If you think you don’t need to upgrade to the Looney Tunes Blu-Rays, you’re wrong.
Despite the plethora of animated treasures Warner Home Video has bestowed on us, the DVD technology could be very unkind to the short cartoon. Going beyond DNR, audio, and censorship issues, compression on dual-layer DVDs could be a nightmare when the programmers put all of the cartoons on a disc two to three times each.
Fortunately those days are over with Blu-ray technology. Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume Three is another winner with 50 cartoons in 1080p high-definition.
Despite that almost all of these were on home video before, the upgrade is essential for hardcore fans.
When you’re able to zoom into Leon Schelsinger’s face 2.5 times without coming across many digital artifacts, you know you’ve struck gold.
The only flaw is the programming: there really isn’t any. It’s basically a garbage dump of Warner cartoons, kind of grouped by character.
True, it’s the films themselves that matter, but for those accustomed to the reasonably well-programmed compilations of the previous laserdisc and DVD releases, it’s a step down.
Here’s a breakdown of the cartoons and transfer issues (if any):
Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt (1941, Friz Freleng)
Bugs finds himself in Little Hiawatha’s cooking pot. One of the first where Freleng’s comedic timing comes into its own, albeit, with some funky drawing. Transfer from the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection.
A Corny Concerto (1943, Bob Clampett)
Spoof of Fantasia with Elmer a Deems Taylor. Bugs wears a bra. New transfer.
Falling Hare (1943, Clampett)
Bugs meets the gremlin. Features the best animation of the character (by Bob McKimson) ever done. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Little Red Riding Rabbit (1943, Freleng)
The one with Red Riding Hood bringing a little bunny rabbit to her grandma… “TA HAVE.” At this point, Freleng’s timing and direction was generally flawless. New transfer.
Hair-Raising Hare (1946, Chuck Jones)
The first one with the big, red hairy monster. “Having re-redisposed of the monster…” New transfer.
Acrobatty Bunny (1946, Bob McKimson)
McKimson’s first with the rabbit, battling a lion at the circus. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
The Big Snooze (1946, Clampett)
Clampett’s swan song at Warners, with Elmer tearing up his contract and Bugs invading his dreams. New transfer, no DNR like the earlier releases.
A Hare Grows in Manhattan (1947, Freleng)
Bugs recounts his days as a street urchin in Brooklyn battling canine gangs. New transfer.
Easter Yeggs (1947, McKimson)
“Remember, doc! Keep smiling!” Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Slick Hare (1947, Freleng)
The one with Bogie and Bacall in the restaurant. “Why did you hit me in the face with a coconut custard pie with whipped cream?” New transfer.
Gorilla My Dreams (1948, McKimson)
Gruesome Gorilla tries to kill his new son, Bugs Bunny. New transfer, no DNR like the earlier releases.
High Diving Hare (1949, Freleng)
Yosemite Sam tries make Bugs do Fearless Freep’s high diving act—several times. New transfer, but still has the incorrect audio pitch like the earlier releases.
Hillbilly Hare (1950, McKimson)
Bugs gets into his usual hijinks with a pair of hillbillies in the Ozarks, before the plot is abandoned for a wild square dance animated by Rod Scribner and Emery Hawkins. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Bunny Hugged (1951, Jones)
Bugs wrestles the Crusher, for purely selfish reasons. “Just passin’ by…” Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 2.
Operation: Rabbit (1952, Jones)
Bugs’ first (and best) encounter with Wile E. Coyote, super genius. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
Bully for Bugs (1953, Jones)
El Toro versus Bugs in Jones and Mike Maltese’s attempt to prove to producer Eddie Selzer that bullfights can be funny. New transfer, but still has the incorrect audio pitch like the earlier releases.
Bugs and Thugs (1954, Freleng)
Bugs gets taken for a ride by gangsters Rocky and Mugsy. “Hmmm, you might, rabbit, you might.” New transfer.
Knighty Knight Bugs (1958, Freleng)
Bugs takes on the Black Knight (Sam) and his fire-breathing dragon. Won an Oscar. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
Honey’s Money (1962, Freleng)
Yosemite Sam marries an ugly widow for her money, but gets a prehistoric hornytoad stepson in the bargain. Remake of the superior His Bitter Half with Daffy, but it kind of fits Sam’s personality better. New transfer.
The Hep Cat (1942, Clampett)
Hep cat tries to get laid, tormented by moronic Willoughby (or “Rosebud”) the dog. First Looney Tune in color. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 2.
Pigs in a Polka (1943, Freleng)
The big bad wolf and the three little pigs brilliantly set to Brahm’s Hungarian Dances. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
A Ham in a Role (1949, McKimson)
The Goofy Gophers torment an ailing Shakespearean dog, who considers animated cartoon humor beneath him. Written by Sid Marcus for the short-lived Art Davis unit, finished by McKimson’s. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 6.
Dog Gone South (1950, Jones)
Charlie Dog tries to endear himself with Colonel Shuffle. “Oh, Belvedere! Come h’yarh, boy!” Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 6.
A Bear for Punishment (1951, Jones)
The final, and best, Three Bears cartoons, supposedly based on Jones’ own real-life disastrous father’s day. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 2.
Steal Wool (1957, Jones)
Sam Sheepdog and Ralph Wolf head in for another day’s work. Take note of Maurice Noble’s underrated design work in this film—the use of rubber stamps as leaves is fairly brilliant. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Porky Pig’s Feat (1943, Frank Tashlin)
Tashlin’s triumphant return for his third (and final) stay at the Schlesinger/Warner studio is marked by cramming the most archaic of two-reeler plots (Porky and Daffy try to skip a hotel bill) into seven-minutes of unmatched cinematic brilliance. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Scrap Happy Daffy (1943, Tashlin)
Daffy protects his scrap drive from the Nazis and their scrap-pile destroying goat. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 5.
Plane Daffy (1944, Tashlin)
The pigeon squadron’s woman hater Daffy is sent to keep a military secret away from Nazi se-duck-tress Hatta Mari. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
The Stupid Cupid (1944, Tashlin)
Cupid Elmer strikes Daffy with his arrow once again. Daffy is almost murdered when he tries to mate with a married hen. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
Draftee Daffy (1945, Clampett)
Daffy gets his notice from the little man from the draft board; spends four minutes running around his house before winding up in Hell. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Nasty Quacks (1945, Tashlin)
Fat father gives brat daughter Daffy Duck as a pet. One of Tashlin’s last cartoons at Warners. He spent the latter half of the ‘50s directing Jerry Lewis, the live-action Daffy Duck. Transfer from Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl.
The Stupor Salesman (1948, Art Davis)
Salesman Daffy tries everything to sell something to Slug McSlug, who’s hiding out from the law. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 5.
Wholly Smoke (1938, Tashlin)
Porky skips church to smoke and experiences the best tobacco shop hallucination this side of Dave Fleischer. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 5.
Swooner Crooner (1944, Tashlin)
Porky needs eggs for victory, but his hens would rather listen to a Sinatra-type rooster; Crosby comes to the rescue. Animator Dick Bickenbach provided the Sinatra singing. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Life with Feathers (1945, Freleng)
Sylvester makes his debut, reluctant to eat a suicidal lovebird. Beyond his coloring, the character was perfectly formed from the start, a testament of Freleng and writer Mike Maltese’s skill. New transfer.
Canary Row (1950, Freleng)
Sylvester attempts to nab Tweety from Granny’s (her first appearance) apartment window. New transfer.
Tree for Two (1952, Freleng)
Tough-as-nails phony Spike and sycophantic Chester tangle with Sylvester and an escaped black panther. Listen to the audio commentary track for Draftee Daffy for the real-life Spike and Chester. New transfer.
Sandy Claws (1955, Freleng)
Granny mistakes Sylvester’s attempts to catch sea-stranded Tweety for a rescue mission. Transfer from the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection.
Dog Pounded (1954, Freleng)
Freleng figures out how many ways the occupants of a dog pound can clobber Sylvester as he tries to catch Tweety. Transfer from Pepe Le Pew: Zee Best of Zee Best.
Satan’s Waitin’ (1954, Freleng)
Sylvester’s eternal pursuit of Tweety leads him to eternal damnation. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 6.
Birds Anonymous (1957, Freleng)
Sylvester suffers all twelve steps of tweety-bird withdrawal in a [deserved] Oscar-winning performance. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Mouse and Garden (1960, Freleng)
Sylvester and Sam (Daws Butler doing his Frank Fontaine voice) try to cheat each other out of a mouse breakfast. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
The Pied Piper of Guadalupe (1961, Freleng)
Speedy Gonzales saves his amigos from flute-playing Sylvester. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 4.
A Gruesome Twosome (1945, Clampett)
The original Tweety takes on two cats (one modeled after Jimmy Durante) seeking pussy. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Guided Muscle (1955, Jones)
The Road Runner cartoon with the tar-and-feather trap. New transfer.
Beep Prepared (1961, Jones)
The Road Runner cartoon that was nominated for an Oscar. New transfer.
Walky Talky Hawky (1946, McKimson)
Young and ignorant Henery Hawk meets Foghorn Leghorn for the first time. Transfer from Golden Collection Vol. 3.
Rhapsody in Rivets (1941, Freleng)
The first of Freleng’s musicals, with the construction of a building staged like a concert.
High Note (1960, Jones)
Drunk musical note gets the other notes wasted.
Nelly’s Folly (1961, Jones and Maurice Noble)
Singing giraffe finds fame, fortune, infidelity, disappointment, and suicide. Transfer from the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Academy Awards Animation Collection.
Historian Jerry Beck laments this is the last volume for the foreseeable future, but never say never. The corporation is sitting on a literal goldmine, and they’ll certainly be digging out of it often.