December 11, 2023 posted by Thad Komorowski

Thad K Reviews “Looney Tunes Collectors Choice” Vol. 2

The timing for Warner Archive’s Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Vol. 2 couldn’t be better. Our friends at Max recently put out an announcement that their entire selection of classic Warner cartoons would be leaving the service, only to almost immediately follow up with a retraction saying that statement was made in “error”. More likely the response was swift and scathing enough to walk back sinking the service even further. The original cartoons are evergreen classics that just can’t be kept down, and as I wrote in my review of Vol. 1, we’re in a bountiful era where they’re readily available to the general public again. So they’ll remain intact on Max (for now) and also be available on Boomerang, and they’re still broadcast almost daily on MeTV. Even the Discovery Family Channel is getting into the act with a weekday Looney Tunes block.

However, this hoopla does illustrate a point we all often stress: streaming is a means for the studio to be in complete control and anything and everything can go away at any given time. Physical media ownership puts you in control, which is why these collections catered to rounding up all the cartoons not available on disc are wonderful to have and worth supporting — warts and all.

Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Vol. 2 offers a total of 25 classic Warner cartoons. Five more than the first volume, and a wider array, this time spanning from the late ‘30s to early ‘60s. Films by Tex Avery and a single black-and-white cartoon by Norm McCabe are added to the mix of cartoons from Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Frank Tashlin, Bob McKimson, and Art Davis. (Bob Clampett remains absent, but as noted before, almost all of his classic color cartoons were already released on Blu-Ray.)

The selection of Chuck Jones cartoons here offers a career-spanning overview that highlights the director honing his style to perfection (and sometimes missing the mark in the process). There are several cartoons with stories written by Mike Maltese when he first started out, showing he still had a lot to learn about the craft. Many are directed by Friz Freleng and illustrate just how much Maltese had to gain being paired exclusively with a more sympathetic director.

Or, to put it another way, there aren’t as many bona fide hits as the first volume. Which is to be expected given the outright classics have almost been exhausted by this point in the high-definition era. But as a means of getting as much of the Warner cartoon library out as possible, this single disc succeeds just fine. And that is what we collectors want. There are enough genuine classics to satisfy everyone, and the remaining potpourri exemplifies how no other studio’s output was ever as rewarding. There’s always a forgotten favorite to be found, and even their duds are still better than the competition’s average.

Presentation-wise, Vol. 2 earns the same marks as Vol. 1: except for two newly restored cartoons (Brother Brat and Ghost Wanted, which both look superb), these are the same masters seen on Max and MeTV. “Photoshop titles” are still here, zoomed-in to remove the worst errors. Many of the pre-1948 titles still recycle audio from the “Dubbed Version” Turner versions made in 1995. (This carelessness results in The Eager Beaver being slightly out-of-sync, consistent with the version that appears on streaming services and MeTV.)

On the positive side, the picture quality is mostly jaw-dropping across the board (with two exceptions), showing a level of detail never thought possible with careful restoration that retains the original animation and artwork.

Since it’s almost all pre-existing masters, everyone knew what to expect, so there’s no room for much disappointment. When or if the time comes for more careful inspection, though, these issues all need to be appropriately addressed. With all of this said, however, it’s hard to not sympathize with the tiny Warner Archive department’s position that they can either put these mostly more than satisfactory transfers out, or not put out any Looney Tunes.

So… onto the cartoons themselves! Presentation is strictly alphabetical, which makes the sampling a bit more random and a “party mix” than the first disc, which was grouped by character. And, as always, the opinions expressed below are exclusively my own.

Behind the Meatball (1945, Frank Tashlin)
Frank Tashlin continues a genre of wartime canine comedies he started when he ran the Screen Gems cartoon unit (Dog Meets Dog, The Bulldog and the Baby), showing how much the Warner environment, with a better crew and Mel Blanc, benefitted all the directors. “Let me explain—…”

Brother Brat (1944, Tashlin)
Tashlin reportedly hated Porky Pig, but all of the cartoons he did with the ham are pretty great. This one, long requested to be restored (it’s the last color Tashlin besides “The Major Lied Til Dawn” – and the only remaining Tashlin featuring a “star” character – that hasn’t seen release in the digital era), has him babysitting a burly riveter’s psychotic son.

Catty Cornered (1953, Friz Freleng)
There’s no denying a lot of the Friz Freleng-Warren Foster Tweetys run on auto-pilot, but this is an ingeniously layered entry with Tweety bird-napped and held for ransom by gangster Rocky, with Sylvester attempting to “rescue” him. It exemplifies the attention to characterization missing from many later cartoons, and which is almost certainly absent from the many attempts at other studios to mimic Freleng’s two-character comedy style. Flawless timing throughout.

Cross Country Detours (1940, Tex Avery)
Going through Tex Avery’s Schlesinger years, every viewer is bogged down by an onslaught of spot-gag cartoons, mostly of the travelogue variety, which are a far cry from his best work. However, this 1940 entry is an exceptional gem, where every gag is uniquely funny (the best being “a close-up of a frog croaking”). Avery put a lot of extra work into this one, as evidenced by how much live-action reference footage he shot, the most notable bit, of course, being a stripper for the lizard.

Daffy’s Southern Exposure (1942, Norm McCabe)
First of a trio of Daffy Duck cartoons directed by Norm McCabe that try to make the mallard less unhinged and something more recognizable as a cartoon star, here in the time-honored role of the animal who didn’t prepare for winter. Like many Max restorations of the black-and-white titles, this one looks a little over-processed in comparison to the surrounding color titles, but is still perfectly watchable.

I often wonder how good McCabe could’ve gotten had he continued after he returned from the service and wasn’t hampered by the demands of a low-budget, all-black-and-white unit (just see how Clampett soared when he broke free). His Daffys, The Ducktators, and especially Confusions of a Nutzy Spy are all classics. His last cartoons show he was on the same page as Jones regarding graphic design with his layout artist Dave Hilberman. Ultimately, Warners violated the law that said employers were supposed to give men returning from the service their exact job back (the one that allowed Myron Waldman and Tom Johnson to return as head animators at Famous Studios and ultimately led to Jim Tyer leaving). They did offer McCabe a job animating again but he turned them down (Norm said in later years that if he wasn’t unlearned, he’d have fought harder to get the director job back).

Ding Dog Daddy (1942, Freleng)
A horny dog (voiced by Pinto Colvig) tries to bang a statue. Overwritten dud most noteworthy for the phenomenal backgrounds painted by Paul Julian.

The Eager Beaver (1946, Chuck Jones)
Frantic entry with beavers “damning” a river, and Jones starting to learn the comedic value of using less drawings to get from pose to pose.

Fair and Worm-Er (1946, Jones)
The ultimate chase cartoon: worm chases apple, bird chases worm, cat chases bird, dog chases cat, dogcatcher chases dog, wife chases dogcatcher, mouse chases wife, Pepe Le Pew chases everyone. Ingenious in its sharp posing and writing, the Jones-Maltese partnership fully matured.

Fin ‘N Catty (1943, Jones)
Jones figuring out that a neurotic feline in pantomime (this time one with aquaphobia trying to catch a goldfish) can bring out the best in character acting and posing.

From Hand to Mouse (1944, Jones)
A cynical twist on the fable of the lion and the mouse that’s a little talky but also quite thought provoking. “Why is the mouse such a prick?” “Why is the lion so stupid?”

Ghost Wanted (1940, Jones)
Playing off the “non-sinister sprit” theme popularized by the Topper films, this Jones outing is merely a special effects bonanza with the added bonus of Tex Avery voicing the fat ghost. The most interesting thing about it came some four decades later. Century-long cartoon veteran Izzy Klein wrote a Cartoonists Profile piece for the animation union newsletter that detailed Casper the Friendly Ghost’s origins. Jones wrote in a snotty letter chiding Klein for not crediting Ghost Wanted in any way. Klein and Dave Tendlar (who despised Casper), in kind, fired back their amazement that he had a hand in the creation of a character at a studio he never worked at.

Greetings Bait (1943, Freleng)
The Wacky Worm returns in this Oscar-nominated outing. The cost of the underwater effects prompted Leon Schlesinger to decree no more of them: so the following year, Bob Clampett obliged by having Hare Ribbin’ pointlessly take place mostly underwater. Most notable for being the first Warner cartoon release that Carl Stalling incorporated Raymond Scott music into.

Hamateur Night (1939, Avery)
Fan favorite entry with Egghead and the fat laughing hippo (voiced by Tex himself) tormenting the m.c. (voiced by Phil Kramer) and performers of a two-bit talent show.

Hare-Breadth Hurry (1963, Jones/Maurice Noble)
The final, and most bizarre, pairing of Wile E. Coyote and Bugs, with the latter filling in for an injured Road Runner. A cartoon as burnt out as the bird allegedly is. The irony is Jones panned Bob Clampett’s Bugs as too aggressive, and yet Jones’ chatterbox Bugs here treats the Coyote with undisguised active contempt. Arguably the worst of all of Jones’s cartoons – but a real curio…

A Hick, a Slick, and a Chick (1948, Art Davis)
Hick mouse Elmo wins back his gal Daisy Lou from Blackie by skinning a cat through sheer drunken stupidity. The Art Davis unit offers some of Warners’ last vestiges of bouncy, lively animation (largely by Emery Hawkins) that’s just a sheer delight to watch and study. Also features one of the all-time greatest, most satisfying punches in cartoon history. “Don’t get nosey, junior!”

A Hound for Trouble (1951, Jones)
“Atsa-matta for you!” The final Charlie Dog cartoon, and maybe the best remembered. Paisan Mike Maltese voices the sickened customer (and the angry passerby). This cartoon made acclaimed film critic Manny Farber’s list of best films of 1951.

Hiss and Make Up (1943, Freleng)
Dog versus cat, and a non-partisan canary, in an early template for that defining characteristic of “mature” Warner cartoons: violent animals that just hate each other on principle. Notable for introducing the spinster character that would eventually become Freleng’s Granny.

I Wanna Be a Sailor (1937, Avery)
The earliest cartoon on this collection, with Avery’s style still in embryonic form and not quite as free as his black-and-white Looney Tunes could be, given there were more executive eyeballs on the more expensive Merrie Melodies. Still, he purposefully makes the cutesy bird characters, the kind so prevalent in the competition’s cartoons, as obnoxious as possible.

The Leghorn Blows at Midnight (1950, Bob McKimson)
Foghorn Leghorn “officially” overtakes Henery Hawk as the star character in this unnoteworthy, but nonetheless funny, entry.

Lickety-Splat (1961, Jones/Levitow)
The closest a Warner cartoon came to a Kubrick movie (and ‘60s Kubrick at that). Starts as a normal Road Runner cartoon, but Wile E. Coyote’s overambitious dynamite dart scheme ends up haunting him for the rest of the cartoon. One of the best in the series that shows Jones could still deliver even this late in the game.

One Meat Brawl (1947, McKimson)
Director McKimson comes into his own with the big jowls, pinched heads, hammy acting, random physical beatings, and jaded leads that defined the joys of his late ‘40s work with Warren Foster and Manny Gould. Clampett left and Art Davis took over his unit during production, so Davis’ animation of Grover Groundhog dancing stops mid-scene and is taken over by the inimitable Rod Scribner.

The Penguin Parade (1938, Avery)
Again, as with I Wanna Be a Sailor, a well-designed musical cartoon more charming than it is funny. Looking at Avery’s filmography (and this goes through to MGM), you’ll find Avery quite often did cartoons to “cool off” after going completely nuts on a previous one, before going nuts all over again (in this case, he had just made Daffy Duck and Egghead).

Rabbit Rampage (1955, Jones)
Notorious follow-up to the immortal Duck Amuck, which Jones and Maltese recognized immediately (privately) as one of their masterpieces… So it begs the question, regarding making this cartoon: “WHY!?” Unfailingly unfunny, save the bit with distorted Bugs. “Continue to draw me like this, buddy, and we’ll both be outta woik!” One of the first to go back into production when the studio reopened, with Ben Washam animating the entire cartoon while things were getting reorganized.

The Rebel Without Claws (1961, Freleng)
Bloodless latter day Tweety noteworthy for being one of the only utterances of a cuss word in a Warner cartoon, in reference to the musical Damn Yankees. Still gets a surprising amount of uncensored airplay these days, probably due to the fact that we never actually see a Confederate flag.

The Wacky Worm (1941, Freleng)
The first cartoon with the irritating Jerry Colonna-inspired Wacky Worm… and you’ll be glad Friz only did two of them! While the picture quality of most of these restorations done around 2020 is just fine, this one really could use a complete revision as it looks genuinely awful. It always seems to be a rule that the films that need the most restoration attention are usually among the weakest.

In all, despite its issues, Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Vol. 2 is another hit for the Warner Archive classic animation collection. Die-hards can at least appreciate that these mostly exemplary restorations are accessible beyond lowly rips off broadcast and streaming platforms. Any given fan will find at least a dozen all-time favorites here and probably a few they didn’t know they had. With the selection of character-centric shorts whittling down (only Daffy, Tweety, Sylvester, and Foghorn have a significant number of unreleased titles left), future volumes are going to get more and more interesting as they’re filled with more obscure offerings—so these discs are right at home with the Warner Archive Collection. A complete-in-one collection will probably never happen, so let’s get whatever we can while we can.


  • I always liked the cartoon “behind the meatball“. That’s about all I can say about it, other than the comments above. It’s a very funny cartoon! I also like “fin and caddy“, a great pantomime cartoon I especially like when the cat slowly realizes that he’s drowning. Also, it will be interesting to see “cross country detours“, cartoon that I’ve always liked out of all the mock documentary type of cartoons from the studio. All I can add here is that I hope the series continues much further than the Looney Tunes Golden collection was allowed to.

  • Thad:
    Would it be safe, to assume that the copy of Cross Country Detours on Volume 2 is the version on Me TV with restored original titles?
    Also I am happy that Ghost Wanted and Penguin Parade are included. There is way more to Looney Tunes, and Merrie Melodies
    than just Bugs, Daffy, or Porky and the rest, This collection is proof of that.
    Please reply

  • The adjective “snotty”, in reference to Chuck Jones’s 1976 letter to the Peg-Board about Casper and “Ghost Wanted”, was originally employed by Milt Gray in his essay “Bob Clampett Remembered”, which is less a reminiscence of Clampett than a hatchet job on Jones. Gray didn’t bother to quote from any of the correspondence in question, but Jim Korkis did in his Animation Anecdotes #310 column posted here on April 21, 2017. Clearly Jones wasn’t making any serious claim to having created the character, but was just having a bit of fun: “I suppose you could call it retroactive plagiarism, because we stole Izzie Klein’s idea about a little boy ghost ten years before he created Casper…. Somehow, after this first one, we couldn’t see the vast merchandizing potential in a dead six year old.” He also used the term “retroactive plagiarism” when joking about his cartoon “The Aristo Cat” and Disney’s “The Aristocats”.

    It’s possible that Norm McCabe could have gotten his old director’s job back if he had threatened legal action. That would have made him very popular at the studio.

    “Hamateur Night” may be a “fan favorite”, but I’ll never understand why. Back when it was a staple of public domain video collections, I couldn’t fast-forward past it fast enough. Every single gag drags on forever and falls completely flat. On the other hand, I kind of like “Hare-Breadth Hurry”. De gustibus non disputandum est!

    • I’ve actually read the original newsletter in question. If it was in good fun, that was lost on Klein and Tendlar and they weren’t too pleased. (And if Disney’s The Aristocats is guilty of plagiarism, it’s with Tendlar’s Famous cartoon Kitty Kornered, which has a shockingly similar plot and kitten and butler designs.)

  • Thad:
    Does Cross Country Detours have it’s original titles like we see on Me TV?

    • Yes, the original titles for Cross Country Detours are here!

  • Even if these sets have flaws, we should be grateful Warner Archive is even putting these out in the first place. It’s better than nothing.

  • Well, let me be the first to once again thank Mr. Komorowski for taking the time to write out this splendid, forthright review of this collection (which is currently on its way to me courtesy of Barnes & Noble). I’m greatly looking forward to a newly restored ‘Ghost Wanted’. It may be one of Jones’ early ‘cutesy’ works, but Avery’s performance and years of having the soundtrack on the ‘Carl Stalling Project Vol. 2’ CD have made it a guilty pleasure.

    As for the perennial discussion about picture and audio quality, I’ll note two passages:

    “When or if the time comes for more careful inspection, though, these issues all need to be appropriately addressed.”
    – Exactly, that’s all I ever wanted, and I would bet I’m not alone in feeling that way.

    “A complete-in-one collection will probably never happen…”
    – I genuinely appreciate having the ‘probably’ here. Goodness knows this part of the digitial era has been full of surprises we could hardly have imagined back in the early 2000s when the first Golden Collection came out. It’s just of a matter of Who can make such long-dreamed for project a reality, When will be their opportunity, and How can we support them in that endeavor?

    Anyway, thanks again to Mr. Komorowski for laying out the facts and to Mr. Beck for hosting this column. I’m looking forward to receiving this!

    • Rather interesting that there is only one black and white short on this volume with the rest being in color. Hopefully, we get some more monochrome shorts for the third volume including “The Impatient Patient” and some Porky shorts that haven’t made the leap to Blu-Ray yet.

  • My wife was asking me just last night what I might want for Christmas. Thanks, Thad!

  • It makes me endlessly happy to see cartoons like “Lickety-Splat” and “Behind the Meatball” immortally preserved on disc. Great overview Thad! I was really scared about this set mostly because it featured a ton of (HBO) Max restorations that were highly problematic when they first aired. I was there when “The Penguin Parade” first launched in its botched state. I’m happy to hear that, despite a couple issues, this set is mostly a home run on the level of the first volume. I still think it’s interesting to see a home video set of Looney Tunes cartoons where the Chuck Jones entries are some of the weaker selections. I know at this point we’ve gotten most of Jones’ masterpieces preserved on home video. But I think it’s been quite a while since the Jones cartoons on a DVD/Blu-ray set are this divisive. Strange to see, for sure. But I guess, in a way, it’s kinda rewarding that most of what’s left is either his early experiments, the hyper obscure classics, or the “Hare-Breadth Hurry”‘s of the world. All of which are featured on this set. It’ll be interesting to see how deep we can dig through the archives if another set is to truly come out. Just PLEASE PLEASE next time can we get stronger sound restoration? Oh also, one other note. Patron saint of the internet and all-together cool person Duck_Twacy (Eliza) showcased to me how phoned in Freleng’s “The Wacky Worm” is. And I just think it’s kinda humorous that one of the worst cartoons on the set gets the worst restoration treatment. It, much like the other ones, still deserves a better glow-up. But still, a laugh was had by all.

  • I never thought I’d see “worst” applied to Chuck Jones in a cartoon review.

    The real trouble with “Rabbit Rampage” is that Bugs is uncharacteristically defensive and hostile right from the start when he sees who his tormentor is (unlike poor Daffy who never knows who’s bedeviling him). How much better if he had been able to outsmart even the holder of the brush.

    It is a good thing, however, that lesser known titles are appearing in DVD collections. I still think they should all be made available on an a la carte basis.

    • The thing is, I actually much prefer Rabbit Rampage over Duck Amuck, because the former does a far better job in my eyes of deconstructing the notion of cartoon characters than the former.

      How? By doing the exact opposite of what Jones seemed to have intended. Duck Amuck might be a personality exam, but we’ve seen Daffy acknowledge he’s a cartoon from the very beginning and there’s nothing that truly breaks ground. He was, from the start, a figure intended to be put in ANY scenario and still be instantly recognizable, whether it’s a mad doctor or a self-aware fictional character. Viewed today, with a culture drenched in “post-irony” and constant meta references, it loses most of its impact and becomes just another wacky cartoon.

      By contrast, I enjoyed Rabbit Rampage way more because it proves just how limiting Bugs, and by extension any corporate mascot, can truly be. Bugs is at his best when his smug heckler strategies can’t win him the day (the Tortoise trilogy being a great example of this), and when you see him outsmart dumb muscles and hoodlums again and again, it makes for a boring character that seems only fit to sell you products. Supposedly the short was inspired by remarks around the studio at that time about how Bugs was getting “old”, so it serves as a great shot back by not only spoofing the character analysis of Duck Amuck, but by spoofing the very problem the big animation studios were facing – that their fifteen-plus year old characters were starting to get stale.

      I think why Jones hated Rabbit Rampage was because he seemed to view himself as Bugs’ “father” and an extension of himself, so being forced to take his ideal self and break it down must’ve hurt his ego in a way he wasn’t ever comfortable with. I was never a fan of Jones’ work myself – even as a kid when I saw One Froggy Evening come up on this one WB movie tape I always fast-forwarded because I thought the short was just boring – so maybe my own perceptions are colored.

      • i think Rabbit Rampage would have been a lot more enjoyable if Bugs actually let loose and lost control. Throughout the entire film, he mostly restrains himself from getting truly upset. The film exhibited how watered down Bugs was at that point, he became far too reserved and smug. Duck Amuck (Jones’s masterpiece) on the other hand is filled with hilarious drawings of Daffy going completely nuts and such a short only works if the primary character drops any attempt at keeping his temper in line.

  • WAC needs to release the HD transfers made for the Golden Collection DVDs. Currently they are available only through streaming or digital purchase. There is a lot of good-to-excellent cartoons never released on bluray. Diving into more obscure and lesser-quality cartoons in the Collector’s Choice series doesn’t make much sense.

    • This collection series technically focuses on cartoons that haven’t been released or remastered to DVD/Blu-Ray (specifically ones not included on Golden/Platinum Collections or Super Stars, etc) that fans have been wanting to see.

      • I just want to see SINKIN’ IN THE BATHTUB get an exceptional HD restoration. Even though it was featured in the Golden Collection, it was unrestored and mastered from poor material.

        Hoping the Warner Archive will consider.

    • Well, I would certainly buy a BD collection with the likes of Hare Trigger, Rabbit Punch, Hare Remover, and whatever other classics that didn’t make the leap from DVD. But you can’t expect everyone else will. The Bugs set was almost all new to BD titles and many were under the impression “I have all these already.”

      • people seem to treat DVD and Blu-ray as the same format and cry “nothing but double dips” and it pisses me off to no end lol.

        • I specifically asked if there were any “double” dips” between the Platinum Collections and the Collectors’ Choice DVDs. Being assured there wouldn’t be I will be buying the Collectors’ Choice BluRays until they stop making them. This still gives me a very good representation of the Better Warners Cartoons without having had to buy the Golden Collections when they first came out..

  • I’m looking the most forward to Cross Country Detours and the Tashlin and Davis entries herein.

    I too have wondered how McCabe’s entries would have been like if he stayed/returned at WB. Some of the latter ones pointed to a more promising future output. If only he had better wtiters.

    I hope more of Avery’s shorts will be released. I agree that Cross Country Detours is the best spot gag entry, but there’s a few other decent ones, even though they tend to repeat themselves. Hopefully Detouring America and Johnny Smith and Poker-Huntas aren’t off limits for a release.

    It’s always a pleasure to read your insights.

  • Brother Brat, like a lot of Tashlin cartoons, is very underrated so I’m definitely happy to get an upgrade from VHS.

    As for the whole streaming situation, I wouldn’t mind if cartoons are removed from streaming services if they’re available to digitally purchase elsewhere, like on Apple TV or Amazon Prime. But when Max removed the post 1950 shorts, there were quite a few that were suddenly unavailable -anywhere-. That’s a lousy situation and only encourages piracy.

    “The closest a Warner cartoon came to a Kubrick movie (and ‘60s Kubrick at that).”

    Can you explain this? I’ve seen most of Kubrick’s movies but I’m not drawing the parallels in my mind.

    • I guess I’m referring to the vibe of an overambitious plan haunting the main character at every chance, repeatedly in the same exact fashion that called to mind Kubrick. It’s a hell of a unique cartoon at any rate!

      • “I hate you Instant Hole!”

  • I think Tashlin hated Porky cause he had to direct him so many times, Similar to Clampett and how he had to direct Porky cartoons for awhile.

    How do Rabbit Rampage and One Meat Brawl look compared to their DVD Releases?

    As a McKimson fan, it is annoying they didn’t include ONE of his One-Shots.

    Finally, I’d rather have 20 perfect restored, in-sync cartoons than 24 restored cartoons and 1 out of sync.

    • Rabbit Rampage looks fine (they did correct a very bad After Effects error in the opening credits of the Max version), but One Meat Brawl is revelatory in its clarity, and I thought that the first time I saw this restoration three years ago. Another all-time favorite that makes it worth buying for alone.

  • Also, Brother Brat being “the last color Tashlin cartoon that hasn’t been released in the digital era” isn’t true. The Major Lied Til Dawn fits that description as it was only seen on laserdisc, and hasn’t been restored.

    • Oof. Good catch. I think I was thinking of just Tashlin’s third stint, in the ‘40s, when making that statement. And, I think we probably won’t see Major any time soon…

  • Very excited! Okay so the Bugs Bunny cartoons blow, but it’s made up with all the one offs! Also Brother Brat looks amazing!

    • Blows? I didn’t think the shorts are that bad. I happened to like “Rabbit Rampage.

  • I’m amused that Jones, after publicly decrying Bob Clampett’s claims that virtually every major character in the Warner stable was based on “a drawing Clampett had made earlier” could turn around and do the same with Casper – of all the limited, one-note characters to want credit for.

    • I suppose that’s fodder for Paul Groh’s theory above that Jones was attempting a show of wit that, as Mr. Komorowski noted, clearly didn’t land because you’re right, what reason could Jones have possibly had to seriously attempt to claim Casper?

      On the other hand, I can clearly remember a specific reference to ‘Ghost Wanted’ being ‘several years before Casper’ in the book ‘Chuck Amuck’ so who can really tell?

      • There’s no such reference in “Chuck Amuck”. “Ghost Wanted” is only mentioned in the filmography, Casper not at all. You must be thinking of something else.

  • I’m amused that Jones, after publicly decrying Bob Clampett’s claims that virtually every major character in the Warner stable was based on “a drawing Clampett had made earlier” could turn around and do the same with Casper – of all the limited, one-note characters to want credit for.

  • This bluray vol 2 already for audios in English and Spanish

  • I respect that you post a review that is not 100% positive – Thank you for the effort in getting these cartoons on disc

  • I vote for “Of Fox and Hounds” to be on the eventual third volume of this great collection!
    (It’s one of the last Averys that remains unrestored, other than Early Worm Gets the Bird, which is almost certainly never going to be released)

  • A few things Mr. Komorowski didn’t mention:

    “Catty Cornered” (1953) was the only one of five cartoons with Rocky the gangster that Warners had not yet released on DVD, so it’s a welcome addition. (Don’t confuse it with the earlier Clampett cartoon “Kitty Kornered,” 1946, which also features Sylvester.)

    “Hare-Breadth Hurry” (1963) was the only one of the five Wile E. Coyote-vs.-Bugs Bunny cartoons that Warners had not yet released on DVD. Another fine addition. I, for one, like it!

    “A Hound for Trouble” (1951) was the only one of the five cartoons with Charlie Dog that wasn’t _easily_ available on DVD. Warners released it on DVD in the early 2000s with a movie set – specifically, with the movie “On Moonlight Bay” (1951), starring Doris Day, in the “Doris Day Collection Vol. 2.” Now it’ll be a lot easier to find! (And restored to boot.)

    A few years ago, I watched “From Hand to Mouse” (1944) – I can’t remember where – and noticed that the mouse in that cartoon bears more than a passing resemblance to Bertie in the Hubie and Bertie series. It isn’t in the “Chuck Jones Mouse Chronicles” Blu Ray set, so I’m happy to see it here. The cartoon that may have inspired it, Freleng’s 1937 cartoon “The Lyin’ Mouse,” is in that set as a special feature, so now we have ’em all.

    I’ve long wanted to see “Fair and Worm-er” (1946), ever since I read about it in Jerry Beck’s and Will Friedwald’s 1989 book “Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.” It was Jones’s attempt to create the ultimate chase cartoon, a few years before he created Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. I wonder if it was inspired by Freleng’s 1942 cartoon “Double Chaser”? In that one, a bulldog chases a cat chases a mouse.

    “Daffy’s Southern Exposure” (1942): I hope Norman McCabe’s other two Daffy Duck cartoons, “The Impatient Patient” and the outrageous “The Daffy Duckeroo” (also both 1942), will soon follow!

    Warners had earlier released some of the other cartoons on this DVD with movies on DVDs in the early 2000s (like “Brother Brat”). This is a better presentation.

    I will say that there are some disappointments and, in my opinion, some unfortunate omissions here. No additional Goofy Gophers cartoons (like the first one, “The Goofy Gophers,” 1946, which has never been released on DVD, and one of their best, “I Gopher You,” 1954). And no Ralph Wolf-Sam Sheepdog cartoons at all. Also, the Bugs Bunny cartoon “A-Lad-In His Lamp” (1948), with the genie, Smoky, voiced by Jim Backus, is MIA.

    I _never_ would have chosen “Hamateur Night” (1939). I think the Egghead-“Elmer Fudd” character is annoying. (The only Egghead-Elmer cartoon I thought was halfway decent was “Count Me Out,” 1938, by Hardaway and Dalton, rather surprisingly.)

    OK, ’nuff! Thank you, Mr. Komorowski, for the review. And – an unsolicited plug – I’m looking forward to your “Aesop’s Film Fables” cartoon series DVD next year. Hope there will be more to come!

  • A poor selection of cartoons, only 3 stands out as classics: Norm McCabe’s brilliant Daffy’s Southern Exposure, Chuck Jones’s funny chase cartoon “The Fair and Worm-er” and of course the set’s only mini masterpiece: “Brother Brat”. The Road Runner cartoon “Lickety Splat”, while not a classic, is interesting with the darts running gag. The remaining 21 are either duds or simply mediocre.

    I hope for a better volume 3.

  • In another universe, recognition from the academy would have led to a whole series of Jerry Colonna worm cartoons, as it did with Bugs, Sylvester, Foghorn, Pepe, Speedy, etc.

  • Anyone reading should listen to the episode of The Extras with Jerry and George for some interesting insight:

    I’ll hand it to Jerry for the insight that Hare-Breadth Hurry more than likely started life as bridging segments for a Bugs Bunny Show. I don’t walk back my panning, but I’ll admit it probably does work a lot better in that context.

  • Great review Thad, I just have one question:

    While most of the Photoshopped titles cards done for Max haven’t been too bad and are easily fixable, ‘A Hound for Trouble’ actually butchered the ‘C’ in Chuck Jones’ name. Has that been corrected for this release?

  • I respectfully disagree with Thad regarding the short “Hare-Breadth Hurry” I think he oughta walk back his panning of this one. It’s a good one regardless of what context it’s viewed in. Bugs isn’t a chatterbox in this one, though he is in “Mad as a Mars Hare”, and “False Hare”

    • Nah, he’s right on that one. It’s a misfire, and Bugs is too cruel. The only moment that gets a slight chuckle from me is “Do you realize he almost hit this door?”

  • Dang, those copies of GHOST WANTED and BROTHER BRAT look beautiful. It sucks that it probably wasn’t in the budget to fix THE WACKY WORM, but one dud among a whole lotta perfect copies isn’t bad. It’s like the complete opposite situation with Screwball Classics Volume 2…most of those films looked like horse dung save MAGICAL MAESTRO.

    Of course, because I have the weirdest taste of just about any WB cartoon fan, I LOVE the fact that most of these are one-shots. I remember losing my mind seeing that I WANNA BE A SAILOR, of all things, was on the set. And of course, it’s great to finally have a copy of CROSS COUNTRY DETOURS with original titles, and without that stupid MeTV logo in the way. And this is only VOLUME 2!!!! If THIS is Volume 2, think of all the even weirder oddballs we’ll get in Volume 3!

    Here’s to hoping I get this set by Christmas!

  • I grew up in the fifties and have loved Warner Bros cartoons all my life. I have virtually all off the official releases from Laser. Discs thru Blu-ray ever issued. I love the most recent ones and hope they keep coming in future. I especially enjoy listening to podcasts and other media that discuss and review the various releases. Thanks to all who have contributed their thoughts.

  • MY hopes for Volume 3:

    Lighter Than Hare
    Dumb Patrol (1964)
    Each Dawn I Crow
    What’s My Lion? (Elmer’s final solo short)
    Aqua Duck
    Quackodile Tears
    Pappy’s Puppy
    Mexican Cat Dance
    Dr. Jerkyl’s Hide
    Hyde and Go Tweet (This would complete the Hyde-themed cartoons)
    Of Rice and Hen
    The Dixie Fryer (Because Pappy and Elvis appeared in Bugs Bunny’s Anniversary Collection)
    Zip ‘n Snort
    Ready, Woolen and Able
    Woolen Under Where
    Zoom and Bored

    • Agreed on most of these- What’s My Lion? in particular could benefit from a better restoration than the one currently on iTunes, which has a muddy palette.

      And it’s VERY strange that Pappy’s Puppy isn’t on home video at all. It features a regular character, doesn’t have anything objectionable, and shouldn’t be THAT hard to restore.

      • There might very well be element issues with Pappy’s Puppy. It’s one of only three ’50s Freleng cartoons that haven’t seen any kind of HD master (the other two are Tom-Tom Tomcat and Muzzle Tough).

  • Maybe I’m mellowing as I age but I just appreciate being able to collect the oddballs, one-shots, and one-offs. I am into 4K Blu-ray, HD, and all of the clarity that comes with the tech. But I think I would rather get a chance to own something that isn’t necessarily perfect than “What’s Opera Doc?” and “Duck Amuck” in super-high-definition-8K-HDR-Dolby-whatever for the hundredth time.

    I’ve got all of the Golden, Platinum, BB80, Super Stars releases so being able to buy these out of the mainstream cartoons for $20…(TWENTY BUCKS!!!) is a no-brainer, no-complainer from me, even if the restoration isn’t perfect or the short itself is mediocre.

  • I’m overall happy with this set, but I’m very disappointed with the way The Wacky Worm and Daffy’s Southern Exposure are presented on this set. They really should have put in the money to do new transfer for those two.

  • I’m surprised no one’s yet mentioned the main reason why RABBIT RAMPAGE is so brilliant: When Bugs tortures Daffy, he’s just being a “stinker.” But it makes absolutely perfect sense for Elmer to do so to Bugs, after having been humiliated by him for 15 years.

    • Rabbit Rampage is severely underrated, and actually got some of the biggest laughs from me of the cartoons on this set. Plus it’s always interesting to see Bugs lose his cool or not be in complete control of the situation. See also the tortoise and hare trilogy.

      • Elmer’s just *TOO DUMB* to pull it off. Seeing Sam behind the drawing board would’ve been more believable and satisfying, even if the cartoon would still be unpleasant.

  • The best solution for Eager Beaver’s sync problem would be, in my opinion, put a corrected version in a subsequent volume. Kino Lorber did this with a Pink Panther episode. The format of the Collector’s Choice collection favors this because the shorts are independent and not in a particular order. This would not require a replacement program and would make vol. 2 look less like a defective product.

  • Great review Thad as always. I’m still going to buy Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Vol. 2 Blu-Ray from Warner Archive Collection via Amazon next week. And regardless of the A/V sync issues with The Eager Beaver. It is not a dealbreaker for me. I hope we get more of these releases from Warner Archive Collection they have been amazing so far. The more Looney Tunes the better on physical media.

  • Maybe I’m crazy, but the sync on “The Eager Beaver” seems perfect to me. Both the dialogue and axe chops seem just right. What am I missing? The old dreary print on Vimeo looks a slight bit off to me, but not terrible.

    If anything, this new blu-ray seems exactly right.

    • Late reply, Chuck (glad to hear from ya), but it’s a hair too early and it’s obvious when the one beaver says, “Come here, Jack.” There’s other Looney Tunes with similar sync issues scattered throughout the history of home video but I ain’t chroniclin’ ’em. In fact, if the first review of Collector’s Choice Vol. 2 didn’t note it, Eager Beaver probably would’ve passed without notice.

      • Thanks for your answer. The sync on Looney Tunes are sometimes tough to discern. The original sound editing never seemed overly fussy. I can’t think of any examples at the moment, but voices often don’t match the mouth movements. Sometimes it looks like Bugs’ voice was sped in the final cartoon, but the animator timed the vocal to an earlier un-sped track. So Bugs’ mouth keeps on moving after the line has finished on the audio.

        By out of sync, I thought you had meant really out of sync like Freleng’s Beauty and the Beast (1934) on the laserdisc. “Beauty and the Beast” was wildly out of sync on WGN’s old A.A.P. print as well. I was very happy to see that Eager Beaver was seemingly in sync to me. I will check on that “Come here, Jack” line.

        I used to notice in the old days of movie theaters, that the projectionist hadn’t threaded the film properly and you could hear then current films well out of sync for a real or two! So The Eager Beaver print on the Blu Ray is likely superior to the presentation the original movie theater audience saw and heard. It’s even in focus!

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