 you'll see cartoons with a lot of different voice actors. Daws Butler's voice appears in several cartoons on Disc 4. His voice can also be heard briefly on the short, "Heir-Conditioned", on Disc 2 as some of the alley cats who are after Sylvester's inheritance. Butler is also heard more prominently in "Yankee Dood It", on Disc 2, as the shoemaker and the King Elf's apprentice who can never remember the name 'Rumpelstiltskin' and often utters the phrase 'Jehoshaphat'. King Elf is actually Elmer Fudd in traditional Elf costume sporting a big gold crown on his head. Sylvester is part of this cartoon but doesn't have many lines.
The documentary on Mel Blanc is exceptional, in my opinion, as it showcases Mel's career from it's beginnings in the 1920's on local radio in the upper West Coast until his sudden death in 1989. In the span of one year, 1988-1989, the animation world lost several legends: Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, George O'Hanlon, and Jim Backus.
In short, Mel Blanc was a true superstar of radio, records, television, and cartoons. Yes...Mel made a lot of records in the '40s and '50s...a lot of those records were aimed at children (some singles had an older target audience, too). Most people don't know that Mel created the Woody Woodpecker laugh...and was the original voice of Woody at the very beginning. Those offering their thoughts on Mel in this documentary are a varied group.
Disc 2 is comprised mostly of the World War Two cartoons from the early to mid '40s. The last three cartoons on Disc 2 are about the rewards of capitalism and how it's the ideal economic system of free nations: "By Word of Mouse", "Heir-Conditioned", and "Yankee Dood It".
The war cartoons in their unedited form have been a much sought after item of Looney Tunes fans for decades and it took until this final Golden Collection installment to have a disc devoted entirely to those particular cartoons. I saw a comment on-line about how a consumer was dismayed about the all-military art work on the DVD and how it made the person think the entire collection was only military cartoons. The consumer must've bought the DVD based upon cover art and didn't really notice the product page here that describes what all is on the collection.
Now...about that second disc...first and foremost I find nothing wrong with these war cartoons. I am of the belief that the private citizens of Germany and Japan were not being mocked or ridiculed in those cartoons...instead it was the Government of those countries and their military being ridiculed. Once a person enlists in the military he or she is no longer a private citizen and anything's fair game (however 'unfair' that may come across to some).
Before going any further a history lesson is in order for those my age and younger who perhaps aren't as familiar with the mid 40's era of animation and the impact the war had on everyone in all forms of entertainment.
Today's audience see what I call fractured political and military messages strewn through prime-time dramas and comedies on a regular basis...but back in the '40s there was one singular message that flowed through these war cartoons and that message was crystal clear: Support the War Effort.
During WWII America's enemies were primarily Germany and Japan...and the military of those two countries saw a heavy dose of ridicule from cartoon houses all over America. All the animation studios were doing war cartoons on a frequent basis but the Warner cartoons were the most daring, I think, of all the animation studios. Why do I say that? Well, it's because of the style in which the Warner cartoons prided themselves as being. The same irreverence and slapstick overtones of the non-military cartoons carried over to the war cartoons...using the same established characters doing things that the military personnel and those on the home front would LOVE to have done to any number of dictators and tyrants of the world. In that regard the war cartoons provided a much needed psychological comfort.
Some have complained about the ethnic stereotypes in those cartoons but I have no sympathy toward the dictators, tyrants, and enemy combatants who get ridiculed and mocked (stereotypically or otherwise) in these war cartoons.
The WWII cartoons are sought after so much, as I mentioned, that it appears the company deliberately used the military decor to put all the attention on those WWII cartoons. The individual disc's feature a character in a saluting position with an American flag backdrop. Each disc's number is penciled onto an illustrated dog tag, too!
What are the extra's and bonus features you may be asking!?! On Disc 4, as mentioned earlier, there's the Mel Blanc documentary. There are four "bonus cartoons" on Disc 4. On Disc 2 there are three bonus cartoons of a military overtone to go along with the WWII cartoons on that disc. Also, there's the inclusion of The Captain and the Kids cartoons that Friz Freleng did for MGM during his short hiatus from Warner Brothers.
On the black and white Disc 3 there's a special called The World of Leon Schlesinger while there are 4 bonus cartoons. In actuality there are 4 bonus cartoons on each disc, making that 19 cartoons altogether on each of the 4 discs.
There are 2 Looney Tunes television specials as special features on Disc One: "A Connecticut Rabbit in King Arthur's Court" and "Daffy Duck's Easter Special".
The first special, from 1978, is listed on the DVD by it's VHS title of "Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court". The made-for-TV cartoon is entertaining and doesn't feature any clips of vintage cartoons which was often the case whenever the Looney Tunes appeared in TV specials. However, there ARE scenes in the King Arthur special which re-use dialogue from other Bugs Bunny cartoons and the die-hard fans will spot right away. Also something that will be detected right away is that Mel Blanc provides the voice of Elmer Fudd, as he had done off and on since original voice actor, Arthur Q. Bryan, had passed away. Mel's natural voice was quite distinctive and it shines through in his performance as Elmer.
The second special, from 1980, is also listed by it's VHS title, "Daffy Duck's Easter Egg-Citement". In this special there are three newly created stories woven together: "The Yolk's On You", "The Chocolate Chase", and "Daffy Flies North". The characters featured are Daffy, Speedy Gonzales, Sylvester, Miss Prissy, Foghorn Leghorn. In subsequent decades the three cartoon shorts have been shown separately on various Looney Tunes programs.
All in all it's an outstanding collection...which are what the Golden Collection releases have always been.
Like many others, I grew up with the Warner Bros.cartoons on Saturday. There I was introduced to all the characters done in the 50's and 60's era style. Loved them. Then, on occasion, a cartoon from the 40's would turn up and I was amazed at how different they were from the regular fare from Freleng and Jones. That's when I discovered Clampett, who had left Warner's by the 50's. I also noted that the work of Jones and Freleng were different then too. Richer and funnier to me. Anyway, that era became my preference and I am glad that this collection has a load of them.
This is a nice addition to the Golden Collection series, yet there are a few aspects that prevent this set from reaching the lofty heights of a few of the previous volumes.
Disc One has a great mix of cartoons, ranging from Yosemite Sam's debut to a couple of Foghorn Leghorn classics. (One frustrating thing about the Golden Collection is how few Foggy cartoons were included - considering that Speedy Gonzales got an entire disc..!)
Disc Two features a lot of rare WW2 cartoons, as well as the three WB cartoons of the 50's that speak of the vitures of capitalism.
Disc Three probably won't appeal to the average fan, but the early B&W cartoons are fun to watch on a rainy afternoon (for me, anyway!).
Disc Four is pure gold! Many rare, one-shot cartoons that fans have wanted to get for years. These one-shot cartoons are films the directors *wanted* to make. They often feature experimental storylines and artwork. They are also often better than the films that featured WB's usual cast of characters.
The bonus features on this collection are quite sparse, yet we *do* get one of the best bonus items in the whole Golden Collection series - the infamous Schlesinger Christmas reels!
The Christmas reels are short comedy programs made by the studio to be shown before the employees all went out to the annual Christmas party. It's a treat to be able to see all of the people who worked at the studio all those years ago.
There is also an optional commentary by Martha Sigall and Jerry Beck. Martha identifies just about everyone in the short films. Her memories offer a wonderful glimpse into life at the studio and finally being able to put faces to the names we've seen all these years is a treat! (After watching the reels, go watch "Russian Rhapsody" and try to see which
gremlin was which Schlesinger employee!)
Sadly, apart from the Christmas reels and the in-depth feature on Mel Blanc, the rest of the bonus features included are lacking.
The "bonus" shorts are unrestored, which is painfully obvious. Warner Brothers has said that future collections won't "double dip", yet I hope this doesn't mean these bonus shorts won't be restored. Including them on this set seems to suggest that they won't be restored in the future. That would be unfortunate.
The number participants for cartoon commentaries also dropped off. Only Jerry Beck, Greg Ford, and Mark Kausler took part. Earlier volumes featured more of a variety of participants, so it seems like this is more bare-bones release than the earlier collections.
The "lower-shelf" feeling is also enhanced by some quality-control issues too... For example, there is a Jerry Beck introduction on disc three for the "Bugs Bunny Bond Rally", yet that film is not on the disc. What's more, the packaging lists a Jerry Beck commentary for "Fifth Column Mouse", yet there is no commentary for that cartoon on the disc...
Volume 6 is a welcome addition to the Golden Collection series, but maybe it is time to move on. The bare-bones "bonus" features and lack of commentary participants makes this release seem to be not as special as earlier volumes. The lack of quality control also makes you wonder if now might be the best time to end this series. (Maybe we'll eventually see collections that feature characters like Foghorn Leghorn and Pepe Le Pew (ala the "Golden Jubilee 24 Karat" VHS collections from the mid-80's.)
But, the (main) episodes look as great as the cartoons do on the earlier sets, which is why we buy these in this first place. For that fact alone this set is highly recommended!