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Looney Tunes on Blu-ray

These screen shots were taken with my iPhone off my cathode-ray tube television set. The images are from the new Looney Tunes Blu-Ray disc set, the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 1, which I just got my hands on. Don’t judge this set on my blurry shots above. I actually ran out and bought a $79 blu-ray player and hooked it up to my old TV set so I could start watching all the blu-ray discs I’ve been accumulating – even if it’s NOT the correct way to watch them.

That said, the cartoons on this collection look incredibly good. Obviously I’m a bit biased as (#1) I love Warner Bros. cartoons and (#2) consulted on the set and wrote the liner notes. We’ve previously posted about the contents of this collection (official press release here), but seeing and holding the actual packaging in my hands is pretty incredible. It’s almost worth the price of the whole set just for the restoration of the (previously lost, now found) 1955 Chuck Jones Air Force re-enlistment film, A Hitch In Time. It’s got incredible animation and layouts by Ernie Nordli that go beyond what they were doing in the regular Looney Tunes of the time.

I’m not a regular blu-ray collector, but here’s what I appreciate about this technology – and this is something I tell my film collector friends: Blu-Ray the equivalent of the studios selling you a mint 35mm print. As someone who grew up during a time before VHS, when the only thing the studios would sell from their cartoon libraries were cut-down 8mm black and white (of color) cartoons, Blu-ray discs clearly are the gold standard for home video. With proper projection or a huge HD flat screen (two things I still don’t have), watching Looney Tunes at home will never be the same.

So consider this an unabashed plug: Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 1 goes on sale next Tuesday and is highly recommended – whether you have a blu-ray player or not.

  • Wellllll, not to nitpick, cause I’m sure these transfers are imPECcable, but Blu-Ray at 1080p is far from the equivalent of a pristine 35mm print, if the source material was indeed shot on 35. I’d say you’d have to be along the lines of 4k for that.

    That said, the viewable resolution of a BluRay being watched on a 40-50inch screen in your living room is probably as sharp as watching a 35 mm print in a large theater, but dammit, if you’re telling me a Blu Ray is like someone giving me a 35mm print I expect to be able to, when I’m a millionaire, take the Blu Ray to Mann’s Chinese and have it be indistinguishable from the 35mm negative.

    • David Breneman

      I agree. 1080p is good, but it’s not 35mm good, unless that 35mm print is a third or fourth generation Eastmancolor print. 1080p is maybe 16mm IB Technicolor good. And that’s damned good. But it’s far from 35mm IB Technicolor good.

      • Funkybat

        I remember when DVDs first came out, people were claiming it was like having a studio master reference copy. DVD is a hell of a lot better (and up-convertible) than VHS or even Hi-8, but nowhere near what was claimed.

        A Blu-ray version, if created from high-quality negatives and not second or third-gen film, is probably about as clear and sharp as 99% of people would ever care or notice. I’m sure it would look merely adequate if projected on a huge movie screen, but for home use or even smaller movie screens, it’s about as good as film.

        I doubt I would invest the money in anything better, I have only bought a few Blu-rays so far, since up-converted DVD is good enough for 70% of the stuff I watch.

  • Mike

    I’ve held out this long, but I might have to get a Blu-Ray player. For this. Getting hard to find releases on Betamax these days…

  • Anthony

    I’m really looking forward to this along with the Tom and Jerry set and the Pepe Le Pew DVD! I’m going to drive my wife crazy watching nothing but cartoons for a while!

  • I guess my major problem is that the technology (Blu-ray) just isn’t advanced enough to warrant the fact that this set is $50 while the DVD of WB Classic Collections are like $10. I don’t see a $40 difference. With the $10 jump from VHS to DVD, there was a LOT worth that $10 increase. With Blu-ray, there isn’t.

    I’ll wait for the next format. I don’t think Blu-ray will stick around as long as DVD did.

  • <3 Wow, I didn't know those feet existed in Looney Tunes!

  • Flat screen t.v.s are surprisingly affordable these days, and the picture quality is marvelous. You won’t regret the purchase, Jerry!

  • jerry,
    i’m shocked that you don’t have a high definition television set. from someone who is such a huge animation fan, it really is a must have.

    its amazing to watch those old cartoons again, and actually see the pencil textures and paint textures as if they were just done yesterday.

    i can’t wait to watch the grinch again. heh.

    you can get an amazing television for around 6 or 700 bones. i highly recommend you getting on the hi def wagon before they start making green-ray players or something. haha.

    – billy polard

  • I know what’s on my Christmas list…

  • I started collecting the Golden Collections on DVD back when they started coming out, and to be honest I was a little disappointed with them. Not because of the cartoons in any way, but because of the way each disc was individually assigned to a specific character. I didn’t always want to sit down and watch ten roadrunner cartoons in a row, or a whole disc of Sylvester. Lining some of these cartoons up like that makes you realize how formulaic the stories and gags became. Some characters, like Daffy and Bugs, had a larger variety of situations that they got into, but a lot of them were one note characters, same gags over and over. Not that that’s a bad thing, you just don’t always want to watch two hours of it in a row.

    It looks like this new blu ray set has a little more diversity in it’s line up however, and that’s encouraging to see. I’d complain about all the Chuck Jones content on the third disc, but maybe they plan to spotlight a different director for each volume? All in all I’d rather that they put out a chronological set so you could track the progression of the stuido’s work, but I’ll just have to go on wanting there. It’ll be fun just to see them in blu ray.

    • David

      It would be cool if different discs were assigned to different years. 3 disc – 1937 , 1943 , 1953

      • Funkybat

        I think chronological would be ideal, but it seems like that’s considered a poor way to market the cartoons to the average audience. Grouping them by director would be OK, but in the same way that 10 Tweety & Sylvester cartoons would get old, 10 Chuck Jones or Friz Freleng shorts in a row would be kind of narrow. One of the reasons I loved watching Looney Tunes on TV as a kid is that it seemed like a rich universe with different styles and characters, appearing at random every day.

  • Carl Russo

    I upgraded and got a Sony 1080p Blu-Ray and Sony 32″ Bravia TV for less than $700 out the door. The picture is STUNNING! You can even read the words on tiny signs in the background of a film.

    An added plus if you live in a big city: I hooked up a pair of wabbit-ear antennae to it and now receive crystal-clear high-def reception of dozens of TV stations without having to cover myself in tinfoil! Evil Comcast won’t get a penny out of me!

    But if you’re going to upgrade anything, Jerry, start with purchasing an actual camera for your posts, please! Your great blog deserves better images.

  • Nick

    Damn I just realised that this isn’t available in the UK yet. Jerry do you know of any planned release dates yet? Bluray is amazing and I was waiting for this for Xmas.

    P.S. Invest in a Full HD tv, It will make an incredible difference.

  • Stephen Worth Worth

    I have an Epson 1080p projector and a 100 inch screen, and I can honestly say that when properly restored, cartoons on bluray don’t look the same as a 35mm print… They look better. Home video has reached the point where the media is no longer compromising quality- basically the same place home audio reached with the CD format.

    Not all blurays look good. Some are hobbled by poor film elements, lousy transfers and excessive use of digital noise reduction, but on the whole they’re great. The only blurays that have been consistent disappointments are the Disney animated features. The intrusive restoration techniques, color balance manipulation, over processed audio tracks and downright annoying menu structure has pretty much negated any benefit to the bluray format. I wish Disney would get its act together.

    I’ve watched the second disk of the Tom & Jerry bluray set and these cartoons have never looked better. I’ve heard a few of the older cartoons on the first disk are a little funky, but I haven’t seen for myself yet. Looking forward to seeing cartoons like One Froggy Evening without the macroblocking issues that marred the DVD release, and the Clampett and early McKimson cartoons without the screwed up interlacing, DVNR and rejiggered colors. It seems the best cartoons on the DVD sets were the ones that were messed up.

  • Eric Spector

    time for a new tv jerry…

  • Sat

    Apparently the resolution of blu-ray is closer to a 16mm print, yet when you watch 16mm material on blu-ray, it shows a very distinct difference with 35mm. Also, when viewed in the most ideal situation, 35mm material on blu-ray shows so much detail and film grain, you wonder what more you could get in higher resolution.
    I never had the chance to hold a film in my hands, but I guess the advantage over blu-ray is this feeling of holding the very real thing, seeing all the individual frames, it must be great. Also you can draw all over it! Try that with a blu-ray!

  • Stephen Worth

    There are a lot of misconceptions about resolution of video as it compares to resolution of film. If you’ve seen a hidef projection system, you can instantly grasp the concept, but on paper, the different ways of measuring resolution get confusing.

    4K video can capture every nuance of 35mm film. It is higher resolution than 1080p, but for practical purposes, it’s the same. The reason is the screen size. Most home theaters have screens no larger than 120 inches. At this size, sitting at a normal viewing distance, there is no difference between 1080p, 4K or 35mm. Here is a chart that goes to 1440p, you can extrapolate the 4k/35mm range from it.


    So if you have a house with the ability to project on a 50 foot screen and you sit in the front row, you might see a difference between 1080p and 35mm. But most people with normal living rooms, 1080p is plenty. Sitting ten to twelve feet from a 120 inch screen with 1080p is amazing.

    I have collected 16mm prints of cartoons in the past. The image quality of 1080p totally blows away 16mm. Not even close. I would bet that 4K smokes 35mm too if there was a head to head comparison of something made for 4k against a 35mm dupe of it.

  • You’re killing me. I had just about rationalized NOT getting that set.

  • So… why does the “Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection” get a plug on Cartoonbrew while the “Tom and Jerry: Golden Collection” doesn’t?

    • Partially because I had more to do with the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection AND I recieved an advance copy of the set – I had less to do with the Tom & Jerry Golden and didn’t get a copy till after it’s on-sale date. I have no problems with the Tom & Jerry set – buy that too!

  • Abu

    Jerry, I just want to say that the Bluray player you choose makes a difference. I started with a Magnovox Wal-Mart cheapie, it was a gift. Well, it was… okay. I upgraded to a Sony 3D ready player and there was a big difference in quality. The discs load a lot faster and there was better performance overall. The cheap player occaisionally choaked on discs, the better one plays everything fine.

    Make sure you get Snow White on Bluray, it is amazing. Pay extra attention to when Snow White is exploring the Dwarfs’ cottage and all the shadows thrown off by the candle. Lots of amazing work in that scene. It blows the DVD away. In fact, almost every animated film I’ve seen on Bluray puts their DVD counterparts to shame.

  • William

    Nice, but I’m still waiting for a successor to the Golden Collections. We already own most of this material on DVD while the remainder of the library sits unreleased on any format…

    • Occams Breadknife

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Jon

    Sorry, but no sale here. I’m over all the double- and triple-dipping of home video titles, and there’s way too much stuff on this set that I’ve already got. I don’t care how spectacular it looks, the last thing in the world I need to own is another copy of “What’s Opera, Doc.” I do buy Blu-Ray discs, but only if it’s something I don’t already have on DVD..

  • E. Nygma

    Hey everybody there is a secret to switching formats for very little money I figured out a while ago.

    When I started buying DVDs I bought the special edition versions of movies I wanted the week they came out when they are on sale…you can get great deals the first week of release. So I had a really great DVD collection of rare editions.

    Then when blu rays just started coming out, I shopped around my really nice DVD Special edition sets (to Amazon marketplace, warehouse.com, ebay – whoever paid the most) sold them, and with the money re-bought Special edition Blu Ray versions of the films I really wanted. Now I have a great Blu Ray collection which I will sell for the next format. If everything goes digital, then I rip the Blu Rays to my computer and format them for iTunes. You can’t lose!

    It’s a great system. It really works. If you are creative with how you do it, you will not hardly have to pay anything to convert your collection. You just have to time it right.

    I would love to get this Looney Toons set! I have been waiting for the right set to come along…this might be it!

  • ty

    in the picture is that a private snafu episode? what is the title of that episode

    • The middle image above us from A HITCH IN TIME, the rarely seen Air Force reenlistment film. The main character is a lot like Snafu, ten years later, and it also features an update of Technical Fairy First Class – as “Grogan”, Technical “Gremlin” First Class!

      • ty

        was the hitch in time episode on any of the golden collection sets? i don’t remember watching it.

      • No, A HITCH IN TIME was not on any of the Golden Collection sets. It was a lost (or missing) film until last year when the film elements were finally located. It’s one of a few new-to-home-video bonus materials exclusively on this blu-ray set.

      • Bugsmer

        So that’s why he’s called Grogan. I always wondered about that. In the SNAFU cartoons, he was always referred to as “Technical Fairy First Class”. I think Grogan is his official name at Warner Brothers, even though few people got to hear him called that until now. At least, that’s what he was called on a Looney Tunes puzzle with tons of characters on it.

  • Anthony D.

    Have this pre-ordered! Should be on my doorstep in 2 weeks along with the 25th AE of Evil Dead 2!

    Jerry, a question; are the post-53 shorts in their original full screeen formats for this release?

    • Yes, all the post-53 shorts are presented in their original full frame formats.

  • Glad to hear you’re jumping into BD, Jerry! If you need any pointers on what display device (be it TV or projector) to buy and/or how to get it calibrated, don’t hesitate to give me an email.

  • David

    Are these prints going to have the same problems as the Dvds? Are they the same blown out prints? New amazing Pinks!!! The same green color in 1954 as in 1943? I hope they were careful to avoid disappearing line work problems that arose on all of the Golden Collection sets. These films are Art. Restore them correctly… with love.

  • David

    This set is so special that they decided to make the box art from the same clip art as the DVD sets. Looks like the pre-Space Jam consumer products art. I really think when you are asking for someone to shell out 80 bucks for a set of cartoons they bought 5 to 8 years ago, the least WB could do is package it in a special case. The cover looks like another bargain bin dvd.

  • akira

    Coal Black and MGM Tex please!?!?
    Mr. Worth i’d love to get your or some other expert’s opinion on the Looney Tunes quality and whether or not they screwed it up with DVNR… also Jerry is there any chance of Hanna Barbera TV toons on Blu-ray? Does Jonny Quest or Yogi Bear exist on film???

  • Mike Toole

    Nthing the calls for Jerry to get a new TV. Jerry, you watch cartoons for a living, right? It’s a business expense!! :)

    The set’s going on my Christmas list. When the Looney Tunes DVDs were coming out, HD was just coming over the horizon, so I waited. Glad I did.

  • David

    so can we get a complete list posted here of the Non- double dip cartoons on this set?

  • I have a graphite model sheet featuring Grogan in my collection, it can be seen here…