I’ve sort of given up on Warner Bros. DVD releases of its cartoons: I accept that we’re not going to get much of value until a) Blu-Ray becomes popular enough to spawn some Looney Tunes collections in that format, or b) That elusive, often-promised set of the “Censored 11” shorts finally becomes a reality. (There’s also online streaming, but frankly, while I want to see more older material in that format, I want to own good-quality copies, and always will. But that’s another post.) But I had to say something about This Road Runner/Coyote DVD they’re releasing, where the selection is so bad that it seems like a joke. But it has been confirmed as real.
Anyway, the list that TV Shows On DVD has consists entirely of Road Runner cartoons from after the original studio shut down, meaning that it’s mostly terrible limited-animation cartoons directed by Rudy Larriva; along with the Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzales cartoons, these limited-animation, poorly-timed Road Runners were the main output of Warner Brothers cartoons in the late ’60s.
The rest of the disc is bad made-for-the-web cartoons (the “New 2010 Roadrunner” ones), Chuck Jones’ two so-so TV cartoons, the Road Runner cartoon that’s the least-intolerable of the Larry Doyle series, and finally the two that I can actually enjoy watching again, “Chariots of Fur” and “Little Go Beep.”
The conspiracy theorist in me wants to think that this is a way of making the upcoming “Looney Tunes Show” look good by comparison — if kids are watching these cartoons, the CGI Road Runners Cartoon Network is preparing will look brilliant. I should add that I have no idea how good or bad “The Looney Tunes Show” will be, and wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be all right. Point is, it would still look worse by comparison with a bigger-budget pre-1964 cartoon.
The sensible side of me just thinks that maybe they’re still hoping to save the “real” cartoons for when the home video market comes back. Or that this batch of cartoons was put together before the home video department agreed to include fullscreen options for the cartoons, and that the Larrivas were considered more “expendable” when it comes to cutting off the top and bottom. I don’t know. I just know it’s not much of a list.
Here’s an example of a Road Runner cartoon that was not released in the DVD format, the one that ends with Ken Harris’s famous animation of the Coyote after taking a bottle of “Earthquake Pills.” Because casual drug use was surprisingly common in old cartoons.
(Crossposted from Something Old, Nothing New)