July 31, 2022
Buried deep in the episodes, comics or whatever related to The Jetsons, is buried the “fact” that George Jetson was born today, July 31, 2022. That, of course, was way in the future back when the show began.
Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 was terrific, and here comes number two, which might be even better. It will contain stunning new restorations of:
Little Rural Riding Hood
The Cuckoo Clock
One Cab’s Family
Cat That Hated People
The Flea Circus
Field And Scream
The First Bad Man
Droopy’s Double Trouble
Three Little Pups
House Of Tomorrow
Car Of Tomorrow
TV Of Tomorrow
The documentary Tex Avery: King Of Cartoons will be included. Coming in December. Very funny stuff, and absolutely essential.
The Modern Stone Age family comes to high definition. Warner Bros. has announced the upcoming Blu-Ray set The Flintstones – The Complete Series. You get all 166 episodes and the feature The Man Called Flintstone (1966) on 10 discs. It’s coming in October. Between this and the previously announced Space Ghost and the already available Jonny Quest sets, there’a lot of high-def Hannah-Barbara going on.
The image above is from The Flintstones Viewmaster set.
The scoop on this set had been coming in dribs and drabs, but in the end it doesn’t matter — in November, you can get 60 Bugs Bunny cartoons on Blu-Ray. That’s all you need to know.
That’s about half the total Bugs Bunny cartoons made between 1940 and 1964. Blooper Bunny comes from the 90s. They’re presented in chronological order.
There will be some extras, and the spiffy package will include some trinket-y stuff. But again, it’s the shorts themselves that matter. Can’t wait to dig through ’em. Highly recommended.
I discovered Frederick Bean “Tex” Avery in high school. While my classmates were spending their after-school hours at football practice, rehearsing for some school play, working at McDonald’s or God knows what else it was that they did, I was watching Tom & Jerry cartoons on one of the TV stations out of Philadelphia. Scattered in-between shorts like Texas Tom (1950) or The Flying Cat (1952) would be something from a guy named Tex Avery.
It didn’t take long to figure out that the Sony Betamax needed to be brought into play, and armed with it and a copy of Leonard Maltin’s book Of Mice And Magic, I was checking off Avery cartoons like Deputy Droopy (1955) as I captured them. Maybe this made me a bit of an obsessive shut-in loser, but I sure laughed a lot.
What makes Tex Avery’s cartoons so good, and him the widely-acknowledged King Of Cartoons, was his experimentation. How fast could a gag be and still register in the mind of the audience? How over-the-top could a reaction be and still be relatable? How many visual puns can you cram into six minutes? The pace of his pictures just got faster and faster, and if you watch the Tom & Jerry cartoons in chronological order, you can see that Avery’s experiments were rubbing off on William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
All that insider baseball is great, but who would care if the cartoons themselves weren’t so damn funny? There’s terrific evidence of just how funny they are in Warner Archive’s new Blu-Ray Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1.
You get —
Tex Avery Classics
Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
Who Killed Who? (1943)
What’s Buzzin’ Buzzard? (1943)
Batty Baseball (1944)
The Hick Chick (1946)
Bad Luck Blackie (1949)
Garden Gopher (1950)
The Peachy Cobbler (1950)
Symphony In Slang (1951)
Screwball Squirrel (1944)
The Screwy Truant (1945)
Big Heel-Watha (1944)
Lonesome Lenny (1946)
George & Junior
Hound Hunters (1947)
Red Hot Rangers (1947)
Wags To Riches (1949)
The Chump Champ (1950)
Daredevil Droopy (1951)
This red-hot helping of wonderfulness looks and sounds fabulous, better than I’ve ever seen these things look. I found myself pausing them to study the beautiful backgrounds from MGM’s incredible stable of artists. And I really appreciated the way the disc was set up — you can watch ’em straight through, one at a time, or grouped as you see them above. A tremendous amount of care went into this set, and a big fat thanks to everyone involved.
But maybe the best thing about this Blu-Ray is the “Volume 1” in its title. I’m already waiting for Volume 2.
Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 is absolutely essential. How’d we all make it this long without this thing?
Well blow me down! The DVD sets of the Fleischer Popeye cartoons have been crown jewels in my DVD collection for years, and I’ve always wondered if more would ever show up. Our friends at Warner Archive have done it again with their upcoming Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 1. And they’ll be available on both DVD and Blu-Ray this time around!
By 1943, Max and Dave Fleischer had been forced out of their own cartoon business — 1942’s Baby Wants A Bottleship was their last Popeye picture, and their animation studio became Paramount’s Famous Studios. The whole Fleischer-Paramount-Famous Studios saga is a tragic mess.
But the Popeye The Sailor series stayed afloat — powered by spinach, no doubt, and the cartoons are wonderful. This set includes shorts produced from 1943 to 1945: Her Honor, The Mare; The Marry-Go-Round; We’re On Our Way To Rio; The Anvil Chorus Girl; Spinach Packin’ Popeye; Puppet Love; Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo; Moving Aweigh; She-Sick Sailors; Pop-Pie A La Mode; Tops In The Big Top; Shape Ahoy; For Better Or Nurse; and Mess Production.
Warner Archive is promising 4K masters from the original nitrate negatives. These’ll look strong to the fin-ich for sure.
In April, Kino Lorber will release all 34 The Inspector cartoons in a two-disc Blu-ray set. Of course, the Inspector’s based on Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau. Made by DePatie-Freleng, they played theaters from 1965-69, then became part of the Pink Panther TV show. As a kid, I loved these things.