Reviews: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3
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Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3

Another Milestone in the DVD Medium!
By Thad Komorowski

It seems like this is going to be the norm now. Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 3 blows the first two volumes away. Everything about this set is incredible, right down to even the packaging and menus! I sincerely hope they just add new animations and such, but just keep the same format for the menus. I was shocked when I saw how wonderful they were. A big thanks to George Feltenstein, Jerry Beck, and the rest for making a stupendous collection.

Disc One: Bugs Bunny Classics
Tashlin's closing comments on the studio

Out of the four discs, the wabbit's own is probably my favorite. I have fond memories of growing up watching many of these 1940s shorts on public domain and MGM/UA videos, but it was like seeing them for the first time here.

"Hare Tonic", "A Hare Grows in Manhattan", and "Easter Yeggs" have been favorites of mine for many years, and these restorations really let you see so much detail, it's scary. Did you ever notice that there's a jagged seam in the backgrounds of "Hare Remover" (when it pans downward and to the right outside of Elmer's lab) and "Acrobatty Bunny" (as Bugs is going up his elevator)? I never did, and I thought it was great being able to see that much detail.

Did you say THAT?!


Three common public domain shorts are some of the best highlights of this whole set. "Wabbit Who Came to Supper", "Wackiki Wabbit", and particularly "Case of the Missing Hare" are some of the best restoration jobs I've ever seen. The last title has so many great background changes to reflect the mood of the animation, and I've never noticed that the curtains are blue in some scenes, due to the faded prints we've seen of it for years.

Late 40s and early 50s classics round out this disc, including Art Davis' and Robert McKimson's masterpieces "Bowery Bugs" and "Hillbilly Hare" (which is advertised as a classic on a sticker on the front of the cover). I love watching all that great Emery Hawkins and Rod Scribner animation.

And happiness will be thine...


Bonus features include insightful commentary by Jerry Beck, Mike Barrier, Greg Ford, Eddie Fitzgerald, and a reconstruction of the Bugs Bunny Show episode "The Honey-Mousers". I sort of wish they'd have included a few seconds of the cartoons Bugs is watching on his TV, but oh well. And listening to Mel Blanc audio recording sessions (this time for the episode titled "Ball Point Puns") is always a treat as well.

There was also a nice documentary on the Hunter's Trilogy (since it was concluded with "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!" on this disc), though one could argue that they glazed over the 1940s Daffy, as if there was never a period inbetween 1930s insane Daffy and 1950s jerky Daffy. You've gotta love John K.'s immitation of Bugs in the shorts as well (which is surprisingly accurate).

Disc Two: Hollywood Caricatures & Parodies

Now I love the parodies of the stars of the days in the Warner cartoons, but I'm kind of hoping that they give it a rest with them for a few sets. I'm actually kind of surprised they managed to get two discs in two sets. But it still doesn't detract from the fact that there are some excellent cartoons here.

I'll take turkey, with all the trrrrrrrrrrrimmings!


I'd forgotten how funny "Daffy Duck in Hollywood", "The Woods are Full of Cuckoos", and "She Was an Acrobat's Daughter" were. And what fantastic restorations! "Speakin' of the Weather" is presented here with its original titles for the first time in about sixty years as well. I was really pleased to see that "The Film Fan" had its proper closing restored. The older copy had a messed-up ending where it was all out of sync. Thankfully it was fixed for this collection.

I'm going to tayell, I'm going to tayell!


The short I find myself re-watching again and again here is the overlooked masterpiece, "Thugs with Dirty Mugs" by Tex Avery. I've always loved this cartoon, and I found myself in awe at the wonderful layouts here, which are really strengthened thanks to the improved image quality. And that teller and "Take that you rat!" have to be two of the most defining moments in WB cartoon history!

Anxiety by Friz Freleng


It was also nice to see some of the later day parodies included here as well, such as the classic "The Last Hungry Cat", and a few of McKimson's many TV spoofs, including the frequently butchered "Wideo Wabbit", presented here uncensored. I'd be lying if I said that I like all of the cartoons here, because many of them are quite boring. "The Coo-Coo Nut Grove", "Goofy Groceries" (ironically, the only cartoon on the set with enough black caricatures to deserve a warning), and "Hollywood Capers" are good examples of them. It was nice to see an earlier black-and-white short though.

Elmer's Candid Camera: The Untold Story

The best commentary on the disc was on "The Honey-Mousers" with June Foray. I laughed out loud when June said she couldn't remember if she voiced Alice in the other two shorts! This set also has the best documentary, the one I was most looking forward to, which is on the restoration of these films. The people responsible for these mind-blowing transfers certainly deserve recognition.

Disc Three: Porky & the Pigs
Warners' First Major Star


This great salute to the first major Warner cartoon star, Porky Pig, is probably my second favorite disc. It accurately shows the evolution of our favorite ham, from his debut in "I Haven't Got a Hat" to his days as Daffy Duck's sidekick in "Robin Hood Daffy". The Porky shorts presented are, for the most part, in chronological order. There is an occasional break with a non-Porky, but pig-themed, short.

He's seyuh-seyuh-so silly!


Starting off the disc is appropriately the ham's bit player debut, which probably didn't look this wonderful even when it premiered in 1935. We then get to see some of his great black-and-white cartoons, starting off with Frank Tashlin's controversial classic "Porky's Romance", the first appearance of his girlfriend, Petunia Pig. There are some of Bob Clampett's first assignments, the hilarious "Porky's Party" and "Porky in Egypt", and even Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton get highlighted with one of their black-and-white efforts "Porky and Teabiscuit"! "Porky Pig's Feat" rounds out the black-and-white shorts on this volume, and they couldn't have picked a better one. Tashlin's monochromatic techniques are more noticeable than ever now.

DVNR was suspected briefly...


We then come to the point where Porky was becoming more of a straightman for crazy ducks and other funny animals. Prime examples are the hilarious "Daffy Duck Slept Here", "Bye, Bye Bluebeard", and "An Egg Scramble". Still, Porky is more of a star in these cartoons than he is in, say, "Rocket Squad" or "Robin Hood Daffy". By that time, he was officially second banana to Daffy Duck.

Another master musical by Isadore


Now we have a few non-Porky shorts to look at. Most notably is Friz Freleng's classic, "Pigs in a Polka", which proves the man is master of the musical cartoon. The timing is so perfect that it's a wonder that there isn't more hype over this masterpiece. This year it seems though that they couldn't keep Bugs off a single disc, but that's OK in my book when it's the great "The Windblown Hare"! I loved listening to the music-and-effects track for such an early short.

Sylvester tries to shoot someone during a commentary recording


One of the most fascinating extras on this set are the original storyboards for "Porky's Party". I always wondered why they used a nameless penguin and goose for this cartoon rather than the already established Gabby Goat or even Petunia Pig. Well to my surprise these show that they were originally cast for the cartoon! I'd just like to point out that I loved John K. on the last volume... But here he comes off as some sort of reincarnation of Bob Clampett himself! While I agreed with him on a point or two in his commentary for "Claws for Alarm" with Eddie Fitzgerald, the main point he's trying to get across seems to be that Chuck Jones invented the idea of a boring cartoon.

Disc Four: All-Star Cartoon Party
Brica Bracka Firecracka Siss-Boom-Ba!


Now we have the annual "all-star" set. This collection of shorts ranges from the earliest days and debuts of the stars, to the height of their popularity during the Second World War, and to the final days of the studio. Overall, it's a good showcase of Warner characters.

Keep your noses out of other a people's a business, eh!


Two of Daffy's earliest shorts are present, the Tex Avery classic "Daffy Duck and Egghead" (here for the first time with original titles) and Chuck Jones' "Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur". It's cool to see these shorts almost simultaneously, as you can really see a difference between the style of each director with this character. We finally get Chuck Jones' classic "Super-Rabbit" as well, one of his earliest and best attempts with the wabbit. Cottontail Smith never looked this good!

The Naked Genius


A good chunk of this disc could also be considered 'A Salute to Bob Clampett'. The Rod Scribner animation in masterpieces like Tweety's "Gruesome Twosome" and Daffy's "Draftee Daffy" shine here, and to answer the question, yes Tweety has been kept flesh-pink for this release! Bugs Bunny's run in with the gremlin, "Falling Hare" is highlighted with its original storyboard as a bonus feature. Parts of the bonus feature portions of the completed short with DVNR... Be thankful they didn't use it for the actual program!

Foggy's debut


Also included are Pepe Le Pew and Foghorn Leghorn's first appearances, "Odor-Able Kitty" and "Walky Talky Hawky". It's a shame they couldn't get the original credits, but they still look amazing. Friz Freleng's Oscar winner, "Birds Anonymous" gets the spotlight with a documentary and music-only track. Chuck Jones' Wile E. Coyote and Ralph Wolf also appear, as well as Speedy Gonzales' "Gonzales' Tamales".

I now know the point of rationing food!


Bonus features on this disc include the incredibly rare "Pont Rationing for Food", a kind of public service announcement to tell people why they needed to ration food during the war, the TV pilot for Friz Freleng's "Philbert", and three Private Snafu shorts. It's a pity they used such awful transfers for Snafu, because better ones do exist, and are easily accessible. One wonders why the used such poor prints for some of the neatest WB efforts. The worst part of this set seems to be Kricfalusi's presence, as it's proven that he's here to do nothing but worship Clampett as a god, and put everyone else down. I'm personally amazed WB allowed such a bias on one of their biggest sellers.

And there you have my review on this year's Golden Collection. This is the best set on the market today, and I think I speak for all of us when I say... If you don't have this set... BUY IT! NOW! You'll be glad you did!

Textual content (c) 2005 Thad Komorowski. Images (c) Warner Bros. Inc. HUGE thanks to Jack Tatay for all images!

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