LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN
For my money, nothing in the world beats the classic animated shorts from Warner Bros. that were produced for theatrical distribution from 1930 to 1969. The Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were so much sharper, more outrageous and funnier than anything being produced by the other studios. For these reasons, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies remain amongst the most beloved cartoons of all time. Sure, I never saw a Warner Bros. cartoon in the theatrical venue, but I grew up watching the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies on television, seeing each syndicated cartoon on television so many times that I could quote them chapter and verse; even being able to hum the musical cues that I knew were coming. Every year, for the last four years, Warner Home Video has presented this die-hard Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies fans with an early Christmas present of newly remastered cartoon gems from the Warner Bros. vault. 2006's gift to fans is the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME FOUR ($65), which offers up an additional sixty cartoon shorts to tickle the fancy of classic animation buffs.
Disc one is Bugs Bunny Classics and features the following animated shorts: Roman Legion-Hare, The Grey Hounded Hare, Rabbit Hood, Operation: RABBIT, Knight-Mare Hare, Southern Fried Rabbit, Mississippi Hare, Hurdy-Gurdy Hare, Forward March Hare, Sahara Hare, Barbary-Coast Bunny, To Hare Is Human, 8 Ball Bunny, Knighty Knight Bugs and Rabbit Romeo.
Disc two is A Dash of Tashlin and features the following animated shorts: The Case Of The Stuttering Pig, Little Pancho Vanilla, Little Beau Porky, Now That Summer Is Gone, Porky In The North Woods, You're An Education, Porky's Railroad, Plane Daff, Porky The Fireman, Cracked Ice, Puss N' Booty, I Got Plenty Of Mutton, Booby Hatched, Unruly Hare and The Stupid Cupid.
Disc three is Speedy Gonzales In A Flash and features the following animated shorts: Cat-Tails For Two, Tabasco Road, Tortilla Flaps, Mexicali Shmoes, Here Today, Gone Tamale, West Of The Pesos, Cannery Woe, The Pied Piper Of Guadalupe, Mexican Boarders, Chili Weather, A Message To Gracias, Nuts And Volts, Pancho's Hideaway, The Wild Chase and A-Haunting We Will Go.
Disc four is Kitty Korner and features the following animated shorts: The Night Watchman, Conrad The Sailor, The Sour Puss, The Aristo-Cat, Dough Ray Me-Ow, Pizzicato Pussycat, Kiss Me Cat, Cat Feud, The Unexpected Pest, Go Fly A Kit, Kiddin' The Kitten, A Peck O' Trouble, Mouse And Garden, Porky's Poor Fish and Swallow The Leader.
Warner Home Video has done their usual marvelous job with the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME FOUR, transcribing all sixty of the animated shorts in their proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratios. These cartoons look terrific on DVD, easily besting all previous home video incarnations of these very same shorts. Image clarity and detail is head and shoulders above the television broadcasts of these cartoons that I grew up with. Colors are bolder and more deeply saturated than I remember, plus the black and white shorts are offered with first-rate levels of contrast and grayscale. Once again, the film elements have been cleaned up to remove age related blemishes, while the imperfections contained in the original animation cells have been retained. Film grain is noticeable to varying degrees, depending on the cartoon in question, but it never becomes bothersome. Digital compression artifacts are generally well concealed.
As for the Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks, they have had the decades of wear and technological limitations scrubbed away during the mastering process, thus leaving the tracks without significant instances of background hiss or audible anomalies. As expected, the fidelity of these soundtracks do have limitations due to the eras in which they were recorded, however the wonderfully zany musical component, as well as the even more zany sound effects come across with enough oomph to tickle any animation fan within listening range. Dialogue is always completely intelligible and the vocal characterizations of Mel Blanc (amongst others) come across just fine. French and Spanish language tracks are also provided, as are English, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, a generous array of supplements, which pertain to individual cartoons, as well as those being relative to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons as a whole. Various participants offer running Audio Commentaries on the following twenty-five animated shorts: Rabbit Hood, Operation: RABBIT, Mississippi Hare, Hurdy-Gurdy Hare, 8 Ball Bunny, Rabbit Romeo, The Case Of The Stuttering Pig, Now That Summer Is Gone, Porky In The North Woods, Youíre An Education, Plane Daffy, Cracked Ice, Puss N' Booty, I Got Plenty Of Mutton, Porky's Poultry Plant, The Stupid Cupid, Cat-Tails For Two, Mexican Boarders, Nuts And Volts, The Wild Chase, Conrad The Sailor, The Aristo-Cat, Dough Ray Me-ow, Pizzicato Pussycat and The Unexpected Pest. Alternate Audio Programs (Music and Effects Tracks or Music Only Tracks) are provided for the following animated shorts: Operation: RABBIT, Knight-Mare Hare, Southern Fried Rabbit, Sahara Hare, Barbary-Coast Bunny, To Hare Is Human, Rabbit Romeo, Cat-Tails For Two, Tabasco Road, Mexicali Schmoes, West Of The Pesos, Cat Feud, The Unexpected Pest, Go Fly A Kit and A Peck Of Trouble.
Disc One contains the following additional supplements: Twilight In Tunes: The Music Of Raymond Scott, Bugs Bunny Superstar Part 1; Powerhouse In Pictures; Fifty Years Of Bugs Bunny In 3-1/2 Minutes; The Bugs Bunny Show, Ballpoint Puns Bridging Sequences; Foreign Legion Leghorn Audio Recording Sessions and Trailer Gallery: Bugs Bunnyís Cartoon Carnival, Bugs Bunny's All-Star Revue.
Disc Two contains the following additional supplements: Bugs Bunny Superstar Part 2; Porky and Daffy in The William Tell Overture (2006 short); Frank Tashlin's Storybooks: Little Chic's Wonderful Mother and Tony And Clarence; From The Vault: three Private Snafu cartoons: The Goldbrick, The Home Front and Censored.
Disc three contains the following additional supplements: Friz On Film- an hour long 2006 Documentary; From the Vault: two Chuck Jones military themed animated shorts: 90 Day Wondering and Drafty, Isn't It?.
Disc four contains the following additional supplements: Behind The Tunes featurettes consisting of the following programs: One Hit Wonders, Sing-A-Song Of Looney Tune, The Art Of The Gag, Wild Lines: The Art Of Voice Acting, Looney Tunes: A Cast of Thousands; From the Vault: include a gag reel entitled Porky's Breakdowns; Sahara Hare Storyboard Reel and Porky's Poor Fish Storyboard Reel are also featured.
Cartoons donít get any better than Warner Bros. classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. Warner Home Video continues to do their usual bang up job with the presentations; offering these animated shorts in the finest possible quality. Hopefully, future collections will include more Bob Clampett cartoons including Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs and Tin Pan Alley Cats (not to mention the other animated shorts referred to as The Censored 11). If you are an animation buff or just love to laugh, then LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME FOUR is absolutely recommended.
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