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Chronological Cartoons? How Looney!

Spending the last couple of months immersed in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 4 DVD set. It’s a beautifully done package, as usual, but once again we had to ask ourselves “why didn’t they release these chronologically?” Under that scenario, the first volume would consist mostly of black and white Bosko cartoons — and, let’s face it, only hardcore animation devotees would buy such a set.

Releasing these cartoons chronologically would be unrealistic from a business perspective, but it’s fun to imagine how such a project would be carried out. Using my trusty guidebook, I’ve figured that a DVD release of every animated short that Warner Bros. produced between 1930 and 1969 (including the so-called “Censored 11”) would consume seventeen volumes of Golden Collections. Paying full retail prices for each box will set you back precisely $1,104.66. Some other tidbits:

  • Porky Pig and Daffy Duck make their first appearances on volume 2; Bugs Bunny debuts on volume 5.
  • Nearly all of Sniffles’ cartoons appear on volumes 5 and 6 (1939-41).
  • Volume 7 is a real pip, with The Dover Boys, the controversial Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs, and the first appearance of a baby bird eventually known as Tweety in A Tale of Two Kitties.
  • Volumes 8-10 cover the prime years of 1944-50 (many of these shorts are already covered on the existing Golden Collections).
  • The classic One Froggy Evening appears on volume 14. You’d have to wait until volume 15 to see What’s Opera, Doc?.
  • Volume 17 limps to a close with a bunch of lame Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzales cartoons and footnote characters like Bunny and Claude. By this time in our scenario, however, DVD technology is so antiquated that downloading the cartoons directly into your brain is now the norm.

4 Thoughts on “Chronological Cartoons? How Looney!

  1. Fuck business considerations. When will art be done for its own sake? On the other hand, it is really neat that volume two of the Disney (gag!) “Silly Symphonies” allowed us the choice to view the animated films in chronological order. That was nice.

  2. Matt,

    I’m impressed.

    Where did you acquire this love (of) and knowledge (of) Looney Tunes and other vintage cartoons?

    And did you acquire this “cartoon knowledge” since the advent of VHS tape and DVDs…or was it something you had before that?

    I tend to know one or two useless things about 300-400 subjects…

    So, I’m always a bit envious of folks who have a wide-ranging knowledge of a particular subject.


  3. Hi, Kurt – I’ve been obsessed with Looney Tunes since seeing them on “The Wallace and Ladmo Show” when I was 7 or 8! Thanks.

  4. Yeah, I sat down at one point and did the same Looney Tunes DVD math. On the one hand I really want all the sets for a nice comprehensive collection, but on the other the though of a $1,000+, 68 disc cartoon collection sort of freaks me out. At least they’re only releasing them once or twice a year.

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