Written by Caballero Oscuro
The deep animation vault at Warner Brothers appears to be getting a bit shallow on this, the sixth and final Golden Collection box set. Casual fans expecting four discs of popular Bugs and Daffy shorts should keep away from this set as it delves into lengthy stretches of lesser-known characters such as Bosko and rarely-seen World War II shorts. However, viewers with a healthy appetite for animation history and the patience to wade through some clunkers will find a deep, fascinating look at some truly rare material.
As in past releases, the new box set is spread over four individual discs arranged by specific theme. Each disc has 15 main shorts plus an assortment of bonus material of varying quality. Of special interest are the 15 additional WB shorts contained in the bonus features, as well as five more shorts spotlighting some of director Friz Freleng’s work for MGM. Two TV specials make an appearance as well, Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court and Daffy Duck’s Easter Eggcitement.
Disc 1: Looney Tunes All-Stars will be of most appeal to the mainstream fans with its focus on the favorite characters from the studio. This one is just like watching the old ABC Saturday morning show with its uninterrupted and random selection of shorts featuring the best Looney Tunes stars. Its 15 primary shorts include a nice mix of hits including the debut of Yosemite Sam (“Hare Trigger”) and a smattering of Foghorn Leghorn appearances. Bonus features include commentary tracks on a few of the shorts as well as music-only tracks, the TV specials, and some of the bonus cartoons
Disc 2: Patriotic Pals is the war cartoons as well as a few oddball shorts that preach the virtues of capitalism. Bugs shows up behind enemy lines in Germany in “Heir Meets Hare,” while Daffy joins the war effort in “Daffy Goes Commando”. Bonuses are more commentary tracks and bonus shorts, as well as the Freleng MGM shorts.
Disc 3: Bosko, Buddie, and Merrie Melodies highlights the studio’s earliest work in the 1930s before the Looney Tunes stars became famous. See that little black and white guy you don’t recognize on the cover? That’s Bosko, and his character design should give you a pretty clear idea of the contents of this disc. No real madcap antics or decent plots, just simple song and dance that thrilled theater audiences new to sound cartoons. Bonus features include commentaries and an entertaining look at Schlesinger Christmas Party reels along with optional commentary that identifies the studio production participants, allowing viewers to match names to faces. These reels were only produced to be shown before the employee Christmas parties, so it’s a real treat to find them included here.
Disc 4: Most Requested Assorted Nuts includes a smorgasbord of rare oddities not normally associated with the studio such as “Horton Hatches The Egg” loosely based on the Dr. Seuss book. Bonuses are more commentaries, isolated music tracks, more cartoons, and the cherry on top, a 70-minute documentary on legendary voice actor Mel Blanc.
True Warner Brothers fans and completists will find much to admire in this box set, and with 80 shorts (60 plus bonuses) plus a healthy assortment of bonus material, there’s plenty here to tide over the heartiest zealot until the next non-Golden DVDs from the vault inevitably surface.