Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t update Brew readers to the forthcoming Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5 – which will be released on October 30th, available from your favorite online retailer or at a brick and morter video store near you.

Details of its contents have been floating around various websites for a couple of weeks. TVshowsOnDVD.com has the best listing – but even their information has a few omissions and errors: for example, the Snafu and Hook cartoons are actually part of Disc 3 (not Disc 2) and the Walter Lantz Hook cartoon, “Take Heed Mr. Tojo”, and the Private Snafu cartoon “Gas” are unfortunately not included, despite what others on the Internet have reported. There are a few things on the set that nobody has mentioned yet. Disc 1 has a bonus section featuring of over a dozen rare Bugs Bunny Show prime time TV commercials for sponsor General Foods, for such products as Tang and Post Cereals. I’m particularly delighted with the inclusion of these little advertising gems, most transferred from 35mm elements, which were produced during the waning days of the original studio.

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And then there are the restorations (see comparison below: laser disc frame at left, DVD frame at right) and several newly restored original titles… but I’ll be telling you much more about that in the weeks to come. For now, mark the date: October 30th.

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  • http://wardomatic.blogspot.com Ward

    Word on the use of DVNR?

  • http://classiccartoons.blogspot.com/ Duck Dodgers

    Several newly restored original titles? Wow! I can’t wait. Thanks Jerry!

  • http://www.comicsherpa.com/site/feature?uc_comic=csjvn Larry Levine

    I CAN’T wait for autumn!! Now I’m happy summer is over!!

  • Diana Green

    grrr….
    still no Inki….
    what’s a girl to do?

  • http://www.chuckrekow.com Chuck R.

    Call me a freak, but watching those before-and-after restoration comparisons is almost as fun as watching the cartoons themselves.
    Can they add a feature that lets you run the old and new versions simultaneously? :-)

  • matt

    I know dvnr is a hot topic, but what about colour fidelity to the original materials? O.K. the old film elements have deteriorated, but how true do cel paints and original backgrounds hold up? Is there a reliable touchstone to go from and therefore “de-age” those elements with any degree of accuracy?

    I just ask because I have a hard time believing that some of the blues on the earlier Golden Collections are true as they look awfully ‘modern’ and ‘electronic’ rather than looking like cel colours of the time. This is just conjecture and subjective on my part though.

    Anybody know ‘for sure’? I’d ask John K but he’s a bit subjective when it comes to these things due to his passion. Although why he’s not employed on sets like these to be the “DVNR police” i really don’t know!

  • http://www.theaftend.com Allan

    The before and after are different frames, right? The man looks a fair bit different, particularly his face, collar, and hand.

  • Nate

    Any word on when can we expect a Foghorn Leghorn disc?

  • akira

    ugh! are you sure that’s a restoration, not a recoloring? the less saturated laserdisc version looks SO much better to me, colorwise. do you have any photos of original bgs where the yellows in the BG look so daffodil yellow?

  • http://classicanimation.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    I can’t wait. Looks like another winner!

  • http://classicanimation.blogspot.com Thad Komorowski

    Oh and yes, for the record the color on that restoration of “A Pest in the House” is definitely accurate. At least compared to my IB Tech 16mm print of it.

  • http://www.dohtem.com Greg Method

    Counting the minutes before this news gets shamelessly aped over on TVShowsonDVD….

    But anyway, I am so thrilled to hear that some of the vintage TV commercials will be featured. I had kinda always felt that was one pool of material that was going untapped for the bonuses.

    At one point a while ago a Warner Home Video survey was hinting at the possibility of season sets for “The Bugs Bunny Show” after the “Golden Collections” are done. Besides the fact that I would hope that complete color elements would be found by then, it would be cool to see the original sponsor tags inserted back in. Sigh, maybe one day.

  • http://www.myspace.com/brandontoons Brandon Pierce

    Re: ‘The before and after are different frames, right? The man looks a fair bit different, particularly his face, collar, and hand.’

    They are from two different frames, that’s all.

  • Keith Paynter

    Definitely different frames, but Jerry’s point is still valid. Very rich, but hopefully not oversaturated colors (that are more forgiving on DVD than LD).

    Matt raises a very good question on the “electronic” color issue. I questioned the color rendering of [i]Popeye Meets Sinbad[/i]. The strong blues look very similar to WB’s on DVD, but I have a hard time believing a studio several thousand miles away could have the same palate of color. With WB ‘restoring’ their own toons, MGM and Fleischer cartoons, there may be a “standardizing” of color recognition.

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    From what I undertand, the original color formulas used by the ink and paint department still exist. So the restorers could be referencing that info. Additionally, many of the original cels have their original paint intact or at least traces of the original paint and the colors used were quite bright and vivid. Finally, Maurice Noble once explained to me how he would over saturate the colors in a character or a scene to compensate for the inferiority of the film. Once on film, the color would be toned down to about what he intended. This is where you could run into a problem during restoration. In general I think most of the restoration work looks pretty fantastic.

  • http://gavinscartoons.blogspot.com Gavin Freitas

    Finally! Trans-6500 is my favorite. Well sign me up…….

  • Christopher Cook

    According to Amazon, provided the info posted is right, one of the features is the director’s cut of Bob Clampett’s “Hare Ribbin’”. In this version, after the dog wishes he were dead, Bugs produces a gun, says “Do you mean it?” then shoves the gun in the dog’s mouth and fires. (Prior to release, it was revised to have Bugs hand the gun to the dog, who blows his own brains out.)

  • Bob

    A foghorn leghorn disc is SEVERELY needed. Otherwise, looks to be another great set! Thanks Jerry!

  • Chuck R.

    I’m with you, Diana. I want Inki and Ralph Phillips.
    They should also release Song of the South on vol. 6 -just to see if Disney notices.

  • http://pupick.blogspot.com/ PCUnfunny

    Tang commercials ? ALRIGHT !

  • Casual Cartoon Fan

    Classic TV commercials sound great and probably a better version of the Tang commercial I saw on some cheap DVD with Daffy getting the best out of Bugs at a carnival

    Can’t wait for the set

  • http://www.myspace.com/brandontoons Brandon Pierce

    My only desire is to see more Egghead cartoons released. Of course that’s along with seeing all the other great Looney Tunes released.

  • J. J. Hunsecker

    I can’t wait for this set. Clampett is my favorite director and he seems to be heavily featured on this set.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com Robert

    Looks like getting back the original color on WB cartoons is as shocking as getting back the original color on the Sistine Chapel ceiling was.

  • http://playlist.citr.ca/podcasting/xml/laughtracks.xml Kliph

    Did the mob break all of poor bugs bunny’s bones for stealing their Tang? What is going on there?

  • RR

    Let’s stop demonizing DVNR. DVNR is actually a very helpful restoration tool. Yes, in the wrong hands, it can totally ruin animation. But in the right hands and used with care, DVNR can do wonderful things for damaged or dirty film frames. It’s a mistake to never use it at all when restoring old animation. Operators just need to be better educated on how not to use it for certain scenes, and how to use it for others.

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    Amid wrote an article (with comments from Jerry) about DVNR which can be read here

    It notes that Jerry insists DVNR technology NOT be used on the restoration projects he is involved with.

  • Chuck R.

    “getting back the original color on WB cartoons is as shocking as getting back the original color on the Sistine Chapel ceiling was.”

    Nice comparison, Robert.
    Oh, and John K’s audio commentary on the Sistine Chapel is not to be missed. ;-)

  • matt

    Thanks Eric for that piece of the puzzle – so maybe these colours ARE true to the original cel colours, but STILL not accurate to the original film release/how they were intended to be seen. Sorta like pre-press where you take into acount the idiosynchrasies of digital imagesetters and rgb to cmyk goofiness (which is different to the old days).

    It reminds me of what Darius Khonji did with his Jeunet and Caro films where all the costumes, makeup and sets would be done with stylised colours to account for the photographic process he was using.

    Finally, Eric and Keith, I was thinking the same thing about that Popeye one too. My subjective view isn’t based on anything solid here, but looking at that little Popeye frame and that WB stuff I think what makes me doubt is not “vivid” or super saturated colours but that they seem to ‘glow’ like electronic/electric colours. Paint isn’t light (hence my digital pre-press analogy earlier), and these just seem to look luminous to me, both the blues and that red. Which seems to be the opposite of what would happen going from the original vivid cels to film, if I understand the Noble thing correctly. Ah well, hopefully someone involved can expand on this (Jerry?) but that Maurice Noble thing seems to be an integral part of the process.

    Thanks!

  • RR

    Thanks for the article Eric. Amid and Jerry have a firm understanding of how DVNR works, and how it can be misused in animation.

    But I can tell you from experience as a telecine operator that DVNR can be used wisely and with great results in any medium.

    DVNR’s problem in animation is not the fault of the tool itself, but its misapplication by sloppy or ignorant telecine operators who run a cartoon all the way through on one setting. Anyone who does that – even in live action – ought to be fired.

    DVNR should be applied scene to scene and moment to moment. A smart operator pays attention to which scenes to entirely shut DVNR off for, and which scenes to adjust its setting. In skilled hands, it is an amazing tool.

    If we play with a photo in Photoshop and turn it all pink, would we blame Photoshop as a useless tool? :) Of course not. The tools are only as smart as the operator.

  • Jeff Kurtti

    The true reference point for restoration is a primary color film positive source, not the original animation art.

    Studios such as Disney did extensive color testing on cel set-ups to determine how paints, backgrounds, and exposures would affect the final film image, many of the animation art colors are purposely distorted in order to “read” correctly on film. (There is a selection of camera tests like this on the “Snow White” laser disc and Platinum DVD.)

    Alice (of Wonderland fame) on cels, for instance, has decidedly green blond hair, in order to “read” on film as golden yellow.

  • http://understandinganimation.blogspot.com/ Bruce

    I’m definitely pre-ordering this set, especially with the vintage commercials that advertise Tang and Corn Flakes. Thanks for the heads up, Jerry!

  • Keith Paynter

    To fan the flames on this even more, I want to pass on a story from Inside Star Trek by Herbert Solow and Bob Justman.

    In the pilot The Cage, Susan Oliver as Vina was painted green to portray an Orion slave girl. After the film came back, processed by the lab, she appeared, not green, but as her natural flesh-colored self. They shot the same scenes again, using a more agressive green, but when the film came back from the lab, she was again looking her flesh-colored self. This was done a third time, with even more agressive green paint. It came back as before. When Rodenberry asked the film lab why she wasn’t coming back in green, the reply was , “oh, you really wanted her in that color?”

    “Funny, funny stuff” – Bender Bending Rodriguez, Futurama

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    The Disney studio and Warner studio did operate quite differently. I’ve no doubt the Disney studio did extensive color testing with their film as pointed out, they were the industry leaders after all. Unfortunately Leon Schlesinger would have never allowed this due to the cost of film and probably just the time it would involve. My understanding is that Leon was mostly interested in a funny picture delivered on time and on budget. Color accuracy and quality wouldn’t have been at the top of Schlesingers list. While the public saw what the days technology was capable of delivering, they didn’t necessarily see what the artists hoped for or intended. As I mentioned, Maurice Noble developed a system for himself to deal with the color shifts on film but this doesn’t mean every artist did what Maurice did. I suspect many of them just lived with the limitations of the medium.

    One thing is for sure, when you look at an original hand painted background and you compare it to a film print, it’s hard not to say “WOW” most of the time to the difference between the two.

    If you want to see what a film audience saw decades ago I’d agree that it would be best to reference the best quality film print available when restoring. If you want to see what the artists probably ultimately wanted you to see, I’d reference the actual animation art.

  • Graham

    Holy crap! WB made a Looney Tunes DVD menu that DOESN’T suck! The menus for Volume 4 were really half-assed.

    It’s nice to see the budget going back into that department again. I also REALLY hope that those are animated; that’d rock even more.

  • Jeff Kurtti

    Couldn’t disagree more.

    I think that implies that the artists at Warner’s (and studios other than Disney) were too lazy, unskilled, or inefficient to utilize their medium to it’s full effect; and that the images seen in their finished films are not what they intended audiences to see is not an assumption I would be comfortable making.

    Although they may not have employed the luxurious tests and techniques that Disney lavished on the product, I’m willing to be that these guys cared a great deal about what their stuff looked like, and had a fair amount of knowledge and experience about how to achieve an acceptable image, especially with the rich visuals that Technicolor could provide.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Marvelous work. Looking forward to getting it when it comes out. It’s already on my Amazon Wish List.

  • Chuck R.

    I can’t add much to what Jeff said, except that even without color tests, the sheer number of shorts that went through the WB pipeline with the major characters and major directors in place, would amount to a great amount of research into what worked and what didn’t. Just one example: Bugs Bunny’s color changed a lot in the early days, along with his design. Into the fifties, it appears everyone could settle on what colors suited him best. By then, every artist must have known what every character looked like projected.

    (I’m a fan, not a historian, so this is largely conjecture on my part)

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    (Jeff) Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying at all that the Warner artists (or any others) were lazy or incompetant or just plain didn’t care. My point was only that when a background artist had 50 paintings to do for a short they didn’t have the time or clearance to do a film check on every image. Inevitably I am sure when they saw the final film, certain colors didn’t read true to the actual art. In other cases maybe the color of a small element in a background didn’t read correctly on film but the problem may not have warranted a redo. Additionally, Warner used the inferior Cinecolor process to save money. It wasn’t until 1950 that all Warner cartoons would be produced in Technicolor.

  • http://www.markmcdermott.com Mark McDermott

    Hey, this has been bated around some time before, but are they still seriously planning to get ALL of the WB shorts onto Golden Collections? By my estimate, that would be about 17 volumes, which is fine by me. Though they would not be able to devote one disc per set to Bugs Bunny all the way through.

  • akira

    i think i got a solution.. just turn down the color saturation on the tv when watching the looney cartoons! it’s funny how they desaturated the colors for the menus and amped up the saturation for the actual cartoons.. well maybe sad, too…

  • Brian McEntee

    Color restoration of old animation is a tricky business and I’ve yet to see it done well. Looking at old backgrounds and cels is not as accurate as it might seem on its face. Many of these colors were chosen for the way they transferred to film, and I recall seeing cels of Alice with yellow-green hair because that color gave a better soft yellow on the final film (apparently “normal” yellow drifted too pink.)

    Backgrounds were painted to be seen under many layers of cels.

    It would be best to rely on original three strip prints for reference when available, as these were the intended final colors, not the still art.

    (It would also be helpful to have a gifted and knowledgeable animation colorist involved in these restorations.)

  • J-Jay

    In response to Mark McDermott’s comment about the Golden Collection series going past 10 volumes:

    There are approximately 75 Bugs Bunny shorts remaining. (5 more volumes) * (15 shorts per volume) = 75

  • Chuck R.

    A question for restoration nuts:
    If a restorer had original cels and backgrounds and no decent film print to work from, could he simply reshoot the artwork and use the new film as a color guide?

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    Mark said: “Are they still seriously planning to get ALL of the WB shorts onto Golden Collections?”

    Well, yes, I would hope that is indeed the goal for this series and, judging by the contents of the first disk in this particular volume, Bugs Bunny will not be the only centerpiece to future opening disks, but he will be on hand to open each volume, I’m sure.

    Then again, I’m still awaiting the day when we get larger doses of BOSKO and BUDDY. Even Jerry Beck (on one of the commentary tracks to the first disk in GOLDEN COLLECTION 4) mentions unearthing BUDDY when it comes to great musical production numbers and for first time attempts at certain animation special effects. Surely, they’ll further explore the ’30′s, now that this set features the first of what will hopefully be a series of “early days” disks.

    And, oh yeah, I’d love a FOGHORN LEGHORN disk, especially that cartoon in which Foggy is constantly bothering a cat as he tries to catch himself a worm to go fishing. I keep quoting that cartoon each time a horrifically hot summer day in New York comes around (“I need air…my lungs *CRAVE* air…”). Great stuff!

    Oh, and a disk with both Inki and Ralph Phillips? Certainly! I’ve actually segued the two on my sampler tapes from the laserdisks. When it happens, maybe there should be this huge shot of the Myna Bird on the volume’s front or back cover — the score alone for any one of those INKI cartoons should be included as a special feature.

    But we’re dealing with this particular set now, right? The promise of original restored titles has me now reeling!! Oh, do I really have to wait ’til October’s end? Oh AH-GO-NEE!!

  • http://www.warnerart.com Eric

    (Chuck) In theory that could work. But you’d have to use the same camera type and the same film and development process that the original studio used if you wanted the process to be truly accurate.

  • Benjamin De Schrijver

    I’m not so sure Eric… color really is dependent on the timer, I believe.

  • http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com Kevin W. Martinez a.k.a. Leviathan

    “There are approximately 75 Bugs Bunny shorts remaining. (5 more volumes) * (15 shorts per volume) = 75″

    They could spread the Bugs cartoons further if they do something like a “Bugs and the Rabbits” disc (a few Bugs shorts mixed in with misc. rabbit shorts like Hop and Go, Porky’s Building, Rapid Rabbit, the Bunny and Claude Shorts, etc.) or even “Bugs and Another Character” discs like that Japan-only laserdisc set.

    Overall, this looks like a good set. Nice mix of era.

  • Jorge Garrido

    NO BOSKO AND BUDDY. I prefer cartoons.

  • http://arthurdavisfan.blogspot.com Kasey Kockroach

    This set looks great and all, but I really wish we could have an Art Davis disc. :(

  • Maggie Simpson

    Bugs looks like the Michellin Man!

    • Ryan Anthony

      He’s in a G-suit inside a space capsule.