May 23, 2023

LOONEY TUNES COLLECTOR’S CHOICE, VOL. 1 Resurrects Some Obscurities

1945-1959 / 142 min (20 shorts)
Review by Mr. Paws😺

Of course, having any collection of Looney Tunes on Blu-ray is a good thing. They remain some of the greatest animated shorts ever made (especially those produced during Warner Brothers’ animation studio’s glory years…roughly 1940-1960). That being said, Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Vol. 1 features some odd, obscure choices, leaving one hopeful that future sets will include a greater number of undisputed classics.

Not that this is a bad set by any stretch. In fact, it kicks off with one of Bugs & Daffy’s best team-ups, “Beanstalk Bunny.” Somewhat surprisingly, that wascally wabbit only shows up one more time in “The Unruly Hare,” which doesn’t rank among his greatest clashes with Elmer Fudd. Daffy Duck is represented in three others, the best of them being “Cracked Quack,” in which he schemes to squat in Porky Pig’s home to avoid flying south for the winter.

"Sufferin' succotash...organ harvesters!"
Being that most Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner cartoons are practically interchangeable (in a positive way), the two included here are as good a choice as any…and great fun. Sylvester stars in the terrific “Greedy for Tweety,” as well as a few other minor gems (and a lousy one made before he found his “voice”). There are also a couple of Foghorn Leghorn shorts, “Plop Goes the Weasel” and “A Fractured Leghorn,” both nice showcases for WB’s most underappreciated recurring character.

The rest of the set is dedicated to lesser-known characters, none of whom are nearly as funny or endearing as the iconic ones, such as the Goofy Gophers and (ugh!) two cartoons featuring The Three Bears (where most of the humor stems from beleaguered Papa Bear smacking his over-sized kid around). Sorry, but these characters do not deserve the same amount of disc space as Bugs.

But overall, it’s an eclectic, entertaining set of Looney Tunes shorts from various legendary directors. Few of them rank among the best cranked out by Termite Terrace (the nickname of WB’s old animation studio), but a lot of these comparatively obscure titles haven’t been seen on home video in years (if ever). And besides, it’s called Volume 1 for a reason, suggesting greater things to come.

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