Looney Tunes Golden Collection

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The Looney Tunes Golden Collection was an annual series of six[1] four-disc DVD box sets from Warner Brothers' home video unit Warner Home Video, each containing about 60 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts. The series began in October 2003 and ended in October 2008.[1]

Overview[edit]

The Golden Collection series was launched in the aftermath of the success of the Walt Disney Treasures series that itself collected archived Disney material.

These collections were made possible after the merger of Time Warner (which owned the color cartoons released from August 1, 1948 onward, as well as the black-and-white Looney Tunes, the post-Harman/Ising black-and-white Merrie Melodies, and the first H/I Merrie Melodies entry: Lady, Play Your Mandolin!) and Turner Broadcasting System (which owned the color cartoons released prior to August 1, 1948, and the remaining Harman/Ising Merrie Melodies; most of these cartoons had been released as part of The Golden Age of Looney Tunes laserdisc series), along with the subsequent transfer of video rights to the Turner library from MGM Home Entertainment to Warner Home Video.

The cartoons included on the set are uncut, unedited, and digitally restored and remastered from the original successive Technicolor film negatives (or, in the case of the black and white shorts, the original black and white negatives). However, some of the cartoons in these collections are derived from the "Blue Ribbon" reissues (altered from their original versions with their revised front-and-end credit sequences), as the original titles for these cartoons are presumably lost. Where the original titles, instead of the "Blue Ribbon" titles, still exist, Warner has taken the "Blue Ribbon" titles out.

A handful of cartoons in the first two collections and the bonus cartoons on Volume 6 have digital video noise reduction (or DVNR) artifacting. The noise reduction process sometimes unintentionally erases or blurs some of the picture on certain scenes of the cartoons, which has caused controversy among some Looney Tunes fans. The most recent collections, however, lack such artifacting. Since August 2007, Warner Bros. Home Video has been quietly reissuing copies of the fourth disc of Volume 2 that lacks artifacting and interlacing, because of numerous complaints by consumers.

Beginning with Volume 3, a warning was printed on the packaging explaining that the collection is intended for adults and the content may not be suitable for children. This goes along with Whoopi Goldberg's filmed introduction in Volume 3 that explains the history of ethnic imagery that frequently appears in cartoons of the 1930s and 1940s. Beginning with Volume 4, a singular disclaimer text card similar to Goldberg's spoken disclaimer precedes each disc's main menu.This is seen on the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collections and even on the back of the Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection discs (though they are from Universal, not Warner Bros.).

The DVDs also feature several special features including interviews/documentaries of the people behind the cartoons such as Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson, Chuck Jones, musical conductor Carl Stalling, and voice-artist Mel Blanc, pencil tests, and audio commentaries by animation historians Jerry Beck, Michael Barrier, and Greg Ford, as well as current animators Paul Dini, Eric Goldberg, and John Kricfalusi and voice actors Stan Freberg and June Foray. In addition to the appearances by the above mentioned there is interview footage of Stan Freberg, June Foray, Noel Blanc, Billy West, Keith Scott, Mark Evanier, Bob Bergen, Joe Alaskey, Bill Melendez, Willie Ito, Corny Cole, Peter Alvarez, and the children of the various directors: Robert McKimson, Jr., Ruth Clampett, Sybil Freleng, and Linda Jones. Audio footage of Mel Blanc in recording sessions is heard as a bonus feature on several of the discs as is an obscure audio clip of Arthur Q. Bryan rehearsing a line as Elmer Fudd in What's Opera, Doc?. In total, there are 356 cartoons (18 more than The Golden Age of Looney Tunes) spread throughout the 6 volumes.

In some regions, such as Regions 2 and 4, each disc in each volume is packaged (or re-packaged) separately.[2]

Releases[edit]

Volume 1[edit]

Volume 1 (released on October 28, 2003) contains 56 cartoons (all in color) mostly from the 1950s with a smaller selection of shorts from the 1940s. Popular shorts include:

Disc-by-disc breakdown[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Volume 2[edit]

Volume 2 (released on November 2, 2004) contains a broader selection of cartoons from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s including

This was the first volume to have 60 cartoons, which would continue to be the "standard" number in later volumes (though most would also include additional "bonus" cartoons).

Disc-by-disc breakdown[edit]

  • Disc one, as in the first edition, contains only Bugs Bunny cartoons.
  • Disc two contains Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote shorts, along with four cartoons from Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote creator Chuck Jones.
  • Disc three contains nine Sylvester/Tweety shorts, along with six cartoons starring Daffy Duck and/or Porky Pig.
  • Disc four is an all-stars disc, though there is some relation between each cartoon on the disc: they are either musicals, Hollywood parodies, set on a stage, or incorporate other forms of show-business.

Statistics[edit]

  • 31 of the color cartoons on the set were in WB's own television packages (released August 1, 1948 or later), while the amount of a.a.p.-owned color cartoons (released before August 1, 1948) tripled from the last set to 27. The remaining two cartoons are the first from the Sunset Productions package (all black-and-white cartoons except the Harman-Ising Merrie Melodies from Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! onward) to be released on one of the sets.
  • Bugs Bunny, despite appearing in fewer cartoons in this set, still has the most representation, with 19 cartoons.
  • This volume was the first to contain creditless Blue Ribbons released as such - in other words, their original credits were not found.
  • Despite that, four Blue Ribbon cartoons did get restored to their original form on this set: Baby Bottleneck, Back Alley Oproar, Book Revue (reissued as Book Review), and I Love to Singa. In addition, although its opening wasn't found, Old Glory does have its original ending restored. Similarly, although it is still a Blue Ribbon, Have You Got Any Castles has previously-excised footage featuring a caricature of Alexander Woollcott restored.
  • Chuck Jones defends his title as most-represented director on an LTGC set, having 22 cartoons. Friz Freleng is a close second with 21 cartoons. Combined, they have 43 cartoons on this set, nearly 3/4 of all cartoons on this set.
  • Three character debuts are on the set: One Froggy Evening (Michigan J. Frog, considered a one-shot in the classic era), I Love to Singa (Owl Jolson, considered a one-shot in the classic era), and Tortoise Beats Hare (Cecil Turtle).
  • The number of restored Oscar-winners goes up to three, as Tweetie Pie (1947) joins the list.
  • Four public domain cartoons have been restored for this set: A Corny Concerto, The Dover Boys, Have You Got Any Castles?, and Hollywood Steps Out.

Volume 3[edit]

Volume 3 (released on October 25, 2005) contains a selection of cartoons (52 in color, 8 in black-and-white) mostly from the 1930s and 1940s, but with some from the 1950s and 1960s including such popular shorts as

Disc-by-disc breakdown[edit]

  • Disc one, as with previous volumes, is only Bugs Bunny.
  • Disc two features Hollywood caricatures and parodies.
  • Disc three mainly concerns Porky Pig, with a few other pig-related cartoons thrown in.
  • Disc four is the all-stars disc.

Statistics[edit]

Volume 4[edit]

Volume 4 (released on November 14, 2006) contains selections (51 in color and 9 in black and white) ranging from 1936 to 1966 (the latest Looney Tunes cartoon yet), including such popular shorts as

Disc-by-disc breakdown[edit]

  • Disc one continues the tradition of the only-Bugs Bunny disc.
  • Disc two is dedicated to director Frank Tashlin.
  • Disc three contains only Speedy Gonzales cartoons.
  • Disc four consists of cartoons starring obscure Looney Tunes cats, with a few Sylvester cartoons thrown in for good measure.

Statistics[edit]

Volume 5[edit]

Volume 5 (released on October 30, 2007) contains 41 color cartoons and 19 black-and-white cartoons (the most of any set thus far), including such popular shorts as

Disc-by-disc breakdown[edit]

  • Disc one features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. This is the first time that the first disc is not entirely dedicated to Bugs Bunny, now sharing the spotlight with Daffy Duck.
  • Disc two contains parodies of fairy tale stories.
  • Disc three honors the work of director Bob Clampett.
  • Disc four features Porky Pig and other early classics - all in black-and-white (the first such disc in the LTGC).

Statistics[edit]

Volume 6[edit]

Volume 6 (released on October 21, 2008) concludes the entire series of the Golden Collection. The ratio of color to black-and-white cartoons (41 to 19) is the same as the previous volume. This volume contains such popular shorts as

Statistics[edit]

Re-release[edit]

In 2011, Warner re-packaged all volumes in a single pack.

Other DVD releases of Looney Tunes[edit]

Concurrently with the Golden Collections, WB also released the Looney Tunes: Spotlight Collection, each volume of which packaged half of the cartoons of a Golden Collection, on two DVDs. The exception to this practice was in 2005, with Warners Home Video instead releasing the somewhat-misnamed Looney Tunes Movie Collection, which featured DVDs containing edited versions of The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie and Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales.

In November 2009, it was reported that two new single disc DVD releases, with 15 cartoons each, would be released in April 2010. It was also reported that these 30 cartoons would not contain any duplicates that had already been released as part of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection releases.[3] This series of DVDs is called Looney Tunes Super Stars, and the first two titles are Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire and Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl.[4][5][dated info] These new DVDs still have the cartoons digitally restored and remastered - in addition to being shown uncut and uncensored. A second set of Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs was released on November 30, 2010. The titles in the second wave are Foghorn Leghorn & Friends: Barnyard Bigmouth and Tweety & Sylvester: Feline Fwenzy (which featured a collection of 15 previously-on-DVD shorts).

Some viewers noted discs of the first wave proved to be cropped and distorted and otherwise poorly restored to present the shorts in "widescreen" as opposed to their original aspect ratio (though these were just for the post-1953 shorts). Warner Bros. stated the reason for this was that all post-1953 WB shorts were shown in matted-widescreen in theaters.

On December 1, 2010, animation expert Jerry Beck explained on the Shokus Internet Radio call-in talk program, Stu's Show that Warner aimed this series not at collectors but at the mass market who expect it to fit on their widescreen TVs. He speculated that at some point down the road there will probably be a double-dip release of those shorts in a collector's DVD version with the video in full-frame format.[6] However, the Foghorn Leghorn disc contains both the matted-widescreen versions and the original full screen (and will most likely continue for future waves featuring new-to-DVD shorts). Jerry Beck stated on Stu's Show on December 1, 2010 that 2011 would see new Super Star releases of Road Runner (which feature new-to-DVD shorts), another Sylvester titled Sylvester & Hippety Hopper (with more new-to-DVD shorts), and another Bugs (with double dips)[7][8]

Another new series, Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, was released on Blu-ray. The first volume was released on November 15, 2011.[dated info] A 2-disc DVD version of the Platinum Collection was made available on July 3, 2012. The first two discs of this serious overlap with releases from the Golden and Super Stars collections.

Available shorts[edit]

This is a listing of the shorts in the Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series currently available on the Looney Tunes Golden Collections, and its successors, Looney Tunes Super Stars, Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles and The Essential Bugs Bunny and The Essential Daffy Duck. A new series has made it to Blu-ray with the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection. See the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies filmography for a more detailed list of all the shorts. This list also provides shorts included as bonus cartoons on misc. DVDs.

Key[edit]

  • L = Looney Tunes
  • M = Merrie Melodies
  • Blue ribbon = was reissued as a Blue Ribbon Merrie Melodie
  • NT = Non-Theatrical Shorts
  • X:Y = Volume X, Disc Y (s if unrestored and/or included only among special features.)
  • PC = Looney Tunes Platinum Collection
  • BB = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire
  • DD = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl
  • FL = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Foghorn Leghorn & Friends: Barnyard Bigmouth
  • SH = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote: Supergenius Hijinks
  • PLP = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Pepe Le Pew: Zee Best of Zee Best
  • PP = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Porky Pig: Hilarious Ham
  • FF = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Tweety & Sylvester: Feline Fwenzy
  • WW = Looney Tunes Super Stars' Bugs Bunny: Wascally Wabbit
  • MC = Looney Tunes Mouse Chronicles: The Chuck Jones Collection
  • EBB = Essential Bugs Bunny
  • EDD = Essential Daffy Duck

See also[edit]

References[edit]