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The Warner Brothers chat ANIMATION question you have been waiting to be answered.....

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Darren Gross, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    What I mean Robert, is that as mass market and commecialism push harder, people are spending more and getting more serious about collecting and supporting our hobby quickly deflating the distinction and distance between those of us that post on HTF (the serious, avid and knowledgable home video consumer) and the avergae spender. That's not to distinguish us film buffs from the average shopper, but it's fast becoming a growing trend to see friends, family members and relatives with an expansive dvd collection that would have surprised most everyone only a few years ago. This brings our spending habits and eccentricites more and more into the mainstream. It is a good thing, imo.
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Thank you for that explanation and it's one, I do agree with.






    Crawdaddy
     
  3. Jaime_Weinman

    Jaime_Weinman Supporting Actor

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    WB has done some very fine work when it comes to releasing classic features -- but their animation releases, with the possible exception of the Looney Tunes sets, leave a lot to be desired, and this is just another example of why: they (or at least some people there) seem to be unwilling to give animation much serious attention. Hell, WB executives were reportedly unwilling to greenlight the first Looney Tunes box except as a tie-in with the Looney Tunes Back in Action movie.

    The above "answer" is, as others have pointed out, a nasty bit of semantics that doesn't answer the big questions at all (how about explaining why those cut cartoons were included?). I'm not quite sure how the animation-releases department is run, but it definitely leaves a lot to be desired in terms of its releases (they'll do ten million Hanna-Barbera releases before they even consider Animaniacs) and its willingness to level with the public.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor
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    I think the bottom line is that animation is rarely taken seriously by studios. Only fans like us seem to... I mean, only Disney has released a huge amount of animation to DVD. Warner Bros. concentrates on Hanna-Barbera.

    But it's more than just a problem with Warner Bros. Republic never released the Fleischer cartoons through Artisan in the 8 years they were licensed out to them. Columbia only includes a handful of cartoons as extras for a few releases. Universal farmed out selected Walter Lantz to Columbia House.

    We can probably expect MGM's Pink Panther cartoon collection to be old transfers, non-progressive, etc. Classic Media (Sony Wonder) is just now getting around to the Mister Magoo cartoons.
     
  5. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    Patrick - Classic Media along with Disney, is one of our most valuable and appreciative studios in this field. They are not one to be underestimated or paired in with the others mentioned. They have been quite consistent from day one, as somebody who has been directly involved with the upperhands at the studio who are producing these sets, I have to say that they are one of the most enthusiastic, ambitious and all around nicest and appreciative companies around when it comes to customer support and quality control. They aim high and consistently deliver, and despite the fact that they started with much fewer properties than most other major studios, have been very dilligent in releasing them to the public and working to make ALL of their licensed works available. They are not one to neglect their properties or leave them sitting in vaults collecting dust. I have a bit of insight into what might be in store for us within the coming year and hopefully further into the next, and I can say with the utmost assurance that all fans of classic cartoons and television in general should be very pleased and excited. They are one of the tops as far as I'm concerned. The subtle detail and care seen in their packaging alone reflects an attitude which obviously contrasts with studios like Warner Bros. etc. The bottom line is that they are as much fans and as such, understand what we want. It's evident from companies like WB, that the same cannot be said.
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor
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    Consider myself corrected, then. I will say that the Rocky & Bullwinkle season sets are terrific, even compared to the awful prints shown on TV.

    Also, I think Columbia and Universal have spent a lot of money restoring their own cartoons, yet haven't done anything with the restorations. Odd, considering that other studios try to make money from their work (Warner's LT's, Disney, R&B).
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    As I understand the situation, which is most unfortunate for both the studio and the consumer, the animated shorts are handled as a different product line, by different technical people and via different means.

    These seem to be treated as "ugly stepchildren," the dregs of WB product, and seem to be considered as virtually disposable kiddy fare. Cartoons, whether Korean limited animation, or classic animated shorts by the likes of Jones, McKimson, or their breathren, all seem to be treated as the same video fodder.

    While those responsible for the classic feature library seem to have some input, this does not seem to be inclusive of either final decision making or quality control.

    Hopefully, we'll be seeing more involvment from the folks who have made WB the top studio for home video, and less from those who have been behind the problematic releases under discussion.

    I have every hope that they can pull a wabbit out of a hat, and fast-track the animated short films to match the quality of the feature library

    RAH
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Which is why I think the animation folks were overruled to released the uncut cartoons either at the beginning or soon after the mistake was discovered when talk of corrected discs were being talked about which is why you have that carefully worded so-called explanation that appears to be written by Warner public relations. Truth be known those that made that decision probably don't even bother reading this forum. You got to love the bean counters who run today's corporate world. We'll never know if that was the case, but I'm guessing that the animation folks took one for the team and now their reputation is mud around certain circles on the internet.







    Crawdaddy
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Thank you so much Mr. Harris for your input on this subject. Hopefully, having someone of your stature commenting, will help to elevate this situation at WB.

    As many of us have already stated, we've been waiting for seven months for some sort of official statement, and to say the least we are dreadfully disappointed.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    As one of my career mentors told me 15 years ago or so that at times, it's difficult putting perfume on a pig.





    Crawdaddy
     
  11. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

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    It's somewhat ironic that all this hoopla broke around the time Warners is receiving deserved great praise for releasing "The Controversial Classics" collection.

    Regarding the Tom & Jerry set: from my outsider's point of view this looks more like sloppiness/lack of effort than any great conspiracy or desire to censor anything. Many of their classic films which have been released on DVD or air on TCM contain material that some people might say was not "politically correct". I am not an animation expert, but at least from a live action perspective, I haven't seen a pattern of WB burying films in the vaults so as not to offend someone who might complain.

    I do think they made a big mistake with the statement they provided Mr. Epstein. They knew there was a lot of interest in this matter and that (rightly or wrongly) consumers had been led to believe a "fix" was in the works. Their statement, at least to me, seemed to be condescending if not somewhat insulting to their consumers. Such a statement will only create unnecessary ill will and harsh feelings as we've seen in prior posts on this thread.

    In my opinion, they would have been better off acknowledging that an error was made with certain cartoons and offering an apology for any misinformation which led consumers to believe the set contained uncut cartoons. We all make mistakes, but admitting to them shows true character. Even if a wrong can't be righted, people are generally pretty forgiving when presented with an "I'm sorry".



    Sound advice! I'll have to remember that one. That sounds like it would fit my job perfectly.

    Steve
     
  12. Chris*W

    Chris*W Stunt Coordinator

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    If the set were complete and uncut, I would've cared less about the packaging. Warners deserves all the respect in the world for their superb releases of their classic films. But in the animation department, they deserve all the complaints they get. Its hard for me to comprehend how a studio who released a magnificent Gone with the Wind 4-disc set could release such a shoddy, thrown together cartoon collection that plays better to kids than the die-hard animation fan like me. If only they'd release the replacement disc... then I'd be happy...[​IMG]
     
  13. DaveK

    DaveK Second Unit

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    Can someone explain to me how the blackface joke in Yankee Doodle Mouse made it past Warners and ended up on the Tom and Jerry collection and the other three didn't.
     
  14. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    Because (I believe) the use of cut prints was indeed an oversight, and that was one that was NOT overlooked.

    There's no conspiracy here.* The blackface gags were indeed why the shorts were cut in the first place, but that was years ago. They were not cut just for this set, it's just that those were the prints/transfers they happened to grab when producing the set. I'm sure their intention was to follow the advice of their consultant, Jerry Beck, and use uncut shorts, but they just didn't know cut ones when they saw them. Based on various posts Jerry has made, my impression is that they do not send him check discs before manufacturing is commenced. Big mistake.

    As for them being "remastered"...the question is, "from what"? These look like really old transfers made for broadcast. I realize the negatives no longer exist but modern high-quality transfers of the surviving prints should look better than this. These look like they've gone through several composite video generations.


    *During the original production of the set, that is. They sure are spinning things to cover their butts now, however.
     
  15. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    As I've said before even on a large screen, via dvi the colour, sharpness and clarity of the image are not in question, at least for me, - considering these are 60 plus year old toon's that have changed hand's over the year's and on most o-neg materials don't exist - they actually look very good,

    What is a problem is the lack of clean-up that reduces the afore mentioned quality back to a worn and tired looking state.

    Watching the 'scope cartoon's on the same set makes you wish that the other's could look even half as clean - free of dirt marks, sparkle and general age related wear.

    A little bit of clean-up goes a long way...

    M
     
  16. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    I don't know what's worse... the fact that this could've been a technical oversight rather than the alternative, or the fact that WB shows so little thought and regard for these classic properties and puts so little effort in to allow such - not to mention their response afterword which would follow this attitude?

    This is why I feel it's important we post how we feel about it, call up their customer service, send emails, etc. to show them that beieve it or not... there are people out there who respect these cartoons for the cinema classics they are rather than simple children's entertainment and we will NOT support ANY releases that follow in this vein from here on out!

    We wouldn't have supported this one either had it not falsely been promoted to us.
     
  17. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I think it was a deliberate decision. As has been pointed out - by myself in previous threads - there is certainly censorship by omission.

    Warner did intend to release chronological Tom and Jerry cartoons, just like in Europe and Australia. There are trailers on some of the Hanna Barbera sets which state this. I don't know if they say "uncut" but I doubt it.

    The lack of the Mammy Two-Shoes shorts set alarm bells ringing, as did the dropping of the Bosko short from the second Looney Tunes Golden Collection at around the same time.

    Still, all we can do it see what is to come on future volumes and make our purchasing decision then.

    I do find it strange Disney released all their B/W Mickey Mouse shorts on their excellent Treasures sets, especially as Mickey Mouse is the company's symbol and potentially there's far more damage that could result from fall-out than Tom and Jerry or Bosko.
     
  18. MarcoBiscotti

    MarcoBiscotti Producer

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    But rather, those Mickey Mouse Treasures have been some of the most highly praised DVD's of the year and an example of the quality in which we use to compare all other animated collections. It's time for other companies to take note.

    The concept of an outcry due to the inclusion of potentially controversial material on these 50+ year old classics is nothing more than an exagerrated fallacy conceived by the overly unnerving and unstrung corporate world in apprehension.

    Anyone that would spend ~ $40 odd on a collection of classic cartoons is expected to have some insight into what they'll be receiving and it's highly unlikely to find an oblivious ultra conservative, overly eccentric customer blindly purchasing one of these sets and being offended by it's content.
     
  19. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Sadly, in today's world these racial issues are very much a big deal to certain people trying to stop these releases. Remember, it was one man who got the Chan films pulled from TV and pretty much killed their DVD release. Disney certainly had a lot of guts in releasing their shorts uncut. Why it is certain films are targeted while others aren't is a mystery to me. T&J might have gone out there uncut with no problems but then again, there's that chance one person would make an uproar over them. Warner should still stand behind uncut releases and I think in the future they will. An uncut print of THE MASK OF FU MANCHU with Boris Karloff has just been remastered or whatever so it appears this film will be hitting DVD soon. This here has far more offensive material than T&J or the Chan films. Only time will tell if anything is said about it but Warner did remaster the uncut print, which is a good sign.
     
  20. Kevin/M

    Kevin/M Agent

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    Frankly I'm Not Surprised about WB and these T&J sets, and i agree wholeheartedly with then ice ocmments made in favor of Disney and Classicv Media in this threadf. In fact, for the time being, i suggest you guys not waste any more time with WHV and their putrid Classic Animation Sets (And stick to your VHS/Lasterdisc/16mm), as Disney and CM are where its at for Classic Cartoon Releases
     

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