WB Academy Award Animation Collection

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I’ve neglected to acknowledge the release this week of Warner Bros. Academy Award Animation Collection. It came out last Tuesday and it’s a teriffic compilation containing all the Oscar winning animated cartoons, and most of the nominees, that Warner Bros. owns the rights to. This includes several great Looney Tunes, MGM Tom & Jerry, Tex Avery, Fleischer Popeye and Superman cartoons.

awardvd.jpg The prints are gorgeous, and there is expert commentary on several tracks provided by Mark Kausler, Eric Goldberg, Greg Ford, Paul Dini and Brewmasters Amid Amidi and Jerry Beck. Also worthy of mention is the special round table audio commentary on Popeye The Sailor Meets Sindbad The Sailor by Bob Jaques, Leslie Cabarga and Ray Pointer, moderated by myself. There is also a wonderful one hour documentary on Oscar winning cartoons (with additional clips from Disney, Zagreb and Hubley films) and comments from Michael Sporn, Mark Kausler, Howard Beckerman, Charles Solomon, Bill Plympton, Jimmy Picker, Tom Sito, Eric Goldberg, and archival quotes from Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

Many of these cartoons already appeared in several scattered video collections, though several of them were previously issued in edited form. Here, all the cartoons are complete and uncut – and it’s great to have them all collected in one place. A great package, highly recommended.


  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWKVmCX6SKY Hasdrubal

    Does this set have the same restoration of Sindbad as the Popeye Volume 1 set?

  • Reg Hartt

    It would have been nice to see them go the distance and include all the nominees in the Warner archives:

    THE CALICO DRAGON
    IT’S GOT ME AGAIN
    OLD MILL POND
    DETOURING AMERICA
    THE ROOKIE BEAR
    GREETINGS, BAIT
    LIFE WITH FEATHERS
    MEXICALI SHMOES
    MOUSE AND GARDEN
    BEEP PREPARED
    THE PIED PIPER OF GUADALUPE

    The presentation is first rate. I heard grumbles on other sites about duplication from other sets. Ignore them.

    This is a great collection splendidly presented. Kudos to all involved.

  • http://www.awprunes.blogspot.com/ Larry Levine

    Is “A Wild Hare” restored or the Blue Ribbon version?

    • Hernandez2014

      You’re in luck! WB was able to find the original title sequences!

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    Yes, yes, yes, this set is fantastic! I just got my copy in the mail yesterday and I spent all day off from work checking this beauty out! This should be the first of many such “cartoon festival” collections, even though I know full well that it isn’t. I like the idea of collections that mix up all the studios with one basic theme, but I digress…

    This set has some absolutely wonderful restorations, like “HIYAWATHA’S RABBIT HUNT” and “A WILD HARE” with its original title cards and dialogue restored, and not only does it have a restoration of “PEACE ON EARTH” but its successor, “GOOD WILL TO MEN”. Even if you’ve never liked these films, it is nice to have ‘em on this set, together again. I am someone, I admit, who doesn’t really mind the overkill all that much, because this is a set with an interesting theme, and so the “reruns” belong here and folks shouldn’t grouse about such obsessiveness. After all, isn’t that what we animation fans truly would like?? And having these historians along truly makes the examination of cartoons you would ordinarily overlook seem quite interesting. Now, more than ever, I long for that COMPLETE HAPPY HARMONIES set. Don’t scoff; it could prove to be quite a fascinating trip, especially when it is revealed just who influenced some of the gags and timing of the cartoons as Hugh Harmon and Rudolph Ising found it hard to work within a budget and other animators were proving that a new look should be given to cartoons with a slightly speedier pace.

    The documentary does tell a very interesting story, how it seemed as if the Academy’s acknowledgment of animation was merely to give an award to all things Disney. After listening carefully to the discussions on this documentary (on the third disk), you can see why other studios and directors strove to do almost the exact same thing that Walt was doing in hopes that they, too, would have such a golden future in filmmaking. It wasn’t just enough to be an animnation artist, and that opinion still exists today, especially when it comes to the classics. Modern animators might have a better time of it because of some of the in-roads made recently with “adult” animation, but whenever folks talk about animation, past or present, Disney seems to still unfortunately be the first word!!

    This ACADEMY AWARDS ANIMATION set is a worthwhile piece of history and the program will not be boring, even if you’ve seen some of these toons on other collections. You’ve not heard commentaries like these with as much insight and knowledge as to who produced what and who was responsible and why the cartoons are worthy of being scrutinized.

  • Kevin W. Martinez

    Apparently the MGM cartoons the the Warner ones that haven’t yet been included on a Golden Collection haven’t been restored and the prints included look far from “gorgeous”.

    One exception appears to be A Wild Hare. The short clips on the official website for the DVD look positively stunning and restored (Is this a Volume 6 candidate? Mmmmmyyyeahhh…. It’s a possiblity), and the cartoon has even been restored with original titles and Elmer’s “Cawol Wombard” line. The lone short clip of Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt (also restored with original titles) looks similarly restored but I’d need to see the full clip on the DVD to know for sure.

  • http://billfieldtrip.blogspot.com/ Bill Field

    I hope now, that Ray Pointer gets his due, his commentary is eye-opening, Ray was introduced as a kid-protegy at Jack Handy to MAX himself–what’s more, MAX was impressed! Ray’s labors and efforts in bringing lost and deteriorating cartoons back to their original glory isn’t as widely known or trumpetted as it should be. Ironic, that authors are given credit for reminding us about things in books- but the guy that actually revives, restores, and re-releases “the thing”, in this case, entertainment content, isn’t noticed or rewarded with the true accolades that he deserves, to quote Ben Grimm “Wotta Revoltin’ Development!” Ha!- I wasn’t thinking, but— I’m using “the thing” as a phrase throuout this post, and Ben Grimm is…”The Thing”! Congrats to your whole panel, Jerry- but a special tip o’ the hat to Mr. Pointer!

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com/gerstein David Gerstein

    Unfortunately, I believe Kevin Martinez is correct.
    From what I understand, the MGM cartoons on the set are not remastered or restored. Neither are most of the WB cartoons that haven’t already been included in the Golden Collection series.
    Some reviewers on the GAC forums cite interlacing problems throughout the first two discs (i. e. the reason that one disc of an earlier Golden Collection was recalled and replaced), though I haven’t yet been able to verify this for myself.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    The pre-1952 MGM Cartoons can never be restored to the extent of the Warner Bros. or Fleischer cartoons, as the original film elements were destroyed in a fire several decades ago. I have no idea if the interlacing problem is real. My copy of this dvd, played on my standard home DVD player and TV screen, looks great.

  • top cat james

    Jerry, you overlooked another of this week’s animation releases as well- “George of the Jungle-The Complete Series”.

    Watch out for that DVD! (sorry)

  • http://tstazer.www4.50megs.com Tom

    I’m terribly concerned about the unrestored quality issues and not so much onterlacing – I have a simple 36″ tube, and my el cheapo phillips players has no such issues.
    But with this many repeats and the threat of weak prints – hesitating. Mr. Beck, your opinion on quality and restoration issues??

  • Christopher Cook

    top cat james said:

    “Jerry, you overlooked another of this week’s animation releases as well- “George of the Jungle-The Complete Seriesâ€?.

    Watch out for that DVD! (sorry)”

    Got mine Tuesday. Truly head and shoulders above Cartoon Network’s inferior redeux.

  • Tom Minton

    That MGM warehouse fire in the 1950′s wiped out a great many original nitrate negatives. Digital restoration technology is capable of amazing results but once the negative is gone, limitations ensue.

  • http://www.brucelaing.com Bruce Laing

    YES!

    Been waiting years for uncut Tom &Jerry prints on DVD. :)

    I’ll be waiting in anticipation for my sets to arrive next week.

  • http://pediatristsplayground.blogspot.com Kevin W. Martinez

    IIRC, some of the Popeyes on the DVD’s aren’t struck from original negs either (something about a.a.p. altering the titles), but they look freshly transferred. Likewise the first several cartoons on the second Tom and Jerry spotlight collection were given fresh remasters and look excellent.

  • http://www.myspace.com/crumbcrispcoating Jonathan the Bellboy

    I’ll admit I’d held up until the last minute on pre-ordering this as I couldn’t find a firm list of the nominated cartoons and it lacked the Cartoon Brew seal of approval. You see, your word counts!

    I’m glad I got it but irritated to see that they left off Detouring America. I’d noticed that playing on TCM the other day, but missed my appointment to watch it.

    If if it’s not always the creme de Looney Tunes, my kids are underexposed to MGM’s output.

  • http://weirdocorner.blogspot.com Weirdo

    Where can I get one? This looks kickass.

  • Some guy

    Wow, this flew under my radar! Thanks for the heads-up!

  • http://www.thexbridge.com Jeff Harris

    Best Buy has it on sale this week for about $30 as does Amazon. Still seems like a steal.

  • http://billfieldtrip.blogspot.com/ Bill Field

    OK- just for the record I confused a guy I once worked with- Jack Handy of SNL’s”Deep Thoughts” fame(yes- he’s real) with Legendary Imagination Factory, JAM Handy! JAM Handy is where Ray Pointer met Max Fleischer NOT WITH Jack Handy, having deep thoughts! Sorry, Ray, for re-writing your life!

  • Casual Cartoon Fan

    It’s worth if for the dozen Tom & Jerry cartoons, including my personal favorite “Yankee Doodle Mouse”.

    The commentaries and the documentry are also great and interesting.

  • http://DetouringAmerica Detouring America

    You can find 2 Looney Tunes in the DVD “Each Dawn I Die” (1939):

    +Detouring America (Tex Avery,1939)
    +Each Down I Crow (Friz Freleng,1949)

    http://www.amazon.com/Each-Dawn-Die-Robert-Bruce/dp/B000FI9OBI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1203075175&sr=1-1

  • Garrett Aja

    The set is great, but I think I’ve found a problem: the CinemaScope MGM shorts are *not* anamorphic. Granted, two of the three have been on DVD for some time, but it’s still unacceptable.

  • Diana Green

    Delighted to see the neglected Rhapsody in Rivets on this set, along with the first DVD release of the full Dot and the Line (portions appear in Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens, which was itself slightly truncated on Looney Tunes DVD Golden Collection set 5- the footage appears to all be there, but they cut it in two chapters).
    Still holding out hope for the eventual release of the Inki cartoons! Anywhere! I know there’s that one garbage PD print, but how about getting these out somewhere?

  • Chuck R.

    I’m probably in the minority here, but insightful commentaries and well-conceived bonus material are the real draw for me. The latest and cleanest restoration is well and good, particularly for history’s sake, but you reach a point of diminishing returns when the latest technology only spotlights the limitations of the old technology. A case in point: There’s a crisp restoration of “The Brave Little Tailor” in the Disney Treasures series that really accentuates the travelling dust caught (I’m guessing) when the art was originally shot. I think I enjoyed this version even less than previous versions due to that distraction.

    I’d love to see a DVD reissue of that old VHS set of Oscar-winners that contained Munro and Moonbird (if memory serves.)

  • zavkram

    When I first heard about this set I was excited and hopeful that the visual quality of all the cartoons would be excellent. Having watched my copy in its entirety, however, I now have mixed feelings. The Superman cartoon doesn’t look as clean as the one contained on Bosko Video’s “Diamond Anniversary Collection” of all the Fleischer Superman cartoons; and “Quiet Please” looks to have been remastered from a somewhat dirtier-looking print (perhaps a VHS master) than was used for the “Tom & Jerry Spotlight Collection, Vol. 1″. The Popeye “Technicolor Special” is afflicted with DVNR in spots and, curiously, the end-title with the Paramount logo has Winston Sharples’ end-title music-cue from the late 1940′s Famous Popeye cartoons instead of Sammy Timberg’s original end-title music-cue. This can be heard at the end of the cartoon proper as well as at the end of the panel discussion on the audio commentary track.

    I have no complaints about “Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt” and “A Wild Hare”. however; they look and sound superb and I’m thrilled that the original titles and music have been restored. The CinemaScope cartoons also look excellent. Also, the print of “Peace on Earth” used for this remastering looks and sounds a bit cleaner than that used for WHV’s DVD release of “A Chrstmas Carol”.

    I could be wrong about this but the fire which destroyed all the MGM cartoon and feature film original elements from the 1920′s, 30′s and 40′s couldn’t have occured in the 1950′s; since MGM had begun striking re-issue prints of the 1940′s cartoons with different opening and closing titles. Moreover, during the 1960′s Chuck Jones and his animation team at SIB-Tower 12 Productions had re-animated and re-dubbed a number of the 1940′s and 1950′s Tom and Jerry cartoons for the Saturday-morning “Tom and Jerry Show” which aired on CBS-TV. Wouldn’t they have had to be able to access the original elements to those cartoons in order to make the necessary changes to “The Little Orphan”, “Puss Gets the Boot”, etc?

    Even if the original negatives are lost forever, it still should be possible to do a acceptable restoration of the pre-1952 MGM cartoons. Look at the job WHV did with “Singin’ in the Rain”; the negative for that classic film reportedly went up in flames years ago, ditto for “Citizen Kane”. I realize that these cartoons can never look like they were made just yesterday; but I nevertheless believe that they can be cleaned-up considerably. With regard to original title-cards; why can’t some talented artist simply recreate them from surviving sources so that they can be incorporated into the existing footage? Ray Pointer has done wonders in recreating missing title-frames from a number of the early Fleischer “Out-of-the-Inkwell” and “Inkwell Imps” cartoons.

    I am puzzled as to why WHV omitted certain titles from this DVD set to which they clearly own the rights (i.e., “Mouse and Garden”, “Rookie Bear” and “Life With Feathers”). I can only surmise that, since these additional cartoons would have warranted the addition of a 4th disc to the set (and consequently would have increased the retail price), WHV decided to forgo their inclusion. I could be wrong about this as well, but perhaps WHV was concerned about overall sales of this set and was reluctant to spend even more money on production and distribution costs.

    Regarding the bonus features:

    I thought the documentary was interesting but uneven; despite the lengthy discussion of the UPA cartoons, the only clip provided was from “Hell Bent For Election” Sony currently owns all of the theatrical UPA shorts, as well as the Charles Mintz/Screen Gems cartoons, and probably wanted an inexorable sum in return for providing clips to WHV. I also thought that Bonnie Hunt was a strange choice for the narrator; particularly since most of the time she sounded like she was phoning it in.

    I was very much pleased that original music-only tracks for some of the MGM cartoons were included. According to commentator Greg Ford, Daniel Goldmark is to be highly-commended for his skillful detective work in unearthing these rare materials. I saw that there is a 2-CD set of soundtracks from Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery cartoons, entitled, “Tom and Jerry and Tex Avery Too, Vol. 1″ available on Amazon; but I have yet to find out for certain what the actual contents of the discs are. Does anyone own a copy of this set and do you have a track listing? The set is apparently limited to 3000 copies, according to the 2 customer reviews posted on Amazon.

  • Christopher Cook

    Not every Tom & Jerry cartoon was screened on CBS, “Puss Gets The Boot” being among those that weren’t. If memory serves, Jones’ unit furnished theme music, cartoon titles and credits, bumpers, and animation at the tail end of the show’s opening and at the very end. The Jones cartoons were added in 1968, after the show had been moved to Sundays.

  • Oliver

    As usual from Warner Bros Family Division, this set is a gross misfire.

    It is apparently riddled with non-progressive transfers, interlacing issues and the MGM cartoons are all unrestored.

    I personally see little reason to waste money on this when they should instead be investing their resources into restoring the MGM films and putting out comprehensive collections without all these mastering oversights that any competent studio could/should easily avoid!

    All of the Warner cartoons will obviously turn up in future Golden Collections. Everything else is currently available on DVD already. The Happy Harmony films deserve to be released on their own, as do the overdue Tex Avery cartoons.

    I see no reason to applaud mediocrity… especially in an all too commonly accepted medium overrun by it.

  • zavkram

    Thanks, Christopher, for additional information about The Tom and Jerry Show’s time-slots. I was unaware that the show had moved to Sundays. I remember seeing it on Saturday mornings on either CBS or NBC in the late 1960′s (I was just a little shaver back then, if I may quote Grandpa Squirrel from “Peace on Earth”). It may have been in 1967 when I saw it on Saturdays, before the switch took place.

    I just hope that the restored versions of “A Wild Hare” and “Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt” will make their way onto a future volume of LTGC; the series would be incomplete without them.

    I’m also wondering if WHV’s release of the long-anticipated Tex Avery set will be predicated on favorable sales of this set (Matthew Hunter had hinted that this was the case regarding sales of the Droopy set).

  • George

    Oliver,

    As much as some of us have big issues with WB’s mishandling of its animated DVD releases (re: The Looney Tunes Golden Collections and especially the Tom & Jerry Spotlight Collections and The Tex Avery Droopy collection) the fact of the matter is that if not enough people buy this stuff WB won’t keep releasing it.

    Another thing is that WB HAS done the right thing a few times and released corrected discs for people who complained about the interlacing and edited cartoons on previous sets.

    The constant negativity of a vocal section of animation fandom is counterproductive. Constructive criticism is one thing, but some of us are locked into a very negative cycle of thinking and acting that is repellant to 95% of the people who read these blogs. That’s definitely not helping the case for people who want better presentations of EVERY film out there.

  • Randy

    With regard to the suggestion that missing original title cards be recreated and incorporated into the cartoons, I believe that Warner has a policy against doing that kind of thing. Drawing on actual film footage, such as was done in restoring the Paramount logo to the Fleischer Popeyes, is acceptable, but faking missing original titles isn’t.

  • zavkram

    Perhaps I was wrong to use the term “recreate” in my suggestion regarding missing title cards. I agree wholeheartedly that it is always best to draw upon original sources, whenever possible. Perhaps the term I should have used was “reconstruct”.

    Still, I don’t see why the reconstruction of missing original title cards should be deemed as unacceptable, if it ultimately permits one to see these films in their proper historical context (i.e., the way viewers of past generations saw them in movie theatres). After all, these cartoons (as well as the feature films, documentaries and other theatrical short subjects) are products of their time and as such are valuable historical documents. Everything possible should be done to preserve them for the benefit of future generations.

    I will readily admit to having been guilty in the past of some of the “constant negativity” of which George speaks. George makes an excellent point in that too much negative criticism may ultimately do more harm than good. The one exception I will take (and here let us simply and amicably agree to disagree) is with George’s assessment that WHV did the “right” thing by issuing replacement discs.

    IMHO, the “right” thing for WHV (or, more specifically, WHV’s Family Division) to have done would have been to exercise better judgement and quality-control when they remastered these cartoons the first time around. That way they would have been spared the embarrassment and expense of having to send out all those postage-paid replacement discs. BTW, Warner Home Video sure took a heck of a long time doing the “right” thing; I waited nearly five months for my replacement discs for Vols. 1 and 2 of the Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection.

  • OliverB

    It’s not ‘constant negativity’ when this home video division of the studio constantly screws up in the same areas time and time again!

    How difficult is it to master from progressive transfers?

    This is something that should be both expected and a given; It’s a basic quality control issue that should be implemented by all studios!

    Why should we expect any less from a new DVD release or have to put up with interlacing artifacts and picture errors because of these consistent oversights?

    The people in charge have got to be incompetent to continue to screw this up! How many disc replacement programs are needed to be put into effect before somebody gets clued in to this problem??

    And the fact that WHV didn’t bother to go back and revisit the MGM shorts with higher quality transfers from whatever existing elements or material may be at their disposal is equally inexcusable. Compare the quality of these films to even the earlier Tom & Jerry’s and CinemaScope cartoons which received new transfers! These are good enough for inclusion as supplements or extras on a DVD but not as the bulk of the feature/release itself. If the studio is going to sell us product, especially one in which the majority of the content is rehashed from previous releases, they better make sure it’s presented in the best possible quality!

    The fact that it isn’t, and it’s riddled with interlacing errors and mastering oversights which all too frequently plague Warner’s animated DVD fare, is reason enough I think to pass this one by in stores.

    We’ve all given WHV constructive criticism and feedback in the past. It’s no secret that we’re all waiting for a proper release of the Tex Avery and MGM films and are willing to spend what it takes to produce sets equal in quality to the Looney Tunes and Popeye releases. Yet they continue to throw out subpar sets like this and last year’s Droopy collection (loaded with DVNR’s transfers) and than expect our praise??

    What can really be said about this set…?

    It’s got some interesting audio commentaries from a few notable and respected historians who we all admire. So does that sell a DVD?

    Should we buy this set just to hear some audio recordings from Jerry Beck and Ray Pointer, etc? I don’t know about you but that’s generally not what sells me on a DVD release, be it a nice offering nonetheless.

    In MY opinion, this set is useless.

    All of the Looney Tunes will be released in more comprehensive fashion in their own box sets. The Fleicher films owned/licensed by Warner Bros. are all (or will soon be) available as well on DVD. The MGM cartoons are scattered, in equal quality, across many individual DVD releases. They SHOULD be made available in a more accessible format, however THIS isn’t it! It’s a hodgepodge of subpar transfers collected on disc.

    Everything from the cheap-o p.d. looking art work to the content within is lacking.

    At the very least, if the studio didn’t CONSISTENTLY screw up the quality with non-progressive transfers, I might’ve even considered a purchase had I extra spending to throw around. I still wouldn’t be completely satisfied.

    I’m just calling a spade, a spade.

    WHV screwed up the transfers AGAIN.

    The films are not properly restored.

    Some look fantastic, some stand out like old laserdisc transfers in this collection.

    And it’s anything but complete.

    So if this is negative feedback than I say give me SOMETHING positive to comment on!

    What’s MY incentive to spend money on a lot of cartoons that I mostly own on DVD already… especially when WHV can’t even seem to get them cleaned up and transfered properly without the usual techincal flubs?

    If my feedback seems overly negative it’s because all too often this community is overly accepting of mediocrity and there really should be no room for anything less than perfect. But it’s your money and you can decide how to spend it!

    I’ll save up for releases where the studio gets it right (Popeye, etc)!

  • Nic Kramer

    Boy, it’s consumers like him that help blows the chances on giving Warners the hint on releasing a MGM cartoon or Tex Avery set.

  • Charles

    Sounds like a great compilation. I have a lot of these cartoons on DVD already, and I’m not a huge fan of the academy’s taste (so much Tweety, Speedy and Tom & Jerry! They loved their cat cartoons) but it’s a pretty cool set nonetheless and I’ll probably pick it up. I wouldn’t mind more sets like this at discount prices if it didn’t conflict or distract from the great box sets they’ve been putting out. I wish they still showed this kind of stuff on Cartoon Network, though.

  • George

    Oliver,

    Take a chill pill!

    Geez…!

    In the end, they’re 40-, 50-,60-, 70-year-old frikkin’ cartoons for goodness’ sake!

    Honestly, you’re not going to get gold-engraved discs no matter how much you bitch about it on this site or Amazon.com… It’s just not going to happen with this stuff.

    Look at what you just wrote —! You hurt the cause more than help it. Calling people nitwits and idiots just isn’t gonna help at all. If anything, it’s just going to isolate you.

    There are a lot more important things than this in life. Obsessing about this stuff is kind of creepy. Keep things in perspective. There’s a much bigger world out there. Turn off the DVD player and pick another hobby if you hate the way the DVD sets are done so much.

  • zavkram

    You know what would really be great? If Warner Home Video, CBS/Paramount, NBC/Universal, Disney, Artisan/Republic and Sony all decided to start offering DVD/Blue-Ray subscription services to folks like us who care about quality.

    Such a service would enable customers, who were willing to pay the money, to select the individual cartoons and/or feature films they actually wanted to own; and to have them custom-pressed from good-quality masters (sans excessive DVNR, color oversaturation and interlacing) onto DVD/Blue-Ray discs. Customers would also have some measure of choice over which bonus features (e.g., spoken commentaries, trailers, documentaries) they wanted to purchase.

    This would be a highly-economical alternative to the commercial sets in stores right now; because customers would only pay for the actual disc-content, processing and shipping, and the applicable residuals/licensing fees to the current copyright holders.

    What they wouldn’t pay for is fancy packaging; just a sturdy plastic DVD “clamshell” case with a simple paper insert.

    I realize no such service exists right now… but, hey, I can dream, can’t I?

  • zavkram

    I also would like to clarify my earlier statement regarding the MGM Warehouse fire and the destruction of a great many negatives and original prints; simply because I just looked at it again and realized how COMPLETELY idiotic it was (just picture me kicking myself with one of those boot contraptions from the early Mighty Mouse cartoons)!

    Obviously the fire took place in the 1950′s; but the point I was trying to make was: if ALL of the original cartoon elements from the 1930′s through 1950 had perished in that 1950′s warehouse fire, how was it possible for Chuck Jones’ production company in the late 1960′s to insert the re-animated portions and June Foray re-dubs as replacements for Mammy Two-Shoes’ appearances (not to mention all of the new opening and end titles for each cartoon for broadcast on “The Tom and Jerry Show”)? Wouldn’t they have needed access to some of the original negatives in order to incorporate the new footage and voice-dubs? I apologize for not making that clearer the first time.

    I know that picture and sound elements for the cartoons were usually stored on seperate reels; but I’m somewhat fuzzy on the actual processes involved in striking new prints from a negative or creating a new negative from an existing print when that’s all that has survived.

    I believe there is one ray of hope that exists with regard to restoring some of the MGM Tex Avery cartoons of the 1940′s. Weren’t a couple of the 1940′s titles selected for inclusion in the Film Collection of the Library of Congress? If so, would the original elements have been sent over along with an archival print?

    If that is indeed the case, then might it also be possible to draw upon those sources when remastering those particular titles for inclusion in the forthcoming Tex Avery set? I know that the Library of Congress played a major role in the most recent restoration of “All Quiet On the Western Front” for DVD.

  • OliverB

    @ George:

    Who’s obsessing over anything? This blog post is about the Warner release so I’ve inserted my opinion. I never called anyone nitwits or anything else! I don’t have to turn off my DVD player and pick another hobby, I have many and this doesn’t really affect me one way or the other because I didn’t buy it anyway. If you don’t care about the company’s carelessness and constant mastering oversights on just about every single classic cartoon DVD release than congratulations! I do and won’t support any product in which the manufacturer screwed up and quality suffers as a result of their lack of efficiency. Maybe it’s just me and this silly thing I have about watching movies on my projector and having the image breakup into horizontal lines and blurred pixels. I guess I’m funny like that. If only everyone refrained from complaints when quality wasn’t up to par, just think, the studios would otherwise give up and not release any more DVDs… I better stop before Warner Bros. finds this post and puts the kibosh on those non-existant MGM and Avery sets! phew.

  • Kevin Martinez

    Actually I’d like to put in a dissenting opinion to George’s comments; They’re not useful at all, and if everyone had such petty, apologist attitudes for this material, then the DVD’s would be even more screwed up.

    The Looney Tunes sets are an instance or two of DVNR away from Perfection. The treatment of the MGM cartoons has been abysmal, the Popeyes are somewhere in the middle of the road (not nearly as good as the Looney Tunes, not nearly as bad as Tom and Jerry). There I said it.

    If anything we’re not being negative ENOUGH if these oversights keep happening. And being apologists won’t acvcomplish any more than negativity will.

  • Nic Kramer

    Brother, I’m starting to think that this comment feature was not such a good idea. Jerry was just telling you folks about his recent DVD project and what is the thanks he gets? People complaining about the MGM cartoons not being restored and double dipping! Now I can see why we haven’t heard anything from Warners about a Tex Avery set.

  • OliverB

    First of all, this is not Jerry’s project nor does Jerry have anything to do with what Warner Bros. choses to release.

    He might’ve been consulted on the production after it was already greenlit and asked to record some commentaries. It’s not his pet project!

    And let me try to understand you — the reason that a complete collection of uncut Tex Avery films has not been released to date, despite it possibly being the number one most requested animated property for release from the studio and years of fervent demand — is because a few people have complained about the poor mastering quality and interlaced transfers on this DVD??

    Until WHV gives the MGM films (including the TOM & JERRY theatricals) the proper treatment deserved, people will rightly continue to complain.

    Btw, would anybody here actually spend money on a live-action feature film that was not transferred progressively?

    If a studio did that with their Casablancas and any other classic films of significance, discs would be recalled within days and the internet review community would be in an uproar.

    I suppose the reason why Warner Bros. issued replacement discs on their Looney Tunes Collection was because of all the polite accepting consumers who weren’t bothered by the improperly flagged transfers?

  • http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/mjf7583 Michael F.

    I remember that cartoon you have the picture of! What one was it? It brought back some memories; I’d appreciate the help.

  • Marv

    The handful of newly animated shots that Chuck Jones and Tom Ray supervised for the 1960′s Tom and Jerry main, interstitial and end titles may have been printed with duplicating negatives of those shots from the classic shorts, which probably would’ve still been around forty-three years ago. The original sequential three strip Tech negs of course didn’t exist, due to that 1950′s fire. They might have even used library positive prints, which would not have looked as beat-up, scratched nor dirty as they appear in 2008.

  • George

    Kevin, Oliver & Friends –

    I’ve said what I could.

    You guys obviously don’t know how to talk to people without resorting to name-calling and falling on the bully-boy tactics that tork people off.

    Fine. Have a nice life. I hope you don’t have to find out with the inevitable disappointment that’s going to follow you for the rest of your lives that what you’re complaining about isn’t worth it in the end.

    These films are never going to be presented well enough for you. People have already tried to tell about the technical issues regarding the age of the films, the lack of negatives in many cases, and the fact that animation is still considered small fry by home video — ESPECIALLY animated shorts.

    If you want to ignore reality and pretend you’re the belly-button of the world, fine. You will continue to be regarded as crackpots and crybabies if you continue to talk to people this way.

    There’s a fine line between helpful criticism and coming off as an obnoxious know-it-all…

  • OliverB

    I’m sorry George, but if anyone is coming off as a name-calling obnoxious know-it-all, it’s you!

    Nobody has resorted to “bully tactics” or anything else like that here. And if you can’t accept others disagreeing with your presumptuous mis-informed ideas, than maybe you shouldn’t be posting on the internet.

    These are NOT the best that these films could possibly look, at all!

    As I said earlier, compare the new transfers made from the Cinemascope Tom & Jerry cartoons to any of the unrestored shorts with the ugly colored windowbox title cards. It’s quite clear that your self-assertive high-flown comments are utterly misguided.

    Warner Bros. hasn’t even bothered to revisit decade old laserdisc transfers for the MGM shorts. I’m not suggesting they strike new prints from unavailable elements!! But they could’ve at the very least cleaned them up and done higher quality transfers with new title cards to match the quality of the other cartoons, from whatever materials they have to work with.

    It seems that the studio has been strangely selective with these films and their neglect up until now of the MGM library – including the Tom & Jerry films – is unforgivable!

    Top that off with transfers that aren’t even progressively flagged on disc and is it any wonder that people are voicing complaints??

    If the best that Warner Bros. can deliver are these decade old interlaced transfers that haven’t even been correctly mastered to DVD… than you’re right, I guess they won’t ever be presented well enough for us!

    I guess our lofty expectations of being able to watch these films without the image breaking up into horizontal lines during motion sequences is too much to ask.

    And if what we’re complaining about isn’t worth it in the end as you suggest… perhaps you should find a new website to frequent. For the most part, people here care deeply about the preservation of classic film animation, and if it wasn’t for people like us, these sets wouldn’t even exist in the first place. You seem to just be talking out of your a– when the best you can come up with is:

    “In the end, they’re 40-, 50-,60-, 70-year-old frikkin’ cartoons for goodness’ sake!”

    So long!

  • Robert Reynolds

    I just got the set the other day, watched the documentary and the shorts on one disc, spot-watched the other two and checked out every short on all three discs. I’m pleased with the set, despite the double-dipping.

    For my money, a set which has The Blitz Wolf unedited, The Little Orphan unedited and which includes Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men, The Milky Way and The Dot and the Line, all at a price under what it would cost me to buy the feature film DVD releases that three of them are extras on-that set is worth every penny.

    I watch these on a DVD player, not on a PC. The shorts look better than I can ever recall seeing them in my life. I don’t expect these sets to be perfect.

    It is your right to complain about what you perceive to be flawed productions and it is also your right to vote with your dollars and refuse to buy the releases you consider flawed.

    It is also the right of the company or companies involved to look at sales figures, decide the sales numbers indicate interest is too low to continue projects of a particular type and to stop doing so, should they so choose.

    Please bear in mind, however, that if you don’t buy a set because, say, there’s too much “double-dipping” (or potential “double-dipping”) and sales are too low, you have no reasonable expectation to be taken seriously when you complain about said company’s decision, based on past sales performance, not to release similar material. That’s how the business world works.

    May this find you happy and healthy.

  • zavkram

    So far a lot has been said about the visual quality of the shorts contained in this set; but how do people feel about the actual cartoons that either won an Oscar or were nominated?

    Personally I’ve always preferred “Senor Droopy” to “One Droopy Knight” and believe that the earlier cartoon was far superior (in gags and comic timing) than its remake.

    I also thought that, ultimately, MGM’s “Blitz Wolf” was much funnier than Disney’s “Der Feuhrer’s Face”; but, ultimately, the Disney cartoon won the Oscar because it had a recognizable cartoon star (Donald Duck) and a hit song (Avery’s cartoon was just a one-shot).

    It’s amazing how many classic WB cartoons were overlooked over the years when the nominations were announced: “The Dover Boys” “The Rabbit of Seville”, “Bully for Bugs”, “Feed the Kitty”, “What’s Opera Doc?”, “One Froggy Evening”, “Duck Amuck”, “Duck Dodgers in the 24-1/2 Century”; all of these should have at least received a nod from the Academy. At least Chuck Jones, who directed the above-listed cartoons, later received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy toward the end of his career.

    Sadly, Robert Clampett received no such honorable mention from the Academy… I’d like to think that if his “Coal Black an’ de Sebben’ Dwarfs” had at least been nominated for an Oscar, then perhaps Warner Bros. wouldn’t be so intent on keeping it hidden in the studio vaults and suppressing its release to DVD.

    Unfortunately, it would appear that politics have always played a role in the way cartoons (and feature films) have been selected. First Disney dominated the Cartoon Short Subject category all throughout the 1930′s (the Academy created the award 1n 1932 in recognition of his achievements in animation), and then MGM (through the alleged machinations of Studio Head Louis B. Mayer) practically dominated the category throughout the 1940′s. In the 1950′s UPA was the new kid on the block and was receiving all the accolades; it’s a wonder that any cartoons from competing studios got nominated at all…

  • http://wackbag.com Roman

    The cinemascope cartoons on these discs are not widescreen enhanced like the packaging says they are. :(

  • Stephen Treadwell

    Why do so many people hate the Chuck Jones’ Tom and Jerry cartoons? I think they’re very good. I can’t see that they’re all that different from the originals.