Looney Tunes Superstars – Pepé Le Pew Collection collects all 16 cartoon shorts starring the famous French skunk, and one Sylvester and Tweety short that includes a Pepé cameo. The 17 shorts date from 1945 to 1962 and include the Oscar-winning For Scent-imental Reasons (1949, Best Animated Short Film).
It is actually kind of hard to believe that there were so few cartoons that starred Pepé Le Pew. As popular and well known as the character is, he wasn’t utilized all that often as it turns out. This is very likely due to a lack of variations on the one basic theme most of the shorts follow. Pepé, the perpetually horny skunk, tries to woo a black cat that he mistakenly thinks is one of his own species. Despite his relentless pursuit, the wretched odor always winds up disgusting the object of his affection.
These shorts, most of which are directed by Chuck Jones, are entertaining despite the lack of variety in the formula. There is one big departure, Odor of the Day from 1948. In this one, a mostly mute Pepé sneaks into a dog’s house to get out of the wintery weather. When the big dog returns home, he gives Pepé a nasty cold. The two fight it out, as the dog understandably wants to kick the skunk out. Pepé is not seeking romance in this one, which makes it stand out as unique.
The characters are voiced by the incomparable Mel Blanc. His versatility as a voice actor never ceases to amaze, even after all these years. In the earliest of the chronologically-presented shorts, Odor-able Kitty, Blanc does a dead-on perfect Lou Costello impression when voicing the cat Pepé is after. I looked high and low for information on that 1945 short, utterly convinced it must have been Costello providing an uncredited vocal. As far as I can tell, it is Blanc – but you’d absolutely swear it isn’t.
Though the DVD case for Looney Tunes Superstars – Pepé Le Pew Collection lists a total running time of 175 minutes, as far as I can tell the disc runs for an hour and fifty-six minutes. No special features are included. The option of watching the shorts in their original fullscreen or cropped widescreen is presented upon loading the disc, though it turns out only four are even available in widescreen. No big deal really, since all of these shorts are preferable in their uncropped 1.33:1 aspect ratio.