TEX AVERY'S DROOPY:
Tex Avery was one of the true innovators in the realm of animation. Responsible for some of the wildest, funniest cartoons ever committed to celluloid, Avery worked much of his career at MGM and Warner Bros.’ Termite Terrace, not to mention having his hands in things a few times at Walter Lantz and even Paramount. Aside from the wonderful cartoons he directed, Avery is also partially or fully responsible for the creation/development of famous cartoon characters like Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Screwball Squirrel, Porky Pig, Chilly Willy and finally Droopy Dog.
Of the animated cartoon characters to call MGM home, Droopy Dog was my personal favorite. Where other cartoon characters were loud, boisterous and generally called attention to themselves, Droopy Dog was something of a low-key sad sack whose deadpan delivery was always right on the money and consistently hilarious. For my money Droopy was the Buster Keaton of cartoon characters, a master of understated humor, who always managed to get the upper hand over much slicker opponents. Although he appeared in only twenty-four cartoons, Droopy has left an impression on generations of animation fans, not to mention the animators who have adapted his archetype later cartoons and animated television shows.
TEX AVERY'S DROOPY: THE COMPLETE THEATRICAL COLLECTION ($27) comes to DVD in a two disc set that features the following twenty-four animated shorts: Dumb-Hounded, The Shooting Of Dan Mcgoo, Wild And Woolfy, Northwest Hounded Police, Señor Droopy, Wags To Riches, Out-Foxed, The Chump Champ, Daredevil Droopy, Droopy's Good Deed, Droopy's "Double Trouble", Caballero Droopy, The Three Little Pups, Drag-A-Long Droopy, Homesteader Droopy, Dixieland Droopy, Deputy Droopy, Millionaire Droopy, Grin And Share It, Blackboard Jumble, Blackboard Jumble, Sheep Wrecked, Mutts About Racing and Droopy Leprechaun.
Warner Home Video has made all the animated shorts that comprise TEX AVERY'S DROOPY: THE COMPLETE THEATRICAL COLLECTION available in their various full screen and widescreen aspect ratios, with the seven CinemaScope shorts being 16:9 enhanced. Not surprisingly, the presentations do vary in quality, since the animated shorts were produced between 1943 and 1958. The older animated shorts do show a few more signs of age than the later theatrical cartoons, but overall, fans will be pleased with the quality of the collection. For the most part, everything appears reasonably crisp and as nicely defined as this type of cell animation is likely to look. Colors are generally vibrant, but there are instances where the hues seem a little subdued. Blacks and whites are accurate and contrast if fine for vintage animation. Film grain is noticeable in varying degrees, but never troublesome. Digital compression artifacts are fairly well contained.
As for the Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks, they have been cleaned up in the mastering process, leaving them with a smooth sonic quality. Sure, there are certain limitations to the fidelity of these soundtracks, but the musical complement and humorous sound effects do hold their own and are certain to please any animation fan. Dialogue is always easy to understand. No other language tracks or subtitles have been included on the DVD.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard cartoon selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back is an eighteen minute program that looks at Droopy and Tex Avery. Doggone Gags is a compilation of our hero’s funniest moments. Previews for other Warner titles close out the extras.
Droopy was and is a personal favorite amongst animated characters. Warner’s DVD compilation of animated shorts look good, but there are some age related issues. If you love Droopy, picking up TEX AVERY'S DROOPY: THE COMPLETE THEATRICAL COLLECTION is a no brainer. Recommended.
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