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HTF REVIEW: Looney Tunes 4 Disc Golden Collection (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).



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#1 of 239 Herb Kane

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:06 AM

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Looney Tunes GOLDEN COLLECTION – 4 Disc Set





Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: Various
Rated: Not Rated
Film Length: 411 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: Standard
Audio: DD Mono
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
MSRP: $64.92
Package: Five panel Digipak with slipcover






The Feature:
Is it just me, or did it seem like this week was never going to arrive…? Well, it has and make no mistake about it, it has been worth the wait. Warner Bros. is poised to release on October 28th, two sets of the studio’s famed short animated classics, Looney Tunes. The scaled down version, The Premiere Collection, will contain 28 classic newly remastered shorts on two discs. The definitive version is without question, The Golden Collection which contains 56 classic newly remastered shorts. 28 of the shorts in The Premiere Collection are essentially discs three & four from The Golden Collection. Considering the additional 28 shorts and the special features, clearly the value is in the Golden Collection.

It has been said that future releases will be gauged on the sale of The Golden Collection sets. So, I would encourage anyone who is even remotely interested in purchasing these shorts to consider THE GOLDEN COLLECTION. The set is housed in an attractive 5 panel gatefold digipak with a slipcover. There are four discs in the set and they can be watched consecutively by using the “play all” feature.

Warner Bros. released its first animated short in 1930. Since that time, there have been more than a thousand animated shorts created that have garnered six Academy Awards and numerous Academy Award nominations. Ironically, many of the shorts were created with the intention of passing along information. Initially, they were used to promote music from the huge library of the Vitaphone Corporation.

Starting in 1943 to 1945, WB produced “Private Snafu” (which stands for Situation Normal All Fouled Up… and I’ve heard rumors to the effect the word “fouled” may not have been the intended descriptor…) cartoons for the U.S. Army. As part of the Army-Navy Screen Magazine, this was a film series shown at military bases around the world. These were generally messages to military servicemen pertaining to military survival. And to a greater extent, the characters were used during the war effort in an attempt to boost morale. Many of the regular classic shorts that were used to boost the war effort, would be now seen as racist or offensive and will probably (unfortunately, for the sake of history) never see the light of day as a mainstream release. Regardless of the message being delivered, there was one quality the cartoon always had to possess; that was humor, according to long time producer Leon Schlesinger.

The vintage shorts on the discs are as follows:

Disc One:

1.01 BASEBALL BUGS - 1946, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng.

1.02 RABBIT SEASONING - 1952, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

1.03 LONG HAIRED HARE - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

1.04 HIGH DIVING HARE - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

1.05 BULLY FOR BUGS - 1953, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

1.06 WHAT'S UP DOC? - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by Robert McKimson

1.07 RABBIT'S KIN - 1952, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert McKimson

1.08 WATER, WATER EVERY HARE - 1952, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

1.09 BIG HOUSE BUNNY - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

1.10 BIG TOP BUNNY - 1951, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert McKimson

1.11 MY BUNNY LIES OVER THE SEA - 1948, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

1.12 WABBIT TWOUBLE - 1941, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert Clampett

1.13 BALLOT BOX BUNNY - 1951, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng

1.14 THE RABBIT OF SEVILLE - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones


Disc Two:

2.01 DUCK AMUCK - 1953, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.02 DOUGH FOR THE DO-DO - 1949, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng

2.03 DRIP-ALONG DAFFY - 1951, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.04 SCAREDY CAT - 1948, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.05 THE DUCKSTERS - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.06 THE SCARLET PUMPERNICKEL - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.07 YANKEE DOODLE DAFFY - 1943, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

2.08 PORKY CHOPS - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by Arthur Davis

2.09 THE WEARING OF THE GRIN - 1951, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.10 DEDUCE YOU SAY - 1956, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.11 BOOBS IN THE WOODS - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by Robert McKimson

2.12 GOLDEN YEGGS - 1950, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng

2.13 RABBIT FIRE - 1951, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

2.14 DUCK DODGERS IN THE 24-1/2th CENTURY - 1953, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones


Disc Three:

3.01 ELMER'S CANDID CAMERA - 1940, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.02 BUGS BUNNY AND THE THREE BEARS - 1944, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.03 FAST AND FURRY-OUS - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.04 HAIR-RAISING HARE - 1946, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.05 THE AWFUL ORPHAN - 1949, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.06 HAREDEVIL HARE - 1948, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.07 FOR SCENT-IMENTAL REASONS - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones **Academy Award Winner**

3.08 FRIGID HARE - 1949, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.09 THE HYPOCHONDRI-CAT - 1950, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.10 BATON BUNNY - 1959, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.11 FEED THE KITTY - 1952, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.12 DON'T GIVE UP THE SHEEP - 1953, Looney Tunes
Directed by Chuck Jones

3.13 BUGS BUNNY GETS THE BOID - 1942, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert Clampett

3.14 TORTOISE WINS BY A HARE - 1943, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert Clampett


Disc Four:

4.01 CANARY ROW - 1950, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.02 BUNKER HILL BUNNY - 1950, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng

4.03 KIT FOR CAT - 1948, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.04 PUTTY TAT TWOUBLE - 1951, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.05 BUGS AND THUGS - 1954, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.06 CANNED FEUD - 1951, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.07 LUMBER JERKS - 1955, Looney Tunes
Directed by I. Freleng

4.08 SPEEDY GONZALES - 1955, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng **Academy Award Winner**

4.09 TWEETY'S S.O.S. - 1951, Merrie Melodies
Directed by I. Freleng

4.10 THE FOGHORN LEGHORN - 1948, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert McKimson

4.11 DAFFY DUCK HUNT - 1949, Looney Tunes
Directed by Robert McKimson

4.12 EARLY TO BET - 1951, Merrie Melodies
Directed by Robert Mckimson

4.13 A BROKEN LEGHORN - 1959, Looney Tunes
Directed by Robert McKimson

4.14 DEVIL MAY HARE - 1954, Looney Tunes
Directed by Robert McKimson

Disc one is pretty much a focus on Bugs Bunny while disc two generally highlights the efforts of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. Discs three and four are dedicated to covering the remaining WB characters. The majority of the included shorts date from the late 1940’s to the mid 1950’s. Personally, I would like to have seen a few of the earlier produced shorts included as well… Oh well, that’ll just give us more to look forward to.

I’m not sure if its still in print, but for WB animation enthusiasts, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Jerry Beck & Will Friedwald’s book, Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies – A Complete Illustrated Guide To The WB Cartoons. I picked up a copy back in 1990 and it has been my bible ever since. It is also my understanding that a revised edition is due out soon. A great companion for WB fans.



Video:
What struck me initially as I watched the first few shorts were the colors. They literally jumped off the screen. The greens are rich and you can almost feel the heat from the reds. Wow!! I certainly remember them being rather faded and muted. N’yet any more…! While I only recall seeing the lasers many years ago, I can’t give an accurate comparison, but I can’t imagine anything looking better than what I have just watched… especially the colors.

All of the included shorts have newly remastered transfers… and image detail is as sharp as a tack.

Again, these cartoons are upwards of 60+ years old, sure there are going to be some imperfections. There was a good amount of grain structure remaining and the amount of film dirt and scratches was rather minimal, but present. Also present is a fair amount of video noise. I doubt it is compression related and would be curious to hear from the experts. It’s more of an observation than a complaint.

Obviously, some of these shorts look better than others but considering their age, I think WB has done an amazing job and these look fabulous…



Audio:
The DD Mono soundtrack provided is as good as it gets. There is very little hiss or static on any of the shorts. If there was any initial hiss removed, it was done so, in a manner, as not to compromise or affect the sound by compressing it. It still has that raw quality about it that I remember from the past. All of the dialogue comes across quite nicely and is always intelligible regardless of the music or sound effect.

It seems as though a few of the shorts are mixed a little louder than others, as they play through on the play all option. Not a big deal.

Really my only “observation”, was the hiss on the menus. Again, no big deal. We click on our option and that’s the end of it. Hey, if my only nit is with the menu, what’s that tell you…?

An impressive audio presentation that’s virtually flawless…



Special Features:
This set is absolutely loaded with special features. All four of the discs have an assortment of special features located on them.


Disc One:
[*] A Greeting From Chuck Jones. This is a brief introduction which includes a brief history of the characters and the “off kilter” members of those responsible for the creation of the cartoons. Duration: 03:30 Minutes.
[*] Commentaries. Can be located for the following shorts: Rabbit Seasoning (by Michael Barrier), Long-Haired Hare (by Michael Barrier), High Diving Hare (by Greg Ford), Bully For Bugs (by Michael Barrier), What’s Up Doc? (by Greg Ford), Rabbit’s Kin (by Stan Freberg), Big Top Bunny (by Michael Barrier) and Wabbit Twouble (by Michael Barrier). These are absolutely brilliant especially the High Diving Hare interview with Friz Freleng.
[*] Music Only Programs. Scoring only for Rabbit Seasoning, What’s Up Doc? and Rabbit’s Kin. Stalling fans will be happy.
[*] Behind The Tunes. Three short commentaries with Jerry Beck and many relatives and members of the crew who discuss the history of Bugs, Yosemite Sam (and his real life comparisons to Freleng) and Elmer Fudd, including his evolution from the Egghead character.
[*] The Boys From Termite Terrace Part 1. This is an absolutely fabulous documentary on the history of the animators and those responsible for the animation. Much of the footage is old and in rough shape, but it is extremely informative. Duration: 28:54
[*] Bugs Bunny At The Movies. Two Guys From Texas (1948) and My Dream is Yours (1949) with excerpts, shows the inclusion of Bugs in the two motion pictures.
[*] The Bugs Bunny Show. Gives us two options, the first is A Star Is Bored Bridging Sequences and The Astro Nuts Audio Recording Session. This gives us the intro credits, intermission and end credits for the show. Also included are a number of voice lines of Mel Blanc doing different lines from an episode. The best is a read doing a few Porky lines… great stuff.
[*] Blooper Bunny: Bugs Bunny’s 51-1/2 Anniversary. A short commemorating the birthday with or without commentary. It’s basically a fake film within a film…
[*] Trailer Gallery. Two trailers with various clips of shorts and various characters.
[*] Stills Gallery. Showcases a couple of dozen stills and drawings.


Disc Two:
[*] Commentaries. Features Duck Amuck (by Michael Barrier), Drip-Along Daffy (by Michael Barrier), The Scarlet Pumpernickle (by Michael Barrier), Wearing Of The Grin (by Michael Barrier) and Duck Dodgers In The 24-1/2th Century (by Michael Barrier).
[*] Music Only Programs. Scored music only to Duck Amuck, Drip-Along Daffy, The Scarlet Pumpernickle and Rabbit Fire.
[*] Behind The Tunes. Hard Luck Duck, Porky Pig Roast and Animal Quackers. Again we hear from Jerry Beck and many of those responsible who comment on the characters, respectively.
[*] The Boys From Termite Terrace Part 2. The conclusion of the documentary. This is mandatory viewing. If you watch no other special feature on this set, watch this documentary. Duration: 27:59 Minutes.
[*] Stills Gallery. Another group of drawings and stills which indicate various preferences and styles etc.


Disc Three:
[*] Commentaries. Bugs Bunny And The Three Bears (by Stan Freberg), Fast And Furry-ous (by Michael Barrier), Hair Raising Hare (by Michael Barrier and Greg Ford), Haredevil Hare (by Michael Barrier), For Scent-imental Reasons (by Michael Barrier), Feed The Kitty (by Greg Ford) and Bugs Bunny Gets The Boid (by Michael Barrier). All of these commentaries are rather informative.
[*] Music Only Programs. Again, the following shorts are available with music scoring only: Baton Bunny and Feed The Kitty.
[*] Behind The Tunes. More commentary from many of the cast members responsible who give brief accounts of The Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote, The voices of Mel Blanc and the music of Carl Stalling. All of these are extremely interesting and informative.
[*] Toonheads, The Lost Cartoons. This is a documentary which chronicles many of the never seen TV commercials, Gag reels and movie inclusions. It also describes the differences between Merrie Melodies being song driven while Looney Tunes was character based. Also included is the Academy Award winning short, So Much For So Little (1949) in its entirety as well as the Private SNAFU short, Spies (1943). This also a must see. Great stuff…!! Duration: 45:37 Minutes.
[*] From The Vaults. Hair Raising Hare Scheme-Matics and The Hypo-chondri-cat Scheme-Matics. Drawings and stills are placed in order during the cartoons respectively.
[*] Stills Gallery. Again, another healthy group of drawings and stills that are included.


Disc Four:
[*] Commentaries. They are included for the following shorts: Canary Row (by Jerry Beck), Devil May Hare (by Jerry Beck), Canned Feud (by Jerry Beck), Speedy Gonzales (by Jerry Beck), Tweety’s S.O.S. (by Michael Barrier) and The Foghorn Leghorn (by Michael Barrier). Again, all of these are extremely informative and most interesting. Beck’s involvement just seems to add so much to these commentaries.
[*] Music Only Programs. Putty Tat Twouble, Broken Leghorn and Speedy Gonzales are all included with a music only track.
[*] Behind The Tunes. Needy For Speedy, Putty Problems and Canary Rows and Southern Pride Chicken are all discussed by Jerry Beck, former cast members and relatives discussing the characters respectively.
[*] Irreverent Imagination: The Golden Age Of Looney Tunes. Narrated by Stan Freberg, this is a documentary which showcases the history of animation and the WB animators. It was interesting to hear how the staff of the Merrie Melodies was treated and how that differed from that of the Looney Tunes staffers. Another great special feature…! Duration: 50:41 Minutes.
[*] From the Vaults. Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid is included in it’s entirely. Virgil Ross Pencil Tests shows a number of animated sketches of various characters.
[*] Stills Gallery. Another great group of stills and drawings are included.

Wow… I thought the extras for the recently released WB Legends Set were impressive. This is without question, the best compilation of extras I have ever seen… Sure there is some repetition, but all of it is not only pertinent but riveting in its wealth of information. Absolutely, worth the price of the set alone. I only wished they had placed all of the special features on one separate disc.



Final Thoughts:
Like many of the WB animated enthusiasts, I have been waiting for these on our beloved format for many years. I can only hope that sales of the GOLDEN COLLECTION will be successful enough to warrant future releases and in a timely fashion. Warner Bros. animation is without question, the brightest ever committed to celluloid.

These animated shorts are more than merely entertainment geared for adults; they are a form of art that has become as much a form of Americana as that of entertainment. The presentation of these shorts isn’t perfect, nor was I expecting perfection. Remember, many of these are upwards of 60+ years old and considering their age, look amazing. If you are a fan of Warner Bros. animation, you’re in for a treat. Now, when is the GOLDEN COLLECTION Volume #2, due to release…? Highly Recommended…!!




Release Date: October 28th, 2003
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 239 Robert Crawford

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:09 AM

Yeah baby, come to Pappa!

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#3 of 239 Casey Trowbridg

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:19 AM

Herb, the most complete review I've seen for the set so far, its good to know which cartoons have commentaries and which don't for instance.

The more reviews I read, the more I want this set. This is my most antisipated title of this year, and maybe since I've gotten a player, and I couldn't wait for Simpsons S. 3, but this I want so much more.

Great review, its the Golden collection for me.

#4 of 239 Xenia Stathakopoulou

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:24 AM

Great review Herb, Tuesday will be a happy day !Posted Image
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#5 of 239 Rob Willey

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:34 AM

Mine should ship any day now, I can't wait!

Great and thorough review, Herb. Well done! Posted Image

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#6 of 239 Conrad_SSS

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Posted October 23 2003 - 09:38 AM

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A superb review (per usual) from Mr. Kane....

I don't know how I can wait until Tuesday.

Warner Bros. is definitely studio of the year in my book, hands down (and thumbs upPosted Image )

#7 of 239 oscar_merkx

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Posted October 23 2003 - 10:03 AM

wow what an awesome review.

A must buy really so I am off to order this one.

The extras really are the icing on the cake

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#8 of 239 WillG

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Posted October 23 2003 - 10:17 AM

Quote:
The extras really are the icing on the cake


Hell, from the description of the extras, I'd almost buy for them alone. I had little idea that there would be that much material. Warner deserves an extra few "Lumps" for this set
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#9 of 239 Steve Christou

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Posted October 23 2003 - 10:59 AM

Mega review Herb. A must buy for me. Can't believe they bothered to cram it with so many extras, what a bonus! I would have still bought the set without (but shhh don't tell Warners!).

On the minus side they seem to have left out What's Opera Doc? probably the greatest Bugs Bunny short of them all. Why?

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#10 of 239 george kaplan

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:03 AM

A definite buy!

Actually Private Snafu cartoons are available on a dvd called The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu. Certainly not restored, but still worth getting if you're interested. I haven't seen these for a while, but don't remember anything about them that would keep them from being included in future sets (some hells & damns maybe). What isn't available, and may never be are shorts like Coal Black & de Sebbin Dwarfs. Posted Image

Oh, and as an ex-Marine, I can definitely say that the F didn't stand for fouled. Posted Image
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#11 of 239 Steven Wesley

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:06 AM

This sort of makes the Disney Treasure series look pretty lame by comparison.
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#12 of 239 Kenneth Cummings

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:26 AM

Well I will be picking this one up while in New York next week...thanks for the good review. Just need to know the price will most likly be and how much I should expect for the New York area (like if the super Toy R Us would carry it).
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#13 of 239 Patrick McCart

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:26 AM

There's always a chance they won't put them on discs...but people like Jerry Beck may be able to convince WB to put them on DVD.

Warner Bros. is a LOT more flexible about un-PC stuff than Disney.

#14 of 239 Chris S

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:37 AM

Thanks for the great review. This set is true DVD gold (maybe that's why they named it the golden collection?) and Tuesday can not get here soon enough!!

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#15 of 239 Chuck Bogie

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:46 AM

Kill the Wabbit! Kill the Wabbit!

Yeah, and I also keep hoping that ol' Wile will triumph in the end...

#16 of 239 Dome Vongvises

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Posted October 23 2003 - 11:52 AM

Herb must love his job. Thanks for the review!

#17 of 239 Paul Drake

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Posted October 23 2003 - 12:21 PM

Great review Herb. I will buying this at Sam's next week for the unbelievably low price of $39.99 (unless Walmart goes even lower.)

#18 of 239 Herb Kane

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Posted October 23 2003 - 12:34 PM

Quote:
Actually Private Snafu cartoons are available on a dvd called The Complete Uncensored Private Snafu. Certainly not restored, but still worth getting if you're interested. I haven't seen these for a while, but don't remember anything about them that would keep them from being included in future sets (some hells & damns maybe). What isn't available, and may never be are shorts like Coal Black & de Sebbin Dwarfs.

Sorry George, that sentence wasn't very clear on my part. I'll reword part of it... Yes, I was referring to the actual shorts that may not necessarily see the light of day (we can only hope).

Herb.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#19 of 239 David Williams

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Posted October 23 2003 - 01:46 PM

Quote:
On the minus side they seem to have left out What's Opera Doc? probably the greatest Bugs Bunny short of them all. Why?

Gotta save something for Volume 2, right? Posted Image

After seeing Best Buy's high price for this next week, I ordered the Golden Collection from Amazon.ca. Tuesday can't come soon enough!!!
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#20 of 239 MikeHughes

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Posted October 23 2003 - 02:43 PM

Oh damn you! Another one of these expensive sets that i have to buy anyway. Posted Image Posted Image





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