Collector's Choice Vol. 3 Blu-ray $21.99
177 min. / Color / SDH

Available from MovieZyng

Joining three previous Platinum Blu-ray collections, a big Bugs Bunny set, and a Chuck Jones collection of mouse cartoons (or is it mice cartoons?), here’s the newest Collector’s Choice release, a third set of miscellaneous Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies from the mid-30s to the mid-60s. Naturally, there’s a variable laugh quotient but the films look great (better than the stills shown herein) and some of them are uproarious. Each and every one of them is a welcome addition to our classic animation shelf, and as with the other Collector’s releases, none of the 25 cartoons included in the sethave been released on Blu-ray before.

Before we chug into the films themselves, a point worth mentioning:

We’re not that picky. By that, I mean a quick glance through the Internet will reveal a thousand people who nit-pick about this or that with classic cartoon releases. We don’t particularly care if the credits on a particular carton have been recreated or there’s some other miniscule complaint. Despite the “intended for the adult collector” tag WB puts on these, we still enjoy them with children and we judge the cartoons on their content and completeness. Nearly all of the cartoons on this set are stunning in picture and sound and a joy to behold.

The Best Ones

A Hop, a Skip, and a Chump (1942, dir. Friz Freleng) A pair of Laurel & Hardy blackbirds are after a grasshopper in a new-to-me cartoon that’s a genuine joy. Sorry we didn’t see more of these guys.

Hobo Bobo (1947, Bob McKimson) The first of two cartoons in the set dealing with an elephant on the loose. Lesser of the two, but it’s still quite entertaining and we're told this is the first appearance of the original opening credits since the cartoon's original release in the 1940s.

Honeymoon Hotel (1934, Earl Duvall) Insect seduction to the tune from the WB musical Footlight Parade. A delight, with a nice restoration from inferior Cinecolor. Do people remember that Merrie Melodies were Warner Bros.’ answer to Silly Symphonies? I wonder.

Of Rice and Hen (1953, McKimson) Give Bob McK. a confirmed bachelor Foghorn Leghorn, a matrimony-bent spinster chicken, and a troublesome dog and you’ve got one funny cartoon. Plus the title made us giggle all by itself.

Punch Trunk (1953, Chuck Jones) Practically a classic, an overwhelmingly charming cartoon about a tiny elephant wandering America causing trouble.

Riff Raffy Daffy (1948, Art Davis) Probably the best cartoon in the set that features “classic” Looney Tunes characters. Daffy ducks out of a snowstorm into a department store, with Officer Porky in hot pursuit. Another Cinecolor cartoon that pales in comparison to the Technicolor efforts, though. We were shocked it came from Mr. Davis, our least favorite Looney Tunes director.

Sheep Ahoy (1954, Jones) Say, remember the sheepdog and wolf who would clock in and then the dog would clobber him? Sure you do! I’ve had fond memories of them but haven’t seen them in ages. This is the laugh-out-loud funniest cartoon in the set and we hope more in this series are on their way. Hysterical. See also the sheep and wolf story below.

War and Pieces (1964, Chuck Jones and Maurice Noble) One of the last Coyote / Roadrunner cartoons, and those things are always funny.

Other Good Ones

A Feud there Was (1938, Tex Avery) opens the set and answers the age-old question, “Are Egghead and Elmer Fudd the same guy?” (they are, apparently). A Hatfield & McCoy bulletfest, particularly noisy and stunningly colorful. A nice way to open the set.

Cinderella meets Fella (1938, Avery) A cute li’l blonde, a drunken fairy godmother, and Egghead (or is it Elmer?) as Prince Charming. Again, delightfully bright and colorful.

Elmer’s Pet Rabbit (1941, Jones) Early Bugs Bunny; he wears yellow gloves, doesn’t quite look like himself (he lacks buck teeth!) and doesn’t have his familiar voice. Still, it’s a fun cartoon if you pretend it some other Bugs.

I Only Have Eyes for You (1937, Avery) The Iceman is after one of his customers, but the Old Maid down the block has her own ideas. Easy to overlook, stuck in the middle of 24 other cartoons, but highly entertaining.

Mexican Joyride (1947, Davis) Daffy Duck vs. a bull. Much to like here, but this cartoon demonstrates why we are not fans of director Davis: the man lacked good sense (and taste). Giving a bull a machine gun to commit suicide? Really?

The Mouse on 57th Street (1961, Jones) How did this get omitted from the Chuck Jones mouse Blu-ray set? Beats me, but it’s a fun cartoon with a pair of witless cops tracking down a mouse that stole a diamond. (Why would a mouse steal a diamond? For his headache. Look, it’s complicated.)

Mr. and Mrs. is the Name (1935, Freleng) Early WB stars Buddy and Cookie return in color as a mermaid and merboy romancing under the waves. Lots of topless mermaids if you go for fish; a funny, colorful, sweet cartoon.

Saddle Silly (1941, Jones) A Pony Express rider vs. a Native American named Moe Hican. Escapes out of the “Not-so-good” category because it has some real laughs in it, the reason we watch these things.

The Sheepish Wolf (1942, Freleng) A wolf (in pants) after sheep (with no pants) has to get past a dog (with no brains). The other sheep-and-wolf cartoon is much better, but this one’s cute.

There Auto Be a Law (1953, McKimson) Plotless gags about motoring in the modern (well, mid-50s modern) era of the super highway, with a guy who can’t find the exit. We laughed a lot.

Tugboat Granny (1956, Freleng) Granny has a boat and a Tweety Bird, and Sylvester is hungry. Lots of laughs here, too.

Wet Hare (1962, McKimson) The cartoon that ends the set isn’t a gem, but it’s a pretty good offering with Bugs battling a French muscleman for control of the local water supply.

The Not-so-good Ones

They can't all be great! China Jones (1959, Bob McKimson) Generally speaking, the newer the cartoons are in the set, the less entertaining they turn out to be. This is a one-gag Daffy Duck cartoon that’s apparently a parody of a television series that was already forgotten by the time the cartoon was produced. Some wince-worthy Asian references, too.

Dumb Patrol (1964, Gerry Chiniquy) No idea who Mr. Chiniquy was, but I’m grateful this is his only cartoon on the set. How do you fall flat with a Bugs Bunny/Yosemite Sam cartoon? Watch this and see.

Egghead Rides Again (1937, Avery) Gets major points for looking so gorgeous in Technicolor; brilliantly restored, a perfect looking cartoon. Unfortunately, we cannot stomach Egghead, so there’s that.

Pre-hysterical Hare (1958, McKimson) This one looked like it was going to be swell: prehistoric hunter Elmer vs. sabre-toothed Bugs. So what happened? It’s painfully awful, with a different voice for Elmer, even. The worst cartoon in the set.

Quentin Quail (1946, Jones) A reminder that for every 10 memorable characters the cartoonists created, they’d do at least one colossal misfire. This is a worm-hunting bird with a terribly annoying daughter.

The Wrap-up

A worthy set of 25 new-to-Blu-ray classic cartoons that are sure to bring enjoyment on both initial and rewatch occasions. We’re cartoon buffs here and appreciated the 1930s inclusions; if I were producing these, Vol. 4 would be a special with all B&W cartoons, which is probably why they don’t let me produce them. Kids will find these funny, and adults (remember, they’re “intended” for us) will catalog them along with our many other Warner Bros. cartoon releases as we spend our lives trying to get a complete collection (not sure, but I think it’s more than 1,000 cartoons, 1929 through the mid-60s). Keep ‘em comin’, Warner Archive!

“In one of these here cartoon pictures, anybody can get away with ANYTHING!”