Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Golden Collection vol 6

Yes I know the site hasn't been updated. I not going to give anymore excuses either BUT I will try my hardest to continue. Anyways this post is about LTGC vol 6.

As everyone knows by now, this is the last of the Golden Collection series (although there will be more cartoon boxsets every year - correct me if i'm wrong here) and Jerry Beck, the compiler decided that, as one last hurrah, it was better to fill the set up with rarities and curios.

The result is, one of the best in the whole series. But let's take this slowly.

The first disc is a grab bag of different cartoons. To be honest I wish there were more of these other than the traditional Bugs Bunny (sorry he irritates me) disc. I like the fact that one cartoon will star Daffy and the next Pepe le Pew. It brings me back to the days when I'd watch the old video compilations of the eighties or the Bugs Bunny and Tweety show on Saturday mornings. Rampant eclectism suits the Looney Tunes discs to a tee and this is no exception. In fact every cartoon here is a winner, my fave being Chuck Jones' ultra violent 'Bear Feat'.

The second Disc focuses on, mostly cartoons with a wartime theme in them, with the exception of three shorts which are about the American economy. Again I'm a big fan of this stuff so I was quite excited to see Jones' marvellous Draft Horse for the first time or the still interesting Herr meets Hare (Freleng). Some cartoons don't exactly hit the mark as the jokes are dated (mostly Jones' The Weakly Reporter) and I've seen the educational short on a near weekly basis so I've become numb to them (although the punchline in By Word of Mouse is still brilliant).

Disc 3 is the one that you'll love or hate as it's about the 1932-1935 batch of Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. To be hinest i'm not a huge fan of this era and I got very restless and irritated at times. The twisted humour is there but the cutsiness and constant propaganda of warner films spoils everything. On the other bright side there is soem great restoration work here and i know that some of these cartoons are so rare that it's a treat to see them for the first time.

Besides Bugs Bunny and so on, there were quite a few one offs that the cartoon studio produced, which were basically springboards for other animation styles and FINALLY the best of the lot are collected on one disc. The creepy 'Chow Hound' , the frustrating 'Fresh Airedale' the artistic masterpiece 'Page Miss Glory' and more. This, for me was what Warner Brothers cartoons were all about and those were the cartoons that I would look forward to on the Looney Tunes video compilations back in the 80's. It's also the disc that I've been rewatching constantly for the past month as well.

One gripe I have with this set is that the special features aren't as great. The commentaries ( which I adore) are sparse, the cartoon specials are dull, The Mel Blanc documentary is way too fawning but the Leon Schleisenger christmas clips are quite interesting and the 11 bonus cartoons are a big treat.

It is a great conclusion but now I'm wondering what will happen next? Foghorn Leghorn and Pepe Le Pew still haven not been given proper treatment. So will they be next?? who knows?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


oh man i slacked big time over here.

but I will continue updating the blog and that's a promise - i want to try finish summarising the cartoons on the next four volumes so that i'll be able to focus on vol 6.

that's not all folks!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lumber Jerks 1955 (Dir : Friz Freleng)

Sorry for the long pause. At the moment i'm trying to develop my music blog and this has fallen on the wayside. I will continue updating. I plan to asses every cartoon in these volumes and it will be achieved!

I first came across Lumber Jerks back in the 80's on the Speedy Gonzales video compilation ( I guess they needed a break in the routine) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Personally the cartoon still hasn't lost it's magic.

The short itself stars the cult characters, the Goofy Gophers ( aka Mac 'n' Tosh), two rodents who speak with upper class British accents and are extremely polite to each other. They were originally a Clampett invention and have been passed down to many directors. Unfortunately out of the nine cartoons they starred in, I have only seen two. Lumber Jerks and 1955's Pest for Guests' ( which was on the Looney Tunes video compilations that were rampant in the 80's), which is equally good.

Unlike Freleng's usual black out gag style, Lumber Jerks is more a character study in the vein of Chuck Jones' later Cartoons. Basically the Gophers have to retrieve their home from a sawmill. It is a very simplistic plot but it gives Freleng time to play around with The Gophers attitude.

Throughout the whole picture the Gophers stay calm and collected, despite the fact that their house ( a tree) has been stolen. Even when avoiding a waterfall these two rodents face their challenge without double takes or anything like that.

The only time when one of them lets loose (some sawdust falls on his head and he pretends to act like a girl) he is quickly brought back into reality and they continue to look for their tree.

Eventually the gophers see their tree being turned into furniture and the cleverly stop the delivery truck and manage to stack the chairs and whatnot into a crude makeshift tree. The fianl shot has them staring at a tv set happy at the fact that they now own a television and wondering when they'll have electricity.

It's also worth noting that Lumber Jerks slyly makes little digs at mass consumption. Most of the trees in the sawmill are practically destroyed to make toothpicks. I'm sure if you look into it, there's an eco moral to the short.

Why Freleng didn't make more character based cartoons during his career mystifies me. He was definitely capable of pulling them off and they were much better than say the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons, which focus on the same plot being repeated constantly. Anyway watch Lumber Jerks and see Freleng expose his true potential.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Canned Feud 1951 ( Dir : Friz Freleng)

Like all Friz Freleng's cartoons, Canned Fued follows a very simple plotline, that's followed by many gags and then an ending where you sort of raise your eyebrows a bit. Although I'm not a big fan of his cartoons I do admit that he has comic timing and his stories unfold very nicely.

Canned Feud reminds me of Tex Avery's MGM cartoons and I have a feeling they were an influence on this short. They way the gags are centred on one motive is very Avery-ish.

Basically Sylvester's owners go for a holiday in California and forget to leave Sylvester any food after some frantic searching Sylvester discovers a whole cupboard filled with canned fish ( in these few minutes there's a lot of Avery-like double takes). The only problem is that a mouse has stolen the can opener, which means Sylvester has to catch the mouse in order to get the tool.

After electrocuting himself, being squashed by a piano, Falling through the floor ( this utilises Freleng's famous saw gag. The saw gag : when a character saws through a wall and his nemesis saws through the floor, thus giving the immpression that the blade is extra long. Usually the character will fall through the floor) backfires, getting his head blown up and sucked in a vaccuum cleaner. Sylvester decides to use a shed load of dynamite and blows up the house in the process. Finally the can opener lands on him. Estactic he runs to the cupboard only to find it locked and, yes, the mouse has the key. Sylvester screams and then faints.

Canned Fued is a very well structred cartoon and one can see why it was a staple on video compilations and tv shows. It has a classic cartoon feel ( a chase, double takes, cartoon violence) and it is entertaining. Not something I would want to watch constantly but good to see now and then.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bugs and Thugs 1954 ( Dir : Friz Freleng)

(sorry the picture and spelling function aren't working!)

Bugs and Thugs is a sort of update or even evolution of the 1946 cartoon Racketeer Rabbit (also by Freleng)despite the fact that one gag is shared. I prefer this version. Mainly because the gangsters Rocky and Mugsy are 'proper' cartoon characters instead of Jimmy Cagney and Peter Lorre look alikes.

Bugs Bunny is off to the bank to withdraw some carrots from his account. After he finshes he decides to hail a taxi but it turns out to be Rocky and Mugsy's getaway car. Rocky robs the bank and jumps into the car, thus making Bugs an instant witness to the crime.

Rocky then plots to kill Bugs and the two goons go find a suitable place to dispose of him. Bugs, then reverts to his usual trickery by telling Mugsy to stop at a gas station. Once out of the car Bugs tries to phone the police but this fails.

The trio drive to a railway crossing and Rocky then tells Bugs to go out and check if there are any trains going by. Bugs again tries to outsmart them by telling them that the coast is clear. The second the car goes on the tracks a train rushes by and destroys everything. As a result Bugs has to fix the car and carry it to the gangster's hideout.

Once they arrive Rocky tells Mugsy to shoot Bugs but Bugs verbally tricks Mugsy into giving him the gun and promptly shoots him. ( Mugsy just faints) Rocky then decides to do the job but then Bugs pretends to be a policeman, which frightens the thugs. He convinces the idiot to hide in the oven and blows them up. Right after ( and this a great scene) a real policeman arrives and the whole oven scenario is renacted. Instead of being blown up a second time. Rocky and Mugsy run towards the policeman and give themselves up.

The cartoon ends with Bugs as a private-eye talking about his job.

Bugs and Thugs works cause it is zippy, full of action and concludes excellently. A very well-rounded cartoon with some unpredictability in it too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Putty Tat Trouble 1951 ( Dir Friz Freleng)

As you probably have guessed from the title it is a Sylvester and Tweety cartoon. However there is one small added twist - there is another cat introduced so this time round Sylvester has a rival.

Putty Tat Trouble can be said to be divided in three conscise segments. The first few minutes take place outdoors, then a lengthy scene that takes place in a cellar and the remaining two minutes on a pond.

There really isn't much to say. Both cats battle it out for tweety and in the end fall into lake and catch colds. The cellar scene is a bit boring as it focus on both cats pushing Tweety in their mouth and small gags based on the antiques found in the attic.

It's a no brainer cartoon, yet one that is well animated but to repetative to fully enjoy it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Kit for Kat 1948 ( Dir Friz Freleng)

Kit for Kat is one of early Sylvester cartoons. By watching the cartoon you can see that his feartures are still a bit lanky and has something Clampett-esque about him. Although he is not with Tweety in this cartoon, it is worth noting that he had been paired up with that yellow nuisance a year prior to this cartoon.

Sylvester is hungry. He is looking for food in alleyway trash cans. After a few minutes of searching he is joined by a smaller, cuter looking cat, whom he banishes.

It is a cold night and Sylvester needs some shelter so he goes to Elmer Fudd's house and feigns sickness. Elmer takes pity on him and accepts Sylvester in his house.

so far so good.

While Sylvester is comfy and content, Elmer hears a knock on his door and it's the kitten who Sylvester banished earlier. Now Elmer is in a quandary. He can't keep two cats so one has to go out. He advises both cats that he'll make his decision in the morning. Making a big emphasis on the kitten cuteness.

Sylvester, one who knows when he's in trouble, is now plotting to kill the kittem. Naturally all of his plans go horribly wrong. Framing the kitten, keeping him trapped in a mousehole and at one point hypnotising him to beat Elmer up with a baseball bat. Each ploy wakes up Elmer and he gets angrier at Sylvester.

Elemer's breaking point happens when the kitten tries to get the upper hand of the situation and creates even noise to drown out judgement day. Elmer wakes up furious and ready to kick one cat out, but then a hand comes out of nowhere ( deus ex machina? hmmmmm) and gives Elmer an eviction notice.

The cartoon ends with all three rummaging through trash cans.

For soem reason this cartoon would crop up a lot on video compialtions and saturday tv shows. I found boring then and I still do now. There are Freleng cartoons that I like but so far it's been a weak beginning.