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Mel Blanc, Pinto Colvig, Frank Graham
Writing Credits:

25 classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Spanish Dolby Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 183 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 12/12/2023

• None


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Looney Tunes Collector's Choice Volume 2 [Blu-Ray] (1937-1963)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 10, 2023)

The second package in this series, Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 2 provides a collection of cartoons “carefully selected for discerning fans”. That appears to be code for “shorts that come with potentially controversial elements you might not want the kids to see”.

We’ll see how that prediction plays out across this disc’s 25 reels. I’ll look at the cartoons in the order presented here. I’ll provide my plot synopses from IMDB as well as quick thoughts, ratings on a 1-10 scale, and possible reasons Warner decided these cartoons might come with kid-unfriendly content.

Behind the Meat-Ball (1945): “Starved for meat, a dog goes to different lengths to get a steak back from a little dog that keeps out-smarting him.”

This means a lot of slapstick as the dogs chase the steak. It seems decent but not memorable. 5/10.

Possible controversy? The dog imitates a Native “war cry”. Also fake facial hair that seems stereotypically Asian.

Brother Brat (1944): “A ‘Rosie the Riveter’ type needs a baby-sitter for her awful child but the only person available is a clueless Porky Pig.”

Porky deals with a psychotic infant. This brings some clever moments but nothing that excels. 6/10.

Possible controversy? Some smoking? Animal abuse? Child abuse? Porky’s stutter? Infants depicted as sex objects? Not entirely sure.

Catty Cornered (1953): “Rocky the gangster kidnaps Tweety Bird for a million dollar ransom and holes up in an abandoned city building. Sylvester will rescue Tweety – to enjoy as a meal.”

Much of this becomes the usual literal cat and mouse. However, the presence of the gangsters adds a pleasant twist. 6/10.

Possible controversy? Smoking, I suppose.

Cross Country Detours (1940): “A wacky travelogue takes us to the forests of Yosemite, the rocks of Brice Canyon, the frozen wastes of Alaska, the desert wastes of New Mexico, the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River and the giant redwoods of California.”

A short without a main character, Detours tends to feel more cute than funny. Still, it comes with some clever bits. 6/10.

Possible controversy? More smoking as well as a suicidal frog and a sexy strip-tease from a lizard. (Man, there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)

Daffy’s Southern Exposure (1942): “In the dead of winter, a starving Daffy gets welcomed into the home of a fox and a weasel who hope to eat him.”

I don’t know how many circa 1942 Looney Tunes efforts were black and white, but this one was, and that comes as a surprise. In any case, I like Daffy, even if this doesn’t become a classic. 7/10.

Possible controversy? Cross-dressing animals? Or a Carmen Miranda caricature? Not sure.

Ding Dog Daddy (1942): “A dumb mutt falls in love with the metal statue of a greyhound.”

The title pooch offers such a blatant rip-off of Goofy that I’m shocked Disney didn’t sue. WB even used Goofy voice actor Pinto Colvig for the character!

This leads to a somewhat uninspired short, albeit one with an oddly perverse concept. It does get better as it becomes stranger, so the ending compensates for the rest. 5/10.

Possible controversy? A statue that shows a nude female behind? No idea.

The Eager Beaver (1946): “Anxious to get to work with the big guys damming the river before the flood hits, a little beaver keeps getting in the way of their work.”

Another short heavier on cute than cleverness, Eager nonetheless seems satisfactory. While never great, it still pleases. 6/10.

Possible controversy? Beavers who say “blankety” instead of profanity? A stuttering bird who sounds just like Porky? Unsure.

Fair and Worm-er (1946): “Worm chases apple, bird chases worm, cat chases bird, dog chases cat, dogcatcher chases dog, dogcatcher's wife chases dogcatcher, and mouse chases dogcatcher's wife.”

That becomes a fun twist on the usual “chase” framework, as it takes he topic to an extreme. This leads to a clever and lively short. 8/10.

Possible controversy? Not a clue.

Fin ‘n Catty (1943): “A cat tries to eat a goldfish in a bowl.”

Wait – the short’s narrator claims cats must consume goldfish to live? That seems like an odd belief, and the cartoon doesn’t go much of anywhere with the standard concept. 4/10.

Possible controversy? The cat gets tangled in flypaper and this makes it look like he dons a turban, so maybe ethnic stereotyping becomes the issue. Other than a shot in which the fish uses a waterpistol to shoot the cat, I see nothing else potentially problematic.

From Hand to Mouse (1944): “A dimwitted lion catches a fast-talking mouse to eat, but ends up being outsmarted in the process.”

Shorts in which one animal manipulates a dumber one are legion, but this one offers some clever twists. It shifts the paradigm enough to become a winner. 8/10.

Possible controversy? The mouse adopts the look/sound of stereotypical Native Americans and Blacks in a brief segment.

Ghost Wanted (1940): “An inexperienced little ghost tries out for a house-haunting job, but winds up getting terrorized by the fat ghost interviewing him for the position.”

I won’t claim this short’s unthreatening ghost became the inspiration for Casper a few years later, but the similarities seem undeniable. Unsurprisingly, this leads to a cartoon more Disney than Looney Tunes, and it lacks much amusement. 4/10.

Possible controversy? Smoking, I guess.

Greetings Bait (1943): “A worm reminiscent of Jerry Colonna is lowered into the water and uses various guises to lure fish.”

Jerry Colonna? Now there’s a reference no one under 90 will get!

Regardless of the viewer’s ability to recognize the Colonna influence, his presence as a worm offers some amusement. It’s a somewhat twisted short that largely works. 7/10.

Possible controversy? The worm dresses in drag at one point? Otherwise I don’t know.

Hamateur Night (1939): “It's amateur night at the local theatre, and a procession of bad acts comes and goes.”

Those crummy performers bring moderate humor. Nothing here dazzles but the short delivers more than a few clever moments. 7/10.

Possible controversy? The “Hindu Mystic” character, I assume.

Hare-Breadth Hurry (1963): “When Bugs takes the Roadrunner's place in a cartoon, the Bugs/Coyote roles and rules become confused.”

That offers a delightful premise, but the actual cartoon doesn’t live up to expectations. We really get little more than a Road Runner short with Bugs as stand-in, so Hurry doesn’t take very good advantage of the possibilities. 3/10.

Possible controversy? Guns, I suppose.

A Hick A Slick and Chick (1948): “A country mouse named Elmo tries to woo beautiful Daisy Lou but he finds her with the slick Blackie.

Warner cartoons loved their “city vs. country” stories, so the question becomes whether or not Slick brings anything new to the table. Not especially, so this turns into a lackluster short. 4/10.

Possible controversy? Guns again, presumably.

Hiss and Make Up (1943): “A cat, a dog and bird living in one house can't stop fighting each other.”

Tweety came into existence in 1942, so one assumes this short’s golden bird isn’t supposed to be that character. Also, though the feline predated Sylvester by two years, he doesn’t resemble that role in any ways other than species and desire to eat the bird. We see a clear predecessor to Granny, though.

I mention these topics because the ways Hiss connects to Tweety/Sylvester seem more interesting than the short itself. Not that it’s a bad cartoon, but it doesn’t really overcome its roots. 5/10.

Possible controversy? Not sure.

A Hound for Trouble (1951): “Kicked off the boat in Italy, Charlie forces himself upon a pizzeria owner.”

Charlie Dog offers a Looney Tunes character who never really took off. He appeared in nine shorts over 17 years, so he clearly wasn’t viewed too highly by those at Warner.

I suspect some – most? – of this stems from his strong resemblance to Bugs Bunny. Charlie doesn’t quite become a Bugs clone, but he seems awfully similar, and Mel Blanc’s voice even sounds awfully close to his work for Bugs.

As for Hound, it becomes a mediocre short. While it shows some humor, it lacks much real pizzazz. 5/10.

Possible controversy? The stereotypical depiction of Italians, I suppose.

I Wanna Be a Sailor (1937): “Against his mother's wishes, a young parrot wants to become a mariner like his no-account father. He runs away from home and heads for the ocean with a young duck who wants to join him.”

Peter the parrot feels a little like a precursor of Henery Hawk – well, vaguely, at least. Like many of Warner’s 1930s shorts, Sailor leans more cutesy than funny, but it comes with some decent moments. 5/10.

Possible controversy? The sight of Peter’s drunken father offers the most likely suspect – or perhaps a reference to Peter as a “sissy” - but nothing overt appears.

The Leghorn Blows at Midnight (1950): “Foghorn Leghorn tricks a naive young chicken hawk into believing the barnyard dog is a pheasant.”

Speaking of Henery Hawk, he pops up here with his main nemesis Foghorn. I never loved Leghorn but found Henery amusing due to his single-minded obsession.

Unfortunately, Henery seems more innocent than usual here, and that makes him less interesting. Blows comes with some laughs but never develops into a great one. 6/10.

Possible controversy? Not a clue this time.

Lickety-Splat (1961): “Wile E. Coyote releases a number of explosive darts to attack the Road Runner, only to have them bedevil him continually during his subsequent attempts.”

My general disdain for Road Runner shorts seems unlikely to ever abate, and Splat doesn’t threaten to change this. It offers the same old same old for RR and Wile. 3/10.

Possible controversy? Wile uses a gun at one point – that seems like the culprit here.

One Meat Brawl (1947): “Groundhog Day is Grover Groundhog's big day - but it's also hunting season for Porky, and he's hunting groundhogs.”

Looney Tunes loved their shorts about hunters and their prey, though we usually got Bugs or Daffy as the latter. Brawl allows for some variety via Grover in that role.

Not that this means Brawl deviates from the framework much, so don’t expect real variance beyond the presence of Grover. Still, the short gives us plenty of laughs so it works despite the oft-used framework. 7/10.

Possible controversy? Guns once again, I believe – and Porky’s dog threatens suicide.

The Penguin Parade (1938): “An evening at a night club for penguins - and a walrus or two.”

Once again, we get a 1930s Warner short heavier on cuteness than madcap comedy. That doesn’t make Parade bad but it feels less inspired than I’d like. 5/10.

Possible controversy? Some boozing, I guess.

Rabbit Rampage (1955): “Bugs argues with the cartoonist who creates him over how he should be drawn.”

That offers a promising premise, one that Rampage exploits in decent fashion. However, it feels like a remake of 1953’s classic Duck Amuck, so while entertaining, it loses points due to that derivative nature. 6/10.

Possible controversy? Not a clue.

The Rebel Without Claws (1961): “During the American Civil War, Tweety is determined to get a message to General Lee, but Sylvester has been deployed to stop him.”

Despite the 1860s setting, Claws just becomes another “Sylvester tries to eat Tweety” short. Though the Civil War domain adds some spice, the cartoon does little else to stand out from its peers. 5/10.

Possible controversy? I assume all the guns.

The Wacky Worm (1941): “A singing worm is pursued by a crow, moving in an amazing variety of ways while escaping.”

A second short with the Jerry Colonna worm! He remains a less than terrific character and this cartoon does nothing to make him more interesting. 4/10.

Possible controversy? The worm gets drunk – that’s the best I can find.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus F

Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Despite some variability, the shorts usually looked solid.

Sharpness almost uniformly appeared fine. On rare occasions, some mil softness showed up, but not with any frequency. Instead, the shorts mostly were well defined.

I saw no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and I also noticed no signs of edge enhancement. Cel dust cropped up but no real print flaws manifested, and grain largely seemed appropriate.

Colors looked nice. The grain dulled them a little, but not in a significant way, so the hues were mostly vivid and full.

Blacks also appeared concise and deep, and the rare low-light shots were accurately depicted. These shorts worked well visually.

Though not as good, the DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Looney Tunes was fine for its age. Of course, since the shorts spanned a range of years, variations occurred, but overall audio quality was positive.

Music usually fared best of all, as the shorts’ scores tended to be reasonably peppy and bold. Some distortion could affect the music but I still thought these elements were pretty clear.

Effects fell into the same range; they displayed occasional instances of roughness and never seemed especially dynamic, but they remained generally concise and accurate.

Dialogue came with similar variations. Some edginess and boxiness could affect speech, but the lines always stayed intelligible and usually boasted decent naturalness.

A bit of noise occasionally accompanied the tracks, but not regularly. In the end, the audio merited a “C+”.

Note that another site’s review discerned audio synch problems with the Eager Beaver short. I didn’t experience that issue when I watched the cartoon.

No extras appear on this disc.

Via Looney Tunes Collector’s Choice Volume 2, we find 25 animated shorts that lean toward the obscure side of the street. Some work better than others, but this nonetheless turns into a fun compilation. The Blu-ray provides solid visuals and acceptable audio but it lacks bonus materials. Looney Tunes fans will feel pleased with this set.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main