Hello, all you happy people. Growing up, many people of my generation when turning to classic cartoons turned to Bugs Bunny or Mickey Mouse or even Popeye. I wasn’t normal (who would have guessed?). I found my cartoon home when I wasn’t watching Transformers or He-Man in the old Tex Avery cartoons of yesteryear. My favorite character was Droopy, the little dog with the deadpan wit and a penchant for outsmarting the big bad Wolf or Spike/Butch the bulldog. Tex was fa…ous for throwing one gag at you and then while you are still laughing throw another. He would usually follow that up with a third one for good measure. It was this constant unapologetic slapstick that would become his signature and would be found most consistently in the hands of Droopy.
The Complete Theatrical Collection of Droopy is twenty-four shorts that were showed in front of a big production movie to loosen up the audience. This collection is shown exactly as the way it was shown to the movie going crowd of the 40’s & 50’s. The cartoons Tex Avery made for the theater going public were full of racist, sexist and ethnic slanted jokes. However, this was the mood at the time with the boys at war and the world had not woken up to racial and sexist injustice. He never made these cartoons for kids, they were made for adults capable of appreciating the wonderful humor. So Warner Bros did the right thing in providing these shorts in the original manner they were provided, unedited (complete with silly disclaimer at the beginning of each disc).
Or not? As it actually turns out The Droopy collection is mostly unedited. Sure there are racial slurs and women are nothing more than fun objects to be cat called for and rescued from dangerous perils. But not quite everything made the cut. Apparently, in Droopy’s Good Deed there is one spot in particular that is shown with an edit. It’s only visible to the purists (as it still has a racial slur in it). It is distressing that they felt the need to cut that particular cartoon and possibly others (though I can’t find similar evidence on other shorts) but please do not let that take away from your viewing pleasure. The other thing of note is that only the first 18 cartoons are truly Tex Avery shorts. The last 6 cartoons are ones produced by Michael Lah. Michael does a good job but a little something seems to be lost by the departure of Tex Avery. All in all this is a fantastic set.
The video is split, Shorts 1-17 are in their original full frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1. However, shorts 18-24 are in gorgeous 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen due to the Cinema Scope presentation. The difference versus the 1.33 and the 2.35 is staggering besides the obvious. The first seventeen shorts do look cleaned up but still suffer from good old age and not always the best preservation techniques. But the color and saturation of the final seven shorts are gorgeous in contrast. I honestly could not think of these looking any better than they already do.
Audio is provided in the standard mono which is par for the course in these 50 year old shorts. I honestly was not expecting much for sound here but what is provided is clear dialog and none of it is what I consider to be too low to understand completely. (even with a few silly accents thrown in). For action sequences it still sits in the center channel with nothing special except maybe a slight volume increase. No subtitles provided either but due to the nature of some of the cartoons that would have hindered more than helped.
Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back 18:17 :A featurette that looks at the history of Tex Avery and the dog with the deadpan wit. A little too short for my taste, I would have easily enjoyed 45 minutes to an hour.
Doggone Gags 5:02 :Five minutes of the best moments that Droopy had to offer thrown together in a slapstick style. A throwaway extra of sorts, I guess it is good for the reviewers who want the best screenshots.
Trailers:Wait Till Your Father Gets Home (looks to be some of the worst animation and story line in a cartoon I’ve ever seen), Classic Cartoons from the Vault and Popeye the Sailor, 1933-38 Volume 1 (yes, I’d like a copy please).
You know what, I’m happy. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted the Droopy shorts that I remember in it’s complete and natural format. While the set is not perfect, it’s pretty darn close. So many other cartoon collections are cut up and re-edited because the children of today can’t handle the old racial prejudice that cartoons showed during this era. Or that is the conception anyway. Droopy is intended for the mature adult who can get past the sexist and racial remarks. It is also intended for the child who wants to laugh at the nonstop gags that Tex Avery threw at you ever second of the seven minutes he had you for. In the event I do have children, I would gladly sit down with them to watch this collection and enjoy the wonders of Droopy. Truth be told, I owe most of my own deadpan style and humor to Droopy. The dvd is excellent on video and content even if the audio and extras fall a little bit short. Highly recommended and some of the best cartoons ever.
The Shooting of Dan McGoo
Wild and Woolfy
Northwest Hounded Police
Wags to Riches
The Chump Champ
Droopy’s Good Deed
Droopy’s Double Trouble
The Three Little Pups
Grin and Share It
One Droopy Knight
Mutts About Racing
Special Features List
- Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back
- Doggone Gags
- Trailers (3)