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A new collection of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies has a lot going for it, even though it is not without its flaws. 4 Stars

Warner Archive releases the first in a proposed series of collections of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts.

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: Warner Archive
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 2 Hrs. 22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: Amaray
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: ABC
Release Date: 05/30/2023
MSRP: $21.99

The Production: 4/5

What can I say about the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoon shorts that has not already been said?  The Schlesinger Studios produced these amazing cartoon shorts for the Warner Brothers introducing the world to the likes of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Tweety, Coyote and Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, and many other classic characters.
The possible release and availability of all of these great cartoons has been teased by the studio to consumers of home video since the 1980s without yet delivering on the promise.  Over the years, we have seen a small percentage of these cartoons released to VHS, Beta, laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray, with most of the same cartoons released in every new format while most of the others remain in the “vault.”  Since it seems that the studio that owns Bugs Bunny will never release a complete collection of these shorts, it seems like cause for celebration upon the occasional release of new shorts that have never been shown in high definition.
The Warner Archive has released the first in a proposed series of volumes collecting these classic shorts in Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 1.  This collection has its flaws, but the good arguably outweighs the bad here.
The first good thing is that the disc does not have a mandatory disclaimer at the beginning, which is usually unskippable, that faintly suggests that there is something wrong with you because you like these cartoons.  After the initial studio logo, which is brief, the disc loads in short order to the menu.
Second, the shorts have not been edited for content.  There is an abrupt shift at the end of Catch as Cats Can(1947) to the closing iris, but this seems to be how the cartoon has been seen since its original release.  If this is an example of the short being edited for its Blue Ribbon re-release, like Hollywood Steps Out(1941), I can find no documentation to support this premise.
There are some flaws in this single disc collection, as mentioned earlier, which are addressed in detail in the Video section below.
Meanwhile, here are the shorts included in this release:
Beanstalk Bunny(1954)(6:59):  Bugs and Daffy play “Jack” as they elude Elmer the Giant and Daffy follows his greedy impulses with disastrous results in this Chuck Jones classic.
Catch As Cats Can(1947)(7:16):  Arthur Davis directed this cat and bird chase featuring a Sylvester prototype and two domesticated birds based on caricatures of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
The Unruly Hare(1945)(7:20):   Elmer the surveyor struggles to build a railroad in spite of interference by Bugs in this classic directed by Frank Tashlin.
His Bitter Half(1948)(7:36):  This classic established greed as one of Daffy’s personality traits as he tries to keep on the good side of his rich wife while entertaining her son Wentworth.  This Friz Freleng directed short inspired a number of later shorts with the same concept starring Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam.
Daffy Doodles(1946)(7:13):  Porky the police officer chases Daffy through an urban landscape to stop him from painting mustaches on all of the commercial illustrations (and people) in this short directed by Robert McKimson.  This is the Blue Ribbon re-release version with a circa-1952 iris.
Cracked Quack(7:06):  Daffy is flying south for the winter and takes up residence in Porky’s house.  Porky is busy with his income taxes and is oblivious to Daffy’s presence, but not so for his dog Rover, in this Friz Freleng cartoon.  This is the Blue Ribbon re-release version from 1960.
Little Orphan Airedale(1947)(7:31):  Charlie Dog schemes to be adopted by Porky in the first of a series based on this premise.  This is the Blue Ribbon re-release from 1956.
Hip Hip-Hurry!(1958)(6:18):  Coyote chases Road Runner even in a speedboat in this one.
Hot-Rod And Reel!(1958)(6:28):  Coyote continues to chase Road Runner with roller skates on a cliff.  What could possibly go wrong?
Greedy for Tweety(1957)(6:31):  Bulldog chases Sylvester, and Sylvester chases Tweety through city traffic until each ends up with a cast on the leg and Granny as their hospital nurse.  This is a Blue Ribbon reissue circa-1960.
Stooge for a Mouse(1949)(7:00):  Mike the bulldog and Sylvester the cat are best chums until a mouse drives them apart.  This is a Blue Ribbon reissue as well.
A Mouse Divided(1951)(7:13):  The drunken stork mistakenly delivers a baby mouse to Sylvester and his wife.  Sylvester’s wife wants to keep the baby.  Sylvester wants to eat it.
A Fractured Leghorn(1950)(7:04):  Foghorn competes with a cat to catch a worm in a Blue Ribbon reissue from 1958.
Plop Goes The Weasel(1952)(6:44):  The weasel tries to steal chicks from the barnyard while Foghorn and the Dog do their best to one-up each other.
A Tale of Two Mice(7:32):  Frank Tashlin directed this classic featuring Babbitt and Catstello, two mice trying to steal cheese from the refrigerator.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1953.  (The original title version is known to exist still.)
The Foxy Duckling(1949)(7:35):    A sleep-deprived fox is convinced that his insomnia is caused by a lack of duck feathers in his pillow, so he tries to catch a small yellow duck.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1954.
Two Gophers From Texas(1948)(6:55):  The goofy gophers, Mac and Tosh, are introduced in this classic directed by Arthur Davis.  The gophers act as foils for an erudite dog possibly reminiscent of Frasier Crane (or Sideshow Bob) to modern audiences.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1956.  
Doggone Cats(1947)(7:04):  Wellington the dog is tasked with delivering a package to Uncle Louie.  All that stands in Wellington’s path are two cats, one of which resembles Sylvester, in another Arthur Davis classic.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1955.  
What’s Brewin’, Bruin?(1948)(7:31):  A Chuck Jones classic featuring the Three Bears as Papa Bear tries in vain to hibernate through the winter.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1955.
The Bee-Deviled Bruin(7:04):  Another Chuck Jones classic with Papa, Mama, and Junior Bear with one of the funniest endings ever.  This is the Blue Ribbon reissue version from 1959.
Overall, this is a nice collection of shorts from such directors as Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Frank Tashlin, and Arthur Davis.  May I digress to talk about one of the unsung heroes of the Golden Age of Animation?  During a brief, glorious period from 1945 to 1947, Arthur Davis was the director of his own unit at Termite Terrace.  Davis directed a number of great cartoons during this period before his unit was disbanded, and he went to work for the Friz Freleng unit until the late 1950s, at which point he departed to work on such characters as Huckleberry Hound and The Flintstones.   If you see a Looney Tunes cartoon in which the characters move from the background to the foreground, or vice versa, or where the characters move on different axes than merely side to side, there is a good chance that the cartoon was directed by Arthur Davis, or that he had a hand in animating that cartoon for another director.  Arthur Davis cartoons for Warner Brothers have a certain unique energy and rhythm that is reminiscent of Bob Clampett without being imitative of Clampett.  Davis brought this touch to the Freleng unit in much of his later animation.  There are no Clampett nor Tex Avery shorts in this collection, but their shorts have been covered somewhat in the Looney Tunes Platinum Collections, and it is expected that these directors will have entries on subsequent volumes in this series.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

The shorts in Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 1 appear in their original 1.37:1 screen aspect ratio with the AVC codec.  Thankfully, the post-1953 shorts in this collection have not had the animation cropped to fill your modern television screen, as they were to disastrous effect in some of the Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs.

Credit also goes to the studio for ceasing its window-boxing of titles and credits at the beginnings of the shorts to compensate for overscan on televisions made before 2007.

Color grading and brightness are also very well done on these transfers, unlike some of the shorts on DVD from 10 or 15 years ago which had brightness turned down excessively low, and the colors were tweaked to create hues that have never existed in technicolor.  (See again some of the Looney Tunes Super Stars DVDs for examples of this.)

With only a few exceptions, the shorts show very high contrast of detail, to the point aht even dust particles on the animation cels are occasionally visible in movement on the screen.  Such clarity of detail is apparent that some paints on the cels are even faintly evident where the artists colored “over the lines.”

Film grain is evident, but not excessive, for the most part.  Digital removal of grain must be used sparingly lest detail and texture is also scrubbed away to disappear in the process.  Some may see it differently, but these shorts do show an appropriate amount of film grain in this collection.  If anyone believes that there is too little grain on these shorts, I encourage you to review Beanstalk Bunny from the 1:59 time count, for approximately 10 seconds, to the 2:09 mark.  Go ahead and look, and then come back…

Hey, you’re back!  So what do you think, doc?  If you think the shorts should all appear this grainy and blurry, you may want to have your eyes checked.  In fairness to the studio, Beanstalk Bunny has long been rumored to have issues with the original elements, which is why this short has never appeared before in 1080p.  The 10 seconds of excessive grain and blur in this short is not a deal breaker for me.
Things proceed fairly well in the visual department until you get to Daffy Doodles(1946).  Porky the Cop is chasing Daffy the Doodler around the outside edge of a high rise building, and it looks something like this.  No, that is not correct, it looks exactly like this:
Do you see what I see?  I really want someone to tell me that they have a print of this short, and the outlines of detail on Porky look exactly like this.  Can someone please tell me that?  Otherwise, I am forced to conclude that noise reduction has been applied ineptly to this short in the “restoration” process, and quality control overlooked it.  It is not just this one frame.  Here is another example:
At least you can actually see the black lines on Porky’s baton in this frame, but I am not really sure what is going on with the rest of Porky here.  Seriously, if someone has a film print of this short and can confirm that the film frames look exactly like this, I will revise my review of the video quality from 4.0 to 4.5.  Otherwise, stuff like this is just another disappointment for those of us who treasure these cartoons and want to see them in the best quality.  [UPDATE:  Thank you to animation expert Thad Komorowski for confirming that this cartoon has always appeared this way on film prints.  See post #4 in this thread.  Therefore, this is not noise reduction gone awry, and I am moving my rating of the video presentation up to 4.5 out of 5 to reflect this.  As we move into higher resolution of image on these shorts, it exposes flaws that were never evident to us in 480p standard definition.]
If you were wondering, many of the openings and titles have also been photoshopped, as on some of the earlier releases.

Audio: 4/5

The English audio on Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 1 is in Dolby Digital 2.0.  Overall, the audio is adequate but not exceptional.  Some film professionals have opined that the audio on many of the shorts in this collection is simply recycled from transfers done 30 years ago when Ted Turner owned the pre-1948 shorts.  I do not know if there is much to be done to improve that audio, but old audio tracks are easier for me to overlook than, say, clumsy grain removal that also removes detail and texture from the video presentation.

Special Features: 0/5

No special features.  Suggestion for Volume 2 – how about giving us a few episodes of The Bugs Bunny Show with original interstitial animation and commercials?  Even the Looney Tunes Golden Collections from years back made at least a minimal effort in this direction.  (But seriously, an 80th Anniversary Edition for Bugs Bunny was released on Blu-ray without a single episode of The Bugs Bunny Show?  For shame, doc, for shame!)

Overall: 4/5

Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 1 on Blu-ray is a mixed bag.  I will summarize this collection as I would most of the other collections of these shorts.  It is good, but also disappointing, because in 2023 if you want to see all of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, you are out of luck.  You cannot fault the content of this collection:  you get 20 great cartoons with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester and Tweety, Coyote and Road Runner, Foghorn Leghorn, and even a number of one-shot characters and caricatures of famous personalities.  We can now see animation errors like those in Daffy Doodles that were imperceptible in standard resolution but become obvious at 1080p on Blu-ray.  I still hope for the opportunity in my lifetime to view these chronologically so that I can study and appreciate the evolution of the stories, characters, and animation styles, and I am not the only one who wants this.  I am pleased that this collection includes shorts that have been unreleased since the days of laserdisc more than 30 years ago, rather than giving us the same shorts that have been included in every other release on videotape, DVD, and Blu-ray.  This is at least a small step in the right direction.  I hope the studio considers these constructive comments to do it a little better in the future.

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Published by

Timothy E


View thread (9 replies)

John Sparks

Senior HTF Member
Sep 12, 2001
Menifee, CA
Real Name
John Sparks
Boy, I remember when they put out Vol.1 on LD and they left off Bugs Bunny Nips the NIps. Luckily i was able to get the original pressing...I was a completist with over 1000 lDs...with also with the unedited RESCUERS Kind of like I am now with 3Ders...571 and counting.
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Timothy E

Jul 20, 2007
Real Name
Timothy Ewanyshyn
I can't answer for sure about the out-of-focus ten seconds on Beanstalk Bunny. It could be actual element damage, it could be how the film was shot. I'm leaning towards the latter as I just pulled my old IB Tech and that shift is there, albeit not as pronounced as a scan off of a SEN. The detail of these transfers is so astonishing that in this cartoon in particular you can see how much the glass was smudging (particularly in the first minutes).

I can answer that what you see in Daffy Doodles is exactly how the film was made: it's like that in every previous home video release, every 35mm or 16mm print. Bad digital clean-up has rightfully put all of us on edge, but this is a case of the platter cracking the cel paint or a sloppy ink job day one. (Jerky Turkey on the last Avery blu-ray similarly sparked complaints because the Durante turkey's hair kept disappearing, but checking the old copies and film prints showed that too was a day one issue.)
Thank you for confirming that the appearance of Daffy Doodles is correct to how the film was made. I am updating my review to reflect this information.

Traveling Matt

Supporting Actor
Sep 1, 2006
Glad to know I'm not the only one exasperated by the lack of a complete collection of this entire catalog. Still. In 2023. Too often it seems folks have simply given up on it ever happening. I haven't. And I continue to weigh this omission every time Warner tries to extract dollars for something pretending to be an adequate substitute, such as this release.


Apr 24, 2013
Real Name
Mike Banks
Nice to see Arthur Davis included. Arthur Davis inherited Robert Clampett’s crew when he left Warner Bros.. Wish Warner Archive stuck with the Director themed releases of the very popular Tex Avery series. Not a fan of these scatter-shot collections, Thanks for your review.


Stunt Coordinator
Mar 22, 2012
Real Name
Chris Peterson
Regarding the issue with Daffy Doodles:
I tracked down the frame you posted above from Daffy Doodles on one of the old laserdiscs (I forget which one offhand) and while the colors are a little different, the lack of outlines on Porky are the same, so it's not an issue with the Blu-ray production.


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Bill Street

Stunt Coordinator
Jul 18, 2002
I've bought the Platinum Collection Blurays and also several sets of the Golden collection DVDs. Are all these releases that aren't repeated on what I've already got?

(BTW, put me down as someone who would love to buy a chronological full set of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies!)


Senior HTF Member
Feb 20, 2001
Livonia, MI USA
Real Name
Kenneth McAlinden
Regarding the issue with Daffy Doodles:
I tracked down the frame you posted above from Daffy Doodles on one of the old laserdiscs (I forget which one offhand) and while the colors are a little different, the lack of outlines on Porky are the same, so it's not an issue with the Blu-ray production.
Here is a capture from the previous digital video appearance as a bonus feature on the DVD of Barbara Stanwyck's "My Reputation". Not really adding to the evidence as the source was probably the same 480i master used for the Golden Age of Looney Tunes laserdisc, but as you said, the fact that the artifacts are exactly the same from a completely different master suggests it could be ink and paint related.
Screenshot 2023-05-27 at 2.40.51 PM.png
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